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Local News Stories

COVID-19 booster shots available in Danbury

The Danbury Health Department is sending out information about COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.  The Community Health Center at 118 Memorial Drive can administer boosters of any of the three brands Tuesdays through Saturdays.  CHC hours are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 2pm to 7pm, Wednesdays 11:30am to 2:30pm and Fridays noon to 6pm.

The Connecticut Institute for Communities offers Pfizer Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays or Moderna on Tuesdays and Fridays 9:45am to noon and 2pm to 5pm.

Two CVS and three Walgreens locations in the City are taking appointments for Pfizer, while two CVS locations in the City have Moderna.


New Milford Police wrapping up distracted driving enforcement campaign

The New Milford Police Department is wrapping up a distracted driving enforcement campaign.  Officers are out in force looking for violations.  The Phone in one Hand Ticket in the Other initiative runs through Halloween.  At the start of this month, an update to the fines for distracted driving took effect.  The first violation is now $200, a second offense will result in a $375 fine and third or subsequent violations will cost $625.  The fines increased by $50, $75 and $125 respectively.


National Guard members leave for nearly year-long deployment

More than 70 Connecticut National Guard members have left for a nearly year-long deployment.  The Danbury-based 142nd Area Support Medical Company departed Sunday to support Operation Atlantic Resolve.  They'll provide medical support to U.S. and allied troops.  The unit will report to Texas for premobilization training before traveling to Poland.  The is the first time the unit has deployed in about 10 years and will be the first overseas deployment for many members.  Governor Ned Lamont says the men and women of the Connecticut National Guard have been providing support to the state throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and to have them now deploying overseas to provide medical support to our international partners shows the dedication and professionalism that they carry themselves with.


Brookfield Library Art Gallery new display titled Celebrating Local Quilters

The Brookfield Library Art Gallery has a new display up titled Celebrating Local Quilters: Quilts Across the Spectrum of Styles and Techniques.  The exhibition of local quilts will be on view from November 3rd to December 29th. The exhibition brings together more than 20 quilts from 12 local quilters. The public is invited to meet the quilters on November 13th from 3pm to 5pm in the art gallery, located in the Library's Community Room.  The gallery is open during the Library’s regular operating hours. Patrons are asked to check-in at the circulation desk. Masks are required. A virtual version of the exhibition will be available on the Brookfield Library’s website starting November 1st.


Bethel Police participates in 59th Annual Fairfield County Detective Conference

Two members of the Bethel Police Department have completed the 59th Annual Fairfield County Detective Conference Detective School.  Detective Matthew DiRago and Officer Thomas Butkier took part in the two-week labor-intensive course in criminal investigations.  Awards are presented for 1st and 2nd place ranking in the class as well as for best notebook.  DiRago not only won best notebook, but also ranked # 1 in the class.


Fire in the electrical panel of Monroe house quickly extinguished

The Monroe, Stevenson and Stepney Fire Departments responded to a reported structure fire yesterday morning at a Greenwood Lane house.  They found a fire in the electrical panel in the basement level of the single family home. Damage was confined to the electrical panel and a minor smoke condition in the lower level of the structure.  16 firefighters checked for extension and secured the property until Eversource arrived.  The Monroe Fire Marshal estimates the damage to the structure at 75-hundred dollars. The property owners were allowed to remain in the structure.


New State Police Sgt. assigned to New Fairfield Police Department

A new State Police Sgt. has been assigned to the New Fairfield Police Department. Sergeant Nick Ieraci will supervise 6 Resident State Troopers, 5 town Police Officers and 2 full time School Resource Officers.  He has been on the force for nearly 14 years and was recently promoted to the rank of Sergeant. He was a Wallingford Police Officer for 3 years before he became a Trooper.  Ieraci replaced Sgt Adam Wagnblas, the longest standing police supervisor in New Fairfield.  He is credited with 17 years of leading the police department and retired after 27 years of State service.


Women's Center renamed The Center for Empowerment and Education

The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury has announced that the organization will be renamed The Center for Empowerment and Education. The new name is accompanied by a new identity that officials say better reflects The Center’s commitment to saving and rebuilding lives and building stronger communities. 

President and CEO Pat Zachman says the words “empowerment” and “education” are the two key pillars that guide everything The Center does to end violence in the 13-community service area. Beyond offering emergency and transitional shelter for individuals in crisis, The Center also provides crisis intervention, counseling, advocacy, education and referral services.  

A new facility for women and children in transition will open soon, an effort to provide support to even more people in crisis.

Officials say the rebrand reflects the inclusivity of their mission and services that improve lives, strengthen families, and prevent violence through education.  In describing the importance of the rebrand, Zachman says the new name is vital to underscore that they serve everyone in need of support, including women, men, and children.

After 46 years of growth that addressed the changing needs of the community, she says this new identity direction expresses the Center's commitment to a wide geographic area and greatly diversified programs and services.  Communities served by The Center are Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, Kent, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Sherman, and Washington. 

Each year, the Center serves over 30,000 individuals from area communities with confidential services that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and are provided at no-cost.


Danbury officials address flooding around Main, West streets

West Street in Danbury wasn't closed from flooding yesterday until later in the evening.  The Public Works Department recently cleaned out debris and sediment from the Still River, and did some work on the embankment to prevent the river from rising above its banks onto the road. 

West Street was closed last night in the area of the railroad overpass and remained closed into this morning.

Danbury officials may have come up with a plan to alleviate flooding on Main Street.  The street was closed Monday night into yesterday afternoon because of water over the roadway.  Mayor Joe Cavo, who recently retired as Superintendent of Apparatus for the Fire Department, proposed using a pump to clear the flooding.  The Public Works Department started that work around 11am yesterday in the area of Elmwood Place. 

Cavo says an investigation after the last flooding determined that it stems from a culvert, likely constructed in the 1920s. Tree roots are blocking the pipes.  Danbury has designed a project to install a new pipe, but wants the state Department of Transportation to take on the work since Main Street is technically Route 53. 

The state would need to obtain an easement from a private property owner. 


New Milford Town Council votes to use ARPA funds to repair dam

A public hearing has been held in New Milford about using some federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to repair the Reservoir Dam #4.  The New Milford Town Council voted unanimously in favor of the idea. 

About 50 people attended the hearing and spoke in favor of the repairs, rather than removal. 

The 17-foot dam dates back to around 1900, when Town Farm Brook was stopped to create a recreational area.  A valve, installed around 1918, won’t shut.  There are disjointed overflow pipes, water seeps through parts of the wall and there are mortar issues on the spillway.  Repairs are estimated to cost around $1.2 million.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has classified the dam as a significant hazard, the second highest hazard classification.


Danbury man been charged for January voyeurism incident at mall

A Danbury man has been charged for a January voyeurism incident at the mall.  Danbury Police arrested 47-year old Edvin Menendez-Maldonado on Thursday for allegedly trying to record a female shopper in a changing room at Old Navy. 

The victim told police she was trying on dresses, noticed a cell phone on the floor face down and notified a store employee.  According to the warrant, the employee looked through a hole where the shopper said the phone had been and saw the camera portion facing her.  They opened the door of the next fitting room and found the man who then fled. 

Police reviewed surveillance footage and were able to obtain a warrant.  He was arraigned and held for an appearance in court on the 12th. 

Menendez-Maldonado was arrested on similar charges in February 2020 for allegedly attempting to record an 11-year-old girl in a changing room at a different store in the mall.


Foodshare ending drive-thru emergency food distribution this month

Foodshare is ending its drive-thru emergency food distribution sites at the end of the month, including at Danbury High School.  The distribution was started at the beginning of the pandemic to address food insecurity as food pantries were overwhelmed with need.  The Danbury location is open on Saturdays from 10am to 1pm, in a partnership with the United Way of Western Connecticut and Walnut Hill Community Food Pantry.  Foodshare has provided over 14 million meals through these sites since April 2020.


Driver rescued from pond in Easton

A driver was rescued from a pond in Easton on Monday night off Banks Road.  The volunteer fire department was about to start a training session, when they received the emergency call.  Police, Fire and EMS helped the driver out of the car and through the waist deep water.  The car was about 30 feet from shore.  Firefighters then had to suit up in cold water rescue suits and help the tow driver hook up to the car. The driver was transported to the hospital for evaluation.  He reportedly hit a vehicle on Route 136 and fled the scene, but the other driver followed him and the Sandy Hook resident lost control on a curve and crashed. The driver was charged with evading responsibility and passing in a no passing zone.


Danbury Zoners hold hearing on liquor permit for Golf Lounge 18 mall location

The Danbury Zoning Commission is opening a public hearing tonight into Golf Lounge 18, which wants to move into the former Red Robin restaurant space at the Danbury Mall.  The virtual golf entertainment chain is asking for a Special Permit for a Cafe Liquor License. 

The Zoom meeting will also be streamed on the Commission's YouTube page. 

In addition to the interior mall entry, the location has an exterior entrance by the parking garage.  There are hourly rental fees, but monthly and annual memberships are also offered by the company.  Patrons can use their own clubs or ones on site.  

The company could hire up to 10 staff in Danbury. 

Bays are set up with technology that allows golfers to simulate a round on virtual renderings of courses, projected onto screens.  The same technology is used by the Dick’s Sporting Goods store at the mall so buyers can try out clubs before making a purchase. 

Golf Lounge 18 has two other Connecticut locations: in Orange and Fairfield.


Today is last day to register to vote in Tuesday's election

Today is the last day to register to vote in advance of Tuesday’s municipal elections.  Mailed in registrations must be postmarked by today.  Residents can also sign up at their local town hall. Connecticut residents can sign up online at myvote.ct.gov/register.  Online registration is open until 11:59PM  

The Bridgewater Registrars of Voters will conduct the last regular voters registration today.  Applicants may appear in person until 8pm in the Registrar of Voters Office in Bridgewater Town Hall.   

The Bethel Town Clerk’s office will be open on Saturday from 9am to Noon for absentee ballot voting. Residents are asked to download the application and complete it before coming to vote absentee.


Monroe officials looking into parental interest in COVID vaccine clinic for kids

COVID-19 case rates in Monroe have remained fairly steady, currently averaging approximately 2.5 new cases per day.  The town has placed vaccine orders with the State, in anticipation of running booster clinics for eligible groups starting in a couple of weeks. Monroe officials also anticipate final authorization for a Pfizer vaccine for kids age 5 to 11.  While the vaccine will likely be available through multiple sources, including some pediatrician offices, the town is working with Monroe Public Schools to determine parental interest in conducting a Town-sponsored clinic.


Controversy over social media posts on scheduling New Milford Mayoral debate

There's a dust up in New Milford's Mayoral race about the candidates debating.  The Ted Hine for Mayor Facebook page posted yesterday morning that it seems there will not be a debate, and called on residents to message the Democrat with any questions.  Republican incumbent Pete Bass later posted on his Facebook page that His campaign offered the Hine campaign manager, Joe Baker, the ability to choose the moderator. He selected the League of Women Voters, but they were only free on October 28th. Baker then reportedly asked for different days because Hine scheduled a “Town Hall” meeting for the 28th.  Bass claims the Hine campaign never responded to an offer that the Chamber of Commerce host a debate on different dates.


Danbury man arrested for alleged sexual, physical assault

A Danbury man has been arrested for allegedly sexually and physically assaulting a woman.  Police say 41-year old Daniel Hernandez-Castellanos was arrested last week on charges including sexual assault, threatening and assault.  A woman filed a complaint that said the man, who was known to her, showed up unannounced an assaulted her last month.  According to the warrant, Hernandez-Castellanos allegedly threatened her if she told anyone about the abuse.  He was arraigned and was held on $200,000 bond for a court appearance on Monday.


Danbury Zoning Commission won't take up homeless shelter hearing tonight

While the Danbury Zoning Commission had been set to continue a public hearing tonight on the proposal to officially turn the former Super 8 motel into a homeless shelter, they won't have discussion at their meeting.  The applicant's attorney requested a continuance until the November 9th meeting.  There will be no testimony tonight on zoning regulations to define a new use of transitional shelter for the homeless.  The previous hearing lasted about five hours.  The homeless population has been housed at 3 Lake Avenue since the start of the pandemic under Governor Lamont's emergency order about congregate settings. 


Flooding, power outages a possibility with nor'easter

Part of Route 53 in Danbury was closed due to flooding last night.  The road closed at Elmwood Place around 10:45pm and there is still water over a portion of the road this morning.  This comes as a strong Nor'easter is set to bring heavy rain and strong winds to the state today. Rainfall totals from last night through this morning could range from three to six inches.

Redding officials are cautioning residents to the possibility of flooding and power outages from the storm moving through the region.   First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton says high winds and significant rainfall may translate to downed trees and wires, and loss of power.  

Eversource is estimating that 125,000 customers in Connecticut could lose power in today's storm based on the current projections.  Eversource has contacted REdding and provided information on resources available for restoration. Crews are assembled in state, both from Eversource and contracted crews.


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