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REDDING, Conn. (AP) - Officials have requested that the U.S. Navy name a new ship after a small Connecticut town with an estimated population of 9,000 residents.

The pitch for the request is to honor the Fairfield County town of Redding as it celebrates its 250th anniversary next year.

Redding Historical Society President Joe Bonomo thought of the idea after he saw a document presented to Congress on the ship-naming program.

Bonomo says he figured that the distinction would be a nice way to honor the town given its history in the Revolutionary War, even if the request is a longshot.

Expeditionary Fast Transport ships and Littoral Combat Ships are the two main types of ships that the Navy names after small American cities.

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Western Connecticut State University is recognizing a local company for their long-standing commitment to the university.  The Visual and Performing Arts Center's lobby will be called the Branson Lobby, named for Branson Ultrasonics Corp., a business of Emerson, and its employees. 

 

When the Center was in the planning stages in 2003, Branson made a substantial financial commitment to the project. 

 

The 130,000-square-foot center opened in August of 2014 with three distinct wings.  Theatre Arts, Music and Visual Arts all connect in the newly named Branson Lobby.  The facility has been ranked No. 9 on a list of the 25 Most Amazing Campus Arts Centers in the country, complementing another survey that lists Western's Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts program as one of the 10 best in the nation.

A ceremony will be held on June 3rd at 4 pm at the facility on the Westside campus. The unveiling of the naming plaque by University President John Clark and Branson President Joe Dillon will be followed by a reception.   Clark said involvement by corporations and the people who live in the community sustains the university and its students.

 

Among Branson Ultrasonics' other contributions to WCSU are its support of student scholarships and a program that will result in student artwork permanently displayed in the company's Danbury headquarters.

 

Dillon said in a statement that a lot of the welding technology Branson creates is focused on the challenge of bringing disparate pieces together into a strong and unified whole.  He notes that the lobby not only connects the pieces of the center, but also brings together diverse people from the community - artists, musicians, students, instructors and audiences - to learn, to enjoy and to be challenged and enlightened.

 

Branson is marking its 70th year in business.

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The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen has been presented with an update from the Schlumberger Citizens Committee about what they propose for the remaining 30 acres of land purchased by the town in 2012 for $7 million.

 

15 of the acres were sold to two developers.  A 10 acre parcel was sold for $4.3 million for housing, and five acres on Old Quarry Road was sold for $1.5 million.

 

If no other revenue is raised from the site by selling buildings or acreage, Ridgefield will be left to bond about $1.6 million.  First Selectman Rudy Marconi says big picture, that's a small price to pay for control of 45 acres in the center of the community.

 

He notes that the town is anticipating about $400,000 or $500,000 in a revenue increase as a result of the 54 units Coach Homes being constructed.  The age restricted housing off Sunset Lane is being built by Charter Group Partners.  The land used to serve as a parking lot for the Schlumberger facility.  Marconi says the town is hoping for a development on the five acre parcel that would generate revenue close to that.

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New York State Police conducted a DWI sobriety checkpoint on Route 35 in the town of Lewisboro, just over the Connecticut border.  During the checkpoint on Saturday, four arrests were made, including of two Ridgefield residents, each who refused to provide a breath sample.

 

32-year old Kristin Griffin was charged with DWI while 37-year old Luciana Shortal was charged with felony aggravated DWI with a child in the vehicle.  Each Ridgefield resident was ordered to appear in Lewisboro Court June 6th. 

 

During the checkpoint, two arrests were also made for unlawful possession of marijuana. 

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The City’s annual Memorial Day observance on Monday began with solemn services at 6:30am at St Joseph Church. 

 

The parade, which was scheduled to start at 9:30 with floats, color guards, and bands, has been canceled.

 

The Ridgefield Memorial Day Parade has been canceled.  Organizers say they regret to have a cancelation, but their greatest concern was for those marching, parade spectators, and the safety of all involved. 

 

The Easton Memorial Day parade has also been canceled.

 

Governor Malloy has directed U-S and Connecticut flags to fly at half-staff until noon today in observation of Memorial Day.

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A Danbury man has been charged for assaulting his landlord.  Danbury Police say a man was fixing something in the apartment of 35-year old Brandon Ray Keith on Saturday afternoon and asked about damage to the wall.  Keith then allegedly punched his landlord several times in the face.  The victim was transported to Danbury Hospital with swelling and bruising on his face.  Keith was charged with assault.

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Brookfield residents have advanced the town's capital budget.  A $2.8 million bond request for town and school improvements detailed in the town's Capital Improvement Program was sent to a referendum Thursday night.  First Selectman Steve Dunn says the vote is scheduled for July 19th. 

 

 

$1 million to fund the streetscape improvements in the Four Corners area was approved unanimously.  The town will apply for a $500,000 grant, but matching municipal funds are needed.

 

The project includes building sidewalks, installing streetlights, and creating turn lanes at the intersection of Federal and Station roads.  Town officials are looking into the cost of burying utility lines.  Eversource Energy has not yet provided an estimate to Brookfield on what the cost would be to not have above-ground wires.

 

The Small Town Economic Assistance Program grant requires $250,000 in local dollars.  A second STEAP grant of $500,000 was also awarded to Brookfield.  Nearly $800,000 from the Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program could be bolstered by $95,000 in additional LOCIP funding.

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Danbury Police are searching for a hit and run driver who struck a pedestrian Friday night.  Police were called to 3 Kennedy Avenue shortly before 10pm on a report of a pedestrian seriously injured by a car.  Fire Department Assistant Chief Mark Omasta says EMS units also responded.  Care was provided at the scene, and the victim was then transported to Danbury Hospital.  Witnesses told police the vehicle was a silver or grey SUV.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Sgt. Rory DeRocco at 203-797-2157.

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REDDING

Parade Saturday 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. rain or shine.


As in past years, formation will take place at the Redding Elementary School Memorial Auditorium, beginning at 11:30am. The ceremony will begin promptly at 12:00 Noon with parade step-off at 12:15pm. The parade will proceed to the Redding Green, for flag-raising and flower-placing ceremonies at the Memorial Stone and festivities should conclude by 1pm.

 

BROOKFIELD

The Strawberry Festival hosted by the Brookfield Historical Society will take place on Sunday, between 12:30 and 3:00 p.m. The festival is located outside the Brookfield Museum at the intersection of Routes 25 and 133 in Brookfield Center.

 

The parade starts around 1pm and ends near the museum parking lot where strawberry shortcake and soft drinks will be sold to support future public programs of the Society.  A ceremony will take place at the park at 2pm.

 

In the Museum, the sixth annual Brookfield War Memorial exhibit will be open to the public.  It is a moving display, which honors 44 former Brookfield residents who gave their lives while in the military, in service to the United States. Admission is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

 

MONROE

The parade will take place on Sunday at 2 p.m. Marchers will line up at Lower Elm Street and Route 111 and the parade will proceed to the New War Memorial located on the Town Hall Green where the memorial ceremony will be conducted.  There is no rain date for the parade. In case of rain, the Town of Monroe will still hold the memorial ceremony on Sunday, May 29 at 2 p.m. in the Monroe Town Hall Council Chambers, 7 Fan Hill Road Monroe.

 

DANBURY

The City’s annual Memorial Day observance on Monday will begin with solemn services at 6:30am at St Joseph Church.  There are wreath laying ceremonies at 12 monuments around the City.  The parade starts at 9:30 and marches along Main Street with floats, color guards, and bands.  A skydiving display is planned about 10:45 am over the parade viewing stand in Rogers Park.

 

EASTON

The town of Easton and the Charles L. Ruman Post 160 of the American Legion invite all of Easton and the surrounding communities to honor our fallen service men and women at the annual Memorial Day parade on Monday.  The parade begins 9:30 a.m. at the town green across from the Easton Fire Department firehouse, travels down Center Street and ends with a ceremony at the Town Hall.  All local organizations are invited to participate and are asked to assemble at the town green at 9 o’clock.

 

NEW MILFORD

New Milford officials invite everyone in to join in remembering those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. This year's ceremony and parade will be held on Monday at 10:00 a.m. in front of the New Milford Library. (In case of rain, the ceremony will be moved to the VFW on Avery Road.)  The New Milford Veterans Committee organized this year's program.

 

WESTON
Annual Memorial Day Parade is at 10:45 am Monday.  Line-up will be on School Rd no later than 9:45 am.

 

RIDGEFIELD
The annual Memorial Day festivities will begin Monday with a ceremony at the Veteran's Monument in front of Jesse Lee United Methodist Church at 270 Main Street just before the 11:30 am step off of the parade.  The parade will head north on Main Street, ending in Ballard Park. After the parade, a ceremony will be held in the Ballard Park gazebo honoring the Grand Marshall, Col. Robert Law, and all those who gave their life for their country and our freedom.

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A car speeding through a construction zone in Danbury eventually crashed and rolled over off Park Avenue in Danbury just after midnight on Friday.  The 18-year old driver has been charged.

 

Two Danbury Police Officers on Lake Avenue saw a car speed through the construction zone, which was clearly marked with traffic cones and reflective signs.  One officer flashed his flashlight while putting up his hands in an attempt to slow or stop the car.  The vehicle slowed as it approached the officer, who then approached the driver's side window.  But the driver, 18-year old Henry Scozzafava of Danbury, swerved and sped off, and the officer was unable to catch up to the fleeing vehicle. 

 

Police say the car struck another vehicle on Segar Street and continued.  The other driver was uninjured.  Officers were notified of a crash on Park Avenue at West Wooster Street.  The car was found in the tree line about 50 yards away.

 

The three people in the car denied being in any other accident, or being in the construction zone when the officer tried to stop their car.  They did complain of minor injuries and were transported to Danbury Hospital.

 

Scozzafava was charged with Traveling Unreasonably Fast In A Construction Zone, Evading Responsibility, Reckless Driving, Disobeying The Signal Of An Officer, and Interfering With An Officer.  He was released after posting a $5,000 bond and was ordered to appear in court June 3rd.

 

The two passengers, 18-year old Melissa Ruscoe and 19-year old Eimy Mosquera of Danbury, were charged with Interfering With An Officer and issued tickets to appear in court June 3rd.

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A Kindergartener who wants to become a police officer when he gets older wanted to do something nice for Danbury Police Department.  When 5-year old Logan Almeida won a St. Joseph's School prize to be "Principal for the Day", he offered the students to "dress down" from their normal school uniform attire in exchange for a $1 donation to his fundraiser. 

 

The proceeds were going to buy breakfast for the Danbury Police Department.

 

On Friday, Logan, came in the police station Community Room with coffee, bagels and donuts for the department as a token of their appreciation for protecting the students and citizens of Danbury. Logan's class and his teachers will take a tour of the police station.

 

(Photos: Danbury Police)

 

Police spokesman Lt. Christian Carroccio offered the following statement:

 

"On behalf of the Danbury Police Department, we would like to say thank you to Logan and his classmates at St. Joseph's School. Logan's generosity and thoughtfulness will resonate with the officers for a long time. The Danbury Police Department is always looking for highly qualified candidates, and is looking forward to receiving Logan's application in the future."

 

(Pictured: Logan, his sister Ariana, his mom Stephanie and his father Chris)

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The Schlumberger Citizens Commission has made their recommendation to Ridgefield officials about the future use of 30 acres of town owned land.

 

The recommendation is that the site be turned into a cultural center.  Leasing out the former Schlumberger theater, creating an outdoor amphitheater and possibly turning the former Skydome Building into a warehouse for private collectors are parts of the proposal.

 

The Philip Johnson Building is being looked at by two men from New Canaan who own a modern era furniture distribution company, and have a manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania.  They have eight to 10 employees in Connecticut.  The pair live in a Philip Johnson-designed home across from The Glass House, so Marconi says they're excited about the possibility of occupying a building designed by the same renowned architect. 

 

A special meeting has tentatively been scheduled for June 15th between the Board of Selectmen and Commission to discuss the plan in greater detail.

 

One area left unanswered is recovering the full investment made by the town for the property.  Ridgefield is about $1.5 million shy of getting back the $7 million purchase price.  Raising revenue from the site was one of the major sentiments that came out of public hearings on what residents wanted to see happen with the 45 acres.

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The driver of a truck was able to escape unharmed before the cab of his tractor trailed became fully engulfed in flames yesterday. 

 

 

Sandy Hook and Hook & Ladder responded to Interstate 84 West around 6:30 Friday morning on a report of a truck fire.  Chief Halstead reported seeing a heavy column of smoke as he approached the scene.  The cab was fully engulfed by then.  The driver was able to safely exit the vehicle without injury.

 

Firefighters knocked the blaze down, but the cab was completely destroyed. The first responders also opened the trailer and checked it for any flames, and none were found.

 

 

Approximately 1,500 gallons of water and 200 gallons of foam was used to put out the fire. A state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection truck was requested to the scene to put down sand due to slick fluids on the shoulder and slow speed lane.

 

State Police shut down the slow speed and travel lanes, but kept the third lane of the highway open so that traffic could continue through the scene.

 

(Photos: Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue)

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The Atlantic and College Board has named the winners of their 2nd annual writing contest recognizing the best high school essay writers.  This year, students were asked to analyze and interpret a meaningful work of art and understand the importance of revision. 

 

More than 2,000 entries were received about more than 700 different works of art from students in 43 different countries.  24 composition and art-history professors scored the essays, and then a smaller panel of representatives from The Atlantic and College Board picked the top three.

 

One of the finalists was Rahul Malayppan, a senior at Danbury High School, who plans to go to UC Berkeley in the fall. He wrote his essay on M.C. Escher’s Waterfall. As a finalist, Rahul will get a $2,500 prize and have his essay published on the College Board website in September.

 

Rahul received one-on-one editing guidance from The Atlantic's magazine editors.  Editors worked through their argument, gave coaching, guidance and feedback, and then students submitted revisions for final judging.

 

Rahul, along with the winner and another finalist are in Washington, DC this month for The Atlantic's Education Summit.

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The state Bond Commission has approved funding for school improvement projects at Alliance District Schools.  Danbury will receive $1.7 million in funding for general improvements. 

 

The building projects can include energy efficiency improvements to lighting, windows, doors, boilers, and heating and ventilation systems.  Other projects include upgrades to communications/technology systems various equipment, and installation or upgrade of security equipment.  Repairs to lockers, floors, ceilings, restrooms, entryways, driveways, parking areas, play areas, athletic fields, and roofs would also be funded.

 

 

Retiring state Representative Jan Giegler says making smart investments to the infrastructure will provide students with the best possible environment to study and learn and increases community value.

 

Deputy House Speaker Bob Godfrey says securing this money was the result of a collaborative effort to make sure Danbury students’ needs are being met.

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A local lawmaker says State Police Troopers are not scheduled to police Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield this Memorial Day Weekend.  State Senator Mike McLachlan has written to State Police at the Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection saying that if this is true, it's unacceptable. 

 

With the unofficial start of the summer season, it's one of the busiest times at Squantz Pond and can fill to capacity very quickly. 

 

McLachlan says State Police need to ensure the safety of all beach goers and swimmers.  If there is no law enforcement present, McLachlan says the park should be closed.  If the park remains open with none, he says the local 911 system will be clogged whenever there is a security issue.

 

Environmental Conservation Officers will be at the parks and visible this weekend.

 

A few years back, DEEP put more controls on parking to try to control crowds in the wake of several drowning deaths.  When the 250 car limit is reached, visitors are turned away.  DEEP has been working with the town and state to make sure it's handled in an orderly fashion.

 

Spokesman Dennis Schain says their jurisdiction stops at the end of the park, so they aren't in charge of traffic or law and order outside Squantz Pond.  He says State Police have been available to address that in the past, and are aware of this need.

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Bethel Police believe a former resident intentionally set fire to his home in order to defraud the insurance company.  The Danbury man was charged this week with arson for the fire two years ago. 

 

Bethel Police served a warrant on 61-year old William Waller yesterday morning.  He was also charged with insurance fraud for the January 2014 fire at his Putnam Park Road home.  A joint investigation was conducted by Bethel Police, the Bethel Fire Marshal's Office and the Connecticut State Police and Fire Explosion Unit. 

 

Waller was arraigned yesterday at Danbury Superior Court.

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NEW YORK (AP) Power has been restored to nearly all of the customers who were left in the dark following a fire at a substation in upstate New York.

NYSEG says nearly 60,000 people lost power Thursday night.

The bulk of the outages were in Putnam County, where more than 35,000 customers lost power. Another 14,000 customers were without power in Westchester County. Dutchess County had more than 9,000 without power.

The fire broke out at a substation in Carmel, which affected other substations.

A spokesman for the utility says they conducted switching operations to bypass the substations.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A U.S. Justice Department report prompted by the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre urges police chiefs around the country to put mental health programs in place in to help officers cope with on-the-job trauma, including the aftermath of mass shootings.

 

The report, offered as a best practices guide, was prepared with help from officials including retired Newtown police chief Michael Kehoe, who led the response to the 2012 school shooting and worried over the following weeks that some of his officers might kill themselves.

 

Most police departments train to respond to mass shootings, but few prepare officers for the psychological fallout, says the report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

 

The 140-page report emphasizes how to prepare for mass shootings, but it says taking steps such as choosing trusted mental health service providers, creating peer support programs, and designating mental health incident commanders also will help officers cope with more common events such as car crashes, suicides and domestic violence.

 

Law enforcement experts say it has been a struggle to create conditions in which officers feel comfortable coming forward for help.

 

"Are we there yet? No. That's why this report is so significant because it raises awareness," said Jim Baker, director of advocacy for the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Alexandria, Virginia.

 

Kehoe wrote in the report that many chiefs are unaware of the impact that mass casualty events will have on their communities and officers. In Newtown, a gunman fatally shot 20 first-graders and six educators inside Sandy Hook Elementary before killing himself as police arrived on Dec. 14, 2012.

 

Kehoe's wife, Lori Kehoe, a former hospice nurse, said that a few weeks after the school shooting, her normally cool, calm and collected husband became unnerved worrying that some of his officers would kill themselves, which didn't happen.

 

The suicide rate for police officers is higher than the general public's, according to The Badge of Life, a group of current and retired officers working to prevent police suicides. Studies show there are about 125 to 150 officer suicides a year and more than 200,000 officers are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or some other form of emotional stress, the group says.

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The bid process for the planned Bethel Police Station is complete, an architect and construction manager have been hired.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the companies are mobilized and ready to go as soon as the contracts are signed.  As soon as the Town Attorney signs off on the contract, in a week or so, other town officials will be able to sign it.

 

The first phase is engineering drawings, which the town expects to start soon. 

 

Bethel officials proposed the new police station in 2004, but then the project sat dormant until 2013.  Knickerbocker says this has been a long haul to get the plans off the drawing board and toward reality.

 

It's anticipated that an 18 month construction process will be needed from ground breaking to completion.  Bethel is aiming for a ribbon cutting in the Spring of 2018.

 

Officials have described the current police station as cramped and overcrowded, providing less than a third of the space the department needs.  The firing range can't be used as intended because it's currently being used for storage.

 

The current building was designed and constructed in the 1960 when the requirements and mission of police agencies was different than it is today in a post-9/11 world.  There are new departments that must be supported that didn't exist in the 1960s.  The building can't be renovated and expanded because it sits on a flood plain.  They've had problems with sewage backups that have occurred due to the flooding.  

 

The $13.49 million project for the corner of Judd Avenue and Dodgingtown Road went through some changes after an initial vote last year failed.  Material for the building, and a smaller parking lot are among the changes in the final plan.  The land is not in the educational park, and was set aside decades ago for future town use

Knickerbocker says the facility will blend with the neighborhood and will be barely visible from the road.  He notes that it will not impact the education park, but police would be next door to provide additional security if needed.

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