Connecticut's congressional delegation is urging the U.S. Navy to suspend any possible plans to shift maintenance of the Marine One presidential helicopter fleet from Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford to a facility in Florida. Senator Richard Blumenthal and others sent a letter Monday to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus urging him to conduct a "thorough review".
Republican Senate candidate Dan Carter said outrage after the fact is only lip-service.
Carter, who is challenging Blumenthal in November, says the Senator should instead write to Governor Malloy and Democrats in the legislature asking them to embrace economic policies that make Connecticut a better place to grow business and create jobs.
The New Milford Town Council opted to not act right away on a proposed lease of some of the Sullivan Farm property. The item was tabled last night. A special Town Council meeting could be held as early as next week.
Mayor David Gronbach says US Solar is interested in leasing about 10 acres near the back of the 110 acre property. There is a September 1st deadline for this company to participate in a state-run program.
Rather than a traditional farm output, Gronbach says those acres would be farming energy. New Milford would receive credits off its electric bill as well as the rental income of $1,500 per acre.
Even if the Town Council does eventually approve the lease, it will require Town Meeting approval.
The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen will continue discussing whether or not to lift the moratorium on mobile vendors. At their meeting last week, a part of the moratorium was lifted for those seeking to cater private events with a food truck. The discussion will continue at their meeting on September 7th.
Two vendors and three ice cream trucks are grandfathered in, as long as they continue to renew their annual permits. Two other current vendors are allowed to operate at private events.
The Ridgefield Press reports that questions were raised concerning the decades old peddling and soliciting ordinance and whether it included non-food trucks like dog grooming. The ordinance does allow farmers to sell produce of their gardens from their property.
A Danbury man has been arrested for illegally collecting nearly $23,000 in Unemployment Compensation benefits by under-reporting the wages he earned while working for the Derby public school system.
57-year old Jeffrey Smith was charged with larceny and unemployment compensation fraud today.
The Division of Criminal Justice says Smith worked as a school climate specialist for the Derby Board of Education and under reported the wages for two school years, starting in September 2012. Smith was released on bond for a court appearance next Tuesday.
The case is being prosecuted by the Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit, which was established under a partnership between the Division of Criminal Justice and the Department of Labor to investigate and prosecute fraud in the Unemployment Compensation program.
An argument at a Danbury gas station led to one driver speeding off, but losing control and hitting a light post. Danbury Police responded to the Shell Station on North Street this morning on a report of a dispute and accident. Police say a Honda Pilot sped away from the gas pumps but crashed into a light pole near the driveway entrance. Two passengers in the car were transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The Newstimes reports that the other driver involved in the argument was also fighting with the gas station attendant while trying to pay with 15 dollars in change.
A local swim area is closed because of elevated bacteria levels in the water. Kettletown State Park in Southbury is not granting access to the designated swim area because of that. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection tests the water weekly at state parks. DEEP says the elevated bacteria level could be from stormwater run off from the recent rainfall. The water will be retested and when the all clear is given, the beach area will be reopened. Local health departments are responsible for sampling municipal beaches and swimming areas.
Ridgefield police are inviting residents to have ice cream with them. An event being called Cops & Cones is being held tomorrow night in Ridgefield.
The Police Department is partnering with Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe for the program. Officers will be at 381 Main Street to answer questions and interact with the community.
A police car will be on display and officers will have items for the kids.
Deborah Ann’s will be offering a discount on ice cream cones during this event. The Cops & Cones event is tomorrow from 5pm until 7pm.
The Brookfield Land Use office is hearing from the state about a proposed road improvement project. The state Department of Transportation has presented their preliminary design for roadway improvements on southern Federal Road.
The scope of work for this project is from the street light at BJ's Wholesale to the intersection near Brookfield Animal Hospital.
The design includes sidewalks, additional turn lanes and a wider road shoulder. Funding is anticipated to come from Federal Department of Transportation grants. The state DOT is working with Brookfield's Land Use Office on developing the design.
When completed, the plan will be presented to residents for public comment.
Senator Chris Murphy is hosting a telephone Town Hall tonight to talk about mental health reform. A bipartisan mental health reform bill passed almost unanimously in the House last month and awaits action by the U-S Senate. The bill was promoted by Sandy Hook Promise.
Senator Chris Murphy says he's spent the past two years working with a Republican colleague on what he called the most consequential mental health bill Congress has considered since the passage of mental health parity laws.
Joining Murphy for the Telephone Town Hall is Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was killed on 12-14, and Bill Sherlach, husband of slain school psychologist Mary. Mark Barden has told Murphy that his son might still be alive today if this bill had been in place years ago.
Danbury students are getting ready to head back to school on Monday. Superintendent Dr Sal Pascarella says the District is growing at a much more rapid rate than neighboring school districts. This year alone, Danbury is expected to welcome more than 800 new kindergarteners and more than 250 other new students.
Danbury had one of the longest summer breaks that they've had in recent years because only one snow day was used. School was out for the session on June 8th. Pascarella says teachers are setting up their classrooms. Returning teachers start Friday. New teachers who replace retirees, along with opening a third level for the new middle school, started yesterday.
There are four new school principals, three of whom are from within the district. Dan Donovan, principal of the Danbury High School Freshman Academy, is now the principal of Danbury High School, replacing Gary Bocaccio who retired this year. Dr. Edie Thomas of Pembroke School will head Broadview Middle School, replacing Edward Robbs who retired this summer after 50 years as an educator. Dr. Alison
Villaneuva, interim principal of Shelter Rock Elementary School following the retirement of Julia Horne, will remain at Shelter Rock as its principal. Bethel native Dr. Sharon Epple, a former principal in the Hartford Public Schools, will take the helm at Pembroke.
There is a new bus contract, but with the same provider so the routes remain pretty much the same as in previous years. Some adjustments have been made to accommodate out of district magnet school students.
Danbury is getting a new fleet of buses next year. They will be larger than the current buses. The district is moving from gasoline powered buses to ones that run off propane. Pascarella says that should save the district money on fuel costs.
A Danbury woman is sharing her journey through a dire blood cancer diagnosis, treatment, and the aftermath. Mary Teicholz served ten years on the Danbury City Council and was diagnosed with leukemia while serving her second term. She has now written a book about her experience.
She brings readers through the emotions associated with lengthy hospital stays, hair loss and blood type changing. Part of her treatment involved a bone marrow transplant from her sister. She says the unexpected side effect of her blood type changing from B positive to A positive was phenomenal and creepy. It meant the transplant was working.
Teicholz says it's not meant to be a book that makes people cry, but rather serves as encouragement. It's called "BE POSITIVE TO A PLUS: My Trek Through MDS, AML and Bone Marrow Transplant".
Teicholz says part of her personality is to be extremely honest and to find humor in unusual circumstances, and that's how she hopes the book comes across. A few friends encouraged her to write down her trek, and she decided to do that as a history to hand down in the family. But then she just kept writing, and it became a book.
She is hosting a book launch party in Danbury on September 15th, where the book will be available for sale. The launch will be held at VIVO! Bar and Grill, 42 Lake Ave. Ext, from 6pm-8pm.
Books are available for purchase from www.lulu.com or Amazon.com and Barnes And Noble, in 6-8 weeks.
There is an add on to the New Milford Town Council agenda tonight. It's a proposed lease for solar panels at Sullivan Farm. Mayor David Gronbach says US Solar is interested in leasing about 10 acres of the 110 acre property. He notes that the proposal is for a lot barely visible from the road near the back of the farm. He says the acres are not currently used, but are mowed.
Gronbach says they will have less impact than the high tension power lines that already cross the property.
He says the lease was proposed to generate income so it can continue to be a farm and more of a community resource. New Milford would receive credits off its electric bill as well as the rental income of $1500 per acre.
Gronbach says while the Youth Agency has done an amazing job planting crops and operating the farm stand this year, but a long-term plan is needed. He envisions the farm becoming self-sustaining with a full-time manager that not only carry’s on farming, but also provides educational and community services.
Even if approved tonight, it will require Town Meeting approval.
There is a September 1st deadline for this company to participate in a state-run program.
Several residents are already voicing their concerns. On a Facebook post about the proposal from Gronbach, residents questioned if the solar panels would be appropriate considering that when New Milford acquired Sullivan Farm it was for active and passive recreational use. The resolution was only specified that the land would be obtained for town purposes.
One previous solar panel proposal in town failed. A resolution to put lighted ball fields on Sullivan Farm also previously was denied.
WESTON, Conn. (AP) An Oscar-nominated filmmaker who developed a technique to transform illustrations from children's books into moving images for films has died. Morton Schindel was 98.
Kyle Good, a senior vice president at Scholastic Inc., says Schindel died of natural causes Saturday at his Weston, Connecticut, home. Scholastic bought Schindel's company, Weston Woods Studios, in 1996.
Schindel's filmmaking technique involved using cameras to make original artwork from books move across the screen. It was used in the 1973 film ``Where the Wild Things Are'' based on Maurice Sendak's children's book of the same name.
The Orange, New Jersey, native and former New York resident produced more than 300 movies and 450 recordings.
In 1986, he received an Academy Award nomination for ``Doctor De Soto,'' based on the children's book by William Steig.
Police, school employees, security consultants and others say threats to schools are increasing nationwide. They come both from local students and outsiders seeking to cause disruptions or a big emergency response. One researcher estimates there were about eight bomb threats per school day nationwide during the 2015-16 school year, and that doesn't include other threats of violence or disruption.
Ohio is believed to be among the states with the most threats. The Associated Press tallied more than 170 there in the 2015-16 school year.
In the Connecticut General Assembly this past year, a bill to increase penalties against those under age 18 who made threats against schools failed to gain approval. The bill was co-sponsored by Newtown Representative Mitch Bolinsky, Steve Harding of Brookfield and Bethel Representative Dan Carter. State Senator Tony Hwang, whose district includes Newtown, was also a co-sponsor.
Testimony on that bill included an appearance by a Newtown woman who said that since the tragedy at Sandy Hook School, St. Rose of Lima experienced several phoned-in threats both to the church and the school. She recalled that Police and SWAT teams have rushed the school building yelling at students and staff to get down and that they experience all kinds of anxiety and fear that 12-14 is happening all over again.
Learning time lost to evacuations and cancellations adds up, as do the hours police spend responding and investigating. Less measurable are the ways threats can dent staff and students' sense of security even when they're false alarms, as they almost always are.
BRIDGEWATER, Conn. (AP) -- A simple plastic cup of beer has made history by being the first alcoholic drink sold in a small Connecticut town in 81 years.
The affluent bedroom community of Bridgewater had been the last dry town in the state until residents approved alcohol sales in 2014.
The News-Times reports that the first booze sold in town since 1935 was a cup of beer purchased Friday at the Bridgewater Country Fair.
Bridgewater native and volunteer firefighter Jim Lillis took the first sip before passing the cup to other firefighters and fair volunteers who gathered for the ceremonial sale.
Voters legalized alcohol sales two years ago as developers proposed restaurants in the western Connecticut town of 1,700 residents on the condition that they could sell booze. No restaurants have opened yet.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Facing a massive deficit that's more than 12 percent of his city's budget, the new mayor of Hartford is appealing to wealthier neighbors to help find regional solutions that benefit Connecticut's struggling capital city and its suburbs.
Luke Bronin, a Democrat who took office in January, is pitching the idea of greater regionalism. While acknowledging Hartford has made some poor financial decisions, he reminds people that his and other Connecticut communities can only tax local property. And in Hartford, which is nearly 18 square miles, "there's basically too little property" to pay the bills.
"That is a municipal funding structure that's broken," Bronin said. "If we want to have strong, vibrant cities that can be engines of growth for our state, we've got to fix that and we've got to fix it quickly."
Bronin's personal campaign isn't the first push for greater cooperation between the 169 cities and towns in a state of 3.6 million. Some communities already purchase items together in bulk and share equipment. But advocates of regionalism in the General Assembly, who have been passing bills to encourage municipal cooperation, agree there's a new urgency for bigger initiatives given the financial challenges confronting local communities and the state, which is grappling with its own projected budget deficits.
"We have to face the reality the state cannot continue to subsidize the inherent inefficiencies in our current system," said House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, a Democrat from Hamden. "When you have every town doing the same thing over and over again, that just inherently is a waste of taxpayer dollars."
It's a scenario unique to New England, dating back to the Colonial period, Sharkey said. Towns would form around a church and build a green. Members with religious differences would later splinter off and set up another church with another green elsewhere.
"That tradition developed over time, over the centuries, into the system we have now," he said.
Sharkey, who is retiring from the legislature, predicts lawmakers may start getting tough on communities who refuse to work together to save money, possibly tying state aid to how efficient a community is operating.
Democrat Joe Ganim, mayor of Bridgeport, said recent legislation setting aside a small portion of the state sales tax for municipalities gives him hope lawmakers realize cities and towns need additional revenue streams. He said relying on the property tax to fund local governments and schools "is just a ridiculous formula."
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, a Republican and president of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, said his organization is developing its own plan for lawmakers to consider when they return in January. Boughton contends municipalities need additional taxing authority and suggested regional councils of governments could distribute those funds, bypassing the state.
"There are a lot of different ways to go out there and raise revenue that we haven't looked at," he said.
Bronin isn't wedded to any particular ideas for helping his city or encouraging more cooperation. Rather, he wants to build a coalition to push for strong, healthy cities.
"If folks who live in the suburbs around Hartford want their kids and grandkids to move back to the area, if they want their kids and grandkids to get jobs in the area, if they want to be able to sell their house down the road for more than they bought it," he said, "then they have a direct interest in making sure there's a strong, successful city in the center of the region."
A former New Fairfield First Selectman is weighing in on the stalemate between the town and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. There is a disagreement on allowing walk-ins to the park after the 250 car capacity is reached. John Hodge was recently forwarded a letter from DEEP in response to a resident voicing concern on the issue. The vehicle limit was put in place after there were 13 drowning deaths in 11 years. There have been two deaths at the park since then, including one person who had a medical condition and wasn't swimming.
But town officials are concerned that there will be more drownings because the park is over capacity. The capacity issue has only resurfaced recently, in part Hodge says because the former park supervisor banned walk-ins. The new supervisor does not. He says that means DEEP had a rogue supervisor.
Hodge called the letter from DEEP to a concerned citizen self-serving, fake and misleading.
DEEP contends that if the town of New Fairfield didn't allow people to park along residential streets and at businesses, there wouldn't be walk ins. DEEP also suggested that it's on the town to hire more police to prevent people from stopping on Route 39 to let people out to walk into the park. Hodge acknowledges that DEEP doesn't have jurisdiction outside of the park boundaries, but says the policies inside the park have a direct affect on what happens outside the park. Towns are required by law to allow non-residents to park at town facilities. He said for DEEP to make it sound as if the town has the option is disingenuous.
(Photo: Susan Chapman, from 8/14)
14 months after walk-ins were reestablished and DEEP was notified, Hodge says even the most ineffective bureaucracy could have drafted a regulation prohibiting such activity. He concluded his letter by saying DEEP is acting with arrogance and impunity because they know they can't be sued for mismanagement.
DEEP officials say limiting walk-ins would have to be done through a standing committee of the General Assembly. Spokesman Dennis Schain previously said walk-ins are an issue at other parks, particularly with swim areas, but more so at Squantz because of its location. The entrance to the park is on a curve along a major thoroughfare, which has caused pedestrian safety concerns.
Schain says they have been working on language to limit walk-ins. He hopes to have something approved by the Regulations Review Committee and in place by next summer.
DEEP charges by the car at most State Parks and Forests. There is no fee for walk-ins.
A New York woman has been arrested for stealing and forging checks. Four months ago, the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union reported a number checks, which appeared to be forged, caused a loss of $2,950. Criminal Investigators determined that 31-year old Sheri Alexander took checks from a Stormville home, fraudulently filled them out by forging the account holder’s signature and cashed the checks at the Carmel branch of the credit union. The Mahopac woman was charged with felony grand larceny and 12 counts each of forgery and criminal possession of stolen property. She was arrested at the Orange County Jail, where she was being held on similar charges.
The summer is winding down and that means soon there will be fewer lifeguards on duty at start park swim areas. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is reminding state park visitors that the number of lifeguards will be significantly reduced as the end of the summer swimming season fast approaches. Many lifeguards are returning to school. Lifeguards are expected to be on duty at Squantz Pond State Park on weekends only through Labor Day Weekend. After Labor Day, there will be no lifeguards on duty at any of Connecticut’s designated state park swimming areas. Most of the state park swimming areas are unguarded on weekdays. Swim areas will be posted with signs where there are no lifeguards on duty.
Danbury is part of a pilot program that provides flood insurance savings.
The Western Connecticut Council of Governments is meeting next month to discuss the Regional Community Rating System Program. It's a credit-based incentive program that provides flood insurance savings for policy holders based on municipal participation in flood mitigation activities.
The initial effort will target four municipalities as the pilot area: Danbury, Darien, Greenwich, and Norwalk.
WestCOG says they are best positioned to receive the largest financial benefit from the program. The regional planning agency intends to broaden the program to other member municipalities sometime next spring.