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Suspect in Bethel woman's murder located in Ohio

A man has been arrested in Ohio for the murder of a 25-year-old Bethel woman in Bridgeport on Sunday.  Police say 26-year-old Brandon Roberts is being charged with murder, robbery, carrying a pistol without a permit and using a firearm to commit a felony.  Emily Todd was found fatally shot at Bridgeport Harbor earlier this week.  Police determined that Roberts fled to his father's house in Ohio and detectives traveled there this week to charge him.  He will be extradited back to Connecticut in the near future. 


Sandy Hook school receives threat on shooting anniversary

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Sandy Hook Elementary School students have been sent home for the day after a bomb threat forced an evacuation on the sixth anniversary of the shooting that killed 20 first-graders and six educators.

Newtown police say the threat was made at about 9 a.m. Friday and the school was evacuated. Lt. Aaron Bahamonde says there's a heightened level of anxiety in town on the anniversary and the school superintendent decided to cancel remaining classes.

It's unclear whether the threat was related to the bomb threats made nationwide Thursday.

The school where the shooting happened on Dec. 14, 2012, was knocked down and a new building was constructed at the same site.

Moments of silence were observed in Newtown and other places Friday morning in memory of the victims.


Firefighters issue reminders about fireplace ashes after disaster averted

Discarded fireplace ashes are being blamed for setting a large shrub on fire right next to a  Monroe home yesterday.  A passing highway department worker spotted the blaze right next to a Wheeler Road home. The owner doused the flames with a garden hose before the fire could spread.  Monroe Volunteer Fire Department is reminding people that ashes can stay hot for several days.  They should not be disposed of in a bag, cardboard box, plastic container or plastic trash can.  Ashes should be disposed of in a metal container, douse with water, covered with a metal lid, and placed at least 10 ft away from the house, deck, wood pile, and other combustibles. 


Sixth anniversary of shooting at Sandy Hook School marked with Acts of Kindness

Members of the Danbury Fire and Police Departments this week had lunch with students at Shelter Rock School.  It was part of the "Start With Hello, No One Eats Alone" program.  It's an initiative of Sandy Hook Promise.  The goal is to help students and schools make social inclusion the new reality.

Senator Richard Blumenthal is performing acts of kindness or mark the sixth anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook School,  volunteering with children.  He he will participate in arts and crafts activities with pediatric patients and serve food to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center staff.  They are marking PJ Day for the Kids.  Since 2011, children across Connecticut have gone to school in their pajamas to support pediatric patients at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, raising more than $375,000 for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

On the sixth anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook School, Senator Chris Murphy visited clients of FISH of Greater New Haven, a non-profit organization that provides free nutritious food to homebound residents. He helped with grocery deliveries as part of his acts of kindness to honor the lives lost.  Murphy urged others to also do acts of kindness in their community.

Central Connecticut State University has teamed up with the foundation created in memory of a girl who was killed at Sandy Hook School 6 years ago.  The university and the Ana Grace Project hosted the Love Wins Community Drive this morning to collect toys, baby items, non-perishable food and winter clothing to help families in need.  The foundation was created by Jimmy Greene, a West Conn professor, and Nelba Marquez-Greene in honor of their daughter Ana Grace.


Bomb threat hoax targets businesses

Law enforcement agencies in Connecticut and across the country are investigating a series of emailed bomb threats.  State Police say none of the threats were found to be credible, but they remain under investigation.

Troopers responded to the National Shooting Sports Foundation in Newtown to assist Newtown Police Department. 

Ridgefield Police are investigating reports of e-mailed bomb threats, which they say appear to be part of a mass mailing. 

Danbury Police spokesman Lt Mark Williams says multiple organizations in Danbury received bomb threats, which contained a bitcoin wallet address for a ransom payment in order to prevent detonation of the alleged bomb.  Investigations are continuing but no devices have been located at Americares and Hancock Hall.

Police in the Greater Danbury area asked that if organizations receive such an email, to not delete the message and contact Police for directions.

Bethel Police says residents and business owners are advised to use all normal precautions and to contact the Department if some type of “threat” is received.  Bethel Police cautioned recipients not to arrange for Bitcoin or any other form of payment in response to receiving this “threat.”


Bullet found at school in Redding

A bullet was found in the hallway of a Redding school yesterday.  A John Read Middle School student handed the single .22-caliber bullet to a teacher and the school was placed in a soft lockdown. 

A full sweep of the building was conducted by police with dogs from the State Police K-9 unit, specifically trained to sniff out gunpowder and explosive materials.  The search took about half an hour and the building was declared safe. 

District 9 Superintendent Tom McMorran says a member of the staff accidentally, with no malicious intent, brought the bullet along with a number of  personal items.  He says it was an unfortunate oversight. 

McMorran says he is am grateful to the staff, faculty and members of the Redding police force for their swift action and collaboration.  An added challenge of the day was a previously scheduled field trip to Meadow Ridge for students in the music program.  They left the school prior to the sweep, but, in an abundance of caution, the administration checked their bags and instrument cases before putting them on the bus.


State, Newtown mark anniversary of shooting at Sandy Hook School

Governor Malloy is directing flags to remain flying at half-staff today, in remembrance of the 20 children and 6 adults who were killed six years ago at Sandy Hook School.  Flags are also currently flying at half-staff for a 30-day period in honor of President George H.W. Bush, who passed away on November 30th. 

Newtown is once again marking the anniversary of the shooting with a period of silence.  All municipal offices, departments, and agencies will be closed from 9:30 until 9:45 am for reflection in honor and remembrance.  Notes are posted on Newtown buildings inviting the public to join in the period of silence.  Local houses of worship and The Resiliency Center of Newtown have open hours for reflection today. An interfaith service is planned for this evening at Congregation Adath Israel at 7pm.

Malloy says the unthinkable tragedy that occurred on this day will forever have an impact.  As the man who told the families that their loved ones would not be coming home, Malloy says he thinks about the children and educators every single day. He added that too often people focus on divisions, instead of the ties that bind--but that Connecticut witnessed first-hand an infinite flood of compassion from all around the world in the aftermath the shooting.


Update given on animal sanctuary to honor victim of Sandy Hook shooting

The parents of a girl killed at Sandy Hook School are continuing work on an animal sanctuary to honor her legacy.  The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary will be built on 34 acres in the center of Newtown. 

Jenny Hubbard spoke yesterday about raising the money for the first phase of construction.  She says it's numbing that Catherine has now been gone for as long as she was alive.  Hubbard says her daughter had a gentle and innate kindness, as well as a love of all creatures. 

After her death, the Hubbards asked for donations to animal rescue groups, who then said a sanctuary is a place of healing for animals, but also for people to see their own beauty through the eyes of the animals they are caring for.  Jenny says that was the crux of honoring Catherine's legacy with an animal sanctuary. 

The Foundation needs to raise $6 million to construct the main educational building and the veterinary intake center.  They so far have raised $2 million.  Jenny Hubbard says they are truly humbled by the outpouring of support and generosity of people, corporations and the state for granting the land to their Foundation.


Sandy Hook Promise founders reflect on 12/14 anniversary

It's been six years since the shooting at Sandy Hook School and two parents who formed the advocacy organization Sandy Hook Promise are speaking out about preventing people from getting to the point of committing an act of violence.  The group was founded by the parents of Daniel Barden and Dylan Hockley.  They says they have spent 6 years wondering what their sons might look like now, what new hobbies they might have and writing down all of their memories of the tiniest details about them.  They say after today, they'll piece together their hearts and keep moving forward with their goals.  Sandy Hook Promise this month released a new PSA about recognizing the warning signs of violence.


Bethel maintains AAA bond rating

Bethel has again earned a AAA rating from Standard and Poor’s, the highest possible bond rating.  A review was conducted last month and Bethel maintained the rank the town has held since 2014.  Standard and Poors said that the town's strong management policies and practices, as well as good budgetary performance with operating surpluses in the general fund, sound fiscal policies and low overall debt load led to the rating.  The review was conducted in conjunction with Bethel's recent $20 million bond sale, the proceeds of which will be used to finance the police station project and upcoming renovations at Rockwell and Johnson schools.  The rating will allow the town to obtain lower interest rates.


Superintendent updates State School Safety Group

Monroe School Superintendent Jack Zamary provided feedback to the legislature's School Safety Working Group on November 27th.  He noted that there are common all-calls in the district schools.  Teachers know the code for their building and would be authorized to call a lockdown, without having to alert and wait for the principal to secure the building.  Zamary says that's one of the things they learned from Sandy Hook.  When it comes to lockdown drills, they found it was overly scary for the younger students.  What Monroe has done is announce at the beginning of a school year that the drill will be held on a specific date.  As the year goes on, they just announce that a drill will be held at some point during the week. 

Monroe added School Resource Officers, but noticed that Newtown added armed School Security Officers.  Zamary says the SROs are funded by Monroe while the SSOs, retired officers, are funded by the schools.  He notes that if they weren't neighboring Newtown, he's not sure if there would have been the momentum to have armed security guards.  When Sandy Hook students moved into the former Chalk Hill School, their bus routes weren't much longer than getting to SHES.

Zamary says they are looking to add a program from Sandy Hook Promise.  Right now, anonymous reporting leads to a number of false reports, or potentially delays in action to reach students who may be involved in risky behavior after hours.  Speak Up has a live operator.  That person can help reduce false reports, can advise the caller of what to do and is available 24-7. 

Monroe Representative JP Sredzinski, whose district also includes part of Newtown, says security features that work for Newtown, won't necessarily work for other towns.  Zamary says some number of mental health, psychologist, guidance counselors or social workers are one area that should be required statewide.

Zamary says professional development time is hard to find but is critical.  He noted that as more trainings are mandated by the state, sometimes other things have to come out.  He suggested looking at all of the training programs to see what might be outdated and could be removed.  The Working Group asked for a list of those programs from Superintendents.

One member of the group asked about some districts requiring phones be put away during class time or kept in lockers, but concerned parents not being on board.  An argument for not having the cell phones out from the Working Group was that students need to be focused on teacher instruction, who need phones silenced.  Zamary says cell towers were overwhelmed on 12-14, portable cell towers were even brought in. 


Bethel Fire Marshal, Building official inspect solar array

The Bethel Fire Marshal and the town's Building Official have inspected a commercial solar panel install.  The inspection was done yesterday at 165 Grassy Plain Street. 

Fire Marshal Tom Galliford says these arrays have become very common and they work to ensure they are installed to Fire Safety Code.

The solar panels also create hazards and issues for firefighters for access to the roof and ventilation access for a fire below inside the building.  Bethel emergency responders use Active911 for pre incident planning and the Fire Marshal's office is the administrator for the data in that system. The location of these installs are included on the app for firefighters to access while responding to calls.


Calling hours, funeral scheduled for Bethel woman found slain in Bridgeport

Calling hours and funeral services have been set for the Bethel woman found shot to death in Bridgeport on Sunday.  Police say there may have been a struggle before the death of 25-year-old Emily Todd.  Calling hours are at Bethel Funeral Home tomorrow from 4 to 7pm.  Celebration of Emily's life will be held on Saturday at 11am at Bethel United Methodist Church. Todd's family has asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.  Police are now searching for the man she met the Bridgeport Harbor.


Putnam County reporting most flu cases in any New York county

There are 12 confirmed cases of the flu in Putnam County.  The County is at the top of the list in the state.  New York officials are urging residents to get an annual flu vaccine.  The illness can be especially harmful for babies who are too young for the vaccine, older adults, pregnant woman and people with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease.


Boehringer Ingelheim and Lilly Partner To Improve Care For People with Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. and INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Duke Clinical Research Institute is leading a new clinical study to optimize care for people with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease through evaluation of a multidisciplinary approach at cardiology clinics across the U.S. The research program, COORDINATE-Diabetes (COOrdinating CaRDIology CliNics RAndomized Trial of Interventions to Improve OutcomEs), will be funded by Ridgefield-based Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company.

"The public health impact of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the U.S. is immense," said Christopher Granger, M.D., professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at Duke University and lead researcher for COORDINATE-Diabetes. "While highly effective evidence-based treatments have been developed, these treatments are not consistently used, and thus preventable death and disability are occurring. Our goal with COORDINATE-Diabetes is to better understand the effectiveness of specific interventions at cardiology clinics to achieve best practices for improving patient health."

People with diabetes are up to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those without diabetes, and cardiovascular disease ranks as their leading cause of death and disability despite available treatments. To help improve these striking statistics, COORDINATE-Diabetes will examine the impact of multifaceted interventions involving guideline-based therapies among cardiologists, endocrinologists, primary care providers and patients, including the recommendations outlined in the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2018 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Expert Consensus Decision Pathway on novel therapies for cardiovascular risk reduction in adults with type 2 diabetes and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

The trial will include 46 cardiology clinics in the U.S. and aims to enroll 30 patients at each site. The clinics will be randomized to a basic education arm (in which patients will be treated by clinicians who receive only basic information about guideline-based therapy) or an intensive intervention arm (that focuses on coordinating care between cardiologists and endocrinologists to develop and implement an integrated, multidisciplinary care pathway). The care teams at the intervention sites will be encouraged to communicate with patients' primary care physicians to facilitate a well-rounded, multidisciplinary approach to patient care. The trial will measure the impact of the intervention on the sites' use of guideline-recommended therapies after 12 months.

"We are pleased to support evidence-based research to understand how to best manage risks and optimize care for patients with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in a real-world, clinical setting," said Thomas Seck, M.D., senior vice president, Medicine and Regulatory Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "Although there are treatments with proven cardiovascular benefits recommended by the ADA and other organizations, many healthcare providers are not prescribing them to all their patients who may benefit. We look forward to learning more about how healthcare providers can work together to improve adherence to these treatment guidelines in the quest to reduce patients' cardiovascular risk."

The trial will also leverage the power of electronic health record data from a consortium of health systems across the U.S. that have curated their data to support research and improve outcomes. Researchers will begin enrolling clinics and patients for the study in 2019 with the goal of sharing the main results by 2021.

"Few rigorous studies have tested the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary approach to improving care among this vulnerable patient population," noted Sherry Martin, M.D., vice president, Medical Affairs, Lilly. "Given the serious cardiovascular complications associated with type 2 diabetes, it is important for cardiologists and endocrinologists to work collaboratively to help improve care for people with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease."


Kent state Rep. chairs his final meeting of Fire-EMS Legislative Caucus

Outgoing Kent State Representative Brian Ohler has chaired his final meeting of the General Assembly's Fire-EMS Legislative Caucus.  He called it a bittersweet moment and said the issues that First Responders currently face are vast and complex.  Ohler added that he has faith that the caucus will continue to speak out and advocate for these emergency responders on a unified and collective front.  During the meeting Ohler was presented with a statue of a firefighter kneeling in prayer.


Danbury applies for state funding for White Street improvements

Danbury is seeking $2.65 million from the state Department of Transportation to improve traffic flow and safety along White Street.  The funding would come from the Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program.  The project would be centered in the Wildman Street/Locust Avenue intersection area.  Work would include adding a westbound left turn lane in to the West Conn parking garage, improving visibility of the crosswalks by the university and Danbury Superior Court and fixing a drainage issue which has led to flooding.  The width and configuration of White Street, west of Eighth Avenue will not be changed. 


Congress approves bill authored by Himes to help veterans

The U.S. House has passed a bill authored by 4th District Congressman Jim Himes.  The SERVE Act, Securing Electronic Records for Veteran’s Ease, will be taken up by the Senate in the coming days. 

The measure  would make it easier for veterans to secure housing by requiring the Department of Veteran Affairs to make documentation of Post 9/11 GI Bill monthly housing stipend accessible and available online. Student veterans will use this documentation to provide needed verification to housing agents, leasing companies, apartment managers, and landlords.  The difficulty student veterans face with housing stipends was brought up through conversations with student veterans throughout Southwest Connecticut. Nicholas Quinzi, a Marine and founder of the Student Veterans Club at Sacred Heart University, expressed that his top priority would be fixing the lack of verification for the monthly housing stipend.

The SERVE Act had previously passed the House of Representatives in 2017, but no action was taken in the Senate.  


Congresswoman-elect names top staff for DC, district offices

5th District Congresswoman-elect Jahana Hayes has hired three top-level staff members – all with significant Connecticut ties. Two will be based out of the Washington DC office, and one in the District office. 

Joe Dunn will serve as Chief of Staff. He worked for then-Representative Chris Murphy in 2010, was part of his Senate transition team and was his Senior Policy Advisor. 

Jason Newton was named Communications Director.  The Southern Connecticut State University graduate was a DC correspondent, before transitioning to become a press secretary for a congressman from Pennsylvania. 

New Britain resident Veronica DeLandro will be District Director for Hayes. After leading nonprofits over the past 15 years, she then served as Director of Community Engagement for the Governor's Prevention Partnership. Hayes says she is a local leader with statewide experience in providing leadership, training, technical assistance and support to diverse schools, organizations, businesses, people and populations including communities like those in the district.


Brookfield Police deliver nearly 1,000 toys to children's hospital

Brookfield Police hosted a successful Stuff-A-Cruiser event, collecting more than 900 toys, which were delivered to Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital yesterday.  Brookfield Police say the community was very generous this year, with businesses donating money and residents dropping off items.  Hospital officials say Brookfield Police brought over so many toys, their giving will continue to help children throughout the year.


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