Rich Minor in the Morning
Rich Minor in the Morning
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Rich Minor in the Morning

Local News Stories

Newtown Police charge man for alleged jet ski thefts

Newtown Police say a former Waterbury man has turned himself in on larceny charges for allegedly stealing 4 jet skis from town this summer.  31-year old Jerrysan Rohena turned himself into the Newtown Police Friday.  He was released on 50-thousand dollars court set bond and ordered to return to court at a later date.  Newtown Police spokesman Lt. Aaron Bahamonde says detectives did an excellent job putting this case together, including working with other agencies to help identify and arrest this suspect.

Six new Danbury firefighters sworn in

Six new Danbury firefighters have been sworn in.  The newest members received their badges at a ceremony yesterday.  They graduated from the Connecticut Fire Academy's Recruit Firefighter program on Friday, after spending 15 weeks as residential students learning the skills it takes to be career firefighters.  The Recruit Class consisted of 66 firefighters from 21 departments.  The probationary firefighters have one more week of in-house training, and then will report to their respective platoons effective December 15th.  Also Saturday, the Danbury Fire Department Annual Awards Ceremony took place. 

Women's Center looking for new Board Committee members

The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury is looking fo community members to work on Board Committees and join the Board of Directors. The Women’s Center, founded in 1975, has been a safe haven as the sole provider of services to victims of domestic and sexual violence in 13 towns around the Greater Danbury area.  The organization serves women, men and children at their office,West Conn, at Danbury Superior Court, and in area police stations and hospitals. Each year, the Women's Center serves more than 30,000 individuals with free and confidential services. The Center's key areas of focus include emergency shelter and support services, counseling and advocacy, crisis intervention, and community education.  Volunteers are needed for the Development,. Marketing, Finance and Governance Committees.

Bethel Police annual holiday toy drive this weekend

The Bethel Police Department Annual Toy Drive is around the corner.  Bethel Police will be in front of the Toy Room on Greenwood Avenue on Saturday, from 10am to 3pm, to accept donations of toys for all ages.  Bethel Police officials say they are excited to help make the holidays special and look forward to seeing residents there.  Anyone who is unable to attend the event, but want to participate, a donation box has been placed in the Bethel Police Department Lobby. All donations will benefit Bethel Social Services and the Women’s Center of Danbury.

Former Danbury priest removed from his duties by the Diocese of Bridgeport

A priest has been stripped of his job amid allegations of abuse.  The Rev. Jaime Marin-Cardona has been removed from his duties by the Diocese of Bridgeport.  He is prohibited from engaging in public ministry.  The clergy’s Sexual Misconduct Review Board learned the state found the accusations credible.  There is an ongoing investigation by Danbury Police into the allegations.  He served at Our Lady of Guadalupe on Golden Hill Road in Danbury.  The diocese received a letter in September indicating that “parents were concerned by Father Marin-Cardona’s contact with a family member who is a minor.  Originally from Columbia, he joined the Bridgeport Diocese nearly a decade ago, and most recently served at Saint Mary Parish in Bridgeport.

Danbury family displaced by fire

A family has been displaced by a fire that damaged in a Main Street apartment in Danbury.  The blaze appears to have broken out Friday in the third-floor kitchen. Firefighters extinguished the flames within minutes.  A family of three adults and two children is being helped by the American Red Cross.  The apartment is the top floor of a three story building.  The ground floor houses Polla’s Supermarket, which was not affected.  Fire officials say there appeared to be multiple apartments upstairs, but only one was damaged.  The fire marshal is investigating.

Danbury Paraeducator union agrees to pension changes

An agreement has been reached between the Danbury Board of Education and the Danbury Paraeducators CSEA/SEIU Local 2001.  The agreement includes provisions about pension plans.  The Board of Ed employees have historically participated in the City's pension plan.  Mayor Mark Boughton noted that this does not enable tutors to collect a pension, which is a different collective bargaining unit.  He says this agreement is only for people currently enrolled in the pension plan and does not add a new pension to another bargaining group.  With this agreement, effective July 2021, current Paraeducators will contribute 1-percent into the City's General Employees Pension Plan.  Boughton says current para participants will be asked to contribute 1-percent into the plan; it used to be free.  New Paraeducators hired after July 2020 will participate in the City's Defined Contribution 401a Plan with a 3-percent contribution.  The City will make a 3-percent contribution match.  New employees will be part of the same defined plan as teamsters and clerical staff.

Blumenthal touts House passage of bipartisan legislation to help block robocalls

Senator Richard Blumenthal is touting House passage of bipartisan legislation to help block robocalls. 

The legislation gives regulators more time to find robocall scammers, increases penalties for violators, promotes call authentication and blocking adoption.  The measure is also aimed at addressing obstacles to criminal prosecution of robocallers who intentionally flout laws.  Blumenthal says he will work for swift strong Senate action to approve the bill. 

Blumenthal has also authored the ROBOCOP (Repeated Objectionable Bothering of Consumers on Phones) Act, which would require telephone companies to offer free robocall blocking services to all their customers. 

An estimated 22.1 million Americans lost $9.5 billion to robocall scams in 2016, according to a 2017 study. This epidemic of telephonic harassment skyrocketed in 2018, with the number of robocalls made to Americans exceeding 16.3 billion in the first five months of that year. Thus far efforts like the Do Not Call Registry have had little to no impact, particularly when it comes to scams and call centers located outside of the United States.

Water Witch Hose firefighters in New Milford retiring Engine 27 from service

After almost 27 years of work, Water Witch Hose firefighters in New Milford are retiring Engine 27 from service.  The fire truck arrived at the Grove Street Firehouse in 1992.  Company officials say it’s high ground clearance and short wheelbase made it the perfect truck for accessing tight lake communities and rural water sources. On Tuesday, the fire truck answered it’s final call, stationed in the driveway at a reported structure fire on Legion Road.  The fire company will be taking delivery of the new Engine 27 in January.  A Freightliner/ Pierce Custom Pumper will replace the apparatus retired this week.  The old Engine truck will now head to an Apparatus reseller in Pennsylvania to await it’s next assignment.

Insider Trading Prohibition Act introduced by local Congressman passed by House

The U.S. House has overwhelmingly passed a bill introduced by 4th District Congressman Jim Himes.  The Insider Trading Prohibition Act was approved by a vote of 410-13. The bill establishes an unambiguous statutory prohibition on insider trading.  The bill codifies and clarifies the overarching principles on insider trading set forth by courts.  Himes says it also eliminates the ambiguities that have existed in the case-by-case evolution of the law in this area.  Himes added that the fairness, integrity and safety of capital markets are weakened when corporate insiders and others who wrongfully obtain inside information misuse it, profiting at the expense of other investors and the market as a whole.

Opossum found sleeping in Southbury woman's bed

A Southbury woman woke up to find a strange intruder in her bed.  Police say officers responded to a call about an opossum curled up with a resident Wednesday night.  The officers were able to carefully and strategically rescue the creature in a soft laundry hamper.  No injuries were reported to the woman or the animal. 

The opossum was released back into its natural habitat. 

Southbury Police say opossums eat up to 5000 ticks per season, reducing human risk of contracting Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.  The nocturnal animals kill vermin, including mice and garden pests.  Opossums have a serum protein in their blood that neutralizes snake venom.  Southbury Police say scientists have produced an antidote to poisonous snake bites for humans using opossums' blood, but it is still being tested for large-scale production. 

They are timid, and hiss or faint when frightened.  They have a hard time surviving in cold climates because they don't have very thick coats.

3 former Pomperaug students charged for vandalism at school

Southbury Police have charged three people for a vandalism incident at Pomperaug High School.  The Republican American newspaper reports that the three 18 year olds turned themselves in for allegedly spray-painting vulgar graffiti around the school campus in August.  Ryan Canty and Jon Catan, both of Southbury, were each charged with criminal mischief, criminal trespassing and conspiracy.  Jonathan Tapia of Middlebury was charged with criminal trespassing and conspiracy.  The actions were caught on surveillance cameras.  Southbury Police say at least two of the former Pomperaug students were away at college and were charged when they cam home for break.  The vulgar words and objects were spray painted on the bathroom walls near the football field, in the baseball dugouts and on the walkway from the school to the stadium.

Danbury Police arrest teen for making school shooting threats

Danbury Police have arrested a teenager for making a threat against the High School.  Police received word that threatening texts were sent to several students on November 26th, all apparently from the same source.  The texts suggested among other things, that students should not to attend School the following day, indicating there would be a shooting and that the recipients would be targeted.  An investigation, with the help of Danbury High School officials, led to the source.  The 17-year-old male was arrested yesterday, charged with Breach of Peace.  He will appear in Juvenile Court at a later date.  The Danbury Police Department, as well as the Danbury School Administration, will continue to vigorously investigate all serious threats made to any students, faculty or schools in the City.

Audit report: Thousands in Sandy Hook funds went missing

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Tens of thousands of dollars in philanthropic contributions intended to help first responders, educators and staff impacted by the Sandy Hook school shooting went missing from a labor charity organization and were mingled with other money, according to an audit report released Thursday, raising questions about how the account is being managed.

The leader of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, which is affiliated with the United Labor Agency that runs the fund, said the national labor organization has “put together the funds to make the Sandy Hook Workers Assistance Program whole again” and plans to investigate what happened.

“As soon as we learned about the results of the audit, the board met and took immediate corrective action,” said Sal Luciano, who is president of both the Connecticut AFL-CIO and the United Labor Agency, which helps workers and their families with a variety of issues, from drug and alcohol counseling to disability benefits. Luciano said the audit report “came as a shock and a disappointment” to him and the rest of the board.

The audit was requested by two Republican lawmakers, House Minority Leader Themis Klarides of Derby and Rep. Mitch Bolinsky of Newtown, whose district is where the 2012 elementary school shooting took place.

“That money should be in one place. We should know where the money is going. We should know who the money is being used for,” Klarides said. “This is very important to this state. This is very important to that town.”

According to the audit, ULA’s financial statements showed a steady decline in net assets, from $188,420 as of June 30, 2014 to a deficit balance of $20,962 in June 2018. The balance kept fluctuating over the years, based on the timing of receipts and disbursements. As of Sept. 30 of this year, it was $41,977.

The auditors said it appears “as a result of financial difficulties” ULA may have used funds from the assistance program “for other purposes.”

The Sandy Hook Workers Assistance Program was created by the General Assembly in the aftermath of the mass shooting to help replenish lost wages for union and non-union workers as they dealt emotionally with the tragedy that left 26 dead, including 20 children. The ULA eventually became responsible for managing and disbursing the remaining funds.

Luciano said the program is currently available to any worker impacted by the shooting. He said the ULA board has established new financial protocols “to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.” The board has created financial trustee positions to provide greater oversight of the organization’s financial practices and plans to hire an independent outside attorney to conduct an investigation into how the money from the workers fund was used.

The audit found that money from the Sandy Hook program was mixed with other funds and made it hard to understand how the money had been spent. While the ULA is promising to do better, the group was not required to keep the funds in a separate account.

“As soon as the results of that investigation are completed, the board will make a determination on necessary disciplinary action,” he said. Meanwhile, Klarides said her office is considering asking the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office to investigate the matter.

Luciano stressed that the auditors verified no worker, union or non-union, was denied benefits from the program. But Rep. Mitch Bolinsky, R-Newtown, said he was initially tipped off that two first responders with PTSD did not receive benefits they were eligible for, prompting him to contact Democratic Attorney General William Tong in February for help.

“It’s ghastly to think about what was done and from whom this money was taken from,” Bolinsky said.

Newtown Police identify suspect wanted for stealing jet skis

Newtown Police have identified a suspect wanted for stealing jet skis this summer.  An arrest warrant has been secured for 31-year old Jerrysan Rohena.  Newtown Police are actively looking for the man, formerly of Waterbury.  He is wanted in connection with 4 stolen jet skis.  Police believe Rohena could either be in the New York or Massachusetts area.  The outstanding arrest warrant charges him with four Counts of Larceny. Anyone who knows where Rohena is currently located is asked to contact Newtown Police 203-426-5841.

Old boat being used as dumpster at blighted property

The owner of a blighted property in Danbury has received an order to clean it up, including the old boat being used as a dumpster.  The Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team received a complaint about 6 South King Street from a neighboring resident stating that there is garbage around the lot.  There was litter found near the front door, back door, around the garage and the boat on the trailer being used as a dumpster.  The property went into foreclosure and the lender is in the eviction process of the individuals living there.  UNIT sent the clean up order to the lender, who is working on remedying the problem.

(Photo: UNIT)

New Fairfield Social Services Department sponsoring workshop on Mental Illness

The New Fairfield Social Services Department will be sponsoring a Workshop on Mental Illness next week.  It will be presented by the Connecticut  Alliance for Mental Illness.  Organizers say life can be challenging, especially around the Holidays.  People in attendance will learn what it means to struggle with Mental Illness and how to help someone with it.  The workshop is December 12th at 1PM in the Senior Center Community Room.

House passes robocall bill

The U.S. House has passed a bipartisan bill to Stop Bad Robocalls. 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes says the comprehensive bill requires every call to be verified, allows the blocking of spam calls, and empowers the FCC to protect Americans from scammers.  The House bill goes further than the Senate one.  They must now be reconciled.  Legislators say the final measure will require phone companies to verify that phone numbers are real, and to block calls for free. It will also give government agencies more ability to go after scammers.  Tech vendor YouMail said there were 5.7 billion calls from scammers, telemarketers, debt collectors and others in October. Not all those calls are unwanted, though — you might want to get the call from your pharmacy saying your prescription is ready.

Danbury Railway Museum cancels first weekend of Santa Trains due to flood

A flood at the Danbury Railway Museum has prompted the cancellation of the first weekend of the Santa Train event.  About 7 feet of water flooded the basement of the nonprofit on Sunday, damaging the mechanical and electrical systems.  There is no power in the building, which will be closed until at least early next week.  A broken water line is the suspected cause.  Families who bought tickets for this weekend’s Santa Trains may exchange them for a full refund, another Santa Train or a Bunny Train this spring around Easter.  Santa Trains are still planned for December 13, 14, 20 and 21.  The money from the event is used to preserve antique trains and other equipment.

Greater Danbury 'Good Scout' Award service held

The Greater Danbury “Good Scout” Award reception has been held to benefit the Boy Scouts of America.  Danbury State Senator Julie Kushner attended and says  the scouts recognized Cynthia Roy of the Danbury Regional Hospice this year.  Fil Cerminara of F&M Electrical Supply was also honored for work in service to the community.  Kushner says the reception was a great opportunity to not only support the Boy Scouts of America, but also to recognize the values of courtesy, respect, and service that the Boy Scouts embody every day.






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