Newtown State Representative Mitch Bolinsky is part of the legislature's Animal Welfare Caucus. He says there's evidence that people who commit violence acts on animals today are most likely to become abusers of women and children tomorrow. He called the cruelty a red flag that could prevent abuse and violent crime. Bolinsky called for a searchable registry of those found guilty of animal abuse.
Eversource Energy is currently conducting aerial inspections of high-voltage electrical equipment on rights of way throughout Connecticut. The semiannual inspection is an effort to prevent outages before they happen. The work involves the use of a low-flying helicopter equipped with heat-sensing, infrared scanning technology which can detect potential equipment issues. The aerial inspections will continue through February 28th. Weather permitting; flights will take place from 8am and 4pm. Utility rights of way will be inspected in Bethel, Bethlehem, Brookfield, Danbury, Monroe, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Washington, Wilton, and Woodbury. The blue and silver helicopter has tail # N1431W.
A threat was found written on a bathroom wall at New Milford High School yesterday morning. Superintendent Joshua Smith said in a letter to parents that school administrators and police are investigating the situation . Police did determine yesterday that the nature of the threat did not pose an immediate danger to students, which is why the school day was not altered. Smith said they take student safety very seriously so an increased Police presence was in effect at New Milford High School during the investigation. There will be an increased presence through at least today. Smith noted that the additional Police support at all schools will continue.
There was a fatal accident on I-84 in Brewster yesterday. New York State Police Troopers are investigating the motor vehicle crash on Interstate 84 westbound east of exit 20, the ramp for 684. It happened around 3:30pm. Police did not disclose how many cars were involved. The entire westbound side was closed for some time, while one lane was closed for 4 hours. Any witness or person with information about the crash is asked to call Troop K Headquarters at (845) 677-7300.
Danbury is one 35 finalists in the Bloomberg Philanthropies 2018 U.S. Mayors Challenge. There were 320 applicantsin the a nationwide competition that encourages city leaders to uncover bold, inventive ideas that confront the toughest problems cities face. Danbury is looking for a solution to the lack of affordable childcare options for low-income families. The United Way of Western Connecticut says nearly 1,000 children attend unlicensed daycare facilities, because their parents have no other affordable alternative. Danbury will start a six-month testing phase of prototypes with grant funding of $100,000.
Newtown Police are trying to figure out who has been dumping medical waste on the side of the road. Complaints have been filed about the waste on Plumtrees Road in the area of Taunton Hill Road, near the Bethel town line. The littering has been taking place over the past year, on at least 7 separate occasions. While the waste has been dumped by one home, Newtown Police say it does not appear that the complainant is a target.
A Newtown man who was arrested twice in one day is due in court today. 24-year old David Cortina was charged by State police in the early morning hours of January 28th for a highway car crash. He was arrested about an hour later by Newtown Police for a domestic disturbance.
Cortina allegedly drifted into an SUV on I-84 by exit 9. He was cited for failure to maintain the proper lane and taken to the hospital for evaluation.
Newtown Police responded to a local home and charge Cortina with driving under the influence, evading responsibility, and violation of a protective order. He was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Cortina was being held after the court did not set bond. He was previously arrested by newtown Police January 24th on charges of DUI and possession of marijuana. He had been released on bond on those charges, but then was arrested a few days later.
New Milford Mayor Pete Bass has started making staff reductions he announced last week in response to state budget cuts. The assistant police chief, the assistant director of Parks and Recreation and the Public Works project manager have been laid off. Bass says they received six weeks of severance and health insurance until April 30th, more than legally required. He says the decisions were not made lightly, but were necessary to not put the entire burden on taxpayers.
There was a bit of a controversy over whether the laying off the Assistant Parks and Rec Director was legal or not. According to the town charter, the Commission gets to vote on employee terminations, but Mayor Pete Bass does have the discretion to lay off employees. The Parks and Rec Commission is looking into what cost-cutting measures can be taken to save enough money to keep the position.
Bass is proposing a $101.8 million budget, with a decrease of about $8,600 on the town side and an increase of about $868,000 for the schools. But the school funding is about $600,000 less than the increase the Board of Education is calling for.
New Milford is facing projected revenue declines in Building Department permit fees and Parks and Recreation program and park fees. Bass says there's a $50,000 reduction included in his budget for the Commission on Aging to fix what he says is a transportation grant that was double counted.
The New Milford budget includes $55,000 for a grant writer. Bass says the employee will be in charge of eliminating a deficiencies in the most recent Audit, with a focus on obtaining new grants to increase revenues.
Danbury High School is hosting a 2018 Chinese New Year celebration on Saturday. The event is also hosted by Westside Middle School Academy and the Western Connecticut Chinese Association, along with Huaxia CT Chinese School. The event is from 2 to 3pm with performances scheduled from 3 to 5pm. Performances include folk dances, traditional instruments, and Chinese calligraphy, among others.
A Brewster man was arrested twice in three days by New York State Police. 32-year old Alfred Dajanaj was stopped on Saturday on Route 22 in Southeast for a traffic law violation. He was also stopped on Monday in the same area. Investigations revealed that he was impaired by alcohol both days and was arrested.
New York State Police in the Putnam and Westchester areas removed two dozen drunk drivers from the roadway during the Presidents' Day holiday weekend.
Among those stopped for traffic violations and determined to be impaired on Saturday was 31-year old John Taveras Espinal of Danbury. He was stopped on Route 6 in Southeast.
WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump is declaring that more must be done to protect America's children.
With a Florida community grieving over the latest school shooting, Trump is directing the Justice Department to ban devices like the rapid-fire bump stocks used in last year's Las Vegas massacre.
On Wednesday afternoon, Trump is hosting parents, teachers and students for a ``listening session'' that will include people impacted by the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, and the shootings in Columbine, Colorado, and Newtown.
In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump indicated he wants to strengthen the background check system, but offered no specifics.
Sen. Chris Murphy said Trump's directive on bump stocks suggested the president was aware of fresh energy on the issue and called it a sign that "for the first time" politicians are "scared of the political consequences of inaction on guns."
A bipartisan legislative effort to ban bump stocks last year fizzled out. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced in December that it was reviewing whether weapons using bump stocks should be considered illegal machine guns under federal law.
The federal background check bill was developed in response to a mass shooting last November in which a gunman slaughtered more than two dozen people at a Texas church. It would penalize federal agencies that don't properly report required records and reward states that comply by providing them with federal grant preferences. The measure, which is pending in the Senate, was drafted after the Air Force acknowledged that it failed to report the Texas gunman's domestic violence conviction to the National Criminal Information Center database.
The GOP-controlled House paired the background checks bill with a measure making it easier for gun owners to legally carry concealed weapons across state lines. The concealed carry measure would allow gun owners with a state-issued concealed-carry permit to carry a handgun in any state that allows concealed weapons.
Murphy said any attempt to combine background checks with concealed-carry provisions would significantly jeopardize the chances of passing bipartisan reform of the background checks system.
A Patterson man has been arrested for sexually abusing a child. New York State Police launched an investigation in August of reported abuse by 61-year old Anthony Marino of a child under age 13.
An investigation determined that Marino engaged in sexual conduct with a child multiple times. He was arraigned and ordered held on $50,000 bond.
Marino was charged with sexual conduct with a child, sexual misconduct, forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child.
A Danbury man has been arrested after leading state police on a highway chase that topped 100 miles an hour yesterday afternoon. A Trooper by exit 6 on I-84 westbound observed a motorcycle travelling 85 miles an hour, and began to follow with lights and sirens activated. The driver, later determined to be 29-year old Gary Lessard, sped to over 105 miles an hour. State Police say the trooper stopped the chase when Lessard started driving in the right shoulder. A DMV search of the plate led to Lessard at his work place. He was charged with reckless driving, engaging in a police pursuit, passing on the right and operating without a motorcycle endorsed license. He was held on bond.
A New York man has been arrested on drug related charges after a neighbor complaint that he was blocking a Patterson driveway. New York State Police responded to Haviland Drive on Sunday and spoke with the vehicle owner, 24-year old Austin Hayes. Illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia were seen in the car. The Patterson man was in possession of over 4 pounds of marijuana, 2.5 grams of cannabis and more than $1,100 in cash. Hayes was arraigned and order held on bond. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance and two counts of Criminal Use of Drug Paraphernalia.
A Danbury woman has been arrested for hiding drugs in a private area. Wilton Police stopped a car on Valentine's Day for traffic violations. The driver, a 32-year old Norwalk man, was determined to be under the influence. Wilton Police said yesterday that officer saw his passenger hide something under her leg during the traffic stop. Police found 28-year old Shaina Piermattei hiding 3 wax folds and a cut straw with heroin residue on it. At the Police station, it was determined that Piermattei was concealing 11 more folds of heroin in a “private area,” according to police. She was charged with tampering with evidence, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Piermattei is due in court on the 27th.
The Bethel Board of Education has approved a budget proposal from the Superintendent without changes. The proposed $4.2 million budget is a 1.9 percent increase over the current year. Most of the increase is for contractual obligations. Despite growing enrollment, the budget does call for cutting 2.5 full time positions. Funding for an English language learners teacher and a preschool teacher is included. The Board of Ed will present the proposal to the Boards of Selectmen and Finance Wednesday at 6:30pm during a joint meeting in the municipal center.
The Region 12 Board of Education has begun its search for the next Superintendent of Schools. Residents in Bridgewater, Roxbury and Washington are being called on to give their opinion on what are the needed characteristics and attributes of a successful district leader. An online survey has been posted and is available until March 22nd. The search is being led by consultant, Dr. Joseph Erardi, the former Newtown school superintendent.
State Representative JP Sredzinski plans to seek a third term in November. The 112th district includes part of Newtown and all of Monroe. He is currently ranking member of the Public Safety & Security Committee, and a member of the Appropriations and the Energy & Technology Committees. Sredzinski, a Public Safety Dispatch Supervisor, is a a charter member of the recently formed Fire/EMS Caucus.
Bethel Fire and EMS have released their report on calls for service from January. There were a total of 43 calls for the fire department, including 6 for assistance at car accidents. There was one electrical fire, 1 kitchen fire, 1 animal rescue and 1 call about broken pipes. Bethel firefighters responded to 8 automatic alarms, 4 calls to investigate the smell of smoke and 4 about carbon monoxide or a gas leak.
There were a total of 144 EMS calls in January.
Bethel Fire and EMS is testing out some new equipment options to find the so-called bail out kit that best fits the department needs. Assistant Chief Brendan Ryan wrote on Facebook that the gear is critical to overall safety, but something they hope never to need. The bailout kit is a harness-like device that can help a firefighter safely evacuate a building in low visibility, high heat situations. Flash Fire industries recently brought a two story training prop to the Bethel Fire Department for members to try out two different systems.
The gear became mandatory in all New York State departments after an FDNY member was trapped in an illegally altered apartment and forced out a window, falling over 40 feet to the pavement below.
The state Department of Transportation is bing asked by the Newtown Police Commission to reduce posted speed limits along part of Mt Pleasant Road.
The posted limit is 45 miles an hour, and the Newtown Bee reports that the Commission wants it to be 40 miles an hour between the Bethel town line and the intersection with Blackman Road. The two miles technically are Routes 6 and 25.
The same reduction is being sought for South Main Street between the intersection with Pecks Lane and the bridge crossing the Pootatuck River, about half a mile.
The Bee reports that over the last three years there were at least 30 accidents on each section of road.