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The deadline for collecting items to send to Brookfield Troops stationed overseas is coming up.  The Brookfield Senior Center says shipment will be sent to a Brookfield resident stationed in Afghanistan before the holidays so he may receive it on Christmas or New Years.  The collection deadline is December 12th.  The Senior Center has a collection box at the front desk.  Requested are: Chap Stick, Q-Tips, Deodorant, Chocolate Kisses,  Christmas cards, wool socks, Sunscreen, Winter Gloves, Wool Hat, Pop Tarts, Disposable Razors, Candy Canes,Pop Tarts, Granola Bars, Trial Size moisturizer, White Hanes Undershirts, and homemade cookies.

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Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton reprised his role as Mother Ginger in the Danbury Music Centre's annual staging of The Nutcracker.  He took to the stage last night, is taking off today's performances and will return to the role tomorrow. 

 

During the City Council meeting earlier this week Boughton cautioned people in the room that if they posted pictures of him in a wig, there's going to be problems.  He also joked that Police Chief Ridenhour would track them down for him.  Below is a photo from a previous year's performance.

 

(Photos Courtesy: Sherryl Hauck)

 

Boughton said in all seriousness, it's a good time and it's Greater Danbury area students participating in the show.

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Eversource is conducting aerial inspections of its high-voltage electric equipment and lines in Connecticut. This annual inspection involves the use of a helicopter flying low over transmission lines to detect any potential equipment issues before system reliability is impacted. 

 

Weather-permitting, the aerial inspections will continue through December 15th between 9 am and 4 pm, covering several Greater Danbury area municipalities.  The cities and towns include Bethel, Bethlehem, Brookfield, Danbury, Monroe, New Milford, Newtown, Oxford, Redding, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Washington, Watertown, Wilton and Woodbury. 

 

The aircraft being used for the inspections include a blue and silver helicopter (tail # N1431W) and a blue and white helicopter (tail # N411DD).

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The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, is reminding people to stay safe this holiday season.  Monroe Police Chief John Salvatore gave this year's public service announcement.  In a video, he called on everyone to wear seat belts, to not drink and drive, and lock up valuables in the trunk.  Salvatore went on to say that there is one kind of lights that no one wants to see at this time of year, police lights.

 

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A preliminary cause of a fire at a house on Candlewood Lake has been identified by the Danbury Fire Marshall's Office.  The homeowner had just transferred embers from a wood stove to a metal can in or near the garage and he discovered the fire in that area about 15 minutes later

 

(Photos Courtesy: Mark Omasta)

 

Multiple 911 calls were made about heavy smoke seen in the area of 70 Forty Acres Mountain Road.  Firefighters responded and found heavy fire in the single family ranch-style house.  Assistant Fire Chief Mark Omasta says there was extensive damage to the attached garage and the first floor attic. 

 

 

There were no immediate reports of injuries.  No hydrants are located in the area, so Brookfield and Stony Hill Volunteer fire companies responded with tankers.  Water Witch Hose Company #2 from New Milford also responded with mutual aid. 

 

 

Omasta says the house is not inhabitable and major restorations will be needed.

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December 7th 2016 was Immaculate High School Girls Cross Country Team Day in Danbury.  Mayor Mark Boughton recognized the girls and their coach during the City Council meeting this week for their outstanding season and championship. 

 

Boughton said he was proud to honor the Mustang Girls for their performance and achievement throughout the 2016 season.  They had a 12-1 record for the season. 

 

 

He says Coach Brian Hayes has done a great job not only building good athletes, but good people.  Boughton says the student athletes learn how to problem solve and to handle wins and losses in a professional manner, which are lessons they will take with them for the rest of their lives.  He says the program is not just about building good athletes, but building good people.

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Newtown municipal offices will close for about 15 minutes on December 14th for a moment of silence and reflection to honor those killed at Sandy Hook School in 2012.  First Selectman Pat Llodra said in a memo to the Nwetown Bee that there is a mutual commitment that 12-14 will never be forgotten, and that the town will honor the children and educators each year to keep their memories alive.  No work will take place in Newtown departments from 9:30am to 9:45, and the public is being asked to respect this period by not entering municipal spaces at that time.

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The operators of a sober living home are speaking out after a man staying there was busted on charges that included operating a drug factory.  Nexus House operators say the drug-free structured environment is a place for men who have successfully completed an inpatient treatment program.  They say in an op-ed to the Easton Courier that unfortunately Cavan Devine's addiction was extremely overwhelming. 

 

Residents are drug tested regularly, without prior notice, and staff searches personal belongings whenever suspicions arise. 

 

Nexus House officials say they contacted police when they had trouble removing Devine for non-compliance.  When his belongings were removed the next day, the cache of drugs were discovered.

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A Sherman man who spent 48 years as a fugitive after escaping from a Georgia prison has died.  71-year-old Robert Stackowitz fought successfully to block the state's efforts to return him to Georgia where he fled a prison work camp in 1968 while serving a 17-year sentence for robbery. 

 

His attorney said at the time that Stackowitz had major health problems and any prison time would amount to a death sentence.  He suffered from bladder cancer, congestive heart failure, diabetes and other ailments.  The Courant reports that Stackowitz died Monday at the hospital. 

 

Stackowitz was arrested last May after authorities tracked him down when he applied for social security benefits.  He lived in Sherman under the name Bob Gordon, ran a boat repair business and at one time, taught at Henry Abbott Technical High School.

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A new Police Chief has been named in Brookfield.  The Police Commission's recommendation to promote Major Jay Purcell was unanimously approved by the Board of Selectmen on Monday.  He will begin that job January 1st.  

 

Chief Montgomery will retire December 31st after 16 years leading the Brookfield Police Department.  For his service in Vietnam, Montgomery was awarded two Purple Hearts and the Navy Cross, America's second highest medal for "extreme gallantry and heroism in combat." 

 

On 8 June 1969, while Second Lieutenant Montgomery was leading the advance party to a previously selected battalion command post site, the Marines were pinned down in an open rice paddy by a heavy volume of mortar, antitank rocket, and automatic weapons fire from enemy troops occupying well-fortified emplacements. Realizing the need for immediate action, Second Lieutenant Montgomery crawled close to the enemy lines and, pinpointing several principal sources of hostile fire, stood in full view of the enemy soldiers as he initiated an aggressive assault against the nearest machine-gun position, destroying it and silencing the fire from that sector. Although seriously wounded during this action, and suffering intense pain, he again braved the enemy fusillade to single-handedly destroy a machine-gun position occupied by several of the enemy. Weakened by loss of blood and the severity of his wounds, he was unable to continue his combat efforts.

 

The citation continues by saying that his heroic and determined actions so inspired his vastly outnumbered men that they surged forward and fought through the enemy lines. By his courage, aggressive fighting spirit and unfaltering devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Second Lieutenant Montgomery contributed significantly to the defeat of the enemy force and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

 

Montgomery went on to serve 26 years as a special agent with the FBI, and interviewed President Ronald Reagan after he was shot in 1981.

 

Montgomery was inducted into the state to the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame for his post-military achievements.  He is a founding member of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, which created the Armed Forces Family Scholarship and Assistance Fund.

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A New Milford man has pleaded guilty to a federal extortion charge.  58-year old James Broderick the 3rd entered the plea Wednesday. 

 

The U.S. Attorney's Office says the loan shark lent an individual $1,500--which had to be paid back with $500 in interest--within four days.  When the individual failed to pay Broderick back, he asked Howard Hammer to collect on the loan.  Hammer admitted to sending text messages to the victim threatening to harm the victim if he failed to pay his debt.  He then took screen shots of the threatening text messages and forwarded them to Broderick. 

 

The pair also discussed taking the victim’s car either as payment for the debt or as punishment for failure to pay the debt.  Authorities say the victim suffered permanent bodily injury on January 25th in connection with this conduct. 

 

Broderick also made several extortionate loans to a second victim.  When that victim was unable to repay the interest amounts, which were at least 10 percent of the principal per week, Broderick repeatedly threatened to use force to collect the debt.  Over the course of three years, Broderick collected more than $20,000 in interest payments from this second victim.

 

Broderick is scheduled to be sentenced March 1st.  He was released on a $200,000 bond.

 

Hammer pleaded guilty to the same charge on December 2nd.  He awaits sentencing, and has been detained since his arrest.  Sentencing is set for February 24th.

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U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is applauding the Senate’s passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes emergency federal funding to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic, significant reforms to the mental health system, and funding for medical research on cancer and other diseases. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives last week, and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

 

Blumenthal says investment is key to saving lives. He notes that the bill will also spur landmark action in the effort to address Lyme Disease, and increases support for groundbreaking medical research.

 

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, author of the bipartisan Mental Health Reform Act praised the 94-5 Senate vote.  He called the measures the most comprehensive reform of the nation's mental health laws in a generation.  He says the bill means millions of dollars in new treatment, and a pathway to a better integrated, more coordinated system for people with serious mental illness. The Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 served as the basis for the mental health language included in the bill passed Wednesday.

 

Sandy Hook Promise co-founder Mark Barden, whose son was killed at Sandy Hook School, praised the measure.  He says it speaks to the very core of their mission--preventing other families from having to live with the pain of the loss of a loved one to preventable acts of violence.  Barden says the gunman on 12/14 was suffering mental illness and his mother didn't know what to do with him.  If something like the Mental Health Act of 2016 were in place then, Barden says the quality mental health care that person needed would have been available to them.

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Details have been released about the tractor trailer that rolled over early Wednesday morning closing the highway in Danbury.  State Police say a tractor trailer driver struck the jersey barrier on the right side of westbound I-84 in Danbury and rolled over onto the drivers side around 4:40am Wednesday. 

 

 

The truck was carrying general merchandise for CVS stores.  The vehicle slid on the roadway, coming to an uncontrolled stop in the left and center lanes. 

 

The driver, 28-year old Robert Benoit of Massachusetts, was not injured in the crash. 

 

State Department of Transportation supervisors and Troopers established a diversion plan until the vehicle could be towed from the scene.  The roadway was closed for about 3 hours. 

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The motorcyclist killed in an accident in New Fairfield last week has been identified.  A motorcyclist was killed in a head on collision in New Fairfield on December 1st.  State Police say 32-year old Carlos Alberto Robles Flores of New Fairfield was headed northbound on Route 39 in the area of Old Shortwoods Road when he crossed the double yellow lines into oncoming traffic. 

 

A Kia driver headed southbound was unable to avoid the collision.  Robles Flores was ejected from the bike and transported to Danbury Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. 

 

The accident remains under investigation.  Anyone with information on the crash is asked to contact the New Fairfield Resident Troopers Office.

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A Florida resident has been indicted for threatening the parent of a child killed on 12-14.  The parent now lives in Florida.  The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement that 57-year old Lucy Richards was charged Monday with four counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce.  According to court documents, Richards believed that the shooting at Sandy Hook School was a hoax and never happened, allegedly motivating her to make the charged threats.  Richards is due back in Court on December 19th.  Each count carries a maximum of five years in prison.

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With the pending retirement of Brookfield Police Chief Robin Montgomery at the end of the month, the Police Commission held deliberations about the direction of the department.  As a result of this process, the Police Commission voted unanimously to recommend the promotion of Major James Purcell to the Police Chief position. 

 

At a special meeting held Monday, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to endorse the Police Commission's recommendation to appoint Jay Purcell as the town of Brookfield's next Chief of Police.  He will begin that job January 1st. 

 

The Board of Selectmen congratulated Major Purcell and said they believe he will do an outstanding job in continuing the Police Department mission to provide the community with the finest public safety services in an ethical, professional and sensitive manner. 

 

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the work of Chief Montgomery over the years.  First Selectman Steve Dunn says Chief Montgomery served the Police Department and the Brookfield community with dedication and integrity for over 16 years.  The Board wished him a health and happy retirement.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Department of Motor Vehicles says it's been unable to reach an agreement with one of Connecticut's two regional automobile clubs to continue providing driver licensing services.

DMV Commissioner Michael Bzdyra announced Tuesday his agency and AAA Northeast, which serves Fairfield and New Haven counties, have reached an impasse.

The AAA franchise decided in October it would only provide licensing and ID car renewal services to its members and not the general public, prompting the governor to threaten legal action. It later agreed to continue providing the services until Dec. 31 and meet with DMV about a possible compromise.  The AAA offices includes the one on Lake Avenue in Danbury.

Bzdyra says he hopes the franchise will reconsider DMV's proposals. Meanwhile, DMV will explore other options for maintaining the services. AAA Allied will still renew licenses in the other counties.

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The New England premier of Robert Vaughn's final film performance takes place tonight at Bethel Cinema.  The longtime Ridgefield resident passed away last month.  Independent film Gold Star also features Connecticut Filmmaker Victoria Negri.  She also served as the writer and director of the film.  Negri has performed in award-winning independent films, webseries, and television.

 

After dropping out of Juilliard, Vicki drifts aimlessly between her family's house in Connecticut and an itinerant existence in New York. When her father suffers a debilitating stroke, she finds herself becoming his primary caretaker. Vicki resists connecting with him, and making peace with herself, but finds a way forward thanks to a new friend and a life-changing event.

 

There is a VIP Reception with the director, cast and crew at 6:30pm.  Gold Star will be screened at 7:30pm, followed by a Q&A and Lobby After Party. 

 

Negri says she feels like she owes Vaughn everything.  He took on the role because he wanted the challenge of acting without words and getting across character's motivations without speaking a single thing.  Negri says Vaughn did a brilliant job and became like a father figure during the shoot.

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The Brookfield Department of Health permitting and licensing fees have been increased by the Brookfield Board of Selectmen.  A public hearing was also held on Monday night about the proposal, but only one person attended. 

 

Officials say fees have not increased since 2010, even though costs of permitting has gone up.  The increase averages about 6 percent, with fees for subsurface disposal system permits, well permits, soil testing and food service establishment licenses increasing by $20 to $50. 

 

Selectman Marty Flynn voted against the proposal citing other fee increases approved by the town recently.  Those include a new pumping fee for septic tanks, an increase in fire marshal inspection fees, new water assessments starting and recently approved streetscape assessments. 

 

First Selectman Steve Dunn and Selectman Sue Slater voted in favor of the increase.

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The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has presented certificates of recognition to two sports teams.

 

The Brookfield High School Varsity Boys Soccer team placed first in the Patriot Division of the South West Conference, advancing to winning the SWC championship and the 2016 Class M state Championship title.  The Brookfield High School Varsity Girls Swim and Dive team was recognized for winning the 2016 Class M state Championship. 

 

First Selectman Steve Dunn said it was with admiration and appreciation that he commended members of the teams.  He acknowledged the coaches and parents for their sportsmanship.

 

Dunn called the efforts outstanding accomplishments.  He noted that this is the first state championship the girls have won.

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