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There was an accident at a medical building in Danbury today where a car fell into a pit by the building.  The Danbury Police and Fire Departments responded to 67 Sandpit Road around 8:15 this morning.  Fire crews helped the female driver out of her car through a window.  A heavy wrecker with a crane was needed to pull the car from the pit.  The woman sustained minor injuries.

 

 

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A cell phone found by housekeeping at a Danbury hotel leads to child pornography charges being brought against an Oklahoma man.  Danbury Police responded to LaQuinta Inn on Newtown Road late Wednesday night in response to a call from the manager. 

 

A housekeeper getting ready to do laundry said a cell phone fell out of one of the guest room sheets.  Guest Services opened the phone to try to identify the owner, and saw the photos. 

 

19-year old Gerardo Vazquez-Gonzalez later came to the front desk claiming he lost a cell phone.  After speaking with the Tulsa man, Danbury Police identified the phone as his and he admitted to downloading the child pornography images. 

 

Vazquez-Gonzalez was arrested and held on $250,000 bond.

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A New York woman has been charged in Danbury for an ongoing investigation into illegal driveway paving companies.  Danbury Police say 39-year old Jamie Young of Montgomery, New York turned herself in on Wednesday.  She was charged with larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny.  Young was held on a court set $10,000 bond. 

 

She was operating in Danbury as Middletown, N.Y.-based Affordable Paving.  The 71-year old victim in the case lost over $5,000.

 

Last weekend, Danbury Police went to the Rockland County Correctional Facility in New Yok to pick up 34-year old Dean Cooper of Kentucky, who was wanted on the same charges.  The arrests stemmed from a joint investigation with the Connecticut Consumer Protection Department into an illegal driveway paving company. 

 

Danbury Police say additional arrests are expected.

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A kitchen fire was quickly extinguished last night in Danbury.  The Fire Department responded to a multi-family home on Bell's Lane shortly before midnight.  Most of the fire and heat damage in the three story wood frame house was contained to the kitchen area. 

 

Assistant Fire Chief Mark Omasta says the other three apartments in the building did not sustain damage. 

 

An infant and the four adults in the affected apartment were able to evacuate before firefighters arrived.  No injuries were reported. 

 

Restoration work is needed to the apartment, and the residents have been displaced.  The American Red Cross was called in to find temporary housing for the five occupants. 

 

The Fire Marshall's Office is investigating the cause of the kitchen fire.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by casino developer MGM Resorts International challenging the constitutionality of a Connecticut law creating a process for a possible third casino along the Massachusetts border.

In a ruling released Thursday, U.S. District Judge Alvin Thompson agreed with Connecticut officials that MGM did not "adequately allege an injury" from the new law and therefore does not have legal standing to sue.

MGM, which plans to open a $950 million casino in Springfield, Massachusetts, calls the ruling incorrect and says it will seek an expedited appeal.

Connecticut's Office of the Attorney General says it's prepared to defend the case against an appeal of the suit, which was originally filed in August 2015. The Kent-based Schaghticoke Tribal Nation is also challenging the casino law in a separate lawsuit being partly financed by MGM.

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The Danbury Democratic Town Committee announced a fundraiser this week featuring State Senator Ted Kennedy Junior, but Republican Town Committee Chairman Jack Knapp called yesterday for Kennedy to cancel the July fundraiser while Democratic Party Chairman Gene Eriquez remains under investigation for domestic violence. 

 

Kennedy responded that he will cancel his appearance, saying that there is no place for violence against women.  Eriquez previously stepped aside from his role as chairman while nominations were being made for state legislative races. 

 

Knapp said in an emailed statement that he finds it outlandish that Eriquez is still the chairman of the Democratic Party while he is under investigation. 

 

Eriquez is due in court on Tuesday.

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A Danbury Board is trying to make a decision based on speculation about approvals made more than 30 years ago.  The Zoning Board of Appeals closed the public hearing last night about a cease and desist order issued to Dorothy Day Hospitality House, to bring the emergency shelter into compliance with zoning regulations. 

 

The Board did not make an immediate decision on whether to uphold the order issued by the Zoning Enforcement Officer.  Members accepted briefs from Attorney Neil Marcus, and the attorney representing the Zoning Enforcement Officer.  All parties agreed to stop the clock so that the briefs could be analyzed. 

 

In response to neighbor complaints about quality of life issues raised this winter, Dorothy Day submitted a request to the Planning Commission to renew the permit from 1984.

 

Marcus made several arguments about why the Danbury Planning Commission issued one-year renewable permits back in 1983 and 1984.  He said one reason Dorothy Day stopped applying was because there were several retirements in the Planning Department at that time and no one gave them notice in subsequent years that they had to apply.  Marcus also said in the years that followed, the City Fire Marshals and the City Health Department visited every year for inspections, which led them to believe that there was a valid permit.  Marcus believes the one-year renewable conditions were put on the permit back in 1983 because there were concerns about the emergency shelter being co-ed.  There was no precedent at that time to know what Dorothy Day was talking about when they said they wanted to open an emergency shelter for the homeless.

 

Part of the ambiguity, since the issue dates back more than three decades, is that there are vague and sparse records.

 

Marcus has filed a mandamus brief with the Superior Court which would in essence make the Danbury Planning Commission hear Dorothy Day’s arguments, because the present day Planning Commission has said on-year renewable permits are not within their jurisdiction. 

 

Attorney Dan Casagrande told the Zoning Board of Appeals in his brief that the Zoning Enforcement Officer has been trying to work with Dorothy Day and doesn’t want to see them suddenly closed.  The Zoning Enforcement Officer has asked, several times, that Dorothy Day apply to the Planning Commission for a Special Exception Use to allow the emergency shelter to remain open under a valid permit.  Casagrande also said that the reason the City Shelter on New Street received a permit that didn’t have a time restriction was because zoning laws had been changed before it opened in 1991.  Had Dorothy Day applied for a new permit each year as required, he says they could have been grandfathered in.

 

Zoning Board of Appeals member Herb Krate said that there can only be speculation about what the Boards and Commissions of 1983 were thinking.  But he said they could assume there was a one-year renewable restriction put on the permit because there was some apprehension about the impact a shelter would have on the community.

 

Spring Street residents are asking Danbury officials to relocate Dorothy Day to a non-residential area.  They, along with CityCenter advocates, are calling for Dorothy Day to work with the Continuum of Care and have police or private security monitor and control client behavior.  They say Dorothy Day has severely out-grown the location, as well as creating an out of control situation.

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Fire Chief TJ Wiedl requested additional funding from the city for a volunteer firefighters pager system.  He says the pagers are necessary due to infrastructure changes to the City's radio system.  The $40,000 will come from the City's Contingency Account.  After this allocation, the fund is left with about $184,000.  Wiedl told the City Council that the pagers have a five year service contract.  He was asked if the radios are damaged due to negligence, who is responsible.  Wiedl said the individual companies are going to assign the pagers, and they will be handled like any other equipment.

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A concert entitled "Our Reply to Violence" was held in Ridgefield last night as a way to help heal, honor and remember the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.  The event at the Ridgefield Playhouse featured The Ridgefield Chorale, The Ridgefield Symphony, Debbie Gravitte and former Yankee Bernie Williams among others.  The concert was named "Our Reply to Violence" based on a quote from Leonard Bernstein following the assassination of JFK.  He said that sorrow and rage would not inflame retribution, rather inflame art and that while music will never again be quite the same, the reply to violence is to make music more intensely, more beautifully and more devotedly than ever before.

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Two Somers High School students have been arrested for vandalizing school buses in January.  On Tuesday, graduation day, New York State Police arrested 18-year old Jonas Moseby on a felony criminal mischief charge.  An 18-year old was arrested June 10th on a misdemeanor charge, and released on a written promise to appear in court at a later date. 

 

Moseby was released on $10,000 bail for a court appearance on the 27th. 

 

On January 4th, Somers school bus staff arrived at the garage to see that 43 school buses had been vandalized.  Some had their tires slashed, windows were shattered and fire extinguishers had been discharged to spray graffiti, including a swastika and profanity. 

 

The damage was over $29,000.

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A Carmel woman pulled over for a routine traffic violation has been arrested for driving under the influence.  New York State Police say Troopers stopped 35-year old Catherine Giuliano on the Sprain Brook Parkway Monday for having a front headlight out. 

 

It was determined that she was driving while her ability was impaired by drugs.  A license check revealed that her driving privileges were revoked due to a previous DWI related arrest.  Giuliano was charged with felony unlicensed operation and misdemeanor operating while impaired. 

 

She is scheduled to appear in court on July 7th.

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Erratic driving in Bethel has led to drug possession charges for a Ridgefield man.  Bethel Police received 911 calls from the Route 53 area around 5pm Tuesday about a driver hanging out of the pick up truck window, yelling and waving.  The driver, later identified as 23-year old Paul Denis, would speed up and suddenly brake. 

 

Police found the vehicle in question and tried to stop the driver, but there was a low-speed pursuit through downtown Bethel.  During that time, officers say Denis was still hanging out the window yelling incoherently.  He pulled into Overlook Park abruptly and officers stopped him from backing out. 

 

Denis resisted arrest and tried to flee on foot, but he was eventually taken into custody.  Bethel Police say he remained uncooperative and continued shouting incoherently. 

 

He was transported to Danbury Hospital for evaluation because officers were concerned about what substance he may have been under the influence of. 

 

He was charged with DWI, engaging in pursuit, reckless driving, evading responsibility, failure to stop at a stop sign, operation under suspension, interfering with an officer and possession of marijuana.  Denis was released on bond for a court appearance July 1st.

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A machete wielding Bethel woman has been arrested.  Bethel Police responded to Greenwood Avenue early Sunday morning for a disturbance. 

 

Officers determined that 47-year old Maria Medina had been in an argument with another person.  She allegedly starting hitting the other person and threatened to kill them.  Police say at one point during the dispute, Medina got a machete out of a car and began swinging it wildly. 

 

She damaged the inside and outside of the vehicle. 

 

Medina was arrested for breach of peace, criminal mischief, assault and threatening.  She was arraigned and released on bond for a court appearance July 20th.

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Two brothers have been charged with distributing heroin involved in overdoses, including a fatal one in Monroe. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 39-year old Erick Delgado and 28-year old Anoris “Alex" Delgado of Bridgeport were arrested Tuesday.

 

They were charged with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin. A detention hearing has been scheduled for July 6th.

 

It’s alleged that Erick Delgado sold heroin to a Bridgeport man who overdosed in April, but was revived by EMTs with Narcan. Also that day, Monroe Police responded to a report of an unresponsive man, who was later pronounced dead. An acquaintance told investigators that the pair had travelled to Bridgeport, where they purchased heroin from Erick Delgado.

 

An undercover officer set up a purchase through Erick, but was met by Anoris and was able to buy 20 bags of heroin.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's congressional delegation is becoming known for its united stance on gun control measures.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy's 15-hour filibuster last week marked a high point for what's become a signature cause for him and others in the state's Democratic delegation. It was an effort to press for votes on two gun control measures.

All of Connecticut's members of the U.S. House participated Wednesday in a sit-in, demanding a vote on gun violence legislation.

But some Republicans and gun rights advocates aren't impressed.

State Rep. Dan Carter, a Republican challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal in November, says the group focused so much on the gun issue following shootings in Newtown, Orlando, Florida, and elsewhere that it has neglected other issues, such as fighting terrorism or overall violence in society.

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The Eureka water tank in Bethel is nearly completed.  The tank is scheduled to be ready to be filled for pressure testing by mid-July, and is expected to deliver water to Bethel in the fall. 

 

It is located on Long Ridge Road in Danbury on property the town of Bethel has owned since the 1800s. 

 

First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the tank is going up fast, even ahead of schedule.  Knickerbocker says this 750,000 gallon tank has been badly needed for decades.  It will provide better water pressure and volume needed for fire suppression.  It will also allow for further expansion of Clarke Business Park.

 

The final dome panel has been placed.  About 20 curved panels comprise the side walls of the tank.  They will be closed together with concrete and steel reinforcement.  A steel cable wraps around the outside of the structure and more concrete is placed over that.

 

(Photo: Matt Knickerbocker, Twitter)

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A Litchfield man has been arrested for assaulting a Danbury Police Officer.  Police responded to a Fairview Drive home yesterday evening on a report of an intoxicated man trying to fight a man.  The caller said the man had no shirt on and had several tattoos on his body, face and neck. 

 

Officers saw 42-year old Paul Arbitelle walking away from one of the apartment buildings and became agitated.  He was eventually placed in handcuffs while officers tried to sort out the situation. 

 

Police say Arbitelle showed up to speak with the caller's husband, screamed at him and punched the man.  When officers told the man that he was being arrested, he kicked the officer and tried to break free.  He tried to bite another officer and again kicked an officer. 

 

Arbitelle was charged with breach of peace, interfering with an officer, three counts of assaulting an officer and three counts of threatening.  He refused fingerprinting and was charged with failure to comply.  Arbitelle was held on $50,000 bond.

 

The mug shot is from 2011.  Arbitelle has a number of previous convictions.  Arbitelle was charged in February 2009 with driving under the influence.  In 2010, he was charged with resisting arrest/interfering with an officer.  He was charged in 2011 in Danbury for assault and interfering with an officer. In 2012, Arbitelle was charged by Danbury Police with breach of peace, two counts of assaulting a public safety officer and criminal mischief.

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A local lawmaker says it's full speed ahead, now that there won't be a Republican primary for U.S. Senate.  Bethel state Representative Dan Carter entered the race on April 4, and won his party's endorsement May 9.  Former Olympian August Wolf, who entered the race a year ago, announced Tuesday that he did not gather enough petition signatures to force a primary. 

 

Carter says his campaign has had a lot of momentum since winning the GOP nomination by about 86 percent.  Wolf phoned Carter to tell him that he would be suspending his campaign prior to publicly making the announcement.  Carter says the party itself has been unified since the convention. 

 

Carter says he believed all along he would have clear sailing without a primary, which he says would have been draining on limited GOP financial resources better used in the general campaign.  Carter says no matter who the Republican nominee was, they were going to have an uphill battle because neither had a ton of money. 

 

He says the thought of a primary lingering over him didn't help, so his campaign is excited to move forward.

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The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen will hold a Public Hearing at 7:30 tonight in Town Hall, to consider the Lease Agreement for the Teen Barn at 6 Governor Street.  The Lease is between the town and the Ridgefield Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield.  The premises known as “The Barn”, would be leased for five years.  According to the proposed lease agreement, the rent for the original term and any renewal is$1 per year.

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A missing New York man has been found dead on the Appalachian Trail.  New York State Police were called to help with the missing persons investigation involving 39-year old Brandon Ellis of Poughkeepsie. 

 

He failed to return to his home on Saturday.  His car was found the next day at the Appalachian Trail head on Route 55 in Pawling.  With nightfall coming, the brief search was suspended. 

 

On Monday, New York State Forest Search and Rescue joined the search along with several area fire departments including those from Sherman and Putnam Lake.  On Monday afternoon, Ellis was found dead.  A preliminary investigation did not reveal signs of foul play. 

 

Autopsy results are pending toxicology tests.

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