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Enterovirus confirmed at Danbury Hospital

There are two confirmed cases of enterovirus from Danbury Hospital.  Samples were sent to the CDC earlier this month for confirmation.  Danbury Hospital Chief of Pediatric Pulmonology Dr Greg Dworkin says this is the time of year that you see respiratory viruses.  Dworkin says both patients treated at Danbury Hospital have been released and recovered. 


The CDC has confirmed three cases of enterovirus-68 from the Connecticut Children's Medical Center and seven at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital. 


Dworkin says there's 100 types of enterovirus, but they're not sure exactly which one was confirmed here.  He notes that's because when people are admitted to the hospital, they don't need to know which strain specifically it is.


Dworkin says the virus typically runs its course in a few days, and doctors treat the wheezing as they would any asthma attack.


He says the testing was done to help track the spread.

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Bethel Action Committee to host forum on Charter changes

Bethel residents will be voting on revisions to the town's Charter when they go to the polls on November 4th.  There will be six questions on the ballot about the changes.  The Bethel Action Committee is hosting a public forum tonight about the Charter revisions and what they see as a shift in the balance of power at the Bethel Municipal Center. 


BAC Founder Billy Michael says there are a few proposals that give them concern.


One proposal would reduce the Board of Finance's ability to make line item cuts in the budget from the Board of Selectmen.  Other proposed changes include increasing the Board of Selectmen from three to five members and also increasing the term of office for the Board from two years to four years. 


During public hearings held by the Charter Revision Commission, a few people spoke against moving the Annual Town Budget Meeting to April from May.  Some people also opposed increasing the threshhold for bonds and other appropriations requiring a town meeting.  But the Commission says the dollar amounts are outdated.


Current and former local officials will offer their insight and respond to questions at this informal meeting.  Tonight's public forum at the Senior Center cafeteria is at 7pm.

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Texting crackdown completed, police issue thousands of tickets

Police departments in several municipalities across the Greater Danbury area participated in the recently ended statewide anti-texting enforcement program.  The  “U Drive, U Text, U Pay” campaign was a three week crackdown.  Aaron Swanson of the Traffic Safety Office at the Department of Transportation says more than 3,500 tickets were issued by state and local police.


The figure could be closer to 5,000 violations, once the final numbers are counted.


Swanson says drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get in a serious crash.  The state received federal funding, which it passed down to local departments, to carry out the enforcement effort.  Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. Swanson says driving at 55-mph, that is the equivalent of traveling the length of an entire football field--blind.


The state received funding from the National Highway Safety Administration for the enforcement effort, which it granted to cities and towns.


Under Connecticut’s cell phone and texting law, violations involve heavy fines, ranging from $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second violation, and $500 for each subsequent violation.

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Intersection improvement project planned in Bethel

Bethel will be holding a town meeting next month about a project to make improvements to the intersection of Walnut Hill Road and Hoyt Road.  Preliminary design work has been completed. 


Construction will be completed through the state Department of Transportation's Local road Accident Reduction Program.  The reconstruction plans include drainage improvements, slope construction and stabilization , paving, curbing, new signage and restriping the road. 


90-percent of the project cost will be covered by the Federal Highway Administration with the town picking up the 10-percent balance. 


The information meeting will be held October 7th from 6 to 9pm in the Municipal Center.

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Danbury Hall at Fairfield Hills campus demolished

Demolition has started on Danbury Hall at the Fairfield Hills campus in Newtown.  The Newtown Bee reports that the workers started tearing down the building Monday morning.  The project is intended to open the sightlines of the complex from Wasserman Way. 


The project cost of $511,000 also covered hazardous materials abatement, but was originally supposed to also include demolition of 8 single-family former staff homes. 


Additional funding was needed for asbestos removal, which changed the scope of the project.

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Wilton residents approve Miller-Driscoll renovation project

A narrow margin of victory for the proposed Miller-Driscoll School renovation project in Wilton.  Voting was done during a Special Town Meeting last week and also on Saturday.  Registrars say the vote was 979 in favor and 952 opposed. 


The $50 million price tag would cover the planning, design, construction, renovation, and furnishing of the Miller-Driscoll School.  The project has the unanimous support of the Boards of Education, Finance and Selectmen. 


There is some state reimbursement of about $6 million.

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HVCEO holds final meeting

The Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials has held its final meeting.  The organization was in existance for the past 37 years, but because of regionalization efforts in the state HVCEO is merging with the Southwestern Regional Planning Agency. 


Mayor Mark Boughton says a committee of the Danbury City Council will be meeting about the merger on Monday night.


Boughton says it's sad to see HVCEO finished because it did a lot of good for the region through planning, emergency management and sharing of equipment.


The new group will meet once a month.  New bylaws have been created.  Boughton says there's been a lot compromises about where the headquarters will be, how many employees it will have and how to manage the organization.  The headquarters, HVCEO is currently in Brookfield, will likely be further south.  The most northern towns in the group are Sherman and New Milford, and they could have to travel as far as Darien or Stamford.

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Ridgefield Open Space Association regognized by CT Fund for the Environment

Three groups have been recognized for their environmental protection efforts.  Connecticut Fund for the Environment and Save the Sound held their annual meeting at Ridgefield Library on Sunday.  They presented awards to groups who have made extraordinary contributions to protecting the environment. 


The Ridgefield Open Space Association was recognized for their support in protecting the Eureka lands.  A decade-old lawsuit with developer Eureka V LLC is not being appealed to the United States Supreme Court.  The town tried to take Eureka’s 153-acre Bennett’s Pond south parcel by eminent domain.  A case is pending in the state Supreme Court about the density of plans for more than 300 units of affordable housing project on the south parcel, which includes 67 acres of reservoir watershed. 


Westchester Community Foundation and Trust for Public Land were also recognized.

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Avon Foundation grant awarded to Women's Center

A grant has been awarded to the Women's Center of Greater Danbury for domestic violence programs and victim services.  The Avon Foundation for Women has awarded a $20,000 one-year grant to the Women’s Center. The grant is part of the Avon Foundation for Women Speaks Out Against Domestic Violence program.


It is the first time that the Women’s Center has received this grant. 


The Avon Foundation for Women launched Speak Out Against Domestic Violence in 2004 to support domestic violence awareness, education and prevention programs aimed at reducing domestic and gender violence, as well as direct services for victims and their families. 


Women's Center CEO Pat Zachman says these funds will help them to continue providing a 24-7 emergency shelter and crisis services, counseling and community education programs free of charge throughout the greater Danbury area.

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Good Samaritan Mission gets new leader

There's a new leader of the Good Samaritan Mission in Danbury.


Mark Grasso of Newtown has been appointed the executive director of the Good Samaritan Mission.  Grasso has been with Catholic Charities in Bridgeport and Danbury for the past 12 years, most recently as vice president. He has extensive experience in mental health and homeless services, and has directed various programs for at-risk communities. 


The Good Samaritan Mission was created by Jericho Partnership to provide in-depth, long-term transitional programs to homeless and other at-risk men.  They run an overnight shelter and and long-term residence and counseling facilities on Maple Avenue.

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Lake scheduled for deep drawdown this winter

This summer brought good water quality to Candlewood Lake in terms of transparency and low algae counts.  But the pesky Eurasian Milfoil was found once again in large quantities.  Candlewood Lake will be lower once again this winter and is tentatively scheduled for a deep drawdown.  The lowering is done in part to control the non-native invasive plant. 


A thick mat of milfoil can clog boat propellers and tangle with swimmer's limbs. 


Candlewood Lake Authority Executive Director Larry Marsicano says the water is dropped substantially, by as much as nine or ten feet, in hopes of a cooperative winter to kill the root crowns of the milfoil.  He says snow pack, temperature, wind and length of exposure all have an impact on how much of the milfoil survives into the next summer.


Marsicano says the reason the alternate year is a shallow drawdown of about four feet, is to limit the damage to native plants near the shoreline.  If native, non-invasive plants are near the shoreline, they could also be killed off by the freeze, which Marsicano calls an unintended consequence.  The trade off is to have the shallow drawdown every other year.


The lake must be back at normal operating levels by mid-April in time for the fishing season.


The drawdown allows lake residents to repair their docks and the seawalls.

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Another swastika found at Wilton High School

Another swastika has been found at Wilton High School.  In a letter to parents Friday, Principal Robert O'Donnell said it was found Tuesday etched into the paint of a boys bathroom stall on the third floor.  Since the first swastika was found etched into a locker on September 4th, the common areas have been checked regularly. 


Both the one found on the locker and the one in the bathroom were removed immediately.


O'Donnell says he is working with the student government to address the issue and the social studies department is developing curriculum to address the meaning and impact of the symbol.  He is also reconnecting with the Anti Defamation League to discuss strategies to address the matter systematically.


When the letter circulated, students showed the Principal a third symbol carved into a first floor door, though officials say that one likely went unnoticed for years. 


A 15-year old student, who was not named because of age, turned himself in for etching the first swastika into a locker.


O'Donnell said in his first letter to the community that symbols of hatred, racism and anti-semitism have no place in an environment of free of prejudice, cruelty and intolerance.  In his latest communication, O'Donnell said when students make very poor choices that impact the school community, it's incumbent on educators and parents to teach students that this is unacceptable behavior that is hurtful to us all.

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Buses added in Danbury to address long rides to school

The Danbury School District has made some adjustments to bus routes, and added more buses and drivers.  In a memo released Friday, school officials said the changes were made so that the rides are as short as possible. 


There was an increased enrollment after routes were set, meaning two more buses were needed.  Finance Director Joe Martino says in some cases a route with 35 stops jumped to 55 stops.


Martino says redistricting for the new Westside Middle School was a challenge.  Originally there were 8 buses in place for those routes.  11 buses were needed though to make sure the rides weren't too long, delaying the elementary school runs which followed.  Martino says the Academy of International Studies magnet elementary school also experienced some of those redistricting issues. 


Seven additional buses are now on the roads, at a cost of $60,000 each.


The memo says there are more than 9,000 students enrolled in Danbury schools with a fleet of about 100 buses with 300 runs at three different start times.

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Voting in Wilton on school renovation project

Voting is continuing Saturday in Wilton on whether the town should bond $50 million to renovate Miller-Driscoll School.  The discussion and start of the vote was held during a Special Town Meeting Tuesday night at the David F Clune Center for the Arts. 


Residents were able to ask questions at that time about the proposals.  The project has the unanimous support of the Boards of Education, Finance and Selectmen. 


The $50 million price tag would cover the planning, design, construction, renovation, and furnishing of the Miller-Driscoll School.  Wilton officials say voting will be held from 9am to 6pm Saturday at the arts center at Wilton High School's campus.

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Open house gala at WCSU's Visual and Performing Arts Center

An opening gala is being held Sunday at Western Connecticut State University's new Visual and Performing Arts Center.  The behind the scenes open house will allow the community to see and hear West Conn students, faculty and staff actively using the new building.  University spokesman Paul Steinmetz says there are three distinctive wings of the facility designed specifically for art, music and theater arts.


(Contributed photo)


The event will open with remarks from University President Dr James Schmotter.  Among the spaces that will be used and on view are the Concert Hall, Main Stage Theater, Studio Theater, a recording studio, the art gallery and sculpture studio. 


Steinmetz says the behind the scenes event will offer the community a glimpse of how the space comes to life when students and staff are there.


Opening events will be held in each of the three main performance and exhibition spaces over the next several weeks.  Sunday's open house at the center starts at 1:30pm on West Conn's westside campus.

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Local, state police taking expired medications for disposal

Another prescription drug takeback day is being held today by the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Local and state police will be collecting expired, unneeded, or unwanted prescription medication. 


nationally the number of people who abuse prescription drugs is dropping, but it's still more than double the number of those using heroin, cocaine and hallucinogens combined, according to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.


Last April Americans turned in over 780,000 pounds (390 tons) of prescription drugs.  Since its first National Take Back Day in September of 2010, DEA has collected more than 4.1 million pounds (over 2,100 tons) of prescription drugs throughout all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories.


The local collections are taking place at the Danbury, Bethel, Newtown, Weston Police Departments along with the Bridgewater, Sherman and Roxbury Resident State Trooper offices and the Monroe Senior Center.  It's from 10am to 2pm.

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Abandoned backpacks prompt Wilton Library evacuation

Wilton Library was briefly evacuated Thursday because of suspicious backpacks. 


Three backpacks left by the front entrance of Wilton Library prompted concern from a patron around 11:15 yesterday morning.  Officers responded, tried to identify the owner, but no one claimed the black backpacks.  As a precaution, the library was evacuated and the Stamford Bomb Squad was called in. 


Surveillance video was reviewed by officers and it was determined that a Library employee accidentally left the bags outside the door.  The staff member confirmed that they left the bags there. 


The library reopened around noon and the bags were removed.

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Connecticut Fund for the Environment to host meeting in Ridgefield

Ridgefield Library is hosting an event with Fabien Cousteau, grandson of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.  Connecticut Fund for the Environment and its bi-state program Save the Sound will hold its annual meeting at the newly-remodeled Ridgefield Library on Sunday. 


Fabien Cousteau most recently completed "Mission 31", a month long event spent underwater in a submersible.  He documented the changing oceans from within and will be giving the keynote address.  His non-profit organization empowers communities and children to help restore local aquatic ecosystems through healthy “replanting” of important marine species. 


Prior to his speech, CFE/Save the Sound will present awards to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to protecting our environment.   The group will also conduct organizational business at the meeting, including goals for the coming year, a review of the past year’s accomplishments, and election of Board officers. 


The gathering is open to the public on Sunday from 4 to 7pm.  Attendees can RSVP via email to Michelle LaMere.

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Southbury man charged for 13 mile car chase

A Southbury man has been arrested for a 13 mile car chase on Labor Day.  State Police on Thursday arrested 31-year old Tyler Santoro on a number of charges for the chase through Woodbury, which ended when Santoro crashed. 


Officers responded to his Southbury home on a report of a domestic dispute, but Santoro fled in his neighbor's car before officers arrived.


As officers approached, he pointed a gun at them.  He crashed his car into a police cruiser while trying to flee and then put a knife to his own throat.  Santoro was apprehended without injuring any of the responding police. 


Troopers took him into custody without being injured.   Santoro was transported to a hospital and treated for his injury and has been detained since then on unrelated charges.  Santoro was held on $350,000 bond.


He was charged with:


Brandishing a Facsimile Firearm

Engaging an Officer in a Pursuit

Interfering with an Officer

Criminal Mischief


Weapons in a Motor Vehicle

Reckless Endangerment

Possession of Narcotics

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Reckless Driving

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Wilton woman accused of stealing flower arrangements

A Wilton woman was in Norwalk Superior Court Thursday on a larceny charge stemming from an incident earlier this month at Village Market.  Police say an employee arrived early on September 16th to the store and saw someone stealing flower arrangements. 


Surveillance video showed the license plate of the vehicle that left the scene and a woman fitting the description of 61-year old Sima Pirnia.  The woman told police she had been out driving, but not taking the flowers.  Police however saw one arrangement in the woman's home and she was wearing the same clothes seen on the surveillance footage. 


Two of the three flower arrangements were recovered.


Ice Bucket Challenge COMPLETED!!

Rich Minor accepted the challenge from his friend to donate to the ALS Association AND do the Ice Bucket Challenge.

His "bucket" of choice...well, that's where Westchester Tractor came into play.

Check it out!




Who's this beautiful hunk of man meat?

It's 32 year old Chris Soules,

a farmer from Iowa and the new Bachelor!


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I'd prefer Christmas items and holiday decorations to be out in stores...
Whenever is fine. It can never be too early.
Wait until at least mid-October.
Wait until at least mid-November.
After December 1. Let's enjoy Thanksgiving first.
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