Another annual holiday tradition for many is coming up Friday night. The Danbury Music Centre's 57th annual performance of Handel's Messiah will be held at First Congregational Church on Deer Hill Avenue. Danbury Concert Chorus’s Music Director Richard Price will conduct the concert.
Price says the musicians come from all walks of life, and it is their devotion that have made Danbury’s Messiah a unique celebration.
There are no tickets for the event, which is often standing room only. There is also no admission for the performance, though Price says donations to the Danbury Music Centre are accepted. The concert is 7:30 pm tomorrow.
A Rhode Island man has been arrested for tax fraud and other charges in New York. State Police from the Brewster Barracks on Sunday pulled a car over on Interstate 84 in Patterson after seeing the driver operate erratically.
Police say 37-year old Daniel Slader of Rhode Island was found to be driving while ability impaired by drugs. He was also charged for criminal possession of a controlled substance and for having untaxed cigarettes in the car.
Slader was ordered held at Putnam County Jail in lieu of $3,000 bond.
A Southbury man has been arrested for kidnapping a Watertown woman. Connecticut State Police say 35-year old Joao Laranjeira was arrested last week on two court issued warrants. He faces charges of assault, unlawful restraint and disorderly conduct for a September incident.
He is due in Derby Superior Court on January 8th to face those charges.
The Southbury man was also arrested Tuesday on charges of strangulation, kidnapping and two counts of unlawful restraint. Laranjeira will be in Waterbury Superior Court on the 6th to face those charges.
He is being held on a combined $170,000 bond.
A pretrial hearing has been held for a Ridgefield father charged with causing his 15-month-old son's death by leaving the boy in the car for hours on a hot July day. Kyle Seitz was charged with criminally negligent homicide after her forgot to take his son, Benjamin, to day care and unintentionally left him in the car for more than seven hours while he went to work.
The 36-year-old, who has two other children, will be allowed to travel out of the state to spend Christmas with his family. A court clerk said Tuesday afternoon that the judge has temporarily lifted the travel ban.
Seitz's case was continued to January 20. He remains free on bond.
The Danbury DMV office will be closed this morning for staff training. The Department of Motor Vehicles is rolling out a new program approved by the legislature in 2013 for undocumented individuals to be able to obtain a Drive Only License.
The facility on Lee Mac Avenue will be closed from 7:45am to 1pm. But DMV Commissioner Melody Currey says 1pm is the latest possible reopening. If the training is completed sooner, the Danbury branch could open before that time. The office will close at its regularly scheduled time of 4 pm.
Currey says undocumented individuals who are 16 and older must make an appointment online only for the knowledge test--the first step for a Drive Only license.
Currey says more than 22,000 people have made an appointment since the application process was opened December 1st. She urged applicants to study the driver’s manual and successfully pass practice tests on the DMV Mobile app before making an appointment. Failing the knowledge test means a required one-week delay before being allowed to take the test again and possibly longer if available timeslots fill.
The Drive Only license will not be valid for state or federal identification.
The first step to obtain this license begins with applying for a learner’s permit, which all new applicants for state driver licenses must hold for a minimum of three months.
Praxair, a company dealing with industrial gases and applications, announced in October that it would maintain its world headquarters in Danbury and invest $65 million to build a new 100,000 square-foot corporate facility.
A committee of the Danbury City Council will be meeting soon to discuss a tax deferral application on assessment increases for the property that will be developed. Praxair is seeking a seven year deferral of 100-percent of the estimated improvement to the land.
The company holds some 4,000 patents. Globally, Praxair employs more than 27,000 people and operates in 50 countries. Praxair supplies atmospheric, process, and specialty gases.
The company will retain 535 positions statewide, and is incented by the state to grow up to 120 new jobs over the next five years. The Department of Economic and Community Development is providing a $10 million forgivable loan, with the company eligible for up to $20 million in tax credits and up to $2.5 million in Sales and Use Tax Exemptions.
Mayors and Selectmen from municipalities large and small are sounding off in opposition to a proposed regulation from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection that would deal with storm water clean up. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says the rule is an unfunded state mandate, costing millions, that would put pressure on the property tax. Boughton called DEEP a runaway state agency.
The regulations would cost Danbury $5 million each year. Some municipal leaders say the state, facing a deficit, is trying to pass the environmental buck on to cities and towns.
The regulations would require municipalities to street sweep eight times a year, something he says the state doesn't do that often. More frequent leaf collections and catch basin clearance would also be required.
Boughton says the state-maintained underpasses and overpasses in Danbury are the most embarrassing, dirty places he's ever seen. He added that if the state wants to clean up groundwater runoff, they should start with their own property first.
The Connecticut Fund For the Environment supports the proposal, saying it will protect state waters.
DANBURY, Conn. (AP) A pretrial hearing has been set for a Connecticut father charged with causing his 15-month-old son's death by leaving the boy in the car for hours on a hot July day.
Kyle Seitz of Ridgefield is back in court Tuesday, charged with criminally negligent homicide.
Authorities say the 36-year-old Seitz forgot to take his son, Benjamin, to day care on July 7 and unintentionally left him in the car for more than seven hours while he went to work. Temperatures that day hit the upper 80s.
The medical examiner found the toddler died of hyperthermia, or extremely high body temperature.
Seitz, who has two other children, has been free on bail since pleading not guilty in November.
He faces a year in jail if convicted.
WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut jury has issued a $7 million verdict against the Boy Scouts of America in a lawsuit by a man who says he was sexually abused by a scout leader in the mid-1970s.
Lawyers for the man say the decision handed down Friday in Waterbury Superior Court was the largest verdict for compensatory damages against the Boy Scouts of America. The jury also found the Boy Scouts liable for punitive damages, with the amount to be determined by a judge.
A Boy Scouts spokesman says the organization disagrees with the verdict and will review the decision.
The man alleges he was sexually abused by New Fairfield scout leader Siegfried Hepp. A message seeking comment was left Monday at phone listings for Hepp in Connecticut and Florida. He wasn't a defendant in the lawsuit.
A letter of agreement signed recently by City officials allows Entergy Nuclear to drop and ship needed supplies from Danbury Municipal Airport to the Indian Point Nuclear plant in the event of an emergency at the New York facility. The Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission is requiring the plant to have an airport outside of their area to bring needed supplies in the event of an emergency. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission sets the parameters of what airports they can move the supplies in and out of.
If Stewart is available, that airport will be used. Danbury Airport is the one that the NRC has identified as a back up if everything fails on that side of the Hudson. The supplies would be airlifted from Danbury to the plant in New York, and would not be brought back once they are airlifted.
The types of emergencies outlined in the agreement include tornado, flooding, earthquake and the like.
Danbury Airport would be notified of an emergency through the Connecticut State Emergency Operations Center. Entergy would provide security at the airport for operations, and reimburse the airport for necessary helicopter fuel. Any damage done to the airport by truck traffic in the staging area would be paid for by Entergy.
State Senate Republicans have held a caucus to determine committee membership for the new legislative session. The next General Assembly session gets underway in little less than a month. Senate Republicans have chosen their leadership and announced committee assignments.
New Milford area Senator Clark Chapin will be the ranking member of the Environment Committee; chair of the Regulations Review Committee and a member of the Appropriations Committee.
Danbury area Senator Mike McLachlan has been named ranking member of the Government Administration and Elections Committee; and will serve on the Finance, Revenue and Bonding and also Judiciary committees.
Wilton area Senator Toni Boucher will once again be the ranking member of the Education and Transportation committees; and serve as a member of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding and also the Judiciary committee.
Newtown area Senator Tony Hwang has been tapped as the ranking member of the Housing Committee and of the Labor and Public Employees committee. He previously was a member of the State House of Representatives. He will now also serve as a member of the Commerce and the Veterans Affairs committees.
Senator Chris Murphy is touting a bill he introduced that's been approved and headed to the President's desk. Senator Chris Murphy introduced the Honor Flight Act after hearing from some older veterans that they were reluctant to take part in the Honor Flight program because they feared having to deal with the hassle of the TSA process.
The organization arranges free trips for U.S. military veterans to visit the DC memorial of the war in which they served.
Currently, the TSA works with the Honor Flight Network to expedite the pre-flight screening process, but the partnership is not written into law and can change at any time. Murphy says that would force Honor Flight veterans to endure a cumbersome screening process.
Murphy says he is pleased the House and Senate worked so quickly to ensure that veterans will be able to visit the memorials constructed in their honor with dignity and pride.
The state has approved a $50,000 grant for the Candlewood Lake Authority as they try to slow the growth of an invasive species.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has awarded the funding for a program that would stock the lake with grass carp. CLA Executive Director Larry Marsicano says the species feeds on the non-native Eurasian Milfoil that clogs the lake.
The DEEP grant requires at 50-percent match. The five towns that surround the lake have agreed to contribute toward that funding. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station’s annual weed mapping, funded by FirstLight Power Resources, will also be used toward raising the necessary funds.
CLA officials hope to stock the grass carp by the spring. The project includes monitoring the water quality and Eurasian watermilfoil coverage in 2015 and 2016, to determine changes over the two year period. Marsicano says the project also includes starting a fund for supplemental stocking of grass carp in the future.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Parents of two victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting say they will continue to fight for stronger laws to combat gun violence.
Nicole Hockley, the mother of 6-year-old Dylan, and Mark Barden, the father of 7-year-old Daniel, appeared at a news conference Monday with three members of the Connecticut congressional delegation to mark the two-year anniversary of the shooting that took the lives of 26 students and educators on Dec. 14, 2012.
Both say they believe they are making progress in pushing for new laws and programs to improve mental health care, and strengthen gun laws.
They declined to comment on a lawsuit they and other Sandy Hook families have filed against the maker, distributor and seller of the gun used to kill their children.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A law firm representing the families of nine of the 26 people killed and a teacher injured at the Sandy Hook Elementary School says it has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor and seller of the rifle used in the shooting.
The negligence and wrongful death lawsuit asserts that the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle should not have been made publicly available because it is a military weapon unsuited for civilian use.
In addition to Bushmaster, the families have named Camfour, a firearm distributor, and Riverview Gun Sales, the store where the Bushmaster rifle was purchased in 2010. Messages seeking comment from the defendants were not immediately returned.
The 40-page complaint was filed in superior court in Bridgeport.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- The mother of a first-grader killed in the Newtown school shooting rampage spoke out against gun violence Sunday on the second anniversary of the massacre, saying it has broken the hearts of other mothers across the country.
"And just like our hearts were broken and we can't breathe, the hearts of the mothers in Ferguson, in Bridgeport, in Hartford, in Florida, in New Haven, in Danbury, they can't breathe," said Nelba Marquez-Greene, who lost her daughter, Ana Grace, on Dec. 14, 2012.
"And we should care. We should care when our children are lost to gun violence."
Marquez-Greene, speaking at The First Cathedral's church service in Bloomfield, recalled the moment two years ago when she and her husband were in the Newtown firehouse, where officials were informing parents of the 20 children slain along with six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She and her husband found their son, now a fifth-grader, but not their daughter.
"But in that same firehouse," she said, "my husband and I knew Ana was with Jesus and that we would see her again."
A troubled 20-year-old gunman had shot his way into the school. He shot and killed his mother before driving to the school, and he committed suicide as police arrived.
Marquez-Greene asked anyone feeling despair and the desire to commit "a senseless act of violence" to ask for prayer and "to know that we love you." She said she went to Washington to speak out against gun violence but felt that change would come not from the leaders there but "from us."
Greene's husband, Jimmy Greene, a saxophonist and composer who has dedicated a new album to their daughter, also spoke and played at the service.
Other churches across Connecticut remembered the victims Sunday as the Newtown community quietly marked the anniversary. At Newtown's St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, bells rang out and the victims' names were read.
The town held no official public memorial events Sunday. Officials said would be for private reflection and remembrance.
First Selectman Pat Llodra and school Superintendent Joseph Erardi said in a public letter that the community's recovery has been a "challenging journey, filled with days of joyful hope and occasional dips of despair."
The Newtown faith community offered a number of gatherings yesterday to offer remembrance , comfort and counseling on yesterday's second anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook School. The Newtown Interfaith Clergy Association also held a prayer service marking the day.
Senator Richard Blumenthal made remarks on the Senate floor last week about 12-14. He says it was a day of good and evil. Out of the tragedy, he says came actions that should continue to inspire the nation.
Blumenthal says what he saw that day at the Sandy Hook Volunteer Firehouse, was through a parent's eyes, not just from his position as an elected official. The cries of grief, the faces and voices filled with tears and longing, those images are ones he says he will never forget. They are also ones Blumenthal says have led him to redoubled his determination to try to make America safer and better.
Speaking to his colleagues in the Senate, Blumenthal said the families have demonstrated unrelenting resolve and so should they. But he acknowledge that it took more than 10 years for the Brady Law to be approved, even after a President of the United States was almost assassinated and his Press Secretary, Jim Brady, was severely injured and paralyzed.
No formal ceremony was held by the town or in the schools to mark the day, with leaders saying it would be spent in quiet reflection.
Plans to develop a 13-acre parcel of land in Danbury are on hold. Mayor Mark Boughton announced Friday that Peter Buck, founder of Subway restaurants, has agreed to not yet construct a small building for warehouse storage of cars on the land that he purchased from the City in September. The 13 acres off Old Ridgebury Road sold for $3.2 million, but has been used for the last several years by Youth Soccer.
Buck agreed to wait until a replacement field can be built. His plan calls for leaving most as open space free of development, but Buck's representative told the City Council at an earlier meeting that the family would not want hikers and others walking through the property.
Danbury has selected the field between Mill Ridge Primary School and the Westside Middle School Academy to be renovated into an artificial turf field that will accommodate soccer, lacrosse, and other sports.
Some $750,000 from the sale was set aside for recreational uses. Boughton also announced Friday that new basketball courts and hiking trails on the Farrington Property would be added using this funding. Some of the Open Space Bond approved by voters several years ago was also set aside for an artificial turf field.
Boughton says Buck's proposed use of the land is less intensive so the development doesn't require state approvals.
The land was a donation from the WCI Group, who went into bankruptcy and their assets sold to Toll Brothers. There have been several proposals in the past. One, to build a minor league baseball park, went to referendum and was rejected. In 2012 there were two tries to have a mixed-use development built on the site. The most recent was a proposal from the nearby Matrix Corporate Center. They provided an approximately $35,000 non-refundable deposit, but decided to opt out of the sale.
State officials are urging older residents not to fall victim to a grandparent scam which has resurfaced in Connecticut. AARP Connecticut the scam usually involves getting a phone call from someone claiming to be a relative who is in distress and in need of money because they've been in an accident or arrested. They says that some of the con artists will also tell the person that they shouldn't call their parents.
AARP recommends seniors hang up, and call the loved one directly or call other relatives to verify their whereabouts and their safety. Police have said the best advice for anyone receiving this type of phone call is to hang up and call police.
AARP says this scam has been so successful because the victim is in an emotional state and not thinking rationally. Many people's first reaction is to help their loved one, and that's they how become a victim.
In Redding recently, three residents were bilked out of nearly $200,000. The AARP says con artists have scammed residents in other parts of the state as well.
A New York City man has been charged for a reported child sex abuse case in Mahopac. The Putnam County Sheriff's office received a complaint in late October from the parents the child that a neighbor inappropriately touched their 5-year old.
An investigation led to the arrest of 74-year old William Kilichowski, who has since travelled to Florida and relocated to New York City. On Tuesday, Kilichowski turned himself in to police. He was charged with first degree sexual abuse, a class D violent felony. He was released without bail for a future court appearance.
The case remains under investigation.