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Untimely death being investigated at Huntington State Park

Bethel police are investigating the untimely death of a woman.  State and Redding police were called this afternoon to help in the search of an endangered missing woman at Huntington State Park.  Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesman Dennis Schain says the woman was found dead of an apparent suicide.  No other details including the woman's age and name are being released at this time.


The state park spans Bethel and Redding. 


Redding Police say all of the district schools were notified of police activity in the area, but that at no time was there a danger to the public.

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7 people hospitalized in Route 6 crash

Seven people have been hospitalized because of a two-car crash in Brewster.


The accident on Route 6 happened around 12:45pm Wednesday when a car tried to make a left turn onto Route 22 and was struck broadside by a minivan.  Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith says a passenger in the car was critically injured and airlifted to Westchester Medical Center. 


Two other adults and a 4 year old boy in the car were transported to Danbury Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 


Two adults and an infant in the minivan sustained minor injuries and are also being treated in Danbury.  Smith says the 2 1/2 month old was reportedly ejected from the child safety seat, but not ejected from the vehicle.  

The road was closed well into the evening commute because of the investigation.

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Bethel residents approve open space land purchase

Bethel residents have approved three proposals presented at a special Town Meeting this week. 


The Boards of Selectmen and Finance previously backed a purchase of land located between Maple Avenue and Hickok Avenue.  The 12.89 acres would by purchased by the town for no more than $675,000 from MH Development, LLC and Ellis A. Tarlton, III for use as open space.  Officials say the town may have some grant funding for this purchase or may receive grants in the future.  Most of the cost would be bonded.


First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says it's a steep and environmentally sensitive piece of land.  Various developers proposals over the years have been rejected because of the endangered species nearby.  But he says a proposal for affordable housing, which could overrule local zoning regulations, has been presented to the town.  Knickerbocker says it would require a significant amount of blasting, hundreds of trees would be removed and it would create a traffic nightmare for the winding road leading up to the site.


The Boards of Selectmen and Finance have approved accepting $3,737 from the State Department of Transportation for a 27,644 /- square feet of land.  It's located at the corners of Plumtrees Road, Whittlesey Drive and Walnut Hill Road.  It's needed for the proposed construction of the new Plumtrees Road Bridge.


The Boards of Selectmen and Finance have also approved an expense of no more than $36,534.60 for a replacement motor vehicle known as fire vehicle 69BL, to be funded from the capital non-recurring account.

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State-mandated election audit taking place in Redding and elsewhere

Redding is among the towns where polling precincts were selected at random by the state for a post-election audit.  The results from machines at the Redding Community Center, District 2, will be counted today between 9am and 1pm.   Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says 77 precincts were chosen, representing 10-percent of all polling places used on November 4th.


Three positions on the ballot are also chosen at random, this year it was Governor, Attorney General and Comptroller.


From the Greater Danbury area, Bethel Municipal Center district 1, Danbury High School Ward 1, Park Avenue School Ward 6, Schaghichoke School in New Milford, and Weston Middle School were chosen. 


Merrill says if there are errors, they're usually human error.  Whether it's hand counted absentee ballots or ballots not read by the machines.  She says the audit is done to make sure Connecticut voters have continued confidence that their votes were recorded accurately and that’s why these independent audits are so vital.  "We don’t just take the machines’ word for it," said Merrill.


The post-election audits must be completed by November 24th.

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State Bond Commission approves Sandy Hook School allocation

During the 2013 legislative session, the General Assembly authorized up to $50 million for a replacement school to be built at the site of the former Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Wednesday, the state Bond Commission voted to release $5 million of that funding for continued planning and design work. 


First Selectman Pat Llodra says the vote today reminds the town of the generosity and support of the state.  She noted that the new new Sandy Hook School will become a reality in 2016 because of that generosity.  Llodra says Newtown is humbled and thankful for the continuing kindness of state partners.


Demolition was completed in November 2013.  Architectural plans for construction of the new school were approved last week. Newtown will be posting bid notices shortly and anticipates breaking ground in March 2015.


There will be funding requests throughout the course of the construction project.


The new school will be all-new construction and will be approximately 87,000 square feet of space in a two-story structure. It will feature 23 classrooms for pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. There will be dedicated spaces for music, art, a library, computer education, a cafeteria with kitchen and a gymnasium. It will be a fully accessible building for persons with disabilities and fully compliant with all current building codes and standards. It will be on a reconfigured site of the former school, located at 12 Dickinson Drive, Newtown.

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Lounsbury House renovations backed by split Board of Selectmen

Interior renovations are being made to the Lounsbury House in Ridgefield.  The Ridgefield Press reports that the Board of Selectmen approved the renovation project on a 3-to-2 vote this week after a long debate. 


The plans call for removing walls and mahogany pocket doors.  A structural engineer must confirm that the building won't be weakened by the renovation.  The Community Center rents the facility and told the Press that the building would be more marketable for weddings and similar events if there's an open floor plan. 


The Selectmen were told that they are short on funds in maintaining the building almost every month, so even though renovations would be costly, in the end more revenue will come in.

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Brookfield Board of Ethics to meet next week on complaints

The Brookfield Board of Ethics has met again this week to look into travel expenses incurred by First Selectman Bill Tinsley. 


The group will be looking into policy changes in the future about better monitoring personal expenses by people who hold the position of First Selectman.  The complaint about Tinsley using a town-owned vehicle to travel to Tennessee for a trip he says was about economic development research, was brought by Democratic Town Committee member Ray DiStephan, who said the Republican visited family. 


The Ethics Board will meet again on Tuesday.

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26 Days Of Kindness Begins Today

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) A former Sandy Hook Elementary School student is launching a second annual series of remembrances to honor the 20 children and six educators who were fatally shot in December 2012.

Based on last year's success, Ashley Petersen and supporters are launching the second annual 26 Days of Kindness beginning today and ending Dec. 14, the second anniversary of the shootings.

One Sandy Hook shooting victim will be remembered each day. Wednesday is dedicated to Lauren Rousseau, a teacher at Sandy Hook who was also a Danbury resident. .

Petersen will post details of the event on the Facebook-page  "26 Days of Kindness"

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Brookfield man sets off sprinklers at Danbury police station

A Brookfield man being held at the Danbury Police station set off the sprinkler system.  Danbury Police pulled over 21-year old Ryan Berry after witnesses said he hit a mailbox and drove off.  Police smelled alcohol in the car and the Brookfield man failed field sobriety tests.  He was charged with driving while intoxicated, evading responsibility and failure to drive right. 


Police say while Berry was in a holding cell, he tampered with the sprinkler system, setting it off.  The Danbury Fire Department responded to the police station as a result. 


Berry now also faces a charge of criminal mischief.

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New Fairfield house added to State Register of Historic Places

A property in New Fairfield has been added to the State Register of Historic Places. 


The Creamery was added to the Register by the Connecticut Historic Council on October 1st, making it eligible for a Federal Historic Preservation Enhancement Grant and several supplemental grants.  The federal grant is up to $10,000 and does not require a matching grant.  At the New Fairfield Board of Selectmen meeting on Thursday, it was noted that if the town applies in January, they should know by February.


A feasibility study will tell what can be done with the building on Route 37.  It was suggested at the meeting that an architect should look at the building to see whether or not it is financially feasible to keep the Creamery. 


The house, later a blacksmith shop, is thought to have belonged to one of the first families to settle in New Fairfield in the 19th century.

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Play in NYC based on interviews after Sandy Hook shooting

NEW YORK (AP) A new play about the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in will have a benefit reading in December in New York City to commemorate the second anniversary of the tragedy.

Eric Ulloa's "26 Pebbles,'' which was adapted from transcripts of interviews with people touched by the shootings, will have a staged reading Dec. 15 at the Culture Project's The Lynn Redgrave Theater. The director will be Igor Goldin, and prices range from $50-$150.

The play's producers are R. Erin Craig, La Vie Productions, James E. Cleveland, Randy Donaldson and Wolfstone Productions.


Proceeds from the event will benefit three charities, the Avielle Foundation, named for one of the children; Classes4Classes, founded by Sandy Hook teacher Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis; and the My Sandy Hook Family Foundation.

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Danbury Deputy Police Chief retires; firefighter promoted

Danbury's Deputy Police Chief has retired.  Captain Terry Shanahan's last day on the job was November 7th.  Mayor Mark Boughton says Shanahan joined the Danbury Police department in 1987 and has a master's degree in justice and law administration from West Conn.


Shanahan graduated from the FBI National Academy in 2002.  The year prior, he was named Danbury Exchange Club officer of the year and received the department's medal of bravery.  He is a former hostage negotiator with the Police Department's Emergency Services Unit. 


Boughton says he hopes to have a new Deputy Police Chief appointment ready for the December City Council meeting.


The Danbury Fire Department has a new Lieutenant.  Shawn McGee was promoted this month from firefighter to the position.  McGee started his career with the Danbury Fire Department in 2005, having previously served in a volunteer company.


McGee holds a number of Fire Service certifications including as a fire service instructor, rescue technician, hazardous materials technician and aerial and pump operator among others.  He received the Educational Achievement Award and the Exceptional Duty Award among other unit citations.


Boughton says McGee worked hard for the promotion, and did a phenomenal job in the interviews.  He says each time McGee came in, he demonstrated how much he knew about the firefighting industry.  Boughton also praised how technically proficient McGee is in his job.

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Wetlands Commission approves project at future animal sanctuary site

The Newtown Inland Wetlands Commission has approved a 24-foot-by-24-foot concrete pad on a parcel of land on the Fairfield Hills property.  The concrete was put down before formal approval was given to The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary project. 


The 6-inch concrete pad is meant for a sculpture at the animal sanctuary named for one of the children killed at Sandy Hook School. 


During the Commission's meeting last week, members were told that whatever water would run off from the concrete pad, would trickle through vegetation before hitting the wetland.

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Erratic driving leads to DWI charge for NY man

An erratic driver has been charged with DWI in New York.  State Police say troopers stopped 41-year old Brian Tiller of Brewster shortly before 3am on Sunday for weaving in and out of the lane of travel on Route 6.  Troopers determined that the man was intoxicated.  He was charged with Driving while intoxicated with a previous conviction, and unlicensed operation because he driving privileges were previously revoked in New York for his 2009 DWI conviction.

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Rehearsals to start for Danbury Music Centre's 'Messiah'

An annual December tradition in Danbury is coming up soon.  Rehearsals are starting tomorrow for the Danbury Music Centre's performance of Handel's Messiah.  All area singers are invited to participate, but Executive Director Mary Larew says they must attend the dress rehearsal plus at least four of the five prior rehearsals.


The rehearsals are on Tuesday nights at the Danbury Music Centre.  The performance will take place on December 19th at First Congregational Church on Deer Hill Avenue.  Singers may borrow Messiah music from the Danbury Music Centre, which will be loaned on a first-come, first-served basis. 


Rehearsals are scheduled for the following Tuesdays, 7:30-10 pm, and are at the Danbury Music Centre unless otherwise noted:
November 18, 25
December 2, 9
December 16 at First Congregational Church

Mandatory dress rehearsal Thursday, December 18 at First Congregational Church


Participation is free to financially contributing members of the Danbury Music Centre.  There is a $25 charge for all other singers.  Pre-registration is requested.


Richard Price, Music Director Emeritus of the Danbury Concert Chorus, will direct the Danbury Concert Chorus and members of the Danbury Symphony Orchestra.  Joining the chorus and orchestra are soloists Erin Windle, soprano; Kirsten Solleck, mezzo; John Howell, tenor; and Thomas Woodman, bass.

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United Way to screen HBO documentary 'Paycheck to Paycheck'

The United Way of Western Connecticut is hosting a film screening and discussions of an HBO documentary made in association with The Shriver Report called “Paycheck to Paycheck".  United Way Spokeswoman Isabel Almeida says the film highlights a report released Sunday about an overlooked segment of the population called ALICE, or the Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed.


Paycheck to Paycheck follows 30-year old Katrina Gilbert, a certified nursing assistant, who chooses daily between purchasing her own medication and paying for the needs of her three children, which often leaves her struggling to make ends meet.


The screening is from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the West Conn Science Building on the Midtown Campus, in Room 125.


The first statewide ALICE report, a study of financial hardship in Connecticut, raises awareness about all those who work hard every day, but still struggle to make ends meet.  35-percent of Connecticut households are at this ALICE threshhold.

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Hunter accidentally shoots fellow hunter in NY

A man shot accidentally by a fellow hunter over the weekend in New York is being treated for injuries at Danbury Hospital. 


The Poughkeepsie Journal reports that a Dutchess County man killed a deer in Stormville and was using a cart to remove it when he was shot in the hand and buttocks.  The report says that another Duchess County man saw the deer moving, thought it was alive and fired. 


The other hunter's injuries are believed to be non-life threatening.  The incident happened shortly before 10:30am Saturday, the first day of the regular big game season.

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Blood collection lab owner fined $200,000 by state

A New Jersey company has been fined $200,000 by the state Department of Public Health for operating blood collection centers in the state without licences. 


On Wednesday, the DPH released a consent order signed by BioReference Laboratories earlier this month agreeing to the fines and also to a probationary period for the three labs that do have state issued licenses.  One of those blood collection clinical laboratories is on Hospital Avenue in Danbury.  The other two are in Westport and Greenwich. 


For the first year of the five years probation, a supervisor must visit the three licensed centers every other week to monitor services.


On August 29, DPH shut down eight BioReference blood-collection centers that had been operating without prior approval in Fairfield, Ansonia, Milford, New London, Norwich, Waterbury, Wallingford and North Stonington


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Newtown receives federal grant for DUI patrols

Newtown Police have received a grant from the federal Department of Transportation to enforce safety on the roads this holiday season.  The Highway Safety Office is providing more than $47,000 to Newtown for three DUI checkpoints in 2014 and to have extra officers on the roads looking for drunk drivers. 


The stepped up enforcement will run from Thanksgiving through New Years.  More of the funding will be used in 2015.


25-percent of the cost of the DUI enforcement will be picked up by the town with the balance paid for through this grant.

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Danbury Whalers up to date on public safety payments to City

Danbury officials say The Danbury Whalers are up to date on payments for the security and public safety presence at games so far this hockey season.  City Finance Director David St Hilaire was asked at the most recent City Council meeting about the Whalers putting a sizeable down payment on the debt owed.


Mayor Mark Boughton says he does not expect a change in the number of police needed at each game, but the fire marshal presence will be decided on a game-by-game basis, based on attendance and other factors.


City officials say they received payments for the public safety service for October and November's games.  The team will take part in a payment plan to pay off the back monies owed to the City.


Check out this 7 year old making the most of his camera time! Dancing, one liners, shout outs, and he nails the forecast!



Enjoy your retirement, Captain.  Re2pect. 

I'd prefer Christmas items and holiday decorations to be out in stores...
Whenever is fine. It can never be too early.
Wait until at least mid-October.
Wait until at least mid-November.
After December 1. Let's enjoy Thanksgiving first.
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