Prior to the election, 4th District Congressman Jim Himes said that one of the first actions of Congress should be to take back its war-making authority. He says it's something that's been talked about for decades. Since World War II, despite a lot of military activity, there hasn't been a formal declaration of war.
He introduced the Reclamation of War Powers Act on Monday.
Without a formal declaration of war, or a resolution, the President can't introduce armed forces into hostilities according to the legislation. He says the bill will stop the President from taking military action, except in emergencies, without Congressional approval. The exceptions would be an attack or imminent attack on the United States.
The one tool Congress has, the power of the purse, would be used to take that power back. Himes says money could not be expended to engage in war unless a deceleration is made by Congress.
Himes notes that the bill will also repeal the two existing Authorizations for Use of Military Force under which the country has been operating. Himes says the President-elect who says he has a secret plan to defeat ISIS; he cannot be allowed to operate without Congressional approval under AUMFs from 15 years ago.
AUMFs were for the War in Iraq and to go after Al Qaeda. Himes wants a new declaration to go after ISIS.
A heavy gas odor at St. Peter School in Danbury was investigated by the Fire Department. In their monthly report to the Danbury City Council, fire officials said crews responded last month to St. Peter School, which had no natural gas service to it. Units metered all areas with no readings but discovered a stack of traffic cones in a rear vestibule area which were emanating a similar odor. Reportedly, the cones had been there for two weeks. Teachers were reporting having headaches and nausea for three to four days. Eversource responded for metering redundancy. The cones were removed to outdoors. The Director was advised to call manufacturer to determine any potential off-gassing hazards associated with the cones.
Several assistance calls were made in November and the Danbury Fire Department and detailed in a report for the City Council meeting tonight. The activities of note included an extrication of a dog from a wrought iron fence, a call to help coax out a dog which was stuck under the floor at a private residence, and an assist to get a kitten from a pipe between two storm drains on Library Place.
Another was a call for an unconscious person at the wheel of a running car, which was in gear. Personnel were able to turn off the key even though the driver, apparently intoxicated, had his foot on the brake.
A rescue call on Main Street involved a woman who stuck her finger in an immersion blender, having the blade impaled on her finger. The response crew was able to cut away the blade guard with a recently acquired Dremel Tool, and then stabilize the patient for transport to the hospital.
Vandals have tagged two structures in Danbury, but the graffiti was quickly removed. With the recently completed improvements to the I-84 exit 5 ramps, some Danbury officials were disappointed to see the cement barrier tagged with graffiti. The Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team is set to report to the City Council tonight that they were able to respond quickly to remove the vandalism. UNIT says it's not hard to notice the spray painting had ever occurred. UNIT also removed extensive graffiti from under the bridge off of White Turkey Extension. The agency says their members will continue to monitor all bridges, buildings, underpasses, etc to ensure that any graffiti is removed promptly.
Members of the Danbury Police Department were dispatched to Danbury Hospital for a warrant service Monday. 32-year old Ricardo Andre was being released from the hospital and had three outstanding Warrants.
Andre was charged Monday with 6th degree larceny, violation of probation and two counts of failure to appear in court. The next warrant was for larceny, interfering with an officer, violation of probation and failure to appear. The last warrant was for reckless endangerment, interfering with an officer, reckless driving by engaging in police pursuit, illegal operation of motor vehicle under suspension and failure to appear.
Andre had been hospitalized for treatment of injuries sustained in a rollover accident Thursday following a pursuit by an off-duty Danbury Police Officer.
An officer working a private duty job spotted the 1997 Ford Explorer, which had been previously reported stolen, and approached the driver. Andre sped away as Officer Jamie Hodge, a one-year member of department, got into his personal car in pursuit while calling dispatch. Andre lost control on Mountainville Road.
His passenger, 26-year old Tiffany Fitzgerald of Danbury, was ejected from the SUV and was killed.
The incident remains under investigation by state police.
There was a small fire at a senior living facility in Ridgefield yesterday morning. Fire officials say a woman who lives at Ridgefield Crossings was heating a towel in her microwave when it caught fire. She threw it across the room, and it landed on a chair, which ignited. Clothing on the chair also caught fire. The building manager was able to douse the flames with a fire extinguisher. The sprinkler system also kicked in. Ridgefield fire officials say there was little damage to the unit. There were no injuries.
If you have overdue books due to Edith Wheeler Memorial Library in Monroe, now is the time to return them. In exchange for each item donate to the Monroe Food Pantry, the Library will forgive 50-cents in late fines. If you don't have any late fees owed, the library is offering a raffle to Linda's Story Time in exchange for donations. The library is collecting non-perishable items through December 31st. A list of supplies most needed by the Monroe Food Pantry can be found on the Town’s website.
The Danbury woman who was ejected from an SUV in a rollover accident which started as a police pursuit on Thursday has succumbed to her injuries. The state Medical Examiner's Office has confirmed that 26-year old Tiffany Fitzgerald died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.
An autopsy will be performed today.
An off-duty Danbury Police Officer working a private job saw a Ford Explorer he knew was previously reported stolen and tried to stop it, but the driver took off. 32-year old Ricardo Andre of Danbury was wearing a seatbelt and able to extricate himself from the vehicle after the rollover.
The incident remains under investigation by state police.
A group formed by families who lost children in the shootings at Sandy Hook School has started a new public service campaign designed to teach people to recognize the warning signs of someone who may be contemplating gun violence.
The Know the Signs campaign from Sandy Hook Promise includes the launch on Friday of a new 2.5 minute video public service announcement designed to show how easy it is to overlook at-risk behavior.
The group's founders include Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden. Both had 6-year-old sons who were among the 26 people killed by a gunman inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.
Sandy Hook Promise is also offering a Know the Signs guide on how to recognize the warning signs of gun violence as well as how to bring their no-cost trainings to schools and youth organizations. The organization says they have trained over 1.5 million youth and adults in 22 months on how to recognize warning signs of gun violence and intervene effectively.
Sandy Hook Promise says these programs have spurred interventions in response to multiple threats – including a school shooting, suicides and firearms brought to schools – as well as helped to reduce bullying and get hundreds of individuals mental health assistance.
The Connecticut Supreme Court will start the fourth term of the 2016-17 court year today. One of the cases being heard is the State of Connecticut versus Michael Pelella, from the Danbury Judicial District. The state charged the defendant with threatening to commit a crime of violence against his brother, Francis Pelella, with the intent to terrorize. The state also charged the defendant with threatening with reckless disregard of the risk of causing terror.
In a memorandum of decision last February, the trial court dismissed the state's charges. An appeal was granted.
The charges stemmed from a January 2014 domestic disturbance in Danbury. According to court documents, Danbury Police responded to the Fairlawn Avenue home on numerous occasions.
On this particular day, officers saw the then 22-year old Francis Pelella standing at the top of the stairs and the defendant, then-31-year old Michael Pelella, standing at the bottom of the stairs with their mother. The younger brother told the defendant that he was going to move into the attic, and the defendant reportedly became mad because his belongings were in the attic. Michael allegedly told his brother that he would hurt him. The brother said that he feared for his safety because the defendant had hurt him physically in the past.
Francis Pelella was also arrested on a disorderly conduct charge for yelling at his mother and getting into her face.
The threat posed to global security is real and being treated with a high level of seriousness in a new bill, according to a local lawmaker. 4th District Congressman Jim Himes is a ranking member of the NSA and Cybersecurity Subcommittee.
He says the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 funds protection measures. Himes believes that this bipartisan bill achieves that goal, but because of the sensitive and often classified nature of intelligence work, much of the bill cannot be openly shared.
One aspect of the bill creates a new committee dedicated to countering active measures by Russia to exert covert influence across the globe. This bill commissions a report on cybersecurity threats to infrastructure, seaports and shipping in the United States. The bill also authorizes special outreach to recruit intelligence employees with science, technology, engineering or math experience to help combat future threats.
To balance the intelligence portion of the bill with privacy protection, Himes says the bill also authorizes more that $10 million for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. The Board provides additional review of covert actions to help ensure that rights are protected. Himes believes that security and privacy are not mutually exclusive, and he wants to ensure that the government is able to keep citizens safe without unnecessary infringement on rights.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has officially certified the results of the November 8th General Election. The final figures reveal that 1,675,955 people cast a ballot out of an all-time high 2,178,169 registered voters, amounting to just under 77 percent turnout. Overall turnout was higher than the presidential election year in 2012, but lower than 2008.
Merrill says election modernization, like online registration and same day registration, is working. She says the state needs to continue looking for conveniences to offer Connecticut voters.
A full Statement of the Vote including final vote tallies for candidates for President of the United States, U.S. Senator, Members of Congress, General Assembly, and Registrars of Voters by town, county, Congressional District and Legislative District will be published by the beginning of the General Assembly’s 2017 legislative session in January.
A panel of law enforcement and Western Connecticut State University student leaders are taking part in a discussion today about how citizens and police can work together. The “Race, Community, Policing and YOU — A Conversation to Make a Difference,” event is about protecting the liberties and lives of both civilians and law enforcement officers whose job it is to safeguard the public.
Participants include Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour; Redding Police Chief Douglas Fuchs, who is also a WestConn instructor; State Police spokeswoman Trooper Kelly Grant; WestConn Police Chief Roger Connor; and student representatives.
University spokesman Paul Steinmetz says the discussion will be the first of several events to engage students, faculty, and the community in creating understanding about the approach police take toward their job and the experiences of residents, particularly students, who interact with law enforcement.
University student organizations such as the Black Student Union, the Latin American Student Organization, the office of Multicultural Affairs & Affirmative Action Programs and others are coordinating the event.
The panel discussion is at 11am in the ball room of the Westside campus center in Danbury. The event is free and open to the public.
A local lawmaker is calling for the General Assembly to meet now to get Connecticut's finances in order.
Wilton state Senator Toni Boucher says the state has been in deficit every year since she's been in the Senate. She says waiting is what got the state into this bind. Boucher says the Democratic majority burying their heads in the sand and kicking the can down the road is the wrong approach to turning the books around.
Boucher says Connecticut still continues to recover from the economic recession that began in 2008, only recouping 76% of jobs lost. She compared that to Massachusetts which has recovered 300-percent of job losses.
Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano is urging Governor Dannel Malloy to meet with Connecticut lawmakers to discuss the state's budget deficit problems. Fasano, who will represent Republicans next year in an 18-18 split Senate, says people are losing confidence in the state and officials need to "show to the public that all parties can work together to face these challenges with a united front."
The Democratic governor's budget office estimates the new fiscal year, which begins July 1, will be about $1.3 billion in the red.
The shortfall stems from a host of things, including payments due for teacher and state employee pensions. Malloy notes how previous governors underfunded those pension programs, helping create today's problem. Scheduled debt payments and slower-than-anticipated revenues also pose challenges.
A New Milford man has pleaded guilty to a federal extortion charge. 45-year old Howard Hammer entered the plea Friday. The U.S. Attorney's Office says a loan shark lent an individual $1,500, which had to be paid back with $500 in interest within 4 days. When the individual failed to pay the loan within four days, the loan shark asked Hammer to collect on the loan.
Hammer admitted to sending text messages to the victim threatening to harm the victim if he failed to pay his debt. He then took screen shots of the threatening text messages and forwarded them to the loan shark. Hammer and the loan shark also discussed taking the victim’s car either as payment for the debt or as punishment for failure to pay the debt.
Authorities say the victim suffered permanent bodily injury on January 25th in connection with this conduct. The U.S. Attorney's office did not elaborate on what this part of the case.
Hammer has been detained since his arrest in May. Sentencing is set for February 24th.
This year's annual Sandy Hook Tree Lighting ceremony will be a little different. The Newtown Bee reports that instead of a pair of trees being lit, only one will. The tree in The Glen, has been lit by Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity for the past six years. But the Newtown Public Works Department said they would not be able to use bucket trucks to string the lights because the tree has grown too close to power lines. They can't get within 10 feet of wires.
The tree at 2 Washington Avenue, in Sandy Hook's business center, has been lit for the past three years and will be the focus of tonight's ceremony.
The Bee reports that SHOP has asked attendees to bring donations for FAITH Food Pantry in exchange for a chance to light the Glen tree, but a family in Sandy Hook had already been chosen to light the other tree. The random winner will join the family in lighting the other tree.
The 16th Annual Sandy Hook Tree Lighting begins at 4pm, with the actual lighting taking place at 6pm.
State Police have released the name of the woman seriously injured in a rollover accident that happened after an off-duty Danbury police officer engaged the driver in pursuit. Police say 26-year old Tiffany Fitzgerald was ejected from the SUV in the crash and transported to the hospital for treatment.
State Police say 32-year old Ricardo Andre of Danbury was wearing a seatbelt and able to extricate himself from the vehicle after the rollover. He was also transported to Danbury Hospital with suspected serious injury.
The car hit a sign, a utility pole and a support cable before rolling over.
The 1997 Ford Explorer had been previously reported stolen to the Danbury Police Department. An off-duty Danbury Police officer, working a private security job, recognized the vehicle. Danbury Police Spokesman Lt. Christian Carroccio says the officer confronted the driver around 10:30am on Center Street, but the driver took off. The Officer pursued the stolen car in his personal vehicle and called in to dispatch. The other driver lost control around a curve on Mountainville Road a short time later.
At the request of the Danbury State's Attorney's Office, State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Squad assumed investigative responsibility for the collision. The accident remains under investigation.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has hired a Georgia woman to oversee fundraising operations for his statewide campaign. Boughton formed an exploratory committee last month and announced Wednesday that he has hired Lindsay Jacobs as finance director. He says Jacobs' track record and experience are unparalleled.
Boughton says in order to effectively communicate his message across the state, he is building a strong team at every level.
He fell short in his fundraising during a 2014 gubernatorial run in order to qualify for the state's Citizens Election Program. Boughton would have needed $250,000 in small donations to receive millions in public financing.
Jacobs said she is excited to join Boughton and the Connecticut Comeback Committee. She said in a statement that during his tenure as mayor, Danbury has not only become Connecticut's safest city, but also its best place to start a business and create jobs.
The Bureau of Prisons will resume housing female inmates at its facility in Danbury this month, making it easier for female inmates from the Northeast to remain in contact with their families. The Department of Justice made the announcement in a report released Wednesday about a series of reforms at the Federal Bureau of Prisons designed to reduce recidivism and increase the likelihood of inmates’ safe and successful return to the community.
FCI Danbury will house the Bureau's first-ever integrated treatment facility for female inmates, which will feature a mental health unit and a women’s Residential Drug Abuse Program, the agency’s most intensive substance abuse treatment course.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement that these critical reforms will help give federal inmates the tools and assistance they need to successfully return home as productive, law-abiding members of society.
Last year, with the department’s support, BOP retained outside consultants to review the agency’s operations and recommend changes designed to reduce the likelihood of inmates re-offending after their release from prison.
The National Transportation Safety Board has released a new report about the small plane that crashed in North Salem last November killing two Danbury restaurant owners.
The information issued this week included a toxicology report which determined that pilot Val Horsa and passenger Taew Robinson tested negative for the presence of volatiles or drugs for all of the submitted samples. The NTSB concluded that the accident was a result of loss of control in flight, not mechanical deficiencies.
The plane was en route to Danbury Municipal Airport when it crashed into a reservoir less than 10 miles away. 90-percent of the wreckage was recovered , with the landing gear was in the up/locked position.