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Officials are hoping the rain forecast today will help to lower the state's high forest and brush fire danger level.  State forester Chris Martin says 12 hours of steady rain will have a positive impact. 

 

Martin says a brush fire which began Friday night at Lovers Leap State Park in New Milford, which has gone underground but occassionally surfaces, is expected to continue to smolder for several more days.  That fire has scorched about 12 acres.  Martin says there are containment lines in place.  The fire department has been on the scene as they get new reports of smoke.

 

Martin says with summer drought conditions will cause the peat to burn, and that in turn will cause roots of trees to catch fire.  He says they will then smolder underground undetected from some time, and suddenly surface.

 

Martin says the dry weather and the gypsy moth de-foliation are among the factors that have contributed to the high danger level.  A dry lightning strike, unintended campfires and fireworks have contributed to blazes this year.  He urges people to be careful with fire outdoors.

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A program in which seniors volunteer their time with non-profits and some Danbury agencies is growing.  The United Way of Western Connecticut says the S.A.V.E. program has been active in Danbury since 2008, and this year 36 residents participated. S.A.V.E. stands for Seniors Add Valuable Experience.

 

The S.A.V.E. program provides real estate tax relief to financially qualified Danbury homeowners age 65 and older.  Each volunteer must complete 100 hours of service over the course of the fiscal year, but many of them provide well more than that amount.

 

Funding has been made available to open the program to as many as 50 seniors.  The tax credit will also being increasing.

 

S.A.V.E. volunteers have completed 5,580 hours in the last year. This service to the community is valued at $154,970. 

 

These residents volunteered at 22 city departments and nonprofit agencies.

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut judge has asked lawyers for Remington Arms and families of some Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre victims to meet privately to resolve disagreements over whether some company documents sought by the families should be sealed from public view.

The families of nine victims killed and a teacher who survived the 2012 shooting in Newtown are suing Remington Arms, saying the Madison, North Carolina, company should not have sold the AR-15-style rifle used in the shooting to the general public because it's too dangerous. Twenty first-graders and six educators were killed.

A state judge in Bridgeport held a hearing on the records issue Thursday.

Remington wants many company records requested by the families' lawyers sealed from public view, saying disclosing them would hurt the company financially and benefit competitors.

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A Patterson woman is facing a bigger charge after a routine motor vehicle stop.  Putnam County Sheriffs Deputies stopped a motorist on Bullet Hole Road in Patterson on Monday and determined that she had a suspended license.  31-year old Joanna Maleszewski was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation.  She was released on a promise to appear in court on August 23rd to answer the charge.

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A Sherman man has been arrested by Danbury Police on four outstanding warrants.  41-year old Jared Cardillo is incarcerated with the Connecticut Department of Corrections and was charged this morning.  Judicial Marshals transported him to court where he was processed for five counts of burglary and one count each of criminal mischief and larceny. 

 

The charges stem from a burglary of a tattoo parlor on Downs Street May 31st, at a nail salon on Mill Plain Road May 21st, a wellness and day spa also on Mill Plain Road that day, and two financial businesses located within the same building on Mill Plain Road. 

 

He was held on a combined $36,000 bond.

 

According to Connecticut Judicial Branch records, Cardillo has served jail time for five previous arrests.  In 2008 he was arrested by State Police for narcotics possession and was ordered to six months in prison and two years probation.  He was also arrested by Waterbury police for threatening and ordered to five months in prison.  Cardillo was arrested later that year in Danbury and ordered in March 2009 to four years in prison for an attempted burglary, and to five years in prison for a burglary charge.  He was arrested again by Danbury Police in 2014 for larceny, criminal mischief and burglary.  Cardillo was ordered last July to serve 18 months in prison.

 

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Newtown's Police Chief has provided an update on the ongoing investigation into a string of residential burglaries in the Sandy Hook neighborhood.  Police say the Department is making tremendous progress in response to tips from the public. 

 

A potential suspect has been identified. 

 

Newtown Police are working with other agencies, who have also had residential burglaries.  Newtown's Chief says he is confident that an arrest will be made in the very near future. 

 

The break-ins happened last Thursday into Friday on Riverside, Toddy Hill, Bennetts Bridge, and Sugarloaf roads.  One home was equipped with a video surveillance system which captured images of the suspect.  Newtown Police say windows or doors were broken in order to gain entry.

 

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut piano teacher charged with inappropriately touching two of his students has avoided prison time.

The Connecticut Post reports that 70-year-old Bruce Bean Connery was sentenced Wednesday to a suspended three-year prison term and three years of probation. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

Under a plea deal, the Monroe man who was also an EMT in Stratford previously pleaded guilty to charges of risk of injury to children and reckless endangerment.

Police started investigating after the father of a 10-year-old girl told police that Connery would rub his daughter's back under her clothes during lessons. After those allegations came to light, a 16-year-old girl came forward with a similar story.

Neither Connery nor his lawyer commented outside of court.

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SEYMOUR, Conn. (AP) - A Roman Catholic priest charged with stealing more than $30,000 from the Connecticut church where he served as pastor will have his criminal record wiped clean if he returns to his native Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A judge has approved the Rev. Honore Kombo's request for accelerated rehabilitation, a form of probation under which a defendant can have criminal charges dismissed if they comply with all terms.

The New Haven Register reports that the judge approved the deal because the 50-year-old Weston resident has already repaid the money to St. Augustine's parish in Seymour.

Kombo said he took the money to provide loans and help people in Africa. He was charged with first-degree larceny.

The Archdiocese of Hartford placed him on administrative leave in July 2015 when police began investigating.

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut judge will hear arguments on whether gun maker Remington Arms' company documents should be sealed from public view as it fights a lawsuit filed by families of some of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

A court hearing is set for Thursday in Bridgeport.

Madison, North Carolina-based Remington Arms is the parent company of Bushmaster Firearms, which made the AR-15-style rifle used to kill 20 first-graders and six educators at the school. The families of nine victims killed and a teacher who survived allege the company should not have sold such a dangerous weapon to civilians.

Remington wants many company records requested by the families' lawyers sealed from public view, saying disclosing them would hurt the company financially and benefit competitors.

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A whistleblower complaint has led to a civil settlement with a Danbury doctor about allegations of submitting false claims to Medicare.  The physician and mental health practice he founded have agreed to pay more than $36,000.  Dr. Anton Fry and CPC Associates, Inc. entered the civil settlement Wednesday.  The mental health practice has offices in Danbury. 

 

It's alleged that Fry and CPC Associates submitted improper claims to Medicare for psychiatric services that were provided over the phone, instead of by meeting with the beneficiaries in the office and treating them in person.  Certain real-time "telehealth" services are allowed by Medicare in areas with a rural health professional shortage.  The U.S. Attorney's office says the patients treated over the phone by Fry were not in these areas.  Authorities say interactive audio and video communications weren't used either. 

 

In order to resolve the allegations, Fry and CPC Associates have agreed to pay $36,704, which covers conduct occurring from January 1, 2009 through June 1, 2015.

 

The whistleblowers, Jodi Cohen, a former patient of Fry, and Medical Bill Consultants, LLC, a billing company, will receive a share of the proceeds of the settlement in the amount of $6,239. The whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act provide that the whistleblower is entitled to receive a percentage of the proceeds of any judgment or settlement recovered by the government.

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A Republican looking to be elected to Congress is challenging the Democratic incumbent to a debate in each of the 41 municipalities in the 5th District. 

 

3rd term Sherman First Selectman Clay Cope was unanimously endorsed by the GOP to challenge two-term Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty.  Cope said he was responding to the Esty campaign's vague challenge that is he unwilling to debate the facts.

 

He says what differentiates the pair is that he is hands-on.  He also called Esty "out of touch with the district".

 

Cope says the one time Esty visited Sherman was on a Monday, when town hall and all but one business in town are closed.  He said he would have been proud to share the progress in Sherman including a new library, a long-stalled firehouse which was recently completed and a new public works wash-station.  Cope also said he would have shared plans that the five municipalities that surround Candlewood Lake have to mitigate milfoil problems.  He called Candlewood Lake an economic engine for the five towns.

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Two Connecticut delegates to the Democratic National Convention from the 5th District are weighing in on the first few days in Philadelphia. 

 

Justin Molito of Sherman is a Sanders delegate.  When he attended Western Connecticut State University, Molito was a Student Government President.  He says it was wonderful to see how organized the movement for social justice was against corporate interest, which he notes is dominant in politics today.

 

Molito says there's been great progress in moving the Democratic party, and he's optimistic about the movement for social justice.  He called it a diverse movement featuring young people.

 

Jennine Lupo, a teacher from Litchfield and Sanders supporter, says some Connecticut delegates for Sanders were always planning to vote Democrat.  She says others were swayed by Sanders speaking directly to them.  Others though still need to be convinced.  Lupo says the Connecticut delegation had a birds eye view of the Vermont delegation.  She says it was very moving to see Bernie Sanders and his wife react to the roll call vote of delegates from each state.

 

There was a walk out after the roll call vote Tuesday including by some Connecticut Sanders delegates.  They were joined by delegates from California, Oregon and Washington.  She says a wall of Secret Service members and police formed a wall behind them and it got pretty tense.

 

Lupo says the Democratic party is being transformed like never before.  She says the push to the left will help the most Americans who need it.

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I should not be here tonight. That is how Erica Smegielski of Connecticut started her speech at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night.  The daughter of slain Sandy Hook School Principal Dawn Hochsprung didn’t mince words what she said that her mother was murdered, so she had to be there.  Smegielski said she was there for those lives cut short in a school, in a movie theater, in a church, at work, in their neighborhoods or homes because those voices should never be silenced. 

 

The delegates gave her a round of applause when she said that she was there alone while too many politicians cower behind the gun lobby instead of standing with American families. 

 

In making the case for electing Hillary Clinton, Smegielski said what’s needed is another mother who’s willing to do what’s right, whose bravery can live up in equal measure her mom’s.

(Photo: Sen. Chris Murphy, Twitter)

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Senator Chris Murphy spoke at the Democratic Convention on Wednesday night. His remarks, focused on gun violence prevention measures.  He opened by saying that he wished he hadn’t been there, moments he tries to forget the things he saw and heard, and what he called the soul-crushing morning at the firehouse in Sandy Hook.  

Murphy's oldest son is the same age as the kids who were killed Sandy Hook Elementary School, having just finished first grade.  He said he is furious that in three years since Sandy Hook, three years of almost daily bloodshed in cities, Congress has done nothing to prevent the next massacre.  He said that stoked a sense of outrage that he's never felt before.  And that’s what he says drove him to stand on the floor of the United States Senate for 15 hours to demand change.

 

Murphy then turned his comments to Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump who said he’ll mandate that every school in America allow guns in their classrooms.

 

Murphy says there is no reason to feel helpless about the horrifying trajectory of cascading massacres.  With smart gun policy, like background checks, he said change can happen.

 

When he finished speaking, the delegates all chanted 'Enough" because of the following remarks:

"I stood on the Senate floor for 15 hours because I had had enough.  Enough of children dying in classrooms.  Enough of nightly bloodshed on our city streets.  Enough of our police officers being outgunned, ambushed, and cut down in the line of duty.  Enough."

 

(Photo: Congressman Himes, Twitter)

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A local lawmaker has achieved a 100-percent voting record for all votes cast on the floor of the state House of Representatives.  Monroe State Representative JP Sredzinski was present for all 313 votes.  The data was released by the House Clerk’s Office this week.  This is the second year in a row that Sredzinski has earned a perfect voting record.  Less than a third of state House members earned perfect marks this year.  Sredzinski serves on the legislature’s Public Safety & Security, Commerce, and Internship Committees.

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Brookfield Police are looking for the public's help in solving a burglary case.  Brookfield Police have issued a "be on the lookout" alert for a dirt bike stolen from a home in the Indian Fields area.  The bike was stolen overnight last Thursday into Friday.  Police say it was purchased recently by a 15 year old who had saved for quite some time.  Any one with information about the blue Yamaha with yellow details is asked to contact Brookfield Police at 203-740-4151.

 

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A second man has been arrested for a January home invasion in Danbury.  In April, Danbury Police arrested 39-year old City resident Francisco Jimenez.  Police had an active warrant for 36-year old Rafael Serrano.  U.S. Marshall Fugitive Task Force out of Bridgeport arrested him this morning. 

 

Their arrests stem from an investigation of an incident on Beckett Street January 12th.  Police say Serrano and Jimenez broke into a house while a woman was home with two children.  They allegedly dragged the woman upstairs, ransacked the house and stole jewelry and an undisclosed sum of money. 

 

Serrano was charged today with home invasion, burglary and larceny.  He was held on $100,000 bond.  Jimenez was arrested on the same charges.  He remains held on $175,000 bond and is due in court on August 18th.

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Police continue to warn Pokemon Go players, and their parents about the dangers of not paying attention to surroundings.  Ridgefield Police have found a creative and whimsical way to offer safety tips for those who play the popular augmented reality app.

 

Ridgefield Police Captain Jeff Kreitz and Officer Chris DiFalco say they want people to enjoy the game, but not break any laws or endanger themselves and others while playing. 

 

The video was developed with The Prospector Theater.  In one scene, a teenage follows a Pokemon into a jail cell while police explain about trespassing and wandering onto private property.  Another scene shows a teen walking right into a swimming pool, and an officer jumping in to save her while asking if she at least got the Pokemon.

 

 

The video also has Ridgefield Police warning a Prospector Theater film operator that playing while at work might not be the best idea, for anyone.

 

The app is designed for walkers, but AAA Connecticut spokeswoman Amy Parmenter says there's evidence of some people playing while driving.  If the temptation to play while driving is too great, AAA recommends putting your cell phone in the glove compartment, back seat or trunk.

 

The Ridgefield Police video showed a toy car driving off a cliff, crashing and catching on fire.  Police also suggest that bicyclists who want to play, ride a tandem bike.

 

While they're happy to see everyone out exploring the community and interacting with one another, Police hope players stay safe.

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A construction project in New Milford will cause some traffic headaches over the next couple of days.  The construction on East Street at Whittlesey Avenue by the CVS was supposed to start last night, but was delayed by the contractor due to delivery days.  The construction will now start at 7pm, and last through 11pm.  East Street will be one lane with alternating traffic.  Tomorrow, the construction will be from 7am to 4pm.  Drivers are being encouraged to use alternate routes to avoid the area.

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NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) A New London judge has ordered a competency evaluation for a Norwich man accused of killing his pregnant wife and setting their apartment on fire.

Patrick Antoine's attorney asked for the evaluation on Tuesday. A clinical team will evaluate Antoine at the Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown, where he's being held.

Antoine has pleaded not guilty to charges he stabbed 37-year-old Margarette Mady multiple times June 2 before setting fire to the curtains.

Police say he told them she was a voodoo priestess who had cast spells on him. They say Antoine said his wife was eight months pregnant with a child he believed was not his. He allegedly said she told him he would be dead by July as a sacrifice before the child's birth.

He's due back in court Aug. 23.

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New Yorkers React After

Barely Missing Subway

  

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July issue of "American Way"

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