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The Monroe Volunteer Fire Department recently started their annual fund drive.  With some scam fundraiser circulating earlier this year, they wanted to draw attention to what authentic donation request looks like.  Key indicators are the local return address and watermarked photos of Monroe firefighters and apparatus.

 

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The Public Hearing for the proposed renovations of Johnson and Rockwell schools is set for Monday night. 

 

With the ongoing debate over the state budget, town leadership made the decision to move the project forward to a public hearing because reimbursement for school construction projects is separate from Education Cost Sharing grants. Bethel’s current rate of reimbursement from the state is 45% of eligible costs.  

 

School officials say construction cost escalation is 4.5 percent each year.  Without some renovation work, the town is sinking money into an aging HVAC system. 

 

Monday's meeting at 7pm will be held at Bethel High School and childcare will be provided.

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The Sherman Volunteer Fire Department participated in a real-time extrication drill Monday night. The scenario was a car through the guardrails with three mock patients trapped and injured.  Responders worked together to stabilize the vehicle, cut the doors off to gain access to the volunteer patients and remove them from the car. Officials say this type of training prepares the members for the rigorous demands of being an emergency responder.

 

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An agreement has been reached on a new two-year contract between Ridgefield and the Police Union.  The Ridgefield Press reports that the new contract allows for a 2.5 percent salary increase in each of the two years, with a 1-percent increase in the employees' premium share in each year.  The current rate of employees’ share of the health insurance premium is 12.5 percent.  The Press reports that Ridgefield's salary account for union police officers is about $3.5 million.

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The Radio City Rockettes are coming to Newtown to support The Ana Grace Project, a foundation named after one of the children killed on 12-14.  Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez-Green supports MSG’s Garden of Dreams Foundation to help positively impact the lives of children facing obstacles.  The event at Holy Cow Ice Cream Shop on Church Hill Road this Friday is from 3pm to 4pm.  The Rockettes visit is part of MSG’s “Gift of Joy” program.  The Ana Grace Project is dedicated to promoting love, community and connection for every child and family through three lead initiatives: partner schools, professional development, and music & arts.

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One of three men arrested for being part of a human trafficking ring made a brief appearance in Danbury Superior Court yesterday for a pre-trial hearing. 

 

William Trefzger was arrested in March for patronizing a male prostitution ring that police say exploited young men with mental health issues.  Authorities say the men were plied with drugs and money and delivered to wealthy clients to have sex for money after they had built up substantial drug debts. 

 

The state is awaiting analysis of some evidence before it can be turned over to the defense.  The Westport resident remains held on 250-thousand dollars bond.  He is due back in court on October 31st. 

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A Danbury man stopped for erratic driving on Saturday has been charged with driving while intoxicated.  New York State Troopers saw a driver, later determined to be Alvaro Matias, move from his lane on Route 6 in Southeast unsafely and cross hazard markings. 

 

When they were talking with the 27-year old, Troopers saw 15 small bags of crack cocaine in the vehicle.  17 small bags of cocaine were then found.  Matias was also charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and aggravated unlicensed operation. 

 

Matias was arraigned and made a brief Court appearance yesterday.

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Despite still allowing walk ins, New Fairfield officials say it was a safe summer at Squantz Pond State Park.  There were some days where the parked closed due to capacity, but the number of people parking elsewhere and walking in was down significantly.  Other than a couple of days where it was hectic, First Selectman Susan Chapman says it wasn't too bad.

 

A proposed regulation to ban walk-ins at state parks after parking lot capacity is reached was rejected by the state legislature's Regulation Review Committee in January.  DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain says that means they don't have any legal authority to stop people from walking in.  He added that it would be physically difficult to police the whole border area of a park to prevent it.

 

There's a history of drownings at Squantz, more than a dozen people in the last two decades. DEEP implemented a 250 car limit after a particularly bad summer, but local officials believe that allowing unlimited walk-ins undermines safety.  Schain acknowledged that the parking was limited in order to have a manageable crowd, and walk-ins means there will be more people than planned for.

 

Another concern is pedestrian safety. Route 39 is narrow, and there are no real shoulders on either side of the road.  Some people walked about two miles from the Town Park to Squantz Pond.  In an effort to prevent that, New Fairfield raised the parking fee at the Town Park two years ago for non-residents from $25 to $40.  In July, the Board of Selectman increased the fee again.  Non-residents were then required to pay a parking fee of $60.

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The 4th annual American Dream Awards Gala, hosted by Tribuna Newspaper and The New American Dream Foundation, raised $10,000 for scholarships.  The event in Danbury on Saturday also paid tribute to Attorney Americo Ventura, who passed away this month.  He was the 2015 American Dream Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. 

 

$15,000 raised from ticket sales will go towards Mission Health Day, a day of free health screenings and other community services for the uninsured and the income challenged.  The event will be hosted by Western Connecticut Health Network and Western Connecticut State University, on October 28 from 9am-3pm at the Bill Williams Gym at the WCSU downtown campus.

The 2017 winners of the $2,000 award are:

Person of the Year
Alvaro Tovar of Danbury, CT

Students of the Year:
Zaida Coraizaca of Danbury, CT
Hilary Albarracin of Danbury, CT
Kittikorn Sathong of Danbury, CT

Veteran's Award winner:
Paulo Barros of Norwalk, CT

The American Dream Leadership Awards recognized those who have taken the lead in the immigrant community in supporting its members, with focus on the areas of health, education, and civic engagement. The winners of the Leadership Award were Honorable Danbury Probate Judge Dianne E. Yamin, Wilson Hernandez, President of Ecuadorian Civic Center of Danbury, and Dina Valenti, Clinic Director of Boehringer Ingelheim AmeriCares Free Clinic of Danbury.

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The Bethel Office of Emergency Management is urging residents to prepare for any impact from Hurricane Jose.  Bethel Officials are monitoring the storm and believe impacts should be minimal, with winds around 20-25 miles per hour, with higher gusts Tuesday into Wednesday morning.  They expect some scattered power outages due to the wind.  Some intermittent heavy rain bands may cause small, localized flooding in the normally prone areas.  Officials say now is a good time to check flashlight batteries, clear storm drains and gutters, bring in any loose lawn furniture or wind prone items to be safe.

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A Monroe woman who pretended to be someone else on a 911 call allegedly falsely reported Wednesday that a woman was being held captive by her armed boyfriend.  The Monroe Courier reports that schools near the Royce of Trumbull apartments were placed in lockdown mode as police responded.  Police later determined that 31-year old Lauren Pires made up the report  in order to have her estranged husband arrested.  She was charged with falsely reporting an incident, breach of peace and interfering with police.  Pires is due in court on the 25th.

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A Bridgeport man has been charged by Newtown Police for a fatal crash that happened in April.  32-year old Terrelle Anderson was driving on Mt Pleasant Road April 4th when he cross the center line and collided head-on with another vehicle.  An 86-year old Southbury woman, who was a passenger in the SUV, died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.  The Newtown Bee reports that Anderson was charged with misconduct with a motor vehicle, failure to wear a seat belt, and failure to keep right on a curve.  He was released on bond for a court appearance on the 28th.

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The United Way of Western Connecticut has extended the application period for the Danbury Collaborative Awards to October 16th.  The awards are meant to honor the work of collective efforts seeking to improve the lives of Danbury residents.  

 

A review team will choose the three top candidates.  Mayor Mark Boughton will then make the final decision about the first, second, and third place award winners. Awards will range from $20,000 to $7,500. 

 

Applications can accessed via UWWC’s website at: www.uwwesternct.org/grant-opportunities. For more information about the Danbury Collaborative Awards or the application process, please contact UWWC Community Impact Coordinator Caroline LaFleur at 203-297-6307.

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Two Danbury men have been arrested on drug related charges in an investigation that started weeks ago in response to neighbor complaints.  Danbury Police carried out search warrants on Friday at a Coalpit Hill Road apartment. 

 

47-year old William Albers was stopped near South Street and Town Hill Avenue after police saw a suspected drug transaction with 21-year old Mark Lamoureux.  Albers was found in possession of illegal drugs and placed under arrest. 

 

  

(Albers, Lamoureaux)

 

At his apartment, Police say Sheila Servidio-Pollen was located, along with additional illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia. 

 

Albers was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of possession of narcotics.  Lamoureux was charged with sale of narcotics.  Both were released on a written promises to appear in court at later dates.

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Nominations are being sought for the 6th annual Warrior Award, which will be presented to a local veteran during the 10th annual Walk of Honor in Danbury this October.  Residents of the greater Danbury area are being called on to nominate a veteran, who has served in a combat zone and who also exemplifies the values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.

 

The nominations should be approximately 500 words and should include the nominee’s name, military rank, medals awarded and as many details as possible about their service.  The deadline for all nominations is September 20th.  Previously submitted nominations can be re-submitted.

 

The Walk of Honor will take place on Sunday, October 15, 2017 at the Danbury War Memorial at 12pm.

 

Event organizer Mary Teicholz says the stories of bravery and heroism that people have shared with the committee have been overwhelming and awe-inspiring.

 

People submitting the nomination should also include their name and contact information. Nominations can be emailed to mteicholz61@gmail.com, or visit www.walkofhonor.us for additional information.

 

Todd Angell, who served in Afghanistan, received the inaugural Warrior Award in 2012.  Vietnam veterans Danny Mack Welch and John "Buzz" Hogan received the award during the following two years.  The next year, World War II veteran Anthony Yakacki was presented with the honor.  Last year's recipient, Roger Rua, served in Afghanistan.

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16 health centers in Connecticut are receiving grant money to fund treatment for mental health and opioid abuse.  The Connecticut Institute for Communities in Danbury was awarded $175,700.  The grant is part of a $200 million package awarded to more than 1,000 health centers and rural health organizations across the country by the Department of Health and Human Services.  Connecticut's congressional delegation says the funding is welcome, but only a small step in stopping the opioid scourge.  They say the health centers have been on the front lines of fighting the opioid epidemic in hard-hit Connecticut communities.

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The Connecticut State Society is hosting the 4th annual “Discover Connecticut” reception in Washington DC.  Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy will help showcase more than 20 small-batch food producers, restaurants, breweries, tourist attractions, and other businesses based in Connecticut. 

 

Among the businesses featured at the “Discover Connecticut” today in the Senate Office building are Stew Leonard's, Pez Candy, Two Roads Brewing Company, Newman’s Own, and Pepperidge Farm.  Jones Family Farms and Winery of Shelton, Tea With Tracy from Seymour and Fairfield-based Bigelow Teas will also be in attendance. 

 

Blumenthal says "Discover Connecticut" showcases the energy and creativity of businesses from across the state. 

 

Murphy says "Discover Connecticut" will give people in Washington the opportunity to learn about the wide variety of products and activities in Connecticut.

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The League of Women Voters of Northern Fairfield County is hosting a program tonight at Western Connecticut State University about Campaign Financing in Connecticut.  The event at Warner Hall, on the midtown campus, is at 7pm and will feature Elona Vaisnys.

Since 2005, when it was signed into law, the Connecticut Citizens’ Election Program has been providing publicly funded grants to run election campaigns for seats in the state legislature and for state offices.  CEP funds come from the sale of abandoned properties in the state and from donations to the Citizens’ Election Fund.

 

CEP constitutes 0.0001% of the state budget.

 

Vaisnys says state elections may sink back to pay-to-play and special interests would again fund all candidates because of the budget stalemate.  The Republican backed-budget, approved by the General Assembly over the weekend, included elimination of funding for the CEP.  Governor Malloy has threatened to veto the budget, sending the program into renewed uncertainty.

 

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization of men and women, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

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Danbury-based Praxair has been recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index as a world leader in sustainable industrial practices.  The company was named to the World and North American Indices and is the only U.S.-based firm in the chemical sector to be selected for those indices for 15 consecutive years.  Praxair scored highest in the North American chemical sector overall and highest in the global industrial gas sector.  The Dow Jones Sustainability Index looks at corporate governance, risk management, innovation, environmental management and strategy, supply-chain standards, and safety and labor practices.

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The Connecticut House of Representatives has passed a $40.7 billion Republican-backed budget plan that the Senate approved and which Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has vowed to veto.  The GOP plan relies on changes in state employee pensions after the current state union deal ends in 2027. Republicans say it achieves $270 million in savings.

 

Malloy says the Republican proposal "relies on too many unrealistic savings" and is "unbalanced."

 

Wilton Senator Toni Boucher praised the budget for not including tolls, something included in the last version the majority Democrats presented before the vote.  She thanked her colleagues for putting party politics aside to vote for what they believe is a responsible proposal.

 

Danbury Senator Mike McLachlan says this has been a long year that saw multiple budgets and revisions, all with the goal of creating financial stability that would help grow the Connecticut economy.  He believes the approved budget is the best one to meet the state's priorities for education, municipalities, and social services.

 

Senator Tony Hwang, whose district includes Newtown, says the legislatively-approved budget plan moves Connecticut in a new direction, generating a predictable, sustainable and transparent ecosystem where Connecticut businesses can thrive and grow.

 

Easton and Redding Representative Adam Dunsby says the approved budget combines government departments, mandates less overtime for state employees, and restricts state borrowing.  He acknowledged that there are cuts some people won’t like, but given the state’s condition, there’s no other way.

 

Danbury Representative Michael Ferguson says the budget moves Connecticut forward and stops kicking the fiscal can down the road.  He added that the budget also does not include devastating taxes or tolls.


Bethel Representative Will Duff says the legislature honored the Governor's repeated warnings not to produce a budget that was revenue driven.  He also praised the budget, which is facing a veto, for eliminating Social Security income tax.

 

New Fairfield Representative Richard Smith says the bipartisan support that the budget received in the General Assembly puts the state in a position to make the necessary structural changes to turn Connecticut’s economy around.  He also said Governor Malloy's promised veto would be a terrible move, imposing brutal funding cuts on local aid and education funding.

 

Brookfield Representative Steve Hardin says lawmakers had an obligation to pass a budget which did not raise taxes while also funding local schools, which he says they did.  Harding urged the Governor to sign it into law and end the budget stalemate.

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