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Newtown municipal offices will close for about 15 minutes on December 14th for a moment of silence and reflection to honor those killed at Sandy Hook School in 2012.  First Selectman Pat Llodra said in a memo to the Nwetown Bee that there is a mutual commitment that 12-14 will never be forgotten, and that the town will honor the children and educators each year to keep their memories alive.  No work will take place in Newtown departments from 9:30am to 9:45, and the public is being asked to respect this period by not entering municipal spaces at that time.

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The operators of a sober living home are speaking out after a man staying there was busted on charges that included operating a drug factory.  Nexus House operators say the drug-free structured environment is a place for men who have successfully completed an inpatient treatment program.  They say in an op-ed to the Easton Courier that unfortunately Cavan Devine's addiction was extremely overwhelming. 

 

Residents are drug tested regularly, without prior notice, and staff searches personal belongings whenever suspicions arise. 

 

Nexus House officials say they contacted police when they had trouble removing Devine for non-compliance.  When his belongings were removed the next day, the cache of drugs were discovered.

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A Sherman man who spent 48 years as a fugitive after escaping from a Georgia prison has died.  71-year-old Robert Stackowitz fought successfully to block the state's efforts to return him to Georgia where he fled a prison work camp in 1968 while serving a 17-year sentence for robbery. 

 

His attorney said at the time that Stackowitz had major health problems and any prison time would amount to a death sentence.  He suffered from bladder cancer, congestive heart failure, diabetes and other ailments.  The Courant reports that Stackowitz died Monday at the hospital. 

 

Stackowitz was arrested last May after authorities tracked him down when he applied for social security benefits.  He lived in Sherman under the name Bob Gordon, ran a boat repair business and at one time, taught at Henry Abbott Technical High School.

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A new Police Chief has been named in Brookfield.  The Police Commission's recommendation to promote Major Jay Purcell was unanimously approved by the Board of Selectmen on Monday.  He will begin that job January 1st.  

 

Chief Montgomery will retire December 31st after 16 years leading the Brookfield Police Department.  For his service in Vietnam, Montgomery was awarded two Purple Hearts and the Navy Cross, America's second highest medal for "extreme gallantry and heroism in combat." 

 

On 8 June 1969, while Second Lieutenant Montgomery was leading the advance party to a previously selected battalion command post site, the Marines were pinned down in an open rice paddy by a heavy volume of mortar, antitank rocket, and automatic weapons fire from enemy troops occupying well-fortified emplacements. Realizing the need for immediate action, Second Lieutenant Montgomery crawled close to the enemy lines and, pinpointing several principal sources of hostile fire, stood in full view of the enemy soldiers as he initiated an aggressive assault against the nearest machine-gun position, destroying it and silencing the fire from that sector. Although seriously wounded during this action, and suffering intense pain, he again braved the enemy fusillade to single-handedly destroy a machine-gun position occupied by several of the enemy. Weakened by loss of blood and the severity of his wounds, he was unable to continue his combat efforts.

 

The citation continues by saying that his heroic and determined actions so inspired his vastly outnumbered men that they surged forward and fought through the enemy lines. By his courage, aggressive fighting spirit and unfaltering devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Second Lieutenant Montgomery contributed significantly to the defeat of the enemy force and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

 

Montgomery went on to serve 26 years as a special agent with the FBI, and interviewed President Ronald Reagan after he was shot in 1981.

 

Montgomery was inducted into the state to the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame for his post-military achievements.  He is a founding member of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, which created the Armed Forces Family Scholarship and Assistance Fund.

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A New Milford man has pleaded guilty to a federal extortion charge.  58-year old James Broderick the 3rd entered the plea Wednesday. 

 

The U.S. Attorney's Office says the loan shark lent an individual $1,500--which had to be paid back with $500 in interest--within four days.  When the individual failed to pay Broderick back, he asked Howard Hammer to collect on the loan.  Hammer admitted to sending text messages to the victim threatening to harm the victim if he failed to pay his debt.  He then took screen shots of the threatening text messages and forwarded them to Broderick. 

 

The pair also discussed taking the victim’s car either as payment for the debt or as punishment for failure to pay the debt.  Authorities say the victim suffered permanent bodily injury on January 25th in connection with this conduct. 

 

Broderick also made several extortionate loans to a second victim.  When that victim was unable to repay the interest amounts, which were at least 10 percent of the principal per week, Broderick repeatedly threatened to use force to collect the debt.  Over the course of three years, Broderick collected more than $20,000 in interest payments from this second victim.

 

Broderick is scheduled to be sentenced March 1st.  He was released on a $200,000 bond.

 

Hammer pleaded guilty to the same charge on December 2nd.  He awaits sentencing, and has been detained since his arrest.  Sentencing is set for February 24th.

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U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is applauding the Senate’s passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes emergency federal funding to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic, significant reforms to the mental health system, and funding for medical research on cancer and other diseases. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives last week, and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

 

Blumenthal says investment is key to saving lives. He notes that the bill will also spur landmark action in the effort to address Lyme Disease, and increases support for groundbreaking medical research.

 

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, author of the bipartisan Mental Health Reform Act praised the 94-5 Senate vote.  He called the measures the most comprehensive reform of the nation's mental health laws in a generation.  He says the bill means millions of dollars in new treatment, and a pathway to a better integrated, more coordinated system for people with serious mental illness. The Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 served as the basis for the mental health language included in the bill passed Wednesday.

 

Sandy Hook Promise co-founder Mark Barden, whose son was killed at Sandy Hook School, praised the measure.  He says it speaks to the very core of their mission--preventing other families from having to live with the pain of the loss of a loved one to preventable acts of violence.  Barden says the gunman on 12/14 was suffering mental illness and his mother didn't know what to do with him.  If something like the Mental Health Act of 2016 were in place then, Barden says the quality mental health care that person needed would have been available to them.

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Details have been released about the tractor trailer that rolled over early Wednesday morning closing the highway in Danbury.  State Police say a tractor trailer driver struck the jersey barrier on the right side of westbound I-84 in Danbury and rolled over onto the drivers side around 4:40am Wednesday. 

 

 

The truck was carrying general merchandise for CVS stores.  The vehicle slid on the roadway, coming to an uncontrolled stop in the left and center lanes. 

 

The driver, 28-year old Robert Benoit of Massachusetts, was not injured in the crash. 

 

State Department of Transportation supervisors and Troopers established a diversion plan until the vehicle could be towed from the scene.  The roadway was closed for about 3 hours. 

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The motorcyclist killed in an accident in New Fairfield last week has been identified.  A motorcyclist was killed in a head on collision in New Fairfield on December 1st.  State Police say 32-year old Carlos Alberto Robles Flores of New Fairfield was headed northbound on Route 39 in the area of Old Shortwoods Road when he crossed the double yellow lines into oncoming traffic. 

 

A Kia driver headed southbound was unable to avoid the collision.  Robles Flores was ejected from the bike and transported to Danbury Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. 

 

The accident remains under investigation.  Anyone with information on the crash is asked to contact the New Fairfield Resident Troopers Office.

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A Florida resident has been indicted for threatening the parent of a child killed on 12-14.  The parent now lives in Florida.  The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement that 57-year old Lucy Richards was charged Monday with four counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce.  According to court documents, Richards believed that the shooting at Sandy Hook School was a hoax and never happened, allegedly motivating her to make the charged threats.  Richards is due back in Court on December 19th.  Each count carries a maximum of five years in prison.

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With the pending retirement of Brookfield Police Chief Robin Montgomery at the end of the month, the Police Commission held deliberations about the direction of the department.  As a result of this process, the Police Commission voted unanimously to recommend the promotion of Major James Purcell to the Police Chief position. 

 

At a special meeting held Monday, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to endorse the Police Commission's recommendation to appoint Jay Purcell as the town of Brookfield's next Chief of Police.  He will begin that job January 1st. 

 

The Board of Selectmen congratulated Major Purcell and said they believe he will do an outstanding job in continuing the Police Department mission to provide the community with the finest public safety services in an ethical, professional and sensitive manner. 

 

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the work of Chief Montgomery over the years.  First Selectman Steve Dunn says Chief Montgomery served the Police Department and the Brookfield community with dedication and integrity for over 16 years.  The Board wished him a health and happy retirement.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Department of Motor Vehicles says it's been unable to reach an agreement with one of Connecticut's two regional automobile clubs to continue providing driver licensing services.

DMV Commissioner Michael Bzdyra announced Tuesday his agency and AAA Northeast, which serves Fairfield and New Haven counties, have reached an impasse.

The AAA franchise decided in October it would only provide licensing and ID car renewal services to its members and not the general public, prompting the governor to threaten legal action. It later agreed to continue providing the services until Dec. 31 and meet with DMV about a possible compromise.  The AAA offices includes the one on Lake Avenue in Danbury.

Bzdyra says he hopes the franchise will reconsider DMV's proposals. Meanwhile, DMV will explore other options for maintaining the services. AAA Allied will still renew licenses in the other counties.

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The New England premier of Robert Vaughn's final film performance takes place tonight at Bethel Cinema.  The longtime Ridgefield resident passed away last month.  Independent film Gold Star also features Connecticut Filmmaker Victoria Negri.  She also served as the writer and director of the film.  Negri has performed in award-winning independent films, webseries, and television.

 

After dropping out of Juilliard, Vicki drifts aimlessly between her family's house in Connecticut and an itinerant existence in New York. When her father suffers a debilitating stroke, she finds herself becoming his primary caretaker. Vicki resists connecting with him, and making peace with herself, but finds a way forward thanks to a new friend and a life-changing event.

 

There is a VIP Reception with the director, cast and crew at 6:30pm.  Gold Star will be screened at 7:30pm, followed by a Q&A and Lobby After Party. 

 

Negri says she feels like she owes Vaughn everything.  He took on the role because he wanted the challenge of acting without words and getting across character's motivations without speaking a single thing.  Negri says Vaughn did a brilliant job and became like a father figure during the shoot.

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The Brookfield Department of Health permitting and licensing fees have been increased by the Brookfield Board of Selectmen.  A public hearing was also held on Monday night about the proposal, but only one person attended. 

 

Officials say fees have not increased since 2010, even though costs of permitting has gone up.  The increase averages about 6 percent, with fees for subsurface disposal system permits, well permits, soil testing and food service establishment licenses increasing by $20 to $50. 

 

Selectman Marty Flynn voted against the proposal citing other fee increases approved by the town recently.  Those include a new pumping fee for septic tanks, an increase in fire marshal inspection fees, new water assessments starting and recently approved streetscape assessments. 

 

First Selectman Steve Dunn and Selectman Sue Slater voted in favor of the increase.

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The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has presented certificates of recognition to two sports teams.

 

The Brookfield High School Varsity Boys Soccer team placed first in the Patriot Division of the South West Conference, advancing to winning the SWC championship and the 2016 Class M state Championship title.  The Brookfield High School Varsity Girls Swim and Dive team was recognized for winning the 2016 Class M state Championship. 

 

First Selectman Steve Dunn said it was with admiration and appreciation that he commended members of the teams.  He acknowledged the coaches and parents for their sportsmanship.

 

Dunn called the efforts outstanding accomplishments.  He noted that this is the first state championship the girls have won.

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A man who was renting a room at an Easton house has been arrested after police seized nearly 27 ounces of crystal meth and more than 570 Xanax pills.  Easton Police say 24-year old Cavan Devine was charged with operating a drug factory, possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, failure to keep narcotics in original container, disorderly conduct and sale of narcotics.  Police also seized packaging material, a cellphone and computer from the man's room. 

 

The 26.59 ounces of crystal meth is valued at over $50,000 while the 577 pills are valued at over $10,000.   This one of the largest seizures of crystal meth in the area.

 

 

A search warrant was also carried out at a Bridgeport Holiday Inn room recently rented by Devine.  A smaller quantity of crystal meth and other evidence was seized. 

 

There was no evidence that the crystal meth was made by Devine.  Evidence seized showed signs of the purchase and resale being done through the mail. Officers will continue to work with the DEA and US Postal Service on this investigation.

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Three fires in two weeks have the Bethel Fire Marshal's office putting out some words of warning.  The Bethel volunteer fire departments responded to the fires, which were all determined to have been caused by discarded fireplace ashes.  One fire destroyed a garden shed with thousands of dollars worth of property. 

 

The Fire Marshal is advising people not to discard ashes into the woods, on leaves, plastic bags, or any other combustible container or space.   The ashes stay warm and insulated for many days and can easily ignite a fire.

 

The Bethel Office of Emergency Management shared the below infograph.

 

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The attorney representing a Danbury Police Officer who tried to contact the driver of a car he knew was previously reported stolen, says his client did not engage in pursuit.  Elliot Spector says Officer Jaime Hodge did follow in his own personal vehicle because he was off duty, so that he could keep the Ford Explorer in sight until other officers could engage.  Spector says his client didn't see the accident.  The driver, 32-year old Ricardo Andre, lost control and struck a sign and utility pole before rolling over in the front yard of a Mountainville Road home.  Andre's passenger, 26-year old Tiffany Fitzgerald, was ejected from the vehicle and killed.

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A Danbury man has turned himself in on more than a dozen charges for praying on the elderly for unsolicited driveway paving work, and then doing unprofessional work.  28-year old Legrande Cooper was charged yesterday with 11 counts of 2nd degree larceny, one count of 3rd degree larceny and one count of racketeering. 

 

He was held on $100,000 bond. 

 

The charges stem from a joint investigation with the state Department of Consumer Protection.  When Cooper was charged about nine months ago, it had been determined that there were eight cases in the area dating back to 2012. 

 

State officials say consumers should be aware of hallmarks of a paving scam, which include high pressure sales tactics, confusing contracts and a request for payment in cash or personal check made out to cash.

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Members of Connecticut's Congressional delegation are getting ready for Inauguration Day. 

 

Senator Richard Blumenthal says it's his duty to attend the swearing in ceremony next month.  5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty says her constituents were split in their support of the presidential candidates so she will try to work with President-elect Trump where she can.  Senator Chris Murphy has set up a webpage for people to request tickets.

 

Each House member and Senator are alloted a certain number of tickets for the inauguration, though gathering on the National Mall to view the ceremony via jumbotron does not require a ticket. 

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Prior to the election, 4th District Congressman Jim Himes said that one of the first actions of Congress should be to take back its war-making authority.  He says it's something that's been talked about for decades.  Since World War II, despite a lot of military activity, there hasn't been a formal declaration of war. 

 

He introduced the Reclamation of War Powers Act on Monday. 

 

Without a formal declaration of war, or a resolution, the President can't introduce armed forces into hostilities according to the legislation.  He says the bill will stop the President from taking military action, except in emergencies, without Congressional approval.  The exceptions would be an attack or imminent attack on the United States.

 

The one tool Congress has, the power of the purse, would be used to take that power back.  Himes says money could not be expended to engage in war unless a deceleration is made by Congress. 

 

Himes notes that the bill will also repeal the two existing Authorizations for Use of Military Force under which the country has been operating.  Himes says the President-elect who says he has a secret plan to defeat ISIS; he cannot be allowed to operate without Congressional approval under AUMFs from 15 years ago.

 

AUMFs were for the War in Iraq and to go after Al Qaeda.  Himes wants a new declaration to go after ISIS.

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