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A letter has been sent to Weston parents from the school district about students and staff members being hospitalized after eating candy brought back from China from the recent high school student trip over vacation. 

 

School officials said (Thursday the candy was brought to Weston Middle School and shared with a small number of students and two staff members.  Some then experienced discomfort so as a precaution, all individuals who consumed this candy were transported by ambulance to the hospital to be checked by medical personnel. 

 

Parents are being asked that if their child has this type of candy, that they notify Weston school officials and police.

 

(Photo Courtesty: Weston Public Schools)

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Compliance checks held in Monroe recently revealed that three store clerks sold tobacco products to minors.  The enforcement program was carried out by the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Monroe Police Department last Thursday. 

 

Similar to liquor compliance checks, an underage youth entered stores and attempted to purchase cigarettes or other tobacco products.  10 inspections were conducted in Monroe and three clerks were issued a $200 ticket. 

 

Administrative sanctions from the Department of Revenue Services could be levied against the Cigarette Dealer License holder at each store.  They are Brand Cigars, Henny Penny and Buck Stop.

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Some overnight road work is underway along a five mile stretch of highway through Danbury. 

 

The state Department of Transportation is milling and paving both east and westbound between exits 3 and 8.  The overnight work started Sunday and is being done between 8pm and 5:30am.  The work is scheduled to be completed by mid-July.  Various lane closures will be set up for the overnight roadwork each week night. 

 

The DOT says modifications or extensions to the schedule may be needed due to weather delays or other unforseen circumstances.

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A weekend brush fire in Redding was started by someone who had an open burn without a permit.  Volunteer firefighters from the three Redding Departments along with Bethel and Stony Hill firefighters responded to Sanfordtown Road in Redding Sunday afternoon.  The open space land had no nearby structures in danger.  Open burns are allowed if residents have a permit issued by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and have notified the Redding burn center.

 

Some businesses along Main Street in Ridgefield were briefly evacuated Thursday afternoon because of a fire alarm.  Fire officials say the alarm was set off shortly before noon by a burnt object which was extinguished quickly.  People at the businesses in the Main Street and Bailey Avenue area were allowed back inside after a few minutes.

 

The  Danbury Fire Department responded to an illegal burn on Indian Head Road Thursday afternoon.  Fire officials say the resident didn't know a permit was needed.  The blaze was reported around 1pm and quickly extinguished.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A passenger on the SkyWest airlines flight to Connecticut that made an emergency landing in New York on Wednesday described a lack of air in the cabin and shortness of breath as others on board lost consciousness.

The flight, carrying 75 passengers, departed from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and had been bound for Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. It landed at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Buffalo at about 11:40 a.m.

Passenger Larry Johnson of Danbury, Connecticut, tells The Associated Press it became difficult to breathe part way through the flight and none of the air vents were working.

In all, three passengers lost consciousness and others reported feeling ill. None required hospitalization.

A transportation safety official says Thursday his agency is assessing the circumstances.

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A bill has been advanced this week to the state House aimed at better protecting victims of stalking.  The legislation would include the use of a Global Positioning System, or GPS, into the existing criminal laws on stalking.  Monroe state Representative JP Sredzinski says this isn't for routine use of a GPS device by businesses who keep tabs on deliveries and the like.

 

The Office of the State's Victim Advocate supports this legislation.

 

A committee on Tuesday voted nearly unanimously to make the use of a GPS device for stalking a class B misdemeanor punishable by 6 months in jail. 

 

Sredzinski says that new technology is sometimes being used to  terrify, torment and instill fear in victims who are forced to always look over their shoulder. He hopes that including GPS devices in existing law will will provide victims with some level of comfort.

 

Current state law says stalking is when a person recklessly causes another to reasonably fear for his or her physical safety by willfully and repeatedly following, or lying in wait for that person.

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Danbury has once again been named as a Tree City USA.  The National Arbor Day Society awards various cities nationwide with this honor and chose Danbury because of the work by the Forestry Division to follow tree care ordinances while addressing community needs. 

 

This is the 25th consecutive year that Danbury has been given this recognition. 

 

In honor of this Arbor Day, on Friday, Mayor Mark Boughton will join the Danbury Garden Club for a tree planting ceremony at 10am at Park Avenue School.  Another tree planting will follow at 11am at Kenosia Park.

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A Committee of the Danbury City Council is recommending that the education portion of the budget be lower than what the Board of Education requested.  The Board sought $127.5 million, but the Mayor has recommended $124 million.  That smaller number is still a 2.3 percent increase in spending over the current year. 

 

Superintendent of Schools Dr Sal Pascarella says full day kindergarten, a new middle school and increased security are leading to some of the increase.  Special education is a major cost driver in this budget.  Danbury is looking to create a a so-called building brace program to keep kids in the district rather than outplace a student.  Part of the outplacement cost is transportation.

 

Pascarella says the state has flat funded Education Cost Sharing grants to Danbury since 2008, even though the City has seen consistent enrollment increases. 

 

Pascarella says if there are more budget cutbacks there will have to be fewer teachers, less supplies and consolidated administrators.

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State lawmakers and environmental advocates have rallied in support of a number of bills aimed at protecting the environment. 

 

Kent state Representative Roberta Willis says the state and country have come far since the first Earth Day was celebrated 45 years ago.  There was no Environmental Protection Agency, no Department of Environmental Protection, and no Council on Environmental Quality.

 

One of the bills being considered this session would phase out single-use plastic bags in Connecticut.  Lawmakers are also calling for passage of legislation to reduce the use of pesticides in the state.

 

A bill to ban the sale of personal care products which contain microbeads is also being considered.  Redding state Representative Dan Carter says the idea for the bill came from a constituent.  The small particles of plastic found in toothpaste, soap and other products find their way into wastewater treatment facilities, and into the water becoming a significant source of pollution.  Lawmakers say the non-biodegradables threaten aquatic life which often mistake them for food.

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NEW YORK (AP) A former Jasper Johns assistant will spend 18 months behind bars for stealing artworks from the pop artist's Connecticut studio and arranging for them to be sold at a gallery.

James Meyer, of Salisbury, Connecticut, was sentenced Thursday in federal court in New York City.

He was Johns' studio assistant for over 25 years.

He told the judge he removed 22 pieces from Johns' studio in Sharon without the artist's permission so he could sell them at a gallery.

He pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of stolen property.

Prosecutors say the art was sold by a Manhattan gallery for $6.5 million after Meyer provided the owner with fictitious authentication papers. They say Meyer got half the proceeds.

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The Newtown Community Center project is headed back to the drawing board.  During the Board of Selectmen's meeting on Monday, a Commission was created to continue studying the needs of the town.  Opposition to Phase 1 of the proposal as just a senior center and aquatics center forced the cancellation of an April 28th referendum on the issue. 

 

First Selectman Pat Llodra says the ground work that's already been done should make the Commission's job easier.  Llodra says she wants to ensure that essential partners have a voice.  She is looking for a six month process to determine what various sectors of the community are looking for in a Center. 

 

The funding for the project comes from a $15 million grant donated by General Electric last year.  Most of the grant is to be used for the development and construction of a new community center.  About $5 million would be spent for operational costs over the first several years that a Center is open.

 

The Commission's first meeting will be held either next week or the week after.

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The Women's Business Council of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce has hosted their 5th annual Conversations with Extraordinary Women.  During the event Thursday night, three women shared their journeys to success and what they learned along the way. 

 

 

Director of New Media at Yale, Amy Kundrat says years ago the biases in the workplace were more overt--including separate want ads.  She gave the example of a male colleague who consistently interrupts women, but not men.  She suggested creating a safe space in organizations to talk about that unconscious bias.  Kundrat says recent surveys have shown that women only make up 17 percent of corporate boards in the United States and that women hold only 20 percent of elected offices.  Norway has a 40 percent rule for corporate boards.

 

Missy Chase Lapine, founder of Sneaky Chef Foods says having it all changes on an hourly basis.  If she has helped to empower women to feel like a supermom doing well by families, she considers herself a success.  A group of high school and college students attended the event and Chase Lapine told them to be motivated, to make themselves proud, and to strive to do better than the day before.  But she noted that it is hard to remain true to who you are and remain true to yourself when everyone around you tells you differently.

 

Ms Foundation for Women CEO Theresa Younger says women and men are being paid differently.  To explain it to those who don't believe the numerous polls stating otherwise, she gave this example:

 

"Equate it to boys and girls, and ask them to explain why their daughter should be paid less than their son when you paid the same amount for  them to go to college."

 

Younger says she is fortunate to lead an organization that juggles the issues facing women in this country in the fight for equality so everyone can reach their fullest identity.

 

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A special Saturday voting session is being held in Newtown today for those who won't be able to get to the referendum being held on Tuesday.  Today's voting in Newtown is being held at the Town Clerk's office from 9am to noon. 

 

The budget is proposed at $111.73 million and is a .6 percent increase over the current fiscal year.  The municipal proposal is $40.1 million and the schools are asking for $71.6 million. 

 

Even though there is a spending increase, there is a projected reduction in taxes by .7 percent.  This is because of intergovernmental revenue increases, new grand list revenue and more savings in health insurance costs for municipal employees. 

 

The Saturday voting session at the Town Clerk's office is from 9am to noon.  The budget referendum is Tuesday with polls open from 6am to 8pm.

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The Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut is hosting it's annual Healthy Kids Day.  Membership Director Megan Hebert says the free community event is to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active.

 

They will teach families how to develop a healthy routine at home.  Healthy Kids Day  features games, healthy cooking demonstrations, and other events. 

 

 

The free event is being held this afternoon at the Y's Greenknoll Branch on Huckleberry Hill Road in Brookfield from 1 to 3pm.

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Some stars of Danbury are putting on their dancing shoes tonight for a fundraiser benefiting Danbury Youth Services.  The Dancing with the Stars event is being held at The Palace Danbury.  Among the featured dancers are City Center executive director Andrea Gartner, State Representative David Arconti and Danbury Elderly Services Director Susan Tomanio. 

 

Danbury Youth Services Co-chair Sherry Creighton says the money raised tonight will go toward DYS programming.  DYS programming includes counseling for children and families, afterschool programs, mentoring programs, earn a bike program and others.  Creighton says the event is a partnership with A Common Ground Community Arts Center and Arthur Murray. 

 

 

The event is from 6:30 to 10:30 pm.  Tickets are$75.00, which includes Appetizers and Drinks.  Votes are $10.00 each.

 

This year's "Dancing with the Stars" event features the following "Stars" and "Dancers":

  • Andrea Gartner, City Center executive director, dancing with Andy Cabell from Arthur Murray;
  • David Arconti, state representative for Danbury, dancing with Elizabeth Cotter;
  • Dinilio Jimenez, DYS board member, dancing with Tara Aston from Arthur Murray;
  • Dana Perez, Danbury Westside Middle School counselor, dancing with Jill Hancock from A Common Ground;
  • Jack Deep, owner and manager of Deep's Hardware, dancing with Jen Spagnolo Danise from A Common Ground;
  • and Susan Tomanio, executive director Elderly Services at City of Danbury, dancing with Mike Rodrigues from Arthur Murray.

 

Judges include Deputy Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bill Glass and Danbury First Lady Phyllis Boughton

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A woman caught on surveillance tape taking jewelry from a store at the Danbury Mall has been arrested.  Danbury Police say security personnel at Lord and Taylor told responding officers on Wednesday that a woman took 15 items and left the store. 

 

30-year old Lynn Ciacci of South Salem, New York was held by store security. 

 

Danbury Police searched the woman for the items, valued at nearly $900, and also found needles and packets of heroin in her possession.  Ciacci was charged with larceny, possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of possession of narcotics. 

 

She was released on bond for a May 4th court appearance.

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A Danbury woman has been sentenced on child abuse charges.  A Danbury couple was charged nearly two years ago with child abuse. 

 

Last week, 37-year old Tara Henke was sentenced to seven years in prison, suspended after two years to be followed by five years probation.  Her boyfriend, 37-year old Marco Tuapante, pleaded guilty in February and was sentenced to nine years in prison and nine years of special probation.  He was ordered not to contact the two children. 

 

The couple was accused in June 2013 of repeatedly beating the children with a belt.  School officials saw suspicious injuries and reported it to police. 

 

Henke was charged with two counts of risk of injury to a minor.  Tuapante was charged with two counts each of assault, kidnapping, negligent child cruelty, injury to a child and reckless endangerment.

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Ridgefields first selectman Rudy Marconi was at the scene at last nights fire at Casagmo condominiums in the heart of downtown Ridgefield .

A 70 year old woman was trapped upstairs in her condo. Both of her sons tried franctically to rescue her . Firefighters did finally get her out of the burning building. One son  suffered injuries on his hands head and arms. He is in critical condition as well as his Mother . They have been taken to the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital after being taken to Danbury hospital .

The cause of the blaze is unknown. The fire did not spread to nearby condos.

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A Newtown house has sustained heavy damage from a fire last night.  The blaze was reported around 6pm Thursday on Castle Hill Road.  Fire officials say there were flames coming from the windows on the upper story of the raised-ranch. 

 

There were no injuries reported.

 

The American Red Cross is providing assistance to two adults by helping to secure temporary housing for the occupants because the home is uninhabitable.  The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Newtown Fire Marshal's office, though initial reports are that it was accidental.

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A widowed mother of two from Florida has been sentenced to four years in prison for burning down her former million-dollar home in Connecticut for the insurance money.

39-year-old Amanda Azevedo pleaded with a state judge in Bridgeport on Friday to let her go home and be with her children. But Judge John Blawie imposed the prison time.

A jury convicted the Clearwater, Florida, resident last month of arson, fraud and other crimes in the burning of her former $1.4 million home in Monroe in 2008. The 3,660-square-foot home with an indoor pool was destroyed.

At the time of the fire, Azevedo's husband was hospitalized with an undisclosed illness. He died in 2010.

A woman accused of helping Azevedo awaits trial on arson charges.

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