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Rich Minor in the Morning
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Rich Minor in the Morning

Local News Stories

Woman dies in Monroe house fire

There was a fatal house fire in Monroe on Friday.  The volunteer fire companies responded to Bagburn Hill Road shortly after 9am by a passerby who reported smoke coming from a home.  Firefighters found heavy fire on the first floor, which was contained relatively quickly. One adult female resident perished inside the home. There were no other civilian or firefighter injuries. Monroe Fire Department extended their condolences to the family of the deceased, and thanked mutual aid partners for their assistance in rotating out crews and providing station coverage as firefighter contended with the hot weather and challenging conditions inside the home.  The Monroe and State Police Fire Marshals are investigating the cause.


Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department warns of text scam

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company is warning residents of a text scam circulating again.  They've seen multiple posts from local residents of text messages soliciting shirt sales. The Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company does not sell items via text. Any official item can be found on their webstore www.brookfieldfirestore.com.  Officials are asking that residents not purchase from this company, Maxmin, or gear launch as it is a scam as they do not benefit from the sales. They suggest blocking the number and reporting to the phone company.


UConn looking for new location for Fairfield County Extension Center

Stony Hill Preserve, Inc., a 501(c)(3) that acquired an 11-acre property in May 2017, has sent a notice to UConn that it would not be renewing the lease for its Fairfield County Extension Center.  The Newstimes reports that UConn is now looking for a new home to the regional extension program that's been located on Stony Hill Road for more than 60 years.  The notice was sent in February, and given an vacate by date of August 1st, but there are programs still going on.  The  programs range from master gardening and youth development to nutrition, urban agriculture and soil nutrient analysis.  The Fairfield County Extension Center will rent the property on a month-to-month basis until early 2023 as it seeks a new site.  No plans for the property have been submitted to Bethel's Land Use Office.


Brookfield Police raise thousands for Special Olympics Conn.

Brookfield Police say they are beyond grateful to have had such overwhelming community support at their National Night Out event last week.  They were able to raise close to 5-thousand dollars for Special Olympics Connecticut.  The camaraderie building campaign promotes strong police-community partnerships to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places. National organizers say this is a time of unity to showcase the importance of citizen involvement in the police-community relationship.


Two major brush fires in Redding extinguished

There were two major brush fires in Redding over the weekend.  Redding Fire & EMS officials say these are very dangerous and resource-depleting operations.  DEEP and Aquarion Police are investigating the fire on the northeast shore of Saugatuk reservoir in the Greenbush Road area.  Neighboring fire departments answered the call for several additional medical and fire incidents while the blazes were being handled.  Residents are asked to be extra vigilant about discarding smoking materials. Outside burning of all sorts should be curtailed until conditions improve.  Redding Fire officials say last night's showers were not enough.


GOP Primary tomorrow in state's 69th House District

There area a couple of statewide primaries tomorrow for registered Democrats and Republicans in Connecticut.  There's also a GOP primary in the 4th Congressional District.  Two Republicans are also facing off in the state's 69th House District representing Southbury, New Milford, Bridgewater and Roxbury in the Connecticut General Assembly.  No Democrats have filed to run for the seat.

In tomorrow's GOP contest, incumbent Cindy Harrison is being challenged by Southbury Selectman Jason Buchsbaum. 

Harrison, a Newtown native, says the economy and public safety are the biggest issues facing the state.  She is a certified public accountant and wife of a retired police officer, who owns and operate Breezy Knoll Farm. 

Buchsbaum, a partner at the law firm Cohen and Wolf, says he wants to be an advocate for transparency and collaboration. He's now in his fourth term on the Board of Selectmen and previously served as vice chairman of the Charter Revision Commission.

In the most recent General Assembly session, Harrison served on the legislature’s Appropriations Committee, Environment Committee and Transportation Committee.  Prior to moving to Southbury in 2009, Buchsbaum served on the Seymour Board of Education.


Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Committee gets update on security, landscaping

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission has met, the first time in more than a year. They mainly discussed signage and memorial etiquette or guidelines.  According to the Newtown Bee, First Selectman Dan Rosenthal noted at the meeting that the driveway gate to the memorial site on Riverside Road has been installed and that the lights are on at night, with security cameras. The memorial will only be open to the public from dawn to dusk and is locked overnight.  Rosenthal also gave members an update on vegetation at the site, noting that despite a lack of rain the grass is coming in as expected and the plants are growing.  The dedication ceremony is slated for Saturday, November 12th.


Danbury accepts land donation for proposed Career Academy

 

Two parcels of land in Danbury have been donated to the City and the City Council voted unanimously to accept them at their meeting last week.  The properties are located adjacent to the proposed site of the Danbury Career Academy.  Owner Melvyn Powers and M&M Realty have offered to donate land along Apple Ridge Road, where the Cartus building is currently located. The plot contains the road, the only access to the site, connecting to Kenosia Avenue.  A vacant 6,000 acre parcel of land directly adjacent to and associated with the proposed Danbury Career Academy facility/complex was also donated.  This is contingent on the City buying the Cartus building. The $164 million proposed school is planned to open in 2024 with the goal of creating a school to accommodate 1,040 high school students and 360 middle school students. The two schools would share some core communal spaces and amenities — the gym, cafeteria, capstone presentation area, blackbox, media center, and health education and fitness rooms.


New Milford School Administrators set up plans for start to school year

Restoration work is progressing at New Milford High School. But Mayor Pete Bass says some of the work will have to wait until the fire investigation is completed. All of the 3rd floor work, except in the middle section of center hallway and 4 classrooms, has been completed. Soot cleaning is finished on the 4th floor with all of the areas prepared for fireproofing encapsulation.  All progress on the 4th floor also excludes the center connecting hallway. 

The Fire Marshal's Office continues to investigate the cause of the July 5th fire.

New Milford High School staff items have been boxed and secured.  A process is being finalized now for staff to review and retrieve their desk items. 

The Board of Education says plans for underclassman photos will be sent out by Friday for school ID, PowerSchool, and yearbook, and will be similar to last year using Schedule My Conference software to reserve a date and time for their photo to be taken.  Dates will be the 17th, 18th and 19th. 

Parking, with priority for Seniors first, will be made available to students and families by mid-week as administrators update the registration portal.  Once Senior needs are fulfilled, Juniors will have an opportunity.


Danbury to recognize dedication of Alternative Center for Excellence founder Joe Pepin

Danbury officials have signed off on adding honorary names to a City street and a building to recognize the dedication of Alternative Center for Excellence founder Joe Pepin.  He also served as ACE principal for over 20 years.  Roberts Avenue, where the school is located, would get a secondary name of Joe Pepin Way.  The school is located between 9th Avenue and Locust Avenue. 

The ACE building will be called the Joseph Pepin Memorial Building.   The ACE school would retain its name. 

During the City Council meeting Tuesday night several members, along with Mayor Dean Esposito, spoke in favor of the names.  Former ACE teacher, counselor and principal Sandy Arconti Atanasoff recalled that her mentor was really down-to-earth and connected with the students. 

ACE is a high school program that supports student experiences that develop individual strengths, physical and emotional health, and respect for self and others. ACE prepares its students to become competent and contributing community members. On average, more than half of ACE graduates go on to college, while most have a post-secondary education plan.  The measure was approved unanimously.


Alex Jones ordered to pay $45.2M more over Sandy Hook lies

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas jury on Friday ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a child who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, adding to the $4.1 million he must pay for the suffering he put them through by claiming for years that the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax.

The total — $49.3 million — is less than the $150 million sought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was among the 20 children and six educators killed in the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut. But the trial marks the first time Jones has been held financially liable for peddling lies about the massacre, claiming it was faked by the government to tighten gun laws.

Afterward, Lewis said that Jones — who wasn’t in the courtroom to hear the verdict — has been held accountable. She said when she took the stand and looked Jones in the eye, she thought of her son, who was credited with saving lives by yelling “run” when the killer paused in his rampage.

“He stood up to the bully...and saved nine of his classmates’ lives,” Lewis said. “I hope that I did that incredible courage justice when I was able to confront Alex Jones, who is also a bully. I hope that inspires other people to do the same.”

It could be a while before the plaintiffs collect anything. Jones’ lead attorney, Andino Reynal, told the judge he will appeal and ask the courts to drastically reduce the size of the verdict.


Ridgefield to receive Conn. clean-water grant

Ridgefield is among the municipalities to share in $580-million in clean-water grants to upgrade sewer systems and waste-water treatment facilities.  18 prioritized projects will be spread out over two years, with some  funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  $10 million has been approved to permanently close a sewage treatment facility in Ridgefield with $7 million to upgrade a Litchfield plant.  Cities and towns may submit applications for reserve funds through the end of the 2022-23 fiscal year.


Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission discusses site signage

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission has held their first meeting in more than a year.  In late July, the group discussed signage at the memorial site.  According to the Newtown Bee, members suggested that dogs, with the exception of service dogs, be prohibited.  They also talked about banning smoking, vaping, alcohol, and skateboarding, but note that they can create new signs in the future if they missed something and want to be more specific. 

The signs could be titled “Memorial Etiquette” instead of memorial rules or guidelines. 

Items left at the site, such as flowers or toys, will be removed and discarded, asking that people only leave their thoughts. 

First Selectman Dan Rosenthal read the wording of one planned signs: “Welcome to the memorial honoring the lives of the victims of the December 14, 2012, shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. This is a special place of quiet and reverence. A place for the families of the victims and for the community to reflect and remember. Encased within the stone is the sacred soil created from the many items left in spontaneous memorials throughout the town on the days following the tragedy.”


GOP voters in 4th Congressional District to pick candidate in Tuesday Primary

Tuesday is Primary day in Connecticut.  There is a GOP contest in the 4th Congressional District to determine the candidate to face off against incumbent Democrat Jim Himes in November.  On Tuesday, registered Republicans in the 4th Congressional District will be deciding between Darien First Selectwoman Jayme Stevenson and Greenwich physician Michael Goldstein.  Himes has held the seat since 2009, defeating the last Republican in Connecticut to serve in Congress, Chris Shays in 2008.


Health officials offer reminders about hot weather safety

Newtown Emergency Management officials are offering some information for residents to prevent becoming victims of the heat during these continued high temperatures.  Residents are encouraged to check on elderly or frail neighbors to be certain they are doing ok, and suggest they go to cooling centers if their home is overheated.  People are reminded to stay hydrated and avoid strenuous outdoor work.  Residents are being reminded to monitor pets, keeping them out of the sun and not left in hot cars.  When the temperature outside is 85 degrees, it takes less than 10 minutes for the inside of a car to reach 100 degrees and half an hour to reach 120 degrees.


Danbury to hold World War II memorial ceremony

The Danbury Veterans Council, Mayor Dean Esposito, Veterans Affairs Director Danny Hayes and State Department of Veteran Affairs Commission Tom Saadi are hosting a World War II memorial ceremony on August 15th.  They're inviting residents to honor the service and sacrifice of those from Danbury who served during the war.  The ceremony will including the reading of the names of the 106 men from Danbury who made the ultimate sacrifice on the mantel of freedom in World War II. 


Department of Health updates Conn. COVID-19 data

The Connecticut Department of Public Health has updated case rates for Greater Danbury area municipalities over the last 7 days.  According to the report ending August 4th, there were 66 cases in Danbury, Bethel reported 10, Brookfield had 14 and New Fairfield 7. There were 11 COVID cases in New Milford, 14 in Newtown, Redding reported 7 cases while Ridgefield had 20. 

 

The Connecticut Department of Public Health has updated test positivity rates for Greater Danbury area municipalities over the last 7 days.  At home tests are not reported. 

The rates are:

Newtown 4.1 percent

New Milford 6.2 percent

Bethel 6.6 percent

New Fairfield 7.1 percent

Brookfield 10.3 percent

Redding 11.4 percent

Danbury 12.3 percent

Ridgefield 12.3 percent

 

The number COVID-associated deaths in Connecticut has grown by 28 since last Thursday.  The state is also reporting a cumulative breakthrough rate of COVID-19 infections among the more than 2.7 million people who are fully vaccinated of 9.59 percent.  There was a slight decrease in COVID-19 positivity compared to last week.  The rolling 7-day average positivity rate was 11.75 percent. The number of people in Connecticut hospitals testing positive during that time increased by 24.  The inpatient total is 352.

 

The number of infants and toddlers, up to age 5 increased their COVID-19 vaccination rate by 1 percentage point since last week to 7-percent. About half of Connecticut children aged 5 to 9 years old have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

 

The BA.5 Omicron subvariant of COVID-19 makes up the majority of the cases sent for genomic sequencing in Connecticut for the week ending July 23rd.  According to the latest report, 75.3 percent of samples were BA5, while 14.7 percent were BA4.  BA2 accounts for 6 percent, and the original strain was found in 4 percent of samples tested.


Danbury School District makes 5 administrative appointments

5 administrative appointments have been made by the Danbury Public School District.  Assistant principal and principal positions at Broadview Middle School, Danbury High School and Shelter Rock Elementary School have now been  filled.  David Kimball was named principal at Broadview, having previously served as an assistant principal at Avon High School.  The new assistant principal Anna Machial, was the principal of Shelter Rock Elementary.  Alexandra Pacheco, formerly an assistant principal at Park Avenue School in Danbury, will take an interim role as the principal of Shelter Rock.  Broadview's second assistant principal will be Tany Douangta, a school counselor.  The new DHS assistant principal, Andrew Lambo, was interim assistant principal and the dean of student support.


Lake Zoar Authority Marine Patrol carrying out spot checks

The Lake Zoar Authority Marine Patrol has started carrying out spot checks on the sandbar.  Last month there was a disturbance between two people who are known to frequent the area.  The Authority says the parties reported closure to the incident and there was no further safety risk.  But Police presence on and near the sandbar will continue going forward. The Marine Patrol of the Lake Zoar Authority has also been doing spot checks at the state boat launch ramp to inspect every boat coming in for compliance.  At least 54 boats were inspected, 12 of which were turned away for being unsafe. There will be another spot check at the state boat launch in the coming weeks. 


Republicans in 69th state House district to elect Rep. in Tuesday Primary

The primary is Connecticut is on Tuesday.  In addition to Democratic and Republican races for Secretary of the State, a Democratic primary for state Treasurer and GOP contest for U.S. Senate, there's also a vote for Republicans in the 69th state House district.  Freshman incumbent Cindy Harrison is being challenged by Southbury Selectman Jason Buchsbaum. No Democrats have filed to run for the seat.  Harrison, a Newtown native and accountant, co-owns Breezy Knolls Farm with her husband.  Buchsbaum, a lawyer and former vice chair of the town’s Charter Revision Commission, was a member of the Seymour Board of Education. The district also includes Bridgewater and Roxbury.


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