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Plans for a Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the New Milford Town Green have been unveiled. Local veteran Ray Crawford worked on these plans for a number of months.  Mayor David Gronbach says the cost is estimated at $3,000 and the VFW will be accepting donations to offset that cost.  New Milford is providing financial backing.  The Memorial is proposed on what Gronbach says is a conspicuously empty space on the All Wars Memorial at the south end of the Green.

 



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Officials from Danbury-based FuelCell Energy contributed to the clean coal discussion at the recent National Coal Council’s Annual Spring Meeting.  They highlighted the company's fuel cell carbon capture solution that captures carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants in an affordable way, while simultaneously producing power.  FuelCell Energy says about 70 percent of the smog producing nitrogen oxide in the coal flue gas is destroyed by the fuel cells.  Vice President of Advanced Applications & Technology Development Tony Leo told the gathering that the benefits are industry-changing from an environmental, economic and energy standpoint.



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An informational meeting is being held in Newtown tonight about the 2017 Revaluation Project.  Newtown is currently in Phase 2: Market Analysis. 

 

Newtown Officials say a variety of resources are used to analyze the real estate market. While the physical data is being collected by Vision data collectors, appraisal personnel will be analyzing sales that have taken place over the last few years to determine which market factors influenced property values. 

 

Once all the data is collected and reviewed for accuracy, the appraisers will determine land value and set neighborhoods that rate the desirability of locations throughout Newtown.  Individual property values will not be discussed at this meeting.

 

New property values will be announced at a later date. 

 

Tonight's meeting is at 6:30pm at the Municipal Center.



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Two properties owned by New Milford will be put up for sale.  The Town Council voted Monday to list a vacant 1.64-acre lot on Perry Drive and the 19 acre Still Meadow property.  The Council also opted to send out a bid request for 25 Church Street, which once housed the New Milford Art Commission's gallery.  The recommendations came from the Surplus Properties Subcommittee. 

 

New Milford bought the Perry Drive property in 2001 through the foreclosure process, and will be listed at $50,000.  While that decision was unanimous, there was one dissenting vote on the Still Meadow decision.

 

The Newstimes reports that two parcels on Route 7 will be listed at $2.2 million, slightly more than the town purchased it for in 1998.  Republican Paul Szymanski said more big-box stores could come to New Milford if the property is listed.  Democrat Scott Chamberlain asked Szymanski to recuse himself because Szymanski had done work on the land for his engineering firm. 



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The MTA recognized five employees at yesterday's Metro-North Railroad Committee meeting.  They were thanked for saving a colleague who suffered a heart attack at the Brewster Yard last month.  Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti says their swift thinking and compassion saved a man's life.

 

A colleague asked Jeff Ballard, a Brewster Yardmaster who lives in New Milford, what a heart attack feels like.  Ballard, who worked for 20 years as an Emergency Medical Technician, took his colleague’s pulse and recognized that he was having a heart attack.  Brewster Mechanical Office Foreman Jeff Boyle, who heads up the emergency response team, as well as EMT Brendan Szabo, were called in.

 

Harlem Line Superintendent Michele Salvatore called 911. Trainmaster Andrew McClellan, from Danbury, directed the EMS to their colleague.

 

When EMS arrived, they confirmed that the man was experiencing a true cardiac emergency, and he was transported to Danbury Hospital. Boyle and Szabo stayed with the man in the ambulance.

 

(Michele Salvatore, Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti, Jeff Ballard, Jeffrey Boyle, Andrew McClellan, Brendan Szabo, MTA Police Chief Owen Monaghan, MTA Board's Metro-North Railroad Committee Chair Susan Metzger)



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The Gunnery School in Washington Connecticut is looking into an allegation against a former teacher.  The private boarding school sent a letter to parents and alumni this weekend about Jaime Rivera-Murillo.  He worked at The Gunnery from 1996 to 1998 prior to teaching at Choate Rosemary Hall. 

 

Choate released a report earlier this month about allegations of sexual assault by 12 faculty members, including Rivera-Murillo. 

 

He was fired from Choate in response to the allegations, but the school did not alert authorities or tell the districts where he was subsequently hired.  Those schools included Henry Abbott Tech and Newtown High School. 

 

According to the Choate report, Rivera-Murillo admitted drinking with students, but denied engaging in sexual misconduct.



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Newtown residents are voting on a budget today.  The proposed municipal budget is $40.3 million.  The proposed education budget is $72.9 million.  Debt obligations are 7.9 percent of the total budget.  There is a .27 mill rate increase included in the plan being voted on today.  Spending is up about .82 percent.  Newtown officials cautioned that state revenue is expected to decline. 

 

Six capital items are also being decided today.

 

$850,000 for a new roof at Hawley School, $1.8 million for improvements to the Middle School and $750,000 for Phase 2 of the Newtown High School auditorium project are on the ballot. $1 million for paving, $300,000 for planning of a new Police Station and $3 million for a new senior center are also being voted on.

 

Residents can vote at Newtown Middle School until 8pm.  



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One of the items on tonight's Zoning Commission meeting in Danbury is a continuation of a public hearing on a proposed zone change that would allow off track betting in the City.  It would make an OTB facility an accessory use to a restaurant.

 

Sportech Venues, which has exclusive licensing rights in Connecticut, wants to renovate the first floor of Two Steps Downtown Bar and Grille on Ives Street into a sports bar and restaurant.  OTB gaming would be added to the second floor. 

 

If the Zoning Commission gives their OK, the City Council must approve the application. 

 

During the meeting earlier this month, resident Ken Gucker voiced concern that this was "spot zoning" for the benefit of one person, which he believes is illegal. 

 

The Chairman of the Jericho Partnership also spoke out against an OTB site in Danbury.  He says to add more gambling to the City sends the wrong message as Danbury struggles to fight substance abuse, human trafficking and address fear in the immigrant community.



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There is a special election in the 68th Assembly District of Woodbury and Watertown.  The seat was vacated by Republican Eric Berthel--who was recently elected to the state Senate.  Democrat Louis Esposito and Republican Joe Polletta, both of Watertown, are running. 

 

There is no Election Day Registration for special elections.

 

The 70-year old Esposito is a retired postal worker, a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission and a former Town Councilman.  He wants to advocate for seniors and supports tolls.

 

The 28-year old Polletta switched to the Republican party two years ago.  He is a member of the Town Council and the Blight Task Force, and works for his family's real estate business.  Polletta opposes recreational marijuana and a state tax on social security .



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5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty opposes draft legislation that would institute a monthly reduction in pay for troops as a means of offsetting the cost of expanding G.I. Bill eligibility and longevity for future veterans.  She is concerned about asking the troops, who she says have already sacrifice more than enough, to bear any additional burden in exchange for the benefits they deserve.  Esty says asking the troops to pay for their own benefits while the country is still engaged in conflict sends the wrong signal.  Esty is a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.



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Easton First Selectman Adam Dunsby will seek a third term in that role.  Dunsby told the Easton Courier that he plans to run in November for the part time position.  The Easton First Selectman also serves as state Representative for the 135th District of Easton, Redding and Weston.  That is also a part time position.  Dunsby was unopposed when he ran for a second term.  In the House, he serves on the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee, the Education Committee, and the Environment Committee.



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Easton Police Officer Mark Pastor has been selected to receive the Daryl F. Gates D.A.R.E. Lifetime Achievement Award.  Pastor is being recognized for over 27 years of teaching the D.A.R.E. curriculum to students.  He was selected from numerous entries from across the country.  He's been an instructor throughout the northeast and is the lead senior mentor for the Connecticut State Police.  Pastor will be honored during the 30th Annual D.A.R.E. International Training Conference in July.

 



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The Easton Police Department has had recent reports of vehicles entered at night and items taken.  All vehicles entered have been left unlocked and valuable items were left inside--especially keys and electronic devices.  Easton Police are reminding residents that these are crimes of opportunity.  They are calling for a a community-wide effort to remove the opportunity by remembering to remove all items from cars and to make sure your vehicles are locked at all times.



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The defense attorney in a Danbury murder case has been hospitalized, raising concerns about the future of the trial.  The Newstimes reports that the Public Defender for Garfield Sanderson failed to show up in Danbury Superior Court for closing statements last week.  Officials did not disclose the nature of Michael Courtney's illness or how long he might be hospitalized.  Sanderson's next court appearance is scheduled for tomorrow.  He is accused of shooting alleged rival gang member Jeiel Kingston in 2014 outside a Danbury bar.  The published report says that the Judge is concerned jurors could be forced to drop out if there are further delays. 



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There was a fatal motorcycle accident in Newtown yesterday evening.  Newtown Police responded to Currituck Road around 7:45pm on a report of a single vehicle crash.  The driver was identified as 27-year old Jaclyn Ann Schultz.  Police says the Newtown resident was transported to the hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.  Witnesses have been interviewed, but anyone else who may have seen the accident is asked to call Newtown Police as it remains under investigation.  Police say additional details may be released at a later time.



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A New Fairfield man has been arrested for allegedly engaging in sexual activity with a minor.  New York State Police say 50-year old Richard Spring was charged Thursday with 4 counts each of Criminal Sexual Act and endangering the welfare of a child. 

 

Troopers partnered with the Dutchess County Child Advocacy Center to investigate a sexual offense reported to an agency's Child Abuse Hotline.  State Police say Spring subjected a teenage boy under the age of 17 to sexual contact at a Pawling home. 

 

He is also accused of offering the victim alcohol and marijuana. 

 

Spring was stopped on Milltown Road for operating under the influence of drugs and charged for driving while ability was impaired by drugs.  He was arraigned and ordered held on $50,000 bond. 

 

This investigation is ongoing and the State Police believe that there may be additional victims.  Anyone with additional information regarding Spring is encouraged to contact the State Police at (845) 677-7300. All calls can remain confidential.



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One person was killed and one seriously injured in a single car crash in New Fairfield yesterday.  State Police say a driver headed south on Route 39 lost control and crashed into a utility pole by Ball Pond.  The vehicle then caught fire.  The driver, who has not yet been identified by police, was pronounced dead at the scene.  The passenger, 45-year old Victor Declet of Rochester New York, was transported to the hospital with serious injury.  The crash happened shortly before 1am, and closed the road until 4pm.  State Police say the accident remains under investigation.



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The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has authorized the First Selectman to apply for STEAP grant funding for Phase II of the Four Corner Streetscape project.  Brookfield is applying for up to $500,000 in Small Town Economic Assistance Program funding. 

 

First Selectman Steve Dunn says he's not sure if funding will be awarded because of the state's continued financial problems.  But he says it's a good thing anytime 50-percent of a project can be paid for with a grant.

 

Selectman Sue Slater asked about a time frame.  Dunn said he expects to hear back in three to six months.  He noted that the state will likely wait to finish their budget process before sending out award notices because that's been the process in the past.

 

The state signed off on the first phase of the Four Corners streetscape project last week after some adjustments were made ot the plans.  Brookfield residents voted to borrow $1.7 million for the project, with the balance of the $3.5 million paid for with grants.  The project calls for sidewalks, planters and other beautification in the Four Corners area.  Construction on the first phase could begin as soon as next month.



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An aggressive crackdown on distracted drivers is underway.  Several Police Departments in the Greater Danbury area are participating in a campaign to stop drivers talking or texting on their cell phones. 

 

Brookfield Police say officers are stationed around town and say there's been no shortage of motorists to stop.  They are reminding drivers that if they have a cell phone in one hand, they'll get a ticket for the other.  Brookfield Police are asking motorists to put the phone down and just drive, and drive safely.

 

Danbury Police spokesman Lt Christian Carroccio says texting while driving is more than just personally risky, it makes you a danger to everyone around you.  Carroccio urged passengers to speak up if they see the dangerous activity.  He says no one likes to criticize a friend, but notes that it's worse to get caught by law enforcement doing something wrong.

 

The fine is $150 for the first offense.  The fine is $300 for a second offense and $500 for third and subsequent offenses. 

 

The enforcement effort runs through the end of the month.



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Sunday is Volunteer Firefighter Day in Connecticut, and kicks off National Volunteer Week.  More than 60 fire departments will hold open houses Sunday from 10am-2pm.  Visitors to the fire houses will be able to talk with volunteer firefighters about the work they do, see demonstrations, explore fire apparatus and turnout gear, get a tour of the fire house, and fill out an application.

More than 80 percent of all fire personnel in Connecticut are volunteers.  Officials say the majority of fire departments throughout the state are experiencing a volunteer shortage.

Volunteer Firefighter Day is part of Everyday Hero CT, a program to increase the number of volunteer firefighters throughout the state.  It's a partnership of the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

 

Below is a list of some volunteer departments in the area:

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company
92 Pocono Road, Brookfield

Easton Volunteer Fire Company
1 Center Road, Easton

 

Kent Volunteer Fire Department
28 Maple Street, Kent

 

Northville Volunteer Fire Department
359 Litchfield Road, New Milford

Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.
34 Hawleyville Road, Newtown

Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Department
55 Dodgingtown Road, Newtown

West Redding Volunteer Fire Department
306 Umpawaug Road, Redding

 

Weston Volunteer Fire Department
52 Norfield Road, Weston