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Local lawmakers achieve perfect voting records

Brookfield Representative Stephen Harding and New Milford Representative Bill Buckbee have earned one hundred percent voting records for all roll call votes taken on the floor in 2018.  Harding says he takes this commitment seriously and showed that by weighing in on every issue.  Buckbee says he is committed to bringing the voice of New Milford residents to Hartford.  Bethel Representative Will Duff and Danbury Representative Michael Ferguson also made all 317 votes on the floor of the state’s House in 2018.  Each year, the House Clerk’s Office releases the data on members’ votes during the Regular Session.  Only 20-percent of legislators achieve perfect attendance in any given year.


WCSU grads participate in Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program

Two West Conn undergrads are participating in a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program in the university's Biological and Environmental Sciences Department.  One is working on a research project seeking new methods to detect the fungus that causes White-nose Syndrome in bats.  The other is studying conservation efforts to help injured sea turtles in Long Island Sound.

 

Jasmine Grey of Naugatuck being mentored by Dr. Hannah Reynolds about the disease that has decimated bat populations across the northeastern United States and disrupted a natural control on insects that damage U.S. agricultural production. 

 

Kayla Deguzman of Norwalk is collaborating with Dr. Theodora Pinou to determine whether intervention to rescue, treat and restore injured sea turtles to their natural habitat affects their navigational mechanisms and behavior after release.


New Fairfield woman meets with Congresswoman over deportation of her husband

A New Fairfield woman whose husband was deported in January met with Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty this week.  In a Facebook post, it was noted that Samantha Colindres relayed information about the struggles she and her two children have been facing without Joel and his primary income.  The family is looking to sell their home and relocate.  Despite having an approved I-130 and Visa sponsorship through a valid marriage to his American-born wife, no criminal history and proof of payment of taxes Joel was deported to his native Guatemala earlier this year.

Danbury Fire officials recommend new Headquarters, west side station in annual report

The Danbury Fire Department has provided a Statement of Conditions to City officials.  Chief TJ Wiedl says the conventional operations of the Department are sound.
 
Fire Headquarters is nearly half a century old and is too small.  Some equipment continues to be stored at Danbury Airport, which is subject to FAA restrictions.  Wiedl cautioned that the space may be lost.  An engineering study of 19 New Street was completed in 2012. 
 
The site and structure can be modified, according to the report, but Wiedl says they still believe the best option is to build a new structure at a new location.  The current site straddles a flood plain and is subject to FEMA and EPA approvals.
 
A 2010 Task Force Report from the Mayor recommended construction of a new engine house in the south end of the city, now served by Engine 22 from Fire Headquarters.  While the station would be ideally situated in the area of Main and South streets to Shelter Rock, Wiedl says the station may be best considered as desired rather than necessary. 
 
He says the rapid expansion of residential and commercial properties on the westside places more demand there.  Wield says the need for a station hosting an engine company and an ambulance is more obvious than even a couple of years ago.  Wiedl called on City officials to consider a plan for this now, as the growth will continue and eventually overextend current staffing and response capabilities.
 
Wiedl continues to recommend that Padanram Hose Company, Wooster Hose Company and Citizens Hose Company be moved to a new, modern station housing all three.  The North Street structure was built in 1950, is in a poor location and has inadequate parking.  It's in need of roof repairs, new windows and the fire escape needs replacing.  The roof of Citizen Hose on Jefferson Avenue was replaced a few years ago, but is now leaking.  A new HVAC, boiler and insulation are needed.  The structure is over 120 years old.  Wooster Hose on Coal Pit Hill was built in 1883.  Though quaint in appearance, he says they are not suited for use by modern fire departments.  Wiedl suggests selling two of the properties.

Revenue fund set up for GE donation for Newtown Community Center

A special revenue fund has been created in Newtown to account for the donation from GE and other community center revenues.  The account is needed to track money from the donation since the community center and the senior center are being built at the same time.  The first allocation will be made for the director, who started last month.  Newtown Board of Finance members say the account will create transparency around expenditures and revenue.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal will oversee coordination with Parks and Rec in the director’s job description.    


UPDATED: Motorcyclist killed in accident on I-84 in Newtown

A motorcyclist was killed in a highway crash in Newtown this morning.  State Police say 48-year old William Jasmin of Danbury struck a concrete bridge rail between exits 11 and 13, around 7am.  State Police say the man was ejected from the bike and struck the guardrail on top of the concrete bridge rail.  Jasmin was pronounced dead at the scene.  He came to rest in the right lane while the motorcycle landed in the left lane.  The highway was closed for a time while police responded.  The bike was towed from the scene.  State Police say the cause of the crash is unknown at this time.  Anyone who witnessed the accident is asked to contact Trooper Matthew Bell at Troop A in Southbury at (203) 267-2200.


Bethel Fire Department releases June call logs

Bethel Fire Department has released statistics for June calls.  There were a total of 33, the most for response to car accidents and automatic alarms.  During the month of June, Bethel Fire responded to 3 structure and 3 brush fires.  There was also a stove fire, a grill issue and a tree on a house.  Bethel Fire also responded to 4 EMS assists, 5 unauthorized burns and investigated a lightning strike.  Bethel Fire was also requested 4 times out of town for Mutual Aid.  Bethel EMS had a total of 121 calls for service during the month.  10 were for mutual aid out of district.


Woman arrested for armed robbery at Danbury gas station

A woman has been arrested for an armed robbery of a Danbury gas station. Danbury Police were called to the Exxon station on North Main Street early Wednesday morning about a woman with a knife who stole an undisclosed sum of cash and then fled. 

 

Video surveillance helped police determine that the suspect was 30-year old Elizabeth Saparato of Danbury.  She was arrested at home home on Tuesday without incident.  Saparato was charged with robbery, unlawful restraint and larceny. 

 

She was held on $50,000 bond.


WCSU expands blue-green algae sampling on Candlewood Lake

West Conn is expanding its blue-green algae sampling of Candlewood Lake.  For several years students have taken weekly sampling at public beaches and reported to local health directors.  With sites being added this year, West Conn is looking for the public's help.  The university is working with Aquatic Ecosystem Research and the Candlewood Lake Authority. 

 

The goal is to see whether other areas along the shoreline exhibit similar conditions as the town beaches. 

 

A New Fairfield High School graduate who attends UConn will collect water samples at additional sites around Candlewood and other nearby lakes, based on reports of blue-green algae “blooms” to local health departments, the Candlewood Lake Authority or directly to him by the public. 

 

To report a bloom, send an email to Josh  Sproule at sproule003@connect.wcsu.edu. Information in the email should include the name and phone number of the person reporting the bloom, an address, location along the shoreline or GPS coordinates where the bloom can be found, and permission to access private property to sample, should it be required.

 

If a picture of the bloom is available, that should be attached to the email, as well.  


Danbury prison inmate pleads guilty to possessing contraband

An inmate at Danbury Federal Correctional Institution has pleaded guilty to possession of contraband.  According to court documents, 41-year old John Faucher possessed an object designed or intended to be used as a weapon.  He is scheduled to be sentenced in October and faces up to 5 years in prison.  Faucher is currently serving a 46-month sentence at Danbury FCI for robbing a bank in New Hampshire, in October 2016, and attempting to rob a convenience store in Manchester in September 2016.   He was scheduled for release in February 2020.


Homeless encampment along Still River cleaned up

A clean up effort has been completed along the Still River in Danbury where two homeless people had been living.  The Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team, with the help of a Clean Start program crew and community service workers, the clean up was done under the Casper Street bridge.  There was an accumulation of bulky garbage and tarps.  UNIT Director Shawn Stillman says the two people, who were living there for a period of time, had no interest in going to the City Shelter.  UNIT contacted Jericho Partnership and coordinated for the two parties discuss their housing and shelter options.  One person took advantage of the housing benefits that Jericho offered.

 


Newtown Police apply for state grant for body cameras

Newtown Police are applying for reimbursement from the state for body-worn cameras.  The grant is 100 percent reimburse to the town for the $69,400 cost.  Chief James Viadero says up until several months ago, the state wasn't allowing for infrastructure, but now they are.  That infrastructure includes software and storage in the form of servers to store video data. 

 

Viadero says the grant requires a guarantee to the state that the department will follow POST guidelines and monitor implementation of the cameras.  Those guidelines include reviewing policies, FIOA requests, and how long data will be kept for among others.  He says this type of technology is nothing out of the ordinary for Newtown Police because they already have in-car cameras. 

 

Viadero added that this is a good opportunity to stay with the national curve, and to get technology which at some point will likely become mandatory in the state. 

 

He says the benefit of applying now that servers can be paid for by the state is that it eliminates a recurring cost for a contract for cloud-based storage.  Right now the department has some storage capability, but the server will allow for more. 


Brookfield Library participates in One Book, One Read program

Brookfield Library has organized a One Town, One Read program.  The reading selection is My Dear Hamilton.  The town-wide program has a goal of building community spirit through a shared reading experience. This will be the first year for Brookfield to do this program.  A series of events and discussions inspired by the themes of the book will be held this month and next, including an author talk.  There will be prizes for the program, including the chance to win a pair of tickets to see the Broadway musical Hamilton.

Danbury board postpones hearing on Dorothy Day House variances

Tonight's Danbury Zoning Board of Appeals meeting has been cancelled.  The group was going to continue discussing a request for variances by representatives for the Dorothy Day Hospitality House.  They are waiting for more documents about the request.  Attorney Neil Marcus previously told the group that his client is seeking to file a site plan, with special exceptions, before the Planning Commission.  Variances are being sought for driveway requirements, setbacks and parking lot size.  The next meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled for August 9th.


Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission to interview design finalists

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission is meeting tonight.  They recently sent letters to the more than 150 designers who submitted proposals, but were not selected for further consideration.  A list of questions for each of the three finalist designers about their specific proposal will be discussed.  Those designers are based in California, Arizona and Minnesota.  An interview meeting has been set up for next Tuesday.  The Public Building and Site Commission will help to write the request for proposals.


Bethel signs on to new agreement with HRRA

The Bethel Board of Selectmen has approved a Municipal Regional Solid Waste and Recycling System Agreement.  Jen Heaton-Jones with Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority discussed the agreement between HRRA and the Town at a recent meeting.  HRRA was formed for volume discounting for solid waste disposal.  The contract with municipalities was created in 1986.  It's set to expire June 30th 2019.  HRRA has 11 member municipalities.  
 
The state has put into action many laws about solid waste and recycling.  The state has set a goal of   60-percent diversion of solid waste by 2024, but most towns are currently at 20 to 30 percent.
 
Heaton-Jones says it's nearly impossible to enforce unit-based pricing on private haulers, but it would be easier if there was municipal collection through tax base.  She says Torrington is looking into a pay-as-you-throw program.  Residents would get free recycling services, but have to purchase trash bags for $3.75 each.  The idea is that people will recycle more if they think about what it costs to throw out garbage.
 
According to the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, similar waste reduction programs have been successfully implemented in about 7,000 communities nationwide. DEEP noted that the charge is like how residents pay for use for electricity, gas and other other utilities.

Dirt piles to be removed from former Danbury Topsoil site

If you've seen workers at the former home of Danubry Topsoil on Miry Brook Road recently, it's crews removing the piles of dirt for the property's new owner.  The operators of Westconn Aviation purchased the more than 2 acre site abutting the airport earlier this year at a bankruptcy auction.  Danbury started legal action against the previous owner over back taxes about five years ago and the City will receive that money through the bankruptcy proceeding.  The Newstimes reports that Westconn Aviation intends to put the industrial zoned parcel on the market.


Danbury firefighters help overheated dog at Tarrywile Park

Danbury firefighters helped a dog yesterday who was overcome by the heat.  Members of the Danbury Fire Department have been training with a new Polaris Utility Terrain Vehicle.  Yesterday they were on some trails at Tarrywile Park, where there have been numerous calls for assistance.  While training, a crew came across a hiker whose dog had become overheated and needed assistance.  The firefighters got some of their drinking water and assisted the dog until he was healthy enough to make it back to the car.

 

(Photo: DFD)


Machete slaying suspect agrees to return to New York

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) One of a dozen suspects in the death of a 15-year-old boy attacked with a machete outside a New York City bodega has waived extradition from Connecticut.

The Republican-American reports that 25-year-old Luis Cabrarasantos told a judge Tuesday that he was innocent before agreeing not to fight a return to New York, where he faces murder and other charges in the June 20 death of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz in the Bronx. The boy was slashed in the neck with a machete in what authorities think was a case of mistaken identity.

Cabrarasantos was arrested Monday during a traffic stop on Interstate 84 in Southbury, Connecticut. A state trooper pulled over the car when his license plate reader detected it was possibly stolen and wanted in connection to a homicide in New York City. 


Monroe, Wilton investigating car break ins, thefts

Lock it or lose it. That's the new phrase being used by Wilton Police as the Department investigates multiple motor vehicle burglaries along with a stolen motor vehicle in the Northern part of town Monday night into Tuesday morning.
 
The Monroe Police Department is investigating multiple motor vehicle burglaries on the Southeast side of town that happened yesterday. 
 
Suspects are targeting unlocked vehicles and stealing vehicles with the keys left in them in residential neighborhoods. Residents are asked to please take all valuables out of vehicles and lock them, even when parked at home.
 
Wilton Police are asking anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity or may have caught any suspicious activity on their security systems during the overnight hours to please contact the Department at 203-834-6260.
 
Monroe Police are asking the same, and the Department can be reached at 203-261-3622.

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