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New Fairfield road to get new name to honor local heroes

A road in New Fairfield is getting a new name.  Farmer's Lane will be getting the secondary name of to honor two men who have ties to the same home on the street.  Chris Blackwell died on 9/11, TJ Lobraico died in Afghanistan last year.  First Selectman Susan Chapman says residents of that street asked for the change, which will be done on New Fairfield Day on Saturday.


The dedication will be filmed.  After the Lion's Club Parade, a make up of the cancelled 4th of July Parade, there will be another ceremony on the field, which will feature a replaying of the dedication.  The Connecticut Patriot Guard will present honorary member flags to the two families.


Blackwell, a member of the FDNY, grew up in New Fairfield.  He was a 25 year member of the New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department.  One of his daughter is a police officer, the other is studying healthcare, and his son is a member of the FDNY.  He worked with Danbury Ambulance and was specialized in building collapses and trench rescues.


Lobraico attended Western before being deployed.  He was in the Justice and Law Administration program, pursuing a degree in law enforcement.  His mother graduated from the university and his father took classes there as well.  Lobraico was a member of the 105th Security Forces Squadron.  He died when his unit was attacked near Bagram Airfield.  He joined the Air National Guard in 2008 and was on his second overseas deployment.  His parents also serve in the 105th Airlift Wing.

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Donations, grants accepted by Danbury Board of Ed

The Danbury Board of Education has accepted a number of grants and donations. 


At their meeting Wednesday, the Board of Education was presented with a $10,000 donation from an anonymous giver.  It's for the Mill Ridge Primary School to support early childhood development and enrichment activities for students in kindergarten through 3rd grade.  That includes an after school arts and health program. 


It was noted at their meeting that this past spring, Danbury schools was the recipient of donated literacy and numeracy resources from Robert Cox of Focus Mailing.  The donation, valued at $129,000, included time and efforts of his staff to sort and deliver materials from their warehouse to the district. 


The Pitney Bowes Foundation and the Danbury Community Leadership Team also presented the Board with a $6,000 donation for the Family Literacy Center of Danbury and the School Readiness/Parent Involvement program.

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Newest police officers set to graduate Academy

Those looking to be police officers in the state must attend The Police Officer Standards and Training Council Academy.  The class of 43 Recruits, representing 25 Municipal Police Departments, Southern Connecticut State University Police, and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Conservation Police will complete their training program tomorrow. 


The class roster consists of police officers representing the police departments in New Milford, Fairfield, Torrington, Seymour and elsewhere.


The Recruits have completed an extensive 880-hour Basic Training Curriculum at the Connecticut Police Academy in Meriden, encompassing Academic and Practical Skills, Firearms, Defensive Tactics, Patrol Driving, Penal Code, Motor Vehicle Law, Laws of Arrest, Search and Seizure, and a host of other topics.

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Weston's revised gun law doesn't include police, fix requested

Weston officials have discovered a glaring omission in the town's new gun ordinance.  Police Officers were not included in those exempt from section 79.  State and federal officers, members of the military, authorized messengers, and bank guards when performing their duties were among those listed. 


The Weston Forum reports that the ordinance was revised after the shootings at Sandy Hook School.  It bans residential target practice and prohibits the discharge of machine guns or assault weapons within town borders. 


During the Board of Selectmen meeting on Thursday, First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said a public hearing will need to be held to make the change.  That's according to the Town's charter.  The hearing has been set for the next regular meeting of the Board.

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Emergency communications tower public hearing in Redding

A public hearing is being held in Redding about a communications tower at the Police Department.  Voters decided in favor of a replacement during a July referendum.  The Zoning Board of Appeals is holding the hearing at their meeting. 


The current tower is 118 feet tall and more than three decades old.  The new proposed tower would have antennas and would be about 120 feet tall.  The existing tower pre-existing and non-conforming, but the Police Department is requesting a variance to regulations for the taller tower. 


Since this isn't for cell phone use, the Connecticut Siting Council does not have jurisdiction.  The tower is for police, fire, EMS and the highway department. 


The meeting is at 7:30 tonight.

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Danbury Hospital contacting CDC about possible Enterovirus-68

Danbury Hospital has seen an increase in the number of children with respiratory complaints. 


Dr. Greg Dworkin, head of pulmonary pediatrics at Danbury Hospital, says they are sending out lab tests to the CDC to see if its the Enterovirus-68 that has been diagnosed in at least 15 other states. 


The best prevention he says is having children wash their hands often, and as long as it takes to sing "Happy birthday". 


Dr. Dworkin says the public will be informed if the tests are positive and there are any other changes.

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Sendak collection leaving library in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (AP) A small Philadelphia museum that houses more than 10,000 pieces by illustrator Maurice Sendak will be returning most of the collection to the author's estate.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports trustees for Sendak's foundation are reclaiming the artwork based on instructions in his will. He died in 2012.

Sendak is best known for his classic book ``Where the Wild Things Are.'' He had a decades-long relationship with the Rosenbach museum and library in Philadelphia.

But Sendak wanted his home in Ridgefield, Connecticut, to be operated as a museum. Rosenbach officials say his artwork, manuscripts and other ephemera will be sent back starting next month.

The Rosenbach will retain about 600 Sendak pieces. The author also left the institution rare editions of books by Herman Melville and Henry James.

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Teen, store clerk in court on alcohol sale charges

A teenager and store clerk will each be in court today for alcohol related charges.  Newtown Police conducting an investigation into illegal sales of alcohol to minors on August 29th resulted in two arrests. 


19-year old Tyler Hall was charged with illegal purchase while 59-year old Stephen Small was charged with illegal sale of alcohol to a minor.  They are each scheduled to be arraigned in Danbury Superior Court today. 


Newtown Police were watching activities at Yankee Discount Wine and Spirits on Queen Street when they saw an underage male buy alcohol without presenting an ID.  The incident will be reviewed by state liquor regulators for possible actions against the package store and permit holder.

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Danbury students to serve on Internation Youth Advisory Board

Three area teenagers have been selected to serve on the International Youth Advisory Board.  The three will serve on the Board of the Youth Volunteer Corps, representing the local Youth Volunteer Corps of Western Connecticut.  The group has teens helping the community through team-based service-learning projects. 


17-year old Alyssa Barrett and 16-year old Olivia Harris of Danbury High School and 15-year old Mackenzie Mitchell of Immaculate High School in Danbury will serve a one year term on the board.  They will provide input on programing during monthly meetings and bring new ideas back to the Western Connecticut chapter. 


The local group last year had 200 teenagers put in more than 3,600 service hours.  About 10,000 youth volunteer with the Corp each year across the United States and Canada.

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Congressional candidates spar over ISIS, campaign fundraising

The two candidates in the 5th Congressional race are once again involved in a heated exchange, this time over foreign affairs. 


Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Esty held a telephone conference call Friday with Brookfield combat veteran Mike Zacchea to discuss ISIS and the beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff, who graduated from Rumsey Hall in Washington, Connecticut.  The town is part of the 5th District. 


Republican Mark Greenberg's campaign said in a press release last week that tougher action needed to be taken against Islamic militants, and that Esty has remained quite on the issue.  The email included a campaign donation button.  Esty's campaign responded calling for Greenberg to apologize for the email.  Greenberg's campaign responded right back saying Esty had yet to release comments condemning the beheading of two American journalists on her website, but that she has two "contribute" buttons seen right above her criticism of his initial email. 


The Greenberg campaign said "Elizabeth Esty's hypocrisy knows no bounds and she will stop at nothing to pursue partisan, political advantage.”


During the press call Friday, Esty condemned the terrorist acts.  Zacchea, a combat veteran who medically retired from the Marines with the rank of Lt Col., also demanded an apology from Greenberg.  He said he felt scandalized that Greenberg would use the murder of Steven Sotloff for political purposes.


Zacchea received a Purple Heart for his service after being wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade.  He served directly with eighteen Iraqi solders, two Americans, and a British citizen who were abducted and beheaded by terrorists in Iraq.

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Progress on forming Western CT Council of Governments

The leaders of 10 Greater Danbury area towns are taking steps to merge their regional planning group with one representing lower Fairfield County towns. 


The Redding Board of Selectmen is meeting tonight to set a date for a special town meeting about the ordinance to merge the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials and the South Western Regional Planning Agency into the Western Connecticut Council of Governments. 


The state passed an initiative calling for the 13 planning agencies in the state to merge into no more than eight.  Connecticut officials are hoping for more regionalization efforts when it comes to a sharing of equipment and bulk purchasing power to bring the cost of government down. 


The New Milford Town Council earlier this month approved their membership ordinance. 


The Redding Board of Selectmen meeting tonight is is at 7:30

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Sandy Hook Advisory Commission hears from Llodra, Erardi

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission has held another meeting in their effort to come up with recommendations to improve public safety following the shootings on December 14th 2012.  They heard testimony from Superintendent Dr Joseph Erardi.  He asked Sandy Hook School staff, who were present on 12-14 and worked all of last year to give him their opinions and insight on the events that followed.


Staff told Erardi about the importance of having an effective communication protocol in place during and after the event.  Erardi also said that it's not just a case of making money available to harden the school buildings, but also the time needed to make sure emergency protocols are understood by all.


Staff would like to see a strong partnership with local police who know every room, every number, every door all of the time.


Another recommendation is the importance of knowing who is the buildings at all times.  There are subcontracted staff not listed on rosters, such as food service staff.  When Central Office and Town Emergency Planners, immediately after 12-14, no one had Chartwell Food Service on their lists.


Newtown's first selectman is recommending the state conduct a full after-action study to find out what worked and what didn't in her town's response to the December 2012 school shooting.  Pat Llodra said local officials were overwhelmed with the logistics of handling donations, volunteers, correspondence, and media requests.


She says the town, for example, had no way to vet the qualifications of the mental health experts who came to help.


Llodra says the local government would have collapsed without help from companies such as General Electric, which provided four full-time executives to work with the town.


Llodra also revealed that school officials would not give her contact information for the victims' families until two weeks after the shooting.


Llodra told the Commission that at one point, the town logged 65,000 stuffed teddy bears. That didn't include other types of stuffed animals, hundreds of backpacks, bicycles, skateboards, school supplies, candles, gift wrap, crayons, sneakers, and more.  Thousands of books were also donated to Newtown.


Llodra said the volume of mail sent to Newtown prompted U.S. Postal Service employees to set up shop in the town hall’s basement.  Volunteers helped sort more than 200,000 pieces of mail.

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Working Families Party makes legislative endorsements

The Connecticut Working Families Party has made a number of endorsements in the Greater Danbury area for state legislative races.  Among them is the 67th District race in New Milford where Democrat Gale Alexander will be challenging incumbent Republican Cecelia Buck-Taylor.  Alexander has received the endorsement.  Buck_Taylor has been cross-endorsed by the Independent Party. 


The Working Families Party is also endorsing Brookfield Democrat Dan Smolnik who is looking to unseat long-time incumbent Republican David Scribner for the 107th District, which also includes part of Bethel. 


The Working Families Party is also endorsing incumbent Democrats David Arconti and Bob Godfrey in Danbury.   In the 24th District Senate race in the Danbury area, Ted Feng received the endorsement.  Republican Mike McLachlan is the incumbent.  In the 26th District in the wilton area, Philip Sharlach was endorsed.  He is challenging Republican Toni Boucher.  The 28th District in the Newtown rea is an open race and the Working Families Party has endorsed Kim Fawcett.

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Newtown considers funding to demolish burnt out home

The Newtown Legislative Council next week will consider a nearly $30,000 allocation to demolish a home in the Hawleyville section of town that was destroyed by a suspicious fire in June.  The Board of Selectmen addressed the issue at their meeting last week and were told that the insurance company hasn't paid the homeowner, who can't afford to take down the house. 


Officials say the remains of the Great Hill Road home is a public safety issue for the neighborhood.  A court order allows the town to demolish it, and the town will then put a lien on the property, though First Selectman Pat Llodra told the Board of Finance this week that it's unlikely the town will get any of its money back. 


The Legislative Council will mee on Wednesday.

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Two boat launches to close for paving

Two area boat launches will be closed soon for repaving.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says the Squantz Cove state Boat Launch on Candlewood Lake and the Squantz Pond state Park boat launch on the pond will be closed on Monday and Tuesday for repaving.  DEEP notified the Candlewood Lake Authority about the closings yesterday.

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Health execs say they had no contact with Rowland

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Two top executives at a nursing home company say they never met former Gov. John Rowland, despite assertions that he was hired as a consultant there.

Rowland is on trial facing seven federal charges. They include allegations he hid payments for work he did on the 2012 congressional campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley through the consulting deal with Apple Health Care, which is owned by her husband, Brian Foley.

Jack Boynton, Apple's vice president for human services, and Ann Collette, the company's vice president for business development and marking communication, both testified Friday they never worked with Rowland, despite being in charge of the areas where Rowland's lawyers assert he provided consulting.

Rowland's contract called for him to provide strategic advice in such areas as marketing, business development and labor relations.

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GOP lawmakers question early release program, Malloy weighs in

A group of Republican lawmakers are highlighting the murder of an infant in Connecticut in their effort to have the state's Risk Reduction Earned Credit Program for prison inmates repealed.  Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan says an unspeakable tragedy occurred in Bristol last month when a child was murdered by a person who should not have been released from prison.  The lawmakers questioned how an inmate can fail multiple drug tests, and still manage to successfully pass an addiction rehabilitation program.  They also pointed to Hapgood helping two inmates escape from custody from a halfway house four months earlier.


In total, Arthur Hapgood lost 45 credits as a result of cumulative offenses, keeping 233 credits.  Senate Minority Leader John McKinney says the system has a formula to calculate earned credits, but lacks a formula for reducing credits.


McKinney says the whole situation makes a mockery of the criminal justice system.


Governor Dannel Malloy says the system overall is reducing repeat offenses.  He notes that violent offenders are serving more time now than under prior governors.  Malloy accused the Republican lawmakers of trying to win an election by scaring people.

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Bethel medical marijuana dispensary to open next week

Monroe-based D&B Wellness Compassion and Care Center gained approval in May as one of only six medical marijuana dispensaries licensed in the state.  Only patients certified by physicians to the state Department of Consumer Protection as having one of 11 debilitating conditions, and would benefit from use of medical marijuana, can register for use in Connecticut. 


In order to enter the Garella Road center, patients must have a medical marijuana card.  To make a purchase, the patient's name has to be registered with the state, and the Bethel facility as their designated dispensary.


The "appointment only" facility will have a high level of security including a full time security guard, video surveillance and other security features.  The center will employ a pharmacist, receptionist and a counselor to educate patients about dosage and alternative therapies.  The strict security requirements are detailed among 76 pages of state regulations.


The kinds of products that can be sold at dispensaries are very specific and limited to those prepackaged from licensed manufacturers.  Everything comes in a sealed pouch, with the strain and number tracked back to the state.  It's meant to treat tremors, Parkinsons, MS and epilepsy.  


An open house is being held tonight from 6pm to 9 pm for patients registered to the facility.  Department of Consumer Protection officials and others instrumental with helping the application go forward, will also be in attendance.


Two residents, Philip Lombino and Michael Moore, filed an appeal of the Zoning Enforcement Officer approval of a zoning permit application.  The Bethel Zoning Board of Appeals ruled on the appeal of the dispensary last month.  The Board decided that the filers were not aggrieved, and that the use of the site meets regulations. 


The location is zoned for retail use and town officials say the dispensary is considered a pharmacy and therefore a permitted use.  The appeal said the state imposes specific location and operation criteria on dispensaries that are different from retail mandates, because the general public will not be patronizing the facility. 


A letter has been drafted to the Planning and Zoning Commission requesting that they review the appeal and make changes to regulations.  In the future something like this could trigger the use of a special permit.  That will insure an opportunity for public discussion on the matter.

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Connecticut police stop minorities at high rates

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) New data released by the state of Connecticut show police statewide are stopping black and Hispanic drivers at disproportionately high rates compared with population statistics.

The figures released Thursday show that about 14 percent of all police traffic stops from last October through May involved black drivers, when blacks comprise about 8 percent of the state's population. About 12 percent of stops involved Hispanics, who comprise about 10 percent of the population.

The data also show that blacks and Hispanics were more than twice as likely to have their vehicles searched by police during stops than whites.

Several police officials say they're reviewing the data and cautioned against drawing conclusions until those reviews are complete.

The ACLU of Connecticut says the figures show a systemic bias by police.


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Kitchen fire reported in Candlewood Lake area home

Danbury firefighters have responded to a kitchen fire on TaAgan Point, just off Moody Lane.  Danbury Fire Department Communications Coordinator Steven Rogers says the 2 alarm structure fire in the home off Candlewood Lake was reported around 3pm Thursday. 


Rogers says the kitchen fire burned itself out.  The heavy smoke in the attic and roof areas was ventilated.  There were no injuries. 


The cause of the fire is being investigated.


Ice Bucket Challenge COMPLETED!!

Rich Minor accepted the challenge from his friend to donate to the ALS Association AND do the Ice Bucket Challenge.

His "bucket" of choice...well, that's where Westchester Tractor came into play.

Check it out!




Who's this beautiful hunk of man meat?

It's 32 year old Chris Soules,

a farmer from Iowa and the new Bachelor!


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