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Jewelery store, bank robberies in Danbury unrelated


Danbury police are investigating two robberies that happened within an hour of each other, but appear to be unrelated.

 

Around 10:30 Tuesday morning, an armed robbery was reported at Michaels Jewelers on Federal Road in Danbury.  Three men entered the store wearing nylon stockings covering their faces and one had a handgun.  Police say the 3 female employees hands were bound and the suspects stole items from the jewelry store.  An ambulance was called to the scene as a precaution for one of the victims. 

 

Shortly after 11:30, police were called to Webster Bank on Mill Plain Road.  Two men wearing masks and dark hoodies entered the bank and tied up the employees.  The men took off with an undetermined amount of cash.  No weapon was displayed and there were no injuries.

 

 

Police are asking anyone who was in the areas and may have seen something to call the Detective Bureau at 203-797-4662.

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Town finds compromise site honoring Newtown victim


WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) West Haven officials have found a compromise to build a playground memorializing one of the children fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The New Haven Register reports that town officials and members of the West Haven Land Trust agreed Monday night to a playground honoring the memory of 6-year-old Charlotte Bacon at another site rather than a location protected by a land restriction.

The ``Where Angels Play'' Sandy Ground Project was begun by Elizabeth, N.J., Fire Department Capt. Bill Lavin to honor the 20 children and six educators who were killed in the December 2012 massacre. Twenty-six playgrounds in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey are planned.

The West Haven site will be the 23rd.

Donations will finance the construction of the playgrounds.

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DEEP warns about moose near I-84


The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is warning motorists in the Southington to be on the lookout for a moose on the loose.

DEEP said the animal was spotted Tuesday morning on West Street near Interstate 84. The moose was last seen entering a swamp area near the highway.

Connecticut has a resident moose population estimated to be 100 to 150 animals. They're found most often in wooded areas in northeastern and northwestern Connecticut, but have been spotted in other parts of the state.

 

A moose spotted in New Milford in September caused a sensation when it wandered through the Hospital parking lot.

DEEP said moose create a particular danger near roadways because when struck by a vehicle, they're likely to collapse through the windshield because of their tall stance. They're also difficult to see at night because of their dark color.

Moose sightings can be reported at www.ct.gov/deep/wildlife.

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Repairs to end signal troubles on Danbury RR line


DANBURY, Conn. (AP) The Connecticut Department of Transportation is making some fixes to the Danbury branch line of Metro-North Railroad.

The DOT is replacing rubber mats and other equipment at crossings to repair malfunctions that have plagued a $70 million signaling system.

Transportation Commissioner Jim Redeker said silt build-up and moisture at some crossings drew the attention of engineers to the age and condition of the rubber matting, crossbuck signs and rails that set off a more sensitive train detection system when no train approaches.

Redeker said full service could be restored in May. The crossings have been a problem since a new signal system was completed in November.

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Ridgefield awarded 'urban forestry' grant


15 urban forestry grants are being awarded by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, ahead of Arbor Day next week.  Ridgefield is among the towns being presented with funding to enhance knowledge and urban ecology.  DEEP Director of Forestry Chris Martin says the funding comes from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

 

Ridgefield will be getting $3,250 to develop a booklet that will be distributed to residents and businesses about what trees to plant where.  It's part of a larger effort by the state and the utility companies.  Martin says it will promote "Right Tree, Right Place", an initiative to inform people about what trees won't interfere with utility lines.

 

DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee says the grants support the work and recommendations of the state Vegetative Management Task Force and Governor Malloy’s Two Storm Panel.

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Danbury police investigate robberies at bank, jewelry store


Danbury police are investigating two robberies that happened within an hour of each other, but appear to be unrelated.

 

Around 10:30 Tuesday morning, an armed robbery was reported at Michaels Jewelers on Federal Road in Danbury.  Three men entered the store wearing nylon stockings covering their faces and one had a handgun.  Police say the 3 female employees hands were bound and the suspects stole items from the jewelry store.  An ambulance was called to the scene as a precaution for one of the victims. 

 

Shortly after 11:30, police were called to Webster Bank on Mill Plain Road.  Two men wearing masks and dark hoodies entered the bank and tied up the employees.  The men took off with an undetermined amount of cash.  No weapon was displayed and there were no injuries.

 

 

Police are asking anyone who was in the areas and may have seen something to call the Detective Bureau at 203-797-4662.

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Housekeeper allegedly steals ring from employer


A Connecticut woman has been arrested by Bethel police for allegedly stealing a ring from her employer.  Police say 38-year old Maryann Lamper of New Britain was charged with 3rd degree larceny.  Police say the woman was arrested when she was on her way to her appointment as a housekeeper at the home where she allegedly stole the heirloom ring from.  The ring, valued at $5,300, went missing earlier this month before turning up at a pawn broker.  Lamper is being held on bond.

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Redding Board of Ed wants budget proposal changed


During a special meeting on Friday, the Redding Board of Education decided to ask the Board of Finance to change it's proposed budget.  The Finance Board wanted the schools to find another $300,000 to cut from a budget that already was going to cost less than the current year. 

 

The Board of Education says that violates the state's Education Cost Sharing minimum budget requirement. 

 

The group met in executive session and also then decided to ask the Town Clerk and the Boards of Finance and Selectmen to put an advisory question on the ballot if the Finance board doesn't change their mind on the proposal.  The question would ask no voters if they cast their ballot that way because the budget was too high or to low.

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Weston police hold active shooter training drill at school


The Weston Police Department has held an active shooter drill today at Hurlbutt Elementary School.  The Weston Forum reports that the training drill included detailed classroom work and role playing scenarios.  The drill was being led by School Violence Solutions and a Rhode Island police officer. 

 

All of the schools are located on the same road.  The schools are closed this week for spring break.

 

Once the drill is complete, Weston Police say they will review and develop response strategies.

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'Spring of Service' serve-a-thon held by United Way


For the first time, the Youth Volunteer Corps of Western Connecticut is hosting a Spring of Service program.  The organization has held a six-week summer program for five years now across the Greater Danbury area.  United Way volunteer coordinator Deirdre Wallin says there was a kick-off event Saturday at Tarrywile Park where youths worked on a variety of projects. 

 

The youth service program offers volunteer opportunities for more than 100 youth ages 11 - 18 throughout the school year.

 

During Spring of Service, youth will assist The City of Danbury’s Office of Neighborhood Assistance cleaning up the downtown area of graffiti and addressing other blight issues.  Youths will work with Dorothy Day House later this week.

 

Last year 111 youth served a total of 2,156 volunteer hours assisting at after-school and pre-school programs, soup kitchens, parks and more.

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Police: Connecticut teenager threatened Columbine


LITCHFIELD, Conn. (AP) Before she was arrested on allegations of planning to shoot up two high schools, a Connecticut teenager was suspected of making threats against Columbine High School in Colorado.

 

Natalie Carpenter, 18, is accused of phoning in a threat to Columbine, The Register Citizen reported. She was arrested March 4 and pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit assault, according to the newspaper.

 

Carpenter was arrested in Torrington for allegedly plotting with Peter Thulin, 19, to sneak into Danbury High School, hold students and staff hostage and shoot until "everyone was dead," police said.

 

An attorney for Carpenter, John Cizik Jr., said Monday he had no comment. Her mother, Wendy, said Carpenter wouldn't "hurt a fly" and was acting out while trying to cope with the loss of two close friends.

 

In her diary, Carpenter cited Columbine High School, where two teenage shooters killed 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves in 1999. She planned to shoot up Danbury and Stratford high schools to get back at students she believed bullied her, police said.

 

The threat to Columbine on Sept. 16 originated from a cellphone traced to Carpenter's house in Stratford, police said.

 

Mark Techmeyer, spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's office in Colorado, said charges have not been filed. The alleged threat was one of nearly two dozen threats the department investigates every year at Columbine High School, he said.

 

"You look at the risk-value return," Techmeyer said. "She'd have to (be) transported. It's not a wise use of taxpayer dollars."

 

The number of threats "would blow your mind," Techmeyer said. "It's nonstop. It's not every day, but it's a very regular occurrence. We investigate every single one of them, but 99.9 percent of the time, just about every time, they're not credible threats."

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Metro North Danbury branch customers still frustrated


Commuters turned out to the Stamford train station Thursday night to meet with the President of Metro North.  It was one in a series of listening events the new leader of the railroad is holding.  There are three more scheduled for May.  Commuter Action Group founder Jim Cameron says train riders told Joseph Giuletti much of what he's been hearing from them.

 

He's still hearing from Danbury Branch riders.  Cameron says service is getting a little better with some of the gate problems resolved, but not all of them.  There is also still bus service replacing trains during the midday hours.

 

Cameron says for as expensive as the system is, it should be working.

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West Haven balks at site honoring Newtown victims


WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A land restriction may block a proposed playground in West Haven memorializing the 20 children and six educators who were fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Twenty-six ``Where Angels Play'' playgrounds are being built by the New Jersey-based Sandy Ground Project in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.

The New Haven Register reports that the West Haven Land Trust has a conservation easement intended to shield the shoreline from development, which could include a playground.

Land Trust members worry that approving a playground would set a precedent.

But city officials such as Mayor Ed O'Brien, say West Haven will look heartless and disrespectful if it rejects a proposal to honor adults and children shot in December 2012.

O'Brien says he does not consider a playground to be a development.

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Next deadline coming up for 'Walkway of Honor'


The next phase of the Veterans Walkway of Honor is under way in Danbury.  The walkway is made up of bricks engraved with the names of veterans from all branches of the armed forces.  It's located at the Danbury War Memorial and leads from the building to the memorial monuments.  Organizer Mary Tiecholz says they only need a few dozen more bricks to complete one side of the walkway.

 

377 bricks engraved with the names of veterans are already in place on the walkway.  Just 50 more are needed.

 

The deadline for ordering a brick for a loved one is April 28th.  All bricks ordered by that date will be installed in time for the Memorial Day Parade.  The prices range from $100 to $250.  The bricks are either 4-by-8 or 8-by-8.

 

Bricks may be engraved with the name, rank and service branch.  Profits from the fundraiser will go directly to the Danbury War Memorial with a portion of the proceeds from each brick sale going to the Wounded Warrior Project.

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Conn. man charged for defrauding unemployment, social security programs


A Torrington man has been arrested for illegally collecting $12,500 in unemployment compensation benefits.  58-year old Ronald Roxburgh was charged Friday with larceny by defrauding a public community  and unemployment compensation fraud. 

 

According to the arrest warrant, Roxburgh collected the money between May 2011 and May 2012, when he was employed .  He also allegedly collected Social Security benefits under his own number while reporting his income under a relatives Social Security number. 

 

He was released on a written promise to appear in court on the 22nd.

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NY man steals religious items, cash from Brewster church


A New York man has been arrested for allegedly stealing religious vessels and money from St Lawrence O'Toole Roman Catholic Church in Brewster.  Church officials called the Putnam County Sheriff's office on March 8th to report the theft.  15 items, including gold-plated chalices, and cash from a display at the church vestibule were stolen. 

 

A scrap metal dealer in Elmsford, New York reported that a man sold the items to him for $20.  He called the parish administrator and police to return the items. 

 

The investigation ended with the arrest of 48-year old William Skeeth of Shrub Oak, New Yok on Wednesday.  Skeeth was charged with felony grand larceny and arraigned.  He's being held without bail at the Putnam County correctional Facility.

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Police car involved in cemetary accident


An accident involving a police car is being investigated by the Newtown Police Department.  Police say while on duty Monday afternoon, Lt George Sinko was driving an unmarked, police SUV.  While attempting to park, Police say Sinko backed into a 3-foot tall stone pillar at Land's End Cemetery on Hawleyville Road.  The accident resulted in about $2,000 in damage to the vehicle.  Police did not disclose whether there was damage to the pillar.

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Permanent Memorial Commission meets in Newtown


The Permanent Memorial Commission in Newtown has held another meeting.  Last night the group met with some family members of those killed on December 14th.  The families were told that there is no time frame for coming up with memorials and that they will have more opportunities for input. 

 

According to minutes from previous meetings, the Commission has heard input on the process from members of the 9-11 Memorial Commission and those who designed the Columbine High School memorial.

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Youth prison terms to get a second look


The state House has voted 129 to 15 in favor of a bill that could help inmates serving long prison terms for crimes they committed in their youths.  The U-S Supreme Court ruled that states must give a second look to sentences for teens aged 14 to 17.  The bill would help Connecticut comply. 

 

New Milford Representative Cecilia Buck-Taylor says early release is not a given, they have to go through the same rigorous questioning that anyone up for parole would have to.

 

The youth sentencing bill still faces a Senate vote.

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Connecticut House backs campus assault measure


Legislation overhauling how college and university officials in Connecticut respond to sexual assault and violence on campus has unanimously passed the House of Representatives.

The vote Thursday was 144-0.

 

Danbury Representative Jan Giegler says making sure students are able to learn in a safe environmentl is important and she was proud of the state for strengthening existing laws about sexual assault and stalking.

The legislation requires reporting of sexual violence at an institution of higher education and greater details in a campus crime report. The report must include each incidence of intimate partner violence reported to the local or State Police or college or university.

It also requires schools to establish Sexual Assault Response Teams that include counselors, police, faculty and others.

A federal lawsuit claims the University of Connecticut reacted to reports of sexual assaults on its main campus in Storrs with deliberate indifference or worse. UConn denies the accusation.

The measure now heads to the state Senate.

 

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