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The 24th state Senate District includes Danbury, Bethel, New Fairfield and Sherman.  Republican incumbent Mike McLachlan is seeking a 5th term in office.  He is being challenged by small business owner Democrat Ken Gucker.

A Deputy Minority Leader, McLachlan is ranking member on the General Assembly’s Government Administration and Elections Committee. McLachlan says there are more challenges ahead. He says there seems to be much more cooperation now to come up with ideas to address runaway spending.


Gucker is a small business owner who was a volunteer fireman in New Fairfield who now lives in Danbury. He's been an advocate locally on land use, environmental and historical issues. He cited the saving of the McLean house, stopping a zone change in the Long Ridge neighborhood and the Cotswold property.


When it comes to education reforms, McLachlan says two major education judicial decisions have been handed down in the last 40 years and they have been largely ignored by the legislature. Now that there is a third court ruling, which is headed to the state Supreme Court, McLachlan says he fears the General Assembly won't take it seriously. McLachlan says Danbury is dramatically underfunded compared to similar municipalities. He notes that special education is woefully underfunded.


Gucker called the education court ruling a mixed bag. He says the Education Cost Sharing formula does need to be addressed. But he disagreed with the Judge's ruling on special education reforms. As someone who has dyslexia, he says a different method of learning may be needed. He credited good teachers and an involved mother for not being passed over. He says children with special needs need to have all available resources.


Gucker says it sounded an alarm bell for him when Danbury officials approved spending $50,000 to hire a lobbyist to send to Hartford. He says the legislative delegation should be lobbying on behalf of Danbury. He says that money would have been much better spent in the schools.


The state has a Transportation Fund now, which is supposed to be a lockbox. But McLachlan says Governor Malloy's administration has taken, on average, $75 million a year from that fund to pay for other items. He says government needs to be responsible with transportation priorities and buckle down. He called the constitutional lockbox proposed recently a gimmick.


Gucker wants to see improvements to rail infrastructure. He says there's more of a need for rail than there has ever been. He says it's sad that more Danbury area residents travel to Brewster to use Metro North than take the Danbury branch. He would prefer a better option so people don't have to travel as far in their cars just to get on a train. While improvements are being made to the exit 5 and 6 area, he would like to see more being done. Gucker opposes a mileage tax and bringing back tolls. There's other infrastructure that he would like to see improved, including WiFi to attract businesses.


McLachlan wants the legislature to focus, like a laser beam, on the Interstate 84 corridor. He says the amount of traffic is dramatic, and the lack of resources is equally as dramatic. McLachlan says the state has spent tons of money on projects that he believes is misguided. He cited the $675 million busway between New Britain and Hartford. He would have preferred that money spent on adding a third lane all the way from Danbury to Waterbury and for the planning stages to redesign the MixMaster in Waterbury.


New Fairfield officials have been fighting for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to ban walk ins to state parks after they are closed to cars. McLachlan says there were meetings with DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee last year, and new regulations were promised for the 2016 summer season. But McLachlan says Klee dropped the ball. There are some simple fixes to take care of the problem and DEEP needs to not drop the ball again. He says he is disappointed in the agency's follow through.


Gucker says Candlewood Lake is special to him because he learned how to swim in that lake, and then became a water safety instructor and lifeguard. He would like to see greater enforcement of and communication with the lake's owner FirstLight Power Resources. He says last year's winter drawdown, done to kill off the invasive Eurasian water milfoil, wasn't done because of pump damage. He would have liked FirstLight to go ahead with the drawdown to also fix the pump.


McLachlan serves on the Judiciary Committee and the Finance Revenue & Bonding Committee. He says he is trying to keep a close watch on state borrowing and notes that Connecticut is exceeding the state's capacity to pay back the amount of money owed.


Gucker says the state can't cut its way to having balanced books; and that bringing in more revenue is the way. In order to do that, he wants to provide people with a living wage. He says low wage jobs means more people reliant on programs like HUSKY and food stamps. He says having a living wage will be less of a drain on Connecticut's resources. Gucker says top down economics doesn't work. He also encouraged people to shop local as a way to help the economy.


Gucker says small businesses aren't getting enough help. He related the story of a friend who purchased a dilapidated business in order to help improve the quality of life in a neighborhood, but he can't get assistance. He called for tax deferrals and assistance getting through the bureaucratic red tape.


The state does encourage some areas for development and some for open space. McLachlan says the state requires each town to have a Master Plan of Development. McLachlan says the Stony Hill corridor has been a high priority for commercial development, but the challenge has been nearby residential neighborhoods.


Gucker encouraged people to vote down the entire ballot, because the state races are the candidates who can affect Connecticut resident's lives the most. As he's been out campaigning Gucker says he's been hearing that people feel like they haven't been heard in Hartford.

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Ballots for every town in Connecticut are now available for viewing online


There are a lot of bubbles for people to fill out this coming Election Day.  In Danbury there are bond issues to be decided, Newtown residents will be voting on Charter revision questions and several towns including Bethel are selecting a new Probate Court Judge. 


Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says having the sample ballots posted gives the state’s two-million registered voters an opportunity to get familiar with the general election races before November 8th.  With many offices on the ballot this year, Merrill says a little preparation never hurts.  She encouraged voters to see who is running and to get comfortable with the ballots they'll be using on Election Day.

Voters can check their registration status online and find the location of their polling place.

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Danbury's Public Works Director was asked recently by City Councilman Duane Perkins about what can be done about a spate of water main breaks.


Antonio Iadarola says some water main breaks are unavoidable, for example when there's a stub coming off the main that doesn't get picked up in the Call Before You Dig process.  He says that's what happened by Exit 6 when a million gallons of water spilled into the street.


Iadarola says it's a complicated issue.  He noted that no contractor purposely tries to break a water main because it creates havoc.  But if the City sees an intentional disregard for Call Before You Dig markings, they will go after the contractor and also file a complaint with Call Before You Dig.  Iadarola says Call Before You Dig investigates those contractors who continuously disregard the markings.


He says the look at each case on an individual basis.


When the City loses a significant amount of water, large valves have to be closed.  If they're closed too quick, Iadarola says the valve will blow apart.  He says the City has one of the best Water Departments in the state so they work quickly, while not damaging the infrastructure.  He says it's a balance to close the system without damage so there aren't more significant issues. 


Iadarola says both plants were affected, and they couldn't keep up making water because of the amount of loss.  He says it's a dangerous situation because if the wells that feed the entire city go dry, air and contaminants would have been put into the entire distribution chain.


All of the appropriate alarms went off, staff went to their posts and the plants came right back online.  Iadarola says they were able to maintain usage across the board, except for the piece that broke.

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A former Bethel restaurant owner has been spared prison time on sexual assault charges.  Antonio Fernandes was sentenced yesterday to a 10-year suspended prison sentence and three years probation after pleading no contest to two counts each of sexual assault and unlawful restraint. 


Fernandes used to own Tonelli's, which has since closed. 


A jury deadlocked two years ago, and a mistrial was declared.  The original charges against him were 1st degree sexual assault, but that was reduced to 4th degree counts.  The unlawful restraint charges are felony counts.  Fernandes was arrested in 2013.  Two female employees, who recently had become roommates and shared their stories, said that he sexually assaulted them inside the restaurant the year before.


Terms of probation include that Fernandes won't be allowed unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18, including relatives.  He will not have to register as a sex offender.

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The two candidates in the 5th Congressional race met for a debate in Danbury on October 20th.


One of the issues they discussed was gun control. They were asked specifically about closing the background check loophole.  Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Esty says when the law was passed 20 years ago, very few people bought anything on the internet. She compared it to a terrorist going to an airport and choosing to go through a security check or walk right onto a plane with a bomb. She says Congress is responsible to ensure that law enforcement has the resources they need to make sure felons, the mentally ill, and domestic abusers don't have access to guns. She also said that if someone is too dangerous to fly, they are too dangerous to buy a gun.


Republican challenger Clay Cope says gun control is a three-pronged issue. He says there is a mental health issue, a failure of the FBI to keep track of criminals, and a need to keep the 2nd Amendment in tact.  Cope says background checks are a matter of due process. He wants to make sure citizens rights are not infringed upon by new laws. As First Selectman in a town with a Resident State Trooper, Cope is also the Chief of Police. He has to sign every gun permit. Every time Congress makes a move toward violating someone's 2nd Amendment rights, he inevitably gets an influx of gun permit applications. He knows there is a vetting process in place for those applications.


Esty says Cope is woefully ill informed. Since 12/14, Esty says there have been 100,000 Americans who have died from gun violence. She says the problem is that someone could go to the equivalent of "" and buy whatever they want without showing an ID.  Esty says ATF, the FBI and others are saying that this loophole is something that can be fixed.


Cope said that Esty should be focused on issues directly impacting the 5th District, and not helping 18 other states get the same strict gun laws that Connecticut now has.  He said the shootings in Orlando, hit close to home for him as a gay man.  Cope looked at his challenger and said that he didn't feel safer after the sit-in she and other Democrats held on the House floor.  He would have instead immediately had meetings with the FBI about why they took the gunman off their watch lists.


Esty said for the 5th District, to represent Newtown, it's incumbent upon someone running for Congress to know details on these laws.


Cope says as he's travelled around the district, people are passionate about their 2nd Amendment rights. He noted that he doesn't have people coming up to him and asking for stricter gun controls. What he's heard is "don't take away my rights".

The discussion turned to mental health services.


Esty says part of the problem is the stigma associated with mental illness. She and Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Tim Murphy have been working to craft a bill to provide wrap around resources for families dealing with mental health issues. She called for first aid-like classes for teachers and coaches to look for signs in changing behavior in teenagers.


Cope says he has a similar philosophy. His mother is a marriage and family counselor. He says it's important to get those who need help, the help they need. Cope says that's mirrored in the opioid addiction crisis that's seen across the country.  He says addiction can be tied to mental health issues, noting that his family has dealt with this problem.  Cope is referencing his brother, who has a learning disability and was medicated through much of his early life and susceptible to drug addiction.  Tim Cope soon turned to criminal activity to support his drug habit and used several aliases to try to cover his tracks.  Clay Cope was one of the aliases he used.  These events happened more than 30 years ago.  Clay Cope shared this story during the primary race to clear up claims made by a challenger earlier this year.  He said at the time that his family does not know where Tim is, or what might have happened to him.


Cope says the biggest challenge to mental health services, is funding. He supports "Did You Know" campaigns. Cope says if people know where they can go to get help, another big challenge can be overcome.

The pair was asked what changes they would make to the country's immigration system.


Cope wants current laws enforced, steps taken to seal the border to keep illegal immigrants from coming in and to reform the process for people to become citizens.  His partner is here legally from Peru, but can't get his citizenship. He says people are coming into this country illegal because they're not able to become citizens. For one friend's parents, he says it it took 17 years.


Esty says the current system is broken. She wants to secure the border, keep families together and give them a legal path to citizenship that includes paying back-taxes if any are owed. She says farmers in the district can't find legal labor to do the work. Esty says the dysfunctional system forces them to make a choice between hiring illegally or being uncompetitive. Esty said she supported a comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced by Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio in 2013.

The economy and changes to the tax code were also addressed.


Esty says the tax code is massively complicated and needs to be streamlined. She says the system rewards companies for shipping jobs overseas and has a lot of unpredictability. Esty specifically mentioned research and development tax credits that are subject to an end date, which she says makes companies uneasy about making investments. She says good policies make a difference in creating jobs. She added that fewer tax lawyers and more innovators are needed.


When it comes to taxes and spending, Cope says this is one of the places where Republicans and Democrats differ.  But he says simplifying the tax code is a point they can agree on. He owned a small business and had to navigate import taxes for garments.  He called the tax system wildly complicated.

Cope says the tax and spend philosophy doesn't work. He wants to keep spending down and to keep government as small as possible.

Transportation and infrastructure are a top concern for people in the district.


Esty says she helped craft legislation for the first long-term highway bill in almost 10 years. $3.5 billion for Connecticut was included in the bill.  She notes that bipartisan support on the Transportation Committee was key to getting laws passed. She also sits on the rail subcommittee. Esty says speedy and safe rail are needed. She advocated for Positive Train Control technology to prevent crashes like those seen recently on Metro North and New Jersey Transit.  Esty proposed high-speed rail from New York City to Danbury, Waterbury and Hartford and then on to Boston.


Cope says the condition of the roads is so poor, and they don't ever seem to be repaired. He says the priorities need to be shifted back to taking care of the roads. He is against bringing tolls back to Connecticut because it would cripple border towns. He opposed the I-95 toll study that Connecticut recently committed funding for.


If reelected, Esty says she wants to focus on "info-structure", giving an examples of the electric grid and the internet. She says energy is key to the rapidly evolving economy. Esty says an aging electric grid is subject to failure, and to cyber attack. She says briefings on the vulnerability of the electric grid were alarming.


Cope says paying for improvements is a challenge. He is in favor of a pay-as-you-go system. In Sherman, he's been able to keep taxes flat or reduced and change the rating outlook from negative.


The questions moved to foreign policy and the humanitarian crisis in Syria.


Cope says Syria is a crippled, flawed state because of Obama Administration policies. He says the focus should be on rooting out ISIS. Cope says not all Syrian refugees want to kill Americans, but this country has to be concerned with the ISIS terrorists who want to throw Americans off buildings, referencing some videos posted to Youtube showing that tactic. He called for a multi-national effort to come to a solution, saying ISIS is a deadly challenger.


Esty says Syrian refugees should be welcomed to this country, after a thorough vetting. She believes refugees from war-torn countries should be welcomed. She added that given America's leadership position in the world, it's imperative to this country's moral position to accept refugees. Esty says it takes two years to come to America from Syria. Those seeking to come here must be in a Syrian refugee camp and vetted by international experts. Militarily, Esty says a no-fly zone is something that should be considered.


Cope said something he would have done differently than Esty was on the Safe Act. He would have voted for it, siding with Congressmen Jim Himes and Joe Courtney. Cope says he doesn't feel safer knowing that the pause button wasn't pushed on Syrian refugees coming in. He did agree though with bringing people in safely and legally.

While they agreed on some policy issues, there was a difference of opinion about the Affordable Care Act.  Cope called Obamacare an epic failure and would like to see it replaced.  A Sherman resident shared with him that their family's premium was $570, but it's now tripled and is the same amount of money as their mortgage payment, with fewer benefits.  He would like to see private market solutions implemented. He doesn't think there should be government-required insurance.  Cope says somehow the Affordable Care Act became the wildly Unaffordable Care Act.


Esty says the Affordable Care Act is doing a lot of good for a lot of people, but it's not perfect.  She compared it to Medicare, which got amended over and over again like any big piece of policy will.  She touted a change getting rid of a medical device tax, and noted that the Affordable Care Act has been especially beneficial for people with pre-existing conditions. Esty says the private marketplace was the system before the Affordable Care Act and led to more emergency room visits.


The candidates were also asked about education equality among the states and how to address college debt.


Cope says education is a state and a local concern, but it should not be a federal government concern. He wants dollars redirected to states and towns to take care of education. Cope compared education to shopping local, saying no one knows better what students need than local boards of education.  He also called for colleges and universities to tighten their belts when it comes to administrative costs.


Esty says there was bipartisan support to change the No Child Left Behind Act to give more autonomy to states and municipalities.  Despite the laudable goals of No Child Left Behind, Esty says it wasn't working. In 2013, she fought to keep the interest rates from going up on student loans. She proposed allowing young people to refinance private sector student loans and allowing people with older federal loans to refinance. She says community colleges need to remain affordable, and technical high schools need to be kept open.


Cope says it's crippling for a young person to come out of college in debt, but there are things that cane be done to help them.  He says raising awareness about the best fit for students is one strategy.  He noted that there are some students in traditional colleges who could be better served by vocational schools.


A question was also asked about the Trans Pacific Partnership, TPP.


Esty voted against TPA, Trade Promotion Authority, and said she would vote against TPP.  She said she came to that decision after meeting with people across the district, and recognizing the fact that Connecticut is an export state.  She says any trade deal needs to be good for Connecticut working families.  As she understands TPP, she says it doesn't do enough for labor standards, environmental standards, stopping currency manipulation or dealing with consumer health issues and consumer safety.


Cope says he is opposed to TPP, in part because it was negotiated in secret. He says in light of the failures of NAFTA and Obamacare, he's skeptical of it working.  Cope says there's no rush to pass this through.  He also pointed out poor enforcement from other countries. He wants U.S. interests fully considered.  He also doesn't like the exclusion of the U.S. justice system.


An audience member posed questions about air quality and clean air.

Cope says those aren't priorities he's heard from people in the district.  He called it an interesting question, but one that hasn't been brought up to him.

Esty says air doesn't stop at the borders and water doesn't respect state boundaries, but notes that Connecticut remains downwind from some coal plants. She says children in Connecticut have higher asthma rates and that's why states can't be decentralized. She says Connecticut is not isolated from the effects of what other states do or don't do.

Cope says truck idling bills and clean diesel acts to replace public works vehicles with outdated engines have been a boon for Connecticut.

Esty says there are members of Congress who don't believe in climate change and pushed Cope to answer whether or not he believes in climate change. Cope responded that the climate has changed, but he can't say the cause of it.  He reiterated that this hasn't been an issue people in the 41 towns in the District have pressed him on. Cope says there are much bigger issues that are important concerns for people.


Each candidate was asked what his or her first piece of work would be in the new session.  Esty says she would reintroduce a comprehensive background check bill. She says 189 bipartisan cosponsors signed on to the last gun safety measure.  Cope says he would address illegal immigration and how to create legal immigrants. He says the system is terribly flawed and it needs to be addressed in a bipartisan way.

In closing statements, Cope said continuing down the current path of increased spending and taxes will not improve people's lives. He says there's evidence under Governor Malloy that that is not the solution. He called for a fresh start and a new direction with a commitment to serving the people's needs and not the special interest's needs. He believes the problems and challenges facing Americans are not insurmountable if there is a move toward focusing on solutions and working together. To make Washington work and to change Washington, Cope said people need to change who they send to Washington.  He asked for the chance to make his brand of small town customer service work in Washington.

Esty says the election is about the future of the country, and whether to move forward together or turn on each other. She doesn't want to blame the other guy, but to work to make things better.  Esty touted legislation she's been able to get approved ranging from aid for farmers to helping fuel cell companies. She says the district is wonderfully diverse. Esty says hard work and knowledge are needed to work across the aisle to get things done. She thanked constituents for the honor of serving them, and asked for the opportunity to continue to do so.

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Danbury and other police departments around the state are participating in the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration's prescription drug take back day.  State Police spokeswoman Trooper Kelly Grant says this is an opportunity for people to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.


Prescription drugs that languish in medicine cabinets create a public health and safety concern because they are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. 


Local collection sites include the police stations in Danbury, Newtown and Weston.  Resident State Trooper Offices in New Fairfield, Sherman, Bridgewater, Roxbury and Oxford will be collecting.  Bissell Pharmacy on Governor Street is serving as the collection site for Ridgefield Police.  The Sherman firehouse on Route 39 and Easton Library are also collection sites today.


The Drug Take Back Day event is from 10am until 2pm.


Ridgefield and other Police Departments also have a drug take-back box in their front lobby year round, for anonymous drop off.

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A man wanted for an armed robbery has been arrested by the Putnam County Sheriff's Department.  47-year old John Caputo was charged with robbery for allegedly holding up the Subway sandwich shop in the Patterson Commons Shopping Center earlier this week.  


The Wingdale man allegedly displayed a knife, demanded money and then used a pickup truck that he had left parked nearby as a getaway vehicle to flee with an undisclosed amount of cash.  No one was injured in the incident Tuesday night.  Caputo was arrested yesterday morning when an investigator in an unmarked car spotted him driving the pickup truck in Kent, New York. 


The felony robbery charge carries a possible prison sentence of up to 25 years.

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4th Congressional District incumbent Democrat Jim Himes and Republican challenger John Shaban will square off in a debate on Sunday.  The event is being sponsored by the League of Women Voters representing 12 Fairfield County communities. 


Himes is seeking a 5th term in office.  Shaban is a state Representative from Redding. 


The debate on Sunday is from 5 to 6:30pm, at the Clune Performing Arts Center at Wilton High School. 


The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization which 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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Metro North is encouraging riders to use their new mobile app, and in order to push that along the MTA is ending online ticket sales.  Monthly Metro North tickets will no longer be for sale online as of Tuesday.  Riders will be unable to buy any other ticket online after November 30th. 


Commuter Action Group founder Jim Cameron says it's unfortunate, because there was a 2-percent discount.


MTA eTix allows riders to purchase tickets directly on their mobile device.  The ticket must be activated just before boarding the train.  The conductor will then look at the ticket to confirm it's active, and scan the barcode on the screen.  Tickets remain active for the duration of your trip.

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Resident complaints about drug sales in a Danbury neighborhood have led to police taking $31,000 worth of drugs off the streets.  After a weeks long investigation, search warrants were carried out yesterday at a Ken Oaks Drive home. 


Police say 30-year old  Claudio Matrinez-Abreu was stopped near his house last night.  Danbury Police say Matrinez-Abreu was in possession of more than 25 ounces of cocaine, a lesser amount of heroin, brass knuckles and a loaded pistol.  The estimated street value of the seized drugs totals more than $31,000. 


Matrinez-Abreu was charged with possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia, having a weapon in a motor vehicle, and negligent storage of a firearm. 


He was held on $200,000 bond for arraignment.

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A 26-year incumbent is being challenged for the state House seat representing the 110th District in Danbury.  Democrat Bob Godfrey is seeking a 14th term.  Republican Emanuela Palmeras is looking to unseat the Deputy House Speaker.


Palmeras says the district has change a lot in the last two and a half decades. She says there are different needs and challenges facing the constituents of the district. She believes a government should be reflective of the people it's serving.


Godfrey touted Connecticut as being one of the safest states in the country, in part because of the gun laws passed in 2013. He praised the deal to keep Sikorsky in the state, because there are several suppliers in Danbury that Sikorsky uses. As a Navy veteran, Godfrey says he's proud of Connecticut's role in the defense industry.  He acknowledged that there is some dissatisfaction with government. He said he's tried his best to help people in the district.  He said another accomplishment he's proud of is bringing back money to the district for school building projects. He's pleased to see the rehabilitation of the Glen Apartments in the Roger's Park area.


As a mother of a child with special needs, Palmeras says she would like her son to attend public school, but notes that there isn't enough funding in Danbury for special needs programs. As an immigrant who came to Danbury from Brazil without speaking English, saw her parents go from a construction worker and a house cleaner to being small business owners. Her family founded The Tribuna, a bilingual newspaper. Palmeras says they are feeling the burden of the state's tax and regulatory climate. She is also a member of the Danbury Aging in Place Council.


The court ruling ordering the legislature to overhaul the state's education system is being appealed to the State Supreme Court. But Godfrey says he hopes portions of the judge's ruling will be taken up. He wants to change the Education Cost Sharing formula. Godfrey says it's going to be a difficult discussion because towns receiving a lot of funding, will not want to vote for a decrease.


Education funding will be a priority for Palmeras if elected. She says the legislature needs to remember that there is a difference between equity and equality. Palmeras believes that's how education funding should be reworked. She wants equity, giving people what they need, as opposed to equality and giving everyone the same thing. She says the judge's ruling is an opportunity for a fresh start and to be able to affect generations to come. Palmeras noted that up to 50% of students in the district are English Language Learners.

Palmeras says if municipalities can bring grades up for ESL students, they won't get funding because they're a failing school district they'll get funding because they're doing well. She says better education will lead to more families looking to move into the district. Palmeras also says better education will lead to better jobs.


Godfrey is proposing to deduct the interest paid on student loans from the state income tax from adjusted gross income. He wants to make things easier for people going into their first job and for people changing careers. He says good jobs, with good wages, is the both the short and long-term answer to what Connecticut needs to do to turn things around.


The number one thing to fix transportation problems, Palmeras says is to create an enforceable lockbox for infrastructure funds. She also called for a better working mass transit system. Palmeras says it's hard to move around the state without a car, and that affects quality of life.


An area he would like to work on if reelected is to figure out how to make the Transportation Fund inaccessible for expenditures that aren't transportation projects. Godfrey says the problem with a lockbox is that someone has a key. He wants to figure out who would hold the key. He proposed an oversight board, but getting consensus on that has been an issue. He says the Governor's 30-year, $100 billion plan is a good plan on how to move forward. But the big question is how to pay for all of the proposals. Godfrey says the mileage tax is not a viable option for Connecticut. He is also opposed to tolls. Godfrey says something that has to get resolve is electric cars not using as much gasoline, but wearing out the roads.


Godfrey says Connecticut lost 27% of the state's revenue in a three-week span during the crash of 2008. He says by creating jobs, the state will continue to turn the economy around. The Connecticut Next Program provides funding to groups around the state to become business incubators. Godfrey says the Hackerspace at Danbury Library has applied for funding. He says a man looking to do an agricultural start up by doing high-rise farming could apply as well.


Palmeras says the Connecticut Next Program works will for innovative businesses, but small businesses that aren't tech-related have a hard time being viable in Connecticut. As for the Small Business Express Program, she would like to see changes. She says in order to get a loan a business has to be in near-excellent condition, but business need loans when they need help. Palmeras would like to see a climate that encourages people to stay rather than paying people to stay. She encouraged bipartisanship to look at how to make Connecticut a sustainable place to live and work.


Work to improve mental health services and early intervention is another area Godfrey would like to address. He acknowledged the challenges to that; it's expensive and the outcomes vary from person to person.


Palmeras says a lot of people are on fixed incomes so she would like to focus on social services. She related a story about seniors struggling to budget when the senior center got rid of the Wednesday lunch. She also noted that 60% to 70% of families in the school system in the district are part of the free or reduced price lunch program.


Seniors and millennials can be served in a similar way, according to Palmeras. She says both age groups want a vibrant downtown and a walkable community. She is concerned that her son won't be able to afford to live in Connecticut when he is older.


Godfrey addressed GE leaving Fairfield for Boston. He says GE also pulled jobs out of Wisconsin for Canada. Godfrey says that's because Gov. Scott Walker's austerity budget killed the business climate in that state. For a while, corporations wanted suburban campuses, but now they're moving back to big cities. He says for too long Connecticut has neglected its cities. He would like to see Connecticut cities better develop their cultural, arts and dining districts to attract the creative class. He says there also has to be affordable housing, not luxury housing, and an atmosphere in a downtown where people can meet up and live without a car.

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A replica of the Vietnam Wall memorial is making its first stop in Litchfield County with a limited engagement in New Milford.  The Wall That Heals is a 250-foot replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  The Mobile Education Center spreads a healing legacy of The Wall and educates about the impact of the Vietnam War.

The Roger Sherman Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution is hosting The Wall That Heals in New Milford.

The Wall will arrive at Young's Field next Wednesday at about 11:30am, escorted by the CT Patriots Guard.  There will be daily Opening Ceremonies with a Closing Ceremony scheduled for Sunday October, 30 at 3pm.

The Wall That Heals honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed forces during the Vietnam War and its walls bear the names of the more than 58,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the most visited memorial in the Nation’s Capital, but many Americans have not been able to visit.  The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund built the wall to give veterans and their family members across America an opportunity to see the Memorial.


The bulk of the cost to host The Wall, $7,500, is being paid for by the DAR.  In order to raise the approximate $4,000 balance , a unique fundraiser is being held.  Two-inch, 24K gold medallions are made in the U.S. and adorned on both sides can be purchased for $30.  There are only 500 of these medallions in existence.




The Roger Sherman Chapter, DAR has the support of the Town of New Milford, POW/MIA CT Forget-Me-Not Organization, Ezra Woods Post 31 American Legion and Andrew B. Mygatt VFW Post 1672.

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A Danbury man who fled police has been charged with driving while intoxicated.  New York State Police Troopers saw a car speed more than 100 miles an hour on Interstate 684 Saturday and tried to stop the driver.  22-year old Christopher Espinal didn't stop and continued to travel at a high rate of speed. 


He eventually pulled over for police on I-84.  His Blood Alcohol Content was .11percent.  Espinal was charged with DWI and unlawful fleeing a police officer.  He was arraigned and released for an appearance in Southeast Court on the 27th.


18 other intoxicated drivers were taken off the road this past weekend by New York State Police in the Putnam County area. 


Among those arrested was a Brewster man involved in a single car accident.  22-year old Bryan Guerra Ramirez crashed on Tonetta Lake Road Saturday and was determined to be intoxicated. 


A Carmel woman who crossed the double yellow line on Route 22 Sunday was also charged with DWI.  Ramirez and 55-year old Ana Chavez will be in court on the 27th. 


Also on Sunday, 39-year old  Miguel Munoz-Lopez of Danbury was stopped on I-84 for speeding.  Troopers determined that he was intoxicated issued a ticket to appear in court November 3rd.

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A $300,000 shortfall in the Brookfield pension fund will be repaid over three years.  The Newstimes reports that the town will continued equal payments over the next three years to erase the shortfall.  $1.2 million was contributed to the pension fund last budget year, but it should have been $1.5 million. 


The discrepancy was discovered in 2013 by then-First Selectman Bill Tinsley.  The $300,000 covered retirement benefits to volunteer firefighters over several years, but that money shouldn't have been paid from the pension fund. 


The published report says repaying the money over three years will constrain future budgets because state law caps spending growth at 2.5-percent of the annual operating budget.

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A home invasion in Woodbury is under investigation.  State Police Troopers responded to Good Hill Road around 1:30 yesterday afternoon.  A 13-year old girl said that a white man entered her house through a back door while she was home.  The man then left after asking the girl who lived there.  Investigators searched the house to make sure the suspect was not still inside.  The man was last seen running away from the home along Route 371.  The white male was described as having dark hair and facial hair.  The juvenile believed the suspect to be 20 to 40 years old.  Anyone with information is asked to call the Woodbury Resident State Trooper's Office at 203-263-3400.

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The Connecticut State Library Board has approved a grant of more than 24-thousand dollars to the Easton Public Library for a high-speed fiber connection to the Connecticut Education Network.  The Connecticut Education Network was established in 2000 with a mission to deliver reliable, high-speed Internet access, data transport and value added services throughout Connecticut at equitable rates.  The Easton Public Library is one of the first libraries in the state to receive such a grant.  Bethel also was recently awarded such a grant.  The connection is expected to be completed just after the New Year.

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A political newcomer is looking to unseat a two term incumbent in Danbury's 109th State House District. 


Democrat David Arconti Jr. says there are a lot of things that he's been able to accomplish for Danbury. One was a project he took on at the request of Mayor Mark Boughton. That was increasing the reimbursement for the Danbury High School expansion project. Usually schools construction projects are guaranteed a 62% reimbursement rate. Arconti says Danbury schools are underfunded in the Education Cost Sharing formula and a growing district, so he was able to make the case for 80% reimbursement.

Arconti says he's been able to increase municipal aid funding to the City in his two terms. He wants to continue that work in a third term. He says education funding will be one of the top three issues the legislature needs to work on in the coming session. He says parents, teachers and other want change to how Danbury is funded by the state. He says the problem has been that legislators don't want funding decreases and that has led to a lot of other towns being overfunded, even though their enrollment is decreasing.


Republican Veasna Roeun has spent most of his life in Danbury. His family came to America in 1983 as a war refugee from Cambodia. He served in the United States Army National Guard and was deployed to conduct peace-keeping missions in the Balkans and then for combat operations in Afghanistan. He went on to earn a degree in Justice and Law Administration from Western Connecticut State University.

Roeun then worked for the state Department of Labor. He promoted the Governor's Advanced Manufacturing Initiative by helping to create the Southwest Manufacturing Consortium and Greater Danbury Manufacturing Working Group. Roeun also served on the Military Occupation and Licensing Legislative Task Force. The group worked to pass a bill making it easier for returning veterans to obtain licenses and certificates needed to advance their careers.


When it comes to education, Roeun says there's a classroom shortage at Shelter Rock Elementary School that he would like to see remedied. He says the problem is two parts: students who live practically across the street are bused to another school in the City or they have to have classes in "pods", temporary mobile classrooms.


Arconti says it was a local decision not to expand the physical building, but to go with the portable classrooms. He says he did help secure the state funding needed for the City project.

Rouen worked with Henry Abbott Technical High School while he was with the state Department of Labor, and would like to see more funding for that school so more people can take advantage of that resource. He wants to foster a good environment to increase manufacturing jobs.


While there were significant budget cuts last year, but Arconti says Connecticut can't cut its way back to prosperity. He wants to grow the bioscience in the state to bring in good quality, high paying jobs. He says an educated workforce is needed for these high tech manufacturing and STEM jobs. In order to bolster those industries, Arconti touted the Entrepreneurship Learner's Permit. He says that allows new businesses to be reimbursed for fees associated with state filing, permitting and licensing. Arconti says that should help knock down one barrier the business community has told lawmakers about.


Roeun says the state is putting band aids on the economy, and those aren't the solutions needed in this economic climate. He says there's a lot of wasted spending in Hartford. He says cuts to services for people with special needs or mental health problems need to be reversed. Roeun agrees with some of the gun safety measures passed in 2013, but disagrees with other portions. He says the mental health side of gun control needs to be addressed.

Roeun says the state doesn't have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem. He was critical of retroactive tax hikes placed on businesses. He called for a hiring freeze, and to take back some administrative raises that were issued in the last few years.


Arconti opposes border tolls. He called the idea an unfair fee on Danbury area residents. He notes that on a per capita basis, Danbury already contributes among the most tax dollars to the state. He supports a Transportation Funding Lockbox. He says transit orient development is a key policy idea that needs to be explored. Arconti says young people want to live near restaurants, stores and jobs that are easily walked to or easily reached by mass transit. He worked last year to make sure Danbury was included on a list of cities to receive grant money to spur residential and commercial growth near a transit hub. Danbury received a $225,000 grant, which he says that was great for CityCenter.


Transportation is a top priority that Roeun is hearing from people. He was critical of the New Britain to Hartford Busway. He would have preferred to see that money used to expand Interstate 84 from the state line all the way out to Waterbury. He says the Special Transportation Fund shouldn't be used to pay pensions and other bills. He is opposed to a proposed mileage tax and opposed to tolls. He called it a waste of taxpayer money to study a mileage tax if no one intends to implement it.


In 2014, the delegation from the five towns that surround Candlewood Lake were able to work on an invasive species grant program. The Lake is being stocked with sterile carp to eat milfoil. He wants to tackle the blue-green algae issue as well. Over the summer, municipal officials and the Candlewood Lake Authority told state lawmakers that if the blue-green algae bloom was bad this year, it could lead to a month long closure of the whole lake. He says that would be detrimental to the area. A program currently in existence, the Community Investment Act, provides funding for openspace and farmland preservation. He wants to explore if a revenue stream from that program to various lake authorities to help them get more resources to fight invasive species and algae blooms.


Roeun wants to make Connecticut a place where people can live, work and then retire. He called it shameful that the state taxes social security and inheritance.

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The Danbury Parking Authority could soon be writing fewer tickets for people who've let their meter expire.  Danbury has launched a program that will allow drivers to use their mobile phones to pay for parking at 400 on-street spaces throughout the city.  Customers can pay for parking with their cell phone using Parkmobile’s mobile app for the iPhone, Android, and Windows smartphones.


Mayor Mark Boughton says this is an innovative service that will enable residents to experience downtown Danbury in a more convenient and accessible way.  He says the partnership with Parkmobile is helping to bring Danbury into the 21st century as a city of the future.



Time limits on meters still apply and the app will not allow users to purchase more time than allotted by the meters.

To use the new Parkmobile system, customers register free at Once registered, they can use a mobile app, internet, or call toll free to pay for parking.  Up to five license plates can be associated with each user profile.  


It was free to partner with ParkMobile.  Enforcement officers will be able to see that a motorist has paid with Parkmobile using a wireless handheld device.  The parking authority paid for the handhelds. 


Mobile app users may also choose to receive alerts and reminders 15 minutes prior to expiration of their parking session.  The app charges users 35 cents for every transaction.

Parkmobile, LLC is the leading provider for on-demand and prepaid mobile payments for on- and off- street parking and mobility related services. The Parkmobile network spans across more than 2,000 locations. Parkmobile serves over 20 airports as well as provides reserved parking solutions for private operators, the Super Bowl, the College Football Championship Series, Fenway Park, and Nationwide Arena among others.

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An armed robbery in the Patterson Commons shopping center is being investigated.  The incident occurred yesterday evening at about 6:30pm at the Subway sandwich shop on Route 22 at the intersection of Route 311 in the Town of Patterson. 


Putnam County Sheriff's Deputies and New York State Police responded to a 911 call of a robbery.  The suspect displayed a knife and demanded money. 


The white male was described as being between 50 and 60 years old, approximately 5-foot-9 and 200 pounds.  The man fled in an unknown direction with an undisclosed amount of cash.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department at (845) 225-4300.

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Brookfield Police are mourning the death of a longtime member of the Department.  Retired officer Kevin Seeley died at Danbury Hospital on Monday.  Seeley began his law enforcement career in Newburgh, New York before joining the Brookfield Police Department in 1977. 


He served with Brookfield for nearly 36 years, retiring as a full-time officer in 2013. Seeley then served as a Special Police Officer, until the time of his death. During his lengthy career with the Brookfield Police Department, Seeley was a member of the SCUBA Team, served as a Field Training Officer, was a police union official and received numerous awards and commendations for exceptional police work.

The Brookfield Police Department said Facebeook post that they will miss Seeley and bear his passing with heavy hearts as they hold his family uppermost in their thoughts and prayers.



The Seeley Family will receive friends at the Brookfield Funeral Home on Federal Road Thursday, 4pm-7pm.  Funeral Services will be held privately at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Newburgh, NY.