A new state-of-the-art safety and bullying reporting app called Anonymous Alerts has been selected by the Newtown School District in an effort to provide the best possible learning environment for students. The app allows students, parents and other school personnel to maintain their confidentiality while calling attention to situations like bullying, safety concerns, family problems, or other situations that may warrant immediate attention by school officials.
Superintendent Dr. Joseph Erardi said in a statement that in remembrance of the 2012 tragedy that struck the district, Anonymous Alerts and its advisory board sponsored the initial purchase of Anonymous Alerts for the high school and middle school. Erardi said they encourage the reporting of mean behaviors, bullying, cyber-bullying, student depression, drug and alcohol issues, and other safety concerns. Submitters have the option to reveal their identity if they prefer to have a personal and private discussion with the school administrator, but reports can remain anonymous.
The app can be downloaded directly from the Apple App Store, Google Play store for Android, and the Chrome store app from the Google Chrome store. After downloading the app students, staff and parents can click to open it, and enter a simple username and password supplied to them by their schools. Informational posters explaining how to use the app will be displayed throughout the high school and middle school on how to anonymously report urgent or sensitive information to authorized school officials.
The system will be operational only on school days between the hours of 7am and 2pm, and reports sent after 2pm will be answered on the next scheduled school day.
More than 1,500 K-12 schools throughout the United States, including Greenwich High School and other Connecticut schools, have implemented the Anonymous Alerts anti-bullying app and safety reporting system.
A police exercise is taking place Thursday in Danbury. A Traffic Alert has been announced by Western Connecticut State University due to police training on the midtown campus. Members of the Danbury and West Conn police departments will conduct a training exercise that will affect traffic on Eighth Avenue. The exercise will concentrate in the Litchfield Hall residence hall. From 7 am to 4 pm on Thursday, traffic on Eighth Avenue will be restricted to residents only. Police officers, including members of the Danbury SWAT team, will be involved in the training.
A public forum is being held this afternoon about the Western Connecticut State University's hazard mitigation plan. The forum will include information on the work completed to date on a hazard mitigation plan. The forum will also highlight some of the hazards that may present the greatest risks to campus operations. Students, faculty, staff and the public are invited to attend the forum to gather information and provide feedback. Members of the planning committee will be available to answer questions and listen to feedback from stakeholders and the community. The forum is at 4 o'clock this afternoon in White Hall on West Conn's Midtown campus.
Governor Dannel Malloy is looking at ways to improve service at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles following a year of backlogs, long lines and other problems stemming from a major computer overhaul.
Malloy on Tuesday unveiled a bill that would allow the DMV to enter into contracts with private entities, such as AAA, to provide vehicle registration services. Currently, AAA only provides non-commercial driver's license services.
Wilton State Senator Toni Boucher says things have gotten so bad at the DMV that it seems extraordinary measures have to be taken to relieve them of a lot of responsibilities and duties that they have to do. She says outsourcing some of the activity to the AAA could be a good thing, because people already have positive experiences when renewing licenses there as opposed to the DMV. But she says DMV functions are core functions of the state, and should be a part of what the state can provide to residents.
Malloy also wants to eliminate the ban on registering vehicles with delinquent property taxes and parking tickets.
Boucher says this could hit tax assessors hard. Right now they can enforce someone paying a car property tax is by withholding their ability from registering their car. She says in the cities, many people don't own a house so they only pay a car property tax. Boucher is concerned that municipalities will raise the mill rate and burden homeowners and commercial property owners in an effort to make up the losses on car property taxes.
Boucher says the software upgrade failure has to be addressed and fixed, rather that relinquishing some responsibility or getting rid of regulations.
The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has opted to move forward with spending $600 on a Grant Finder Program. At their meeting last week, the Selectmen forwarded the proposal to the Board of Finance for approval of funds. First Selectman Steve Dunn says about 15% of the town's total revenue, depending on the year, comes from grants. All of the town's departments go out looking for funding on their own. Dunn says some are pretty straight forward, like ones from the state including the Small Town Economic Assistance Program and Local Capital Improvement Program.
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities has made an arrangement with Grant Finder for a substantial discount on the fee for the program.
Dunn says this will allow the town to look at grants being offered across the nation. He says there are likely grants Brookfield is missing, small grants but funding nonetheless. He says the Grant Finder program will be used for one year, and if it makes sense, a decision will be made after that whether to continue with it.
Dunn called this a reasonable expenditure for something that will pay for itself if the town only gets one grant worth more than $600.
Drug charges have been brought against a Mahopac man following a routine traffic stop. The Putnam County Sheriff's office reports that deputies stopped a driver early Monday morning for traffic violations on Route 6 in Mahopac. When the Deputy approached the vehicle he could smell marijuana. A passenger in the car, 21-year old Michael Martin of Mahopac was found with pot and also heroin. He was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana. He was processed at Putnam County Correctional Facility and held for arraignment.
The Danbury Public School District has started a new program this week, an initiative of Sandy Hook Promise. The Start with Hello program addresses social isolation. This coupled with the Say Something program were launched in the fall in an effort to create a safer, healthier school climate.
Hayestown Avenue School held an assembly and put on a skit Monday.
(Phot: Danbury Public Schools, Facebook)
Danbury schools this week are holding assemblies and focusing on activities that encourage student involvement in the Say Hello Program commitment. Superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella, who serves as president of the Connecticut Association of Public Schools Superintendents, has also encouraged implementation of the programs at schools across Connecticut.
Danbury is reallocating funding that's not needed for the 2012 revaluation and putting it toward a street light conversion program to LED lighting. Danbury is working with ESCO, Energy Services Company, to figure out how to develop and implement such a program. The initial phase of the project is a comprehensive audit of the street lights in Danbury.
The cost of the audit will become part of the conversion project if Danbury moves forward with the program. If the City decides not to move forward, or uses a different company, Danbury will be responsible to pay ESCO up to $50,000 for the audit. There is little more than $75,000 in the 2012 Revaluation account.
The study is expected to take up to six months.
ESCO will help Danbury obtain certain files from Eversource Energy including street light asset inventory, maintenance history and Eversource's proposed acquisition costs.
The audit will also look into the financial, operational, and energy analyses of the feasibility for implementing the program. The report will include existing conditions of the lights, projected costs, expected energy and maintenance savings, financing options and a proposed implementation plan.
Councilman Duane Perkins noted that some lighting have power that goes to a ballaster and could be redirected to a bulb. Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says they will likely be replacing the complete cobra head to a modern, efficient LED fixture which has a long lifespan and gives better illumination.
A former Bethel Volunteer firefighter is among a dozen inductees this year into the State of Connecticut Firefighter Hall of Fame. The Connecticut State Firefighters Association has released the list of firefighters who have contributed to the betterment of the Fire Service on a local state or national level.
Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Department announced that Past Chief Jon Menti is one of the inductees. Menti served more than 40 years in the volunteer fire service and was an adjunct Connecticut Fire Academy instructor for over 20 years.
Laurence Ford of Redding, who passed away in May at the age of 93, is being inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously. He was a research engineer for the National Board of Fire Underwriters. He served as the Fire Service Coordinator, as well as the Director of Fire Training Programs for the Connecticut State Technical Colleges. He was appointed to the Connecticut Advisory Committee on Emergency Medical Services by Governor Ella Grasso. He founded and served as the first president of the Connecticut Fireman’s Historical Society.
Ford was an active member of Redding Fire Company, #1, where he began his service as a volunteer firefighter in 1940 and served as both the Company’s Fire Marshall and Fire Commissioner. He was also an Emergency Medical Technician. As a Chairman of the Redding Emergency Communications Board, he was instrumental in bringing “911” communications to Redding.
An awards ceremony is being held in April.
Class of 2016 Inductees:
Fred Dudek, Jr., Killingworth
Laurence Ford, Redding (posthumous)
James E. Kiley, Newingtown (posthumous)
Ronald L. Littell, Sr., Tolland
Kevin R. McKeon, West Shore (West Haven)
Jon Menti, Stony Hill
Jeffrey Morrissette, Wethersfield (Fire Admin)
John E. Obier, Jr., North Haven (posthumous)
Gary M. Parker, Derby
Charles Perrotti, North Canaan
Kenneth W. Richards, Jr., Olde Mystic
MARICOPA, Ariz. (AP) — A former president of a major aircraft manufacturer was one of the two people killed after their World War II-era plane crashed and burned near the town of Maricopa.
Pilot Jeffrey Pino, 61, was formerly the president of Sikorsky Aircraft, a Connecticut-based aircraft manufacturer. The second victim was identified as 72-year-old Nickolas Tramontano of Brookfield, Connecticut, Mark Clark of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office said.
"The Sikorsky family is saddened to learn of the sudden loss of former President Jeff Pino. We extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers of sympathy and support to his family and friends during this difficult time," current president Dan Schultz said in a statement posted on the company's website.
Schultz said Pino, who last lived in Chandler, Arizona, was Sikorsky's president from 2006 to 2012, during which he "brought personal energy and passion for aviation innovation to our industry."
"We remember Jeff as a leader, pioneer, innovator and advocate. May his family be comforted by the lasting impression and legacy Jeff has left behind," Schultz said. Last year, Lockheed Martin bought Sikorsky Aircraft, which, among other things, makes the U.S. military's Black Hawk helicopter, for $9 billion.
Preliminary information on the Friday crash indicated the plane was a P-51D Mustang, a type of single-engine American fighter used during World War II, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.
The spokesman said the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash in Maricopa, which is about 35 miles south of Phoenix.
An underage drinking enforcement operation was held over the weekend by New York State Police. Retail establishments in Somers, North Salem and elsewhere were checked with the help of a 19-year old volunteer. The teen was observed by plainclothes investigators and supported by uniformed troopers.
Two clerks sold beer to the volunteer and were arrested. 23-year old Colin Rose of North Salem, who is employed by a Shell gas station in Lewisboro, and 24-year old Karen Monroy of Carmel, who is employed as a Shell station in North Salem.
Their employers face possible civil penalties by the New York State Liquor Authority.
Retail establishments in Putnam County were also checked this weekend. All seven retail establishments were found to be compliant with state laws. The State Police were assisted by the Carmel Police Department.
The New York State Liquor Authority routinely conducts underage drinking enforcement operations in an effort to curb alcohol abuse and DWI incidents among teenagers.
A Danbury man has been struck and killed by a car. Danbury Police responded to the area of 14 Newtown Road on Saturday night on a report of a serious motor vehicle collision.
Police determined that 44-year old Eric Lucas was walking near the center line of the roadway and was struck by a driver who reported not seeing him. Police say 74-year old Joan Ledoux struck Lucas with the front driver's side of her car.
Lucas was transported to Danbury Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
This collision is under investigation by the Danbury Police Department’s Traffic Division.
Danbury officials are learning more about the unmanned aerial project the Fire Department is looking to take on. The Department received a donation of $9,000 for the drone project. The donor asked to remain anonymous, and was made in memory of the late Michael Kallas. Kallas passed away in June. He had served as President of the Lions Club, and during that tenure in 2012 the Lions raised funds to replace a broken thermal image camera for the Danbury Fire Department.
Councilman Warren Levy says Kallas was a model citizen, a successful businessman who provided housing for hundreds of people. He volunteered his time to his church and the community.
Anonymous donations are rare on the Council's agenda, but the City does know who this donor is. Council Minority Leader Tom Saadi says he has in the past voted against some anonymous donations because the individual may have applications before land use departments or enforcement actions against them. But he says that's not the case here, there is no conflict. Saadi says they appreciate the efforts of this donor.
Fire Chief TJ Wiedl said they are very appreciative and have privately thanked the donor.
The drone will be able to carry a thermal imaging camera. Wiedl says some departments in the state have used the drones to help put fire out, but Danbury hasn't gotten to that point yet.
Eventually a few people on each crew will have to be trained on how to properly fly the drone. As for repairs if something happens to the drone, it would be on the city to pay for the expense. Danbury will own the drone outright and it will be the first municipally registered drone.
A drone was used during the ice rescue training operation at the Town Park on Tuesday. Wiedl says it's useful because the Department can go back and look at the video after the fact and make improvements. They can use the drone for possible rescues, especially at Tarrywile Park. Wiedl says there are a lot of lost hikers there for some reason.
A drone was also used during the Christmas fire on Main Street. The drone was in the air during almost all of the response. The Fire Department got permission from the air control tower at Danbury Municipal Airport, and the device was flown at about 300 feet in the air.
Governor Dannel Malloy's budget chief appeared before the legislature's Appropriations Committee this week after Malloy unveiled his budget. The panel began its process of going through the revised spending plan. Bridgewater state Senator Rob Kane questioned the across the board 5.7 percent spending cut approach. He says it takes a larger sword to the budget versus going line item by line item.
Barnes says there is a focus to the proposals, core services. He called it a wholesale change in agency operations.
Kane questioned where the structural changes to the state budget were. Barnes responded that the state is no longer looking at the future in a doomsday way that the current services model suggests.
Kane's district includes Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Oxford, Seymour, Roxbury, Washington, and Woodbury.
A public hearing is being held this morning in Ridgefield. Residents are being called on to voice their opinion about whether bikes should be allowed on the rail trail. The public hearing is at 10am at Ridgefield Town Hall. There will also be hearing on the 17th at 7:30pm.
The plan is to make the trail safe for bicyclists, walkers and runners. Among the expected work that's needed is barriers that would protect people who lose control from going down embankments. The larger goal is to connect the area to other trails around the Parks and Rec property.
The land is owned by Eversource Energy and there is an environmental cap on the property, and the utility has yet to say whether bicycles will be allowed on the trail.
A Warren man has been convicted of murder for a 2012 home invasion. 28-year old Niraj Patel was convicted on all nine counts against him. Patel and two others were charged for breaking into the Sharon home of 23-year old Lucas Vitalis, and tying up his mother. The man was found dead of a gunshot wound. Prosecutors accused Patel of setting up a fake drug deal in an attempt to get money to pay an attorney who was representing him on drug charges.
Patel could face a total of 200 years in prison when he is sentenced April 15th.
27-year old Hiral Patel, of Branford, and 29-year old Michael Calabrese, of Warren, are each charged with felony murder, home invasion, first-degree kidnapping with a firearm, first-degree robbery and hindering prosecution.
28-year old Shyam Patel of Warren was also arrested and charged with tampering with physical evidence and hindering prosecution.
The Kent Center School Board of Education met Thursday night, but a proposal from the Board of Selectmen was not one of the specific agenda items.
The town officials voted two to one Wednesday to present information about the "FASTER Saves Lives" program to the Board of Ed. The Newstimes reports that the Board of Ed Chairman says they will not consider the proposal to arm staff at the pre-K through 8th grade school with guns, noting that the proposal was not discussed with them before the vote. The Board chairman continued by saying they are not in support of bringing firearms into the school, but should they wish to consider it in the future, they would fully engage the public following both the law and best practices.
The nonprofit program would provide trauma kits and firearms training to school personnel in the event of a hostile act or intrusion.
Governor Dannel Malloy says he felt compelled to comment publicly about the situation. Malloy said he's particularly concerned that the program would also allow anonymous volunteers to carry weapons at school. It offers 26 hours of training during a three-day class in Ohio. He added that no school system in the state of Connecticut should be allowed to do this. Malloy says this would put children in more danger, not less.
Kent is patrolled by a Resident State Trooper.
A fire in Southbury has destroyed two units at Heritage Village. Firefighters responded to Cedar Circle around 4:30 Friday morning for the two-alarm blaze at the senior community. Emergency responders saw flames coming from the roof of a duplex. There were no reported injuries. Mutual aid from Oxford, Roxbury, Sandy Hook and Middlebury was provided. The American Red Cross is providing assistance to the displaced residents.
(Photo Courtesy: Bernie Meehan, Facebook)
There was a two-alarm fire on Locust Avenue in Danbury. The fire was reported around 2:40pm Friday and brought under control by 3:15pm. One person was home at the time and reportedly able to get out of the house as firefighters arrived.
Assistant Chief Mark Omasta says crews found fire in the basement of 42 Locust Avenue. The flames extended up to the attic through the walls, causing extensive damage.
There were no reported injuries. The American Red Cross is evaluating the needs for assistance to three occupants who have temporarily been displaced.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Department Engine 3 provided mutual aid.
A Carmel man has been arrested on a number of charges following a domestic dispute. The Putnam County Sheriff's Office responded to a physical fight at a Carmel home early last Sunday morning. A woman reported that her boyfriend choked, punched and pulled her hair. The claims were substantiated.
A deputy further determined that the man, 53-year old Emile Latuheru, was in possession of cocaine and marijuana. He was charged with criminal obstruction of breathing, assault, criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana.
Latuheru was held for arraignment.