The Connecticut Working Families Party has made a number of endorsements in the Greater Danbury area for state legislative races. Among them is the 67th District race in New Milford where Democrat Gale Alexander will be challenging incumbent Republican Cecelia Buck-Taylor. Alexander has received the endorsement. Buck_Taylor has been cross-endorsed by the Independent Party.
The Working Families Party is also endorsing Brookfield Democrat Dan Smolnik who is looking to unseat long-time incumbent Republican David Scribner for the 107th District, which also includes part of Bethel.
The Working Families Party is also endorsing incumbent Democrats David Arconti and Bob Godfrey in Danbury. In the 24th District Senate race in the Danbury area, Ted Feng received the endorsement. Republican Mike McLachlan is the incumbent. In the 26th District in the wilton area, Philip Sharlach was endorsed. He is challenging Republican Toni Boucher. The 28th District in the Newtown rea is an open race and the Working Families Party has endorsed Kim Fawcett.
The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission has held another meeting in their effort to come up with recommendations to improve public safety following the shootings on December 14th 2012. They heard testimony from Superintendent Dr Joseph Erardi. He asked Sandy Hook School staff, who were present on 12-14 and worked all of last year to give him their opinions and insight on the events that followed.
Staff told Erardi about the importance of having an effective communication protocol in place during and after the event. Erardi also said that it's not just a case of making money available to harden the school buildings, but also the time needed to make sure emergency protocols are understood by all.
Staff would like to see a strong partnership with local police who know every room, every number, every door all of the time.
Another recommendation is the importance of knowing who is the buildings at all times. There are subcontracted staff not listed on rosters, such as food service staff. When Central Office and Town Emergency Planners, immediately after 12-14, no one had Chartwell Food Service on their lists.
Newtown's first selectman is recommending the state conduct a full after-action study to find out what worked and what didn't in her town's response to the December 2012 school shooting. Pat Llodra said local officials were overwhelmed with the logistics of handling donations, volunteers, correspondence, and media requests.
She says the town, for example, had no way to vet the qualifications of the mental health experts who came to help.
Llodra says the local government would have collapsed without help from companies such as General Electric, which provided four full-time executives to work with the town.
Llodra also revealed that school officials would not give her contact information for the victims' families until two weeks after the shooting.
Llodra told the Commission that at one point, the town logged 65,000 stuffed teddy bears. That didn't include other types of stuffed animals, hundreds of backpacks, bicycles, skateboards, school supplies, candles, gift wrap, crayons, sneakers, and more. Thousands of books were also donated to Newtown.
Llodra said the volume of mail sent to Newtown prompted U.S. Postal Service employees to set up shop in the town hall’s basement. Volunteers helped sort more than 200,000 pieces of mail.
The Newtown Legislative Council next week will consider a nearly $30,000 allocation to demolish a home in the Hawleyville section of town that was destroyed by a suspicious fire in June. The Board of Selectmen addressed the issue at their meeting last week and were told that the insurance company hasn't paid the homeowner, who can't afford to take down the house.
Officials say the remains of the Great Hill Road home is a public safety issue for the neighborhood. A court order allows the town to demolish it, and the town will then put a lien on the property, though First Selectman Pat Llodra told the Board of Finance this week that it's unlikely the town will get any of its money back.
The Legislative Council will mee on Wednesday.
Two area boat launches will be closed soon for repaving. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says the Squantz Cove state Boat Launch on Candlewood Lake and the Squantz Pond state Park boat launch on the pond will be closed on Monday and Tuesday for repaving. DEEP notified the Candlewood Lake Authority about the closings yesterday.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Two top executives at a nursing home company say they never met former Gov. John Rowland, despite assertions that he was hired as a consultant there.
Rowland is on trial facing seven federal charges. They include allegations he hid payments for work he did on the 2012 congressional campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley through the consulting deal with Apple Health Care, which is owned by her husband, Brian Foley.
Jack Boynton, Apple's vice president for human services, and Ann Collette, the company's vice president for business development and marking communication, both testified Friday they never worked with Rowland, despite being in charge of the areas where Rowland's lawyers assert he provided consulting.
Rowland's contract called for him to provide strategic advice in such areas as marketing, business development and labor relations.
A group of Republican lawmakers are highlighting the murder of an infant in Connecticut in their effort to have the state's Risk Reduction Earned Credit Program for prison inmates repealed. Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan says an unspeakable tragedy occurred in Bristol last month when a child was murdered by a person who should not have been released from prison. The lawmakers questioned how an inmate can fail multiple drug tests, and still manage to successfully pass an addiction rehabilitation program. They also pointed to Hapgood helping two inmates escape from custody from a halfway house four months earlier.
In total, Arthur Hapgood lost 45 credits as a result of cumulative offenses, keeping 233 credits. Senate Minority Leader John McKinney says the system has a formula to calculate earned credits, but lacks a formula for reducing credits.
McKinney says the whole situation makes a mockery of the criminal justice system.
Governor Dannel Malloy says the system overall is reducing repeat offenses. He notes that violent offenders are serving more time now than under prior governors. Malloy accused the Republican lawmakers of trying to win an election by scaring people.
Monroe-based D&B Wellness Compassion and Care Center gained approval in May as one of only six medical marijuana dispensaries licensed in the state. Only patients certified by physicians to the state Department of Consumer Protection as having one of 11 debilitating conditions, and would benefit from use of medical marijuana, can register for use in Connecticut.
In order to enter the Garella Road center, patients must have a medical marijuana card. To make a purchase, the patient's name has to be registered with the state, and the Bethel facility as their designated dispensary.
The "appointment only" facility will have a high level of security including a full time security guard, video surveillance and other security features. The center will employ a pharmacist, receptionist and a counselor to educate patients about dosage and alternative therapies. The strict security requirements are detailed among 76 pages of state regulations.
The kinds of products that can be sold at dispensaries are very specific and limited to those prepackaged from licensed manufacturers. Everything comes in a sealed pouch, with the strain and number tracked back to the state. It's meant to treat tremors, Parkinsons, MS and epilepsy.
An open house is being held tonight from 6pm to 9 pm for patients registered to the facility. Department of Consumer Protection officials and others instrumental with helping the application go forward, will also be in attendance.
Two residents, Philip Lombino and Michael Moore, filed an appeal of the Zoning Enforcement Officer approval of a zoning permit application. The Bethel Zoning Board of Appeals ruled on the appeal of the dispensary last month. The Board decided that the filers were not aggrieved, and that the use of the site meets regulations.
The location is zoned for retail use and town officials say the dispensary is considered a pharmacy and therefore a permitted use. The appeal said the state imposes specific location and operation criteria on dispensaries that are different from retail mandates, because the general public will not be patronizing the facility.
A letter has been drafted to the Planning and Zoning Commission requesting that they review the appeal and make changes to regulations. In the future something like this could trigger the use of a special permit. That will insure an opportunity for public discussion on the matter.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) New data released by the state of Connecticut show police statewide are stopping black and Hispanic drivers at disproportionately high rates compared with population statistics.
The figures released Thursday show that about 14 percent of all police traffic stops from last October through May involved black drivers, when blacks comprise about 8 percent of the state's population. About 12 percent of stops involved Hispanics, who comprise about 10 percent of the population.
The data also show that blacks and Hispanics were more than twice as likely to have their vehicles searched by police during stops than whites.
Several police officials say they're reviewing the data and cautioned against drawing conclusions until those reviews are complete.
The ACLU of Connecticut says the figures show a systemic bias by police.
Danbury firefighters have responded to a kitchen fire on TaAgan Point, just off Moody Lane. Danbury Fire Department Communications Coordinator Steven Rogers says the 2 alarm structure fire in the home off Candlewood Lake was reported around 3pm Thursday.
Rogers says the kitchen fire burned itself out. The heavy smoke in the attic and roof areas was ventilated. There were no injuries.
The cause of the fire is being investigated.
The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission will be holding its next meeting this morning at the state capital. The group will receive a presentation from Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra and Superintendent of Schools Dr Joseph Erardi.
The panel's Mental Health Working Group, the Safe School Design and Operations Work Group along with the Law Enforcement Working Group will all give presentations as well.
The 16 member Commission has been tasked with reviewing current policies and making recommendations about public safety when it comes to school safety, mental health and gun violence prevention.
The Brookfield Board of Ethics will hire an attorney before moving forward on a complaint involving the First Selectmen. The Board met yesterday on the issue of Bill Tinsley using a town-owned car for a trip to Tennessee , which he says was an economic development fact finding mission.
Selectman Howard Lasser, Tinsley's opponent in the election, brought the issue to the Board of Ethics saying it was more like a vacation. Lasser didn't file a complaint, the Board decided to take up the matter.
The Newstimes reports that the Town Attorney has argued the Board didn't follow proper procedure, Tinsley's trip didn't require permission and that the Board's deliberations had to be conducted in the public. They are hiring the attorney to advise them how to move forward.
The New Milford Town Council has voted to change the jurisdiction over Waste Water Treatment Facility employees. The 5 to 3 vote on Monday night put the sewer plant employees under the purview of Mayor Pat Murphy as town employees, a change from Sewer Commission oversight.
The longtime plant supervisor had died in January and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection gave the Sewer Commission a year to fill the position. Last month a new supervisor was hired.
Town oversight would be added to DEEP assistance.
There will be a 9/11/01 Memorial ceremony at the site of the American Flags painted on the six maple trees at 68 Dodgingtown Road off Route #302 in Newtown. The ceremony is at 8:15am.
New Milford's 13th Annual Memorial Ceremony of 9-11-01 is at the Memorial site located in the Patriot’s Way Plaza, overlooking the Young’s Field ball fields. The service will commence with Water Witch Hose Co. #2 tolling the apparatus bell at 8:46am.
First responders, including the New Milford Community Ambulance Corps., New Milford Police and Volunteer Fire Departments will present and raise the flag with assistance from Military Personnel. The ceremony will include the singing of our National Anthem and an Invocation before guest speakers offer a few words. The ceremony will conclude with the singing of “God Bless America” and close to “Amazing Grace” offered by Patrick Maguire on bagpipes. Ceremony guests are invited to place a flower on the memorial in remembrance and reflection.
A ceremony is scheduled for 10 am at Kent Town Hall to dedicate a 9/11 memorial, a stone with a plaque on it dedicated to James Gadiel. The 23-year-old Cantor Fitzgerald trader died in the World Trade Center. James' father Peter Gadiel, asked that the memorial say victims were "murdered by Muslim terrorists." Town officials said years earlier that the wording was not supported by residents, whose taxes paid for the plaque. The memorial instead refers to "Islamist extremists.'' During today's ceremony, a short piece will be read, which James wrote as a 7th grader.
The City of Danbury's September 11th Memorial Remembrance Gathering will be held at 6pm at the 9-11 monument in Elmwood Park on Main Street. The twelve-foot tower of glass is mounted on a pentagon of Connecticut granite. The glass tower lines up with the lighted flagpole flying the U.S. flag previously flown over the U.S. Capitol and the 9-11 Memorial Flag. The glass tower is lighted from dusk to dawn.
Bethel will remember the victims of the September 11th attacks with a ceremony at 6pm. The rememberance will be held at the Municipal Center. In a change from previous years, there will not be a procession from the fire house.
Ridgefield's annual 9-11 observances will be held outdoors at the memorial off Route 35 that has a beam of World Trade Center steel as its centerpiece. The ceremony will start at 6:30 on Danbury Road at the Parks and Recreation facility. Members of the Ridgefield Clergy Association will share thoughts, and offer prayers. The Ridgefield Police Department will provide an honor guard. The Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department will provide a color guard for the ceremonies.
To honor and remember those lost, and to recognize those who continue to serve and protect, Brookfield will hold a 9-11 Candlelight Vigil on Thursday at 7pm, at Brookfield Town Hall. The service will be held in the Rotary Memorial Garden. In the event of bad weather, the service will be held in Town Hall Foyer. Those in attendance are being asked to bring a candle.
KENT, Conn. (AP) The words will be set in stone, so Kent took some time to agree on how best to honor a town resident killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
A ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at Town Hall to dedicate a memorial, a stone with a plaque on it dedicated to James Gadiel. The 23-year-old Gadiel died in the World Trade Center.
The marker honors the nearly 3,000 victims, singling out Gadiel, a lifelong Kent resident. The memorial honors him as a ``gentleman and a gentle man.''
Establishing a memorial was snagged on a disagreement over how to word it.
Gadiel's father, Peter Gadiel, asked that the memorial say victims were ``murdered by Muslim terrorists.'' Selectmen did not agree.
The memorial instead refers to ``Islamist extremists.''
A swastika has been found etched into a locker at Wilton High School. In a letter posted on the school's website Monday from the Principal, Robert O'Donnell said he is concerned with the incident and wanted to inform the community of the action that would be taken.
The locker was immediately replaced and the responsible party was identified. The Wilton Police Department was contacted through the school resource officer. The principal says the consequences for the person responsible will align with the school's discipline code.
O'Donnell said in the letter that symbols of hatred, racism and anti-semitism have no place in an environment free of prejudice, cruelty and intolerance. In the days and weeks to come, conversations will be held about the impact on students, seeking proactive solutions to prevent this from recurring.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A former political director for the 5th congressional district campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley has testified that he advised against the campaign hiring former Gov. John Rowland.
Chris Syrek was testifying Wednesday at the federal trial for Rowland, who is facing federal charges including allegations that he conspired with Wilson-Foley and her husband to violate federal election laws.
Syrek said that when he expressed his opposition to a campaign role for Rowland, Wilson-Foley suggested the campaign might not have to pay him. Syrek said he worried she was alluding to an off-the-books arrangement.
The Foleys have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges they conspired to allow Brian Foley to make an illegal contribution to his wife's campaign by paying Rowland for campaign work.
Rowland's trial in New Haven began last week and is expected to take about three weeks.
Charges have been filed in connection with the crash that killed a Ridgefield teen in March. Six 17 year old boys and a 16 year old girl have been charged with possession of alcohol by a minor, having attended an underage drinking party at a Ridgebury Road home just before the crash.
A 17-year old who hosted the party was charged with the delivery of alcohol to minors. 21-year old Michael Peckham of Ridgefield, who did not attend the party, was charged with delivery of alcohol to minors.
The Danbury State's Attorney has declined to press charges against the driver of the car that struck and killed 15-year old Emma Sandhu. The sophomore was walking along Ridgebury Road when she was struck by a 24-year old Ridgefield resident.
The new Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Emergency Department at Danbury Hospital, at 40,000 square feet, is double the size of the former Emergency Department. Department of Emergency Medicine chairman Dr Patrick Broderick says the increased capacity will handle up to 90,000 patient visits annually.
The new ER can be accessed from Hospital Avenue.
Broderick says the facility will better serve the growing needs of the community while fulfilling its mission to improve the health and well-being of residents.
The ER includes a streamlined triage area and an express care area for less acute patients. All private patient rooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology. There is also a dedicated imaging center so patients can be diagnosed and treated more rapidly. There is a separate area for Pediatric services to serve the needs of children and young adults and direct-access heliport to expand the Hospital’s capacities as a Level II Trauma Center.
A natural gas pipeline expansion in the region is the subject of a public comment meeting tonight in Danbury. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is holding the hearing about a draft Environmental Impact Statement of the project by Algonquin natural gas.
The project would involve the construction and operation of about 37.6 miles of natural gas pipeline and associated equipment and facilities in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The majority of the pipeline facilities, about 26.3 miles or 70 percent of the total 37.6 miles, would replace existing infrastructure. Algonquin would also modify 6 existing compressor stations and 24 existing metering and regulating stations.
Algonquin would replace a 26-inch-diameter mainline pipeline segment with 42-inch-diameter pipeline located in Putnam and Fairfield Counties. This 4.5 mile-long replacement segment would begin at the Southeast Compressor Station and extend into Danbury. Algonquin would install the new 42-inch-diameter pipeline beneath Interstate 84, the Still River, a railroad line, and Mill Plain Road. The replacement segment would end at Algonquin’s existing MLV- 19 site located east of Clapboard Ridge Road.
The Project would cross the Hudson River in New York and the Still River in Connecticut using the horizontal directional drill method.
Algonquin’s proposed construction work areas would be located within 50 feet of 337 residential structures and 95 non-residential structure. To address impacts on residences, Algonquin developed Residential Construction Plans to inform affected landowners of proposed measures to minimize disruption and to maintain access to the residences during construction.
Modifications to the six existing compressor stations include the installation of 81,620 total horsepower (hp) in New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Algonquin also proposes to abandon four existing compressor units for a total of 10,800 hp at one compressor station in New York. Algonquin would also modify three existing mainline valve (MLV) sites and five existing pig 1 launcher/receiver sites, construct five new launcher/receiver sites, construct new MLV cross over piping at two locations, and construct a new MLV. Mainline regulation facilities would also be added at the terminus of one of the pipeline segments in New York.
Tonight's meeting is at 6:30 at Danbury City Hall.
A group of bicyclists had a police escort through Western Connecticut yesterday.
More than 150 injured veterans and their supporters set off Sunday on the UnitedHealthcare Ride 2 Recovery Minuteman Challenge, a six-day, 355-mile bicycle ride from Massachusetts to New York City. There was a rest stop yesterday afternoon at the Sandy Hook Fire House. Riders travelled through Bethel to City Center Danbury for their overnight stop at the Crowne Plaza hotel. Riders will be taking off at 9am from the hotel headed into New York. Riders will be taking Route 22 to 312 and eventually to Route 52 and then crossing the Newburgh Beacon Bridge. The USO Canteen is travelling with the cyclists to provide lunch stops each day.
Highlights of the ride included a visit to Gillette Stadium on Sunday; a ceremony at the Rhode Island State House in Providence and an afternoon celebration in downtown Hartford on Monday; a stop at West Point on September 11th; and a visit to the 9-11 Memorial Museum on September 12th.
Ride 2 Recovery supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs for injured veterans, featuring cycling as the core activity. From indoor spinning training at military installations to multiday, long-distance rides, Ride 2 Recovery helps injured veterans heal through the challenge of cycling long distances using hand cycles, recumbents, tandems and traditional road bikes.