The 9/11 NEVER FORGET traveling exhibit is in Brewster this week. It was created as a learning tool by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a group started by New Fairfield Selectman John Hodge's family to honor his firefighter cousin who died on 9/11 at the World Trade Center.
The stop was funded by the Brewster Education Foundation. Brewster High School Principal Dr Joseph Castagnola says they had an interested in bringing this to Brewster since its creation in 2013. He is the former New Fairfield Superintendent of Schools, and worked with Hodge.
Castagnola says his students are visiting during social studies classes while the lower grades are attending with their families. He says so far, it's been really well received. Parents of high schoolers who did not want their child touring the exhibit had the option to send back the explanation letter declining the opportunity. He says the juniors and seriors today were toddlers when 9/11 happened while middle schoolers hadn't been born yet, so it's an important part of history for them to learn.
(Photo Courtsey: Tunnel 2 Towers Facebook)
Castagnola says meaningful discussions have been started in the classroom through this exhibit.
The 53-foot tractor trailer unfolds into an 1,100 square foot space. The memorial includes live tours from FDNY members. Artifacts, including steel beams from the towers, documentary videos and audio recordings of first responder radio transmissions are part of the exhibit. The exhibit is presented with age-appropriate explanations of what happened on 9/11.
The exhibit arrived on Monday and will depart on Thursday.
CV Starr Intermediate/JFK Elementary students with parents, district employees and the community can attend at three different times today and tomorrow. They are today from 2pm to 7pm; tomorrow from 8am to 10am or 2:30pm to 4pm.
Two area towns are receiving grant funding for projects to develop their commercial districts. In total, 13 municipalities are sharing in the $5 million from the state's Main Street Investment Fund. The program, run through the Department of Housing provides financial incentives for projects that directly support and enhance a qualified project. State officials say the funding is an effort to attract small businesses, grow jobs and improve pedestrian access and livability in town centers.
Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the town will be granted more than $290,000. The project — to include new sidewalks, accessibility ramps, signage, streetscape, and safety improvements — will create a walkable and ADA compliant downtown by improving public safety and pedestrian access, creating a community gathering place, and increasing recreational opportunities. He says a building facade in one part of town will be fixed. A new sidewalk will be installed across from the municipal center, where one currently doesn't exist.
Knickerbocker credited the town's Economic Development Director, Janice Chrzescijanek, for working with the Land Use and Planning Departments to put together an outstanding application. Knickerbocker also thanked the Governor's office for supporting Bethel. He says the economic assistance will put people to work in Bethel and improve the business climate.
Wilton plan to use its $425,000 grant toward the Wilton Center Sidewalk Restoration Project. The upgrades are meant to address various safety concerns related to ADA compliance. It will help provide public sidewalks within the vehicle travel way. This project goes hand-in-hand with other completed downtown improvements such as the installation of benches, curbing, decorative street lamps and seasonal flower pots.
Memorial Sidewalk has been dedicated in Newtown. Construction on the sidewalk project connecting Main Street to Church Hill Road in Sandy Hook Village was started on Wednesday. The Newtown Bee reports that the first phase of construction should be completed within six months. That part of the project is privately funded with some public funds.
Dr Thomas Draper and his son Joseph were thanked during the dedication ceremony for their work on the project. They said that after 12-14, the family wanted to create a physical connection between the center of town and Sandy Hook.
A retaining wall is planned to run the length of Church Hill Road, with a small green area required by the state to accommodate state snow plows. Most of the section along Church Hill Road is state right of way, so the town will seek easements for construction.
Another complaint against the Brookfield First Selectmen will be investigated by the Board of Ethics. The group will meet on October 7th about a complaint field by Democratic Town Committee chairman Ray DiStephan about expense reimbursements by Bill Tinsley between December 2013 and this March. The complaint concerned reimbursement for mileage for travel from work to meetings that are part of Tinsley's duties as First Selectmen.
DiStephan's complain says that violates the IRS's rules about work-travel reimbursement.
Tinsley issued a statement saying his predecessors are trying to draw attention away from their roles in financial irregularities and overspending by the schools. DiStephan is the former chair of the Board of Education.
Two men have been arrested for a fight at a Danbury gas station. Police were called to the Shell station on Newtown Road Friday night because of the altercation over money. Police were told by 25-year old Mario Cardenas-Bautista that he an a co-worker agreed to split a bill, but he left before collecting on it.
When the man saw his co-worker at the gas station, he allegedly yelled at the man. Police say 33-year old Hector Burgos intervened and punched Cardenas-Bautista.
Burgos was charged with assault and breach of peace. He's being held on $1,500 bond for a September 30th court appearance. Cardenas-Bautista was charged with breach of peace, disorderly conduct and threatening. He was released on a written promise to appear in court at a later date.
The Department of Motor Vehicles building on Lee Mac Avenue in Danbury was briefly evacuated Tuesday afternoon. The Danbury Fire Department responded to a small fire in an adjoining building. At the DMV though, someone smelled smoke. It was likely coming through the ventilation system. The DMV was evacuated for about 10 minutes shortly after 1pm. The fire was caused by a t-shirt burning in a dryer.
A road in New Fairfield is getting a new name. Farmer's Lane will be getting the secondary name of to honor two men who have ties to the same home on the street. Chris Blackwell died on 9/11, TJ Lobraico died in Afghanistan last year. First Selectman Susan Chapman says residents of that street asked for the change, which will be done on New Fairfield Day on Saturday.
The dedication will be filmed. After the Lion's Club Parade, a make up of the cancelled 4th of July Parade, there will be another ceremony on the field, which will feature a replaying of the dedication. The Connecticut Patriot Guard will present honorary member flags to the two families.
Blackwell, a member of the FDNY, grew up in New Fairfield. He was a 25 year member of the New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department. One of his daughter is a police officer, the other is studying healthcare, and his son is a member of the FDNY. He worked with Danbury Ambulance and was specialized in building collapses and trench rescues.
Lobraico attended Western before being deployed. He was in the Justice and Law Administration program, pursuing a degree in law enforcement. His mother graduated from the university and his father took classes there as well. Lobraico was a member of the 105th Security Forces Squadron. He died when his unit was attacked near Bagram Airfield. He joined the Air National Guard in 2008 and was on his second overseas deployment. His parents also serve in the 105th Airlift Wing.
The Danbury Board of Education has accepted a number of grants and donations.
At their meeting Wednesday, the Board of Education was presented with a $10,000 donation from an anonymous giver. It's for the Mill Ridge Primary School to support early childhood development and enrichment activities for students in kindergarten through 3rd grade. That includes an after school arts and health program.
It was noted at their meeting that this past spring, Danbury schools was the recipient of donated literacy and numeracy resources from Robert Cox of Focus Mailing. The donation, valued at $129,000, included time and efforts of his staff to sort and deliver materials from their warehouse to the district.
The Pitney Bowes Foundation and the Danbury Community Leadership Team also presented the Board with a $6,000 donation for the Family Literacy Center of Danbury and the School Readiness/Parent Involvement program.
Those looking to be police officers in the state must attend The Police Officer Standards and Training Council Academy. The class of 43 Recruits, representing 25 Municipal Police Departments, Southern Connecticut State University Police, and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Conservation Police will complete their training program tomorrow.
The class roster consists of police officers representing the police departments in New Milford, Fairfield, Torrington, Seymour and elsewhere.
The Recruits have completed an extensive 880-hour Basic Training Curriculum at the Connecticut Police Academy in Meriden, encompassing Academic and Practical Skills, Firearms, Defensive Tactics, Patrol Driving, Penal Code, Motor Vehicle Law, Laws of Arrest, Search and Seizure, and a host of other topics.
Weston officials have discovered a glaring omission in the town's new gun ordinance. Police Officers were not included in those exempt from section 79. State and federal officers, members of the military, authorized messengers, and bank guards when performing their duties were among those listed.
The Weston Forum reports that the ordinance was revised after the shootings at Sandy Hook School. It bans residential target practice and prohibits the discharge of machine guns or assault weapons within town borders.
During the Board of Selectmen meeting on Thursday, First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said a public hearing will need to be held to make the change. That's according to the Town's charter. The hearing has been set for the next regular meeting of the Board.
A public hearing is being held in Redding about a communications tower at the Police Department. Voters decided in favor of a replacement during a July referendum. The Zoning Board of Appeals is holding the hearing at their meeting.
The current tower is 118 feet tall and more than three decades old. The new proposed tower would have antennas and would be about 120 feet tall. The existing tower pre-existing and non-conforming, but the Police Department is requesting a variance to regulations for the taller tower.
Since this isn't for cell phone use, the Connecticut Siting Council does not have jurisdiction. The tower is for police, fire, EMS and the highway department.
The meeting is at 7:30 tonight.
Danbury Hospital has seen an increase in the number of children with respiratory complaints.
Dr. Greg Dworkin, head of pulmonary pediatrics at Danbury Hospital, says they are sending out lab tests to the CDC to see if its the Enterovirus-68 that has been diagnosed in at least 15 other states.
The best prevention he says is having children wash their hands often, and as long as it takes to sing "Happy birthday".
Dr. Dworkin says the public will be informed if the tests are positive and there are any other changes.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) A small Philadelphia museum that houses more than 10,000 pieces by illustrator Maurice Sendak will be returning most of the collection to the author's estate.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports trustees for Sendak's foundation are reclaiming the artwork based on instructions in his will. He died in 2012.
Sendak is best known for his classic book ``Where the Wild Things Are.'' He had a decades-long relationship with the Rosenbach museum and library in Philadelphia.
But Sendak wanted his home in Ridgefield, Connecticut, to be operated as a museum. Rosenbach officials say his artwork, manuscripts and other ephemera will be sent back starting next month.
The Rosenbach will retain about 600 Sendak pieces. The author also left the institution rare editions of books by Herman Melville and Henry James.
A teenager and store clerk will each be in court today for alcohol related charges. Newtown Police conducting an investigation into illegal sales of alcohol to minors on August 29th resulted in two arrests.
19-year old Tyler Hall was charged with illegal purchase while 59-year old Stephen Small was charged with illegal sale of alcohol to a minor. They are each scheduled to be arraigned in Danbury Superior Court today.
Newtown Police were watching activities at Yankee Discount Wine and Spirits on Queen Street when they saw an underage male buy alcohol without presenting an ID. The incident will be reviewed by state liquor regulators for possible actions against the package store and permit holder.
Three area teenagers have been selected to serve on the International Youth Advisory Board. The three will serve on the Board of the Youth Volunteer Corps, representing the local Youth Volunteer Corps of Western Connecticut. The group has teens helping the community through team-based service-learning projects.
17-year old Alyssa Barrett and 16-year old Olivia Harris of Danbury High School and 15-year old Mackenzie Mitchell of Immaculate High School in Danbury will serve a one year term on the board. They will provide input on programing during monthly meetings and bring new ideas back to the Western Connecticut chapter.
The local group last year had 200 teenagers put in more than 3,600 service hours. About 10,000 youth volunteer with the Corp each year across the United States and Canada.
The two candidates in the 5th Congressional race are once again involved in a heated exchange, this time over foreign affairs.
Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Esty held a telephone conference call Friday with Brookfield combat veteran Mike Zacchea to discuss ISIS and the beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff, who graduated from Rumsey Hall in Washington, Connecticut. The town is part of the 5th District.
Republican Mark Greenberg's campaign said in a press release last week that tougher action needed to be taken against Islamic militants, and that Esty has remained quite on the issue. The email included a campaign donation button. Esty's campaign responded calling for Greenberg to apologize for the email. Greenberg's campaign responded right back saying Esty had yet to release comments condemning the beheading of two American journalists on her website, but that she has two "contribute" buttons seen right above her criticism of his initial email.
The Greenberg campaign said "Elizabeth Esty's hypocrisy knows no bounds and she will stop at nothing to pursue partisan, political advantage.”
During the press call Friday, Esty condemned the terrorist acts. Zacchea, a combat veteran who medically retired from the Marines with the rank of Lt Col., also demanded an apology from Greenberg. He said he felt scandalized that Greenberg would use the murder of Steven Sotloff for political purposes.
Zacchea received a Purple Heart for his service after being wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade. He served directly with eighteen Iraqi solders, two Americans, and a British citizen who were abducted and beheaded by terrorists in Iraq.
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 Redding Board of Selectmen is meeting tonight to set a date for a special town meeting about the ordinance to merge the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials and the South Western Regional Planning Agency into the Western Connecticut Council of Governments.
The state passed an initiative calling for the 13 planning agencies in the state to merge into no more than eight. Connecticut officials are hoping for more regionalization efforts when it comes to a sharing of equipment and bulk purchasing power to bring the cost of government down.
The New Milford Town Council earlier this month approved their membership ordinance.
The Redding Board of Selectmen meeting tonight is is at 7:30
The Connecticut Working Families Party has made a number of endorsements in the Greater Danbury area for state legislative races. Among them is the 67th District race in New Milford where Democrat Gale Alexander will be challenging incumbent Republican Cecelia Buck-Taylor. Alexander has received the endorsement. Buck_Taylor has been cross-endorsed by the Independent Party.
The Working Families Party is also endorsing Brookfield Democrat Dan Smolnik who is looking to unseat long-time incumbent Republican David Scribner for the 107th District, which also includes part of Bethel.
The Working Families Party is also endorsing incumbent Democrats David Arconti and Bob Godfrey in Danbury. In the 24th District Senate race in the Danbury area, Ted Feng received the endorsement. Republican Mike McLachlan is the incumbent. In the 26th District in the wilton area, Philip Sharlach was endorsed. He is challenging Republican Toni Boucher. The 28th District in the Newtown rea is an open race and the Working Families Party has endorsed Kim Fawcett.
The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission has held another meeting in their effort to come up with recommendations to improve public safety following the shootings on December 14th 2012. They heard testimony from Superintendent Dr Joseph Erardi. He asked Sandy Hook School staff, who were present on 12-14 and worked all of last year to give him their opinions and insight on the events that followed.
Staff told Erardi about the importance of having an effective communication protocol in place during and after the event. Erardi also said that it's not just a case of making money available to harden the school buildings, but also the time needed to make sure emergency protocols are understood by all.
Staff would like to see a strong partnership with local police who know every room, every number, every door all of the time.
Another recommendation is the importance of knowing who is the buildings at all times. There are subcontracted staff not listed on rosters, such as food service staff. When Central Office and Town Emergency Planners, immediately after 12-14, no one had Chartwell Food Service on their lists.
Newtown's first selectman is recommending the state conduct a full after-action study to find out what worked and what didn't in her town's response to the December 2012 school shooting. Pat Llodra said local officials were overwhelmed with the logistics of handling donations, volunteers, correspondence, and media requests.
She says the town, for example, had no way to vet the qualifications of the mental health experts who came to help.
Llodra says the local government would have collapsed without help from companies such as General Electric, which provided four full-time executives to work with the town.
Llodra also revealed that school officials would not give her contact information for the victims' families until two weeks after the shooting.
Llodra told the Commission that at one point, the town logged 65,000 stuffed teddy bears. That didn't include other types of stuffed animals, hundreds of backpacks, bicycles, skateboards, school supplies, candles, gift wrap, crayons, sneakers, and more. Thousands of books were also donated to Newtown.
Llodra said the volume of mail sent to Newtown prompted U.S. Postal Service employees to set up shop in the town hall’s basement. Volunteers helped sort more than 200,000 pieces of mail.
The Newtown Legislative Council next week will consider a nearly $30,000 allocation to demolish a home in the Hawleyville section of town that was destroyed by a suspicious fire in June. The Board of Selectmen addressed the issue at their meeting last week and were told that the insurance company hasn't paid the homeowner, who can't afford to take down the house.
Officials say the remains of the Great Hill Road home is a public safety issue for the neighborhood. A court order allows the town to demolish it, and the town will then put a lien on the property, though First Selectman Pat Llodra told the Board of Finance this week that it's unlikely the town will get any of its money back.
The Legislative Council will mee on Wednesday.