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The head of the Greater Mahopac/Carmel Chamber of Commerce has been charged with alleged misappropriation of funds from that organization.  26-year old Erin Meagher of Brewster was arrested Tuesday on a felony grand larceny charge. 

 

She was CEO and Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. 

 

Meagher was released for an April 11th court appearance.  No further details of the alleged misappropriation was provided by the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.



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Brookfield will have to cover the legal fees of the former Republican Registrar of Voters who was sued for expelling a woman from the GOP party.  Town officials objected to Tom Dunkerton's request saying he was acting in his role as a party official, not in his town employee position when Jane Miller was removed from the voter rolls. 

 

The Newstimes reports that the Judge concluded Dunkerton was acting as Registrar, and therefore the town had to cover legal fees. 

 

Miller was booted from the GOP in 2015 under a little used state law allowing the removal of members for alleged lack of good-faith affiliation, citing her unsuccessful run for the Board of Finance on the Democratic ticket in 2013. 

 

The published report says Dunkerton requested more than $26,000 in legal fee reimbursement, but the amount could be higher since litigation continued after the request was submitted.  First Selectman Steve Dunn told the Newstimes that the Boards of Selectmen and Finance will decide whether to appeal.  But Dunn said that they may also negotiate the requested amount because Dunkerton's attorney charged $400 an hour. 

 

Miller's appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed because by that time, the new Republican Registrar added her back to the voter rolls.



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EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The state Department of Transportation says a construction worker fell to his death from an excavator that tipped over on state Route 2.

Spokesman Kevin Nursick says 60-year-old John Dubray, of Bethlehem, fell about 20 feet to the ground on the shoulder of Interstate 84 on Wednesday.

Officials say Dubray had been operating the excavator for Southington-based contractor Brunalli Construction. Dubray was taken to Hartford Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Nursick says the excavator was using hydraulics to break and deconstruct portions of a ramp. The digger tipped over the edge of the bridge and the operator fell from the cab.

State police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the incident.

 



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A Danbury man has been charged with driving under the influence after he hit a pedestrian.  Danbury Police responded to Stadley Rough Road last Thursday night on a report of an accident with serious injury.  Police determined that 66-year old Michael Zeerip was headed southbound in a pickup truck with a plow attached. 

 

His plow struck 56-year old Joseph Connell Jr of Danbury, who was walking in the shoulder of the road.  Connell was transported to Danbury Hospital with a head injury. 

 

Zeerip failed field sobriety tests.  He was also charged with failure to drive right.  Zeerip was released on bond for a court appearance next week.



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The new Director of Health for the City of Danbury is being touted by Mayor Mark Boughton as a highly qualified candidate, with both theoretical and practical experience.  Lisa-Michelle Morrissey was confirmed by the City Council at their meeting this month.  She served as Director of Health for the Town of Sharon, is an adjunct Public Health Professor at Western Connecticut State University and has been acting Danbury Director of Health since January.  She previously served the City as a Public Health Inspector/Epidemiologist.  Morrissey is working toward a Doctor of Science Degree in Emergency Management Disaster Epidemiology.



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A bill to ensure equitable care at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for women veterans is being backed by 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty.  She says the legislation will also address the needs of women veterans who are more likely to face homelessness, unemployment, and go without needed health care.  The Deborah Sampson Act aims to address gender disparities to improve services and access. 

 

Esty says supporting those who put their lives on the line to defend freedom is not a partisan issue.  Esty, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, added that more than two million women have worn the uniform in service to this nation, and they face unique obstacles to care when they return home. 

 

Members of Congress say the bill will empower women veterans by expanding peer-to-peer counseling, group counseling and call centers for women veterans.  It would also improve the quality of care for infant children of women veterans by increasing the number of days of maternity care VA facilities can provide and authorizing medically-necessary transportation for newborns. 

 

Esty’s bill is endorsed by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the Disabled American Veterans, The American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Paralyzed Veterans of America.

 

The Deborah Sampson Act gets its name from Deborah Sampson, a woman who disguised herself as a man in order to serve in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. She was wounded in 1782 and spent half of her life fighting to be recognized for her service.



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The Brookfield School district overspent the current fiscal year's budget because of an accounting error.  The Newstimes reports that there wasn't any illegal activity.  The $34,000 difference allegedly stemmed from teachers being paid for work from last fiscal year with money from the current budget.  An audit also showed that some preschool tuition was going into a miscellaneous revenue account instead of the General Fund.  The Board of Finance voted Monday to reallocate about $47,000 in unspent revenue from the pre-kindergarten program to the general fund.



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A resolution is in the works about a cease and desist order issued by the Easton Planning and Zoning Commission to a Norton Road resident.  The Easton Courier reports that the Commission has been in touch with the attorney for Nathan Brito over allegations the man was doing commercial-type log processing on his residential property.  Brito denies violating zoning regulations and said the firewood is being split and stored for personal use.  The Easton Courier reports that the Planning and Zoning Commission want to limit commercial vehicle use and hours on the property.



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Monroe police have arrested a second person connected to a number of home burglaries.  35-year old Natasha Pennywell of Bridgeport was charged yesterday with burglary, larceny and criminal mischief.  An investigation started in October when an elderly Monroe resident called police to say that there was a U-Haul rental van in her driveway, and that someone forced entry into her house.  Monroe, Fairfield, Norwalk and Westport Police worked together on the investigation.  Ernest Bailey was charged last month.  Pennywell is being held by the Department of Corrections on unrelated charges.



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Eversource is conducting aerial inspections of vegetation growing near its high-voltage electric lines. This semiannual inspection is being done from Thursday through the end of next week.  Utility officials say this is important for service reliability.  The inspections will be from 7am to 4pm, weather permitting.  A blue and grey helicopter, Tail # N1431W, and a blue and white chopper, Tail #N411DD, will be used.  The aerial inspections are being done in Bethel, Bethlehem, Brookfield, Danbury, New Milford, Newtown, Oxford, Redding, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Weston, Wilton, Woodbury, and 73 other municipalities.



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Danbury officials have identified funding to begin the renovation work needed to turn the Octagon House into a police substation.  Plans, which also call for housing the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team on site, were submitted to the Historic Trust last month.  The City is now waiting to hear back from the on the plans that have been drawn up so far.  The review process could take up to 90 days and the panel will send comments back to the City.  Mayor Mark Boughton says if they have to make adjustments, they will do so.  He hopes restorative work can start in the fall. 

 

Plans also call for creating storage space on the 2nd and 3rd floors, because those stories are not accessible via elevator for public use.  The building is one of only a handful of eight-sided houses left in the country and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Some trees were recently removed from the Spring Street property so officials could get a better idea of the scope of restoration work needed.  The dilapidated building was in foreclosure and purchased by the City as a community improvement project.  The house was built in 1852 and eventually converted to apartments, but abandoned by its owner in 2008.  The blighted property attracted vandalism and squatting in recent years. 

 

A Danbury firm, Seventy2 Architects, was awarded the bid to conduct an analysis of the historic home.



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A vehicle reportedly stolen from Danbury on Monday was involved in a serious accident in Newtown last night.  Monroe Police officers were trying to make a traffic stop of the car which fled shortly after 9pm.  The driver, later determined to be 31-year old Rasheim Lewis of Danbury, headed northbound on Route 25 in Newtown and lost control around a curve. 

 

State Police say Lewis crossed the double yellow line, striking a Mercedes headed southbound head on. 

 

(Photos; Botsford Fire Rescue)

 

Lewis, who was not wearing a seatbelt, sustained serious injury and was transported to Danbury Hospital for evaluation and treatment.  The other driver, a 46-year old Sandy Hook woman, sustained minor injuries but was not transported to the hospital. 

 

 

The crash happened in front of Sand Hill Plaza and closed Route 25 for at least eight hours.  The Danbury State's Attorney's Office was notified of the incident.  Anyone who witnessed the accident is asked to call State Police Sgt Trooper Mark DiCocco at 203-630-8079.



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During the Danbury Democratic Town Committee headquarters last night, a resident threw his hat in the mayoral ring.  Al Almeida is currently an investigator in the Danbury Judicial District Office of the Public Defender and a Command Sergeant Major of the Army Reserves.  He served two tours of duty in Iraq, earning three Bronze Stars among other commendations. 

 

Almeida and his family moved to Danbury from Portugal when he was 11-years old.  He attended Henry Abbott Technical for high school and holds a Master’s degree from UConn in Homeland Security Leadership.  He earned his BA from WCSU in Justice and Law Administration.

 

His priorities include more government accessibility, creating a better quality of life, equal and stronger education for all children, enhanced public safety and a freeze on property taxes and fees at affordable rates. One of his priorities would be an in-depth traffic plan that addresses innovative ways to ease the burden of traffic, and its economic impact. He also called for City government to go back to a 5-day a week operation with City Hall open to the public on Fridays.   

 

For the past few years, Almeida said there have been too many areas requiring undivided attention that have been neglected by the current administration.  Longtime incumbent Republican Mayor Mark Boughton is running for reelection, but also exploring a run for statewide office.  He said Danbury should not play second fiddle to a Mayor that has other aspirations as he takes a bite at the gubernatorial apple for the third time.

 

Almeida wrapped up his candidacy announcement by saying that it’s time for fresh and vibrant leadership.



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There was a public hearing this week on a bill introduced by the legislature’s Education Committee to provide mandate relief by having a uniform regional school calendar option.  Wilton Senator Toni Boucher co-chairs the committee.

 

Backers of the bill say it would also eliminate the requirement that an alternative educational opportunity for expelled students be 900 hours, eliminate the superintendent requirement for certain boards of education and require only certain school employees who have direct contact with students complete training in the restraint and seclusion of students.

 

Danbury Representative Michael Ferguson, Redding Representative Adam Dunsby, Gail Lavielle of Wilton and Mitch Bolinsky of Newtown will also consider the measure.



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The Ridgefield Board of Education has been presented with recommendations on changes to some school schedules.  The Newstimes reports that the recommendations were made to better integrate targeted instruction into everyday teaching at the elementary and middle school levels.  One proposal is to have 45 minutes in the elementary schools for targeted intervention in reading, writing and math.  The reports says another recommendation is to increase the middle school time for core classes to an hour--by reducing transition time between classes.



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The Western Connecticut State University Police Department is hosting “Coffee with a Cop” tomorrow morning.  The event in the Danbury Room of the Midtown Campus Student Center is from 9 am to noon tomorrow.  A Connecticut State Police Trooper and a K-9 Trooper with their dog will join WCSU police officers.  The conversation is open to the general public.



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Eversource Energy will be working on transmission lines in Monroe and Newtown over the next 3 weeks. The maintenance work does not include tree trimming.  The work will take place in the area of the Stevenson Dam, including Jordan Hill Road and Bradley Lane. 

 

Crews will be using ATV’s or pickup trucks to access the transmission lines through the right of way. 

 

Newtown officials say Eversource will also be conducting aerial patrols of vegetation on or near transmission lines throughout the state Thursday and Friday, and then all of next week. Both a blue and gray and a blue and white helicopter will be used.

 

The aerial patrols will be occurring between 7am and 5pm, weather permitting.



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The New Milford Town Council has passed a Revenue adjustment in the budget.  The mill rate for the upcoming fiscal year's proposal had been miscalculated by the Comptroller, by double counting $1.55 million in revenue.  New Milford Mayor David Gronbach said in a Facebook post that the mill rate proposal will stay at a 1.8 percent increase. 

 

Additional revenue estimates from the sale of surplus property and Sewer Commission revenue that would make up for the $1.55 million. 

 

Gronbach says he and others have been working to identify town-owned properties that aren't producing tax revenue.  He noted that the Still Meadow property, almost 20 acres on Fort Hill and Peagler Hill Road, is one of those properties.  New Milford bought the land in 1998 for $2.1 million with bonds that have been paid off over the year.  An appraisal in 2014 pegged the value of the property at $2.5 million. 

 

Gronbach also says 25 Church Street is a Town owned building that is underutilized. 

 

He noted that a Town Council member suggested that the Sewer Commission not be asked to pay more of its debt, but that would mean the mill rate would have to go up to 2.29% as a result.  Two other Town Council members made a motion to spread the $1.55 million among all departments by having a uniform percentage change.  Gronbach called it an interesting proposal, but the motion was withdrawn before a vote could be held.



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A $72.9 million municipal budget was discussed in Bethel last night.  A public hearing was held at the Middle School to get resident input on the proposal, which includes a 2.3 percent increase. 

 

First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says potential substantial school funding cuts from the state have put municipalities in a tough spot.  Knickerbocker says the state not being able to tell towns what to expect has only been a problem in the last four years, and he notes that it gets worse each year.  Town charter requires the town to have a budget meeting in the first week of April, but the state won't release their budget until at least June.

 

Knickerbocker is also concerned about the state forcing municipalities to cover a state run program. He says that may violate the state constitution and prompt legal action.



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The Office of Legislative Research and Office of Fiscal Analysis will meet today about a bill co-sponsored by Newtown Representative Mitch Bolinsky.  The measure would study the voluntary admission program operated by the Department of Children and Families.

 

The bill would prohibit the agency’s Commissioner from requesting or requiring that parents of children admitted to the department on a voluntary basis terminate their parental rights or transfer legal custody to the department.

 

State Child Advocate Sarah Egan testified in support of the bill. She said it addresses petitions filed in juvenile court proceedings that may lead to a child being removed from a guardian solely due to the child’s specialized mental health or disability support needs.