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New Fairfield residents are being called on to attend a Special Town meeting Wednesday night.  The town meeting is being held to seek New Fairfield resident's approval for accepting a donation to the senior center. 

 

The donation of a home theater system and its installation is valued at nearly $13,500.  The surround sound speakers and big screen are being donated by the Esposito family, led by their recent high school graduate.  Mike Esposito raised money as part of a service project while in his senior year at New Fairfield High School. 

 

The Town Meeting is being held at 7pm in the community room.

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As work continues on the natural gas expansion project in Wilton, a gas main was struck this morning.  The main valve was shut off and Eversource Energy responded to the scene.  They determined that there were no hazards. 

 

Wolfpit Road was reopened by 9:30, and construction crews are continuing their work.  That construction is expected to last through out the week from 7am to 7pm each week day. 

 

Eversource started the natural gas pipeline expansion in June.  Phase 2 includes installation of 3,100 feet of underground pipeline in an effort to supply reliable, clean, safe, affordable and stably priced natural gas to the Miller-Driscoll School.

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A Danbury man has pleaded guilty to stealing more than a quarter million dollars from investors.  Authorities say 22-year old Alexander Bergen operated a company that bought electronics and other items at a low price and then resold them to customers at a higher price.  Bergen promised investors a return on their investment after a specific period of time, and that their money would be used to buy items to be sold by CT Wholesale. 

 

He receive more than $300,000 from 10 investors.  Despite having written agreements with some about the use of their money, that's not what happened. 

 

Authorities say Bergen used about $150,000 in 2013 to pay off personal credit cards.  The bills were for fine dining, travel and high-end retail purchases.  Bergen returned less than $40,000 to his investors, who collectively lost about $286,000. 

 

Bergen pleaded guilty yesterday and is set to be scheduled October 14th.  Bergen faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $500,000 and an order of restitution.

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The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission is continuing the process of finding the best parcel of land for whatever memorial may be built in Newtown to honor the 26 lives lost on 12-14.  The Commission has looked at some town and state owned property, but is also seeking private land donation offers as well. 

 

The Newtown Bee reports that a subcommittee of the Commission has set a deadline of August 28th for the donation intents. 

 

The Commission previously laid out some criteria for the land.  It includes being secluded but accessible to infrastructure, a natural setting and close to Sandy Hook.  The group is looking to create a short list of possibilities and hopes to chose one by the end of the year.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The families of more than a dozen victims of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting would split $1.5 million under proposed settlements of lawsuits against the estate of the gunman's mother.

The lawsuits accuse Nancy Lanza of failing to properly secure her legally owned Bushmaster AR-15 rifle. Her son, 20-year-old Adam, used the rifle to kill 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 after fatally shooting his mother.

The settlement proposals were disclosed in probate court documents filed Monday and first reported by The Hartford Courant. Lawyer Joshua Koskoff represents several families and told The Associated Press that about 16 families suing Nancy Lanza's estate would evenly split the $1.5 million if a judge approves the plan.

The families also are suing gun maker Bushmaster.

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NEW YORK (AP) A New York federal appeals court wants the Connecticut Supreme Court to say what it thinks of a $41.5 million jury award to the family of a student injured on a trip to China.  The girl attended the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent two questions Monday to the Connecticut high court.

It asked whether the state's public policy requires schools to warn or protect against serious insect-borne disease when it organizes trips abroad.

It also asked whether the amount awarded is appropriate when most of it is for non-economic damages.

A jury awarded the damages after a 15-year-old girl at a private boarding school in March 2007 contracted tick-borne encephalitis during a school trip to China. The school had argued that it could not have foreseen the dangers.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut man linked by federal authorities to The French Connection heroin ring that spawned an Oscar-winning film of the same name is fighting to have a new drug case against him dismissed, even though he's pleaded guilty.

 

Seventy-four-year-old Alfred Catino, of Danbury, was among 16 people busted in Connecticut in 2012 for distributing marijuana, cocaine and oxycodone in Fairfield County. He pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge last year and faces seven to nine years in prison.

 

Catino says in motions pending in federal court in Bridgeport that wiretap and arrest warrants in his case were based on misleading information provided by federal investigators. Prosecutors deny the allegations.

 

The French Connection was the major supplier of heroin to the United States in the 1960s and early 1970s.

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Gun control advocates are calling on major U.S. gun retailers to voluntarily follow a background check process on gun sales they say could prevent tragedies such as the Charleston Church Shootings.  Cabellas, EZPawn and Bass Pro Shops are being urged to follow Wal-Mart's lead and refuse to sell a gun to anyone until a background check is complete.  

 

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty says a federal law loophole allows a sale to proceed if a check is not completed in three days.  Even though the Charleston shooter had a criminal record that should have been flagged, the sale was allowed to go through because of the three day rule.

 

Connecticut already requires a completed background check, no 3 day time limit.

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A Brewster man has been sentenced for violently raping a woman while her young son was in the home.  A judge has sentenced 43-year old Victor Cruz Garcia to 25 years in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release.  The Brewster man was also ordered Wednesday to register as a sex offender. 

 

Cruz Garcia was charged with rape, criminal sexual act and endangering the welfare of a child for the November 2013 incident at a Kent, New York home.  Police say the woman's child was in another room when Cruz Garcia raped her in a vicious attack.  When she broke free, he threatened to harm her and her family if she contacted police. 

 

He threw food and bottles of alcohol at the door she and the 5-year old were hiding behind.

 

Police officers are being credited with a quick response and making the woman feel safe enough to disclose the attack.  A Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy commended the victim for her ``immense bravery'' in helping law enforcers achieve the conviction.

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World War II veterans are being recognized in a special ceremony this month in Danbury.  The Danbury Council of Veterans' 70th Anniversary and Remembrance Ceremony is being held at the Danbury War Memorial Rose Garden on August 15th.  The ceremony is at 10am.

 

The Catholic War Veterans is hosting the event.  Organizer Tom Saadi says they want to honor the living World War II veterans of Greater Danbury area, 55 have come forward so far.  A large number of those service members will be attending the event.

 

The names of the 103 servicemen from Danbury who lost their lives during World War II will be read aloud.

 

Certificates will be presented to living World War II veterans who are a member of a Danbury veterans post, a resident of New Fairfield, Brookfield, Bethel, Redding or Ridgefield, or were born in Danbury.  The deadline to submit a name is Wednesday. 

 

The CWV WWII Host Committee Members are Commander Richard Raymond, and members Al Mead and Saadi. 

 

Name, branch of service, dates of service, email address and phone number can be sent via email tomsaadi@aol.com or called in to 203-797-1797.

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A Wilton woman has been arrested on a larceny charge over allegations she stole an SAT exam from Wilton High School on the day of the test.  50-year old Laura Garbuz was charged Monday. 

 

The theft was reported on June 6th, and Garbuz was identified through school surveillance video. 

 

Police say the woman walked into the room where the test was being given, speaking to the facilitator.  The man was called out of the room and she was asked to wait in the lobby, but she allegedly told a proctor that she too was a proctor and needed a test booklet.  Garbuz then left Wilton High School. 

 

She was released on bond for an appearance in court on the 14th.

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The second phase of a Distracted Driving Enforcement began today and continues through Sunday, August 16th.  During this time frame, dedicated patrols will be deployed on Brookfield roads and elsewhere in participating towns to enforce distracted driving laws.  Brookfield Police are using enhanced spotter patrol enforcement units. 

 

Statewide, the state Department of Transportation reported an 8 percent decline in drivers using cell phones while on the road following an effort in April cracking down on the illegal use.  Officials say this shows that there is a need for sustain enforcement to remind drivers of the rules of the road. 

 

The Brookfield Police Department said in a statement that they are committed to the tactic of high visibility enforcement, of distracted driving laws, as a way to reduce roadway crashes due to distracted driving.  Many of these distracted driving related crashes result in serious injury and property damage and any effort to reduce their frequency and severity will benefit all motorists in town.  

 

This $18,075.00 grant to Brookfield provides money to support officer overtime, for targeted special enforcement of distracted driving laws on Town Roads.

 

Several other area towns are also participating in this enforcement effort.  State Police Troopers will also be patrolling the highways looking for distracted drivers.

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The Region 12 school district is looking to apply for grant money to create a new Agriscience STEM Academy.  Washington State Representative Arthur O'Neill says the grant would be for 95-percent of the cost to create the Academy at Shepaug Valley High School. 

 

This academy will add 50 to 60 students per year, with up to 240 students by the 4th year of the program being in operation.  He says that would create a more stable school population for Region 12 going forward.  While other nearby Agriscience STEM Academies have reached their capacity, this would allow students from the Greater Danbury and New Milford areas to study in the field.

 

Students from Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Sherman and Washington could pursue studies in this field.  Sending districts would also pay tuition and provide transportation for the students they select. 

 

Additionally, all agriscience students, including Washington students, would be subsidized by the state to cover part of the costs involved.  Yearly grants provided by the state would be used to cover operating expenses and materials needed going forward.

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Ridgefield Police are applying for arrest warrants for two people they say are responsible for damage caused to the East Ridge north ball field last month. 

 

This comes as another field in Ridgefield was vandalized.  Officers were called to Shadow Lake baseball field yesterday and determined that a vehicle or vehicles drove on the field, causing considerable damage.  Police are investigating to determine a time frame of when the damage occurred. 

 

(Shadow Lake)

 

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 203-438-6531. 

 

Police have not said if the damage at the two field is related. 

 

The damage at East Ridge was caused in July 11th.

 

(East Ridge north field)

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There were two serious motorcycle accidents yesterday in the area, one fatal.  Wilton police say a motorcyclist was killed last night in an accident on Route 7.  Police say the accident happened near the intersection of Westport Road shortly after 7pm. 

 

There was no other vehicle involved in the accident.  No other details have been released. 

 

State police responded to an accident in Sherman yesterday afternoon.  A motorcyclist tried to pass on the left side of a a car on Route 39 as the driver was making a left into a driveway.  The car and bike collided. 

 

Police say the motorcyclist was airlifted to Hartford Hospital with serious injuries.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The families of more than a dozen victims of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting would split $1.5 million under proposed settlements of lawsuits against the estate of the gunman's mother.

 

The lawsuits accuse Nancy Lanza of failing to properly secure her legally owned Bushmaster AR-15 rifle. Her son, 20-year-old Adam, used the rifle to kill 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 after fatally shooting his mother.

 

The settlement proposals were disclosed in probate court documents filed Monday and first reported by The Hartford Courant. Lawyer Joshua Koskoff represents several families and told The Associated Press that about 16 families suing Nancy Lanza's estate would evenly split the $1.5 million if a judge approves the plan.

 

The families also are suing gun maker Bushmaster.

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Two items are up for a vote in Brookfield tonight at a Special Town Meeting. 

 

Brookfield officials are asking residents for more money to complete the Still River Greenway project.  $396,000 is being sought, in addition to the $2.4 million approved last year.  Total bonding for the project will be about $560,000 if the remaining amount is approved tonight.  The balance of the project is being paid for through state and federal grants. 

 

The cost covers both design nand construction of the 8,500 foot multi-use trail. 

 

The other item being decided on tonight is accepting little more than $798,000 in state grant money.  The LOCIP funds are for roadway and streetscape improvements at the intersection of Routes 202 and 25. 

 

The Special Town Meeting will be held at 7pm in Meeting Room 133 of Brookfield Town Hall.

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Danbury Library cardholders can now “check out” the internet.  Mobile Wi-Fi hotspots will allow more patrons to check out an iPad or Roku box.  Digital Services Librarian Katharine Chung says the two hotspots have a two year contract, and are being paid for by the FRIENDS of the Danbury Library.  They can be checked out for two week spans.

 

Chung says this will give library customers home access to the library’s digital resources such as eBooks, streaming music, and movies.  She hopes this initiative will help bridge the digital gap in the community so students can do homework and projects, and employees can travel with reliable internet access to meetings and presentations.

 

The library does distribute a policy about the use, late fees and replacement costs.  Patrons must be 18 years or older to check them out, so parents will be responsible for the device.  The late fine is $10 a day, and the replacement cost is about $200

 

 

Danbury Library's technology lending program is expanding elsewhere as well.  The Library will be adding more iPads to its collection, including some Early Literacy iPads, some in Spanish, and Long-Loan iPads that can be checked out for a longer period of time.

 

Amazon Kindles will begin circulating soon, pre-loaded with popular titles and as well as selections from the Danbury High School summer reading list.  Kindles will be available for checkout by students under 18 with a signed parental permission form.

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5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty was in Danbury Friday to celebrate a Medicare expansion that she says will allow patients to gain access to hospice services while continuing to undergo treatment.  She discussed the expansion at Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western Connecticut.  It's one of only 140 hospice centers nationwide, and the only one in Connecticut, to be chosen to be part of this initiative.  Esty says the facility was selected from 6,000 applicants to be part of this initiative.

 

Regional Hospice is also one of only 70 facilities across the country that will be accepting patients and participating in the program for the full five year pilot program.

 

Medicare enacted a hospice benefit in the 1980s for 180 days of hospice care, but it was with a requirement that a hospice patient couldn't also be receiving active treatment.  Esty says chemo and radiation therapy for example, was even more grueling and brutal than it is today. She called it a horrible choice for families and patients of getting the support of hospice around end of life and giving up all treatment, or continuing treatment without support services.  Psychologically and emotionally, Esty says that's not acceptable.

 

Esty says there are more frequent medical discoveries and a lot of interest by people who are very sick, that something could transform their chances of survival.

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A search last night of the Housatonic River near Lovers Leap State Park was called off after no signs of a missing person were found.  The search began around 3:30 yesterday afternoon when a hiker said they found bikes hanging from trees off a cliff above the water. 

 

New Milford police said clothing and a backpack were found in the same area. 

 

Brookfield Police and fire assisted the New Milford police dive team in the search.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection took over around 5pm with EnCon police searching with a K9 unit and a boat.  The Water Witch Hose Co. No. 2, Bridgewater Volunteer Fire Department, and Lake Lillinonah Authority boats responded.

 

DEEP Spokesman Dennis Schain says there were no signs of anyone in the water, and there was no missing persons reports filed.

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Trailer for "Boulevard"...Robin Williams' final on-screen performance.

 

 

Prince George kisses sister Princess Charlotte at her christening.

(Photo courtesy Duchess of Cambridge)

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