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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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A ground breaking ceremony has been held for the Newtown Hook and Ladder volunteer firehouse on Church Hill Road.  The ceremony was held Wednesday and marked the start of construction at the former Trinity Episcopal Church site.  The 16,000 square foot building is slated to open in about a year and replaces a firehouse built in 1929 on Main Street.  Newtown has agreed to contribute $1.5 million toward the $2.5 million cost.  The building will sit on little more than three acres purchased for $500,000.

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A Danbury High School science teacher did not arraignment Monday on charges of sexually assaulting one of her students.  24-year-old-year-old Kayla Mooney appeared briefly in Danbury Superior Court.  Her attorneys asked for a delay citing documents they have not seen yet.

According to an arrest report, Mooney was charged March 31 after an investigation into a complaint she made to school officials that she was being harassed by the boy's ex-girlfriend.  Police say the boy involved told them about the sexual relationship and they confirmed parts of his story after obtaining emails he and Mooney exchanged.

She was placed on administrative leave in February after the school contacted the state Department of Children and Families.

Mooney has been charged with second-degree sexual assault and distributing alcohol to a minor.

Mooney has not commented on the allegations.

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In Ridgefield...a 78 year -old woman  who suffered from smoke inhalation and other injuries from a fire last week at the Casagmo Condominiums , has died  at the Bridgerport Hospital Burn Unit as a result of her injuries. 

She has been identified as 78 year old Sandra Reyes . Her son, Joseph Reyes has been upgraded to stable condition . He is also at the burn unit in Bridgeport . He was injured while he and his brother were trying to rescue their Mother.

First Selectman Rudy Marconi says she was a wonderful person and he's sorry the community has  lost her. 

The woman had been airlifted by helicopter to the burn unit from Danbury Hospital on Thursday night.

 

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) Prosecutors say a New York man has pleaded guilty to distributing a potent form of heroin in the Hudson Valley that resulted in three people dying.

Dennis Sica, of Hopewell Junction, pleaded guilty Monday to one-count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl resulting in death. It carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors say Sica and others sold the potent heroin last year in bags stamped with the brand name ``Breaking Bad.''

They say the drug killed 20-year-old Anthony Delello of Beekman in December in 2013.

On Feb. 1, 2014, 31-year-old Thomas Mille, of Pawling, was found dead with several ``Breaking Bad'' packets near his body.

The same day, in New Milford, Connecticut, Laura Brown was found dead with ``Breaking Bad'' packets around her.

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New Fairfield residents have approved a budget with 694 in favor, 401 opposed.  There was about a 12-percent voter turn out.  The $52 million budget is a slight increase in spending over the current year.  There's $41.4 million budgeted for the schools and $10.6 million on the municipal side.  The increase is about $879,000.  New Fairfield officials say that's for an increase in tax relief for seniors, school employee raises and extended paramedic coverage to 24-hours-a-day during the week. 

 

Because of the revaluation done last year, not everyone will see a tax increase. 

 

Savings were found in the school budget by eliminating three teaching positions through attrition and declining enrollment.  While there is a 1.3 percent increase in spending, school officials say that was kept down because of health insurance savings and energy efficient lighting being installed. 

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Some concerns with various areas of the proposed budget in Danbury have been addressed. 

 

Some residents and city officials have questioned Mayor Mark Boughton about the civilian dispatching at the police station and the combined police and fire dispatch.  One resident asked about recorded messages at the Police Department.  The automated system was installed in 2009.  There is a shift commander on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Boughton says any resident can call the non-emergency line and talk with the shift commander. 

 

He noted that all of the dispatchers have been trained, and for the first several months are working side by side with officers and firefighters. 

 

Which non-profits receive City funding was also questioned.  There is just one lump sum line item in the budget for funding.  Boughton says social service grants are once again awarded by the United Way of Western Connecticut after a thorough vetting process. 

 

Volunteers spend several weeks reading agency proposals and listening to presentations to arrive at a final funding recommendation based on the biggest impact on the community.  The City then must approve the recommendations.  There is information publicly available of why each decision was made and how they scored each agency.

 

Committees of the City Council have met to vet the budget and ask questions of various city department heads.

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A bill now awaiting action by the state Senate seeks to provide for the fiscal sustainability of state parks.  The bill would allow people to make a voluntary opt-out $5 donation to state parks when they renew motor vehicle registration. 

 

Redding Representative John Shaban introduced an amendment to create a type of lockbox for the funds, and the amendment was approved for add on to the proposed bill.  He cautioned that whether that mechanism will finally protect this “dedicated” fund is still unknown. 

 

State Senator Ted Kennedy Junior notes that Governor Malloy's proposed budget calls for a $2 million dollar cut to state parks.

 

The Motor Transport Association of Connecticut is concerned.  President Mike Riley says the bill represents a raid on the Transportation Fund.

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A rare neuro-genetic disorder is being placed in the spotlight by a local lawmaker.  Angelman Syndrome results in intellectual and developmental delay.  Joey Moretti, a young boy from Monroe, is the inspiration behind The Fighting Angels Foundation.  His father, Joe Moretti Senior says it's been a learning experience, researching and trying to learn as much as possible about the disorder.

 

Monroe state Representative JP Sredzinski said on Saturday that Governor Malloy declared the day as Angelman Awareness Day in Connecticut.

 

The characteristics of Angelman Syndrome include lack of speech, seizures, and walking and balance disorders.  Angelman Syndrome is often misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy or autism, due to lack of awareness. Individuals with Angelman syndrome usually have a happy demeanor, laugh frequently and are often smiling. 

 

The disorder occurs in one in 15,000 live births. 

 

Sredzinski says when he found out that  cutting-edge genetic research was being conducted at the UConn School of Medicine, he decided to highlight what is being done, and ultimately bring attention to, the fight for a cure.

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Newtown officials have created a committee to study policy and planning for town roads.  During the Board of Selectmen meeting last week, the panel was put together to advise officials of how best to spend money to fix deteriorating roads. 

 

Legislative Council Chair Mary Ann Jacob said during the meeting that there are several heavily traveled, but poorly maintained private roads in Newtown.  In addition to roads in the two lakeside neighborhood associations, which was previously four associations, there are more than 100 other roads that don’t pay for the maintenance provided by the town.

 

First Selectman Pat Llodra said the town pledged in 1968 to maintain private roads to ensure safe emergency vehicle access to all residents in four lakeside neighborhood.  In return, they pay 50-percent of material cost to the town for improvements.  But there are several other private roads where no payment is received. 

 

$3 million in bond money will be used over the next several years to fast track work on some roads in the worse condition around Newtown. 

 

The committee will include residents, Public Works employees and Newtown officials.

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DANBURY, Conn. (AP) Mannkind Comp. says it is tripling their production of its new fast-acting inhalable insulin for diabetes at its Danbury plant.

Matt Pfeffer, the company's chief financial officer, tells the News-Times the company plans to increase the production of Afrezza from one line that can make 120 million cartridges of the drug annually to three production lines during this quarter.

The company began selling Afrezza in February after several years in development. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug last June for treating diabetes, three years after the agency first asked MannKind to run additional clinical studies on the drug.

Pfeffer says the company has been getting positive feedback and is hopeful the use of the drug will continue to grow.

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