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Rich Minor in the Morning
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Rich Minor in the Morning

Local News Stories

Orphaned bear cubs transferred to NH rehabilitation facility

A Ridgefield Police Officer has been placed on administrative leave following the shooting and killing of a bear at a Newtown home.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Environmental Conservation Police declined to release the officer’s name, but say the shooting happened on private property.  Ridgefield Police have referred all questions to the state. 

The investigation into Thursday's shooting remains ongoing. 

The two orphaned bear cubs have been transported to an out of state wildlife rehabilitation facility.  DEEP Wildlife Division Staff contacted various agencies in other states to obtain authorization for the transfer. 

The cubs left yesterday from the DEEP Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area to the Kilham Bear Center in New Hampshire.

Hearing set on Danbury Draft Affordable Housing Plan

The Danbury Planning Commission is holding a public hearing tonight on the City's 2022 Draft Affordable Housing Plan.  Information on how to join the Zoom meeting can be found on the Planning Commission's agenda.  The virtual meeting will be streamed on the Commission's YouTube Channel starting at 7:30pm.  A copy of the plan is available online.

Danbury Health Department shares safety tips amid baby formula shortage

The Danbury Department of Health & Human Services is sharing some information about the baby formula supply shortage and offering some safety tips.  This includes not adding extra water in baby formula, not giving toddler formula to infants and not giving milk alternatives to babies under a year or infants with certain medical conditions.  The American Academy of Pediatrics advises buying no more than 10-day to 2-week supply of baby formula. With the supply chain issues, it's recommended that people only use FDA approved products and make online purchases from well-recognized distributors rather than individually sold or auction sites.

Gov. signs bill with Ridgefield highway right-of-way use provision

Governor Lamont has signed a bill into law to implement recommendations of the state Department of Transportation.  One of the provisions is that the DOT Commissioner issue a request for proposals for the sale of goods within the highway right-of-way in the area of 300 Ethan Allen Highway in Ridgefield.  This stems from an issue going back a few years where a vendor was ordered to stop selling food from that location.  Under previous regulations, the state could sell, lease or enter into agreement for highway purpose.

Redding looking to hire Public Safety Dispatcher

Redding is looking to hire a Public Safety Dispatcher to provide services for Police, Fire and EMS.  Preference is being given to candidates having current certification as a Telecommunicator or prior COLLECT certifications.  Applications are due by August 1st.  Candidates should have interpersonal skills, customer service abilities and be willing to work a variety of shifts in a 24/7 communications center.  Salary may be commensurate with experience ranging from $54,684 to $64,948.  The position requires a High School Diploma and the ability to pass a thorough background check and pre-employment drug screening.

New playground in Monroe still under construction

Most of a new playground at Wolfe Park in Monroe was built over the weekend, but officials are cautioning people that it is still an active construction site.  About 99-percent of the playground is built, but it's not open yet for play.  Residents are asked not to skirt around any fences or walk over any fencing that has fallen due to the strong winds during the last several days.

Upstream Properties mixed use development approved in Bethel, new overlay zone

The Stony Hill Mixed Use Overlay Zone has been approved by the Bethel Planning and Zoning Commission.  The group also approved a site plan/special permit for a mixed used development at 48 Stony Hill Road. 

Upstream Properties has proposed 137 residential units and 9, 606 square feet of commercial development.  The vacant parcel is between the Copper Square townhouses and Mountain Laurel Plaza.

The Commission reviewed aspects of the map amendment for the overlay zone and determined that the proposed district will create a desirable development that will provide affordable housing opportunities and support existing commercial entities located within the Route 6 Zone.  For parcels at least five acres in size, up to 20 units per acre would be allowed within the zoning change, compared to 10 units currently permitted in the Route 6 zone. 

The Commission also determined that the proposed text amendment is in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan of the Town of Bethel and will aid in providing more diversity in housing as stated in the Plan of Conservation & Development Plan of 2020. 

The term affordable was changed from state to area median income.

New Fairfield COVID-19 vaccine clinic scheduled for this weekend

New Fairfield is still in the state Department of Public Health's red zone for COVID-19 community spread.  First Selectman Pat Del Monaco noted that there are no reports on home tests, but rates are steadily climbing. PCR testing is offered at the Senior Center Monday thru Friday, by appointment, through 

Selectman Khris Hall reminded residents that the last scheduled COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be held on Saturday, May 21st at the Senior Center from 10am to 4pm. There have been discussions for possible clinics in the event that the FDA approves the vaccine for children under 5 years old. 

Meanwhile the FDA authorized a COVID-19 booster shot for healthy 5 to 11-year-olds. Already those 12 and older are free to get a booster and those 50 and over are authorized to get a second booster shot.  The CDC must decide whether to formally recommend the booster for the 5 to 11 year olds with scientific advisers scheduled to meet on Thursday.

New Milford residents approve budget

New Milford residents have approved a budget with a 1.7 percent mill rate increase.  Mayor Pete Bass says both the town and Board of Education budgets were approved.  About 9-percent of registered voters cast ballots.

Residents decided 978-604 in favor of $67.8 million for the schools and 1,059-519 for a town operating budget of $41.8 million. 

Bass says the main budget drivers were due to paid staff at the New Milford Ambulance, New Milford Ambulance Barn Building Debt, Health insurance costs, Library opening, and bringing back full staff.

Himes questions officials during hearing into UFOs

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee held its first hearing in more than half a century into UFOs yesterday.  4th District Congressman Jim Himes noted that unidentified flying objects are now referred to as unidentified aerial phenomena.  He asked a Pentagon senior intelligence official to reduce speculation and conspiracy theories, that this isn't necessarily look into alien life forms.  Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray presented evidence, including video, of aerial phenomena that they could not explain, noting that it comes down to a lack of evidence. 

Litchfield County anticipating heavy presence of spongy moth caterpillars

Connecticut’s Agricultural Experiment Station is cautioning residences in northern portions of Litchfield County to anticipate a heavy presence of spongy moth caterpillars, formerly named gypsy moths, this Spring.  The Entomological Society of America removed the previous name due to its use of a derogatory term for the Romani people. Spongy moth populations rose substantially in 2021 particularly in the Sharon-Cornwall area last year, and caterpillars have begun to emerge.  The state-wide gypsy moth egg mass survey, especially in northwestern Connecticut, showed large masses, which leads entomologists to believe there will be a continued hatch and extensive caterpillar activity in 2022. The change is the first undertaken by ESA's Better Common Names Project.

Investigation continues into cause of WCSU dorm fire

An investigation continues into the cause of the fire at a West Conn dorm on Friday night, but it could have started accidentally.  Officials are speculating that a lithium-ion battery was dropped down the trash chute and something caused it to heat up and spontaneously combust.  There was no evidence of combustible liquids and it’s not uncommon for lithium-ion batteries to cause fire if they get overheated.  An automatic fire alarm sounded shortly after 10pm Friday in Centennial Hall on the westside campus and firefighters responded to the scene quickly.  With Commencement ceremonies that weekend, there were few people in the building at the time.  

DEEP warns of dangerous behaviors around bears

With the rescue of two orphaned bear cubs in Newtown, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says they saw some negative behaviors that encourage danger to bears.  Wildlife Division Director Jenny Dickson says they want to use this opportunity to remind people about living with bears. 

She notes that the bear that was killed was tagged as 217 so DEEP could identify it when there are sighting reported.  Even though it was nicknamed on social media as Bobbie, Dickson says DEEP doesn't name wild animals because that's when people start to think of them as pets and do things that are not in the animals best interest. 

Dickson says the primary contributing factor to bear nuisance problems is the presence of easily-accessible food sources near homes and businesses.  Deputy Commissioner Mason Trumble noted that there's a concerning trend on social media of people posting photos and videos of bears eating out of garbage cans or bird feeders, saying it's not cute but rather it's dangerous for the animal and for people. 

Black bears are becoming increasingly common in Connecticut as the population continues to grow and expand. Reports of bear sightings, even in heavily populated residential areas, have been on the rise.  

Fed bears can become habituated and lose their fear of humans. Bears should never be fed, either intentionally or accidentally. Bears are attracted to garbage, pet food, compost piles, fruit trees, and bird feeders. Bird Feeders and bird food should be removed from late March through November.  Residents should clean and store grills in a garage or shed after use. 

Gov. signs bill aimed at cracking down on catalytic converter thefts

Legislation that attempts to make it more challenging to steal and sell catalytic converters has been signed into law by Governor Lamont.

Connecticut lawmakers rose one after another to tell stories about the recent spike in the number of catalytic converters being stolen in their districts.

The thieves, they said, have been slipping under vehicles, often in the middle of the night, and quickly removing the toxic gas and emissions-reducing devices from engines of school buses, vans used by nonprofit agencies and senior centers, private vehicles, contractors’ trucks, and RVs. Bandits are lured by a possible bounty of about $1,000 to $1,500 per converter, which contain precious metals.

Kent state Representative Maria Horn says she's isn't out on a limb to say that not a single member of this chamber has passed maybe a week without hearing multiple reports about the theft of catalytic converters in their district and throughout the state.  The co-chair of the General Assembly’s Public Safety Committee says as their value increases, there are increasing stories of them being sold, some really harrowing stories.

In general, the bill prohibits motor vehicle recyclers from accepting a catalytic converter unless it’s attached to a vehicle. They’re also prevented from selling or transferring the converter unless a stock number is added, and they’re required to create a written record of the converters they sell or transfer.

The bill also includes new restrictions and record-keeping rules for scrap metal processors, junk dealers and junk yard owners if they receive a catalytic converters not attached to a vehicle, including documenting the seller’s name, address and identity, including with photographs.

It also prohibits anyone other than a recycler or a repair shop from selling more than one unattached converter to a scrap metal processor, junk dealer or junk yard in a day.

It takes effect July 1.

DEEP provides update on rescued orphan bear cubs

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is providing an update on the two orphaned bear cubs rescued in Newtown yesterday.  DEEP Wildlife Division Director Jenny Dickson says staff was in the woods 12 hours on Monday.  While one cub came down the tree relatively quickly, staff waited through rain, high winds and lightning for the other.  The second cub was tranquilized shortly before sunset.  Dickson says they were prepared for a long day as wild animals behave differently.  This morning they were awake and feisty.  Dickson says they need a little extra support right now, though they are healthy and doing well.  She says they probably have a good chance of surviving.  DEEP is making final arrangements with other states, seeing has space and is willing to accept the cubs until they are older and can be brought back to Connecticut.

Special Permit approved for crematory in Clarke Business Park

The Bethel Planning and Zoning Commission has approved a Special Permit for a crematory to be located in Clarke Business Park. The decision was reached as a result of a Connecticut Supreme Court ruling in favor of Shawn McLoughlin over the Commission's previous denial.  Attorneys for the company argued that a land use commission has no authority to deny a special permit based on generalized concerns associated with the stigma of a particular use, rather than site specific zoning concerns such as traffic, parking, and loss of property values.  Monocrete Step's site plan was approved for 12 Trowbridge Drive.  The motion passed with 6 in favor, one opposed and one abstention.  The Supreme Court opinion, written by Chief Justice Richard Robinson, concluded that the denial was based only on general facts regarding crematory operations not specific to the proposed site, development decisions motivated by general objections to the proposed facility, and evidence not pertinent to the required considerations.    

Danbury continues hydrant flushing

The Danbury Water Department is continuing with an anticipated 10 week project to flush fire hydrants across the City.  Officials say the annual work will provide better quality water and fire protection. Customers may experience fluctuations in pressure and/or discoloration of their water during hydrant flushing.  The tentative list of streets to be flushed includes White Street, Town Hill Avenue, South Street, Crows Nest Lane and Great Pasture Road among others.  They'll also be doing work at the following condo complex:  Birchwood, South Gate, South Woods, Southport and Timber Oaks.

Nominations made for local state Senate race

Republican Michelle Coelho has accepted the nomination for the 24th State Senate District.  Delegates from Ridgefield, New Fairfield and Danbury were in attendance Monday night.  Meanwhile Democratic incumbent Julie Kushner has accepted her party's nomination for the seat. 

Promotion ceremony held for 4 Danbury Police members

The Danbury Police Department has held a promotion ceremony.  4 members took their new oaths of office.  Captain Joseph LeRose III, Lieutenant Mark Wochek, Sergeant Michael Russotti, and Detective Jonathan Grande were approved for promotions by the City Council earlier this month.

Danbury Police remind residents tip411 not monitored 24/7

While the Danbury Police Department appreciates members of the community using the tip411 app, they are issuing a reminder that it's not for reporting crimes occurring at the time.  The system is not monitored 24-7.  The intention of tip411 is to help Danbury Police develop information anonymously from the public about ongoing investigations.  Any complaints needing police response must be filed by calling dispatch at 203-797-4611, or in an emergency 911.





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