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A road closure in Bethel starts today.  The Walnut Hill - Hoyt Road construction project is anticipated to last through the end of September.  The Bethel Highway Department says the exact road closures will depend on what phase of the project they are in.  Advisory signs have gone up around the project to use for detours.  Even when the road is open, the highway department is cautioning that there will be delays through the project site.  They are recommending drivers use alternate routes to avoid travel delays. 



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Eversource Energy is planning a $3.5 million  natural gas project in Danbury.  The utility says the goal is to protect and strengthen the delivery system in an effort to ensure reliable service.  The multi-year project involves more than 4.5 miles of gas pipeline being installed.  The firs phase, 1.5 miles, will be installed along Mill Plain Road from the west side to the Western Connecticut State University campus. 

 

Crews are working Monday through Friday between 8:30am and 4pm The first phase is expected to be complete by the end of November.  Phase two will begin in April 2018.

 

Eversource plans to update community leaders and customers where work is being done to minimize the impact to traffic and coordinate with other roadwork happening in the area. Drivers may experience delays due to alternating, one-way traffic.

 

Work will continue through 2019 from the university to an Eversource gas facility near Danbury’s downtown area.  Eversource officials say the project will provide the school a stronger gas delivery system and offer clean and efficient fuel to areas were it has not been an option.



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Work could start soon to stabilize Hearthstone Castle.  After years of neglect, the outer walls are all that remain. The roof and internal structure have collapse into the basement.  There are no utilities at the site, making new uses limited. 

 

 

Danbury residents approved $1.6 million in November for design and construction plans for a walled garden.  Mayor Mark Boughton says the money comes available July 1st.  The City is looking to engage various companies that do this kind of specialized work, but he cautioned that there won't be a lot of companies that can do the project. 

 

Boughton has called the site an attractive nuisance.  Trespassers have spray painted the structure and cut through the fence many times over the years. 

 

Hearthstone Castle was built in 1897 and occupied until 1983. The City purchased it as part of the acquisition of the Tarrywile property in 1985.



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During a joint working session of the Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission and the Inlands Wetland Commission, approval was given for the proposed Ridgefield Little League ballfield.  Plans for the 2-and-a-half acre town and state-owned land at Route 7 and Simpaug Turnpike call for lighting, bleachers, a parking lot and concession stand. 

 

Traffic studies found there would not be a significant impact.  Speakers would not be used after a certain hour, and the lights would be turned off overnight. 

 

During three public hearings, neighbors expressed concerns about noise, traffic and the lights. 

 

The Inlands and Wetlands Board voted 8-1 and the Planning and Zoning Commission voted 7-2.



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Brookfield Police are cautioning parents to talk with their children about internet safety.  With the latest Snapchat update, a feature was added called Snap Map which allowed users to share their location with other users.  Brookfield Police shared an article on social media from Massachusetts State police about the dangers of kids sharing their location, especially in real time, with strangers.  Snapchat users can enter so-called Ghost mode, which allows them to turn off the location sharing service, or select who can see the location.



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Court documents have been unsealed in the murder case against a man accused of killing his roommate in their New Fairfield home last month.  Steven Flood is due in court this week on charges of murder with special circumstances and sexual assault for the rape and murder of 55-year old Susan Guido.  According to court documents unsealed Tuesday, Flood met Guido while they were both staying at a hotel and agreed to save money by renting a home together.  The 32-year old told police they were drinking and arguing over bills when he pushed Guido to the ground and stomped on her head several times.  He was still wearing the blood stained clothing when State Police found him several days later.  



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A joint, full scale training session involving local emergency responders is under way in Danbury.  The emergency response training is from 1pm to 6pm Tuesday.  People in the area of Great Plain Elementary, Broadview Middle and St Gregory the Great schools are alerted that there will be a lot of emergency response vehicles around for the exercise.  Exercise activity is confined to areas marked and closed to the public.  None of the activity is taking place along City streets, though drivers are cautioned to expect some traffic in the area of the training.



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The Easton Police Department has restarted their K9 Unit.  The town's newest police dog, TJ, reported for duty yesterday.  The 16-month-old German shepherd will be partnered with Officer Tamra French.  The Easton Courier reports that T.J. was named for Staff Sgt. Todd “T.J.” Lobraico Jr.

 

(Frank Reda and Jimmy Loomer of Superior K-9 Services dropped off K9 T.J. to Officer French)

 

The New Fairfield man was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan in 2013.  The Courier reports that when a military dog signaled the approaching enemy, Lobraico pushed the dog and its handler out of harm's way. 

 

Lobraico’s father worked with Easton Police Chief Tim Shaw in the Stamford Police Department. 

 

K9 Chase, who served 10 years with Officer French, retired in 2013. 

 

A $40,000 grant from the estate of a Kenneth and Ann Gleszer, of Danbury, enabled the department to restart the K9 program.   Grants were made to 10 police departments and the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association.



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The Ridgefield Inland Wetland Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission are holding a work session tonight about a proposed ballfield.  Ridgefield Little League is looking to create the field and related amenities on town-and-state-owned land at Route 7 and Simpaug Turnpike.  Three public hearings were held on the application.  Plans for the 2.5 acre lot include lighting, bleachers, a parking lot and concession stand.



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The Brookfield Board of Education is crafting policies on how naloxone could be administered in schools.  The Newstimes reports that Brookfield is reviewing guidelines adopted by the Fairfield school district last month.  The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education also has policies about use of the opioid overdose reversal treatment.  The plan would include who is allowed to administer Narcan, where it will be stored and who to contact about usage.  The published report says that district’s legal team compared the potential policy to guidelines on automated external defibrillators, which are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest.



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EnCon Police are investigating a hit and run accident that also happened over the weekend on Candlewood Lake in Brookfield.  An unknown vessel struck a raft moored off the shoreline around 1am Sunday. The collision caused extensive damage to the wooden raft.  When the homeowner tried to check on the vessel and its occupant or occupants, it evaded the scene.  The incident was reported around 10am.  The Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol is assisting with the investigation.

 



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State EnCon Police patrolling Candlewood Lake in Danbury for the fireworks show Saturday night had contact with several hundred boaters entering the area of Danbury Bay, conducting safety checks and enforcing a safety transit lane.  There were no boating under the influence arrests.  Several warnings were issued for failure to display proper and/or necessary navigation lights.

 

There were several minor incidents. 

 

A boat was stopped for not having its navigation lights on.  EnCon officers found that it was occupied by a number of young adults who were in possession of alcohol.  EnCon Police escorted the vessel to the dock and several of the individuals were issued infractions for possession of alcohol by a minor.  The operator was cited for the navigation light violation.

 

A boat struck a rock while leaving Danbury Bay.  The vessel was escorted back to the boat launch.  The Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol inspected it, finding only damage to a propeller.  The boat had been on its way to Squantz Cove.

 

EnCon Police helped a stranded boater after the vessel experienced disabling electrical issues.  Officers kept in contact with the anchored vessel and arranged for a good samaritan to tow it to the nearest safe mooring.



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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A Muslim community is facing allegations it failed to prevent several sexual assaults of a 3-year-old girl by an older boy at a private school it runs on its property.

 

The parents of the girl filed a lawsuit in state court last month against the Muslim Society of Greater Danbury, which runs the Al Hedaya Islamic Center in Newtown. They are seeking unspecified damages.

 

The lawyer and the principal for the school deny the parents' allegations that school officials acted improperly. They also say the allegations against the boy have never been proven.

 

"The Muslim Society of Greater Danbury is a leader in the community with its outreach, community and charitable work," the society's lawyer, Refai Arefin, said in a statement. "The MSGD takes the safety and security of its congregation very seriously. When the facts are known, it will be shown that the allegations directed at MSGD and its volunteers are completely false."

 

Newtown police say they investigated the sexual assault allegations but there was no probable cause to arrest the boy. Court documents don't list the boy's age but say he was a minor.

 

The parents say their daughter, known as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, was a 3-year-old kindergarten student at the Islamic Center's school when she was sexually assaulted by the boy several times in a bathroom and other secluded areas of the school between Sept. 15 and Oct. 6, 2015. Their lawsuit alleges all the assaults involved the boy touching the girl's private parts.

 

The parents noticed a change in the girl's behavior and took her to a therapist, who concluded she had been sexually assaulted and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, the lawsuit says.

 

The girl's parents say school officials were well aware that the boy, named John Roe in the lawsuit, had a "propensity" for violence and bullying before their daughter began attending the school and didn't take action to protect other students from him. The lawsuit says school officials also knew of a report that the boy previously had bullied another male student and the bullying involved contact that "may have been sexual in nature."

 

Sexual assault of students by other students is a problem at schools across the country. A yearlong Associated Press investigation uncovered about 17,000 official reports of sexual assaults by students over a recent four-year period, a figure that doesn't fully capture the problem because such violence is greatly under-reported and some states don't track it.

 

The plaintiffs say school officials are required by Connecticut law to report physical abuse of students to the state Department of Children and Families but did not do so in the case of the bullying and possible sexual assault of the other boy. They also allege school officials did not promptly report the sexual assault of their daughter to the state, a claim also denied by school officials.

 

The lawsuit further alleges the school is not certified by the state to operate as a private school or accredited by any educational group and its teachers don't have the credentials needed for their jobs.

 

Although the Islamic Center's website says a "private school" called the Granada Academy operates at its Newtown property for students in pre-kindergarten through the fifth grade, Arefin and the school's principal, Kristin Fuller, said the school actually is a "homeschooling community" supervised by parents that is not subject to state laws on private schools.

 

Fuller is countersuing the girl's parents on defamation allegations, saying their false allegations are damaging to her reputation.

 

Fuller also alleges in court documents that the girl's mother was jealous of the boy's mother and was removed as a teacher at the school because she was ineffective, both factors Fuller suggests were motivation for the mother to file the lawsuit.



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A Monroe man has pleaded guilty to charge of voyeurism and possession of child pornography.  Police were contacted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in October 2015 about a child exploitation case.  Kenneth Raftery is accused of recording young boys around Monroe without their knowledge.

 

Transfers of child pornography to Raftery were traced.  Investigators then found videos of young teens recorded around Monroe, including one at a Masuk High School Football car wash and others near Wolfe Park pool.

 

Raftery is expected to be sentenced on September 8th.



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The case of a former Easton man accused of killing his parents after they threatened to cut him out of their wills has been continued.  Kyle Navin made a brief court appearance for pretrial discussions yesterday, but his case was continued to August 8th.

The 28-year-old has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the deaths of his parents, Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin. The couple's bodies were found in Weston in October 2015, two months after the couple disappeared.

Navin is being held on $2.5 million bail.

His girlfriend, Jennifer Valiante, also is detained on bail on charges including conspiracy to commit murder.

 

Jeffrey Navin was co-owner of J&J Refuse of Westport.  Jeanette Navin was a paraprofessional at Weston public schools. 



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The Brookfield Board of Selectmen recently forwarded a request to the Board of Finance for appraisals of potential properties at the Brookfield Town Center for municipal purposes.  The town is looking to spend no more than $12,000 for appraisals, in conjunction with the possibility of buying property, for parking and possible buildings. 

 

First Selectman Steve Dunn says as the streetscaping in the Four Corners area is getting done, it's become apparent that there will not be enough parking in the new town center. When the work is completed, there will be 27 parking spaces on Federal Road.  Dunn noted that if they want the new town center to thrive, it has to be easy for people to have accessible parking. 

 

The Still River Greenway has been very popular, but there is no permanent parking in the town center for people who want to use the Greenway.

 

Dunn says the land could also be used for a library or police station, though the studies on the needs of both buildings are still in the very early phases.



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While state lawmakers had a big task ahead of them with a projected $5 billion deficit over the next two fiscal years, there were not a lot of bills that made it through both chambers.  Danbury state Representative David Arconti says that could have been because of the slim majority of Democrats in the House and the tie in the Senate.  Arconti says that took everyone a while to figure out the new lay of the land.

 

A Special Session is on the calendar for Thursday, but it's unclear if there will be a budget to be voted on at that time.

 

Some bills were called, so debate could be held even if there were no votes.  Some bills that might not ordinarily have been called because the votes weren't there for passage were also brought forward.  Arconti says he was pleased the toll bills ended up being defeated.

 

Those bills also included having Connecticut delegates cast ballots for the national popular vote and marijuana legalization.



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Three New Milford couples have bought the former New Milford Sports Club, and the Grove Street property.  The renovated New Milford Fitness & Aquatics Club will open July 1st.  It had been operated by Dominick Donofrio III, but closed in May amid eviction proceedings and his arrest for not paying employees.  The new owners are Mike and Michelle Nahom, Lou and Sue Pereira, and Belinda and Ed Bourjeili.



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A Ridgefield realtor was in court today on allegations she stole $405,000 worth of items from a client's Wilton home.  66-year old Barbara Morris was arrested June 15th.  Wilton Police allege Morris tried to sell items from an Olmstead Hill Road home for personal gain.  The house was in a drawn-out foreclosure proceeding.  The items were recovered from a Stamford auction house and returned to the owner.



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Former Governor Jodi Rell honored attorney Fran Collins during the 14th annual Connecticut Institute For Communities Gala.  The event was held Thursday night in Danbury.  Collins recently retired from his longtime law practice.  He was recently recognized for more than 50 years of legal service by the Greater Danbury Bar Association.  Collins also once served as Speaker of the state House of Representatives.