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World War II veterans are being recognized in a special ceremony this month in Danbury.  The Danbury Council of Veterans' 70th Anniversary and Remembrance Ceremony is being held at the Danbury War Memorial Rose Garden on August 15th.  The ceremony is at 10am.

 

The Catholic War Veterans is hosting the event.  Organizer Tom Saadi says they want to honor the living World War II veterans of Greater Danbury area, 55 have come forward so far.  A large number of those service members will be attending the event.

 

The names of the 103 servicemen from Danbury who lost their lives during World War II will be read aloud.

 

Certificates will be presented to living World War II veterans who are a member of a Danbury veterans post, a resident of New Fairfield, Brookfield, Bethel, Redding or Ridgefield, or were born in Danbury.  The deadline to submit a name is Wednesday. 

 

The CWV WWII Host Committee Members are Commander Richard Raymond, and members Al Mead and Saadi. 

 

Name, branch of service, dates of service, email address and phone number can be sent via email tomsaadi@aol.com or called in to 203-797-1797.

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A Wilton woman has been arrested on a larceny charge over allegations she stole an SAT exam from Wilton High School on the day of the test.  50-year old Laura Garbuz was charged Monday. 

 

The theft was reported on June 6th, and Garbuz was identified through school surveillance video. 

 

Police say the woman walked into the room where the test was being given, speaking to the facilitator.  The man was called out of the room and she was asked to wait in the lobby, but she allegedly told a proctor that she too was a proctor and needed a test booklet.  Garbuz then left Wilton High School. 

 

She was released on bond for an appearance in court on the 14th.

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The second phase of a Distracted Driving Enforcement began today and continues through Sunday, August 16th.  During this time frame, dedicated patrols will be deployed on Brookfield roads and elsewhere in participating towns to enforce distracted driving laws.  Brookfield Police are using enhanced spotter patrol enforcement units. 

 

Statewide, the state Department of Transportation reported an 8 percent decline in drivers using cell phones while on the road following an effort in April cracking down on the illegal use.  Officials say this shows that there is a need for sustain enforcement to remind drivers of the rules of the road. 

 

The Brookfield Police Department said in a statement that they are committed to the tactic of high visibility enforcement, of distracted driving laws, as a way to reduce roadway crashes due to distracted driving.  Many of these distracted driving related crashes result in serious injury and property damage and any effort to reduce their frequency and severity will benefit all motorists in town.  

 

This $18,075.00 grant to Brookfield provides money to support officer overtime, for targeted special enforcement of distracted driving laws on Town Roads.

 

Several other area towns are also participating in this enforcement effort.  State Police Troopers will also be patrolling the highways looking for distracted drivers.

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The Region 12 school district is looking to apply for grant money to create a new Agriscience STEM Academy.  Washington State Representative Arthur O'Neill says the grant would be for 95-percent of the cost to create the Academy at Shepaug Valley High School. 

 

This academy will add 50 to 60 students per year, with up to 240 students by the 4th year of the program being in operation.  He says that would create a more stable school population for Region 12 going forward.  While other nearby Agriscience STEM Academies have reached their capacity, this would allow students from the Greater Danbury and New Milford areas to study in the field.

 

Students from Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Sherman and Washington could pursue studies in this field.  Sending districts would also pay tuition and provide transportation for the students they select. 

 

Additionally, all agriscience students, including Washington students, would be subsidized by the state to cover part of the costs involved.  Yearly grants provided by the state would be used to cover operating expenses and materials needed going forward.

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Ridgefield Police are applying for arrest warrants for two people they say are responsible for damage caused to the East Ridge north ball field last month. 

 

This comes as another field in Ridgefield was vandalized.  Officers were called to Shadow Lake baseball field yesterday and determined that a vehicle or vehicles drove on the field, causing considerable damage.  Police are investigating to determine a time frame of when the damage occurred. 

 

(Shadow Lake)

 

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 203-438-6531. 

 

Police have not said if the damage at the two field is related. 

 

The damage at East Ridge was caused in July 11th.

 

(East Ridge north field)

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There were two serious motorcycle accidents yesterday in the area, one fatal.  Wilton police say a motorcyclist was killed last night in an accident on Route 7.  Police say the accident happened near the intersection of Westport Road shortly after 7pm. 

 

There was no other vehicle involved in the accident.  No other details have been released. 

 

State police responded to an accident in Sherman yesterday afternoon.  A motorcyclist tried to pass on the left side of a a car on Route 39 as the driver was making a left into a driveway.  The car and bike collided. 

 

Police say the motorcyclist was airlifted to Hartford Hospital with serious injuries.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The families of more than a dozen victims of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting would split $1.5 million under proposed settlements of lawsuits against the estate of the gunman's mother.

 

The lawsuits accuse Nancy Lanza of failing to properly secure her legally owned Bushmaster AR-15 rifle. Her son, 20-year-old Adam, used the rifle to kill 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 after fatally shooting his mother.

 

The settlement proposals were disclosed in probate court documents filed Monday and first reported by The Hartford Courant. Lawyer Joshua Koskoff represents several families and told The Associated Press that about 16 families suing Nancy Lanza's estate would evenly split the $1.5 million if a judge approves the plan.

 

The families also are suing gun maker Bushmaster.

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Two items are up for a vote in Brookfield tonight at a Special Town Meeting. 

 

Brookfield officials are asking residents for more money to complete the Still River Greenway project.  $396,000 is being sought, in addition to the $2.4 million approved last year.  Total bonding for the project will be about $560,000 if the remaining amount is approved tonight.  The balance of the project is being paid for through state and federal grants. 

 

The cost covers both design nand construction of the 8,500 foot multi-use trail. 

 

The other item being decided on tonight is accepting little more than $798,000 in state grant money.  The LOCIP funds are for roadway and streetscape improvements at the intersection of Routes 202 and 25. 

 

The Special Town Meeting will be held at 7pm in Meeting Room 133 of Brookfield Town Hall.

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Danbury Library cardholders can now “check out” the internet.  Mobile Wi-Fi hotspots will allow more patrons to check out an iPad or Roku box.  Digital Services Librarian Katharine Chung says the two hotspots have a two year contract, and are being paid for by the FRIENDS of the Danbury Library.  They can be checked out for two week spans.

 

Chung says this will give library customers home access to the library’s digital resources such as eBooks, streaming music, and movies.  She hopes this initiative will help bridge the digital gap in the community so students can do homework and projects, and employees can travel with reliable internet access to meetings and presentations.

 

The library does distribute a policy about the use, late fees and replacement costs.  Patrons must be 18 years or older to check them out, so parents will be responsible for the device.  The late fine is $10 a day, and the replacement cost is about $200

 

 

Danbury Library's technology lending program is expanding elsewhere as well.  The Library will be adding more iPads to its collection, including some Early Literacy iPads, some in Spanish, and Long-Loan iPads that can be checked out for a longer period of time.

 

Amazon Kindles will begin circulating soon, pre-loaded with popular titles and as well as selections from the Danbury High School summer reading list.  Kindles will be available for checkout by students under 18 with a signed parental permission form.

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5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty was in Danbury Friday to celebrate a Medicare expansion that she says will allow patients to gain access to hospice services while continuing to undergo treatment.  She discussed the expansion at Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western Connecticut.  It's one of only 140 hospice centers nationwide, and the only one in Connecticut, to be chosen to be part of this initiative.  Esty says the facility was selected from 6,000 applicants to be part of this initiative.

 

Regional Hospice is also one of only 70 facilities across the country that will be accepting patients and participating in the program for the full five year pilot program.

 

Medicare enacted a hospice benefit in the 1980s for 180 days of hospice care, but it was with a requirement that a hospice patient couldn't also be receiving active treatment.  Esty says chemo and radiation therapy for example, was even more grueling and brutal than it is today. She called it a horrible choice for families and patients of getting the support of hospice around end of life and giving up all treatment, or continuing treatment without support services.  Psychologically and emotionally, Esty says that's not acceptable.

 

Esty says there are more frequent medical discoveries and a lot of interest by people who are very sick, that something could transform their chances of survival.

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A search last night of the Housatonic River near Lovers Leap State Park was called off after no signs of a missing person were found.  The search began around 3:30 yesterday afternoon when a hiker said they found bikes hanging from trees off a cliff above the water. 

 

New Milford police said clothing and a backpack were found in the same area. 

 

Brookfield Police and fire assisted the New Milford police dive team in the search.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection took over around 5pm with EnCon police searching with a K9 unit and a boat.  The Water Witch Hose Co. No. 2, Bridgewater Volunteer Fire Department, and Lake Lillinonah Authority boats responded.

 

DEEP Spokesman Dennis Schain says there were no signs of anyone in the water, and there was no missing persons reports filed.

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Another area lawmaker is speaking out against an idea being discussed by the panel created by Governor Dannel Malloy to come up with ways to fund his 30-year transportation improvement plan. A so-called mileage fee has drawn criticism from Wilton Senator Toni Boucher. 

 

The fee would be assessed based on the number of miles driven per year, as determined by a car's GPS system. 

 

Boucher says the administration should look at how money currently coming in is spent.  She thinks residents have reached a tipping point with decisions being made by state officials.  She specifically pointed to the decision giving 12% raises to some employees, along with generous benefits to all others, and then turning around and taxing residents more.

 

Boucher says the Republican minority in the General Assembly has proposed ways Connecticut could achieve $500 million more in investments by reprioritizing and reallocating the current bonding capacity the state has for transportation infrastructure improvements.

 

Boucher called this mileage fee even more of an an intrusive invasion of a person's privacy than an EZpass which records where you pay a toll.  She asked those proposing the fee to imaging a device in the car that records every single location, saying it's like having someone following you every single day.

 

Boucher says one of the real problems with even discussing putting another fee on drivers, is that Connecticut motorists currently pay some of the highest fees in the nation.  Gas is already doubled taxed in Connecticut.  Not only is there an excise tax, but she notes there is also 8% more on that same gallon of gas.  She compared this proposal to the gas tax, a consumption-based tax, and said each mile driven would be double or tripled taxed.

 

Boucher says if the panel wanted to be truly honest about it, they could suggest raising the gas tax even further than where it already is.

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While Congress is on a five week recess from Washington, 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is using the time to tour the region.  She stopped in Danbury yesterday where she visited the Danbury Mall to see how the fuel cell site installed there recently is working.

 

The 750 kilowatt fuel cell array is providing the mall with more than a third of the electricity used by the 1.3 million square foot shopping center.  The fuel cell project was installed by California-based Bloom Energy.

 

The project was financed in partnership with Washington Gas Energy Services and the Connecticut Low-emission Renewable Energy Certificate Program.  The gas company paid for the fuel cells, and the mall is paying the gas company for the electricity generated from the units.

 

More than 400 solar panels are planned for the central roof of the mall.  The shopping center installed energy efficient exterior LED lighting and a thermoplastic white reflective roof.  In addition to recycling cardboard and plastic, the mall is now composting food waste.

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A boy and girl who just graduated from Danbury High School have been arrested for using the photo and name of a former teacher on a social media account.  Danbury Police launched an investigation in February when the former teacher reported an active Twitter account was portraying her in a defamatory manner.

 

Search warrants were issued and interview conducted over the last several months leading to two Danbury High Schoolers, who were seniors at the time.  Arrest warrants for the former students were granted recently.  On Wednesday, 18-year olds Nickolas Brito and Mikayla Ramos turned themselves into police. 

 

 

 

Each teen was charged with conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation and conspiracy to commit harrassment.  Ramos was also charged with making a false statement.  The teens were released on written promises to appear in court on August 18th.

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Danbury police have determined that a rainbow flag burned at a church was criminal mischief, not a hate crime.  The flag was put up outside the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriages should be legal across the country.  A church administrator came to work on July 24th and found that the rainbow flag had been burned. 

 

Reverend Barbara Fast says UU Danbury is proud to be a welcoming congregation that celebrates participation by all people.  Rev. Fast says fire can destroy, but it can also renew.  She says hateful acts never endure.

 

A new rainbow flag will be dedicated on Sunday at noon at the church on Clapboard Ridge Road. 

 

Fast says the rainbow flag is a symbol of the church's commitment to love and justice.  She says the rededication will reaffirm the basic principle that everyone has the right to determine their own path through life.

 

Board of Trustees President Walt Sizemore says burning any flag is a public desecration, and for some in the Danbury community it is more than mere vandalism.  Sizemore says they are recommitted to the pursuit of inclusion of all people. Unitarian Universalist Congregations of Danbury officials say they national association has officials opposed discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people since 1970, and that the organization has called for marriage equality since 1996.

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Two area towns are receiving Community Development Block Grants under the Small Cities Program.  Bethel will receive $800,000 for the Reynolds Ridge Senior Housing complex.  Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein the Bethel Housing Authority will create two handicapped accessible units, replace interior and exterior doors, replace windows and make energy efficiency improvements at the 80 units.

 

Southbury has been awarded $400,000, and will be undertaking its first Housing Rehabilitation program.  The plan calls for rehabilitating 12 units by replacing roofs, heating systems, and windows.  Lead paint and asbestos removal along with electrical and code upgrades will also be made.

 

Klein says the grants help facilitate projects to enhance a community.  That's done in a number of ways including developing or preserving affordable housing, providing services to the most vulnerable residents in our communities, and creating and retaining jobs. 

 

Klein says Connecticut is making critical investments in housing that will have a lasting effect on individuals, families, and communities.  The CDBG Small Cities program uses federal funds allocated to Connecticut by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Tolls aren't the only way The Governors Transportation Finance Panel has discussed as ways to raise the $100 billion needed for Malloy's 30-year transportation improvement plan.  The panel created by Governor Dannel Malloy has discussed the idea of a so-called mileage fee.  It would be assessed based on the number of miles driven per year, as determined by a car's GPS system.

 

Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan says while it's necessary to look at all opportunities to fund transportation, the ideas so far are all about new taxes.  McLachlan says the idea currently being discussed by the chairman of the panel, former state lawmaker Cameron Staples, couldn't work because not all cars have the technology.

 

McLachlan says a new fee is absurd given that Connecticut has seen the two highest tax increases in state history in the last four years.

 

As cars get better and better milage, revenue from the gas tax gets less and less.  McLachlan says spending should be cut in Connecticut, and the state should "stop spending money foolishly" so that there is money for repair roads.  He says he'd prefer ideas to better allocate the money that's already coming in to Connecticut.

 

The panel is slated to make recommendations late next month.  A final report is due in October. The legislature could come back before the end of the year to approve it.

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A Bridgewater woman has been arrested for illegally collecting unemployment benefits. 

 

45-year old Deborah Wilmot, who is serving a prison sentence for embezzling thousands of dollars from Bull's Bridge Golf Club, was charged Thursday with larceny and unemployment compensation fraud.  Wilmot collected nearly $22,000 in benefits over the course of a year in 2011 and 2012 while she was employed at three different businesses, including the South Kent golf club. 

 

The arrest affidavit says she used an alias, and in one case used a relative's Social Security number so that her employer wouldn't learn of her previous felony convictions for larceny and forgery. 

 

Wilmot will be in court September 1st. 

 

Wilmot previously served three years for a 2004 conviction of embezzling $100,000 from Canterbury School in New Milford.  She allegedly took more than $220,000 from a New York-based computer software company while employed as a bookkeeper in 2008-2009.  Wilmot received a two year federal prison term in 2012 for tax evasion on the funds stolen from Amkai Corporation.

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Danbury Firefighters have responded to two blazes today.  There is a second floor fire at a condo on Candlelight Drive.  Heavy smoke is reported.  An earlier kitchen fire at a home on Chestnut Street was extinguished quickly.  There were no injuries in that fire.  Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says the condo fire was caused by a lightning strike.

 

(Photo: @MayorMark, Twitter)

 

The American Red Cross was helping residents of three damaged condos with temporary housing needs.

Some residents told fire officials that they saw lightning hit the building, and others said they heard a loud noise right before the fire began in an attic.  Fire officials are trying to determine exactly how the blaze began.

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A Connecticut man has been arrested for a home invasion in Weston last month.  42-year old Dylan Garner of Bridgeport is facing an assault charge for the home invasion.  State Police say Garner rang the doorbell of a home on Ten O'clock Lane on June 5th, but the woman didn't answer. 

 

She later reported hearing glass and wood on the back door being broken.  Garner confronted the victim, forced her to the ground and restrained her.  Several pieces of jewelry were taken, and the victim sustained non-life threatening injuries. 

 

Garner was arrested Tuesday and was held on $250,000 bond for arraignment today.  In addition to assault, Garner faces charges of home invasion, larceny, robbery and unlawful restraint.

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Trailer for "Boulevard"...Robin Williams' final on-screen performance.

 

 

Prince George kisses sister Princess Charlotte at her christening.

(Photo courtesy Duchess of Cambridge)

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