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Danbury hosts pop up COVID vaccine clinics as Delta variant spreads in Conn.

Danbury is looking to tamp down rising infection rates by continuing to hold pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics.  Danbury area residents will have an opportunity to get a shot of any of the three vaccines with emergency use authorization at a clinic at Rogers Park from 3pm to 9pm.  There were 87.3 new cases per 100,000 people in Connecticut over the past two weeks.  Connecticut ranks 41st in the country for new cases per capita. The delta variant accounts for 78.3 percent of COVID-19 cases being reported in Connecticut.  That's a slight decrease from last week.  The variant first detected in the U.K. accounts for 17.4 percent of cases.


Ridgefield Tax Collector to hold extra hours for tax payments

The Ridgefield Tax Collector's office will be open today for special hours for residents to pay 1st quarter real estate, personal property and motor vehicle taxes.  The office will be open 9am to noon, and on Monday, the last day to pay without penalty, from 8:30am to 7pm.


New Milford Mayor announces movie to start filming in town soon

A movie will start filming in a few months in New Milford.  Mayor Pete Bass met with week with the Executive Team that will be filming The Thursday Night Club.  Work will start in January and Bass says they expect to put $400,000 into the local economy by patronizing local merchants, restaurants and elsewhere.  He credited the town's the film commission for their efforts in getting another movie made in New Milford.


New Fairfield sets up new COVID-19 vaccine clinic dates

New Fairfield has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the Greater Danbury area.  The local Health Director has arranged for a yellow COVID 19 vaccine van to host a Clinic on Wednesday from 8am to 7pm  The van will also be in New Fairfield next Saturday from 9am to 5pm in the New Fairfield High School parking lot. Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccine will be available. The clinic will vaccinate anyone over the age of 12, however those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent. 

Vaccination will be  provided free of charge.  Those visiting the clinic to ghet their shot will receive a ticket for free admission to Quassy Amusement Park, coupons for Dunkin Donuts or ice cream from the Goodie Shop.

7 new COVID-associated fatalities have been reported in Connecticut over the past week.  The number of people hospitalized with the virus rose by 9 yesterday from Wednesday to 112. 

Connecticut has recorded 1,133 so-called “breakthrough” cases of COVID-19, people contracting the virus after being fully vaccinated.  That represents just .06 percent of those who have been vaccinated. Of those, 171 people were hospitalized and there were 27 deaths among fully vaccinated people during the pandemic.


Developer vetted for Fairfield Hills mixed use proposal

Newtown Office Economic and Community Development says a Boston-based developer has been vetted in their bid to convert two abandoned buildings on the Fairfield Hills campus into a mix of apartments and commercial use. 

WinnDevelopment wants to redevelop Shelton House and Kent House and has done similar adaptive reuse projects in Connecticut.  The former psychiatric hospital buildings are original to the site and the decision to have limited housing on campus will save the 1933 and 1940 structures from demolition. 

Newtown residents voted in November to rezone the campus for housing and commercial development in no more than two of the vacant buildings. A formal proposal for the adaptive reuse will be developed by WinnCompanies.

Meanwhile, break-ins at the vacant buildings on the Fairfield Hills campus continue in Newtown.  Commission members said at their meeting this week that police are doing the best they can and thanked police for sending officers to monitor the campus when requested. 


Brookfield Board of Ed meeting video back online after being flagged

The Brookfield Board of Education says a video of their meeting is back up on YouTube, after the company flagged it for medical misinformation.  The Board was discussing the possible school mask and social distancing requirements for the fall, with about an hour of public comment on the matter.  The district says this was the first time one of their videos has been flagged.  YouTube warned that the channel would get a Community Guidelines Strike, with only this one warning, and if it happened again, they wouldn't be able to post, upload or livestream for one week.  The board appealed the decision, but while it was off the site, video of the meeting was posted to a town streaming resource.


Danbury Board of Ed to meet Monday on fall reopening

A special Danbury Board of Education meeting is being held Monday night.  Members will get an update from Interim Superintendent Kevin Walston on reopening of schools on August 30th.  The Board will also have a presentation and vote on the 5-school solar project.  The meeting Monday is at 6:30pm and will be held via Zoom.  It will also be live streamed on the board's YouTube page.


Zip ties closing gate at Bethel school construction site repeatedly cut

Construction work continues in Bethel on Rockwell and Johnson Schools renovation projects.  But there's been an issue with the gate at the Johnson School site being opened by the public.  During the Public Site and Building Commission meeting on Tuesday, chairwoman Nancy Ryan asked for an update on the situation.  Supervisor of Facility Operations for the schools Robert Germinaro said signs are being made to discourage entry.  One of the signs has special wording, two have normal wording barring entry.  The gates are zip tied nightly, but are being cut after hours for entry by public.  He commented that he was tempted to put a fire lock on it, because they have a key, but the problem is that police would then not be able to go around the back of the building. 


Health Department recommends three counties mask up again

Hartford, New Haven or New London Counties have been downgraded into the category of “substantial transmission” areas under the COVID-19 classification system set up by the CDC. 

Southbury and Oxford, in New Haven County are in the state's yellow alert zone for community spread of the disease.  Neighboring Monroe is as well, and Easton is now in the orange zone, the second highest alert level.  The town experienced 12 cases of COVID this week. 

Brookfield has moved into the yellow zone for having 4 COVID cases last week and 10 this week.  That made the rate 5.9 per 100,000 population in the last two weeks reported.

 Connecticut’s Health Department issued a recommendation Thursday that residents go back to wearing masks indoors when in Hartford, New Haven or New London Counties and said evidence suggests the state is entering into another wave of the pandemic.  The department said the mask-wearing recommendation holds for everyone in those counties, regardless of vaccination status.

The state also reported that four towns — Bozrah, Hartland, Salem, and Sprague — are now in the state’s “red zone,” indicating they have case rates over the last two weeks of greater than 15 per 100,000 people. There were two towns in the “red zone” last week.

“The recent increase in the case rate and hospitalization rate among unvaccinated persons suggests that we are seeing the beginning of the fourth pandemic wave in Connecticut,” the department said in its weekly report. “This wave is caused by the delta variant.”

There is already an executive order in place that requires all individuals who have not been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to wear a cloth face covering when indoors and unable to maintain an adequate distance from others.

The department also is recommending that all state residents who have underlying medical conditions that put them at risk for COVID-19 complications, or who live with high-risk or unvaccinated individuals, wears masks in indoor public spaces.

The state reported that seven more people died over the past week from causes related to COVID-19, bringing the state total to 8,293 during the pandemic.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus rose by nine on Thursday to 112.

The department also reported that it has now recorded 1,133 so-called “breakthrough” cases of COVID-19 and a total of 27 deaths among fully vaccinated people during the pandemic. But they said that represents just .06% of those who have been vaccinated. Of the 1,133 cases, there were 171 hospitalizations.

Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases in Connecticut has increased by just over 190 or 207.1%, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University.

There were 87.3 new cases per 100,000 people in Connecticut over the past two weeks, which ranks 41st in the country for new cases per capita. One in every 1,809 people in Connecticut tested positive in the past week.

Health officials say the spike in cases is directly related to the prevalence of the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus.


Bethel's First Selectman to run unopposed

Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker is running unopposed in November, at this point.  The Republican Town Committee did not put forward a candidate to challenge the 6-term incumbent.  There is still time however for a Bethel resident to petition their way onto the ballot, or force a primary. 

The certified list of party-endorsed candidates for the municipal election was submitted by each party, and Bethel Democrats nominated nearly twice as many incumbents as the Republicans.  Rounding out the three-member Board of Selectmen, Democrats are endorsing incumbent Rich Straiton while the Republicans have endorsed Town Committee chairman Bryan Terzian, who sits on the Board of Finance. 

Incumbent Republican Selectman Paul Szatkowski is running for treasurer, challenging Democratic incumbent Patricia Smithwick.


Connecticut Institute For Communities to get new CEO

There's a change in leadership at the Connecticut Institute For Communities.  Katherine McKeon Curran has been appointed as the incoming President and CEO, effective August 1st.  She is current COO and General Counsel. 

The organization says Curran helped employees as they worked through bad weather and dangers all front-line workers faced to deliver over 23,000 COVID-19 tests and over 12,000 vaccines to the communities.  She coordinated vaccine delivery, managed logistics with police, and partnered with the state Department of Agriculture and the Salvation Army for food assistance for those suffering food scarcity while quarantining and awaiting COVID test results. 

 Curran joined CIFC in the fall of 2011. She was certified in Health Care Compliance by the Health Care Compliance Association, and this past year completed the Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education Program for Non-Profit Financial Stewardship.

CIFC’s Founder and longtime President & CEO, James Maloney is transitioning into a part-time consulting role for CIFC.


Ridgefield sets hearing date for regulating recreational marijuana

A decision on regulating recreational marijuana in Ridgefield could be left up to the Board of Selectmen.  The Planning and Zoning Commission voted at their meeting on Tuesday to hold a public hearing on September 14th on a year-long moratorium on growing, distributing and selling marijuana in Ridgefield.  Connecticut municipalities can either take no action, allow establishments with regulations, ban them, or impose a temporary moratorium.  Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission raised the idea this week of having the decision be left to the Selectmen, despite the state legislation giving planning and zoning bodies oversight of the rollout.  When medical marijuana was approved in Connecticut, Ridgefield put a temporary pause on facilities, and later banned them. 


Ridgefield man killed in single car crash

A Ridgefield man was killed in a single car crash in town yesterday.  Police responded to a crash on Branchville Road close to East Ridge Road around 2am and determined that 43-year-old Carl Whitbeck was the sole occupant.  He was transported to the Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.  Ridgefield Police say the vehicle was traveling east when it crossed over the westbound lane leaving the roadway and struck an embankment before coming to rest.


Brookfield Board of Ed approves school reopening plan

A plan for what school will look like in the fall in Brookfield has been approved by the Board of Education.  During their meeting on Wednesday. members signed off on recommendations from the school opening team, health department and others.  It calls for full in-person learning, with kids in school buildings 5 days a week.  But it is contingent on state recommendations.  School districts are still waiting for guidance from the state on mask mandates for students and staff.  The CDC recommends everyone in school buildings wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.  The plan does say that masks are not required for outdoor activities including outdoor gym classes and recess.  Plexiglass dividers will be taken down and dismissal times at the elementary schools will no longer be staggered in the fall.  Buses will go back to full capacity and all in-person clubs and activities will resume.


Conn. COVID-19 test positivity rate nearing 3-percent

Like the rest of Connecticut, and the country, COVID-19 positive cases are on the rise in Danbury.  The local Health Department had reported several days earlier this month with zero cases, and many with only one or two.  But that last two days reported, Monday and Tuesday of this week, there were 7 and 6 cases reported respectively.  Connecticut's daily COVID-19 test positivity rate is nearly 3-percent.  With 391 new confirmed or probable cases detected yesterday out of about 13,000 tests, the positivity rate was 2.96 percent.   The number of people seeking hospital treatment for coronavirus dipped slightly yesterday.  With two fewer patients than on Tuesday, the inpatient total is 103.


Bethel Social Services seeks donations to help families in financial need

Bethel Social Services will be on the front lawn of the Municipal Center until 5 o'clock today collecting gift cards for the Bethel Police Department to distribute in urgent situations. Donations of pre-paid gift cards for local grocers and eateries, as well as gas cards and generic gift cards will be collected.  Bethel Social Services also has tags available for residents to select for the Back to School Program drive. Each tag has one or two items on it, to help 97 children registered to receive backpacks filled with school supplies.  The Department will also be helping children living at Amos House this year.  The transitional living facility serves women and children in the Greater Danbury area, with customize programming to ensure they are able to achieve long-term self sufficiency.


Ridgefield Tax Collector to hold extra hours for tax payments

The Ridgefield Tax Collector's office will be open Saturday for special hours for residents to pay 1st quarter real estate, personal property and motor vehicle taxes.  The office will be open 9am to noon on Saturday, and on Monday, the last day to pay without penalty, from 8:30am to 7pm.


Candlewood Lake Authority asks boaters not to toss trash overboard

The Candlewood Lake Authority is reminding boaters about some good boating etiquette before entering the water this summer.  They ask that people prepare the boat and equipment before getting into position to launch.  Once on the water, with another busy season under way, boaters are asked to mind their wake, keep music at a decent level and not litter.  The Lake Authority says shorelines and islands are still lined with trash being thrown overboard.  Lake users are asked to have a carry in-carry out policy of properly disposing of any trash and not throw it overboard.


Candlewood Company retires their old Engine 21

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Candlewood Company has retired the old Engine 21.  The 1998 Pierce Saber Pumper was sold and left Brookfield this week, on its way to the dealer who will be finding its new home.  The apparatus served 24 years, 57,500 miles, and 4,800 engine hours.  Truck committee members have spent the last couple of weeks decommissioning the old engine and getting the new truck ready for service.


Edmond Town Hall awarded Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

10 more facilities in the 5th Congressional District have been approved to receive Shuttered Venue Operators Grants.  Among them is Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, which is set to receive little more than $204,000.  The program was signed into law in December to help entertainment businesses recover from the pandemic.


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