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Bethel Police investigating reports of stolen vehicles

Bethel Police have recently investigated two reports of stolen vehicles in the Codfish Hill Road and Wolfpits Road areas.  Police are reminding residents to lock vehicles and take keys out of them at night.  Bethel Police say if a resident believes a vehicle may have been disturbed or broken into, not to touch it and contact Bethel Police Dispatch immediately.  In addition, anyone with residential video surveillance systems, is asked to report any suspicious activity observe on the footage.


Congresswoman introduces reauthorization of Runaway, Homeless Youth Act

5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes has co-introduced reauthorization of the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act.  Hayes says the bill renews key federal grant programs to provide states with grants to help thousands of homeless young people nationwide.  The measure was first passed by Congress in 1974.  The reauthorization would expand protections to youths who are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, and it would authorize funding for state and local programs to help provide transitional housing, street outreach, and crisis intervention programs to address the needs of homeless and runaway youth.  It would also raise the authorization of appropriations and double the minimum grant allocation provided to small states.


Monroe Police release surveillance photo of suspicious person at Masuk

Monroe Police have released a surveillance image of a man suspected of fleeing the Masuk High School campus after being confronted by the School Resource officer.  Monroe Police say they have identified a suspect in yesterday's incident and will continue to investigate the matter.  Anyone with information about the Hispanic man, who is about 30 years old with a beard and was wearing tan pants and a black hoodie sweatshirt with white lettering is asked to contact Monroe Police at 203-261-3622.  Police remained on campus throughout dismissal yesterday.  The suspicious person drove away from the school and he fled on foot after abandoning the vehicle.


Conn. man gets suspended sentence for fatal motorcycle crash

A Connecticut man who killed a motorcyclist in a Monroe accident has avoided jail time.  The judge Tuesday sentenced  60-year-old Louis Maiorino to a six-month suspended term.  Under the plea agreement, he was ordered to two years probation.  According to police, Maiorino crossed the yellow line on Route 25 in July of 2017 and collided head-on with Dan Falls of New Milford.  Falls died several weeks later.  His wife, Betty, was seriously injured and recovered.  The West Haven man pleaded guilty to negligent homicide with a motor vehicle.


Danbury teen battling leukemia gets wish fulfilled

A teen from Danbury who is battling leukemia is getting a boost from Make-a-Wish and Macy’s Believe Campaign.  The Make-A-Wish foundation is seeking to capture the joy and generosity of the holiday season.  The organization is partnering with Macy’s Believe letter-writing campaign, with the retailer donating $1 for every letter dropped off or submitted online, up to $1 million, to help grant wishes for children battling critical illnesses. 

As part of the campaign, celebrations will be held across the country each Wednesday to grant the wish of a local Make-A-Wish child. 

Yesterday, the Danbury location welcomed 16 year-old Alexandra Chakar.  She wishes to go to Australia.  The High School senior loves marine animals and will get to have the opportunity to snorkel, with the help of Macy’s and Make-A-Wish. 

Alexandra was diagnosed in June.  She is now nearing the end of her treatment, with her last chemo treatment right after Thanksgiving.  

The standout on the Hatters cross country and track teams missed the fall season and was home schooled while undergoing chemotherapy.


New Milford, DOT coordinate traffic congestion mitigation work

New Milford officials have been working with the state Department of Transportation on traffic congestion mitigation around Bridge Street, and  intersections of West, Railroad, Main and Grove streets.  Mayor Pete Bass says engineers changed the traffic and pedestrian sync when they changed the lights on Railroad and  Bridge streets and took down the flashing light at West and Bridge. 

DOT Engineers were in New Milford this week assessing the light sync issues on Bridge Street to make adjustments, and that work is continuing. 

Bass has requested a ' do not turn on red' sign  at the intersection of East Street, Route 202 and Bridge Street, which he believes will alleviate cars entering Bridge Street  with a left hand turn from Grove being stuck in the intersection due to congestion. 

For East Street, Bass says the town has applied for Federal grant funding for a left hand turn lane at the intersection of Elm and Route 202, which he says  should help ease traffic on 202 from the light to Grove Street.


Bethel man pleads not guilty to murder

A Bethel man has pleaded not guilty to murdering his brother.  40-year old Matthew O'Dell was charged for allegedly fatally shooting his 42-year old brother, Richard, on November 11th.  Bethel police say their mother returned to the Apollo Road home they all shared that evening and found her son’s body.  Police said at the time that she initially thought he had taken his own life.  O'Dell was arrested by Bethel Police at the courthouse, where he was brought by New Milford Police for charges in that town.  New Milford Police say O'Dell tried to steal a car at Young’s Hotel that night. The car's owner was able to disarm him and hold him until officers arrived.  O’Dell has a pre-trial hearing Friday on the murder charge and is due in Torrington Court on December 3rd for the charges out of New Milford.


Bethel officials seek answer on flooding police station firing range

Bethel officials are asking the town's attorney to send a letter to Downes Construction Company over flooding issues at the new police station.  The firing range has experienced months of water issues.  The town is looking for a date of when the leak will be fixed.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the town has paid for a building, but one section is not working properly and needs to be corrected.  Police moved in at the end of 2018. A study from outside experts was not able to provide a reason for the flooding issue.  Knickerbocker says rain from recent storms cascades through the bricks.


Department of Consumer Protection has role in Southbury crash investigation

The state Department of Consumer Protection Liquor Control Division has launched an investigation into the case of a Connecticut State Police Sgt who was charged this week for a DUI crash that injured a mother and her daughter in September.  The Department is looking into whether any Liquor Permittee in the state knowingly served an intoxicated individual, which is against state law.  While the spokeswoman declined to say whether regulators are investigating the Black Hog Brewery specifically, Sgt John McDonald was at a Trooper retirement party there before the crash.


Danbury UNIT gets Jansen Street property owner to clean up parcel

The Danbury City Council has gotten an update from the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team on an ongoing blight issue.  UNIT officials say a commercial location on Jansen Street has been an eyesore for years, with construction debris, old vehicles, storage containers, mobile homes, a school bus and other blight.  For about a year, UNIT has been working with the property owner to comply with an order to clean up the property.  The agreed deadlines have been met by the owner, who systematically cleaned up the whole area. Since then, UNIT has received positive feedback and thanks from individuals who work nearby.


Technology to detect wrong-way drivers tested in Danbury

Technology to prevent wrong-way drivers is being tested in Danbury.  The state Department of Transportation is installing the video software   detection device at the Exit 8 westbound off-ramp.  The Newstimes reports that flashing lights will activate on existing 'do not enter' and 'wrong way' signs to get the driver's attention.  The 250-thousand dollar project is being installed as the DOT replaces aging traffic signals.  DOT spokesman Kevin Nursik said in the published report that Danbury was chosen because of the confusing intersection configuration, and because three crashes have been reported there involving wrong-way drivers over the past several years.  If the pilot program is a success, the technology could be expanded across the state.


Suspicious individual seen near Masuk High School in Monroe

A suspicious individual was seen near Masuk High School in Monroe this morning. The person was sitting in a vehicle, but when the School Resource Officer approached, the driver sped off.  The vehicle was abandoned shortly after and the driver fled on foot.  Monroe Police are searching for this person in the area outside of Masuk. 

The man appears to be in his 30s to 40 years old, with a beard.  He was wearing a black and gray sweatshirt and tan pants. 

All students are safe, but Masuk was initially put in a lockdown as a precaution. That status has since been changed to controlled movement with all exterior doors remaining closed and locked.  Police are in close communication with the school.  

Newtown and State Police are assisting in the search.


Newtown firefighters to collect donations for Food Pantry

On Saturday, from 9 am until 2 pm, firefighters from all five of Newtown's volunteer fire companies will be collecting food and other needed items for those who count on FAITH Food Pantry. The Fill The Fire Truck Food Drive will be outside Big Y on Queen Street, hosted by Sandy Hook, Hawleyville and Hook & Ladder members.  The food drive at Stop & Shop in Sand Hill Plaza is hosted by Botsford and Dodgingtown.  All donations will be delivered immediately to the nondenominational food pantry on Church Hill Road.


Danbury High School robotics team hosts 6th annual competition

The Danbury High School Mad Hatters robotics team hosted their sixth and largest annual competition over the weekend.  61 teams from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey gathered at Danbury High School on Saturday.  Danbury’s team robot 5150D won the design award for the best engineering notebook and is now qualified for the Southern New England Regionals held in March in  Massachusetts. Team 5150J ranked second after qualifying rounds and is likely to be have scored high enough in robot skills, a separate competition where a driver has one minute to score as many points as possible, to also qualify for the regionals.


State police sergeant charged in crash that injured 2 women

A Connecticut State Police sergeant has been charged with drunken driving, assault and other crimes in connection with an off-duty car crash that injured two women.

State police say 37-year-old John McDonald was arrested Tuesday and released on a promise to appear in Middletown Superior Court on December 2nd.

McDonald was at the Black Hog Brewing Company in Oxford before the crash, according to the warrant.  Surveillance footage showed McDonald drinking at least eight alcoholic drinks over three hours.  He is later seen ordering more drinks and bringing them out of camera view.  According to the warrant, witnesses to the crash described McDonald as "slurring his words" and smelling of alcohol. 

Troopers say McDonald later ran a stop sign in Southbury and crashed into another car, injuring a 52-year-old Middlebury woman and her 19-year-old daughter.  Technology in his car showed McDonald was speeding at 71 miles an hour in a 40 zone.

A breathalyzer test was not administered on scene. Troopers say McDonald later checked himself out of the hospital without medical treatment.

A Southbury Police Officer was the first on the scene and saw a man standing in the roadway, swaying back and forth while on his cell phone.  The officer said he appeared injured or drunk.  A crash witness, an off-duty Oxford volunteer firefighter, said "that guy is definitely hammered, he's not listening to me to stay out of the roadway," according to the warrant.


Conn. man sentenced for bank, Subway robberies

A Connecticut man has been sentenced for three bank robberies and two Subway store robberies.  56-year old Alvin Robertson of Bridgeport was ordered to 10 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.  Robertson robbed a Subway in Ridgefield last May, brandishing a knife and threatening to kill the store clerk if money wasn't turned over.  Last July, Robertson indicated that he had a gun while robbing a Subway in Monroe.  He also robbed a People’s Bank branch in Monroe, one in Watertown and one in Berlin, last August and September.  Robertson has prior federal and state bank robbery convictions.


Conn. Supreme Court hears case of man claiming double jeopardy

The Connecticut Supreme Court will hear a case today from the Danbury Judicial Branch.  The justices will consider whether the defendant's convictions of assault as both a principal and accessory for a joint assault of the same victim violates the double jeopardy clause. 

Joesenier Ruiz-Pacheco and his brother fought with two men in a parking lot, stabbing them multiple times, and following them and stabbing them again.  Pacheco was convicted of assault as a principal and an accessory for injuries suffered by a victim, and for injuries sustained by the same victim.  On appeal, he claimed that his convictions violated the federal constitution's double jeopardy clause, and that his two assault convictions as an accessory should be vacated.  

The Appellate Court rejected the defendant's claim because of the the initial brawl and the stabbing after the pursuit. The court noted that the state never suggested to the jury that the assault charges were alternative theories of liability.


Bethel seeks bids for construction of Chestnut Ridge Water Storage Tank

Bethel officials are seeking bids for construction of the Chestnut Ridge Water Storage Tank Project.  Bids will be accepted until December 17th.  The work involves the construction and installation of a 500,000 gallons wire wound prestressed concrete water storage tank, installation of interior tank piping, water main, landscaping, chain link fencing and an access gate.  A pre-bid conference will be held at the Municipal Center on Friday at 10am.  Attendance is non-mandatory, but participation is encouraged.


Affordable housing roundtable to be held in Bethel

A roundtable on affordable housing will be held in Bethel tonight.  The discussion will be held at 6:30pm at the municipal center in response to concerns from residents over developments.  Panelists will discuss the state's 8-30g law, which allows developers to bypass local zoning regulations if a percentage of their housing is designated as affordable.  The state Housing Commissioner, a community development specialist and the town planner will be joined on the panel by  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker, Planning and Zoning Commission chair Pat Rist and state Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan.


3 Danbury lawmakers recognized for support of environmental bills

Three Danbury lawmakers have received high marks on the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters’ 2019 Environmental Scorecard, released this week. Bob Godfrey and Ken Gucker tallied perfect scores of 100 percent. David Arconti received a score of 90 percent.  All three state representatives supported pro-environment legislation passed in the last session that included an act concerning the procurement of energy derived from offshore wind, a resolution approving the state water plan, and the winding down and eventual ban on single-use plastic bags in Connecticut. Arconti serves as co-chair of the legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee.  Gucker is a member of the Environment Committee. 


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