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Zoning changes up for hearing in Danbury on Career Academy, proposed brewery

A public hearing is being held in Danbury tonight by the Zoning Commission about the master plan for the Summit.  The City is considering zoning changes to allow for a combined middle and high school on the westside at the site of the former Matrix Center, part of a housing development by SC Ridge. 

The Danbury Zoning Commission is also holding a public hearing tonight about a proposed brewery and tap room.  Quirk Works Brewing and Blendery is looking to open a brewery at 78 Triangle Street.  Rick Cipriani has extensive experience in the craft brewing industry, brewery operation and beverage distribution.  Plans call for about 2,500 square feet to be used as the brewery/warehouse and 1,100 square feet as a tasting room. 

There are 114 parking spaces on site.  Current tenants require 70 spaces.  Traffic engineers anticipate 74 trips associated with the tasting room, mostly in non-peak traffic hours.  The hearing is about a Special Permit for a brewery in the IL-40 Zone. 

The meeting starts at 7:30pm.


Yellow minivans in Danbury this week offering COVID19 vaccines

The state Department of Public Health mobile COVID-19 vaccination unit will be in Danbury this afternoon.  The van will be at Abbey Woods apartments on Abbey Lane from 2pm to 7pm.  The mobile clinic will be offering Pfizer vaccines.  No appointment needed for residents 16 and older.  A mobile van will be at Sacred Heart Church on Cottage Street tomorrow 3pm to 7pm, at Danbury Library on Thursday from 11am to 5pm and outside PriceRite on Main Street Friday from 2pm to 6pm.


Aquarion continues making repairs to New Milford waterline

Repairs continue today in New Milford where a water main broke over the weekend.  Aquarion Water will be be working on Wellsville Avenue through today saw cutting the road so infrastructure repairs can be made later in the week.  Yesterday, the water company conducted fire flow testing on several roads including Bridge, East and Grove streets among others. 


Home damaged by fire, occupants sustain smoke inhalation

Brewster Fire Department is providing more details about a house fire that happened Thursday night.  Firefighters responded to Paddock Lane off Tonetta Lake Road and requested mutual aid from Lake Carmel and Putnam Lake, as well as additional EMS units for residents with smoke inhalation.  The garage, which was attached to the house, was fully engulfed and flames spread into the home. The fire was knocked down in about 30 minutes. The garage was totally destroyed, damage to the home was held to a minimum. The occupants were transported to Westchester Medical Center for treatment of smoke inhalation.


Ridgefield budget referendum today

Ridgefield residents are going to the polls today to vote on a budget for the coming fiscal year.  A $38.2 million municipal budget and $102.26 million school budget have been proposed for the coming fiscal year. 

Debt service totals $9.78 million.  Town road and infrastructure improvements total little more than $1 million. 

Other questions on the ballot will be $900,000 for Scott's Ridge and Tiger Hollow turf field replacements, $524,000 for police body and dash cameras and police/fire architectural building plans, and $1.35 million for school projects.  That work includes LED lighting upgrades, network infrastructure upgrades, East Ridge Middle School auditorium improvements and a generator for that building.  There's also proposed bonding for a Mac Truck, sidewalk improvements, construction of the Norwalk River Valley Trail, some of which will be reimbursed by grant money.

Polls are open until 8pm at Yanity Gym.


Cause of death determined for missing man found in Danbury retention pond

The state Medical Examiner has released details about the death of a man found submerged in a Mill Plain Road pond last month in Danbury.  Todd Henry Smith died from an accidental drowning.  He had last been seen alive in mid-January in the 90 block of Mill Plain Road and his body was discovered in a retention pond near the entrance to the Westwood Village Condominiums on April 8th.  According to his obituary, Smith moved to Connecticut from Colorado with his family at a very early age and loved riding his bicycle.  His family plans to hold a memorial service in Tennessee at a later date.


Former Danbury man pleads guilty to fraud, identity theft charges

A former Danbury man has pleaded guilty to fraud and identity theft charges.  57-year old Domingo St Hilaire Rosario and two others are accused of conspiring to use stolen identities to obtain vehicles and motorcycles at dealerships in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey. 

As part of the scheme, Rosario allegedly arranged for the purchase or lease in the name of an identity theft victim.  Rosario supplied his co-conspirators with fraudulent identification documents so they could complete the paperwork.  He intended to sell or export the vehicles. The three acquired at least 13 vehicles and attempted to acquire at least two more.  Some of the vehicles were recovered by law enforcement and returned to the dealers. 

Following a July 2018 traffic stop, he fled to the Dominican Republic and was extradited in May 2020 after a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging him.  Sentencing is set for September 8, 2021. 

Rosario has agreed to pay $220,589.19 in restitution.


Public hearing set on new firehouse proposed in Redding

A public hearing is being held by the Redding Zoning Commission on May 12th about tearing down a firehouse, and building a new one.  The Redding fire district is looking to demolish the Redding Ridge fire station on Black Rock Turnpike and replace it with a new facility.  The Conservation Commission has signed off on plans.  The current firehouse was built in 1927 for a horse-drawn wagon fire company, with additions and renovations over the decades creating 8,000 square feet of space.  A structural engineer has found that the foundation is falling apart and it would have cost more to renovate the existing facility than to build from new.  Plans call for 15,000 square feet in a farmhouse-style building with modern amenities.  Larger training and administrative spaces would be located on the second floor, along with overnight suites.  The lower level would serve as a storage area  and supplementary training section.


UNIT orders Danbury Housing Authority to clean up Eden Dr blight

The Danbury Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team has presented a series of blight orders to property in the City.  One was an order to clean up an area along Eden Drive which is routinely used for illegal dumping of garbage. Danbury Housing Authority owns this property and UNIT says it's imperative that they maintain it and keep it clean. In addition to the cleanup, UNIT recommend signage, as well as cameras for added security.


Connecticut Whale sold, bolstering women's hockey league

The six-team National Women’s Hockey League added a third private owner Monday by approving the sale of the Connecticut Whale.

The group of investors is led by Tobin Kelly, a mergers and acquisitions specialist with strong hockey ties.

The Whale are based in Danbury and were owned and operated by W Hockey Partners, which took control of the NWHL’s original four franchises for the purpose of selling the teams to private interests last year. The teams were previously operated by the league.

The push for private ownership comes in bid to increase the financial base for a league that was established in 2015 and the first to pay female hockey players a salary. Last month, the NWHL announced it was doubling the salary cap to $300,000 a team based on projections it is making strides in achieving financial stability entering its seventh season.

“Tobin’s commitment to supporting our athletes, building community partnerships and enhancing the fan experience represents another significant milestone,” NWHL Commissioner Tyler Tumminia said in a statement.

Kelly is from Needham, Massachusetts, and oversees numerous organizations in various roles. He is the founder of Arc Hockey, an equipment and apparel company, and established New Hampshire’s Youth Pond Hockey Festival, which is described as being the largest outdoor youth tournament in the United States.

Kelly has also coached girls hockey teams at the youth and high school levels.

“Finalizing the purchase of the Whale with my co-investors is the culmination of a dream that I have held for decades,” said Kelly, whose ownership group is called Shared Hockey Enterprises. “All of us who have established SHE are excited to continue the amazing growth made by the NWHL and to fulfill the NWHL’s goal of providing the opportunity for elite women athletes to earn a living wage playing the sport they love.”

The Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps and Buffalo Beauts remain under control of W Hockey Partners. The Boston Pride are owned by Miles Arnone, who also has a stake in the Johanna Neilson Boynton-led BTM ownership group of the Toronto Six, who were established last year.

BTM plans to add a team in Montreal for the 2022-23 season.


WCSU to hold three commencement ceremonies

Three commencement ceremonies will be held this weekend by West Conn.  Each of the ceremonies will be combined events for both undergraduates and graduate students of the respective schools. 

The Ancell School of Business graduation ceremony is set for Saturday at 10am.  The Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences commencement will be held at 3pm.  The School of Professional Studies and the School of Visual and Performing Arts ceremonies are set for Sunday at 10am. 

Students should arrive no later than one hour prior to the start of their ceremony, in the Feldman Arena of the O’Neill Center where they will line up.  For guests, the doors to the Westside Athletic Complex will open one hour prior to the start of the ceremony. 

Each ceremony will run approximately 90 minutes. 

Due to COVID restrictions only one representative from each academic department will be present, the representative will be chosen by the faculty of the academic department.  Graduates will receive two guest tickets. No additional tickets will be given to ensure distancing is maintained. Tickets are non-transferrable and required for entry into the Westside Athletic Complex. 

Graduates, guests and staff are required to wear a mask, and are encouraged to maintain distancing.


DPH mobile vaccination van in Danbury today

The state Department of Public Health mobile COVID-19 vaccination unit will be in Danbury this afternoon.  The van will be at Abbey Woods apartments on Abbey Lane from 3pm to 7pm.  The mobile clinic will be offering Pfizer vaccines.  No appointment needed for residents 16 and older.


Bridgewater Food Pantry seeking donations

Bridgewater Food Pantry is seeking donations as food insecurity continues to be an issue during this ongoing public health emergency.  There are certain items that are specifically needed including coffee, sugar, canned fruit and canned chicken.  Some non-food items are needed including dishwasher soap, bleach, paper towels, plastic wrap, trash bags, laundry detergent, disinfectant wipes, Aspirin (Tylenol), and bandaids.  Items may be dropped off at Town Hall and at Burnham Library.


Nonprofit purchases Danbury motel for use as homeless shelter

A non-profit organization that provides wrap-around services for the homeless has closed on the Super 8 motel in Danbury.  The facility has been used as a homeless shelter since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It's an emergency shelter, and includes meals.  Case management is focused on housing. 

The state confirmed the purchase price of $4.63 million.  Danbury was not part of the negotiations between the Super 8 motel and Pacific House, but applied for an up to  $11 million Community Development Block Grant last year from the state Department of Housing to help with the purchase.  The money for the grant comes to the state from the federal government. 

There are 80 beds approved for emergency use at the motel, but with two people per room and some rooms set aside for COVID compliance and isolation.  

The organization houses 105 tenants in 15 buildings in Stamford and 2 buildings in Norwalk. 


Brookfield, Kent plan Memorial Day parades

The Brookfield Memorial Day Parade and Salute to Veterans will go on as planned this year.  The event May 30th at 2pm is being organized by the Brookfield Lions Club.  A shuttle bus from Center School will run from 12:30 to 1:45pm.  There is no parking at Brookfield High School.  Kent’s traditional Memorial Day Parade will take place on May 31st. Andy Ocif, who has been the Parade Marshall for almost 20 years, is retiring as the Legion Adjutant, this year.


Emergency Broadband Benefit applications open this week

The Bethel Public School District is working to build consumer awareness about the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a new Federal Communications Commission program.  The temporary benefit will help to lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.  The program provides a discount of up to a $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to a $100 per household discount toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase through a participating broadband provider.  There are income eligibility requirements for the program, but families could be eligible if they experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since February 2020.  Emergency Broadband Benefit enrollment will open on May 12th. Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail-in application. 


Kent officials warn of SNAP benefits phone scam

Kent Social Services was notified by a resident of a scam call that she received recently. The caller Identified themselves as an agent of the office of the Kent Social Services Director. The caller stated the name resident and that the call was about their SNAP food stamp    benefits.  Anyone receiving such a call is urged not to provide any personal information because it's a scam.  The SNAP program is administered by the State Department of Social Services not by a municipal social services office.  Anyone receiving such a call is asked to contact either Kent Social Services or Kent’s resident State Trooper to report it.


Pomperaug District Department of Health to add COVID vaccine clinics for kids

Pomperaug District Department of Health in Southbury is planning to add more COVID-19 vaccine clinics once Pfizer receives emergency use authorization from the FDA for administration of the shot to 12 to 15 year olds.  Currently only two more clinics have been scheduled by the district, and those are second dose clinics for 16 to 18 year olds at Pomperaug and Oxford High Schools.  The district was winding down because of widespread vaccine availability elsewhere.  Two more clinics will be added at the high schools three weeks after these mid-May doses are given so children can receive their second dose close to home.  Appointments are needed for the 12 to 15 year-olds once they have official approval for the vaccine.


Water main break causes issues in New Milford

Aquarian water crews were onsite for a major water main break on Railroad Street in New Milford yesterday.  The break happened by the train tracks.  Mayor Pete Bass says it was a lengthy repair, but water was resorted to the Downtown Businesses so anyone with a reservation for Mother’s Day at a local restaurant would still be able to go out. Traffic was detoured during the work and Bass notified the School Superintendent of the break to alert the school bus company and school administration of possible travel delays for the busses this morning.  Aquarion, a private company, owns the water lines and are looking to do some capital replacements of waterlines this summer including Wellsville Avenue.


Joel Barlow teacher on administrative leave

A Joel Barlow High School teacher has been arrested on breach of peace and public indecency charges.  29-year old Charles Schaub is on administrative leave.  The Newstimes reports that he is accused of exposing himself to three females in a Southbury shopping plaza.  Police responded to the plaza on a report of a naked man getting out of his car in front of the women.  His car was found and police say Schaub was not wearing pants.  Schaub will remain on leave until the district has completed an internal review of the matter and local authorities have completed their review.


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