Connecticut has raised the maximum fine for parking in a fire lane and illegally parking in a handicap parking space. That means Ridgefield has now taken action to raise the rates set by the town, to match the state fine. A town meeting and public hearing was held Wednesday to approve the changes.
The ordinance change was recommended by the Ridgefield Parking Authority. First Selectman Rudy Marconi says the change was made to streamline the process. Any time the state raises the fine and the town decides to follow suit, only Board of Selectmen approval would be needed. Previously a public hearing, town meeting approval process was also needed.
Marconi and other Board members feel strongly, particularly when it comes to illegally parked cars in handicap spaces. If people are just walking into a store quickly to pick something up and they don't have a permit, it's still a violation. Marconi says the stiff fine is a reminder that people shouldn't park there.
The fine for parking in a handicap space has increased from $86 to $150. Parking in a fire zone has gone from a $50 fine to a $92 ticket.
Governor Dannel Malloy says a closer look of the Southbury Training School and Old Gateway Community College buildings has revealed that neither can be used to house thousands of migrant children from Central America because of physical and safety limitations.
Malloy says mass housing sites, institutionalizing children is not the way to go. He says the better way is to place children with family members.
He notes that the federal government is no longer asking the state to provide facilities for the children at this time. The children are being settled with families members, more than 300 of them in Connecticut.
While in Danbury on Friday, Senator Chris Murphy stopped by Western Connecticut State University to check in with high school students participating in the Upward Bound Program. The Danbury High Schoolers are first generation college students or are from low income families. He says they face a barrier if they do get into college--paying for it.
He is working on a bill with three other Senators that would hold colleges accountable for reducing tuition by possibly withholding financial aid from the federal government. Murphy says the federal government spends $140 billion every year on that, with almost no conditions.
100 Danbury High School students, many of who were recruited at the end of 8th grade, are participating in the program to develop and strengthen their academic skills.
A mandatory six-week, nonresidential summer program is conducted at the University. This summer program is designed to prepare students academically and socially for the upcoming school year. Students are given an introduction to the major courses they will be taking in the fall. Murphy was in Danbury to listen to presentations the kids have been working on and to push them to stay on course, get a degree and be able to earn a substantial living in Connecticut.
During the academic year, each student receives an academic advisor who monitors their academic and behavioral progress. Tutoring and various workshops such as Study Skills, SAT Preparation, and Financial Aid Awareness are offered. Career and college counseling courses are offered, as well as supplementary classes which address issues effecting today's teens. Students participate in educational and cultural trips as well as college tours.
Over the course of the four years, each student participates in a ten-day Great Hollow Wilderness School experience in New Fairfield Students develop self-confidence and goal setting skills, as well as learn the importance of team work and social-personal responsibilities. These skills are developed through technical rock climbing, canoeing, caving, backpacking, and meeting the challenge of a high rope course.
The Upward Bound Program is funded by the US Department of Education, along with supplementary grants from the Danbury Board of Education.
An awards ceremony is being held today at the Bethel YMCA to recognize this year's Children's Champions. The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance has given the honor to 24 state lawmakers for their work during the latest legislative session. Among them is Wilton State Senator Toni Boucher.
Boucher cited research that shows investments in pre-school and early childhood education will bring the greatest return on investment and help close the achievement gap. She says a highly trained and educated Connecticut work force is vital in today's global economy. Boucher says almost 80-percent of what we learn is done from the ages of birth through age 5. She says their rapid pace of brain development means a good environment for young children is vital.
The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is a statewide membership and advocacy organization committed to improving developmental outcomes in the areas of learning, health, safety and economic security for children ages birth through eight.
Boucher also received the Children’s Champion award from the Alliance in 2013, 2012 and 2009.
The other 23 honored are:
Senator Andres Ayala (D-23) Bridgeport and Stratford
Senator Dante Bartolomeo (D-13) Cheshire, Meriden, Middlefield and Middletown
Senator Beth Bye (D-05) Bloomfield, Burlington, Farmington and West Hartford
Senator Carlo Leone (D-27) Stamford and Darien
Senator Andrea Stillman (D-20) Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville, New London, Old Lyme, Salem and Waterford
Senator Don Williams (D-29) Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson and Windham
Representative Cathy Abercrombie (D-83) Berlin and Meriden
Representative Tim Ackert (R-08) Columbia, Coventry, Tolland and Vernon
Representative Joe Aresimowicz (D-30) Berlin and Southington
Representative Juan Candelaria (D-95) New Haven
Representative Victor Cuevas (D-75) Waterbury
Representative Andrew Fleischmann (D-18) West Hartford
Representative Mae Flexer (D-44) Killingly and Plainfield
Representative Daniel Fox (D-148) Stamford
Representative Gerald Fox (D-146) Stamford
Representative Mary Fritz (D-90) Cheshire and Wallingford
Representative Patricia Billie Miller (D-145) Stamford
Representative Bobby Sanchez (D-25) New Britain
Representative Hilda Santiago (D-84) Meriden
Representative William Tong (D-147) Stamford and Darien
Representative Toni Walker (D-93) New Haven
Representative Roberta Willis (D-64) Canaan, Cornwall, Goshen, Kent, Norfolk, North Canaan, Salisbury, Torrington and Sharon
Rep. Michelle Cook (D-65) Torrington (Legislator of the Year)
WOLCOTT, Conn. (AP) The National Weather Service has confirmed that a small tornado touched down in Wolcott.
Sunday's tornado was rated as an EF0, the weakest rating for the storms, with winds between 65 and 85 mph.
Investigators say among other things, the storm uprooted trees, knocked down a fence and blew down a portable backstop on the baseball field at Wolcott High School.
The weather service says the tornado touched down at 12:50 p.m. and traveled about six-tenths of a mile from the intersection of Minor Road and Center Street to the high school.
No injuries were reported.
Newtown police are continuing their search for a man who went missing almost a year ago. Robert Hoagland was last seen at a Mobil Gas Station on Church Hill Road early on July 28th 2013. He was reported missing by his wife, who was waiting for him to pick her up at the airport.
The man does not have his wallet, ID, credit cards, cell phone or blood pressure medication with him. His shoes were also found left behind at his home.
Sightings of the man had been reported in the Rhode Island area, but they all turned out to be misidentifications or unconfirmed. A possible sighting was made in Brookfield this January, but surveillance footage was not clear enough to make a positive identification.
Anyone with information on Hoagland's whereabouts is asked to contact Newtown Police at 203-426-5841.
A draft report has been submitted to the General Assembly's Appropriations and Children's committees by a Task Force studying mental health issues in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The joint meeting was held Thursday at the state capital. Yale Behavioral Health Director Dr Michael Hoge says access is a challenge.
says there are many concerns with prevention, early identification and early intervention systems. He notes that has led to a lack universal screening for mental health problems across the age continuum. There are also inadequate services to refer to once behavioral health needs have been identified.
The report found that there are some effective programs in the state, but there is an overall disconnect.
A final report is due to lawmakers in October by the state Department of Children and Families, Office of Early Childhood and others.
The leaders of 10 Greater Danbury area towns are taking steps to merge their regional planning group with one representing lower Fairfield County towns. The state recently passed an initiative calling for the 13 planning agencies in the state to merge into no more than eight. Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi says his biggest concern in all of this is that it will lead to a county level of government. Marconi says he and others will stand firm that that can't happen.
The 10 towns in the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials and the eight towns in the South Western Regional Planning Agency would become the 18 towns in the Western Connecticut Council of Governments.
Marconi says the state is hoping for more regionalization efforts when it comes to a sharing of equipment and bulk purchasing power to bring the cost of government down. But he says, the HVCEO region already does a lot of that so they are entering this merger with caution.
If larger councils of governments are not created, the current ones risk losing funding.
HVCEO towns are: Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield and Sherman.
SWRPA towns are: Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport and Wilton.
A roundtable discussion at Danbury Library has been held by Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy about what they call the humanitarian crisis at the border. Blumenthal was asked about Connecticut's rejection of the Southbury Training School as a place to house 2,000 migrant children.
The roundtable participants included immigration activists, student leaders, and religious leaders.
Blumenthal says the children face enormous danger as they flee trafficking, rape, and psychological abuse in their home countries. He says many of the children have family members here and should be placed with those relatives instead of massive institutions.
The other side of the Doughnut Inn controversy is being told. Earlier this week a woman told broadcast media that her 4-year old son had been banned by the Monroe establishment for being rude after asking another customer if she was pregnant.
The store manager has told the Monroe Courier that Rebecca Denham's story was fabricated.
Becca Mason said in the published report that they've gotten multiple complaints from customers about the woman's rude behavior and they asked her to take her business elsewhere. Mason continued to say that Denham is a problem customer who didn't enforce any rules with her son and used this incident to get 15 minutes in the spotlight at the expense of her son.
The U-S Interior Department is extending the period for people to comment on proposed changes to the rules for granting federal recognition to American Indian tribes, citing significant public interest in the matter.
Kevin Washburn, an assistant secretary with the department's Bureau of Indian Affairs, announced Friday the comment period has been extended by 60 days.
The rules announced in May include a requirement that tribes demonstrate political authority since 1934. Previously, they had to show continuity from ``historical times.'' This could open the door for recognition of one faction of the Kent-based Scaghticoke Tribe.
Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen was among those seeking an extension. Despite changes made to the proposed rules, Jepsen's office claims they'll still have "serious consequences for Connecticut,'' making it easier for groups petitioning for federal recognition to gain the acknowledgement.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is also adding more consultations with tribes and public meetings.
The existing regulations overseeing the federal recognition of tribes were originally adopted in 1978. They've been updated once in 20 years. Washburn said the new rules are intended to make the process more transparent and efficient. He said the standards are no less rigorous.
A small plane has crashed near Danbury Municipal Airport. Interim Fire Chief TJ Wiedl says the accident happened around 7pm Thursday. The plane is in the marshy area on the south fields of the airport near Miry Brook Road. The small aircraft was attempting to come in for a landing.
Assistant Fire Chief Bernie Meehan says the pilot was standing on the plane when firefighters arrived. He was rescued by boat.
(Photo courtesy @MayorMark)
(Photo courtesy @IAFF801 via Twitter)
A Ridgefield Fire Department Ambulance was near the airport when the incident occurred.
The single engine 1984 Beechcraft Bonanza, crashed about a quarter mile short of Runway 35. Ridgefield Firefighters were the first to locate the aircraft, which was not visible from the road. The plane was in water about 8 feet deep.
The pilot was checked by Danbury Paramedics. According to FAA records, the plane is registered to Dr. Lionel Brown of Newtown. He was uninjured and was released by EMS. Firefighters placed booms around the aircraft to contain any possibility of fuel leakage. The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection was also on the scene.
The cause of the crash is under investigation by the Danbury Police, State Police, Danbury Airport Administration, and the NTSB.
(Photo courtesy @MayorMark)
According to the Danbury Orthopedics website, Dr. Brown founded the Hand Center of Western Connecticut in 1989. In 2011, he merged offices with Danbury Orthopedics, where he continues to practice.
The Danbury City Council held a special meeting last night to approve a $750,000 transfer of funds to consolidate the 911 dispatch center. Currently police and firefighters staff the call center, but New Jersey-based IXP will be taking over those duties. Council President Joe Cavo says Danbury is one of the last places to still use police and fire staff to answer the phones.
Cavo says the consolidation and the use of civilians means more police and firefighters will be back on the streets doing what they were hired to do. Three police officers per shift will be back on street duty. Officials estimate that the fire department will realize a million dollar savings over the next few years.
The contract is for three years. The police station was designed to have the capacity to handle a call taker center. The space, the room and the equipment are all set to go.
There will be a six month cross over with police and firefighters sort of training IXP dispatchers.
The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen has voted to move forward with a lease for some of the town-owned Schlumberger land. The lease for $3.4 million dollars in exchange for 12 acres is to an art collector, previously identified as the Chairman of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.
The proposal still faces a town vote. The art collector would repurpose some of the buildings on the land and house a private art collection.
Another request for proposals would go out to buyers looking to develop 10 acres of land that voters previously rejected a $4 million dollars sale for. Toll Brothers proposed building 30 luxury condos on the site.
Five acres was previously sold to a developer for a hotel and office space. That would leave the town with 18 acres, mostly for open space. About 4.5 acres would be set aside for future town building needs.
Spray parks in Ridgefield were set to open this weekend, but that has been delayed. Work has not been completed at the Park and Recreation Center's Spray Bay because of recent rain storms.
The Ridgefield Press reports that a rubber surface still needs to be installed. The rubber surface has to dry for several days before the system can be tested.
The new grand opening has been set for August 2nd. Originally the town hoped to open the 26 fixtures on Independence Day weekend.
A man wanted in Maryland on an attempted murder charge has been arrested by Weston Police. 26-year old Jairo Gutierrez-Lopez of Maryland was founding working as a painter on a house in Weston on Tuesday and was charged as a fugitive from justice.
He appeared in Norwalk Superior Court Thursday to start the extradition process.
He is also wanted in Maryland for possession of a dangerous weapon and assault charges. A warrant was issued in that state earlier this month but the man fled the state.
The 49-year-old Thomaston man facing threatening charges after a woman told police he stabbed a watermelon in a passive-aggressive manner has tried giving a watermelon to the police chief. The Register Citizen reports that Carmine Cervellino was bringing a required drug test, which was negative, to the police station and also brought along a watermelon.
Police say the woman reported finding drugs, including marijuana, in Cervellino's tool box. He was not arrested and the drugs were not found. Police say she later returned home to find the watermelon on the counter with a butcher's knife in it.
She reported that Cervellino then entered the room and began carving the watermelon in a passive-aggressive and menacing way. He will be in court next month.
An officer at the station reportedly told the man that the department doesn’t accept gifts and didn’t appreciate the “photo stunt."
Redding residents have approved bonding for two capital projects. $300,000 for a new 120-foot communications tower at the police department was approved on a vote of 325 to 197. $6.73 million over four years has been proposed for an additional 20-miles in the road reconstruction plan was approved on a vote of 375 to 148.
Redding and Easton also approved funding for a partial roof restoration for Joel Barlow High School.
A second vote was held yesterday for the Region 9 issue after the first decision had to be thrown out. During a budget referendum, residents did approve the funding, but a technical error meant a new vote had to be taken. The Region 9 Board of Ed held a hearing in March a day too late for public notice. The total appropriation is $1.4 million. Redding's share is 54-percent based on school population with Easton picking up the remaining cost.
The vote passed overall by nearly 300 votes.
Authorities say they've cracked a cold case dating back nearly two decades with the arrest of a 70-year-old Ohio man.
Robert Honsch, formerly of Brewster, was charged with murder Tuesday. Authorities say he shot his 53-year-old wife Marcia. Her body was found by a hiker in October 1995 near an entrance to a Massachusetts park.
A week earlier, the body of a female, also shot, had been found in a parking area behind a strip mall in New Britain, Connecticut.
Authorities say a tip to New York state police led to Honsch, who was living with his current wife and children, and the identities of the victims.
DNA testing determined the second victim was Honsch's 16-year-old daughter Elizabeth. Both victims had been shot in the head. Neither had identifying information on them.
Honsch has been charged so far in Massachusetts. It wasn't initially known if he has a lawyer.
North Carolina has convinced Fortune 500 packaging company Sealed Air Corp. to move nearly 1,300 jobs to the Charlotte area by relocating its New Jersey headquarters and consolidating management operations from several other states.
Sealed Air has about 175 positions in Danbury. A company spokesman sauid in published reports that manufacturing operations will remain in Danbury, with fewer than 50 non-manufacturing positionsbeing relocated
A North Carolina committee that approves corporate tax breaks on Wednesday approved up to $36 million over 12 years if the company meets job and investment targets. The Elmwood Park, New Jersey, company was expected to announce the move with North Carolina officials later Wednesday.
North Carolina Commerce Department spokeswoman Kim Genardo said the company will consolidate some operations from Connecticut, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and New Jersey into a new headquarters complex in the Charlotte area costing more than $50 million.
Genardo said the company also considered Greenville, South Carolina, before choosing Charlotte.