The Brookfield Police Department is investigating a series of thefts from unlocked vehicles. The crimes happened between Thursday evening and Friday morning centered in the area surrounding West Whisconier Road. Anyone with information about these thefts is asked to contact Officer Flanagan at 203-740-4147. Residents are reminded that it is always best to remove valuables and lock cars. Brookfield is just one of several Greater Danbury area town responding to strings of car break ins.
The Kent Land Trust and the Connecticut land Conservation Council among others will be in Kent today for a special event called a Celebration of Conservation in Connecticut. They will be joined by 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty and Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy. The three will be participating in a panel discussion on the environmental and economic benefits of preserving open space. They will also be talking about their work to make the conservation easement tax incentive permanent and to increase federal funding for conservation. The panel will take questions from the audience. The event takes place at Kent Barns at 10am.
A Newtown woman helped to unveil student murals yesterday celebrating Connecticut Social and Emotional Learning Week. Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse was killed on 12-14, was joined by Senator Richard Blumenthal for the event. The weeklong awareness celebration recognized the importance of helping children learn how to manage emotions and maintain healthy relationships and interpersonal interactions.
The murals at the Quinnipiac University North Haven campus were created by students from Waterbury, Greenwich, New Haven, Norwalk, Darien and Fairfield.
Following the loss of her 6-year old son, Lewis founded the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement to bring attention to the importance of teaching children the non-academic skills they need to thrive physically, mentally and emotionally.
Existing professional development funding was approved by the US Senate to be used to train teachers in concepts related to social and emotional learning.
The final public forum about the proposed Community Center in Newtown is being held this morning. The forum will be at 10am at CH Booth Library. The Newtown Community Center Commission is also holding a meeting at noon at Town Hall, where they will talk about a final recommendation to present to the Board of Selectmen.
Several proposals have been discussed and a draft report from the Commission notes that the facility has to be self-sustaining, available to community members of all ages and a place that encourages social interaction. There are two options being discussed. One includes a community center, a 50-meter pool, and a zero entry pool. The other option includes all of those features, plus an ice rink. During months when the ice rink is not in use, Commission members say it could be drained and used for seating at events for a large audience.
The Commission members believe that the center could turn a profit with in a few years. By not having pools or an ice rink, they say the facility would be unsustainable because it wouldn't have a way to create revenue.
GE has presented a $15 million gift to the town for a Community Center. $10 million of which would be used for construction, and $1 million dollars over each of the following five years to run the facility . Some money from the Newtown Capital Improvement Plan fund would be needed, and possibly private fundraising to make up cost differences.
A Putnam County resident has been confirmed positive for Zika virus and a second additional case is being tested. The Putnam County Department of Health said in a press release that both residents had recently travelled out of the country. There are 16 confirmed infections in New York State.
Symptoms of Zika virus are usually mild, however the Health Department says all pregnant women—with or without symptoms—who have travelled to a Zika-affected region should be tested. Testing is currently not available through commercial laboratories. Residents who have travelled to an area with Zika infection should contact their personal healthcare provider who will work with the Putnam County Department of Health to facilitate the proper testing procedure.
Zika virus, which is spread by infected mosquitos, has been appearing around the continental United States, mostly in travelers who have visited a Zika-affected area. One lone case in Texas is being investigated in a sexual partner of a traveler from one of the affected areas. Prior to 2015, outbreaks of the virus had occurred only in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Last May the first confirmed cases were reported in Brazil.
The situation regarding Zika virus has been changing as new information develops. The Centers for Disease Control have set up a dedicated website at cdc.gov/zika and the New York State Department of Health has established a Zika Information Line: 1-888-364-4723.
A Carmel woman has been arrested following a two month long investigation into cocaine sales in Carmel and Southeast. In December, a Putnam County Sheriff's Deputy developed information that a woman was making cocaine sales and he was able to arrange several purchases.
Last Friday, 22-year old Brittany Rubino was located and arrested. She was charged with multiple counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and with criminal possession of a controlled substance. All are felony counts. Rubino was arraigned and ordered held at Putnam County Correctional Facility on bail for a future court appearance.
A Carmel woman has been arrested on felony charges following an investigation into heroin sales in Putnam County. In September, a Sheriff's Deputy developed information that a woman was making heroin sales in Mahopac and he was able to arrange several purchases. 23-year old Lindsey Schupp was arrested on Monday and charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a child. Schupp was arraigned and ordered held on bail for a future court appearance.
The coldest weather of the winter season so far is settling in on New England. Wind chill watches and warnings are also up for much of the weekend, with readings Saturday night expected to approach 35-below.
A HART Bus will be parked in front of 198 Main Street in Danbury as a place to warm up Saturday.
The Newtown Emergency Management Office is urging residents to be prepared for severe cold and make appropriate preparations. CH Booth Library, Edmund Town Hall, the Senior Center and the Municipal Center are open during their normal business hours. There is also a meeting scheduled for Noon on Saturday at the Municipal Center about the proposed Community Center. Newtown residents are being asked to check on any frail or elderly neighbors and to take steps to protect pets during this cold spell.
Bethel's Emergency Manager is urging town residents to take steps to prepare for the dangerously low temperatures forecast for this weekend. Tom Galliford says cold spells of this magnitude bring a risk of frostbite and hypothermia. The wind chill values could have frostbite set in in less than 30 minutes if proper precautions aren't taken. In addition, frozen pipes and overworked furnaces could leave homes without heat or running water.
Galliford urged residents not to use a stove or oven to heat the home, and not to use an open flame to melt frozen pipes. Galliford, who also serves as Bethel's Fire Marshall, says many house fires result from these practices.
Governor Malloy has activated the state's cold-weather shelter plan in advance of a cold snap that is expected to bring sub-zero temperatures to Connecticut. Under the plan, state officials will coordinate with Connecticut's network of shelters in an attempt to match the homeless with available beds through Monday morning.
The state's 2-1-1 system will coordinate placements and community-based providers will provide transportation for the homeless.
An Internet-based system will allow emergency management officials and first responders to share information and monitor capacity at shelters across the state.
Surveillance photos have been released by state police as they continue to search for a man who robbed an Oxford gas station this week. State Police responded to the Sunoco on Oxford Road around 10:30pm Tuesday on a report that an armed man entered, demanded cash and fled on foot with an undisclosed sum of money.
The suspect was described by the employees as 5'10', with a medium build. The suspect wore a black coat over a dark grey hooded sweatshirt and a dark-colored mask or scarf over his face.
Anyone with information about this incident is being asked to call State Police Troop A at 203-267-2200 ext. 4323. All calls will be kept confidential.
A local lawmaker is speaking out in a proposed drop in the indigent burial benefit to $1,000.
Governor Dannel Malloy's proposed budget calls for a $400 cut in the indigent burial benefit, which was reduced by that amount last year as well. Connecticut first offered a stipend, known as the indigent burial benefit, in 1984. 30 years ago it was $1,200. The benefit increased to $1,800 in 2006.
During a hearing before the legislature's Appropriations Committee yesterday, Bridgewater state Senator Rob Kane said the state can't claim to be there for the very vulnerable and then turn around and cut this benefit. He says funeral homes in urban centers will have to pick up the difference.
The state Department of Social Services says Connecticut spent about $4.5 million in fiscal year 2014 for about 2,500 funerals and burials. DDS says cutting the maximum benefit would bring Connecticut more in line with surrounding states.
$499,960.75 is headed to New Fairfield for pedestrian walkways. The funding will serve to complete the final phase of the streetscape improvements projects by continuing to extend the decorative walks, plantings, street lighting and improved connections to the retail and business centers of downtown New Fairfield. The local community will benefit from this project with increased safe pedestrian access between the Town Hall Center, retail shopping centers, office buildings and green spaces downtown.
State Senator Mike McLachlan says they want to do all they can to make downtown New Fairfield a walkable, welcoming, and accessible place. He says these funds will help this key area to become more inviting to residents, visitors, and to all who conduct business in New Fairfield.
Representative Jan Giegler says New Fairfield will continue investing in the character and infrastructure of the downtown area. She says making it easier for people to enjoy the area is good for both businesses and the community.
Representative Richard Smith says providing a safe way for residents and visitors to enjoy the downtown area will help local businesses prosper. He added that a growing local economy creates stability and makes our community stronger.
Newtown is receiving $500,000 for the Fairfield Hills Streetscape project. The funds will be used for the design and construction of infrastructure and streetscape elements at the main entrance to the Fairfield Hills Campus entrance and down the streets of campus. Newtown is focusing on the revitalization of the property in an effort to increase its economic vitality. The infrastructure and streetscape improvements will support the reuse of this area and will be consistent with the integrated campus design.
Newtown has already invested over $20 million in the remediation of Fairfield Hills, a former state hospital. Past revitalization efforts on the property include environmental cleanup, renovations, reuse or demolition of buildings, upgrades to infrastructure, installation of playing fields and hiking trails, preservation of agriculture, open space conservation, and limited commercial redevelopment.
Representative Mitch Bolinsky says First Selectman Pat Llodra, Grant Coordinator Christal Preszler and Newtown's State Delegation have been working on this grant since 2014. He says this grant will help Newtown make the Fairfield Hills entryway a bit more welcoming for residents, visitors, as well as prospective developers and tenants as efforts continue to revitalize the property.
In these difficult economic times, Representative JP Sredzinski says it's vital that the state support local projects such as this one to help offset the direct cost to the local taxpayers.
15 towns have been approved to receive funding under the state’s Small Town Economic Assistance Program for infrastructure and capital improvement projects.
$500,000 has been approved for streetscape improvements in the Four Corners area of Brookfield. The project will benefit the community by creating a walkable, bike friendly downtown district based on the Brookfield Revitalization Plan. This district has been the focus of an incentive housing overlay zone aimed at stimulating mixed use development to bring back vitality to a vulnerable portion of the town. The residential development will bring nearly 80 new affordable residential units to the project area and, along with the STEAP granted streetscape, support the new ‘downtown.’ The grant will provide for necessary sidewalk, parking and bike lane construction.
State Representative Steve Harding says he looks forward to seeing this project finally materialize and bring new business and cultural opportunities to Brookfield.
Senator Clark Chapin says the current and future residents of Brookfield will be well served by this investment.
$200,000 for phase five of a sidewalk replacement project in Seymour was included in this round of funding. This leverages previous investments to continue the construction and replacement of sidewalks in a more densely populated section of town including many multi-family homes. The project will benefit the local community by creating better pedestrian access to several modes of public transportation and connections to local parks and recreation.
The public hearing about a proposed six-story apartment building on Federal Road in Brookfield continued Thursday night. The Zoning Commission read into record letters of comment from the public. Nine members of the public offered comments on the Renaissance project after a presentation from the applicant, all in opposition.
Among the speakers were First Selectman Steve Dunn, Selectman Sue Slater, State Representative Steve Harding and Economic Development Director Greg Dembowski.
Dunn said there are about 75 members of the volunteer fire department, who train 12 to 18 hours a week. He said based on what he heard from the applicant’s representatives, this project would put them in danger, above and beyond the danger that comes with the job of being a firefighter.
Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company Assistant Chief Andrew Ellis reiterated that there would need to be a significant amount of training, possibly new equipment purchased and concerns of putting unpaid volunteers in an extraordinary situation. There were also concerns raised about the collapse zone. Ellis also voiced concern about the two levels of underground parking. He says that would be more inherently dangerous to residents and firefighters than above ground parking because of low ceilings allowing for rapid spread of smoke and flames.
Representatives retained by the applicant said that all buildings have the chance of collapse. They also said that there are mutual aid agreements in place to bring in other firefighters and other equipment if necessary.
One resident said during the public speaking portion at the end of the public hearing that during the Christmas Day fire in a three-story apartment building in Danbury, Brookfield firefighters provided mutual aid there. That left Brookfield with a lack of personnel if something were to have happened in town..
The public hearing was continued to the Brookfield Zoning Commission’s next meeting on February 25.
The penalties for making threats against schools would be increased under a bill introduced in the legislature's Judiciary Committee. The Zero-Tolerance Safe School Environment Act has been called for in the past by local lawmakers including State Senator Tony Hwang, whose district includes Newtown.
Co-chair Representative William Tong says threats against schools must be punished more severely because of what he called the post-Newtown environment. Tong says anything perceived as a threat to schools causes panic in the community and is a waste of resources.
The current Class D crime is punishable by five years in prison, but the bill would change the crime to Class C, which has a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Significant progress has been made at the Sandy Hook School construction site. The first coat of paint has gone up in Wing B of the new school building. The ceiling was being finished in Wing C and drywall going up in Wing D.
Curbing continues to be installed outside along the bus loop and the concrete walls at the front entry bridges were worked on. Select trees were also planted and retaining walls completed thanks to a mild start to the winter.
The building is expected to be completed and ready for classes to start this fall.
(library gable window, B wing classroom entry)
(B wing corridor)
Danbury Police are investigating an assault that took place early Wednesday evening. Police responded to an apartment on Terrace Place around 5:30pm. The victim told officers that he heard a knock on the front door, and when he opened the door he was punched by a white male. Several other men then entered the foyer and two of them went upstairs. The victim told police that the suspects asked him for his money, but he didn't have any. The suspects all reportedly left the building after about a minute. The incident remains under investigation.
A Brookfield man was stabbed in his own driveway over the weekend. Police responded to Pocono Road late Saturday night and found a man with several stab wounds on his face and a slash on his right arm. 26-year old Ignacio Martinez-Pacheco told police he was attacked with an edged weapon or a tool inside a car. He was transported to Danbury Hospital where he was treated and later released. Brookfield Police say the attack was not random and do have a suspect, but the case remains open and under investigation.
Bethel Police are searching for the driver of a car that did structural damage to a garage. Police received a report from a resident of the Plumtrees Heights Condo Complex saying that sometime between 9pm on Tuesday and 4am Wednesday, their garage was hit by a car. The vehicle, with heavy front end damage may be a gray Nissan Murano SUV Convertible. Anyone with information is asked to contact Bethel Police Officer Farina at 203-744-7900.
32-year old Lidia Quilligana's case came up for review Wednesday in Danbury Superior Court. It's been continued to March 16th, nearly a year after the Danbury nanny was arrested for allegedly intentionally inflicting injuries on children in her care.
Her employer questioned injuries to her daughter, and Quilligana said the child accidentally touched the hot stove while she was tending to the other children. That night, the mother watched video from a hidden nanny camera and saw abuses.
As police continued to review the video footage, more charges were filed against Quilligana. She faces one count of assault and 23 counts of risk of injury. All are felony charges.
Redding has hired a firm to conduct the 2017 revaluation. Vision Government Solutions has been hired by Redding to begin a Town wide Revaluation Project.
Vision will be working with the Assessing Department during the two year long process. There are five major phases to a municipal revaluation. The first is Data Collection and will begin by early March. Each property in Redding will be visited to collect information about the building, size, age, and components of construction, outbuildings, utilities, and other characteristics both inside and out.
All Vision Representatives will carry Identification Cards and have their cars listed with both the Assessing Office and Police Department.
The other steps in the process are market analysis, valuation, field review and informal hearings. Once all five phases are completed, data used in the revaluation will be turned over to the Redding Assessor’s Office.