Sandy Hook Elementary staff members were hailed as heroes in the days after the shootings. Officials say they may have prevented further loss through selfless actions and smart snap judgments. That included the head custodian who risked his life by running through the halls warning of danger. Among the 911 calls released Wednesday by the town were ones between Rick Thorne and a Newtown dispatcher.
Days after the shootings, then-Superintendent of Schools Dr Janet Robinson noted "incredible acts of heroism" that "ultimately saved so many lives."
In her blog, First Selectman Pat Llodra said Wednesday that there is great personal pain in this event.
An agreement between the state and six unions will provide some support to state employees who responded to Sandy Hook Elementary last year. Governor Dannel Malloy today announced that first responders and other state employees who were significantly involved will be credited with forty hours of compensatory time for their response.
Connecticut State Police Union President Andrew Matthews says there is no question that every state employee who witnessed the tragedy firsthand was in need of this support to cope with the consequences of the horrific scene that may never be erased from their minds. Matthews said State troopers, both on and off-duty, ran towards the face of evil and witnessed one of the most violent events our country has ever seen.
Lt Governor Nancy Wyman says this was a crime of unprecedented scope that produced an unprecedented level of trauma for so many who were involved in the response.
Malloy says the benefit is intended to recognize the extraordinary nature of the tragedy and that many of these individuals took sick and vacation time to deal with personal matters related to the incident.
Malloy says responders need time to recover from the severe nature of what they experienced through simply doing their jobs. He called this agreement only one step, but an important one to recognize the professionals who are there during unimaginable moments of difficulty.
The agreement will be submitted to the General Assembly for final approval. If no action is taken, it will take effect after 30 days.
The flag on Main Street in Newtown has been lowered to half-staff to honor former First Selectman Jack Rosenthal, who died on November 26th at the age of 94.
A memorial service is planned for this morning at 11:30 at Newtown Meeting House. The flag will be returned to full staff following the service.
Rosenthal was in the U.S. Army and trained as a medical technician. He worked in the insurance industry and held many elected positions in Newtown over his lifetime. He also was active with the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Company.
Funeral services will be private. Interment in Newtown Village Cemetery will also be private.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Newtown Scholarship Association, or The Masonicare At Newtown Quality of Life Fund, 139 Toddy Hill Road, Newtown CT 06470.
Newtown will have a strong police presence in Sandy Hook next weekend.
At a press conference Tuesday, Chief Michael Kehoe said the officers would be out on December 14th to keep private parking lots open ant to prevent traffic jams. He also said that any makeshift memorials of cards, flowers, stuffed animals and other items left by the side of the road will be promptly removed.
First Selectman Pat Llodra said the best way to honor those who lost their lives nearly a year ago would be to pay it forward. She says that has the potential to do some good in a really sustainable way.
Bethel officials are holding an informational hearing tonight about a proposed cell phone tower. The meeting is about the proposal for near Codfish Hill Road of a 150 foot wireless telecommunications tower.
The parcel of land in question is nearly 50 acres. AT&T has made the proposal, but the tower could also be used by three other wireless carriers.
The informational meeting is tonight at 7 in the Municipal Center Meeting Room A.
A proposed 7 year tax deferral for a housing project in Danbury has been put off for a month by the City Council. At their meeting Tuesday, the Council voted to take up the deferral for a developer of the Kennedy Place Property in January.
Councilman Warren Levy says he wants more information about the project. Virginia-based Greystar Development proposed building 375 units of market rate apartments.
Mayor Mark Boughton says the city isn't spending any money by approving the deferral and isn't losing any because right now Danbury is not making money off the property. After completion, the developer would pay about $300,000 annually in taxes even with the deferral. After 7 years, that figure could be around $2 million in taxes annually.
Boughton says the project could result in a $70-million investment in downtown.
The property is being sold by BRT, which came under fire from several City Council members when they built the Crosby Street apartments using a tax break meant to bring people downtown and turned it into student housing for West Conn. Boughton says that won't be the case with this development.
A local lawmaker is calling on Metro North to reassess its priorities. Wilton State Senator Toni Boucher says the two derailments and the death of a track foreman, puts the railroad's credibility on the line.
She says the rail line needs better oversight, especially because it's one of the most heavily used in the country.
Boucher says there's new technology that is being required by the federal government by 2015 that should help reduce human errors. She says it's a computer system that could have prevented what happened in New York.
Boucher is also calling on Governor Malloy to put back $91 million that she says was raided from the special transportation fund. Boucher says commuters have been calling and emailing her saying they are concerned with the safety of the trains.
Boucher says this is just like the power companies, which she criticized after storms Irene and Sandy. She says consumer are paying a lot, and much of that money is going into other areas salaries, benefits and so forth. Boucher says that's all well and good, but the railroad is delaying important normal maintenance that should be there.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Recordings of 911 calls from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that were released Wednesday show town dispatchers urged panicked callers to take cover, mobilized help and asked about the welfare of the children as gunshots could be heard at times in the background.
One caller told police in a trembling, breathless voice that a gunman was shooting inside the building.
"I caught a glimpse of somebody. They're running down the hallway. Oh, they're still running and still shooting. Sandy Hook school, please," the woman said.
In the minutes that followed, staff members inside the school pleaded for help as Newtown police juggled the barrage of calls.
The calls were posted on the town's website under a court order after a lengthy effort by The Associated Press to have them released for review.
Another call came from a custodian, Rick Thorne, who said that a window at the front of the school was shattered and that he kept hearing shooting. While on the line with Thorne, the dispatcher told somebody off the call: "Get everyone you can going down there."
Thorne remained on the phone for several minutes.
"There's still shooting going on, please!" the custodian pleaded to Newtown's 911 dispatcher, as six or seven shots could be heard booming in the background. "Still, it's still going on!"
The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, shot his way into the school the morning of Dec. 14 and killed 20 children and six educators with a semi-automatic rifle. He also killed his mother in their Newtown home before driving to the school, and he committed suicide as police arrived at the scene.
Seven recordings of landline calls from inside the school to Newtown police were posted. Calls that were routed to state police are the subject of a separate, pending freedom of information request by the AP.
Prosecutors opposed the tapes' release, arguing among other things that the recordings could cause the victims' families more anguish.
"We all understand why some people have strong feelings about the release of these tapes. This was a horrible crime," said Kathleen Carroll, AP executive editor and senior vice president. "It's important to remember, though, that 911 tapes, like other police documents, are public records. Reviewing them is a part of normal newsgathering in a responsible news organization."
As the town prepared to release the tapes, the superintendent of Newtown schools, John Reed, advised parents to consider taking steps to limit media exposure for their families, as he did before the release last week of a prosecutor's report on the attack.
On the day of the shooting, the AP requested 911 calls and police reports, as it and other news organizations routinely do in their newsgathering.
Newtown's police department effectively ignored the AP's request for months until the news cooperative appealed to the state's Freedom of Information Commission, which said in September that the recordings should be released.
The prosecutor in charge of the Newtown investigation, State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III, had argued that releasing the tapes could prove painful to the victims' families, hurt the investigation, subject witnesses to harassment and violate the rights of survivors who deserve special protection as victims of child abuse.
A state judge dismissed those arguments last week and ordered the tapes be released Wednesday unless the state appealed.
"Release of the audio recordings will also allow the public to consider and weigh what improvements, if any, should be made to law enforcement's response to such incidents," Superior Court Judge Eliot Prescott said.
"Delaying the release of the audio recordings, particularly where the legal justification to keep them confidential is lacking, only serves to fuel speculation about and undermine confidence in our law enforcement officials."
BETHEL, Conn. (AP) A New Milford man has been arrested in connection with an accident that killed a bicyclist.
Police say Alexander Scott Lee faces charges of evading responsibility for a fatal accident, making an improper left turn and tampering with evidence.
Thomas Steinert-Threlkeld, an avid bicyclist and business writer, was killed in the Oct. 20 accident. Police say Lee turned his car as Steinert-Threlkeld approached from the other direction.
Police said Steinert-Threlkeld collided with the rear passenger side of the vehicle and was thrown to the ground.
Moments later, a second vehicle turned and struck Steinert-Threlkeld, pinning him beneath the car.
The 21-year-old Lee was arrested Tuesday and held on $150,000 bond. It was not known Wednesday morning if he is represented by a lawyer.
He's due to be arraigned Wednesday in Danbury Superior Court.
Danbury police officers and a fire marshal are at each of the Danbury Whalers 29 home games at the Danbury Ice Arena. Tuesday night, the City Council was asked to look into the future financial arrangement with the team, because the city is owed a significant amount of money for those services.
The police are owed more than $64,000 and more than $16,000 is owed to the Fire Marshal's office. Mayor Mark Boughton wrote to the Council that for the past three seasons, the City has not received payment for the services.
In 2011 an agreement was reached with the Whalers on how to pay down the debt, but Boughton says they have not made any effort to adhere to the agreement.
Danbury Hospital has received a $1 million donation from Maplewood Senior Living CEO Gregory Smith. The gift was made to the Western Connecticut Health Network Foundation.
Western Connecticut Health Network President and CEO Dr John Murphy says the money will go to the pediatrics department. The reason for that designation he says is that Smith's son was born at just 26 weeks. Smith previously donated money to Danbury Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The new emergency department that's being constructed in Danbury will double the number of rooms for children.
New Milford's Mayor is now the town's longest serving Mayor. Patricia Murphy was sworn in to another term this week. She says she wants to build on what she and others in New Milford have been doing.
She called it's an honor and says it's an awesome privilege and responsibility.
Murphy says she didn't realize how emotional this week's swearing in ceremony would be. Much like 10 years ago, she couldn't sleep the night before the swearing in. But unlike then, she says she now knows how many people she has helping her and standing behind her.
Murphy says she wants to build on what she and others in New Milford have been doing.
The jury has reached a decision in the manslaughter case against New Fairfield resident accused of shooting his wife in their home after an argument last December. The jury has found Robert Bell not guilty on all charges.
At first the jury came back with the guilty verdict on the manslaughter, charge but it was not accepted by the judge because of confusion amongst the jury over the definition of self defense. After more deliberations, the 63-year old was acquitted.
Bell was freed Tuesday after spending the past year detained on bail.
Bell testified that he shot his wife of 21 years, Svetlana, at their home on December 8, 2012, when she charged at him with a knife. Their teenage daughter also testified and corroborated her father's story.
Bell's lawyer, John R. Gulash, says Svetlana Bell became enraged during a family conversation. He says Bell was a certified firearms instructor and often carried a handgun in a pocket holster, including the day of the shooting.
Gulash says Bell planned to spend Tuesday evening with relatives.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A federal judge has dismissed a national gun industry group's lawsuit challenging a wide-ranging firearms law passed by Connecticut in response to the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven ruled Monday that the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation Inc. doesn't have legal standing to challenge how state officials approved the law.
The foundation sued Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, legislative leaders and other officials in July, claiming the emergency legislation was approved illegally in April without proper public input, without time for adequate review and without an explanation of why the usual legislative process needed to be bypassed.
The law expanded a ban on assault weapons and prohibits large-capacity ammunition magazines.
The public hearing tonight is on the proposed sale agreement for a 5-acre parcel of land on Old Quarry Road. Developer Stephen Zemo has proposed purchasing the piece of the former Schlumberger property. He has proposed construction of a hotel, a self storage building and a third commercial building.
The 5 acres is across the from the main property. This is the only proposed sale agreement on the agenda for the public hearing tonight at 7:30 in Town Hall.
The town is also reportedly in talks to sell 13 acres, including the Philip Johnson building, to an art collector. 10 acres could be sold to a developer for multi-family housing units.
BROOKFIELD, Conn. (AP) Minutes after taking the oath of office, Brookfield First Selectman Bill Tinsley faced demands he resign over his no contest plea to a charge of larceny.
Critics say voters were not informed that Tinsley, a Republican, faced criminal charges of embezzlement and petit larceny in Vermont before the Nov. 5 election.
At Tinsley's swearing-in on Monday evening, Zoning Commission alternate John Varda, a Democrat, and 33-year-resident Robert Zinser called on him to resign.
Others endorsed Tinsley and urged Brookfield to unify around issues such as the local economy and financial responsibility.
Resident Reet Lubin said Brookfield should ``close the book'' on the dispute.
Tinsley says he agreed to the plea, $900 in restitution and a $500 charitable donation because prolonging the litigation is not in his or the town's interest.
Newtown officials say the 911 recordings from the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year will be released to the public tomorrow afternoon.
A Connecticut Superior Court judge ruled last week that the 911 tapes should be released to The Associated Press after a lengthy fight over the records, which investigators have withheld. The lead investigator of the shooting, Danbury State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky, raised several arguments to shield the recordings. The arguments were rejected first by Connecticut's Freedom of Information Commission, which ruled in favor of the AP in September, and then the judge who ordered their release.
Sedensky said in a statement Monday that he would not appeal the judge's ruling after consulting with the Chief State's Attorney and Newtown's Attorney.
Superior Court Judge Eliot Prescott said last week delaying the release of the audio recordings, particularly where the legal justification to keep them confidential is lacking, only serves to fuel speculation about and undermine confidence in law enforcement officials.
The AP has sought the recordings in part to examine the police response.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) The Newtown, Conn., high school's football team won't have to play on the anniversary of the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings if it reaches the state championship game.
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference announced Monday it approved Newtown High School's request to hold the game Dec. 13 instead of Dec. 14 if Newtown reaches the final at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.
Conference spokesman Joel Cookson says the governing group's football committee decided it wouldn't be appropriate for the Newtown Nighthawks to play Dec. 14, a year after a gunman killed 20 students and six adults at the Sandy Hook School.
The football team dedicated its season to the shooting victims and went 12-0.
The Nighthawks open the playoffs Tuesday against 9-2 Ridgefield.
Ridgefield could soon be looking for a new Fire Chief.
Heather Burford, who has served in that position for the past seven years, has been offered the same position in Seminole County Florida. Burford told the Ridgefield Press that she needs to pass a physical and background check before she officially takes on the new job.
Burford plans to step down from the role as Ridgefield Fire Chief and assistant fire chief Kevin Tappe would likely step up into the position in transition.
A car with several people sitting inside led neighbors to call New Milford police because the vehicle was parked for several hours. Police responded to the Danvers Road area early Saturday morning and arrested 20-year old John Bernardi of New Milford for transportation of narcotics with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia.
A substantial amount of marijuana and cash were found in the car.
Bernardi was released on bond. He is set to appear in Bantam Superior Court on December 9th.
A pediatrician is stepping up as Medical Director of the Greater Danbury Community Health Center. Dr David Savarese has been appointed to the position. He most recently served in a similar role at a health center in Norwalk. Connecticut Institute For Communities Executive Director James Maloney says Savarese will still be a practicing pediatrician.
This appointment follows the retirement of Dr Thomas Draper. The Health Center's pediatrician is also retiring. Dr Savarese will essentially take over that practice as well.
The Health Center provides primary care for children, adolescents and adults.