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Men arrested for stealing dirt bike, fleeing police

A New Milford man and one from Amenia New York have been arrested as a result of a traffic stop involving a stolen dirt bike being driven along Route 22 Monday night.  Troopers followed the bike for three miles before 21-year old Keith Gash and 28-year old Gary Jensen dropped the bike and fled on foot. 


Jensen was captured after a brief chase.  Gash, the driver from Connecticut, turned himself in early Tuesday morning. 


The dirt bike had been reported stolen earlier Monday and both men were charged with possessing stolen property.  Jensen was also charged with resisting arrest.  Gash was charged with fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle.

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Women charged for giving unlicensed massages at NY spa

Two women have been arrested for performing massages without being licensed in that profession.  The compliance check was carried out Monday by New York and Somers police at Ya Ya's Nail and Spa on Route 202.  44-year olds Xiomei Zheng and quimei Zhang, both of Flushing New York, are employees of the Somers business.  Zhang was also charged with promoting prostitution for an incident with a customer just prior to the compliance check.  Each will be in court Monday night.

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Danbury man arrested for selling drugs from city home

A Danbury man has been arrested for selling drugs from his Mill Ridge Road home.  An investigation into 30-year old Jason Jones was started when neighbors complained that he had been selling drugs in the area. 


Danbury Police conducted surveillance of Jones which revealed activity consisted with drug trafficking.  Warrants were then issued by the court.  The warrants were carried out for Jones at his home Tuesday afternoon. 


Jones was found in possession of crack cocaine packaged for sale.  He was charged with possession of narcotics, possession within 1,500 feet of a school or public housing, possession with intent to sell and possession with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school or public housing. 


Jones was also charged with Risk of Injury to a Child because there was an 11 year old living in the Mill Ridge Road home. 


Jones was held on $5,000 bond.

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Turkey drive a success, Thanksgiving message

As Connecticut continues to recover from the economic downturn, non-profit groups and others have stepped up their efforts to help those in need.  That goodwill shines at this time of year.  This Thanksgiving, Danbury state Senator Mike McLachlan says when the agencies, like Jericho Partnership, raise the flag for help, the community rushes in with support.


McLachlan says he's always impressed with the community's generosity.


A number of groups, including the Danbury Fire Department, continue to host food and toy drives throughout the end of the year.

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Firefighters urge Thanksgiving cooking safety

This Thanksgiving, firefighters are hoping not to be asked to your house for dinner.  There are some annual reminders coming from the Danbury Fire Department about cooking safety.  With many more people in the home and more distractions, Fire Department spokesman Steve Rogers says it's important to pay close attention to what's happening in the kitchen.


Another potential from burns comes from people who try deep fryers for the first time tomorrow. Rogers says turkey fryers that use hot oil can lead to devastating burns, other injuries, and the destruction of property.  Splatters and spills of cooking oil, and the ignition of its vapors if overheated, are serious risks. 


With a lot more people in the home, Rogers says it's also a good idea to keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.


Firefighters are also reminding cooks not to leave food unattended on the stovetop and check the turkey frequently.

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WCSU president to retire in July

The President of Western Connecticut State University has announced his retirement.  After more than 10 years leading West Conn, James Schmotter announced Tuesday  that he will retire on July 1st. 


In an email to the university community, Schmotter said that it's been an honor and a joy to work with everyone over the past decade.  Schmotter said that the enthusiasm, commitment and accomplishments of this university’s faculty, staff and students is beyond words.  He added that stakeholders have consistently provided support that has been both materially valuable and emotionally inspiring, that he'll always treasure the memories he has made in Danbury. 


He joined West Conn from Western Michigan University, where he was dean of the business school and a professor of management.  Schmotter has overseen tremendous growth at the university including the newly opened School of Visual and Performing Arts Center and the west side campus center.


His teaching career started at Northwestern University and he first became an administrator at the State University of New York at Binghamton.

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Ridgefield forms committee on what's next for Schlumberger

The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen will be creating a 9-person group to handle discussions about the future of the Schlumberger site.  The Ridgefield Press reports that at the Board's special meeting earlier this month, the Selectmen decided the 9-member group and a Town Planner would be needed. 


Residents rejected a plan to sell 12 of the 45 acres to an art collector, many saying that more comprehensive planning needed to be done.  Residents also rejected a sale of 10 acres to a developer for housing. 


The town had already sold 5 acres to a developer for a hotel, office space and self-storage facility.

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Court upholds conviction of ex-Donovan aide

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A federal appeals court has upheld convictions against a former aide to ex-Connecticut House Speaker Christopher Donovan in connection with illegal contributions to Donovan's failed congressional campaign in 2012.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan on Tuesday dismissed the appeal of Robert Braddock Jr., who was sentenced to three years in prison last year. He argued there wasn't enough evidence and his prison sentence was unreasonable.

Braddock was finance manager for Donovan's campaign for the U.S. House seat now held by fellow Democrat Elizabeth Esty. Prosecutors say Braddock and seven other co-defendants were involved in a scheme that funneled nearly $28,000 to Donovan's campaign through straw donors in an effort to get Donovan to kill state legislation raising taxes on roll-your-own cigarette shops.

Donovan wasn't charged.

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Ridgefield native, army Lt, killed in Tennessee crash

A Ridgefield native and Army 1st Lieutenant has been killed in Tennessee after being hit by two cars on Sunday.  24-year old James Garvey graduated from Ridgefield High School in 2008 and UConn in 2013.  He recently returned from a deployment in Afghanistan. 


Nashville Police report that Garvey was on foot when he was hit shortly before 4am on Interstate-40.  It's unknown why he was on the roadway.  Police say one driver hit the 1st Lieutenant and didn't stop, another driver tried to avoid him, but was unable to. 


Garvey's family is setting up a foundation in his name to help fund the UConn ROTC program.

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New Developments In New Milford Students 2008 Murder

There is a update in the murder of  Rebecca Payne of New Milford . 

Fears that the man suspected of killing the Northeastern University student would never face trial because the key witness in the case died have been eased because of the suspect's own words.

There's no physical evidence connecting Cornell Smith to the May 2008 shooting death of 22-year-old Rebecca Payne, of New Milford.

The witness who could link Smith to Payne's apartment died in May, and prosecutors feared they would have to drop charges.

The Boston Globe Reports that Smith ties himself to Payne's death in a rambling, sometimes incomprehensible, six-page letter to a judge.

Prosecutors say Payne's shooting was a case of mistaken identity and Smith was after another woman who lived in the same building.


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Danbury Hospital Workers Approve Union

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) Danbury and New Milford hospital workers have voted to unionize.

About 260 radiology technologists, respiratory clinicians and licensed practical nurses have joined 600 nurses at Danbury Hospital and 125 nurses at New Milford Hospital to be represented by AFT Connecticut.

Workers had complained to the National Labor Relations Board that administrators tried to hinder organizing by intimidating workers.

The health network denied the accusation.

Health network Chief Executive Officer John Murphy said the hospitals are committed to working with the new union. He said the company is disappointed with the outcome of the vote but respect the choice employees have made.

Union officials did not release the vote tally.

The union vote also affects technical employees who work in hospital satellite sites in Danbury, Ridgefield and Southbury.

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DHS wins another 'Celebrate My Drive' grant

Danbury High School has won another "Celebrate My Drive" grant.  Danbury High School students in various leadership clubs once again worked to raise awareness of the dangers of reckless and distracted driving.  They are receiving $25,000 from State Farm Insurance for their efforts. 


Last year Danbury High School was one of the first place winners with the most safe driving pledges and received a $100,000 grant.  Principal Gary Bocaccio says all top 10 schools are ineligible to win a top prize two years in a row. 


With some of last year's winnings, an electronic sign was installed outside of Danbury High School to tell the community about events happening at the school.  Some of the funding put toward safe driving initiatives.  The students have also paid for benches to be installed outside the school among other projects. 


Glastonbury High School was one of the top winners this year.

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WWI 100th anniversary commemoration held at Danbury Library

The second in a three part series commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War One is being held at Danbury Library tonight.  A lecture entitled "Pandora's Box" will be held by Mark Albertson.  He is an author, teacher and researcher.  Danbury Library Reference Librarian John O'Donnell says the war changed the world profoundly.


O'Donnell says one of his better known books is about the USS Connecticut, the state's only battleship.


The final program in the series will be a unique film showing of “America Over There: The United States in WWI, 1917-18” on Tuesday, December 2.


The programs are free of charge; light refreshments will be served.  Registration is requested online at, click on “Events” or call 203-797-4527.

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Ridgefield announces new Superintendent of Schools

The Ridgefield Board of Education has the appointment of a new Superintendent of Schools on the agenda for their meeting  Mondy night.  Suffield Superintendent Karen Baldwin announced on her district's website Friday that she was a finalist in the Ridgefield search and was meeting with members of the community Monday. 


Baldwin continued by saying she anticipates appointment to the position tonight with employment starting in Ridgefield on July 1st. 


She touted progress made in Suffield in the announcement.  She also said that she will continue to work with their Board of Education during the transition period.

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Easton, Redding residents asked for input on new Superintendent

A survey is now posted online for the Easton and Redding communities to weigh in on qualities they'd like to see in a new Superintendent of School for Region 9.  Dr Bernard Jsephsberg announced that he will be retiring at the end of the academic year.  The survey will be available through December 8th with results posted shortly after on the Region 9 school website.  The online survey asks about different attributes and ranking of qualities that a new school leader should have.

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Two pedestrians stuck by car in Danbury

Two pedestrians were struck by a car in Danbury Saturday night.  Police spokesman Lt Christian Carroccio says two men were out running when they were hit.  The call came in shortly after 10pm about an accident at the intersection of Osborne Street and Balmforth Avenue.


Police say 22 year old Rosalee Blacker of South Salem New York tried to avoid the men by taking evasive action, but was unable to.  She hit 19-year old Aldair Salazar and 21-year old Christian Jones, both of Danbury. 


The men were treated  at Danbury Hospital and released early yesterday morning.

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4 men charged for string of fraud schemes

The seven-count indictment Thursday charges 41-year old Ryan Geddes of Litchfield, 43-year old Jason Calabrese of Watertown, 41-year old Richard Geddes of Bethlehem, and 31-year old Dustin Whitten of Thomaston, with multiple conspiracies involving bank fraud, mail and wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud and obstruction of justice.  The charges stem from an alleged series of fraudulent real estate and insurance transactions, and an alleged arson of a vacation home.


The four defendants were arrested Friday morning and were released on bonds of varying amounts.


According to the indictment, by 2005, Ryan Geddes had incurred several debts, including a business debt of more than $490,000 for which he was being sued.  Geddes and the other defendants then commenced a series of schemes to conceal his assets from creditors and to defraud various banks and insurance companies.


The indictment alleges that they prepared three false mortgage loan and mortgage refinancing applications for two properties in Morris and Torrington.  The first transaction was to hide Geddes' ownership of the Morris property, another created after the start of the federal investigation, backdated documents to portray the first mortgage transaction as legitimate.


The indictment also alleges that they conducted a straw sale of another Geddes property in 2010 from which they obtained title insurance after conducting a fraudulent title search.  The property had over a million dollars of liens against it.


Geddes also allegedly transferred to Whitten a New York vacation home property, got an insurance policy on the home, and the alleged arson of the home led to an insurance claim of more than $600,000 on the destroyed home.


If convicted, Ryan Geddes faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 90 years, Calabrese faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years, Richard Geddes faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, and Whitten faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

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New Milford woman honored for work with invasive plants

A New Milford woman has been recognized for her invasive plant management work.  Kathy Nelson was presented with the 2014 Leslie Mehrhoff Award at a symposium held last month. 


The award recognizes individuals that have made significant or commendable contributions toward awareness, prevention, control, or management of invasive plants in Connecticut.  Nelson received the award in recognition of her work battling ‘Mile-A-Minute’ plant.


The opening speaker of the symposium was New Milford state Senator Clark Chapin.  Chapin says Nelson is continuing to promote botanist Les Mehrhoff's legacy through her work in the community. 


She is a member of the New Milford Inland Wetlands Commission.

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Area students to participate in water monitoring projects for Long Island Sound

Some area students will be spending time tracking down pollution sources that flow into Long Island Sound.   "Earthplace- the Nature Discovery Center" has received a $34,149 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund.  Students from will monitor pollution sources and remediate concerns in Monroe, Darien and Ridgefield. 


Senator Richard Blumenthal says the Fund is providing 14 grants to Connecticut and New York to support projects in local communities that aim to protect and restore the Long Island Sound. It unites federal and state agencies, foundations and corporations to achieve high-priority conservation objectives.


The project will track down pollution sources and work with municipalities to remediate the problems.  It identifies pollution sources such as compromised septic systems and failed infrastructure.  Blumenthal says high school science students traditionally do not have the chance to practice science in class, but this project will give them opportunities to participate in detection work and to deliver practical, applied scientific monitoring.   The project will teach high school students to conduct river, estuary, storm drain system, and fisheries monitoring programs with EPA-approved protocols. 


The activities include training 35 students from 10 schools to monitor eight waterbodies for five water quality parameters; identify one pollution hot spot for each waterbody and address with municipal partners.  The students will also present their monitoring data at an annual Water Quality Symposium.


Some of the funding will also be used for an internship program with nine students working at a job site on activities like laboratory maintenance, research on impaired waterways etc.; and deliver summer volunteer program with 15 college and high school student scientists to assist with monitoring.

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State report released on Sandy Hook gunman's history

A 114-page report has been released by the state Office of Child Advocate about the mental health and education history of the man who carried out the shootings at Sandy Hook School.  The report said the school system unwittingly enabled his mother to "accommodate and appease'' him as his mental health problems worsened.  Education advisor Dr Penny Spencer says they concluded that the gunman's homebound placement was inappropriate and non-therapeutic. 


Homebound status had limited monitoring.  She says it's important for the state to consider more review and monitoring of decisions which result in a child being removed from the educational setting.  Child Advocate Sarah Egan says a needs assessment should be done about what is not being met by the school system.  She says that will allow schools to be able to implement the right supports and modifications.


The report indicated that the gunman's severe and deteriorating internalized mental health problems were combined with an atypical preoccupation with violence.  Dr Julian Ford of the UConn Health Center says that was evident at least since he authored the "Big Book of Granny", a school assignment filled with images and narrative about child murder, cannibalism, and taxidermy.


"His feelings of violence were completely disconnected from an awareness of other people as people.  I think that's part of what happens in the cyberworld where mass violence becomes a matter of intellectual discussion, completely distinct that these are people we're talking about."


"According to the present-day statement of the co-author (an individual who as an adult was diagnosed with mental illness and is purportedly living in a residential setting), the book was created following a class assignment to create a comic book-style creative writing project. The co-author claims that the book was bound in school and submitted for a grade. Other reports indicate that the gunman may have attempted to sell the book to peers for 25 cents and that a school administrator spoke to his mother about the matter. "


The report said they recognized the "significant role" that assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines played and said the young man's easy access to them "cannot be ignored as a critical factor in the tragedy".


The advocate's office investigates all child deaths in the state for lessons on prevention.


Dr Harold Schwartz says the gunman appears to have been on a path to violence for some time and the more rigid he became, the harder he was to reach.  He says there is no clear indication in the educational records that school staff carefully reviewed or were otherwise explicitly aware of the contents of the "Big Book of Granny". 


Ford says there's no evidence that anyone observed him committing acts of violence before December 14th 2012.  Ford also says there was no evidence he was the victim of violence even though he could have been subjected to bullying as so many other youths are that have difficulties with peer relationships.


The Office of the Child Advocate report identified missed opportunities to provide more appropriate treatment.


In the three months before the shootings, the 20-year old had not left his room in his mother's spacious colonial-style house, where he lived surrounded by an arsenal of weapons and spent long hours playing violent video games. His parents were divorced, and he had not seen his father for two years.  The report also provocatively asks whether a family that was not white or as affluent would have been given the same leeway to manage treatment for their troubled child.


"Is the community more reluctant to intervene and more likely to provide deference to the parental judgment and decision-making of white, affluent parents than those caregivers who are poor or minority?" the report said.


"This report raises, but cannot definitively answer, the question as to whether better access to effective mental health and educational services would have prevented the tragic events at Sandy Hook," the authors wrote.


Ford says the gunman's mother was trying to keep him sheltered, and when medical officials offered a comprehensive approach to pull him out of the downward spiral, she ignored the recommendations.  He says youth not in favor of being in treatment need to have a coordinator message of the benefits and that the team is working on their behalf, not compelling them to participate.


Documents released by police in December 2013 included descriptions of sporadic treatment for his mental health troubles. At one point, experts at the Yale Child Studies Center prescribed antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication, but Nancy Lanza discontinued the treatment and never scheduled follow-up visits, police reports said.


A Connecticut judge last year ordered Newtown school officials to give Lanza's records the Office of Child Advocate for its investigation. The governor's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission has been waiting for the office's report before releasing its recommendations on what the state can do to prevent and respond to future mass killings.


The report pointed to the gunman's mother planning to move him out of Sandy Hook in 2012, as a likely turning point.  The report says that he was perhaps stimulated by fears of leaving the "comfort zone" of his home, AL planned and carried out the shooting.  But the authors conclude that there was not one thing that was necessarily the tipping point driving the gunman to commit the shootings.


Rather, they say there was a cascade of events, many self-imposed.  Those included: loss of school; absence of work; disruption of the relationship with his one friend; virtually no personal contact with family; virtually total and increasing isolation; fear of losing his home and of a change in his relationship with his only caretaker and connection; worsening OCD; depression and anxiety; profound and possibly worsening anorexia; and an increasing obsession with mass murder occurring in the total absence of any engagement with the outside world.


Joseph Erardi Jr., who became superintendent of schools for Newtown this year, said the report will have great meaning if "there is one school leader, one district, one mental health provider or one set of parents who reads this work and can prevent such a heinous crime."


He also said wealth and race will never be a factor when deciding how to treat a child in his school system.


"There will never, ever under my watch be a decision made based on race, color, creed, or wealth index....never," he said. "I feel very strongly about this and would never allow this type of influence in any way."


Check out this 7 year old making the most of his camera time! Dancing, one liners, shout outs, and he nails the forecast!



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