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An armed robbery suspect turned himself in to Danbury Police early this morning. 

 

The man, later determined to be 36-year old Michael Zemsky of Brewster, handed over a note to a teller at Union Savings Bank on North Street Wednesday saying he had a weapon, though no weapon was displayed. 

 

Zemsky allegedly fled on foot around 3pm with an undisclosed amount of cash.  Police released surveillance photos, asking for the public's help in identifying the man. 

 

Police say Zemsky turned himself in at 2:30am Thursday.  He was charged with robbery and larceny.



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The nation's chief railroad regulator is using technology to make rail crossings safer as she prepares to leave office.  Sarah Feinberg says technology companies are beginning to add crossing warnings to their GPS devices and mapping applications.

Feinberg has spent her two years in office pressing the railroad industry to hasten the installation of automatic speed controls and recently urged railroads to test engineers for sleep apnea.

 

Her tenure ends Friday.

She had been on the job for just three weeks when a Metro North train slammed into an SUV stopped on tracks in Valhalla, killing six people.  The train was headed from Grand Central Terminal to the Brewster area.  One of the passengers killed in the crash was 41-year old Aditya Tomar, of Danbury.

 

It was not the first deadly crash at the site: A truck driver died after a Metro-North train struck the vehicle at the same Commerce Street crossing in 1984, according to Federal Railroad Administration records. The driver didn't stop before the collision.

The February 2015 crash highlighted a problem that has plagued the railroad industry since the invention of the automobile: the potential for danger wherever tracks and roads meet.



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Two families have been displaced by a fire in Danbury.  Firefighters initially received a report of smoke and flames coming from a second story window of 8 Cook Street, near Triangle Street.  Assistant Fire Chief Mark Omasta says there were two residents at the Cook Street home at the time. 

 

 

One resident was evaluated at the scene, but did not require hospitalization. 

 

Omasta says one room and its contents were destroyed by the blaze.  There is heavy smoke damage to that area of the house. 

 

Omasta says 6 to 8 tenants live in the two family wood-framed home.  The house in uninhabitable at this time because the electricity was cut. 

 

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

 



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Senator Chris Murphy, a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, on Tuesday questioned President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. Among the questions that Murphy asked during his five minute allotment of time was whether she supports President-elect Trump’s pledge to ban gun-free zones in schools.

 

DeVos responded: "I will refer back to Senator Enzi and the school he was talking about in Wapiti, Wyoming. I think probably there, I would imagine that there’s probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies."

 

 

Murphy said he was dumbfounded to hear her support Trump’s rollback of gun-free zones in schools and fail to say anything at all about the danger of having guns in classrooms.  He said that he was shaken to the core by her answer, and so should every American parent.  Murphy later said it's not enough to think school shootings are sad, because everyone thinks that. 

 

This part of his line of questioning was picked up by the late night shows, including The Daily Show.  Host Trevor Noah said that he called the school she referenced.  They responded that they have a fence and bear spray, and that works fine.



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The next step in a property assessment appeal process starts tomorrow in Brookfield.  Last November, Brookfield property owners received a notice of their new property assessment. At that time, anyone with questions concerning the revaluation process or the data collected on their property had an opportunity to discuss their property value with the Town's revaluation contractor, Vision Government Solutions.

The informal hearings which took place in late November and during December were the first step in the appeal process if a property owner felt their assessment was inaccurate.  A follow-up notice was mailed in late December to those owners, showing any change to the assessment.

The October revaluation was done to equalize property values throughout Brookfield. Current assessments represent 70% of October 1, 2016 Fair Market Value.  All assessment appeals information must be supported by 2016 market data.  That data is available on lists at the Assessor's Office in Town Hall.

The next round of appeals, to the Board of Assessment Appeals, is a formal process undertaken annually by state statute.  The Board will meet during March to hear formal appeals on the revalued Grand List.  Appeal forms will be available at the Assessor's Office in Brookfield Town Hall starting January 20.  All appeal forms must be received by the Assessor's Office by the close of business on February 17th.  Petitioners will be notified of the time and date of their hearing by the Assessor's Office.



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A lawsuit has been field against New Milford Mayor David Gronbach and the town's finance director.  The suit filed Friday by Republican Town Chairman Michael Barnes claims the pair misappropriated $225,000 for renovations to the former John Pettibone School.  Barnes filed the suit on his own behalf, not in his official capacity. 

 

A hearing on a court injunction being sought by Barnes is scheduled for February 6th.  The injunction would prevent the town from using any more money from the Management Landfill Settlement Fund. 

 

Barnes claims using the money violates Town Charter requirements that any appropriations be approved by the Board of Finance.  Barnes said in a statement yesterday that the Mayor and Finance Director have "marginalized the Board of Finance to the point that its existence is immaterial on important town financial matters." 

 

Mayor David Gronbach wrote in a statement on Facebook that Barnes has omitted that the money was approved by the Town Council.  He called the lawsuit an attempt to intimidate and bully, and that he will defend efforts to make Pettibone a Town and Community Center.



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The Putnam County Sheriff's Department has identified the people involved in a serious crash on Route 22 in Brewster yesterday morning.  Officials say 23-year old David Mossman of Southeast crossed the center line and hit a Verizon worktruck head on. 

 

Mossman was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center with multiple injuries described as serious.  There was no immediate update on his condition Wednesday afternoon.  It took firefighters 40 minutes to extricated from his vehicle using the Jaws of Life tool. 

 

The driver of the Verizon truck, 49-year old Joseph Politi of Poughquag, and his passenger, 48-year old Giuseppe Assenza of Poughkeepsie, were transported by ambulance to Danbury Hospital with what appeared to be minor injuries.  A hospital spokeswoman said the men were treated and released from the Emergency Room.

 

Route 22 was closed to traffic for about six hours as the wrecked vehicles were cleared and investigators examined the scene to determine the cause of the crash.  The investigation is continuing.



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4th District Congressman Jim Himes says despite some grave concerns he has about the coming Trump administration, he will attend Friday's inauguration ceremony.  Himes says he will not be there to celebrate a "cynical new President", but to witness a peaceful transfer of power. 

 

He says he will also be there as visible evidence that power is shared in America, and that President Trump will be checked and balanced by hundreds of people on that inaugural stage.  Himes, who has been outspoken against President-elect Trump, says Trump has not shown the temperament, integrity or wisdom necessary to run a small town. 

 

He then went on to quote President John F. Kennedy, who said on his inauguration 55 years ago: "only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink responsibility. I welcome it."



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Monroe First Selectman Steve Vavrek has decided not to seek re-election in November. 

 

He said in a written statement that for 28 years his family has been by his side during a marvelous era in their lives.  Before becoming First Selectman, Vavrek served as a member of the Parks and Rec Commission , the Town Council, Board of Finance, the Republican Town Committee and various community organizations.  Vavrek says much has changed in the town, region, state, country and world over the last three decades and fresh ideas must be developed and listened to. 

 

Monroe Town Council member Ken Kellogg has announced his intention to run for First Selectman.



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FREDERICK, Md. (AP) The mother of a child killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and a Connecticut State Police trooper who investigated the incident are leading a safety training session for school workers in Frederick.

The daylong event Wednesday is the second of three regional meetings that the Maryland Center for School Safety is sponsoring this week around the state. The first was held Tuesday in Cambridge, and the third is scheduled Thursday in Annapolis.

The sessions feature Michele Gay, whose daughter Josephine was among 20 children and six educators killed by a gunman at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012. Gay is co-founder of an organization dedicated to improving school safety.

Connecticut Trooper First Class Dan Jewiss is offering a law-enforcement perspective on lessons learned from the tragedy.



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The Brookfield Commission on Aging is looking for volunteers.  The Brookfield Commission on Aging proposes and evaluates programs and services for older citizens in an effort to enhance the lives of present and future generations of the town's seniors. The commission helps Brookfield officials in the development, initiation, coordination and implementation of those programs and services.  The Commission is specifically looking for a volunteer to help schedule FISH rides.  The program provides rides for ambulatory seniors to medical appointments. The scheduler listens to voice mail messages received by email and matches volunteer drivers with requests.  Questions can be emailed to coaging@brookfieldct.gov.



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The Van Transportation Program, offering rides to the senior center in Danbury, is expanding.  Danbury recently purchased a new service van for the Senior Center’s Van Transportation Program.   City officials will hold a brief dedication ceremony at Elmwood Hall Thursday afternoon for the van.  Director of Elderly Services Susan Tomanio says the new service bus for Elmwood Hall enables them to provide more rides than in the past, as the capacity to transport has been increased.  The current service van holds 8 seats, while the new van has the capacity for 10.  Schedules are given out to riders created to optimize use and allow each senior to attend the events of their choosing at the center.  The senior center made 5,624 one-way trips with their service van last year.



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Police found a dagger in a New Milford woman's car during a routine traffic stop.  New York State Police stopped a car on Route 22 in Dover last Tuesday for a routine traffic violation.  The driver, 23-year old Kelsey Vincent, was found to be in possession of a dagger.  She was issued a ticket for weapon possession and other charges.  Vincent was ordered to appear in court on the 26th.  She was then turned over to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office for an active warrant.  The Sheriff's Department says the New Milford woman was the subject of a bench warrant issued by the Town of Patterson Justice Court for failure to pay a fine.  She was arraigned, paid the balance of her fine and released.



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Ahead of Friday's inauguration of President-elect Trump a member of the Connecticut Congressional delegation is looking for common ground with the country's next leader.  4th District Democratic Congressman Jim Himes is hoping that because Donald Trump is a builder, he will follow through on his interest in making a commitment to upgrading the nation's infrastructure.  Himes says anyone who lives in Southwest Connecticut knows how important it is to upgrade the bridges, highways, railways and the airports in New York and Hartford.  Himes says even though Trump is a Republican, if he moves forward with that work, they will be able to find common ground to work with him.



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Some rule changes could be coming to the Candlewood Lake Authority asking that member towns pay their contributions to the budget by a certain date.  This proposal comes as New Fairfield has an outstanding balance.  In order to preserve services and programs, the CLA will ask Danbury for an advance of their quarterly dues if New Fairfield doesn't pay their share. 

 

The Newstimes reports that the amendment, which could be voted on next month, would stop delegates from towns in bad standing from participating in the meetings.  The published report quoted New Fairfield delegate John Hodge in saying that it would be illegal to restrict members from speaking at public meetings.

 

New Fairfield officials say the town has made monthly payments and intends to pay the full amount, but that they want more information on budget discrepancies and about contributions to the educational fund. 

 

In the past couple of years, New Fairfield officials have called for changes and transparency from the CLA in their budgeting because of alleged mismanagement.  Donations are now separated from other revenue.



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LAS VEGAS (AP) The gun industry's leading lobbying group and a foundation devoted to preventing suicide are partnering to try to reduce suicides over the next decade.

The Newtown-based National Sports Shooting Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention launched four pilot-programs last summer and are now rolling out the initiative nationally. Two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicide.

The goal of the partnership is to reduce the number of suicides by 10,000 in the next decade. The groups have created brochures that will educate gun dealers and ranges on ways first to recognize warning signs and then to prevent the person from accessing a firearm until they are able to recover from their illness.



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New Milford Police are investigating a Larceny at the New Milford Stop & Shop.  Police say the shop lifting incident happened yesterday.  Police are asking for the public's assistance in identifying the suspect in surveillance photos.  Anyone with information is asked to contact New Milford Police at 860-355-3133.

 

 



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A man refusing to leave the Putnam County Correctional Facility lobby injured two Putnam County Sheriff Sergeants last week.  The Carmel man is now facing charges.  The officers were called to the jail on the 9th on a report that 59-year old John Groissl tried to visit a female inmate, who refused to accept the visitation request, and then refused to leave. 

 

He reportedly continued to disrupt facility operations.  The sergeants repeatedly attempted to persuade the man to leave the premises and warned him that he would be arrested if he did not comply. 

 

When they tried to handcuff Groissl, he tried to punch one of the sergeants. 

 

The two sergeants and Groissl were all treated at Putnam Hospital Center for injuries sustained in the altercation and were released.  Sergeant Monroe suffered abrasions and pain to both his knees, Sergeant Szabo suffered an abrasion to his left knee and pain to his left hip, and Groissl suffered an abrasion to his face. 

 

Groissl was charged with felony assault, trespass, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.  He was arraigned and ordered held on bond.



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One driver was seriously injured this morning in a head-on collision in Brewster.  The Putnam County Sheriff's office reports that a northbound pick up truck crossed over the center line of Route 22, into the path of a southbound Verizon truck.  The accident happened shortly before 8am near Route 121. 

 

The force of the impact sent the Verizon truck into a rollover and down an embankment.  The heavily demolished pickup truck stopped in the shoulder of the road. 

 

A passing motorist came upon the crash and phoned 911.

 

The driver of the pickup was pinned in the wreckage, and volunteer firefighters from the Brewster and Croton Falls Fire Department needed about 40 minutes to extricate him using the Jaws of Life tool. 

 

The man, who had multiple serious injuries, was still conscious and airlifted to Westchester Medical Center.  The two men in the Verizon truck had what appeared to be minor injuries.  They were initially treated at the scene before being transported to Danbury Hospital for evaluation.

 

Route 22 was closed between Deans Corner Road and Railroad Avenue for the investigation for at least six hours.



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The Connecticut Supreme Court will start the fifth term of the 2016-17 court year today, and conclude the term on January 26th.  One of the cases being heard on Monday morning is the State of Connecticut v. Roberto Acosta, from the Danbury Judicial District.  The question is of whether evidence of uncharged Sexual Misconduct occurring 13 years before the charged crimes was properly admitted under State v. DeJesus.

 

The 49-year old defendant was charged with sexual assault and risk of injury to a child in connection with a 2009 incident involving his niece.  At trial, evidence was admitted that, in 1997, the defendant had engaged in uncharged sexual misconduct with another child. The defendant was convicted and he appealed, claiming that the court improperly admitted the uncharged misconduct evidence because it was too remote in time and not sufficiently similar to the charged misconduct. 

 

The Appellate Court affirmed the defendant’s conviction. 

 

State v. DeJesus holds that evidence of uncharged sexual misconduct properly may be admitted in sex crime cases to establish that the defendant had a propensity to engage in aberrant and compulsive criminal sexual behavior if the trial court determines, among other things, that the evidence is relevant to the charged crime in that it is not too remote in time.

 

The Appellate Court reasoned that the remoteness in time of a prior incident is rarely determinative of the admissibility of the evidence and emphasized that the evidence here was relevant because there was a significant similarity between the uncharged and charged misconduct.

 

The Supreme Court will determine whether the Appellate Court properly determined that the trial court did not abuse its discretion.