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Big shopping days can be a prime time for thieves to strike, and not just those looking to steal your identity.  If you plan to take advantage of late night or early morning shopping this holiday weekend, Danbury Police are reminding you not to carry so may bags that you become an easy target for someone who may want to assault or rob you.  Police stress keeping parked vehicles locked and removing all valuables because several area towns have reported an increase in thefts from unlocked motor vehicles in recent months.  Area police departments are urging people to use caution and to be aware of surroundings while shopping. 

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Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. Danbury Fire officials say kitchen fires are the number one reason for fires in single-and-two family homes across the country.  They are mostly due to unattended cooking.  Danbury Fire officials say deep frying turkeys is a popular cooking method on Thanksgiving, but it's dangerous.  Too often people try this in their garage, but it they say it should be done far from the house, and not on a wooden deck.  That's so if the fryer does tip over, the fire will not spread to the house. Grease is also a scalding issue if it splashes out of the fryer.

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State Police ramped up their efforts as of late Tuesday night to keep highways safe during the holiday rush.  Additional Troopers will be on patrol throughout the long Thanksgiving weekend, focusing on aggressive drivers, unsafe drivers, and drunk drivers.  Preventive enforcement initiatives such as roving DUI patrols will be in effect.  State Police are calling on residents to remind all young people, especially college students returning home for the holiday weekend, of the laws about alcohol consumption and drinking and driving.  Traditional and non-traditional patrol cars will be used to observe traffic and issue tickets to reckless and distracted drivers during stepped up patrols through Sunday.

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Metro-North is stuffed with service for the Thanksgiving holiday. Off-peak fares will be in effect through Sunday.  Gate-ticket collection is in place on days when there is an expected surge in train riders. This is done to make sure customers are getting on the right trains before departing Grand Central. 

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A swastika was reportedly found drawn on a classroom door at Ridgefield High School yesterday.  The Ridgefield Press reports that this is the second incident this school year, and the 5th finding since this time last year.  A swastika was found etched into a table in September.  The Principal says a full investigation has just been completed and reported to the Ridgefield Police School Resource Officer.  The vandalism was discussed by First Selectman Rudy Marconi at last night's Board of Finance meeting.  He noted that there will be a meeting held on December 5th at the Lier Center focusing on tolerance and anti-defamation.

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The Danbury City Council has signed off on a legal settlement over alleged dumping of untreated sewage into the Limekiln Brook and Still River. 

 

The City will pay a $100,000 penalty to the United States and has agreed to report all sewage discharges to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. 

 

A system-wide program to inspect, clean, and maintain the wastewater collection system must also be developed and implemented.  Danbury must also create and enforce a regulatory program to stop restaurant and food establishment discharges of Fats, Oils, and Grease which lead to sewage blockages and spills.

 

The settlement stems from a complaint filed by the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Rivers Alliance of Connecticut, and Friends of the Lake.  The allegation is that sewage was discharged into Beaver Brook and Padanaram Brook, polluting the waterways with disease-causing bacteria.  

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A Republican seeking the gubernatorial nomination has gotten a donation from the ex-wife of Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.  The New Haven Register reports that Phyllis Boughton gave $100 September 30th to his potential rival, Tim Herbst.  The Mayor said in the published report that Phyllis owns a kitchen and bath remodeling business and that Herbst and his parents had their kitchens remodeled by the business.  She filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences, last March.  The spilt was finalized last November.

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Construction will be occurring in Bethel over the next few weeks on School Street.  The road may be reduced to one lane of traffic at times.  Officials say efforts will be made to limit disruption to businesses along School Street.

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A local restaurant is holding a community event tomorrow so that no one has to spend Thanksgiving alone.  Three Brothers Diner in Danbury is offering free dinner from 1pm to 4pm tomorrow as a way to give back and say thanks to the community.  The White Street restaurant is accepting food pantry donations, though a donation is not required.

 

A 40th annual Thanksgiving event took place at a Danbury school yesterday.  Students from the Alternative Center for Excellence in Danbury spent most of the day serving up a traditional Thanksgiving meal to members of the community as a way showing their appreciation.

 

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company are reminding people to cook with care.  Thanksgiving historically is one of the busiest days for Fire and EMS calls.  Although they say they love to see the community, firefighters would prefer it be during Kids Day in June rather than in the middle of a smoky kitchen on Thanksgiving.

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A Ridgefield man is facing a number of charges after New York State Police conducting a welfare check found him in possession of an illegal loaded firearm and a small amount of cocaine.  Police responded to Route 6 at Starr Ridge Road in Southeast shortly after midnight Saturday and found 22-year old Peter Shirvell unconscious behind the wheel of his vehicle, near the entrance of the Shell gas station. 

 

When Troopers attempted to place him into custody, he physically resisted. 

 

Shirvell was arraigned and ordered held at Putnam County Jail on bond for a Court appearance December 5th.  He faces up to 15 years in State Prison if convicted of a weapons possession count.  

 

Shirvell was also charged with Criminal Possession of a Firearm, Driving While Intoxicated, Resisting Arrest, Obstruction of Governmental Administration, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Disorderly Conduct.

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Former New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman has filed exploratory committee paperwork with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.  Chapman's term ended yesterday.  She plans to focus on the 2018 Lt Governor race, but is open to looking at other positions as well.  Chapman said in a statement that the current administration hasn't advocated for municipal needs.  She also cited the two highest tax increases, businesses leaving the state and unfunded mandates pushed onto cities and towns.  In addition to First Selectman, Chapman served on the New Fairfield Planning Commission and in a leadership role in the Western Connecticut Council of Governments regional planning agency. 

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The state Department of Consumer Protection and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services are calling on families to check their medicine cabinets before Thanksgiving tomorrow in order to dispose of unneeded medication, and secure the medication they need. 

 

The officials say emptying medicine cabinets is one small, but important way to make sure guests have a safe holiday. 

 

DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon says the majority of people misusing prescription medications get them from family and friends.  Local drug collection boxes to dispose of unneeded medication include ones at the Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, Newtown, Ridgefield and Redding police stations.  State Police Troop A in Southbury also hosts a collection box.

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The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission has cancelled their planned December meeting.  As of their last gathering, the group received 146 registrations from people who want to submit a memorial design.  The registrations are from 17 states and about a quarter coming from 18 different countries.  About half of the domestic registrations are from Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts.  Approximately 100 guided site walks have been led by the Commission for registered designers.  A drone video and digital walking tour are posted on the Commission's website.

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Enbridge-Algonquin Gas Transmission has donated $32,000 to the Danbury Fire Department for their Utility Terrain Vehicle project. 

 

The money will be used to purchase a UTV which can provide a wide variety of uses and applications.  It can be used for search and rescue operations for lost persons in rugged terrain, emergency medical evacuation from remote locations and wildland firefighting. 

 

Mayor Mark Boughton joked that it's a token from the company, considering they are putting in a 70-foot wide pipe through the middle of the City.  Much of the project is replacing existing pipeline with one larger in diameter. 

 

Algonquin started the work at the Southeast Compressor Station and has extended into Danbury. The new pipeline crosses near the Still River, a railroad line, and Mill Plain Road. The replacement segment would end at their existing compressor site east of Clapboard Ridge Road.

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The Danbury Fire Department has received a donation of $10,000 to fund the drone project.  The donor asked the department to remain anonymous, but it was made in memory of the late Michael Kallas. 

 

The donation will be used to equip the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle with a thermal imaging camera.  Drones have a number of uses in the fire service with the ability to provide situational awareness such as live aerial feeds of fires or large scale incidents, pre-planning information and to search for lost persons in rugged terrain. 

 

Councilman Warren Levy says Kallas had top secret clearance and was a team leader on the first spy satellite that came out of PerkinElmer.

 

Kallas was active in the raising of funds to obtain a thermal imagining camera presented to the Danbury Fire Department on behalf of the Danbury Lions Club.

 

He was a member of the Friends of the Danbury Museum and Historical Society and was a past board member, Danbury Hospital Development Fund, Danbury Downtown Council and a former corporator of the Union Savings Bank.

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A New Jersey man sustained minor injuries in yesterday's rollover truck accident in Danbury.  State Police say 40-year old Rafael Martinez was headed westbound on I-84 shortly before 5:30am when he veered left into the cement jersey barrier. 

 

The truck rolled onto it's driver's side and Martinez had to be extricated by Danbury firefighters. 

 

The accident between exits 3 and 2 closed multiple lanes and caused massive traffic ties ups back into Newtown.  The vehicle wasn't cleared from the scene until several hours later and traffic eased around noon. 

 

Martinez was treated and released from the Emergency Department yesterday. 

 

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded to clean up a fuel leak.

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Kent and Gaylordsville volunteer rescuers and EMTs responded to the scene of a hiker with a leg injury along the Appalachian Trail Sunday. The hiker was located near a remote campsite high up along the Schaghticoke ridgeline.  Officials say their four-wheel drive Gator rescue vehicle significantly shorten the response times for the wilderness rescue and allowed crews to drive a patient out of the woods rather than carry the patient out.

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The City of Danbury has been awarded a $1.3 million state grant to demolish and remediate the former Mallory Hat Factory on Rose Hill Avenue.  The 3.7-acre site will be given to the Women's Center of Greater Danbury for $1.  The organization will turn the property into a residential facility for women and children in transition. 

 

The Women's Center hired an environmental engineer to assess the property, and it was determined that the clean up will cost $700,00 to $800,000.  Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola will oversee and manage the clean up. Once it's certified for use, and the City Council gives the ok, the City can transfer the property to the Women's Center.

 

The Women's Center raised $4 million in capital fund to build the transitional housing.  The group has provided a safe haven to victims of domestic and sexual violence since its founding in 1975. The Center serves 20,000 people in northern Fairfield and southern Litchfield Counties each year.

 

Governor Dannel Malloy says brownfield sites have been vacant for decades and cause blight in neighborhoods, drain local resources, and have a negative impact on municipalities.  For every dollar the state has invested in brownfield redevelopment, non-state partners have invested or will invest $11.41. Since 2012, the State of Connecticut has invested more than $220 million in brownfield redevelopment, resulting in the creation of more than 3,000 permanent jobs and over 15,000 construction jobs in the state.

 

Mayor Mark Boughton believes a viaduct under the property is near 100 years old.  He says no business is likely to be interested in the land because they wouldn't be able to build over that structure. The viaduct limits the build-ability to about 2.5 acres. Danbury issued several requests for proposals from businesses over the years, but there weren't any takers. At one point, the owner of nearby Fairfield Processing asked the City to hold off on looking into bids because they were thinking about expanding. Those plans have since changed because their business changed. 

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The body of a scuba diver has been recovered from in the former Tilly Foster iron mine in Southeast.  48-year old Robert Thomas of Jersey City, New Jersey, was described as a very experienced technical diver who had gone into the mine many times before.  His body was recovered by the New York State Police dive team, using sonar and camera equipment.  Preliminary reports indicate that Thomas may have become entangled in wires or cables on the bottom of the flooded mine shaft in about 171 feet of water.  The bottom of the old mine is littered with wrecked cars and trucks, old mining equipment and other debris.  An autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of Thomas’ death.  The mine was flooded after a major collapse in 1895 killed 13 miners.

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The New Milford Town Council was set to take up more than 100 appointments to boards and commissions at their meeting last night.  But there were three Republicans and three Democrats in attendance leading to a deadlock.  Outgoing Democratic Mayor David Gronbach was replacing people whose terms are expiring next week or filling vacancies.  Five of the more than 100 nominations lost positions in the municipal election, but the Newstimes reports that the most contentious was the proposed appointment of Gronbach's wife Vanessa to the Ethics Commission.  She would be an “unaffiliated” appointee even though she was registered as a Democrat until recently.  The published report notes that former Republican Mayor Pat Murphy made 124 appointments in her last two meetings before Gronbach took office.

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