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The Annual Town Meeting in Ridgefield is being held Monday night at the Ridgefield Playhouse.  First Selectman Rudy Marconi will make a budget presentation, followed by information from the Boards of Education and Finance.  A vote on capital items under $100,000 will also be held.  The Annual Town Meeting is set for 7:30pm Monday. 

 

Some of the capital items include guard rail replacements, equipment such as a plow with sander and rotary mowers, Wellness Center improvements and work on the golf course. 

 

 

A Public Hearing and Special Town Meeting are being held in Ridgefield Wednesday night.  At 7:30, changes to the Ridgefield Code of Ordinances about Citations and Open Space Use will be discussed.  There will also be a public hearing about A System Site Lease Agreement for Farmingville Elementary School Solar Panels.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A bill that that would allow minors with certain debilitating conditions to use Connecticut's medical marijuana program has cleared its final legislative hurdle.

 

The Senate late Friday voted 23-11 in favor of the bill, which already passed in the House of Representatives. It now moves to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's desk.

 

Sen. Toni Boucher, a Republican from Wilton and a chief opponent, spoke at length against the bill, voicing concerns about children using "mind-damaging substances," saying the harm could be worse than their underlying conditions.

 

But proponents say they heard from many anguished parents about their children's suffering from conditions such as extreme seizures being eased by the drug.

 

Under the bill, medical marijuana dispensaries could not provide qualified children any marijuana product that is smoked, vaporized or inhaled.

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The White House has released a report outlining a research and development strategy to expedite real-world deployment of smart gun technology.  The report was ordered by President Obama in a January memorandum as part of the administration’s executive actions to curb gun violence.

 

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty said the release also aims to improve the quality of mental health records input into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.  She says the National Instant Criminal Background Check System database has incomplete data, allowing felons, people convicted of domestic abuse, and other dangerous individuals to illegally buy firearms.

 

Esty says smart-gun technology shows great promise to stop guns from falling into the wrong hands and reduce gun accidents that kill and injure thousands of Americans every year.  She says using federal purchasing power is similar to incentivizing life-saving safety advancements in automobiles.

 

But she says the President's steps alone are not a substitute for Congressional action.

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It's looking like state lawmakers will be called into special session after their mandated adjournment passes on Wednesday.  The General Assembly has yet to come up with a budget plan, negotiated with the Governor, to erase the nearly billion dollar deficit.  Deputy House Speaker Bob Godfrey of Danbury says they are tired of trying to wrestle with factors out of their control.

 

Godfrey says no one has been able to predict what revenues are going to be in a very long time.

 

Democrats balked at a revised budget offered by the governor, opposing his cuts to hospitals, social services, education funding and property tax relief efforts. Malloy's administration is also continuing to issue hundreds of state employee layoff notices.

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A New Milford woman is seeking a state House seat in November. Democratic  Town Councilwoman Mary Jane Lundgren, who has served on the board for 14 years, has announced her candidacy for the 67th District position.  The seat is currently held by Republican Cecilia Buck-Taylor who previously announced that she would not be seeking a third term. 

 

The 68-year old Lundgren recently retired from 45 years of nursing service.  She most recently served in the intensive care unit at New Milford Hospital. 

 

Lundgren is also a member of the New Milford Substance Abuse Prevention Council, the Aging Commission, Housing Partnership and the Northville Residents Association.  She says public health related topics would be a focus for her.  She would also like to see the New Milford Bike Trail completed and bring development to the riverfront.

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The 10 member Republican state convention delegation from Newtown is backing Sherman First Selectman Clay Cope in his bid for the 5th Congressional District.  Cope announced in an email this week that the group considered several other candidates, two of who are from Newtown, but decided that Cope's principles most closely aligns with theirs. 

 

At the end of serious deliberations on the merits of all of the candidates, the Newtown GOP delegation decided unanimously to stand with Cope.  The delegation said that Cope has a proven track record of campaigning, winning elections and serving his constituents.

 

Among those seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Esty, are Matt Maxwell and Bill Stevens of Newtown.  John Pistone of Brookfield is also looking for the GOP nomination for the 5th Congressional District. 

 

The Connecticut Republican Party will hold its State Convention on May 9th.

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NEW YORK (AP) Authorities say a Connecticut man has been arrested after they discovered he was carrying a loaded handgun during a security screening at LaGuardia Airport.

John Rodrigues was arrested Thursday and charged with criminal possession of a weapon. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney who could comment on the charge. Calls to numbers listed for the 52-year-old Monroe, Connecticut, man weren't answered Friday.

A Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police spokesman says officers noticed the handgun in Rodrigues' laptop bag. He says the Ruger .380 semi-automatic pistol was loaded with six rounds.

Spokesman Joe Pentangelo says Rodrigues was arrested without incident and there was no disruption to the airport's operation.

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Four youths have been charged with criminal mischief after allegedly breaking into a vacant house in Newtown.  Police received a complaint last Saturday night about four teens also breaking into the adjacent barn on the Old Farm Road property owned by the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation. 

 

Police responded and found the juveniles who were identified as the suspects who broke a barn window.  The youths were not identified by police because they are under the age of 18.  Each was charged with criminal mischief and trespassing. 

 

The foundation is planning to create a wildlife sanctuary at the site to honor namesake, Catherine.  She was one of 20 children killed on 12/14.

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A new electrical line has been proposed by Eversource Energy.  A public open house will be held in Bethel so that area residents can learn more about the idea.  Eversource says this new line would help them to deliver reliable power to southwestern Connecticut, and would be a long-term solution to energy demands in the region. 

 

Eversource officials say the proposed 3.4 mile Southwest Connecticut Reliability Project addresses the crucial need to improve system reliability in the region, particularly in light of recent storms that left customers in the dark for several days at a time. 

 

The proposed project route is on an existing right-of-way through Bethel, Danbury and Brookfield. 

 

The meeting Wednesday at the Bethel Municipal Center is from 6 to 8pm.

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A Danbury man and his new girlfriend have been arrested for breaking into the home of his ex-girlfriend. 

 

Danbury Police received a report of the attempted burglary Tuesday and headed to the address around 10pm.  Officers caught 20-year old Justin Balzarini of Danbury and 26-year old Madison Prush of Brookfield trying to break into the house.  Each has been charged with burglary, breach of peace, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to commit criminal mischief and conspiracy to commit reckless endangerment.

 

Balzarini was released on $10,000 bond.  He has three other cases pending in court.  His next court appearance on all of the cases is scheduled for May 10th.

 

Prush was released on $10,000 bond.  She is scheduled for arraignment on May 2nd.

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Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.  It's aimed at providing a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. 

 

The Drug Enforcement Administration says this gives the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. 

 

Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.  Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.  In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

 

Local law enforcement agencies and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

 

Greater Danbury area drop box locations open Saturday from 10am to 2pm include:

 

Danbury Police Department

 

New Fairfield Resident State Trooper Office

 

Newtown Police Department

 

Ridgefield Police Department

 

Sherman Resident State Trooper Office

 

Southbury Resident State Trooper Office

 

Weston Police Department

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A prominent Danbury resident has passed away.  Ervie "Bud" Hawley owned the Hawley Companies and was known for his philanthropy, particularly to Danbury Hospital.  Hawley was 89.

 

Mayor Mark Boughton says Hawley was one of the kindest, most gentle people he's ever met and has contributed a lot to building Danbury.  He says Hawley's philanthropy work around Danbury is long storied, but he was also always there with an idea, a word of encouragement or with resources. 

 

Hawley has been donating to Danbury Hospital since 1965.  In August, the Hawleys made a $1 million gift to establish an endowment for spinal surgery, the seventh for Western Connecticut Health Network and the fifth at Danbury Hospital.

 

Hawley has served as director of the YMCA, was a former chairman of the Danbury Housing Partnership, a previous director of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, and former honorary chairman of the Ann Olsen Foundation Golf Tournament among other roles.

 

Some of the more notable works of Hawley Construction include the Danbury Police Station and Berkshire Shopping Center off Newtown Road.  Hawley also completed several religious facility projects.

 

Since 1994, the firm has completed multiple construction assignments at both Western Connecticut State University’s Westside and the Midtown Campuses.  Hawley has renovated the main entrance at the Midtown Campus, completed a $1.8 million Ella Grasso Dormitory rejuvenation at the Westside Campus, dormitory renovations at Litchfield Hall, and the new Athletic Pavilion at the Westside Campus.

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Community activist Ken Gucker is seeking the Democratic Town Committee's nomination to run for the 24th state Senate District. 

 

The seat is currently held by Republican Michael McLachlan.  The area includes Danbury, Sherman, New Fairfield and the Stony Hill section of Bethel. 

 

Gucker is Vice Chairman of the Danbury Democratic Town Committee.  He has lived in Danbury for 28 years, having moved to the City from New Fairfield.  He is a small business owner who has been active in land use and environmental issues in Danbury. 

 

Among the issues he cited are the effort to preserve the McLean House on Main Street and to thwart an effort to allow variances for a new business use in a two-acre residential zone in the scenic Long Ridge neighborhood.  He also fought against the Cotswold development off Clapboard Ridge Road to try to limit density and protect the environment and adjacent water sources.  The plan calls for 37 houses on steep wooded land.

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911 calls about an erratic driver led New York State Police to arrest a Brewster man for drunk driving.  Police received calls Monday in Brewster about the driver, who was eventually stopped on Main Street. 

 

53-year old Jeffery Welles had a blood alcohol content nearly three times the legal limit at .23 percent.  Welles was charged with felony Driving While Intoxicated when a criminal history revealed that he was previously convicted of a DWI charge in 2014. 

 

He was also charged with driving a motor vehicle without a court ordered interlock device and aggravated unlicensed operation because his driving privileges had been revoked. 

 

Welles was arraigned and ordered held on bond for a court appearance on Wednesday.

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The Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission has ruled in favor of a former New Milford Board of Education member in a case against the school district.  John Spatola was seeking aggregate data about teacher performance so that the Board could make decisions about spending in future budgets.  The FOIA Board decided yesterday that the data for the past two years be released.  There are provisions in state law prohibiting disclosure of performance data of individual teachers, but not for aggregate data.  The Connecticut Education Association and New Milford Teachers' Association oppose the release of data on grounds that it would be unfair and discriminatory.

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The New Fairfield Board of Education is meeting next Thursday, and they will be gathering at the Meeting House Hill School cafeteria to accommodate a large number of public participants. 

 

At their meeting earlier this week, parents were joined by several teachers.  Parents have been attending the meetings to express their frustration with the Board and Superintendent Alicia Roy.

 

According to video minutes of the meeting, the head of the New Fairfield Education Association said teachers no longer feel they have a voice after being asked to implement a new standards-based grading system, contradictory to the training they took part in this school year. 

 

A State Trooper was reportedly at the meeting as a precaution.

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5th District Congresswoamn Elizabeth Esty is urging federal officials to provide more financial resources to help states protect public drinking water.

Esty said in a letter released Wednesday that Connecticut's Department of Public Health needs more money to support technical staff in its drinking water division, where staffing has been reduced from 50 to 38 employees.

She also supports the agency's request for more funding to pay for the state's certified operator program. There's one person who certifies operators of 2,500 water systems in Connecticut.

Esty called for the federal financial assistance after a recent Associated Press analysis determined dozens of water systems across the state exceeded federal lead levels at least once since January 2013.  Among the systems were Hawthorne Terrace Association in Danbury and Cedarhurst Association in Newtown.

 

The Democrat says "immediate action" is needed to ensure access to safe drinking water.

 

Lead levels of over 15 parts per billion (ppb) exceed federal thresholds and require immediate attention. According to an Associated Press analysis, tests on water drawn from Newtown found lead levels of 17 ppb. Three separate tests in Brookfield, one of which was conducted in a K-8 school, found the water to have lead levels of 17 ppb, 19 ppb, and 20 ppb.  The Connecticut Department of Public Health alerted all residents who are exposed to the water. However, if the residents choose to purchase clean water from another source, they are still expected to pay their water bills.

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A Torrington woman has been sentenced for making bomb threats against Danbury and Stratford schools in 2014.  20-year old Natalie Carpenter was sentenced earlier this month to seven years in prison followed by 20 years of special parole. 

 

When she was 18, Carpenter was overheard making verbal threats of violence against the High Schools in Danbury and Stratford.  She was charged with conspiracy to commit assault and criminal attempt to commit assault, and accepted a plea deal. 

 

According to court documents, Carpenter and 20-year old Peter Thulin tried to buy a gun at Tactical Arms in Torrington, but were denied and also filled out forms at Walmart to buy a shotgun or rifle. 

 

Thulin is due in Court June 28th on the same charges.

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The state Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill that will set up a special fund for firefighters who contract work-related cancers.   The program will provide cancer stricken firefighters with wage replacement funds while they undergo treatment.  It will be funded by 1-cent of an existing small surcharge on phone bills for the state's 911 emergency system. 

 

Southbury Senator Rob Kane objects to tapping that money.  He says it could be against federal rules and if it comes back that grants are lost, a new funding source will needed.

 

Other lawmakers concede the funding mechanism is in doubt, but passed the bill anyone.  Leaders say if it's ruled improper, they'll find a new source next year.

 

Senator Tony Hwang, whose district includes Newtown, supports the bill.  He says there's nothing more important that protecting the men and women who protect their communities.

 

The House previously approved the bill unanimously.

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The Danbury City Council has discussed $3 million in bonding for the coming fiscal year.  There are a variety of projects which would be completed in the capital budget proposal.  The largest appropriation is $750,000 for the school roof replacement program. 

 

$500,000 is being allocated for the Still River project, including for the removal of vegetation, dredging and river wall repair.  $450,000 for paving, drainage and road improvements along with $100,000 for sidewalk and street improvements was discussed. 

 

Other projects include HVAC replacement at the schools and various city buildings, money toward property revaluation and replacing highway department equipment. 

 

The committee recommended approval at the Council's May meeting.

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