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No Tolls CT hosting protest rally in Ridgefield Saturday

No Tolls Connecticut has planned a protest in Ridgefield this weekend.  The grassroots group was formed to fight impending toll legislation currently under consideration by various committees.  Attendees at the Ridgefield protest were encouraged to bring signs.  The rally Saturday is from 11am to noon at the Corner of Copps Hill Road and Danbury Road.  A petition started by the group is approaching 100,000 signatures.   A final bill has yet to be sent to the House or Senate and the session ends June 5th. 


Clean City Danbury Day volunteers needed

Clean City Danbury Day is coming up on Saturday, May 4th.  Each year, hundreds of Danbury residents pick up litter throughout neighborhoods, parks and waterways.  Volunteers are needed for the day.  Interested people should contact the Mayor's office to sign up and receive a vest, gloves and trash bags.  There are also 4 drop-off locations to throw out items at no cost.  Anyone planning on bringing unwanted items to the dumpster locations can log onto the City's website for more information.


Paranormal investigator, Lorraine Warren laid to rest

A funeral was held this morning for famous paranormal investigator, Lorraine Warren.  The Monroe resident died at her home on Thursday at the age of 92.  She was laid to rest at the St. Stephens Church in Trumbull. With her husband Ed Warren, she founded the New England Society for Psychic Research in 1952.  Their decades of ghost-hunting cases inspired films such as “The Conjuring” series and “The Amityville Horror.”  Among the investigations, which went from book to TV movie, was The Demon Murder Case in Brookfield.  The couple investigated more than 10,000 cases in the U.S. and abroad, often writing about their experiences. Their unusual profession has been credited with sparking popular interest in the paranormal.


Redding League of Women Voters is 'Speak Up' event tonight

The second annual “Speak Up” event hosted by Redding League of Women Voters takes place tonight.  The grassroots event is meant to help people become better informed via direct dialogue between Redding residents and elected officials and town employees.  State Senator Will Haskell and state Representatives Raghib Allie-Brennan and Anne Hughes were also invited.  Town employees invited to be on the panel include the first selectman, social services director, chief of police, superintendent of schools, fire chiefs, among others.  Residents will have an opportunity to ask questions and/or voice their concerns during the event from 7:45 to 9:45 pm in the Redding Community Center.


Regulators sign off on Eversource charging customers $141 million for storm response recovery

The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has agreed to allow Eversource Energy to charge customers $141 million over six years.  It's so the utility can recover money it spent to repair lines after five storms in 2017 and 2018.  Eversource’s parent company made over $1 billion in profit in 2018.

The final PURA authorization is about $11 million less than what Eversource had initially sought.  The first of the installments, $23.5 million, will be collected in May.  A wind storm. three nor'easters, and tornadoes and macrobursts in the Greater Danbury area resulted in more than 19,000 downed lines, poles and transformers.

The Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel objected to multiple items in Eversource’s proposal, including what it described as “the vast number of meals.”   Eversource said it was for calorie-packed box lunches for workers spending extended hours in the field.


Car stolen, vehicles rifled through in Ridgefield

A 2019 black Lexus was stolen from a Ridgefield driveway early yesterday morning.  The Lexus from an Old Stagecoach Road driveway was recovered a short distance away with minor damage and no property missing from inside.  Reports of two other vehicles having been gone through were made in the Chestnut Hill Road and Ridgebury Road area.  No missing property was reported in either incident.  Ridgefield Police are reminding residents to remove keys and make locking vehicles part of the nighttime routine. Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to contact the Ridgefield Police.


Newtown residents approve budget, reject pickleball court funding

Newtown residents have approved a budget for the coming fiscal year.  Both the municipal and education portions, totalling $120.2 million, passed during yesterday's referendum. 

It represents a 1.56 percent increase in taxes over the current year.  There was low voter turnout. 

Residents also approved $1 million for road paving and funding for boiler replacements at two schools.  The $290,000 question for pickleball courts at the Fairfield Hills campus, which would have been offset by an anonymous $25,000 donation, failed by a wide margin.  Unofficial results are that it was rejected 2,136 to 699.

The school budget was approved 1,527 to 1,351 and the operating budget passed by 1,763 to 1,107.


Transgender inmate sues corrections over lack of treatment

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - A transgender inmate at Garner Correctional Facility in Newtown has filed a federal lawsuit against the Connecticut prison system for denying her transitional care and for housing her with male inmates.

The Hartford Courant reports that Veronica May Clark says Department of Corrections officials have denied her medical and mental health care since she began her gender transition in prison.

The suit seeks proper care and $500,000 in damages.

Clark says she was told that state policy only allows treatment for inmates who began their gender transition outside of prison.

A 2018 law protecting the rights of transgender inmates is not clear on the policy.

A prisons spokeswoman says the department has procedures to meet the needs of gender-nonconforming individuals.

Clark was convicted of murder for beating a man to death and sentenced to 75 years in 2009.


Unknown powder substance found in envelops at Danbury business

An unknown powder in envelops found at a Danbury business prompted a brief HAZMAT response yesterday.  A vendor at the Shops at Marcus Dairy on Sugar Hollow Road reported finding 6 envelopes shortly after 11:30am.  The incident was deemed a police matter, though the fire department also responded and said the issue was resolved by around noon.  There were no evacuations.  Officials believe the substance does not appear to have been anything serious.  No further details were available.


Putnam County Sheriff's Office to host drug take back day

A national Medication Take Back Day is coming up Saturday.  Putnam County Department of Health, Sheriff's Department and Putnam Communities that Care Coalition are co-hosting a collection event at Putnam Hospital Center Wagner Cancer Pavilion in Carmel from 10am to 2pm.  People can dispose of expired, no longer needed prescriptions, over the counter and pet medication. Officials say this will help keep them out of waterways and landfills.  Lancets, syringes and sharps will be accepted.  People should removal personal information and keep medication in original packages if possible.


Danbury Hospital to open new pediatric unit

Danbury Hospital has relocated and built a new inpatient pediatric unit to better serve the evolving needs of pediatric patients and families.  The under-the-sea-themed unit is meant to enhance clinical services for children as well as comfort and the hospital experience for patients and their families.  The 5,000 square foot unit, which opens May 6th, has 6 inpatient rooms, an exam procedure room, infusion suite, dedicated family space and multipurpose space.  The central nursing station, supply rooms, and security systems were also incorporated into the unit.  The project cost $4 million and was funded through philanthropy.  Western Connecticut Health Network and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center have partnered to create a pediatric care alliance to provide specialized services.  It's been named the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Pediatric Unit.


Congresswoman renews push to get CDC funding for gun violence prevention

There's a renewed push to overturn a ban on CDC funding for research on gun violence prevention. 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes is cosponsoring a bill to fund research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on firearms safety or gun violence prevention.  Putnam County Representative Sean Patrick Maloney also backs the measure.  It's a bipartisan bill, with Republican Peter King of Long Island signing on as a co-sponsor.  An appropriations rider from 1996, authored by Republican Jay Dickey, prohibits funding for such research at the CDC.  The original rider’s author says the intention was to prevent the CDC from lobbying for gun control, not from conducting gun-violence research and now opposes the language.


Bethel Planners to hold hearing on application for chickens in residential zones

The Bethel Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on an application to change regulations to allow for chickens to be raised in residential zones.  There would be specific conditions outlined in the text amendment change.  They include the number allowed per square foot, coop requirements, setbacks and sanitation among others.  The hearing scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed to Thursday at 7pm in the municipal center. 


Newtown budget referendum scheduled for today

Newtown residents are voting on a budget today.  There's $42.1 million on the municipal side, $78.1 for the schools.  There are also advisory questions on the ballot.

Residents will also be voting on four capital items including $1 million for road paving. 

$783,000 is being requested for a boiler and lighting at Hawley School. The current boiler is a steam system that runs inefficiently.   $2.7 million for boilers and lighting at the High School is also being sought.  The current boilers are over 49 years old.  Replacement to high efficiency boilers, along with re-piping part of the facility to forced hot water, will provide energy savings and better environmental controls. This will involve a conversion from oil to natural gas.  Demolition, abatement and tank removal is planned.

There's a question about $290,000 for pickleball courts at Fairfield Hills.  The allocation will be offset by a donation of $25,000.  Four new pickleball courts with lighting infrastructure, for the future addition of lighting, will be fully fenced.  The facility will be located adjacent to the Community Center, Glander fields and the Emergency Operations Center. Site work will be completed by Parks and Recreation.

Parking, which will be 20 lined spaces, currently exists behind Cochran House.  A pavilion and bathrooms also already exist or will be a component of the Community Center project.  The new courts will have a 20 year warrantee against cracking or structural issues and will have a service life of greater than 30 years.


Stabbing at Brewster bar under investigation

There was a stabbing in Brewster early yesterday morning.  New York State Police are investigating a stabbing that happened at the El Pueblo Bar on Main Street during the morning early hours.  Police did not disclose the extent of the injuries or other details about the victim.  Investigators are attempting to locate a 31-year old for questioning.  Any person with information about Alexander Trigueros is asked to contact Investigator Bohlin of the New York State Police at (845) 677-7300. Reference SJS# 8871650.


Ventura Law, Women's Center to participate in Denim Day

Ventura Law has announced it will participate in Denim Day tomorrow by encouraging its employees, clients, and the Danbury community at large to wear jeans on that day in support of sexual assault survivors. 

Denim Day was originally triggered by a ruling of the Italian Supreme Court when a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove them, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim.

Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault.  The Women's Center of Greater Danbury encouraged people to wear jeans to dispel harmful myths about sexual violence and survivors.


Danbury Library seeks to expand reach beyond facility walls

Danbury Library officials are applying for a number of grants to improve services and facilities.  Among the funding being sought is a grant for sensory room equipment and from the Connecticut Space Grant Consortium, for a week of STEM programing.  Library Director Katie Pearson also told City officials that she is applying for a Better World Books grant.  If awarded, the money would be used to equip and furnish a bus to expand the reach of the library and the Danbury Museum.  The goal is to expand literacy and to promote history.  Person says the Library serves 30-thousand patrons a month and is at capacity.


Danbury 5th grader takes part in national cooking challenge regional semi-finals

A Stadley Rough student in Danbury has qualified for a  national cooking challenge regional semi-finals.  5th grader Lukas Espinoza will head to the  “Sodexo Future Chefs Challenge” today after beating out 45 competitors at his school last month.  “Crispy Guac” was the recipe that will take Lukas to the next level.  More than 2,700 other students at the 1,400 Sodexo-served schools nationwide participated in the challenge to prepare Mexican-inspired recipes. This is the 9th year of the competition, which was created to encourage students to be healthier and more involved in food preparation.  40 regional winners will be chosen at the end of April, from which five national finalists will then be chosen. The public will vote to select the winner of the 2019 competition.


New Fairfield considers building new schools rather than renovating

Instead of renovating two schools in New Fairfield, the town could build new facilities.  During a Board of Education meeting earlier this month, Superintendent Pat Cosentino said the state isn't interested in funding the renovation of older, rundown buildings outside of emergency repairs. The state is, however, receiving applications for new construction reimbursement. 

The Board of Ed is hosting a special meeting on Thursday at 7pm.

Representatives from the architectural firm the district is working with will present design plans and detailed cost estimates for new Consolidated School and High School projects, along with plans and costs of renovations.  A new Consolidated School could be located near Meeting House Hill School and that the High School would be razed, with a new building constructed nearby.

A Facilities Study on renovation stemmed from Office of Civil Rights Complaints, issues of non-compliance with ADA regulations, and problems flagged at the fall college accreditation board visit.

The state grant application deadline is June 30.


Redding to raise health department fees, implement food truck fee

New fees for the Redding Health Department have been approved.  Redding Health Officer Doug Hartline told the Board of Selectmen at their most recent meeting that fees have not been raised in 10 years and the total average increase is 20-percent. 

The largest increase is in restaurant fees due to the transition from State to FDA food codes. 

A one time fee of $25 would be charged to food trucks.  Hartline noted that there are food trucks during Georgetown Day.  If they know they're going to operate in Redding more than once, there is a seasonal food permit for up to 8 events.  They can operate under one permit for all events.  Temporary food permit fees are waived for qualified civic and faith-based non-profits.  They still need a permit. 

Hartline reviewed the current and proposed fees against those in neighboring towns and found that the most common fees are for septic repairs and restaurants.


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