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Danbury has once again been named as a Tree City USA.  The National Arbor Day Society awards various cities nationwide with this honor and chose Danbury because of the work by the Forestry Division to follow tree care ordinances while addressing community needs. 

 

This is the 25th consecutive year that Danbury has been given this recognition. 

 

In honor of this Arbor Day, on Friday, Mayor Mark Boughton will join the Danbury Garden Club for a tree planting ceremony at 10am at Park Avenue School.  Another tree planting will follow at 11am at Kenosia Park.

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A Committee of the Danbury City Council is recommending that the education portion of the budget be lower than what the Board of Education requested.  The Board sought $127.5 million, but the Mayor has recommended $124 million.  That smaller number is still a 2.3 percent increase in spending over the current year. 

 

Superintendent of Schools Dr Sal Pascarella says full day kindergarten, a new middle school and increased security are leading to some of the increase.  Special education is a major cost driver in this budget.  Danbury is looking to create a a so-called building brace program to keep kids in the district rather than outplace a student.  Part of the outplacement cost is transportation.

 

Pascarella says the state has flat funded Education Cost Sharing grants to Danbury since 2008, even though the City has seen consistent enrollment increases. 

 

Pascarella says if there are more budget cutbacks there will have to be fewer teachers, less supplies and consolidated administrators.

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State lawmakers and environmental advocates have rallied in support of a number of bills aimed at protecting the environment. 

 

Kent state Representative Roberta Willis says the state and country have come far since the first Earth Day was celebrated 45 years ago.  There was no Environmental Protection Agency, no Department of Environmental Protection, and no Council on Environmental Quality.

 

One of the bills being considered this session would phase out single-use plastic bags in Connecticut.  Lawmakers are also calling for passage of legislation to reduce the use of pesticides in the state.

 

A bill to ban the sale of personal care products which contain microbeads is also being considered.  Redding state Representative Dan Carter says the idea for the bill came from a constituent.  The small particles of plastic found in toothpaste, soap and other products find their way into wastewater treatment facilities, and into the water becoming a significant source of pollution.  Lawmakers say the non-biodegradables threaten aquatic life which often mistake them for food.

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A bill has been advanced this week to the state House aimed at better protecting victims of stalking.  The legislation would include the use of a Global Positioning System, or GPS, into the existing criminal laws on stalking.  Monroe state Representative JP Sredzinski says this isn't for routine use of a GPS device by businesses who keep tabs on deliveries and the like.

 

The Office of the State's Victim Advocate supports this legislation.

 

A committee on Tuesday voted nearly unanimously to make the use of a GPS device for stalking a class B misdemeanor punishable by 6 months in jail. 

 

Sredzinski says that new technology is sometimes being used to  terrify, torment and instill fear in victims who are forced to always look over their shoulder. He hopes that including GPS devices in existing law will will provide victims with some level of comfort.

 

Current state law says stalking is when a person recklessly causes another to reasonably fear for his or her physical safety by willfully and repeatedly following, or lying in wait for that person.

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A fugitive has been apprehended in the Gaylordsville section of New Milford.  New Milford Police assisted the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this morning in their search on Kent Road. 

 

37-year old Jeremiah Clement of Illinois was arrested for drug trafficking and conspiracy.  ATF officials did not detail what led to the charges citing an ongoing investigation. 

 

An Illinois television station reported on their website today that Clement was one of two men arrested for conspiring to manufacture more than a thousand marijuana plants in that state.  An investigation was launched after an Illinois warehouse was destroyed by fire in January.  Two other Illinois men also face charges. 

 

The warehouse dated back to 1925 and an historic archway remained in tact after the fire.

 

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A child has been struck by a car in Danbury .  Police say a 10-year old girl sustained minor leg injuries in a parking lot on Scuppo Road around 3:45 this afternoon.  Police say the child was conscious and alert.  The girl was transported to Danbury Hospital for evaluation.  No other details were immediately available.

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Danbury police launched an investigation into illegal drug sales taking place in the South Street/Liberty Avenue area following a number of neighbor complaints.  Surveillance was set up of the nearby gas station by members of the Special Investigations Division based on past suspected drug activity. 

 

31-year old Erick Ortiz-Aguayo of Danbury was seen by police yesterday making several drug transactions in the area. 

 

His car was followed by investigators until the Patrol Division could help in the stop.  Ortiz-Aguayo ignored marked patrol cars signalling him to stop and rammed one of the unmarked police cars.  While being arrested, officers found illegal drugs and remnants of destroyed evidence.  He was taken into custody without further incident. 

 

Ortiz-Aguayo was charged with possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, tampering with evidence, engaging in pursuit, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and failure to obey a control signal. 

 

He was held on $150,000 bond.

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A baby sitter accused of intentionally burning a child in her care entered a plea of not guilty.  The Danbury woman who allegedly intentionally burned a 3-year old girl in her care is being held on a million dollars bond and appeared in Danbury Superior Court today. 

 

The nanny, 31-year old Lidia 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 which was recently installed and saw that the injuries were intentionally inflicted.  Quilligana was charged with assault, criminal mischief and risk of injury to a minor. 

 

The investigation is ongoing, and has been referred to the Special Victims Unit for follow up.

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The Ridgefield Board of Education has scaled back its budget proposal to comply with a reduced budget approved by the Ridgefield Board of Finance.  The $86 million proposal was lowered Monday by $400,000 and represents a .98 percent increase in spending over the current fiscal year. 

 

The Ridgefield Press reports that cuts were made by reducing the curriculum and instruction budget, the hardware and software technology line item, and some maintenance projects.  Projected energy savings and staff turnover savings were increased.  New staffing requests were reduced and some supplies and materials accounts were also reduced. 

 

The only change from the recommendations was a $25,000 reduction to the curriculum and instruction budget for planning to improve the STEM program was replaced with a $25,000 increase to the projected staff turnover savings.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A passenger on the SkyWest airlines flight to Connecticut that made an emergency landing in New York on Wednesday described a lack of air in the cabin and shortness of breath as others on board lost consciousness.

The flight, carrying 75 passengers, departed from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and had been bound for Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. It landed at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Buffalo at about 11:40 a.m.

Passenger Larry Johnson of Danbury, Connecticut, tells The Associated Press it became difficult to breathe part way through the flight and none of the air vents were working.

In all, three passengers lost consciousness and others reported feeling ill. None required hospitalization.

A transportation safety official says Thursday his agency is assessing the circumstances.

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A letter has been sent to Weston parents from the school district about students and staff members being hospitalized after eating candy brought back from China from the recent high school student trip over vacation. 

 

School officials said (Thursday the candy was brought to Weston Middle School and shared with a small number of students and two staff members.  Some then experienced discomfort so as a precaution, all individuals who consumed this candy were transported by ambulance to the hospital to be checked by medical personnel. 

 

Parents are being asked that if their child has this type of candy, that they notify Weston school officials and police.

 

(Photo Courtesty: Weston Public Schools)

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A Danbury woman has been sentenced on child abuse charges.  A Danbury couple was charged nearly two years ago with child abuse. 

 

Last week, 37-year old Tara Henke was sentenced to seven years in prison, suspended after two years to be followed by five years probation.  Her boyfriend, 37-year old Marco Tuapante, pleaded guilty in February and was sentenced to nine years in prison and nine years of special probation.  He was ordered not to contact the two children. 

 

The couple was accused in June 2013 of repeatedly beating the children with a belt.  School officials saw suspicious injuries and reported it to police. 

 

Henke was charged with two counts of risk of injury to a minor.  Tuapante was charged with two counts each of assault, kidnapping, negligent child cruelty, injury to a child and reckless endangerment.

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Ridgefields first selectman Rudy Marconi was at the scene at last nights fire at Casagmo condominiums in the heart of downtown Ridgefield .

A 70 year old woman was trapped upstairs in her condo. Both of her sons tried franctically to rescue her . Firefighters did finally get her out of the burning building. One son  suffered injuries on his hands head and arms. He is in critical condition as well as his Mother . They have been taken to the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital after being taken to Danbury hospital .

The cause of the blaze is unknown. The fire did not spread to nearby condos.

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A Newtown house has sustained heavy damage from a fire last night.  The blaze was reported around 6pm Thursday on Castle Hill Road.  Fire officials say there were flames coming from the windows on the upper story of the raised-ranch. 

 

There were no injuries reported.

 

The American Red Cross is providing assistance to two adults by helping to secure temporary housing for the occupants because the home is uninhabitable.  The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Newtown Fire Marshal's office, though initial reports are that it was accidental.

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The Newtown Community Center project is headed back to the drawing board.  During the Board of Selectmen's meeting on Monday, a Commission was created to continue studying the needs of the town.  Opposition to Phase 1 of the proposal as just a senior center and aquatics center forced the cancellation of an April 28th referendum on the issue. 

 

First Selectman Pat Llodra says the ground work that's already been done should make the Commission's job easier.  Llodra says she wants to ensure that essential partners have a voice.  She is looking for a six month process to determine what various sectors of the community are looking for in a Center. 

 

The funding for the project comes from a $15 million grant donated by General Electric last year.  Most of the grant is to be used for the development and construction of a new community center.  About $5 million would be spent for operational costs over the first several years that a Center is open.

 

The Commission's first meeting will be held either next week or the week after.

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NEW YORK (AP) A former Jasper Johns assistant will spend 18 months behind bars for stealing artworks from the pop artist's Connecticut studio and arranging for them to be sold at a gallery.

James Meyer, of Salisbury, Connecticut, was sentenced Thursday in federal court in New York City.

He was Johns' studio assistant for over 25 years.

He told the judge he removed 22 pieces from Johns' studio in Sharon without the artist's permission so he could sell them at a gallery.

He pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of stolen property.

Prosecutors say the art was sold by a Manhattan gallery for $6.5 million after Meyer provided the owner with fictitious authentication papers. They say Meyer got half the proceeds.

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Compliance checks held in Monroe recently revealed that three store clerks sold tobacco products to minors.  The enforcement program was carried out by the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Monroe Police Department last Thursday. 

 

Similar to liquor compliance checks, an underage youth entered stores and attempted to purchase cigarettes or other tobacco products.  10 inspections were conducted in Monroe and three clerks were issued a $200 ticket. 

 

Administrative sanctions from the Department of Revenue Services could be levied against the Cigarette Dealer License holder at each store.  They are Brand Cigars, Henny Penny and Buck Stop.

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Some overnight road work is underway along a five mile stretch of highway through Danbury. 

 

The state Department of Transportation is milling and paving both east and westbound between exits 3 and 8.  The overnight work started Sunday and is being done between 8pm and 5:30am.  The work is scheduled to be completed by mid-July.  Various lane closures will be set up for the overnight roadwork each week night. 

 

The DOT says modifications or extensions to the schedule may be needed due to weather delays or other unforseen circumstances.

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A weekend brush fire in Redding was started by someone who had an open burn without a permit.  Volunteer firefighters from the three Redding Departments along with Bethel and Stony Hill firefighters responded to Sanfordtown Road in Redding Sunday afternoon.  The open space land had no nearby structures in danger.  Open burns are allowed if residents have a permit issued by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and have notified the Redding burn center.

 

Some businesses along Main Street in Ridgefield were briefly evacuated Thursday afternoon because of a fire alarm.  Fire officials say the alarm was set off shortly before noon by a burnt object which was extinguished quickly.  People at the businesses in the Main Street and Bailey Avenue area were allowed back inside after a few minutes.

 

The  Danbury Fire Department responded to an illegal burn on Indian Head Road Thursday afternoon.  Fire officials say the resident didn't know a permit was needed.  The blaze was reported around 1pm and quickly extinguished.

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A woman caught on surveillance tape taking jewelry from a store at the Danbury Mall has been arrested.  Danbury Police say security personnel at Lord and Taylor told responding officers on Wednesday that a woman took 15 items and left the store. 

 

30-year old Lynn Ciacci of South Salem, New York was held by store security. 

 

Danbury Police searched the woman for the items, valued at nearly $900, and also found needles and packets of heroin in her possession.  Ciacci was charged with larceny, possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of possession of narcotics. 

 

She was released on bond for a May 4th court appearance.

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