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Danbury man arrested for sexually abusing girl

A Danbury man has been arrested for sexually abusing a young girl.


Two weeks ago, the Department of Children and Families notified the Danbury Police Department that they received a tip about the sexual abuse of a 12-year old girl.  The report to the DCF Careline was investigated by the Special Victims Unit and resulted in a warrant being issued for 35-year old Juan Vidal. 


Vidal was located and arrested yesterday.  He's been charged with six counts of risk of injury to a minor, three each in the first and second degrees. 


Vidal is being held on $75,000 bond for arraignment today.

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Music teacher from Monroe allegedly touched 2 students inappropriately

A music teacher from Monroe has been arrested for allegedly touching students inappropriately.


68-year old Bruce Connery of Monroe was arrested Tuesday for two counts of risk of injury to a minor and 4th degree sexual assault.  Police received reports that he sexually assaulted two of his students at their homes. 


A 10-year old reported to her father that she didn't want to continue music lessons because of what happened.  Police also received a report from the parent of a 15-year old girl who reported inappropriate touching. 


Connery has been released on $20,000 bond.  He will be in court next Wednesday.

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Newtown, Southbury to receive DECD brownfrield funding

Newtown and Southbury are among the 21 towns receiving grants to help develop brownfield sites. 


$3.8 million in grant funding is being made available by the state Department of Economic and Community Development.  Newtown will receive $200,000 to investigate what needs to be done with nine buildings on the Fairfield Hills campus to make the property productive.  Southbury will get $200,000 to assess the baseline environmental conditions of the Southbury Training School site. 


Officials say the funding is meant to help communities take the next step toward reuse of sites that have been underused or abandoned for years.  DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith says the projects were selected for funding because they are ready to move forward and the properties can then unlock new development opportunities.

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Conn. state police troops to take routine calls

A preliminary review of state police consolidated dispatch has been completed by the new Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.  Weeks after restoring 24-7 coverage to all state police barracks, Commissioner Dora Schriro yesterday announced a plan for handling all calls to state police.  She says administrative calls will be directed to troops, while 911 calls will be handled at consolidated dispatch centers.


Of the 1.5 million calls to state police last year, 60 percent were administrative while the remaining 40-percent were 911 calls. 


Field testing of a new plan started this week at Troop A in Southbury, with full implementation expected by the fall.  Schriro says this will give the agency the change to assess the plan and make any adjustments before statewide implementation is done.  While dispatches in the eastern and western parts of Connecticut have been consolidated, plans are on hold for the central region.


She is also calling for a working group to be formed of dispatchers, troopers and municipal representatives to address issues and concerns that may arise.

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TeachFest Conn. gives educators a say in Common Core

As the state continues to move forward with implementation of Common Core standards, Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor announced a three day development session for nearly 100 teachers.  Several teachers from the Greater Danbury area will be participating in "Teach Fest Connecticut" next weekend.


The educators participating in the conference will then bring the concepts back to their school districts and others to counsel their fellow teachers. Pryor says the ‘Connecticut Dream Team’ will later serve as teacher leaders at a larger event this summer. 


The teachers from the Greater Danbury area are:


Rita Gregory, Kindergarten Teacher Regional School District 12, Booth Free School


Erin Birden, Grade 2 Teacher Regional School District 12, Washington Primary School


Hillary Singer, Grade 6 Math Teacher Danbury School District, Roger's Park Middle School


Paul Laedke, Grade 6 Teacher New Fairfield School District New Fairfield Middle School


Debra Parker, Grade 7 Teacher New Fairfield School District, New Fairfield Middle School


Amanda Peterson, High School Math Teacher and Curriculum Writer Danbury School District, Danbury High School


Ellen Meyer, Grade 6 Math Teacher Danbury School District, Broadview Middle School


Andrew Hill, Mathematics Teacher Brookfield School District, Brookfield High School


Clinton McLeod, Grade 2 Teacher Bethel School District, Anna H. Rockwell School


Amanda Johnson, High School Teacher Danbury School District, Danbury High School


Jane Giresi, Science Resource Teacher and Grade 2 Teacher Wilton School District, Miller-Driscoll School

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Connecticut man wants guns taken in son's arrest

LITCHFIELD, Conn. (AP) A Litchfield man wants his guns back after they were confiscated at his home by state police during his son's arrest on charges of selling marijuana.

Patrick C. Redmond has hired a lawyer and says some guns are his. The guns were ordered destroyed as contraband.

The Republican-American reports that State Police confiscated 16 handguns and long guns last year from Redmond's home in Kent. His son, Patrick S. Redmond, admitted he was selling marijuana from his father's home. Police say he did not have proper paperwork to demonstrate ownership.

The 26-year-old Redmond was given a suspended five-year prison term and three years' probation.

A Litchfield Superior Court judge denied Redmond's request for the guns. He says he won't order them destroyed to give the state Appellate Court time to decide.

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Boughton: Refund of Foleys donations not possible

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says he wants to return $750 in contributions to his exploratory committee in his bid for the Republican nomination for governor from Lisa Wilson-Foley and her husband, Brian Foley. He says the money has already been spent.

The couple pleaded guilty March 31 to conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions through a scheme that hid the consulting role prosecutors say former Gov. John Rowland played h her 2012 campaign. Prosecutors say Wilson-Foley wanted Rowland to work on her primary campaign but believed that because he had been convicted of a felony his involvement would attract negative publicity to her candidacy.

The New Haven Register reports ( ) that Boughton said if there were a way to return the money, he would.

The Foleys each contributed $375 to the committee last fall.

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Jewelery store, bank robberies in Danbury unrelated

Danbury police are investigating two robberies that happened within an hour of each other, but appear to be unrelated.


Around 10:30 Tuesday morning, an armed robbery was reported at Michaels Jewelers on Federal Road in Danbury.  Three men entered the store wearing nylon stockings covering their faces and one had a handgun.  Police say the 3 female employees hands were bound and the suspects stole items from the jewelry store.  An ambulance was called to the scene as a precaution for one of the victims. 


Shortly after 11:30, police were called to Webster Bank on Mill Plain Road.  Two men wearing masks and dark hoodies entered the bank and tied up the employees.  The men took off with an undetermined amount of cash.  No weapon was displayed and there were no injuries.



Police are asking anyone who was in the areas and may have seen something to call the Detective Bureau at 203-797-4662.

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Town finds compromise site honoring Newtown victim

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) West Haven officials have found a compromise to build a playground memorializing one of the children fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The New Haven Register reports that town officials and members of the West Haven Land Trust agreed Monday night to a playground honoring the memory of 6-year-old Charlotte Bacon at another site rather than a location protected by a land restriction.

The ``Where Angels Play'' Sandy Ground Project was begun by Elizabeth, N.J., Fire Department Capt. Bill Lavin to honor the 20 children and six educators who were killed in the December 2012 massacre. Twenty-six playgrounds in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey are planned.

The West Haven site will be the 23rd.

Donations will finance the construction of the playgrounds.

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DEEP warns about moose near I-84

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is warning motorists in the Southington to be on the lookout for a moose on the loose.

DEEP said the animal was spotted Tuesday morning on West Street near Interstate 84. The moose was last seen entering a swamp area near the highway.

Connecticut has a resident moose population estimated to be 100 to 150 animals. They're found most often in wooded areas in northeastern and northwestern Connecticut, but have been spotted in other parts of the state.


A moose spotted in New Milford in September caused a sensation when it wandered through the Hospital parking lot.

DEEP said moose create a particular danger near roadways because when struck by a vehicle, they're likely to collapse through the windshield because of their tall stance. They're also difficult to see at night because of their dark color.

Moose sightings can be reported at

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Repairs to end signal troubles on Danbury RR line

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) The Connecticut Department of Transportation is making some fixes to the Danbury branch line of Metro-North Railroad.

The DOT is replacing rubber mats and other equipment at crossings to repair malfunctions that have plagued a $70 million signaling system.

Transportation Commissioner Jim Redeker said silt build-up and moisture at some crossings drew the attention of engineers to the age and condition of the rubber matting, crossbuck signs and rails that set off a more sensitive train detection system when no train approaches.

Redeker said full service could be restored in May. The crossings have been a problem since a new signal system was completed in November.

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Danbury police investigate robberies at bank, jewelry store

Danbury police are investigating two robberies that happened within an hour of each other, but appear to be unrelated.


Around 10:30 Tuesday morning, an armed robbery was reported at Michaels Jewelers on Federal Road in Danbury.  Three men entered the store wearing nylon stockings covering their faces and one had a handgun.  Police say the 3 female employees hands were bound and the suspects stole items from the jewelry store.  An ambulance was called to the scene as a precaution for one of the victims. 


Shortly after 11:30, police were called to Webster Bank on Mill Plain Road.  Two men wearing masks and dark hoodies entered the bank and tied up the employees.  The men took off with an undetermined amount of cash.  No weapon was displayed and there were no injuries.



Police are asking anyone who was in the areas and may have seen something to call the Detective Bureau at 203-797-4662.

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Housekeeper allegedly steals ring from employer

A Connecticut woman has been arrested by Bethel police for allegedly stealing a ring from her employer.  Police say 38-year old Maryann Lamper of New Britain was charged with 3rd degree larceny.  Police say the woman was arrested when she was on her way to her appointment as a housekeeper at the home where she allegedly stole the heirloom ring from.  The ring, valued at $5,300, went missing earlier this month before turning up at a pawn broker.  Lamper is being held on bond.

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Redding Board of Ed wants budget proposal changed

During a special meeting on Friday, the Redding Board of Education decided to ask the Board of Finance to change it's proposed budget.  The Finance Board wanted the schools to find another $300,000 to cut from a budget that already was going to cost less than the current year. 


The Board of Education says that violates the state's Education Cost Sharing minimum budget requirement. 


The group met in executive session and also then decided to ask the Town Clerk and the Boards of Finance and Selectmen to put an advisory question on the ballot if the Finance board doesn't change their mind on the proposal.  The question would ask no voters if they cast their ballot that way because the budget was too high or to low.

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Weston police hold active shooter training drill at school

The Weston Police Department has held an active shooter drill today at Hurlbutt Elementary School.  The Weston Forum reports that the training drill included detailed classroom work and role playing scenarios.  The drill was being led by School Violence Solutions and a Rhode Island police officer. 


All of the schools are located on the same road.  The schools are closed this week for spring break.


Once the drill is complete, Weston Police say they will review and develop response strategies.

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'Spring of Service' serve-a-thon held by United Way

For the first time, the Youth Volunteer Corps of Western Connecticut is hosting a Spring of Service program.  The organization has held a six-week summer program for five years now across the Greater Danbury area.  United Way volunteer coordinator Deirdre Wallin says there was a kick-off event Saturday at Tarrywile Park where youths worked on a variety of projects. 


The youth service program offers volunteer opportunities for more than 100 youth ages 11 - 18 throughout the school year.


During Spring of Service, youth will assist The City of Danbury’s Office of Neighborhood Assistance cleaning up the downtown area of graffiti and addressing other blight issues.  Youths will work with Dorothy Day House later this week.


Last year 111 youth served a total of 2,156 volunteer hours assisting at after-school and pre-school programs, soup kitchens, parks and more.

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Police: Connecticut teenager threatened Columbine

LITCHFIELD, Conn. (AP) Before she was arrested on allegations of planning to shoot up two high schools, a Connecticut teenager was suspected of making threats against Columbine High School in Colorado.


Natalie Carpenter, 18, is accused of phoning in a threat to Columbine, The Register Citizen reported. She was arrested March 4 and pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit assault, according to the newspaper.


Carpenter was arrested in Torrington for allegedly plotting with Peter Thulin, 19, to sneak into Danbury High School, hold students and staff hostage and shoot until "everyone was dead," police said.


An attorney for Carpenter, John Cizik Jr., said Monday he had no comment. Her mother, Wendy, said Carpenter wouldn't "hurt a fly" and was acting out while trying to cope with the loss of two close friends.


In her diary, Carpenter cited Columbine High School, where two teenage shooters killed 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves in 1999. She planned to shoot up Danbury and Stratford high schools to get back at students she believed bullied her, police said.


The threat to Columbine on Sept. 16 originated from a cellphone traced to Carpenter's house in Stratford, police said.


Mark Techmeyer, spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's office in Colorado, said charges have not been filed. The alleged threat was one of nearly two dozen threats the department investigates every year at Columbine High School, he said.


"You look at the risk-value return," Techmeyer said. "She'd have to (be) transported. It's not a wise use of taxpayer dollars."


The number of threats "would blow your mind," Techmeyer said. "It's nonstop. It's not every day, but it's a very regular occurrence. We investigate every single one of them, but 99.9 percent of the time, just about every time, they're not credible threats."

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Metro North Danbury branch customers still frustrated

Commuters turned out to the Stamford train station Thursday night to meet with the President of Metro North.  It was one in a series of listening events the new leader of the railroad is holding.  There are three more scheduled for May.  Commuter Action Group founder Jim Cameron says train riders told Joseph Giuletti much of what he's been hearing from them.


He's still hearing from Danbury Branch riders.  Cameron says service is getting a little better with some of the gate problems resolved, but not all of them.  There is also still bus service replacing trains during the midday hours.


Cameron says for as expensive as the system is, it should be working.

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West Haven balks at site honoring Newtown victims

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A land restriction may block a proposed playground in West Haven memorializing the 20 children and six educators who were fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Twenty-six ``Where Angels Play'' playgrounds are being built by the New Jersey-based Sandy Ground Project in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.

The New Haven Register reports that the West Haven Land Trust has a conservation easement intended to shield the shoreline from development, which could include a playground.

Land Trust members worry that approving a playground would set a precedent.

But city officials such as Mayor Ed O'Brien, say West Haven will look heartless and disrespectful if it rejects a proposal to honor adults and children shot in December 2012.

O'Brien says he does not consider a playground to be a development.

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Next deadline coming up for 'Walkway of Honor'

The next phase of the Veterans Walkway of Honor is under way in Danbury.  The walkway is made up of bricks engraved with the names of veterans from all branches of the armed forces.  It's located at the Danbury War Memorial and leads from the building to the memorial monuments.  Organizer Mary Tiecholz says they only need a few dozen more bricks to complete one side of the walkway.


377 bricks engraved with the names of veterans are already in place on the walkway.  Just 50 more are needed.


The deadline for ordering a brick for a loved one is April 28th.  All bricks ordered by that date will be installed in time for the Memorial Day Parade.  The prices range from $100 to $250.  The bricks are either 4-by-8 or 8-by-8.


Bricks may be engraved with the name, rank and service branch.  Profits from the fundraiser will go directly to the Danbury War Memorial with a portion of the proceeds from each brick sale going to the Wounded Warrior Project.


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