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There was a minor accident involving a school bus in Danbury yesterday afternoon.  As the driver was turning into a driveway on Miry Brook Road, she took the turn too tightly and the bus struck a fence post at the entrance to the private property.  There were 10 children on the bus when the accident happened around 4:30pm.  There were no reported injuries.  The bus sustained minor cosmetic damage.  After the investigation was completed, the bus driver was allowed to continue on her route.

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A Danbury man has been sentenced for the death of his 19 month old son.  28-year old Christian Williams was ordered yesterday to 22 years in prison, suspended after 10 years, and followed by five years of probation. 

 

Williams was also ordered to pay outstanding child support to the child's mother.  Williams pleaded guilty earlier this year to 2nd degree manslaughter and two counts of risk of injury to a minor.  Those later charges were filed because Williams was watching the 19-month old and his then two-year old son by another woman. 

 

The State Medical Examiner's Office said Ayden died of blunt force trauma to the head with subdural hemorrhaging.

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State Police are getting a head start on their Labor Day weekend enforcement.  Troopers from the Southbury barracks will have extra patrols of the roads, concentrating their enforcement efforts on intoxicated motorists, aggressive drivers and distracted drivers.  Troopers will be conducting roving patrols tomorrow, Friday and Saturday between 7pm and 3am.  The patrols will be in the Danbury and Waterbury areas on Interstate 84 and Route 7.  If you see a suspected DUI or dangerous driver, state police are asking that you call 911 and report it to police.

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There was a fatal fire in Brewster early this morning. 

 

The Brewster Fire Department responded to Maple Lane around 3:45am and found a home fully engulfed in flames.  The resident, identified by New York State Police as 50-year old Eugene Cosson, was located inside the home deceased. 

 

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by State Police and the Putnam County Fire Investigation Team.  The blaze was also brought under control by fire departments from Carmel, Croton Falls, Danbury, Lake Carmel and Putnam Lake.

 

(Photo Courtesy: NYSP)

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A local lawmaker is touting a bill signed into law yesterday by Governor Malloy.  The ceremonial signing was of an anti-human trafficking bill co-sponsored by Monroe Representative JP Sredzinski. 

 

The bill aims to increase protections for victims while imposing stronger penalties on perpetrators.  Sredzinski says the bill also raises awareness of an important issue. 

 

It requires lodging operators to maintain a record of all guest transactions for at least six months to help police investigations and to train their employees to recognize the signs of human trafficking.  Police would also be required to report annually to the legislature about any human trafficking cases in their jurisdictions.

 

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A New York man has been sentenced for burglarizing a Connecticut home and stealing $2.5 million worth of jewelry.  34-year old Jason Gatto of Gardiner, New York was ordered to 40 months in prison followed by three years supervised release for the crime in Salisbury. 

 

His group of friends is accused of hundreds of residential burglaries in Connecticut and other states along the eastern seaboard, where they stole money, jewelry and firearms. 

 

In February 2012, Gatto and others broke into a Salisbury home and stole 250 pieces of jewelry.  Believing many were no valuable, Gatto tossed them from the car window as they fled.  The group travelled to North Carolina to sell the stolen jewelery. 

 

He was also ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution.

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New Fairfield residents approved only one of the proposed ordinance measure before them at a Town Meeting last week.  The revisions ot the town's Code of Ethics was approved on a voice vote.  A blight ordinance was rejected by a margin of 3-1.  98 residents voted against it, 35 for it and four abstained.  A stormwater runoff ordinance was also rejected.  52 residents voted against it, 18 in favor and two abstained. 

 

New Fairfield's Code of Ethics was crafted before the state had one, and residents voted in favor of minor changes to bring the town ordinance into compliance with state statute.  

 

First Selectman Susan Chapman says the blight law was proposed for the third time in four years because her office has received a number of complaints, but those raising concerns didn't attend the town meeting.  She says she isn’t likely to introduce a blight ordinance again.  Broad language killed the proposal twice before.  Chapman says right now town departments don't have the authority to force homeowners to clean up their properties. 

 

Chapman says she will likely introduce another a stormwater discharge ordinance, calling it a matter of safety.

 

The stormwater ordinance is being proposed because of previous safety concerns about icing and other damage to the roads.  Several steps for remediation were outlined in the draft.  The first step would have been a citation providing written notice of the violation.  If the violation isn't fix within a reasonable amount of time, a fine of up to $250 could have been issued.  If the violation isn't cleared up after the fine, the town would have been allowed onto the property to make the corrections, at the homeowner's expense.

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A Candlelight vigil is being held in New Milford tonight to honor the lives lost to addiction on International Overdose Awareness Day.  The New Milford Substance Abuse Prevention Council is hosting the vigil on the New Milford Village Green from 4pm-8pm.

 

Council co-chair Lindsey Marr says they will have support and services on hand.  The vigil is being held by a parent and a person in recovery at 6:30pm.

 

The Narcan Training Class that the council held on Monday filled up in a couple of days of announcing it.  There were about two dozen people on a wait list, and Marr says that shows the need in this region.  She says it's important for people to get support, because addiction doesn't just affect the person suffering from the illness.  She notes that it affects friends, family and anyone who knows them.

 

Marr says bringing awareness to the community is important because a lot of people think they're suffering alone, but they're not.

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DANBURY, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man who spent 48 years as a fugitive after escaping from prison is continuing to fight the state's efforts to return him to Georgia.

Connecticut took 71-year-old Robert Stackowitz into custody Tuesday as part of the extradition process. Stackowitz filed an appeal attempting to block the state's efforts.

He was released after posting $100 bail and is due back in court on Sept. 26.

Stackowitz fled a prison work camp in Carrolton, Georgia, in 1968 while serving a 17-year sentence for robbery. He was arrested May 9 at his home in Sherman, Connecticut, after his Social Security application turned up a fugitive warrant.

His attorney says Stackowitz has major health problems and any prison time would amount to a death sentence.

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The state Department of Transportation is holding a Public Information Meeting tonight about a proposed project in Monroe.  A bridge, built in 1915 and reconstructed in 1930, is a single span bridge which carries Route 34 over Boys Halfway Brook.  The structure is just west of the Oxford town line. 

 

The proposed project consists of replacing the existing concrete slab with a new reinforced one in order to address the bridge's deteriorated condition. The road will be widened to accommodate a 12-foot travel lane and a 5-foot shoulder in each direction. 

 

There will be alternating one-way traffic over six weeks, along with off peak lane closures before and after this six-week period.  Construction is anticipated to begin in the spring 2018, and cost about $700,000.  80 percent will be paid for with Federal funds and 20 percent State funds. 

 

The public information meeting is at 7pm in Monroe Town Hall. 

 

State Representative J.P. Sredzinski says the project will also move Route 34 from its current position directly over the dam.  He says the two options being most carefully explored by the state are to either bring the crossing of Route 34 over the river about 1000 feet south of where it is now, down near Webb Mountain and down passed the dam, or to bring the roadway across a significant portion of Lake Zoar further north.

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The Newtown Public Building and Site Committee has gotten an update on the cost of the Sandy Hook School project.  A $50 million grant was awarded to Newtown, and the town could be sending more than $1 million of that back to the state.  According to minutes from their most recent meeting, the project has come in slightly under budget.  The budget still has $980,000 unspent, but there is also some money left in the contingency account.  The remaining Connecticut taxpayer dollars could be returned soon.

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The Brookfield Police Department is reminding drivers that a majority of area schools will be returning from the summer break this week, which means that school buses will be out picking up and dropping off children.  Brookfield Police are asking motorists to watch their speed and be extra vigilant for stopped school buses and pedestrians.  Police are also reminding drivers that the fine for passing a stopped school bus with lights activated is $465.

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Brookfield Police were among the local departments to participate in a nationwide crackdown on distracted drivers.  The "U Text. U Drive. U Pay." enforcement started August 2nd and continued for two weeks.  During that span, Brookfield officers conducted 158 motor vehicle stops, which resulted in 107 infractions, and 3 drug related arrest. 

 

Police reminded motorists that when officer say "Phone in one hand, Ticket in the other" they meant it. 

 

Connecticut is the only state in the country to receive special distracted driving prevention funds.  That grant money allowed Brookfield and other local police departments to implement special patrols to identify, stop, and cite drivers who chose to ignore distracted driving laws. Over $6.8 million has been awarded to the state over the last three years specifically for campaigns like this one.  Brookfield Police say Connecticut qualifies for this federal funding source though a combination of tough laws - and, a proven track record in strong enforcement of distracted driving laws.

 

During the April operation, over 12,000 citations issued to motorists by police across Connecticut.  The state Department of Transportation says there was an eight percent drop in mobile phone use by drivers at observation locations during last year's crackdown.

 

Under Connecticut’s cell phone and texting law, fines are $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second violation, and $500 for each subsequent violation.

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Connecticut's largest association of cities and towns is coming up with a plan to increase regional cooperation and review new taxing options.

 

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities intends to have a comprehensive package of proposals "designed to break new ground" ready in December. The 2017 legislative session opens in January.  CCM on Monday announced a new 13-member State-Local Partnership Panel.

 

The CCM President, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, will lead the panel.  He says the focus is on creating policies that deal with property taxes, local revenue diversification and regional service delivery. The panel plans to expand the work of the 2015 State Tax Panel and increase cooperation between municipalities.

 

Boughton says the legislature and Governor are going to be facing a daunting task with the next biennium budget, with a nearly $5 billion deficit. He says that trickles down to cities and towns, which don't have enough money to provide the services that residents want and ask for.

 

The panel is hoping to answer three questions; what services do they want in Connecticut, how will they be paid for and who pays for them.  Boughton says that will provide a roadmap to ensure Connecticut is on a sustainable path forward.

 

There's been about half a dozen reports over the last several years by various groups, Blue Ribbon Panels and commissions created by the legislature.  CCM Executive Director Joe DeLong says the group's recommendations "won't be another study that will be filed on an office shelf."

 

The panel also includes Coventry Town Manager John Elsesser, East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, Litchfield First Selectman Leo Paul, Mansfield Town Manager Matt Hart, New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda, Norwich Mayor Deb Hinchey, Stamford Mayor David Martin, Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary, and Wethersfield Town Manager Jeff Bridges.

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A panel discussion about the opioid addiction crisis is being held tomorrow night in Weston.  State Representative John Shaban has organized a community discussion on Connecticut’s Opioid Addiction Crisis. There will be a panel of local officials to guide the discussion, share information and answer questions.  Panelists include the First Selectmen and Police Chiefs of Easton, Redding and Weston.  The Associate Planner of the Western Connecticut Council of Government and the Director of Mid-Fairfield Substance Abuse Coalition are also taking part in the panel discussion.  The free event, open to the public, is being held tomorrow night from 6:30 to 8 o'clock at Weston Town Hall.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Elementary school students attended school in Sandy Hook on Monday for the first time since a shooting rampage there killed 20 first-graders and six educators.

 

Joseph Erardi, Newtown's School Superintendent, said it was a great and uneventful day for the just under 400 students at the new 86,000-square-foot Sandy Hook Elementary School, which was built to replace the one torn down after the December 2012 shooting.

 

"I spent all day there and it felt the way that it should feel," he said. "Students were excited to be there."

 

The $50 million replacement was built on the same property as the former school, but not in the old footprint. All that remains are two large concrete slabs containing dinosaur footprints that also sat outside the old building.

 

About 70 current students attended the Sandy Hook Elementary School when the shooting occurred. School officials say about 35 of them were in the building at the time, but none witnessed the shootings. Those students, who were all in kindergarten at the time, are now fourth graders.

 

Erardi said he visited all of their classrooms and there were no issues.

 

Because of retirements and transfers, about 60 percent of the staff members from the original Sandy Hook are still with the school. Others left through retirement or job changes, and a handful chose to transfer as part of their recovery process, Erardi said

 

He credited parents for creating a smooth first day back for students, noting the vast majority of families took the time to tour the new school in advance of opening day to prepare the children.

 

"It was a back to business first day," he said. "There was nothing extraordinary that took place with announcements with any type of ceremonies. Just off the bus and let's go to work."

 

After the shooting, Sandy Hook students attended a school in neighboring Monroe, which renovated a previously closed elementary school to serve as a temporary home for them.

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New Milford officials have informed US Solar that they won't be able to commit to a lease of some of the Sullivan Farm property at this time.  The New Milford Town Council had a proposal before them at their last meeting, but the item was tabled for a possible special meeting. 

 

The lease of 10 acres of the more than 100 acre farm for solar panels came with a September 1st deadline to participate in a state run program. 

 

Mayor David Gronbach says while the possibilities at Sullivan Farm are exciting, an implementation plan takes more time that the deadline allows for.  He told US Solar that New Milford won't be able to offer the level of committment they need at this time, but that he wants to continue exploring projects with them to invest in renewable energy.

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Bridgewater's First Selectman is providing an update on the condition of a man shot in the shoulder during a home invasion earlier this month.  Curtis Read says Victor Compe is recovering from the gunshot wound and complex operations at Yale Hospital to rebuild his shoulder. 

 

The man was great spirits when Read visited him at the Bethel Health & Rehabilitation Center.  He hopes to be home soon, possibly as early as next week. 

 

Compe asked Read to pass on a message so that his friends in Bridgewater would know how much he loves the town and appreciates all that is being done for him and his wife.  Read says Vic and Samantha were random victims of a terrible crime, and they deserve help and support. 

 

The town of Bridgewater is making arrangements for people to donate money to supplement medical expenses.  Compe will also need  drivers willing to take him to appointments and an electric “lazy boy” chair after he gets home.  Read says people looking for information can contact Town Hall.

 

(Photo: Curtis Read, Facebook)

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DANBURY, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man who spent 48 years on the lam after escaping from prison is expected to fight an attempt to return him to Georgia.

Seventy-one-year-old Robert Stackowitz is set to appear in state court in Danbury for an extradition hearing Tuesday.

His lawyer, Norman Pattis, has said they will try to fight his return to Georgia, where he fled a prison work camp in Carrolton in 1968 while serving a 17-year sentence for robbery. Pattis says Stackowitz has major health problems including heart failure and bladder cancer, and any prison time would amount to a death sentence.

Connecticut officials have denied Stackowitz's requests to refuse to return him to Georgia.

Stackowitz was arrested May 9 at his Sherman home after his Social Security application turned up a fugitive warrant.

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Sandy Hook School students have returned to Newtown for the first time in several years, in a new building designed to nurture their learning experience. 

 

Svigals Project Manager Julia McFadden says Svigals has found that nature is helpful in a learning environment and is soothing.  She says there have been studies showing that the color green can lower blood pressure and heart rate.  Their design opens the school to nature.  In the lobby there are metal steel forming tree trunks and colored glass panes in the widows create the effect of sunlight streaming through the leaves.  Wood was also used on the ceiling by that back wall.

 

 

Vertical sunshades address some of the solar gain in the classrooms.  Instead of plain grey, designers wanted do something lively.  McFadden says the autumnal color scheme make it look like a xylophone.

 

The old school was a single story and McFadden says the teachers were a little reluctant to have two stories.  They wanted the same sense of community so the designers create an open atrium in the lobby.  Kids going to the library, gym or cafeteria can see and be seen.

 

McFadden says the wood was chosen to evoke the identity of Newtown.  The local ecology was something that people held strongly and talked about during the planning meetings.  The gables peak over the rolling landscape.  South American hardwoods, naturally colored, were chosen to evoke the New England character.  A concrete cistern covered in a mosaic collects rain water from the roof.  The water is naturally treated by plants in a rain garden that spans the front of the building, before it flows down into the aquifer.

 

 

There are three weather vanes outside the school.  One features an eagle, the school mascot.  Another is a bear cub.  The last is a mamma duck and ducklings, a theme in other artwork throughout the school.  The former Sandy Hook School courtyard was home to a family of ducks, and the community is hoping to attract them to the site.  Sandy Hook also has a duck race every year.  In the waiting area of the main administration office hangs a painting of birds in flight.  It was painted by Robert Reynolds, a local artist. 

 

The Sandy Hook School Foundation donated funds to create an alcove to relocate the school's turtle.  Shelly had a small aquarium before, but now has a large tank in the main lobby.

 

There are two so-called treehouse locations in the building.  The designers were told that parents sometimes come with a sibling and that tutoring that gets done so these are meant as a breakout spaces.

 

The classrooms have a teaching wall.  There is a white board, an interactive smartboard and a tack board.  The doors have a side window and the only other window into the hallway is above teacher height.  There are built in book cases.  The lower grades have in classroom bathrooms.

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New Yorkers React After

Barely Missing Subway

  

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July issue of "American Way"

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