The 33rd Annual Columbus Day Observance Parade will proceed down Bethel roads Monday morning. The annual event features local residents dressed as Christopher Columbus, Queen Isabella and George Washington with Billy Michael leading a quartet in the “Tarantella".
Longtime organizer Geri Mills says the parade starts at Caraluzzi’s parking lot at 8:45 am. The parade moves down South Street, Depot Place and onto Greenwood Avenue where it ends at about 9am with speeches at P.T. Barnum Square. The Italian flag will be raised at P.T. Barnum Square following the parade.
The half-hour event will celebrate the contributions and history of Italian immigrants and their descendants to the town and the country.
There was a smoke emergency at West Conn Friday afternoon which prompted a brief evacuation of a building on the midtown campus. A transformer burned out in University Hall's mechanical room. Emergency dispatchers reported heavy smoke. People were allowed back in after about half an hour, though the elevator remainedl out of service for a time.
An Italian Flag Raising Ceremony has been held this morning at Danbury City Hall. Mayor Mark Boughton says the ceremony honors members of the Italian American community in Danbury. Danbury has done hundreds of flag raisings over the years and another one is taking place this morning.
But Boughton says it's been pointed out to City officials several times that the Federal Flag Code states the flag of two countries can't be flown on the same pole, one underneath the other. The entry way to City Hall is being redone, and a second flag pole has been ordered so that Danbury can be fully compliant during flag raising ceremonies.
But he notes that it won't be here in time for this weekend's ceremony.
A drug sweep was conducted this morning at Wilton High School. The search by police dogs was previously announced by the District because it triggered a lockdown drill. There were two hits by two drug sniffing dogs on one locker, but it was empty. Police say there could have been residue in the locker. Police dogs from several surrounding towns were brought in to help with the search of Wilton High School and the parking lot. School officials said when announcing this event, that there would be a few other searches scheduled during the school year, but that they would not be announced.
A New York City man has been arrested for using bogus $100 bills at Danbury Fair Mall. Police were called to Backus Avenue shortly after 4pm on Wednesday by the "As Seen on TV" store. A man, later identified as 26-year old Javed Ahmed Salam, used the fake bill to pay for a $10 item but it wasn't determined to be counterfeit until after the sale.
The manager showed police a still image of the suspect from surveillance video. The officer remembered seeing the man walking through the mall while responding to this complaint. Salam was found in the mall.
He had eight of the counterfeit $100 bills in his possession. After talking with Salam, Police determined that he went into several other stores in and around the mall area paying for small valued items with the counterfeit money. Among the stores listed by police were: Dick's Sporting Goods, UNIQLO, The Children's Place, Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch and Cotton On.
He was charged with eight counts each of misdemeanor larceny and felony forgery. Salam was arraigned and released on a $10,000 court set bond. He is due back in Danbury Superior Court on the 29th to answer the charges.
A Drug Crisis Task Force is being created by the regional planning group which spans from Sherman down to Stamford. The Western Connecticut Council of Governments was called on by Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and other chief elected officials in the area to address the heroin and opiate addiction which has risen to epidemic levels.
There were 257 heroin-related deaths in Connecticut in 2013 according to a report from the state medical examiner's office. The report said that was an increase of nearly double from the previous year. The task force would better leverage the resources in Western Connecticut to respond to the crisis, and raise awareness about the issue. Those resources include law enforcement, addition specialists and medical professionals.
At the City Council meeting this week, Boughton said that a unified comprehensive approach to tackling the substance abuse issue will allow all towns in the region to send the same message. The task force will likely only have nine members. The state, substance abuse counselors and related nonprofits will be part of the discussion. The task each of the police chiefs from the 25 town region as well as the Fairfield County Association of Chiefs of Police.
Creation of the task force will likely by on the WCCOG's October meeting agenda for final ratification. Boughton says the great thing about WCCOG being in charge of this is that the organization has the support staff and resources which individual towns don't have.
A First Responders Garden has been created by a group of Girl Scouts in New York. A recognition ceremony was held Thursday for the three Girl Scout Cadettes from Carmel Troop 2655 who built First Responders Garden on Gleneida Avenue in Carmel as a thank you to the law enforcement, fire department and emergency service workers in Putnam County.
The First Responders Garden was a project so Alexandra Baranowski, Ashley Leftwich and Gianna Nardini could earn their Silver Award, the second highest award that a Girl Scout can receive. The Girl Scouts planned, designed and constructed the garden together.
Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell says the County has committed maintaining the garden, which is on county property, for a least a year.
Ridgefield residents on nine different streets have reported spray paint damage to their properties in one night. Ridgefield Police are investigating several reports of criminal mischief. Residents reported Thursday morning that sometime in the overnight hours, their vehicles, mailboxes, driveway lights, and signs had been spray painted.
Residents on the following roads in town reported damage- Caudatowa Drive, Ramapoo Road, Armand Road, Old Sib Road, Tackora Trail, Eleven Levels Road, Old West Mountain Road, Green Lane and Bennetts Farm Road.
Police spokesman Captain Jeff Kreitz says police believe that the criminal mischief damage was done at random. The spray paint used in these incidents was orange and pink. Though considerable, Kreitz says the monetary value of the damage is unclear at this time.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Ridgefield Police Department at 203-438-6531 or the Anonymous Tip Line at 203-431-2345.
A convenience store in Patterson was robbed by a masked gunman Wednesday night. The robbery happened at about 8:15 at Betzi’s Mini Mart on Center Street in Patterson. The suspect was described by the Putnam County Sheriff's Office as a male wearing a black hooded jacket, dark pants and a white mask. He ordered a female sales clerk to give him money and then left the store with an undisclosed sum of cash.
No one was injured in the robbery.
A witness reported that the suspect got into a small automobile—of unknown make, model and color—and drove away on Route 311, with its headlights off, and onto Route 292.
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (845) 225-4300. All calls will be kept confidential.
A New Milford man who was arrested for a 2011 bank robbery has been arrested again, this time for violating his probation. New Milford Police say 27-year old Micah Thaisz was charged yesterday with possession of a controlled substance and violation of probation. He was held on bond for arraignment today. Thaisz was ordered to serve five years probation when he was sentenced on an accessory to robbery charge for the heist at Webster Bank on Main Street in New Milford. According to court records, Thaisz was also arrested in August for burglary and drug related charges, and in September for resisting arrest.
Governor Dannel Malloy is touting a new analysis of his transportation improvement plan which says the state's economy will benefit dramatically from widening Interstate 84 in Danbury and elsewhere. Malloy says the assessment by the state Department of Transportation shows that by adding travel lanes on various roadways, the economy will see nearly $40 billion in benefits.
He notes that's about four times the cost of the projects.
Malloy says the economic benefits of the I-84 widening project between Danbury and Waterbury will produce $4.4 billion in new business sales, add $2.6 billion to Connecticut's gross state product and add $1.8 billion in new wage income to workers.
The total cost of that project is $1.5 billion and will support 4,000 construction jobs.
The new Sandy Hook School is on track to open at the start of the next school year.
The contractor building the new Sandy Hook Elementary School says work is progressing at the Newtown site.
Work scheduled to take place this month includes beginning to install the windows, ceilings and soffits at Wing A. Utility installation at Wing B along with closure of the interior walls there is set to get underway. Interior wall framing at Wings C and D will be done. Stone veneer at the front wall of the building will be started. Curbing and road work at Dickinson Drive and Riverside Road will continue this month.
B and C wing exterior wall progress
C wing treehouse progress
(Photos courtesy: Sandyhook2016.com/)
The state Department of Transportation project to replace a bridge on Route 35 in Ridgefield is causing a lot of traffic tie ups in the area of Fox Hill condos because of alternating one-way traffic. The Ridgefield Press reports that First Selectman Rudy Marconi has called for a public information meeting at the request of area residents about the state project.
The $2.5 million replacement project is expected to take more than a year to complete. A temporary bridge is being constructed next to the structure that will be replaced to allow for minimal traffic disruptions.
The information meeting about the project is scheduled for Wednesday night at 7 o'clock in the lower level conference room of town hall.
The Candlewood Lake Authority has issued a summer wrap up newsletter touting grants it received for public safety operations. First Light Power Resources, the Lake owner, issued a $10,000 grant, matched by a private foundation. It allows the CLA to upgrade the radio system on the Marine Patrol boats. CLA Executive Director Larry Marsicano says communications between dispatch, the state EnCon Police and the Marine Patrol ensures the safety of the boating public.
Marsicano says an upgrade was needed after the state moved to a new high-frequency system. The previously used low frequency radios on board the boats couldn't receive any communications from the new system the state was migrating to.
First Light also issued a grant to replace some 80 aging hazard marker buoys. The grant was for nearly $10,800.
WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. (AP) A Hudson Valley pet store whose owner is facing animal cruelty charges has closed.
American Breeders: Puppies Kittens in Wappingers Falls closed on Sept. 30. That's according to the store's landlord, Frank Buyakowski.
Buyakowski tells the Poughkeepsie Journal that he came to a mutual agreement with the store's owner, Richard Doyle, to close the shop.
The 55-year-old Doyle was charged in July with three misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty following an investigation by state animal control officers from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. He is due in Danbury Superior Court on October 14th.
Several Hudson Valley residents told the newspaper they had purchased sick puppies at the business, which was the focus of protests by animal rights activists and customers in August.
American Breeders: Puppies Kittens also has had locations in Danbury, Connecticut, and Mohegan Lake.
One of Doyle’s store managers, 29-year old Kathy Seton of Cold Spring, NY, was also charged with animal cruelty. Police did not detail the allegations against her. She is due in court on the October 28th.
A Sherman man has pleaded guilty to his role in what the FBI dubbed Operation Juice Box. 32-year old Michael Mase pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to distribute steroids. The Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security and the FBI launched an investigation into people receiving shipments of steroids from China.
Mase is a registered nurse and a body-builder. In pleading guilty, he admitted purchasing anabolic steroids from another member of the conspiracy and distributing them to others including athletes who competed in body-building competitions. Mase is scheduled to be sentenced December 23rd and faces up to 10 years in prison.
The steroid distribution ring was allegedly headed by former Newtown Police Sgt Steven Santucci. Carson says jury selection for Santucci and former Newtown dispatcher Jason Chickos has been postponed from this month to January 12th. Both Santucci and Chickos resigned after their arrests in April, and have pleaded not guilty.
12 people in all were charged in the case.
A Long Island man wanted for murder was found near the Appalachian Trail in the town of Pawling. New York State Police say the Suffolk County Police Department contacted Troopers on Tuesday night about 49-year old Paul Leitgeb. The homicide suspect was believed to be in the area and a search was launched around 5:30pm.
The Lake Grove, New York man was found in a densely wooded area near the Appalachian Trail by State Police bloodhound Darby. The man was armed with a box cutter and threatened to harm himself and police. After a prolonged standoff, Leitgeb was eventually taken into custody and turned over to Suffolk County Police Detectives who were on the scene.
He was transported to the hospital for treatment of self-inflicted cuts and lacerations.
Metro North Police, the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office and the New York State police Aviation unit helped in the search.
Two Danbury Police Officers have been promoted to the position of Sergeant.
Officer Amity LaFantano made history when she was sworn in at Danbury City Hall Wednesday morning, becoming the department’s first female sergeant. Sergeant Lafantano joined the Danbury Police Department in 2007, having previously served as a Police Officer in Newtown. LaFantano has served as a Field Training Officer since 2012; a Part Time Evidence Technician since 2011 and a Recruitment Team Member since 2014. LaFantano has several letters of appreciation and commendations including Unit Citations in 2011 and 2012.
(Photo credit: Danbury Police)
Officer Robert Conrad also was sworn in as a Sergeant. Conrad began his career with the Danbury Police Department in 1988. He was as a member of the ESU Swat team from 1998 to 2010 and served as an Assistant Court Officer since July 2005. Conrad has received numerous letters of appreciation and commendations including an Exceptional Police Service Award in 1991.
Two firefighters were also promoted Wednesday morning to the position of Fire Lieutenant.
Firefighter Ted Mourges began with the Danbury Fire Department in 2006. He previously served as a fire fighter/driver for the Newtown Hook and Ladder Department from 1985 through 1993. Mourges has a number of certifications including, but not limited to, Fire Officer; Rescue Technician; Hazardous Materials Technician; State Tele-communicator; Heavy Vehicle Extrication; Pump Operator and Confined Space Technician.
(Photos Courtesy: Danbury Fire Department)
Firefighter Richard Krekorian was also promoted. He started at the Danbury Fire Department in 1993. Krekorian has a number of certifications including, but not limited to, Fire Instructor; CORE Rescue; Trench Rescue; Aircraft Rescue; Incident safety Officer and Pump Operator. He has received an EMS Award and Unit Citations.
The Monroe Police Department has helped in the investigation of a number of so-called swatting incidents in Connecticut. A Wethersfield man was sentenced yesterday after pleading guilty to taking part in a series of hoax emergency calls at UConn and other schools, intended to draw responders, such as SWAT units and bomb squads.
Matthew Tollis was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for conspiring to engage in the malicious conveying of false information, primarily a bomb threat hoax, and participating in "swatting" incidents in Connecticut and other states.
Federal prosecutors say the 22-year-old Tollis was a member of a group of online gamers, which placed the hoax emergency call to UConn's admissions department in April 2014. The investigation revealed that one of the founders of the group was responsible for at least five additional swatting incidents in Connecticut and Massachusetts in 2014.
Tollis pleaded guilty in June.
A local lawmaker is again calling for the UConn Foundation to provide more information about their operations. Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan says he was disappointed the UConn Foundation would not provide him a list of employees, their salaries and their duties. The President of the UConn Foundation said in a letter to McLachlan that they are a private non-profit and not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. McLachlan says he will try again this Spring, for the 4th time, to make the foundation subject to the law because it's the state's flagship university's fundraising arm. The UConn Foundation says it already provides more information than other non-profits in the state.