The state House has given final legislative approval to a bill barring out-of-school suspensions and expulsions of students in preschool through second grade. The bill also requires a school-based mental health program to provide for screenings to identify children with behavioral or disciplinary problems.
Wilton state Representative Gail Lavielle supports the goal of the legislation. She says it clarifies by limiting the instances when you would want to take the child out of school. While the bill would prohibit out-of-school suspensions and expulsions for students in pre-school through second grade, there would be certain exceptions. Those include possession of a firearm and if the conduct is of a violent or sexual nature that endangers other children or themselves.
Lavielle says at all costs the child must be kept in the environment where the issues can be dealt with, and hopefully solved. She says the last thing you want to do if you can avoid it, is to keep a child out of school. If that happens, she says the behaviors are not going to improve.
A recent state Department of Education report determined more than 1,200 children under the age of 7 were suspended during the last school year.
One of the most controversial bills being considered this session has cleared the Senate and awaits action by the House. It would expand workers compensation benefits to police and firefighters concerning cancer and post traumatic stress disorder.
But cities and towns call it an unfunded mandate. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said this week that it's a benefit that's already available if the police officer or firefighter can draw a nexus to the PTSD or cancer and the job. He says it's the 11th hour, there haven't been public hearings and push back against something cities and towns can't afford.
Boughton called commissions to get rid of mandates a waste of time saying it's never going to happen. He was specifically referring to the MORE Commission, Municipal Opportunities and Regional Efficiencies. He said that the MORE Commission means less, the more lawmakers talk the less cities and towns get.
Standing with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities this week, Boughton made a plea directly to lawmakers. He doesn't want costs passed down to the local level that they can't afford at a time that's critical to municipal finances.
Various unions representing police and firefighters held a press conference Friday urging state House leaders take up and approve the measure.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Republicans in the state House of Representatives are disappointed with a bill originally designed to develop more revenue for Connecticut state parks.
Instead, the legislation requires information be collected about food service facilities, machines and stands at parks, and the revenue they generate. It also requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection commissioner to seek information about offering recreational amenities and year-round concessions.
The bill passed the House unanimously Friday and moves to the governor. It also requires park rental fees to increase with the number of attendees.
The original bill would have allowed motorists to voluntarily pay an extra $5 in car registration fees. That money would have gone into a park sustainability account.
Redding Rep. John Shaban called the bill a ``slice'' of what he was seeking.
The Redding board of Selectmen has authorized thousands of dollars for a structural analysis of a brick one-room school house. The Redding Historical Society is seeking to apply for a grant to restore Umpawaug Schoolhouse.
The Board this month approved just shy of $6,000 for some structural repairs. A historic preservationist who lives in Redding estimated that figure during an engineering evaluation of the 1789 structure.
The Redding Pilot reports that the schoolhouse was first restored in 1938, and again in 1965. The scope of work includes fixing a leaky roof and bricks starting to separate from the foundation.
A judge has denied a motion to lower the bond for a Danbury nanny charged with assault, criminal mischief, and risk of injury to a minor. An attorney for 31-year old Lidia Quilligana Friday wanted the $1 million bond reduced to $100,000 because she is pregnant, has a history of high risk pregnancies and needs constant monitoring.
The judge denied the request due to the seriousness of the allegations.
Quilligana said the 3-year old child accidentally touched the hot stove while she was tending to the other children. A hidden nanny camera showed injuries were intentionally inflicted on the girl.
The state Senate has approved a bill that would provide an outline for closing Southbury Training School, along with five regional centers for residents with intellectual disabilities. The Senate voted Wednesday 25 to 10 for the bill to develop a plan by December 15th.
The legislation, which still needs House approval, must also include a detailed financial analysis of costs and savings ni the short and long terms.
State Senator Rob Kane says there's nothing in the measure that says Southbury Training School would be kept open, that it's a plan to close. He called it unfairly one-sided.
There are 290 residents at the facility built in the 40s on 1,600 acres. The 47 residential buildings once housed more than 2,000 people.
Resident complaints about potential drug sales from a Triangle Street apartment set off a weeks long investigation by Danbury Police. Warrants were obtained from the court based on surveillance of 50-year old Craig Mourning. Police carried out the search warrantsThursday night of Mourning, and his car in the driveway of the condo complex when he was seen making a drug sale.
37-year old Antonio Conti of Bethel drove into the complex and waited for Mourning in his car. He gave Mourning $40 in exchange for four packets of heroin. Assorted illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia was seized from Mourning's apartment.
Conti was charged with possession of narcotics and of a controlled substance. He was released on a written promise to appear in court.
Mourning was charged with possession of narcotics and of a controlled substance, sale of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia and of narcotics with intent to sell. His bond was set at $1,000.
The state House has signed off on a proposal overhauling Connecticut's public campaign financing rules. The measure bars campaign treasurers from paying more than a thousand dollars to candidates' family members or entities they might own. New Fairfield state Representative Richard Smith says the public has been dissatisfied with campaigns lately and this proposal will promote campaigns that the public can be proud of, and campaigns voters can be happy to support.
It also caps organizational expenses state parties can spend on behalf of participating candidates, eliminates grants for unopposed candidates and reduces grants to candidates including governor by 25 percent.
While it gained easy approval in the House, its prospects of clearing the Senate remain uncertain.
The Democratic controlled chamber approved the bill on a bipartisan vote of 134-12. Much of the language was included in a proposal offered in January by minority Republicans to close what they called loopholes in the current campaign financing laws.
A former Wilton preschool paraprofessional has had his child pornography case continued this week. 34-year old Eric Von Kohorn was also charged last August for promotion of a minor in an obscene performance. His next court appearance is set for July 16th on the charges. He was arrested after an investigation by the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Investigations team, which commands the state Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Von Kohorn has been free on $50,000 bond since his arrest.
A series of three morning and evening Diabetes Education Classes will be offered in Danbury during the month of June.
Nancy Salem is the Coordinator of the Diabetes Education program.
Diabetes Self-Management Education morning classes will take place on Thursdays, June 4th, 11th, and 18th, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m
Evening classes will be held on Wednesdays, June 3rd, 10th, and 17th from 5 to 7 p.m.
Most classes are covered by health insurance.
The classes will be held at 41 Germantown Road, Suite B03, Danbury.
Classes are presented by Certified Diabetes Educators and most classes are covered by health insurance.
For more information and to register, please call Joan at (203) 739-4980.
A Bridgeport man, whose friend was killed outside a Danbury club has been sentenced to prison time for illegal gun possession. 26-year old Rashad Dancy was ordered Thursday to serve six years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for illegally possessing a firearm.
Last May, Bridgeport Police responded to a report of shots fire at a Shelton Street house from a person in a red Ford Fusion. Police found the car and saw Dancy drive off in it. He was pulled over and a spent rifle cartridge matching the ammunition casings was recovered. A loaded semi-automatic handgun and drug packaging materials were later found at his home. The investigation revealed that Dancy rented the car the month before.
His friend was shot and killed outside of Mambo Cafe on Elm Street in Danbury during a fight. The Bridgeport home belonged to people involved in the fight. Dancy was previously convicted for heroin and marijuana trafficking and therefore can't own a gun. He's been in jail since his arrest May 5th 2014.
20-year old Garfield Sanderson was arrested for the death of 23-year old Jeiel Kingston on May 7, 2014. Kingston's body was found on the sidewalk off Main and White Streets in Danbury by police responding to reports of shots fired. Sanderson has pleaded not guilty.
Sanderson's court appearance on the felony murder charge was moved to June 9th. He's been held on $1 million bond since his arrest.
A Connecticut man has been sentenced to prison for his role in a check fraud ring. 31-year old Brandon Key Bentley of New Haven was sentenced Wednesday to a year and a day in prison followed by five years supervised release.
Police in New Milford, Southbury and nine other local police departments helped the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with the investigation. Authorities say Langston Xavier Neal, Benjii Carr and Bentley obtained stolen checks, recruited runners to cash the checks and altered the recipients names to those of the runners.
39 checks totalling more than $114,000 were altered and 37 of the checks were cashed by the various Connecticut bank branches.
All three have been ordered to pay full restitution of more than $104,000. Neal and Carr were previously ordered to serve 18 and 30 months in prison respectively.
Two West Conn Police Department members are being honored by MADD. Connecticut Mothers Against Drunk Driving have honored two Western Connecticut State University Police officers for their efforts to prevent motorists from driving while intoxicated on or near campus.
Luis DosSantos, of Wolcott, and Trevor Burke, of Waterbury were recognized during the 29th Annual Connecticut MADD Law Enforcement Recognition Ceremony in New Britain last week. Their use of education, community involvement and training was also cited.
DosSantos is a 10 year member of the West Conn Police Department, and Burke has served on the force for 11 years.
Ridgefield-based Boehringer Ingelheim has gained FDA approval or a new drug to treat chronic COPD. Stiolto Respimat is an inhalation spray that's meant as a long-term, once daily maintenance treatment. Respiratory Marketing Vice President Clare Burrows says COPD also includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Burrows notes this new drug is not meant to treat asthma or acute deterioration of COPD.
Patients are typically diagnosed when lung function is already significantly impaired. COPD symptoms can negatively impact a patient’s ability to breathe especially when performing daily activities. More than 15 million Americans have been told that they have COPD according to Burrows, but as many as 45 percent of the total estimated COPD cases remain undiagnosed.
Burrows says this new drug builds on Boehringer Ingelheim's committment to the company's 40 year history of working in lung health.
Burrows says patients may appreciate the benefits of a maintenance medication that improves lung function within five minutes and lasts the entire day. She says it also reduces the use of rescue inhailers, but is not meant as a replacement for a rescue inhaler.
A Patterson woman has been arrested for getting drunk while watching infant twins. New York State Police were called to a Patterson home on Tuesday and found 29-year old Celimata Diombera unconscious in the living room.
Paramedics revived the woman. She was determined to be under the influence of alcohol and narcotics.
She was babysitting 7 month old twins. Police say one child was found on the couch next to Diombera and one was lying on a bed in an adjacent room. Diombera was taken to Putnam Hospital Center for evaluation.
Both children were in good health and released to their mother.
Diombera was issued a ticket to appear in court on Tuesday night.
A Bridgeport man selling drugs from his home and car in Danbury has been arrested. Danbury Police were granted a search warrant based on an investigation they launched several weeks ago into neighbor complaints on George Street.
Police saw 32-year old Jack Wessells on Aaron Samuels Boulevard Wednesday afternoon making a drug sale to 54-year old Mark Medrano. Both men were found with crack cocaine in their possession and were arrested. Officers searched an apartment Wessells was using and found assorted drug paraphernalia, which they seized.
Wessells was charged with possession of crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine with intent to sell less than an ounce, sale of crack cocaine, sale of crack cocaine within 1,500 feet of a school, possession of crack cocaine with intent to sell less than half an ounce, possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.
He was held on $150,000 bond.
Medrano was charged with possession and released on a written promise to appear in court at a later date.
While carrying out search warrants in that case, other activity consistent with drug sales was spotted by officers. That led to two more arrests.
Surveillance being conducted in the George Street area led officers to a suspicious car. Danbury Police saw 22-year old Darrin Sheppard of Danbury approach 22-year old Todd Cooper from New Milford. Sheppard got in the car, and they drove away. Police followed, but lost sight of the vehicle. While carrying out search warrants for the apartment used by Wessells, the pair returned to the area and parked nearby.
Sheppard started to get out of the car, but stopped when he saw police. Officers could smell burnt marijuana and see pot in the vehicle, some packaged for sale. Other contraband related to drug sales was also spotted.
Cooper was charged with possession of less than half an ounce of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, possession of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of drug paraphernalia within 1,500 feet of a school. He was released on $500 bond.
Sheppard was charged with possession of a controlled substance and released on a written promise to appear in court.
A Danbury woman's court date was rescheduled earlier this week because the prosecutor had not yet returned from vacation. 31-year old Lidia Quilligana will instead be in court tomorrow.
Her attorney is now seeking a reduced bail because the nanny charged with assault, criminal mischief, and risk of injury to a minor is pregnant. Her attorney says Quilligana has a history of high risk pregnancies and needs constant monitoring.
She is currently being held on $1 million bond.
Quilligana said the 3-year old child accidentally touched the hot stove while she was tending to the other children, but a hidden nanny camera showed injuries were intentionally inflicted on the girl.
A Mahopac man has been arrested for driving with a blood alcohol content level more than 4 times the legal limit. New York State Police say 45-year old Darryl Costello was stopped on Route 6 Tuesday night for not turning off his high beams where there was on-coming traffic.
A Trooper who talked to the man saw that he was intoxicated and administered a breathalyser. Costello had a Blood Alcohol Content of .38 percent. He was taken to Northern Westchester Hospital for evaluation.
Costello was issued a ticket for aggravated driving while intoxicated. He was also charged for the traffic violation. He is due in Somers Town Court on June 15th.
A bill already approved by the State Senate that grants more workers comp benefits to first responders drew more criticism Wednesday from cities and towns. They claim the legislation will greatly increase the cost for municipalities because it extends protections to police and firefighters for various cancer and mental stress, without providing a direct connection to the job.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says the state can't pay for this because if Connecticut could, it would have been in the budget. He says lawmakers should not pass this type of bill if the state can't take on the cost. Boughton says many municipalities are at a breaking point.
City and town leaders urged lawmakers to drop the legislation and adopt a full study of the issue with input from all interested parties for action next year.
The legislative session ends in less than a week.
Three people were injured in a crash Wednesday morning in Monroe on Route 25. Police are investigating why a Chevy Malibu crossed the center line shortly after 7:30am and hit a tractor-trailer. Monroe Police say the driver and passenger of the car had to be extricated from the vehicle.
They, along with the truck driver, were transported to the hospital for treatment of serious injuries that police say do not appear to be life threatening.
Police say 20-year old Giovanni Thompson of Bridgeport told them he must have fallen asleep at the wheel. Thompson was issued an infraction for failure to drive in the proper lane.
The tractor-trailer driver, 66-year old Robert Colburn of New Milford, swerved off the road and missed utility poles striking a group of trees.
Police say the tanker carrying heating fuel was not damaged, but one of the truck's fuel tanks did rupture. Diesel fuel was being cleaned up by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.