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A 16-inch water main break at Tamarack and Hayestown Avenues has affected about one third of Danbury from the location of the break east to the Bethel border.  Residents and businesses may experience little or no water pressure in the affected area.   The hospital is functioning with limited water supply. 
 
Crews are pumping the area to get the water level down so they can assess the damage, but the valve cracked and the water can't be shut off.  Mayor Mark Boughton says a part is being machined in Buffalo, New York and he's looking into getting a plane to fly the part to Danbury.  Boughton didn't give an estimate of what that would cost.  He initially estimated that water would be restored by tonight, but has since pushed it back.
 
Danbury officials are coordinating with schools and businesses concerning this water supply emergency and will provide on-going updates. Danbury is issuing a “Boil Alert Advisory” and affected residents are advised not to drink the water without boiling first.
 
Danbury is working with the Hospital to support patient and community needs. Patients are asked to call ahead to verify appointments before leaving for the hospital.

With closures to Tamarack and Locust Avenues, access to the main hospital campus is disrupted.  Employees and patients can access the campus via Osborne Street to the Medical Arts Center Gold/Red Garages and/or via Osborne Street to Hospital Avenue to the Rizzo Garage.

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A Danbury woman has turned herself in to Danbury Police on an outstanding warrant for two counts of Animal Cruelty.  Krystel Lopez was charged last Monday.  State Animal Control officers investigated complaints of sick animals being housed at Tails of Courage animal rescue in Danbury.  The employee was implicated in two separate incidents of animal cruelty in December and January.  Lopez was released on a written promise to appear in court tomorrow.

 

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Newtown residents will be voting on a budget today.  The proposal calls for $41-million for the town and $76-million for the schools.  It's a 2.35-percent increase.  Two bond questions will also be on the ballot.  Newtown residents will be asked to approve $1.685 million to replace the roof on Middle Gate School.  The other question is about $1.5 million to supplement operating budget expenditures dedicated to road repairs and improvements.  During the budget referendum this month, residents will not be asked about funding for a new police station.  That vote will likely come as a separate question on the August 14th primary ballot or the November ballot. 

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The town of New Milford has received authorization to open bids for the Still River Drive and Pickett District Road Roundabout project.  The state Department of Transportation authorized the award of the contract to replace an all-way, stop sign controlled intersection, with a roundabout.  The project also involves repaving the Still River Drive approaches to the intersection.  New Milford will receive a construction grant of $1.1 million under the state LOTCIP program. Construction is expected to begin this month and be completed this Fall.

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The reconvened Annual Town Budget Meeting in Bethel will be held tonight.  Residents will be asked to send a revised budget to a referendum.  The Board of Finance scaled back the municipal portion of the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year to $29.53 million.  The revised capital budget is proposed a $1.14 million.  The capital items to be funded are a streetsweeper, a fire engine and an HVAC system for the High School.  Tonight's meeting will be held at the Bethel High School Auditorium at 7pm.

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Western Connecticut State University officials believe cases of illness are on the downturn.  About 100 students reported the same symptoms between Thursday and Saturday.  Test results from the state Department of Public Health revealed Monday that they were suffering from cases of norovirus.  University Spokesman Paul Steinmetz says that helps staff figure out where to clean and what to clean.

Much of the outbreak was on the westside campus.  Common areas on both campuses have been cleaned to standards set by the Centers for Disease Control.  University staff will clean the rooms of any students who were ill.   
 
Norovirus is not spread through the air.

The disease is transmitted by touching an infected surface, and then coming in contact via the mouth.  The health department is conducting surveys among sick students to figure out where the illness started. 
 
President John Clark says they are confident that students, faculty and staff can learn and work together and stay healthy, as long as everyone follows state-recommended appropriate treatment and precautions.  Those precautions  include frequent hand-washing with soap and water. Hand sanitizer does not kill  the virus. 
 
Students are encouraged to practice good hand hygiene, not to share food and drinks or cups and utensils, and to wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
 
According to the state department of Public Health, it is important that anyone who has been ill not return to class or work for 72 hours after the last symptoms have subsided.During those three days after symptoms have stopped, a sick person can still share the virus and potentially contaminate common surfaces. 

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Western Connecticut State University officials believe cases of illness are on the downturn.  About 100 students reported the same symptoms between Thursday and Saturday.  Test results from the state Department of Public Health revealed Monday that they were suffering from cases of norovirus.  University Spokesman Paul Steinmetz says that helps staff figure out where to clean and what to clean.  Much of the outbreak was on the westside campus.  All of the common areas--cafeterias, classrooms and students centers--have been cleaned. 

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A road repair project in Danbury will affect traffic in Bethel, starting today.  The City is replacing the Reservoir Street bridge that crosses over the creek near the town line.  Reservoir Street will be closed completely in both directions for 13 days, now that the project is about midway completed.  During construction, which is expected to last three months total, traffic will be limited to one lane.  Detour signs are in place.  Electronic traffic message boards have also been set up to notify drivers of the closure.

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Danbury Library is making improvements to the parking lot.  Construction began today, closing the parking lot. The Danbury Parking Authority has offered library users a reduced rate for parking at the Patriot Garage on Delay Street.  Parking passes can be validated at the library’s information desk in order to receive the special rate.

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Danbury has closed a deal to buy 65 acres of land off Long Ridge Road, near Tarrywile Park, with a conservation easement.  The City Council signed off on starting negotiations earlier this year and an agreement was reached for the City to pay $700,000 from the conservation fund.  The property is valued at $1.2 million.  The land will be preserved for hiking and as natural open space, featuring an old orchard, meadows and woods.  City officials hope to eventually connect the parcel to the Ives Trail, a 20-mile path spanning Ridgefield, Redding, Bethel and Danbury.  The property was owned by 99-year old Monique Wiedel, who reaches the century milestone birthday in June.

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An intersection reconfiguration project is starting today in Newtown.  Church Hill Road, Edmond Road and Commerce Road will be turned into a four-way, traffic light controlled intersection, with turning lanes.  The goal is to improve traffic flow and reduce accidents.  The southern end of Edmond Road is being realigned to the west while Church Hill Road will be widened slightly.  Sidewalks on both sides of Church Hill Road will also be installed.  Some trees will be removed and utility poles repositioned, along with some business driveways relocated.  During the project, which is expected to be completed by November 30th, there will be some alternating one way traffic on Church Hill Road.  Cromwell-based Arborio Construction Company was awarded the $2.85 million bid.

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Water mains in the Chimney Heights neighborhood of Bethel will be cleaned by Aquarion this week.  The water quality improvement work is set for today through next Monday, 8am to 5pm.  Anyone who experiences discolored water, should run the cold water tap until it clears. During periods of discoloration, postpone washing clothes and limit your use of hot water until the cold water clears.

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A simulated hostage situation drill was conducted Friday by the Putnam County Sheriff Department Emergency Response Team.  The scenario was tested on a school bus at the Carmel Volunteer Fire Department.  Sheriff Robert Langley Jr says the Department is dedicated to keeping the community safe and protecting schools and children.

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Bethel has sent out a request for proposals for a firm to provide professional services for two school renovation projects.  A site walk will be held at Johnson School at 3pm for interested commissioning agents and other firms.  Bids are due to Bethel by May 8th.  Residents approved 65-point-8 million dollars to renovate Johnson and Rockwell Elementary Schools.  A state grant is expected to pay for part of the project. 

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Two former Connecticut Supreme Court justices advised Republican state lawmakers in last month's successful effort to reject Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's nominee for chief justice, according to emails and a state lawmaker.

Hearst Connecticut Media reports that former Justices C. Ian McLachlan and Peter T. Zarella aided lawmakers in defeating the nomination of Andrew McDonald, who would have been the first openly gay state chief justice in the country.

The media group obtained emails showing Republican lawmakers asked the former justices about McDonald's legal decisions.

McLachlan did not respond to requests for comment. Zarella says he didn't have any contact with legislators regarding McDonald.

McLachlan's cousin, Republican state Sen. Michael McLachlan, said they and Zarella discussed McDonald's nomination.

Malloy called McLachlan and Zarella ``cowards'' whose action ``undermined'' the judiciary. 

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A group of Western Connecticut State University students are ill from an unknown virus.  About 100 students have come down with similar symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.  Spokesman Paul Steinmetz says the university is working with the Department of Public Health to identify the source of the illness.  Email messages have been sent to inform students of the outbreak, and the school closed one cafeteria and multiple common areas for cleaning over the weekend. 
 
West Conn is closed today as a precaution to protect the university community from further infection and spread of the disease.  Maintenance crews have been sanitizing and disinfecting both campuses. 
 
West Conn officials do not yet know what caused the problem, though they are certain that it is not e-coli.  Only two incidents of e-coli illness have been reported in Connecticut, and not in the Danbury region. 
 
No new illnesses were reported in the residence halls overnight Saturday, and the University Police did not transport anyone to the emergency room.
 
For students who are experiencing vomiting, diarrhea or stomach pain, follow these guidelines:
1. If possible, go home to limit spread to others on campus.
2. Drink plenty of fluids.
3. Clean all surfaces contaminated with vomit or stool with a bleach solution. Launder soiled clothes right away. Students who live on campus should contact Housing and Residence Life staff to assist with room cleaning if necessary.
4. If you become dehydrated, go to the nearest emergency department. (Signs of dehydration include dizziness, dry mouth, decreased urination, headache, muscle cramps, thirst.)
5. You may return to campus 2-3 days after you have recovered.

These tips might help you stay well:
1. Use good hand hygiene and keep your fingers out of your mouth.
2. Don’t share food, drinks, cups, or utensils.
3. Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
4. Clean surfaces in your living space frequently with bleach wipes.
 

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration is nominating 72 low-income zones in 27 Connecticut municipalities for a federal community development program. One of the zones is in Danbury.

The Democrat had created an application process for municipalities interested in participating in the Opportunity Zone Program. Each governor must submit a plan to the federal government designating tracts as Opportunity Zones.

Qualified tracts must have a poverty rate of at least 20 percent of the median income that does not exceed 80 percent of the area median income.

The program provides a federal tax incentive for investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains into these special zones by pooling money with other investors through Opportunity Funds.

Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith says the 72 zones are "ripe for redevelopment." She hopes the designation spurs economic growth. 

 

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A Danbury official is being credited with helping to put out a fire Friday night.  A Jefferson Avenue neighbor knocked on City Health Department Official Joe Mead's door across the street and said there was a fire on the porch.  Mead grabbed a bucket of water, filled it from a nearby stream three times and doused the rear of the house where the fire was extending up the back corner.  Firefighters then finished the job, keeping the fire contained to the outside porch.  The Fire Marshals office is investigating the cause of the fire. No injuries were reported from the scene.

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The annual Clean City Danbury Day is coming up and the Mayor's office is looking for volunteers to sign up to help with the beautification effort.  Volunteers will be tasked with picking up litter in a neighborhood, park or waterway.  Supplies of rash bags, safety vests, and gloves are provided.  Volunteers are also needed at each dumpster location to assist residents in the drop-off process. 

 

Free disposal of unwanted items is being provided to Danbury residents and property owners with the support of Winters Brothers.  But there is one less drop off location this year, the West Conn westside drop off will not be in service this year. 

 

No commercial vehicles or box trucks are allowed. Construction debris, grass clippings, yard debris, hazardous wastes, and electronics are not allowed.  Scrap metal, tires and white appliances containing Freon must be kept separate from other garbage. 

 

Dumpster locations are at Danbury City Hall, Rogers Park, the P.A.L. Building, & the Public Works Facility. Paper shredding will once again be offered during Clean City Danbury Day at the Winters Bros. Waste Systems Recycling Center at 307 White Street.

 

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DOVER, N.Y. (AP) -- What started out as a joyful reunion of a young woman with her birth parents soon turned sour, then shocking, and finally deadly.

A young woman named Katie married her birth father, had a baby with him and, after she decided to leave him, lost her life to him along with that of their child and her adoptive father. All three were laid to rest this weekend in upstate New York.

"We're all still in shock," said Shirley Mann, a neighbor of Katie's adoptive parents in Dover. "It's crazy. I don't know what else to say. It's horrible."

Katie, whose last name was Fusco at the time, had no idea before she moved in with Steven Pladl and his wife in August 2016 that he had an explosive temper, a history of abusive behavior and owned at least four guns.

A VERY NORMAL LIFE

In 1995, Steven Pladl was 20 when he met a 15-year-old girl named Alyssa on the internet. She soon became pregnant and gave birth to a girl they named Denise.

Alyssa Pladl told The Associated Press in an interview last week that they put the girl up for adoption when she was 8 months old. They were young and poor, she said, but she also believed Steven Pladl physically abused the baby. In her interview, she did not elaborate.

"It was so hard to give her up," Alyssa said, "but I had to because I wanted her to live and be happy."

For most of what was to be her short life, she was. Tony Fusco and his wife, Kelly, adopted the girl they renamed Katie and raised her with their biological daughter in Dover, about 80 miles north of New York City.

"They had a very, very normal life," said Cary Gould, Kelly Fusco's brother. "My nickname for Katie was Pac-Man. She was always eating. She loved animals. She was a vegetarian."

Katie was an aspiring artist known at Dover High School for drawing comic strips. She planned to attend college and pursue a career in digital advertising.

"A pen and something to draw on became a safe place for me," she wrote in a blog post. "Ink became my weapon against rules and regulations. ... To be short; for me, a life without art is no life at all."

After turning 18 in January 2016, Katie, who Gould said had been told she was adopted, found her birth parents and messaged them. The Pladls were happy to reunite with her.

Instead of going to college in August 2016, Katie moved in with the Pladls in Henrico County, Virginia, that month. Tony and Kelly Fusco were apprehensive, Gould said, but they thought Katie was old enough to make her own decisions and supported her.

All was not well in the Pladl home. Steven and Alyssa had already decided to separate and were sleeping in separate rooms. Alyssa Pladl said she had suffered emotional and verbal abuse by her husband for years.

"I was always on eggshells, whatever his mood was, everybody knew, and that mood was often not happy, a lot of yelling, a lot of things smashed in the house, in front of our kids," she said.

Alyssa Pladl told Katie privately that Steven Pladl had abused her as a baby and that a major reason for the adoption was her own safety.

Katie, according to Alyssa, didn't appear to be concerned.

'WE'RE IN LOVE'

Steven Pladl's behavior changed after he met Katie, Alyssa Pladl said. He began wearing skinny jeans and form-fitting shirts. He shaved his beard and let his hair grow long. About six weeks after Katie moved in, Steven Pladl one night slept on the floor in her room.

It immediately concerned Alyssa. After he did it again the next night, she confronted him. He said it was none of her business and stormed out of the house with Katie.

Alyssa Pladl finally moved out in November 2016, and she shared custody of the two children with Steven Pladl.

In May 2017, she learned from her 11-year-old daughter's journal of the incestuous relationship and Katie's pregnancy. Her daughter wrote that she and her sister were told by Steven Pladl to refer to Katie as their stepmother.

"I started to become hysterical, and I called him," she said. "I said, 'Is Katie pregnant with your baby?' He just said, 'I thought you knew. We're in love.'

"I started screaming," she said. "I was just cursing him out: 'How could you? You're sick. She's a child.'"

Then she called the police.

INCEST CHARGES

On July 20, 2017, two months after his divorce from Alyssa was finalized and amid the police investigation, Steven Pladl married Katie in Parkton, Maryland. They lied on their application, saying they were unrelated, according to records.

Katie's adoptive parents posed for a photo on the wedding day along with Steven, Katie and Steven's mother. Katie wears a short black dress.

Tony and Kelly Fusco thought there was nothing they could do and had decided it was best to support Katie, Gould said.

Katie gave birth to Bennett on Sept. 1. She and Steven moved to a house on a cul-de-sac in Knightdale, North Carolina, just east of Raleigh, but wedded bliss did not last long. They were arrested on incest charges in January. A judge ordered them to not contact each other, and Steven Pladl's mother has custody.

Steven Pladl's lawyer, Rick Friedman II, said there was never an allegation that Steven Pladl pressured Katie into a relationship.

"This case is an 18-year-old girl who shows up at the doorstep of a 40-year-old man who's going through difficult times with his wife," Friedman said. "They have a bond because they're biologically related, but they never knew each other before they had a sexual relationship. He was head over heels in love with her, so much so that that outweighed the issue of them being biologically related."

After the arrests, Katie moved back with Tony and Kelly Fusco, who declined to comment for this article. Every Tuesday and Thursday, she would travel to her adoptive grandmother's home in Waterbury, Connecticut, Gould said.

On April 12, a Thursday, Katie and Tony Fusco left the Dover home for Waterbury. In a minivan nearby, Steven Pladl watched them leave, surveillance video shows.

Minutes later in nearby New Milford, witnesses reported someone opening fire. Katie and Tony Fusco, 56, were fatally shot. Steven Pladl was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot back in Dover.

Shortly after the New Milford shooting, Steven Pladl's mother called 911 to report her son had told her he killed the baby, Katie and her adoptive father.

"I can't even believe this is happening," Steven's mother told authorities, according to a 911 call transcript from which her name was redacted. Her son, she said, was upset because Katie, by then just 20, had broken up with him.

Police found the baby dead and alone in Katie and Steven's home.

Alyssa Pladl struggles to make sense of it all.

"I'm grieving. I'm sad. I'm upset," she said. "But I also want to have something good come out of this. If it's to get truth out there, to open people's eyes to incest."

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