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Brookfield police ID teen killed in crash


The name of the driver killed in a two car crash on Saturday in Brookfield has been released.  Police say 19-year old Amanda Sarapochiello of Brookfield was pronounced dead at Danbury Hospital. 

 

Police say Candlewood Lake Road was closed around 11am Saturday because a car travelling northbound, driven by Sarapochiello, crossed the double yellow line and collided with a vehicle travelling in the other direction.  Police say that other car was being driven by a 16-year old Brookfield resident, who was not seriously injured.  The other teen was also transported to the hospital. 

 

The road was closed for about 3 hours Saturday.

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Public hearing in Redding tonight held by Connecticut Siting Council


An application has been made to the Siting Council for a telecommunications facility to be constructed at the Redding Ridge Fire Department on Black Rock Turnpike.  Weather permitting today, the Council will conduct a public field review starting at 2pm, with the applicant flying a balloon to simulate the height of the proposed tower.  The 150 foot cell tower will be managed by Message Center Management and the fire district.  AT&T would be the primary carrier but Verizon would also use the facility.  Nextel is the only carrier on the existing 80-foot tower.  

 

The 3pm hearing at the Redding Community Center will provide the applicant and intervenors an opportunity to cross-examine positions.  The purpose of the hearing is to hear evidence of a public need for this tower outweighing any adverse environmental effects that would result from the construction, maintenance or operation of a tower, access road and ground equipment. 

 

The 7pm hearing will be reserved for the public to make brief comments on the record.  Cross-examination of all parties will resume if necessary after all comments have been entered into the record.

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Conn. man arrested at WCSU for unemployment compensation fraud


A Connecticut man working at Western Connecticut State University has been arrested for using someone else's Social Security Number to illegally collect $68,197 in Unemployment Compensation.  38-year old Mauricio Perez of Meriden was arrested Friday while working as an independent flooring contractor at the new visual arts building being constructed on the West Side Campus. 

 

He was charged with larceny, identity theft, and felony unemployment compensation fraud.  According to the arrest warrant, Perez used a California resident's Social Security number to collect the benefits from 2002 to 2013 when he wasn't legally authorized to work in the United States. 

 

He is being held on $20.000 bond for a court appearance on the 14th.

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Lake Waramaug poor water quality continues


The swimming area at Lake Waramaug State Park in Kent has been closed since Thursday and remains closed today.  Environmental officials say the rain last week caused elevated bacteria levels.  The water was tested again on Friday and the results came back the same.  State officials say water quality will be tested again early this week.  The tests are used by public health and environmental protection authorities to evaluate the potential for contamination in water bodies.

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Lawmaker calls for Metro North Danbury Branch advocate


An area lawmaker has written to Governor Malloy asking him to push Metro North to appoint more rail advocates.  On word that the Waterbury Branch Line Advocate was appointed last week, Wilton Senator Toni Boucher questioned why the railroad didn't also appoint one for the Danbury Branch.

 

Boucher says Danbury area rail riders have what she called "complaint fatigue", feeling Metro North is not listening to their concerns and complaints.  She says commuters on that line are frustrated, with good reason, but so are commuters on the Danbury Branch.

 

Boucher retold the story of a veteran commuter who is considering finding a new job or moving away because the deterioration of Metro North service has been maddening.  Earlier this year especially, commuters were telling officials they weren't sure if they would make it to work on time or get home safely because of the numerous issues the railroad is having.

 

Over the years, Boucher says the branch lines have been more neglected than the main line.  She notes that often times the branch lines can't be used and commuters will clog the highways by driving to other stations.  In addition to road congestion, Boucher says it worsens an already tight parking situation in other towns.

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Compromise on help for veterans dealing with health care delays


Senator Richard Blumenthal is pleased with a bipartisan compromise agreement reached over the weekend by the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committee chairmen to improve delivery of health care services. 

 

Blumenthal calls the legislation long overdue and called for immediate passage.  Recent data has shown a worsening of wait times for Connecticut veterans to get care at the two V-A hospitals and six clinics in the state, including the one in Danbury.  

 

The compromise calls for $5 billion in emergency funding for the hiring of more doctors and facility upgrades.  It also includes $10 billion for private health care for veterans who waited too long to receive treatment.

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Parking violation fines hiked in Ridgefield


Connecticut has raised the maximum fine for parking in a fire lane and illegally parking in a handicap parking space.  That means Ridgefield has now taken action to raise the rates set by the town, to match the state fine.  A town meeting and public hearing was held Wednesday to approve the changes. 

 

The ordinance change was recommended by the Ridgefield Parking Authority.  First Selectman Rudy Marconi says the change was made to streamline the process.  Any time the state raises the fine and the town decides to follow suit, only Board of Selectmen approval would be needed.  Previously a public hearing, town meeting approval process was also needed.

 

Marconi and other Board members feel strongly, particularly when it comes to illegally parked cars in handicap spaces.  If people are just walking into a store quickly to pick something up and they don't have a permit, it's still a violation.  Marconi says the stiff fine is a reminder that people shouldn't park there.

 

The fine for parking in a handicap space has increased from $86 to $150.  Parking in a fire zone has gone from a $50 fine to a $92 ticket.

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Gov: Feds no longer asking for Conn. sites to house child refugees


Governor Dannel Malloy says a closer look of the Southbury Training School and Old Gateway Community College buildings has revealed that neither can be used to house thousands of migrant children from Central America because of physical and safety limitations.

 

Malloy says mass housing sites, institutionalizing children is not the way to go.  He says the better way is to place children with family members.

 

He notes that the federal government is no longer asking the state to provide facilities for the children at this time.  The children are being settled with families members, more than 300 of them in Connecticut.

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Senator touts WCSU Upward Bound Program


While in Danbury on Friday, Senator Chris Murphy stopped by Western Connecticut State University to check in with high school students participating in the Upward Bound Program.  The Danbury High Schoolers are first generation college students or are from low income families.  He says they face a barrier if they do get into college--paying for it.

 

He is working on a bill with three other Senators that would hold colleges accountable for reducing tuition by possibly withholding financial aid from the federal government.  Murphy says the federal government spends $140 billion every year on that, with almost no conditions.

 

100 Danbury High School students, many of who were recruited at the end of 8th grade, are participating in the program to develop and strengthen their academic skills.

 

A mandatory six-week, nonresidential summer program is conducted at the University. This summer program is designed to prepare students academically and socially for the upcoming school year. Students are given an introduction to the major courses they will be taking in the fall.  Murphy was in Danbury to listen to presentations the kids have been working on and to push them to stay on course, get a degree and be able to earn a substantial living in Connecticut.

 

During the academic year, each student receives an academic advisor who monitors their academic and behavioral progress. Tutoring and various workshops such as Study Skills, SAT Preparation, and Financial Aid Awareness are offered.  Career and college counseling courses are offered, as well as supplementary classes which address issues effecting today's teens. Students participate in educational and cultural trips as well as college tours.

 

Over the course of the four years, each student participates in a ten-day Great Hollow Wilderness School experience in New Fairfield Students develop self-confidence and goal setting skills, as well as learn the importance of team work and social-personal responsibilities. These skills are developed through technical rock climbing, canoeing, caving, backpacking, and meeting the challenge of a high rope course.

 

The Upward Bound Program is funded by the US Department of Education, along with supplementary grants from the Danbury Board of Education.

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Area lawmaker honored today as 'Children's Champion'


An awards ceremony is being held today at the Bethel YMCA to recognize this year's Children's Champions.  The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance has given the honor to 24 state lawmakers for their work during the latest legislative session.  Among them is Wilton State Senator Toni Boucher.

 

Boucher cited research that shows investments in pre-school and early childhood education will bring the greatest return on investment and help close the achievement gap.  She says a highly trained and educated Connecticut work force is vital in today's global economy.  Boucher says almost 80-percent of what we learn is done from the ages of birth through age 5.  She says their rapid pace of brain development means a good environment for young children is vital.

 

The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is a statewide membership and advocacy organization committed to improving developmental outcomes in the areas of learning, health, safety and economic security for children ages birth through eight.

 

Boucher also received the Children’s Champion award from the Alliance in 2013, 2012 and 2009.

 

The other 23 honored are:

Senator Andres Ayala (D-23) Bridgeport and Stratford

Senator Dante Bartolomeo (D-13) Cheshire, Meriden, Middlefield and Middletown

Senator Beth Bye (D-05) Bloomfield, Burlington, Farmington and West Hartford

Senator Carlo Leone (D-27) Stamford and Darien

Senator Andrea Stillman (D-20) Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville, New London, Old Lyme, Salem and Waterford

Senator Don Williams (D-29) Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson and Windham

Representative Cathy Abercrombie (D-83) Berlin and Meriden

Representative Tim Ackert (R-08) Columbia, Coventry, Tolland and Vernon

Representative Joe Aresimowicz (D-30) Berlin and Southington

Representative Juan Candelaria (D-95) New Haven

Representative Victor Cuevas (D-75) Waterbury

Representative Andrew Fleischmann (D-18) West Hartford

Representative Mae Flexer (D-44) Killingly and Plainfield

Representative Daniel Fox (D-148) Stamford

Representative Gerald Fox (D-146) Stamford

Representative Mary Fritz (D-90) Cheshire and Wallingford

Representative Patricia Billie Miller (D-145) Stamford

Representative Bobby Sanchez (D-25) New Britain

Representative Hilda Santiago (D-84) Meriden

Representative William Tong (D-147) Stamford and Darien

Representative Toni Walker (D-93) New Haven

Representative Roberta Willis (D-64) Canaan, Cornwall, Goshen, Kent, Norfolk, North Canaan, Salisbury, Torrington and Sharon

Rep. Michelle Cook (D-65) Torrington (Legislator of the Year)

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Tornado touches down in Wolcott


WOLCOTT, Conn. (AP) The National Weather Service has confirmed that a small tornado touched down in Wolcott.

Sunday's tornado was rated as an EF0, the weakest rating for the storms, with winds between 65 and 85 mph.

Investigators say among other things, the storm uprooted trees, knocked down a fence and blew down a portable backstop on the baseball field at Wolcott High School.

The weather service says the tornado touched down at 12:50 p.m. and traveled about six-tenths of a mile from the intersection of Minor Road and Center Street to the high school.

No injuries were reported.

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Newtown man reported missing 1 year ago still missing


Newtown police are continuing their search for a man who went missing almost a year ago.  Robert Hoagland was last seen at a Mobil Gas Station on Church Hill Road early on July 28th 2013.  He was reported missing by his wife, who was waiting for him to pick her up at the airport. 

 

The man does not have his wallet, ID, credit cards, cell phone or blood pressure medication with him.  His shoes were also found left behind at his home. 

 

Sightings of the man had been reported in the Rhode Island area, but they all turned out to be misidentifications or unconfirmed.  A possible sighting was made in Brookfield this January, but surveillance footage was not clear enough to make a positive identification. 

 

Anyone with information on Hoagland's whereabouts is asked to contact Newtown Police at 203-426-5841.

 

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Mental health services draft report submitted to legislature


A draft report has been submitted to the General Assembly's Appropriations and Children's committees by a Task Force studying mental health issues in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  The joint meeting was held Thursday at the state capital.  Yale Behavioral Health Director Dr Michael Hoge says access is a challenge.

 

says there are many concerns with prevention, early identification and early intervention systems.  He notes that has led to a lack universal screening for mental health problems across the age continuum.  There are also inadequate services to refer to once behavioral health needs have been identified.

 

The report found that there are some effective programs in the state, but there is an overall disconnect. 

 

A final report is due to lawmakers in October by the state Department of Children and Families, Office of Early Childhood and others.

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Area towns take step for planning agency merger


The leaders of 10 Greater Danbury area towns are taking steps to merge their regional planning group with one representing lower Fairfield County towns.  The state recently passed an initiative calling for the 13 planning agencies in the state to merge into no more than eight.  Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi says his biggest concern in all of this is that it will lead to a county level of government.  Marconi says he and others will stand firm that that can't happen.

 

The 10 towns in the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials and the eight towns in the South Western Regional Planning Agency would become the 18 towns in  the Western Connecticut Council of Governments.

 

Marconi says the state is hoping for more regionalization efforts when it comes to a sharing of equipment and bulk purchasing power to bring the cost of government down.  But he says, the HVCEO region already does a lot of that so they are entering this merger with caution. 

 

If larger councils of governments are not created, the current ones risk losing funding.

 

HVCEO towns are: Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield and Sherman.

 

SWRPA towns are: Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport and Wilton.

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Conn. Senators host immigration roundtable in Danbury


A roundtable discussion at Danbury Library has been held by Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy about what they call the humanitarian crisis at the border.  Blumenthal was asked about Connecticut's rejection of the Southbury Training School as a place to house 2,000 migrant children.

 

The roundtable participants included immigration activists, student leaders, and religious leaders.

 

Blumenthal says the children face enormous danger as they flee trafficking, rape, and psychological abuse in their home countries.  He says many of the children have family members here and should be placed with those relatives instead of massive institutions.

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Doughnut Inn weighs in on toddler ban controversy


The other side of the Doughnut Inn controversy is being told.  Earlier this week a woman told broadcast media that her 4-year old son had been banned by the Monroe establishment for being rude after asking another customer if she was pregnant. 

 

The store manager has told the Monroe Courier that Rebecca Denham's story was fabricated. 

 

Becca Mason said in the published report that they've gotten multiple complaints from customers about the woman's rude behavior and they asked her to take her business elsewhere.  Mason continued to say that Denham is a problem customer who didn't enforce any rules with her son and used this incident to get 15 minutes in the spotlight at the expense of her son.

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US agency extends comment period on tribal rules


The U-S Interior Department is extending the period for people to comment on proposed changes to the rules for granting federal recognition to American Indian tribes, citing significant public interest in the matter.

Kevin Washburn, an assistant secretary with the department's Bureau of Indian Affairs, announced Friday the comment period has been extended by 60 days. 

 

The rules announced in May include a requirement that tribes demonstrate political authority since 1934. Previously, they had to show continuity from ``historical times.''  This could open the door for recognition of one faction of the Kent-based Scaghticoke Tribe. 

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen was among those seeking an extension. Despite changes made to the proposed rules, Jepsen's office claims they'll still have "serious consequences for Connecticut,'' making it easier for groups petitioning for federal recognition to gain the acknowledgement.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is also adding more consultations with tribes and public meetings.

The existing regulations overseeing the federal recognition of tribes were originally adopted in 1978. They've been updated once in 20 years.
  Washburn said the new rules are intended to make the process more transparent and efficient. He said the standards are no less rigorous.

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Updated: Small plane removed from swamp by Danbury Airport


A small plane has crashed near Danbury Municipal Airport.  Interim Fire Chief TJ Wiedl says the accident happened around 7pm Thursday.  The plane is in the marshy area on the south fields of the airport near Miry Brook Road.  The small aircraft was attempting to come in for a landing.

 

Assistant Fire Chief Bernie Meehan says the pilot was standing on the plane when firefighters arrived.  He was rescued by boat.

 

(Photo courtesy @MayorMark)

 


(Photo courtesy @IAFF801 via Twitter)

 

A Ridgefield Fire Department Ambulance was near the airport when the incident occurred.
 
The single engine 1984 Beechcraft Bonanza, crashed about a quarter mile short of Runway 35.  Ridgefield Firefighters were the first to locate the aircraft, which was not visible from the road. The plane was in water about 8 feet deep.
 
The pilot was checked by Danbury Paramedics.  According to FAA records, the plane is registered to Dr. Lionel  Brown of Newtown.  He was uninjured and was released by EMS. Firefighters placed booms around the aircraft to contain any possibility of fuel leakage. The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection was also on the scene.
 
The cause of the crash is under investigation by the Danbury Police, State Police, Danbury Airport Administration, and the NTSB. 
 
(Photo courtesy @MayorMark)
 
According to the Danbury Orthopedics website, Dr. Brown founded the Hand Center of Western Connecticut in 1989. In 2011, he merged offices with Danbury Orthopedics, where he continues to practice.
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Danbury officials authorize final step of 911 call center transfer


The Danbury City Council held a special meeting last night to approve a $750,000 transfer of funds to consolidate the 911 dispatch center.  Currently police and firefighters staff the call center, but New Jersey-based IXP will be taking over those duties.  Council President Joe Cavo says Danbury is one of the last places to still use police and fire staff to answer the phones.

 

Cavo says the consolidation and the use of civilians means more police and firefighters will be back on the streets doing what they were hired to do.  Three  police officers per shift will be back on street duty.  Officials estimate that the fire department will realize a million dollar savings over the next few years.

 

The contract is for three years.  The police station was designed to have the capacity to handle a call taker center.  The space, the room and the equipment are all set to go.

 

There will be a six month cross over with police and firefighters sort of training IXP dispatchers.

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Ridgefield moves forward on Schlumberger sales


The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen has voted to move forward with a lease for some of the town-owned Schlumberger land.  The lease for $3.4 million dollars in exchange for 12 acres is to an art collector, previously identified as the Chairman of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. 

 

The proposal still faces a town vote.  The art collector would repurpose some of the buildings on the land and house a private art collection. 

 

Another request for proposals would go out to buyers looking to develop 10 acres of land that voters previously rejected a $4 million dollars sale for.  Toll Brothers proposed building 30 luxury condos on the site. 

 

Five acres was previously sold to a developer for a hotel and office space.  That would leave the town with 18 acres, mostly for open space.  About 4.5 acres would be set aside for future town building needs.

 

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