New photos show progress on the construction of the new Sandy Hook School in Newtown.
Site walls and sidewalks are being installed, wood siding has been put up and a glass installation is in place. Finishes were being installed in the gym, kitchen and various other locations in the building.
More exterior work is also coming together. The building will have one long so-called main street corridor. There will be three wings off of it for different grade level classrooms.
The facility is slated to open in time for the start of the new school year in the fall. Consigli Construction broke ground in October for the new 87,000 square-foot Sandy Hook School.
An Easton man has pleaded guilty to avoiding paying income tax.
64-year old Paul Carpenter entered the plea on Friday and waived his right to indictment. Carpenter operated a chiropractic practice in Bridgeport. According to court documents, he intentionally mischaracterized personal expenses as deductible business expenses, including college tuition and numerous personal retail purchases.
For two tax years, Carpenter took false deductions resulting in a tax loss of $187,594.
Sentencing has been set for September 7th. Carpenter faces a maximum term of imprisonment three years. He has paid all back taxes, plus interest and penalties.
A so-called Border to Border Buckle Up detail has been conducted along Route 35. The Ridgefield and Lewisboro Police Departments patrolled the area yesterday, the first day of a Buckle Up campaign.
As a result of the enforcement efforts, 47 Uniform Traffic Tickets were issued, including 12 for not wearing a seat belt, 9 operating a motor vehicle while using a cell phone, and 26 other Vehicle and Traffic Law violations.
Two Unlawful Possession of Marijuana arrests were made during the detail as well.
The Clean Start Program has begun in Danbury. It's an initiative that was proposed by Mayor Mark Boughton in December as a way to put homeless people to work for the City. The program provides homeless people with gift cards for supervised litter collection.
Danbury has teamed up with Jericho Partnership for the effort.
Boughton says the participants in the program are working to make themselves better and be on track to re-enter the workforce. He notes that if someone excels in the program, and received the right kinds of services, they could be moved into a paying job like a part-time recreation maintenance worker. Boughton hopes by cleaning up the city, participants will also clean up their lives.
Homeless people who volunteer in the program are given mentoring and paid with a $35 gift card after each half-day shift. As long as they want to show up in the morning, Boughton says the City will find a way to keep them employed so they can pull themselves out of despair and give them dignity again.
In the latest Point in Time Count, chronic homelessness in Danbury had dropped 30-percent from the year before. Chronic homelessness among veterans in Danbury has been completely eliminated.
A number of Greater Danbury area state lawmakers are retiring leaving open races in November. Among them is Republican Clark Chapin of New Milford who has decided not to seek re-election in the 30th Senate District. The district includes New Milford, Brookfield, Kent, Canaan, North Canaan, Salisbury, Sharon, Cornwall, Morris, Warren, Goshen and Litchfield, as well as part of Torrington, Winchester and Lakeville.
Litchfield Republican state Representative Craig Miner is seeking the position. Democrat David Lawson has been nominated by the Democrats at their caucus Monday night.
Lawson, a high school teacher, is chairman of the New Milford Board of Education. He says there are a number of issues in the northwest corner, and he wants to be their advocate in Hartford.
Lawson cited the economy. He wants to see vocational technical opportunities expanded. He also wants to make college affordable, stop unfunded mandates on municipalities and redo the Education Cost Sharing formula. Protecting waterways and preserving farms were also mentioned as priorities.
With the Connecticut General Assembly in adjournment, now is the time for campaigning to begin for state lawmakers. Danbury Republicans have nominated candidates for a couple of state House positions. Danbury's 109th and 110th Districts are currently represented by Democrats, David Arconti and Bob Godfrey respectively. They will be challenged by Veasna Roeun and Emanuela Palmares.
State Senator Mike McLachlan is seeking reelection. Danbury Democrats last night also nominated Ken Gucker to challenge McLachlan for state Senate.
Michael Ferguson previously announced his candidacy for the 138th District. It's an open seat with incumbent Republican Jan Giegler having been elected as Danbury Town Clerk.
Registrar of Voters and Justices of the Peace were also nominated.
Danbury Republicans will be nominating candidates tonight for the November election. Among the positions is the 110th District, currently held by Democrat Bob Godfrey. Republican Emanuela Palmares is looking to unseat the 14-term Deputy House Leader. Republicans will also nominate a candidate for the 109th District, Registrar of Voters and Justices of the Peace. The nomination caucus will be held at 7 o'clock tonight at Danbury City Hall in Council Chambers.
Redding Police and other law enforcement agencies are launching their annual ``buckle up'' campaign. State troopers, will be joining local law enforcement officers to make sure motorists are using their seatbelts as the summer travel season gears up.
The two-week, zero-tolerance enforcement campaign starts today and lasts through June 5th. Redding Police will be looking for drivers and passengers who aren't buckled in properly.
Chief Douglas Fuchs says belt use rate in Redding has gone down, according to state researchers who have been tasked to make those observations. Fuchs says it's such an easy way to help prevent injuries and save lives.
A local lawmaker has issued a scathing letter to the Secretary of the State over an agreement that could lead to automatic voter registration by August 2018.
Eligible citizens in Connecticut will eventually be automatically registered to vote when they visit the Department of Motor Vehicles for license or state-issued identification services. Officials from the DMV and the Secretary of the State's Office announced last week that they reached an agreement, but that a plan still must be developed.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says Connecticut is the first state to introduce automatic voter registration through this type of agreement, saying it will enhance voting rights and opportunity. Merrill had pushed for similar legislation this year in the General Assembly but it ultimately did not pass.
New Fairfield state Representative Richard Smith, a ranking member of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, says he was surprised to read that a Memorandum of Agreement had been entered into between the Secretary of the State and the DMV. He says that was in direct defiance of the action of the Legislature. He said surprise is a gross understatement.
Naturally people are frustrated with the DMV, and steps are being taken to ease wait times and other issues. But Smith says to add more work right now seems to be ludicrous. Smith says he is not in favor of the Agreement, nor a unilateral action.
He said in a letter to Merrill:
"I am not sure what makes you feel you are above the protocol of the legislative process. If you are allowed to act at your own whim without oversight and approval by the Legislature, why have the Committee process at all."
Smith called for a copy of the Agreement for review and comment, along with how much it would cost to implement the system.
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities submitted testimony during a public hearing about the bill. CCM said while the group understands the intent of the proposal, the requirements may become difficult to implement by local registrar of voters.
Currently, the DMV collects voter registration information, however CCM says there hasn't been a reliable mechanism to provide local officials with this information. In particular, local registrar of voters do not have the technology to implement this type of system. If implemented, it would likely require new technology to be purchased. CCM says that could be an added expense on cities and towns.
A 1993 federal act, known as the motor-voter law, encourages voter registration at DMVs.
The final four police chief candidates in Danbury were interviewed on Thursday. Mayor Mark Boughton says the selection of a new chief will be made over the coming days. Five internal candidates and three from outside the Danbury Police Department applied for the job.
Chief Al Baker's retirement was announced at the end of January. Baker planned to leave June 10th, but Boughton says he has agreed to make himself available for a few weeks after that to help with the transition.
The candidates have just completed a rigorous testing process. Boughton says it will be a tough decision because there was a strong pool of candidates. He says they all have strong credentials in law enforcement and are highly qualified.
A new Police Chief will be on the City Council's June agenda for ratification. The Chief is required to be or become a Danbury resident, living in the City for the duration of their term as Chief.
Boughton says they are looking for a results-oriented administrator who stays calm under pressure and thinks critically and strategically. Experience in policy review and development including such things as "use of force" and discipline was also on the list of qualifications. A strong background in labor relations and negotiations was recommended. The salary is $120,000 to $130, 000 annually, commensurate with experience.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's U.S. senators are urging the federal government to halt the expansion of a gas pipeline project that runs beside a nuclear power plant.
Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand want the Algonquin pipeline project halted until independent health and safety reviews are completed. The two Democrats say the project poses a threat to the quality of life in the region and doesn't come with any long-term benefit to the communities it would affect.
Both senators are asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission not to approve any proposal until a thorough, independent review of the project's potential impacts is completed.
The project would nearly double the size of the current natural gas transmission line on a route that travels through Rockland, Putnam and Westchester counties in southeastern New York.
70-percent of New Fairfield public school teachers cast a vote of no confidence in the Superintendent.
New Fairfield Education Association President Keith Conway announced the results of last week's vote at Thursday's Board of Education meeting. 160 teachers voted no-confidence against Superintendent Dr. Alicia Roy. 25 teachers voted in favor of Roy, and 42 did not vote. Conway called for Roy's resignation. An online petition by parents has 530 signatures, also expressing no-confidence in Roy.
Conway says they took such a drastic measure because teachers and parents have been coming to Board meetings for months to talk about specific performance issues, with little to no response from the Board.
Conway called Roy tone-deaf. He said she doesn't have the respect for her staff to come to a faculty meeting to have an open and honest discussion. The Association stopped meeting with Roy. He says that's because while she may listen, she doesn't hear.
During the Superintendent's report time of the meeting, Roy addressed the crowd. Roy said the teachers are truly remarkable, which is why this action is so devastating to her personally.
She pledged to work harder to regain the trust of the teachers, and said she knows improving their relationship will require increased communication, flexibility and listening on her part. Roy also said she felt bullied these past few months by people's relentless negativity.
One of the items on the Board of Education's agenda was the Superintendent's evaluation. The Board approved Roy's evaluation, but didn't discuss it.
ROXBURY, Conn. (AP) Environmental officials in Connecticut are seeking the public's help in identifying the persons responsible for in the death of a black bear in Roxbury.
The adult male dead bear was found on Roxbury Land Trust property Wednesday morning, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said Friday.
A necropsy was performed Thursday but officials Friday declined to release the results, citing the ongoing investigation.
In Connecticut, black bears are protected species and bear hunting is illegal. A bear can only be killed if it's acting in a threatening manner or poses harm to a person, officials have said.
Anyone with information about the Roxbury incident is encouraged to contact the department at (860) 424-3333.
The Western Connecticut State University Class of 2016 will be addressed by two fellow graduates at this year’s commencement exercises. This is the first year in recent history that the graduating classes will be addressed by a member of their own. Nicole Mair will address the undergraduate class while Dr Monica Sousa will be the keynote speaker for the graduate class.
Mair, who is graduating with her twin sister, Colleen, played rugby while at Western and was a competitor with the Roger Sherman Debate Society. Mair will receive a bachelor’s degree in Economics.
Sousa, an assistant professor of nursing at Western, will receive a degree in Educational Leadership in Nursing at Sunday’s commencement. Sousa has taught at Western for the past six years and worked in the healthcare industry for more than a decade. Sousa also created the Alumni Nursing Society. The alumni society organizing community activities, networking events and connects with the undergrads. Sousa started as nursing faculty member at Western six years ago.
Commencement will be held Sunday at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard.
Bethel Police have identified the man who was killed in a single car crash on Monday night. Police say 24-year old David Wood of Ridgefield was on Route 53 near the Redding border when his car left the roadway, struck a tree and caught fire. The man was pronounced dead at Danbury Hospital. Bethel Police say the crash remains under investigation.
Ridgefield state Representative John Frey has announced that he will seek a 10th term in office. The Republican has held the 111th District seat for the past 18 years.
Ridgefield Democrats have nominated Joe Dowdell to challenge the long-term incumbent. Dowdell is an electrical engineer who has a special interest and expertise in issues surrounding renewable energy. According to a post on the Ridgefield Dems website, Dowdell wants to improve the ease of voter registration and streamlining the voting process.
Dowdell grew up in Minnesota, where he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BS in Electrical Engineering. Dowdell is a volunteer with the Bernie Sanders campaign, and was elected to the Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee in 2016.
A new bridge rehabilitation project is planned in Ridgefield by the state Department of Transportation. The bridge on Route 7 just north of Route 102 will be reconstructed. The Ridgefield Press reports that the work will only be done on weekends, with motorists diverted onto 102, onto 35 and back to 7.
The project is slated to start in June and be completed by the fall. The DOT says the reason the work is only being done on weekends is so that it doesn't interfere with the Route 35 bridge replacement project.
That work started last fall, but has stalled because of old sewer lines that were found and unstable soil. The project end date has been pushed back a year to May 2018. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection needs to issue a revised permit for the project, which is expected to start again in the summer.
There will be alternating one lane traffic through the area of Fox Hill Condos when the weekday midday work does re-start.
Bounce! Trampoline Sports, a new concept in recreation, fitness and fun, will be celebrating the Grand Opening of its facility in Danbury on Saturday. Proceeds from the Grand Opening will be donated to the Caroline Previdi Foundation, created in memory of a first grader killed at Sandy Hook School.
Lisa and Rob Cannon, of Weston, say Bounce! will offer fitness classes, open jump time, trampoline dodgeball, slam dunk basketball, foam pit jumping, and trampoline training classes taught by qualified instructors. Groups are welcome for fundraising, team building and parties.
Caroline's mother, Sandy Previdi, says they were thrilled to be selected as the charity of choice for the grand opening. Their mission is to make sure that children whose families may not be able to afford to send them for extracurricular activities will be able to get involved, be more social, and participate in physical activities to help them be the best they can be. She says Bounce! is the ideal partner to move that mission forward.
Caroline Previdi's positive and enthusiastic approach to life as well as her concern for others inspired her family and friends to create a Foundation in her honor. Caroline was an expressive and happy little girl who embraced a wide array of activities like soccer, dance, art, and swim team. In addition to her activities, she found great joy in helping other children. It is the goal of the Foundation to provide support to children who lack the financial resources to be involved in extracurricular activities.
Some of the innovations at their facility include trampoline Bungee jumps where kids are harnessed in and have a chance to bounce high into the air, dual Bounce! Xtreme Ninja Obstacle Courses with timed challenges, three foam pits in the main jump area, multiple party rooms of all sizes.
A parent lounge includes the ability to watch your favorite TV shows through a cell phone app. There is also a large lofted area that overlooks the facility and houses tables with 40 charging stations as well as an arcade with state-of-the-art games.
Bounce! Trampoline Sports in Danbury will also house an enormous ‘5 and under’ section called Bounce! Jr. This separate area keeps smaller children away from the main court and ensures a less crowded experience for both parents and toddlers. The Bounce! Jr. Zone has its own foam pit and trampoline courts with fun obstacles for the younger set.
Bounce is located at 21 Prindle Lane in Danbury.
Danbury Police held their 32nd annual awards ceremony and memorial service Thursday morning. A memorial wreath was placed, there was a 21-gun salute followed by the playing of Taps and Amazing Grace. Awards were then presented by Mayor Mark Boughton, Chief Al Baker and Deputy Chief Shaun McColgan. The Chief's Achievement Award was presented to Officer Michael Reo. He was also selected as the Danbury Exchange Club's Officer of the Year for 2016.
Members of the Police Department were presented with Exceptional Police Service Awards, Life Saving Medals, Unit Citations and Meritorious Citations for 14 incidents from the past year.
A string of residential burglaries were brought to an abrupt end with the arrest of a suspect in November 2014. Officers Roger Hancock , Robert Perun and Ted Zalenski were presented with Exceptional Police Service Awards for their patrol work in monitoring the downtown area. They observed the suspect walk into a pawn shop with a wooden jewelry box and other items. Detectives Adam Marcus, Paul Carroccio, Ethan Mable and Justin Williams were presented with Unit Citations for investigating the home break in connected to the suspect that night.
Officer David Williams was presented with the Exceptional Police Service Award for his patience and professionalism in stopping a man from committing suicide. Williams responded to a Scuppo Road apartment in April 2015 on a report of a man barricaded in his bedroom and found the man cutting his arm . Williams pushed the door open, but the man leaned out the window as he threatened to jump. The Fire Department ladder truck bucket was remotely raised, pushing the window shut. The man peacefully surrendered after 30 minutes of dialog with Williams.
Two officers and a retired Officer were recognized for their restrain and diligence in dealing with a stressful situation involving a man who said that he wanted to die in a "suicide by cop" situation in June 2015. Officers Bryan Reed and Dayleth Scantling responded to a woman's 911 call that her son took a number of pills while drinking. The man was found in the driveway holding a knife and a machete. He also told police there was a gun in his car, and made several movements like he was grabbing for it. The man said he wanted to talk with retired Officer James Pacific, a family friend. Pacific arrived and the situation came to an end. Reed and Scantling were presented with Exceptional Police Service Awards, while Pacific received a Civilian Award.
In July, police were called to Sil Cam Drive on a report of the same man fighting with his mother, who didn't know if his two guns were real or not. With no trained negotiator on scene, Sgt. Matthew Casazza and Officer Alexander Relyea were aided by Officer Rui Fernandes in convincing the man to give up peacefully. Officer Christine Galgano searched for additional firearms. When presented with the Exceptional Police Service Awards, officials said that even though the gun ended up being fake, they would have been justified in shooting the man after he pointed it at them at least twice.
Officer Andrew Katkocin was presented with a Meritorious Citation for an investigation into a hit and run accident involving a pedestrian on Main Street in June. The victim came to the police station a few days after being hit, and told Katkocin that his cousin hit him on purpose after previously threatening to hit him with a pipe. The suspect had a lengthy criminal history, across the country. An arrest warrant was granted. Katkocin led a team to serve the warrant, and took the suspect by surprise before he could flee or resist.
Unit Citation were presented for an investigation into a stabbing at Kennedy Fried Chicken. An officer worker DUI enforcement saw a man matching the suspect description and confronted the man by himself. Other officers arrived and noticed blood on the suspect's shoes. Their investigation revealed that the victim instigated the fight by punching the suspect, breaking his jaw. Both were arrested. Officers Melissa Morrill and Lance Brevard and Sgt. Matthew Casazza recovered the knife, aided by anonymous information. Officers Michelle Cattuti, Christine Galgano and Ryan Howley also investigated.
Exceptional Police Service Awards were presented to Officers Hector Rodriguez and Travis Weber for racing into a burning home and helping several adults to safety. One woman said her infant was still inside. Both raced back in and got the baby out safely.
An Exceptional Police Service Award was presented to Sgt. Ethan Mable for helping a woman in cardiac arrest who was unconscious . Despite his and others efforts, the woman did not survive.
Detectives Paul Carroccio and Adam Marcus were investigating burglaries in the downtown area in October. Detectives Justin Williams and Kevin Zaloski were looking into one particular case. Officers Robert Perun and Ted Zalenski notified them that they detained a man matching their suspect's description. The suspect admitted to several burglaries and to severely injuring a parking lot attendant in the process. Additional suspects were then identified. The Detectives received Meritorious Citations while the Officers received Unit Citations.
Detective James Lalli was presented with the Life Saving Medal for assisting a 13-year old boy. A woman called 911 to report that her stepson hanged himself. Lalli found the boy with a belt around his neck, got the boy down and checked his vital signs. The boy alter was reported in good condition at Danbury Hospital.
Officer David Williams was also presented with the Life Saving Medal for his role in reviving an unconscious man. Williams responded to a reported overdose at a Spring Street home and found a woman attempted to perform CPR incorrectly. He took over, and a doctor later noted that giving chest compressions presumably shocked the victim's body into breathing again.
The Life Saving Medal was also presented to Officer Drew Carlson for performing CPR on an unresponsive woman in the basement of a home. Carlson took over CPR from a man who was on scene, and the woman started breathing. She regain consciousness and informed EMTs that she had snorted heroin.
Officer Ted Zalenski was presented with the Exceptional Police Service Award for an incident with a suicidal man. In December, officers reported to the home of a man armed with a box cutter who refused to open the door. The man yelled that he'd rather kill himself than ho back to jail. Zalenski was familiar with the man, and kicked the door open. The man had a suicide note in his hand, and Zalenski convinced him to drop the knife.
Just this March, two officers entered a dangerous situation without regard for their own safety and saved the life of a man who was attempting to commit suicide. Officers Gary Bardelli and Matthew Malone were presented with the Life Saving Medal for a well being check. They heard a motor running in a garage and saw a man slumped over a motorcycle. They forced the door open and carried the unconscious man outside where he began breathing . Even after 20 minutes after the incident, the home had very high levels of carbon monoxide and that when the officers entered the garage, the levels would have been life threatening.
The President of Danbury and New Milford Hospitals has resigned. Dan DeBarba was also the Executive Vice President of Western Connecticut Health Network. He will be leaving at the end of the month to join a large health system in New York. Western Connecticut Health Network President and CEO Dr James Murphy said in an email statement that this is a great opportunity matching Dan's experience and talents. Murphy said that DeBarba played an instrumental role planning for the affiliation with Norwalk Hospital, and led a successful integration in 2014. DeBarba was CEO of Norwalk Hospital.