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Rich Minor in the Morning
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Rich Minor in the Morning

Local News Stories

West Conn to host virtual symposium on health of local lakes

West Conn is hosting a virtual symposium on the health of local lakes on Monday night.  Registration is required for the 7pm event.  Invited lake community representatives include Candlewood Lake Authority, Lake Housatonic, Ball Pond, Lake Zoar, Lake Lillinonah, Lake Waubeeka and others.  Aquatic Ecosystems Research member Larry Marsicano will facilitate the conversation among the panelists. 


Easton Police to participate in National Drug Take Back Day

Easton Police will be again participating in National Drug Take Back Day.  The collection of unused prescriptions and leftover or expired over the counter medication will be held October 24th.  The Easton drive thru drop off at Samuel Staples Elementary School, from 10am to 2pm, will use the front loop of the school.  Easton EMS will also be in the front loop collecting cans and bottles and there will be electronics recycling behind the school.


Ridgefield Police investigate reports of mail tampering

The Ridgefield Police Department has recently received reports of mail tampering.  Police are offering tips to help protect against mail and package theft.  Residents are encouraged to not leave letters and packages in the mailbox or at the door for any length of time.  Mail should be dropped in blue collection boxes close to pick up time.  Anyone who doesn't receive an expected check, credit card, or other valuable mail should contact the sender as soon as possible and inquire about it.


Local school to be honored at National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony

The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually on November 12th and 13th.  Among the 317 public and 50 non-public schools to be honored is South Street School in Danbury.  Superintendent Dr Sal Pascarella says the school is an example of where a community of educators really bands together to get to the root of helping students. By combining a rigorous academic program with family and community engagement, Pascarella says South Street School has been able to achieve unprecedented success in helping students meet goals in many areas.


Danbury COVID-19 cases plateau

Danbury reported 12 new coronavirus cases yesterday, and no new deaths.  Danbury school officials are meeting today about a decision on whether or not to move to a hybrid model of learning next month.  Mayor Mark Boughton says coronavirus cases are still not down to where they need to be.  He says the City has plateaued, but they need to drop.  Danbury still has a 4 to 5 percent positivity rate.  A decision will likely be made next week in Danbury about opening playing fields back up following the COVID-19 spike.  Boughton says he knows that youth leagues are playing elsewhere in the state, and notes that the governor is basing his decision to reopen more and increase capacity based on statewide numbers.  The Danbury decision is made locally, based on City numbers.


Monroe Police Department seeks reaccreditation

The Monroe Police Department will be hosting assessors from the Police Officer Standards and Training Council during the first week of November.  They will examine policies and procedures.  The department  is currently a full Tier III accredited police agency and is seeking their fifth re-accreditation.  As part of the assessment, agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments.  They can be mailed to William Tanner, Accreditation Program Manager, POSTC Accreditation Division at 285 Preston Ave, Meriden, Ct. 06450, by telephone at 203 427-2626, by fax at 203 238-6119 or by e-mail to William.Tanner@ct.gov.  Copies of the state accreditation standards are available at the Monroe Police Department and can be obtained from the Departments accreditation manager, Dan Brennan, at 203 452-2830 Ext 1209 or dbrennan@monroectpolice.com.


DEEP reopens Lattins Cove state boat launch at 50% capacity

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will reopen Lattins Cove state boat launch on Candlewood Lake today at 50% capacity.  The boat launch was closed August 26th, following an uptick in new COVID-19 infections in Danbury and numerous reports of “rafting” – boats tied-up together in mass gathering.  DEEP says the shift in seasonal weather has reduced activity levels on the water, allowing for partial re-opening of access to provide safe outdoor recreation opportunities consistent with COVID-19 prevention guidance. The situation will continue to be monitored to deter and identify gatherings on the water and at state boat launches.  DEEP recommends that all persons using state boat launch facilities and docks maintain a six-foot social distancing separation from non-family members.  On vessels where distance is not possible, face coverings should be worn. “Rafting,” where several boats tie up, and large gatherings, are DEEP says not conducive to appropriate and safe social distancing, and are strongly discouraged.


Danbury man arrested for home invasion, assault, kidnapping

A Danbury man has been arrested on home invasion and kidnapping charges.  Police were called to a disturbance at a home late Tuesday night and learned that 32-year-old Francisco Fontanez-Trinidad forced his way inside.  He allegedly assaulted a man, brandished a pistol and threatened the victim.  When the man resisted, Police say Fontanez-Trinidad discharged the pistol and assaulted the man with the gun.  A woman was forcibly removed from the residence and made to drive to Fontanez-Trinidad's home.  During the drive, Police say he repeatedly assaulted the woman, leaving visible signs of injury.  About an hour later, Fontanez-Trinidad called police about what he had done and asked police to come to his Bennett Place home.  He was arrested without incident and the pistol was recovered.  Fontanez-Trinidad was also charged with Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm, Disorderly Conduct, Assault, Threatening, and Reckless Endangerment.


Danbury school has been named a 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools

A Danbury school has been named a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

South Street School was recognized for Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing.  More than half of the K-5 students at South Street School are English learners. Overall enrollment is nearly 400 students, and 87.2 percent of the students are from economically disadvantaged families.

State Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona says South Street educators understand the challenges their students face, and they are dedicated to meeting their needs. Teachers use “big data” like test scores to frame a problem, but student work provides educators with the necessary detail to correctly identify the problem or misunderstanding and in turn, generate instructional solutions.

The school-wide daily 30-minute WIN (What I Need) block is a key structural piece in place at South Street School to meet the needs of all students whether they need intervention or acceleration. The WIN block is designed so that no student is removed from their class during core content instruction. Cardona says the effort is successful because of the commitment and “all hands on deck” approach of the professionals in the building including teachers, coaches, English learner specialists, and special education staff. This highly coordinated time used to provide “expert support” to students is a school priority. As a result, students are showing strong academic growth, and the school has been identified as a School of Distinction by the CSDE for three of the last four years.


Woman arrested for allegedly damaging car during dispute

Southbury Police have arrested a woman for allegedly damaging someone's car during a dispute at a gas station.  Police responded to the station on Strongtown Road late Friday night on a report of a domestic dispute.  The caller said 24-year-old Hannah Capserson of Brookfield was smashing up his car.  Police then received a call from a woman who they said was hysterical and could not provide any information.  Other officers spotted a damaged car and launched an investigation.  Casperson was charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.  She was released on bond for a November 23rd court appearance.


Virtual debate for 5th Congressional District candidates scheduled

A virtual debate will be held between the candidates vying for the 5th Congressional District seat.  The candidates will debate on October 5th at 7pm in an event hosted by West Conn, the Newstimes and The League of Women Voters chapters of Northern Fairfield County and Litchfield County.  Incumbent Democrat Jahana Hayes, Republican David X. Sullivan and Bruce Walczak of the Independent Party have been invited.  The live stream will be available on the WCSU website.  Hayes, a Waterbury resident, was the national Teacher of the Year.  Sullivan, a former assistant U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, lives in New Fairfield.  Walczak, a longtime Newtown resident, owns an employee relocation consulting firm and is a member of the Newtown Police Commission.


One person seriously injured in highway accident

One person was seriously injured in a highway accident that snarled the morning commute yesterday.  Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company and EMS were dispatched to Interstate 84 East between Exits 8 and 9 shortly after 7am.  The single vehicle was found in the woods with a person heavily entrapped.  State Police and Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company also responded. Members used the HURST Jaws of Life to free the single occupant in approximately 25 minutes. Members had to cut the doors and roof off to access the driver. Firefighters remained on the scene until the vehicle was towed out from the woods. The occupant was transported to Danbury Hospital with serious injuries.

(Photo: SHVFD)


Danbury company receives U.S. Department of Energy Project Award

A Danbury-based company has received a U.S. Department of Energy Project Award.  FuelCell Energy's reversible solid oxide project has been selected for $3-million in funding. The project focuses on developing performance improvements to advance the commercialization of FuelCell Energy’s reversible solid oxide fuel cell systems.  It's a hybrid operation system that performs water electrolysis for the production of hydrogen, stores the hydrogen, and then produces power by using the produced hydrogen.


Southbury state lawmakers at odds over QAnon

A retiring state lawmaker is speaking out about one of his colleague's affiliation with QAnon, a conspiracy theory about a plot against the President.  Southbury Senator Eric Berthel has a bumper sticker on his car, which Representative Arthur O'Neill says demonstrates his support.  Berthel Maintains that his support is for the group’s desire for government accountability, not QAnon’s conspiracy beliefs.  O'Neill says Berthel lacks the character, common sense, and common decency to hold the office of state senator.  Both men are Republicans.  Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, who is also retiring, says O'Neill's attempt  to smear Berthel is misplaced.


Newtown Transfer Station fee reinstated, road paving scheduled

Beginning Tuesday, the Newtown Transfer Station will reinstate a fee on wood larger than 3 inches in diameter. The $10 fee was waived by the town for storm cleanup. 

Milling and paving will begin in Newtown today on the Boulevard between Church Hill Road and  School House Hill Road.  While the road will remain open, delays are expected and alternate routes are recommended.


New Milford Fire Marshal suspends burn permits until further notice

The New Milford Fire Marshal has suspended all burn permits until further notice.  Northville Fire Department says this is because Connecticut has been hit with concerning weather conditions - not only a drought but high winds as well. Branches and trees have fallen, leaving dead brush laying around. Normally, the Fire Marshal issues permits allowing residents to burn this brush under certain conditions, but firefighters say Connecticut is not under those conditions, and in fact it's just the opposite.  New Milford's fire departments say they will have a zero-tolerance policy for any outside burning as a result of the permit suspension. Anyone seeing outside burning is asked to call 911, though any questions regarding permits should be directed to the Fire Marshal’s office.


Ridgefield COVID tax deferral programs coming to an end

The Town of Ridgefield deferral program and low interest program regarding taxes, which were implemented in conjunction with the Governor's COVID-related executive orders, are coming to an end.  The Low Interest program is expiring on September 30.  For any balance as of October 1, interest will revert back to the Statutory interest rate of 1-and-a-half-percent per month or part thereof which for the month of October is 6-percent.  Under the terms of the local Ridgefield Deferral program, taxes for the first installment due on July 1st were deferred for three months.  That payment is due by October 1, 2020 without any interest.   The terms were included in the Governor's Executive Orders and cannot be altered by the town.


New Milford Recycling Center to be managed under Public/Private partnership agreement

Starting next Tuesday, the New Milford Recycling Center will be managed under a Public/Private partnership agreement by a New Milford-based family owned business. Three Veterans LLC is owned by Bob Hanna, who managed the center for the town from April 2017 to September 2019.   Under the agreement, Three Veterans will pay about $1,000 each month, and then keep the fees residents pay to use the center.  Any fee increase would be subject to Town Council approval.  The hours will be extended and more types of recyclables will be accepted.  If recyclables become profitable again, the town and Three Veterans will determine how the proceeds will be split.  Mayor Pete Bass says this change was made in order to save money, largely due to the volatile recycling market.  He says the town used to be able to sell some recyclables, but because China has become more restrictive on what they accept, the town has to pay people to take them away.  New Milford will still hold the permit from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.


First established population of Asian longhorned tick identified in Fairfield County

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is reporting the first established population of the Asian longhorned tick in Fairfield County. The state agency is closely monitoring the distribution and human biting activity of this newly discovered invasive tick species, as well as its potential involvement in transmission of exotic and local disease agents. 

Asian longhorned ticks are reddish-brown.

They are a three-host tick species as each active life stage feeds on a different host.  In temperate populations, each female adult Asian longhorned tick can produce offspring—1,000 to 2,000 eggs at a time—without mating.

The invasive species was initially discovered in the U-U on a farm in New Jersey in 2017, raising public and veterinary health concerns, and has now been found in at least 14 other states.  The Asian longhorned tick is native to the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and eastern regions of Russia and China.  It's a major livestock pest in Australia and New Zealand, where it was introduced before 1901.  

The Tick Testing Program at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is a state-supported service offered to State residents since 1990. Ticks are accepted only from residents of Connecticut and should be submitted through their local health departments. Ticks are examined for species, life cycle stage, and engorgement status in addition to pathogen testing.


Referee appealing negligence lawsuit against Newtown

A school referee is appealing a negligence lawsuit against Newtown.  Connecticut Insider reports that the case by Stratford referee Albert Buehler was dismissed last year as Newtown argued that its employees had the right to use their discretion under state law and were immune from most liability.  Buehler claims the town set up the volleyball court and was liable from the faulty stand, which he says opened like a trap door while he was signaling for the server to serve the ball.  The incident happened in 2015 and Buehler argued that he fell 4-and-a-half to 5 feet straight down.  He sued in 2017 and the suit was dismissed last year.  The appeal was filed last month. 


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