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Bethel Zoning Board holds meeting about medical marijuana facility

The Bethel Zoning Board of Appeals has held a special meeting to discuss the appeal about the medical marijuana dispensary coming to Garella Road in Bethel. Two residents filed an appeal of the Zoning Enforcement Officer approving a zoning permit application for Monroe-based D&B Wellness Compassion and Care Center. 


At their last working session, the Board ruled that the filers were not aggrieved and that the use of the site meets regulations.  The Board requested that the town's Land Use Attorney draft a resolution for last night's meeting. 


A letter has been drafted to the Planning and Zoning Commission, requesting that they review the appeal and make changes to regulations so in the future, something like this will trigger the use of a special permit.  That will insure an opportunity for public discussion on the matter.

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Redding speed sign near school found with bullet holes

Redding police are investigating bullet holes in a portable speed trailer at John Read Middle School.  Police Chief Douglas Fuchs tells the Redding Pilot that the sign that displays drivers' real-time speeds wasn't working and so officers went to retrieve it. 


Fuchs says the shots must have been fired at close range and appears to have come from a shot gun.  The projectiles are likely what caused the sign to stop working in the last week or two.  Fuchs says the damage to this piece of equipment is about $15,000. 


He says it's concerning that someone shot the sign, but more so that it was done on school property.

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Brookfield reschedules two public hearings to Sept.

A new public hearing date has been set in Brookfield on two items.  The original hearing date was cancelled earlier this month when the Board of Selectmen's meeting that same night had to be cancelled. 


A public hearing about joining Western Connecticut Council of Governments has been rescheduled for September 8th. 


Also that night, a change to add tattoo parlors to the Brookfield code of ordinances dealing with salons and spas will be discussed.  A locally issued license is required to open and the Director of Health must also conduct annual inspections.  The ordinance change would include tattoo businesses, and businesses offering temporary tattooing of the face, eyelids and eyebrows.

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Ridgefield teen tries to use skateboard as getaway vehicle from burglary

Two Ridgefield teens have been arrested for trying to rob a house on the same street where one of them lives.  Police spokesman Captain Jeff Kreitz says officers responded to a residential burglar alarm shortly before 9pm Monday.


Two teens were seen fleeing the house on foot, but when one saw the officer he skateboarded away..


State Police K-9 units were called in to locate 18-year old Thomas Redmond, who was found at his home a short distance away.  Redmond and 18-year old Henry Gough were charged with conspiracy to commit burglary and interfering with the duties of an officer. 


A window on the house was broken.  Police are continuing to investigate if anything was taken from the home.


The pair were arraigned Tuesday.

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Easton woman arrested forleaving child alone at motel

An Easton woman has been arrested for leaving her child alone in a motel room.  Fairfield Police were called by Easton officers yesterday night asking that they perform a welfare check at the Fairfield Motor Inn on a 4-year old girl. 


Brittany Hacker's ex husband called police after the 24-year old showed up at his house and said their child with a friend in another room. 


Officers found the girl along in Hacker's motel room.  Hacker was charged with leaving a child unsupervised and risk of injury to a minor. 


The state Department of Children and Families was notified.

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Democrats demand liquid nicotine rules

FARMINGTON, Conn. (AP) A dozen Senate Democrats are pushing federal legislation to require child-proof bottles for liquid nicotine used for e-cigarettes.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Elizabeth Esty, both Connecticut Democrats, said Tuesday that safety rules are needed in response to a rise in poisonings.

Blumenthal said the absence of rules has led to a ``wild, wild west of unregulated e-nicotine.''

The American Association of Poison Control Centers cites a nearly eight-fold increase in exposures to poison from e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine, from 271 in 2011 to 2,313 so far this year.

A representative of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Other state officials have demanded regulations including a ban on selling flavored products.

The battery-powered devices allow users to inhale vapor from a heated liquid nicotine solution.

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Public hearing held on bonding in Danbury

A public hearing has been held in Danbury about four items.  Residents had a chance last night to weigh in on a proposed change to Danbury's Pension Obligation Bonds.  The City maintains six pension plans for a total of $305 million, funded at 84 percent.  Mayor Mark Boughton says the City has an opportunity to refinance it's unfunded liability for a $15 million savings over the 20 year repayment schedule.  Boughton says the City has an opportunity to refinance the unfunded liability from a rate of 7.25 percent down to 3.6 percent. 


During the public hearing, a proposed increased fine in the blight ordinance was discussed.  Minor changes to the way the fire marshal collects fees was also on the agenda.


$20 million is proposed bonding for road repairs and roof replacements was also discussed.  Anything over $3 million has to go to a public hearing and a vote.  The items could be placed on the November ballot. 


The breakdown of the bonding is:


$1 million for public safety communications network upgrades and replacement


$6.5 million for the public works department to rebuild, pave, fix drainage issues and replace curbs, guardrails and lighting on various roads throughout the city.  The Department would also get $3 million for equipment and vehicle replacements.


$4 million for the engineering department for a bridge repair and replacement program


$5.5 million for a roof replacement program

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WCSU officer attends FBI training clinic

A Western Connecticut State university Police Sgt with more than 20 years on the job has completed a 10-week training course at the FBI's headquarters in Quantico Virginia.  Only one-half of one percent of all law enforcement personnel in the world are invited to attend the academy.  Sgt Richard Montefusco was one of three officers from Connecticut joining police from 17 countries and 48 states. 


Montefusco participated in an FBI program that fabricates active shooter scenarios through the use of avatars.  He was on a team with 13 other officers and says they all understood immediatly, the concept that the had to work together.


Montefusco took courses in civil law, civil liability , social media, communication strategies and labor law.  He also received intensive behavioral training taught by an FBI behavioral scientist on the human psyche, anti-social and psycho-social behavior, and how people think.


Montefusco, who is one of Western’s firearms instructors, studied less-lethal munitions at the academy, focusing on the use of alternatives to guns.  Relying on less lethal options for crowd control, Montefusco says will allow university police to neutralize a situation in seconds without having to wait for special teams to arrive on campus.

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Mass resignation leaves 1 Ridgefield Affordable Housing Committee member

There is just one member left on the Ridgefield Affordable Housing Committee.  The group had been operating with three vacancies, but the Ridgefield Press reports that five members of the Committee have resigned as of last week.  The five members signed a letter of resignation delivered to the Board of Selectmen last week saying that the diverse housing needs of Ridgefielders doesn't seem to be a concern of the Board. 


The group said some of their frustration stemmed from the proposed sale of Schlumberger land for luxury condos. 


Chairman Dave Goldenberg, Joanne Search, Rob Gutman, Lynne Sewell, and Elizabeth DiSalvo signed the letter.  Michael Austin is now the only person on the committee.


First Selectman Rudy Marconi told the Ridgefield Press that he felt the committee had some substantial accomplishments in partnership with the selectmen and other town agencies, such as the Housing Authority.  He pointed to the 20-unit Prospect Ridge Meadows project, completed in 2008.

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New Milford man arrested for firing weapon in neighborhood

A New Milford man has been arrested for firing a rifle in a residential neighborhood.  Police say 49-year old Douglas Murphy was arrested shortly after 7:30 Saturday night when officers responded to Burnett Road for reports of shots fired.  Police say Murphy was intoxicated.  He was charged with assaulting a public safety officer, disorderly conduct, reckless endangerment, unlawful discharge of a fire arm and violation of a protective order.  He was held on bond for arraignment Monday at Bantam Superior Court.

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Cops: mom left toddler alone in SUV outside bar

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) Police have arrested a Connecticut woman on allegations she left her 22-month-old child alone in a vehicle outside a bar as she enjoyed drinks with friends.

Norwalk police charged 32-year-old Christina Failla of Weston early Sunday morning with felony risk of injury to a minor. A witness called police after finding the child sleeping alone in a locked sport-utility vehicle late Saturday night.

Police told The Hour that Failla returned to the SUV after officers had removed the child from the vehicle. Police say she told officers she had only been gone a few minutes, but a witness said she had several alcoholic drinks at the bar.

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UPDATED: 2 die in separate motorcycle crashes in Conn.

Two men were killed after losing control of their motorcycles in separate accidents in Litchfield and Bethel.

Bethel police say a man died after he crashed his motorcycle into a traffic island on Mansfield Street on Sunday afternoon.  48-year old Stephen Quantrano of New Preston later died at Danbury Hospital.

Police are trying to determine the causes of the accidents and are asking witnesses to come forward.  No additional information about the Bethel accident was released, though police say it appears Quantrano simply lost control of his vehicle.

State police say 50-year-old Jay Coffey of Watertown crashed his motorcycle on Route 254 in Litchfield at about 5 p.m. Sunday. Troopers say the bike struck some wood posts and Coffey was ejected. He was later pronounced dead at Waterbury Hospital.

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Fine amnesty week at Danbury Library

Danbury Library has declared this “Erase Your Fines” week.  Danbury Library customers who have accumulated overdue fines, whether it’s for 1 day or 10 years, are welcome to return their items and bring along a school supply for the overdue items.  People may return multiple overdue items but all items must be returned in good condition.  The project does not apply to items that have been lost or damaged. 


The collected supplies will be donated to the United Way of Western Connecticut to be used for their “Back to School Program.” 


During the past few years, there have been food drives in exchange for waiving customer fines, but this year Library employees thought they would try something different.  All school supplies are welcome, patrons don’t have to have an overdue item to donate.

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Danbury road paving causes closures

Some milling and paving work is taking place this week in Danbury.  Osborne Street, Balmforth Avenue, Lee Hartell Drive and Crosby Street were all broken up and milled to prepare for the paving work.  Those streets will be closed for paving, weather permitting, throughout the week.

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Women in politics group supports Esty in reelection bid

EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, is backing Elizabeth Esty in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District race in November.


EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock says Esty is a leader working to expand economic opportunity for the working families that sent her to Washington.  She added that Esty fights tirelessly to break through partisan gridlock with common sense policies that help all families get a fair shot.


EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $390 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates, making it one of the most successful political organizations.

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United Way appoints new board members

The United Way of Western Connecticut has added seven new members to its Board of Directors.  Board chairman, West Conn President James Schmotter says it's a remarkable group of new members who will serve with distinction.  Schmotter says each of the new members brings expertise on one or all of the group's priorities including education, health and income.


Each term for Board members is three years.


The following are the newest members of United Way of Western Connecticut’s Board of Directors:


Martin Anderson
Senior Vice President, Webster Bank

Martin Anderson has a 22-year career in commercial banking with the majority of his career spent in Fairfield County. He has been with Webster Bank for nearly 5 years, presently serving as team leader and Fairfield County Unit Manager in Stamford. In addition to serving on the UWWC Board of Directors, Martin is the chair of UWWC’s Volunteer Council.  Martin also serves on the Board of Junior Achievement of Southwest Connecticut.


Dr. Raul Arguello

Chairman, Department of Pediatrics

Danbury Hospital, Western Connecticut Health Network

Dr. Arguello joined the staff at Danbury Hospital in June 2008. Prior to coming to Danbury, Dr. Arguello was an attending pediatric endocrinologist at Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, New York, where he served as chief of the Pediatric Diabetes Program from 2004 – 2008. Dr. Arguello earned his medical degree from the faculty of medicine at Evangelical University of El Salvador, and served as director of the San Jose Villanueva Department of Health - El Salvador Health Center. Dr. Arguello is a member of the El Salvador Medical College, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Diabetes Association.


Cheryl A. BakewellCPA

Partner, Bakewell Mulhare, LLC

Cheryl Bakewell received her BBA in Accounting from Western Connecticut State University, Ancell Honors Program. Prior to establishing her own professional practice in 1991, Cheryl was an acting tax manager at KPMG and an international tax manager at Berol Corporation. In addition to serving as Treasurer on UWWC’s Board of Directors, Cheryl is the Treasurer for the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut, the John Pettibone Scholarship Fund, and Friends of New Milford. She also serves on UWWC’s Southern Litchfield County Community Council and the Greater New Milford Chamber of Commerce. 


Kurosh L. Marjani
Partner, Wofsey Rosen Kweskin & Kuriansky, LLC (Stamford)
Kurosh Marjani is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and the University of Connecticut School of Law. Prior to joining the firm, Kurosh was an employment litigation associate at Day, Berry & Howard in Hartford, Connecticut. Kurosh is a member of the Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts bars. His practice focuses primarily on civil litigation, including complex commercial, employment, landlord-tenant, and probate matters. He is a frequent lecturer on landlord-tenant law in Connecticut. Kurosh has been selected to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list since 2010 as a “Rising Star” in the areas of Business Litigation and Employment & Labor. In addition to serving on the UWWC Board of Directors, Kurosh also chairs UWWC’s Stamford Community Council. 


Cynthia C. Merkle

President and Chief Operating Officer, Union Savings Bank

Cynthia Merkle joined Union Savings Bank in 2013 as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Prior to joining Union Savings Bank, she served as executive vice president and chief operating officer at Eastern Bank – the largest independent and mutually owned bank in New England. In March 2013, Cindy was elected President of Union Savings Bank by the Board of Directors.  She will continue to serve as chief operating officer and will assume the role of CEO at the end of this year. Cindy is a graduate of Endicott College in Beverly, MA and Bryant College in Rhode Island. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Endicott College. She is a past chairman of the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Community and Banking Council.


Susan M. Neumann
Vice President, Corporate Communications & Public Relations

Sue Neumann joined Praxair in February 2011. She is responsible for the direction and strategic alignment of all Praxair communications worldwide. Formerly, Sue was senior vice president, Communications and Public Affairs, for Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. and served on the company’s executive committee with responsibility for corporate communications, government affairs and public affairs. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science and journalism and a master’s degree in organizational communication, both from Western Michigan University.


Rick Tanner

Chief Marketing Officer, Nestlé Waters North America
Rick Tanner has been the Chief Marketing Officer for Nestlé Waters North America since 2013. A 13-year veteran of Nestlé Waters, Rick joined the Company in 2001. His professional 30 year background experience includes functional assignments in Marketing and General Management, Sales, and category experience in the Beverage and other CPG industries. Rick earned his undergraduate degree in Marketing from Northeastern University and his MBA from Fordham University.

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Politicians getting in on ALS 'Ice Bucket Challenge'

A number of area politicians have been challenged to participate in a viral event raising awareness, and funds, for the ALS Association.  A Ridgefield this week challenged First Selectman Rudy Marconi.  Chuck Hancock has argued with the selectmen over their decisions on the Schlumberger property.  But Marconi says he was expecting someone, anyone, to call him out because his mother had ALS.



5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty challenged U.S. Senator Chris Murphy to either donate money or get iced.  He took the challenge while on vacation and got his whole family involved.



Murphy then challenged 4th District Congressman Jim Himes.  The pair have a close relationship and often poke fun of each other, most notably over who had more Twitter followers.  Himes continued that ribbing in his video, saying Murphy was not dignified wearing a swimsuit.  Himes on the other hand, wore a suit and was a bit surprised by his daughters.







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Two men stopped for speeding found trying to hide drugs

Two Newtown men have been arrested on drug related charges following a citizens complaint.  Police responded to Mohawk Trail Tuesday and found two vehicles had been speeding.  Police say while they were investigating the men tried to hide heroin. 


21-year old Daniel Sheets and 23-year old Timothy Wheeler were each charged with interfering with police, possession of narcotics, possession of drug paraphernalia, tampering with evidence and travelling too fast for conditions.  Sheets was also charged for driving with a suspended license. 


Each have been released on bail for a court appearances on the 26th.

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Union chief: Teachers felt rushed after Newtown

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Teachers felt they were rushed into returning to the classroom following the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the president of the local teachers union said Friday.


Tom Kuroski, president of the Newtown Federation of Teachers, told members of a state commission that some teachers, still struggling with their own emotions, felt ill-prepared to deal with their returning students.


The shooting, which left 20 first graders and six educators dead, occurred on Dec. 14, 2012, a Friday. Classes resumed for Newtown students, except those attending Sandy Hook, on Dec. 18, the following Tuesday. Sandy Hook students returned to classes on Jan. 3, 2013.


"If you look at what other school districts have done, that have endured similar tragedies, they've definitely given their teachers some time to get the training, the thorough training that they're going to need in order to do the best job they can when they return," said Kuroski, a science teacher. "A one-day workshop where our input wasn't even listened to was not something that we thought was moving us in the right direction."


Friday marked the 21st meeting of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, created by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to come up recommendations on gun safety, mental health and school security in wake of the massacre. Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, the commission's chairman, said Friday that the 16-member panel is in the final stages of crafting its report, and he expects it may be finished in about six weeks.


Besides Kuroski, the panel heard Friday from Vincent Riccio, owner of Security Academy of Connecticut. It's a business that specializes in active shooter training and security consulting for schools, businesses and government entities.


Kuroski described for panel members the "state of mass confusion" on the day of the shootings. He said he wasn't included in the initial meetings with school administrators about how to proceed and a decision was made to hold a mental health training session that Sunday to prepare for students returning on that Monday. He said teachers felt they weren't ready yet to return to work so soon afterward.


"I think the desire to move forward as quickly as possible, that people lost track of what was going on," he said.


Ultimately, Kuroski said, Newtown teachers returned to work even though some didn't feel ready emotionally.


"They felt as though they wouldn't be there for their kids who they loved, and they were letting them down somehow," Kuroski said. "They felt, all of us felt, like we needed to be there, even to the expense of our own mental health."


Since then, however, Kuroski said mental health services for students and staff have been "well done."


Also on Friday, Kuroski expressed concerns that federal grant funding to improve security in Newtown's various schools didn't arrive until this June. He said the changes in the Newtown public schools' administration was likely to blame.

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Newtown police receive funding for speed control enforcement

Several municipalities in the Greater Danbury area are eligible for federal funds, funneled through the state, for speed enforcement efforts.  


Newtown Police say they have accepted a $17,400 grant to be used along high risk rural roads.  The program runs from Monday through September 30th.  A majority of the funding is being used for overtime costs for the officers carrying out the enforcement effort.  About $4,000 of the grant is being used to pay for a new radar unit for one of the patrol cars. 


118 municipalities in the state are eligible for funding.


Ice Bucket Challenge COMPLETED!!

Rich Minor accepted the challenge from his friend to donate to the ALS Association AND do the Ice Bucket Challenge.

His "bucket" of choice...well, that's where Westchester Tractor came into play.

Check it out!




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