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An absentee balloting session is being held in Redding today for the upcoming budget referendum.  The Town Clerk's Office will be open from 9am to 11am to process absentee ballot applications.  Since the budget referendum is being held with less than three weeks notice, absentee ballots cannot be mailed by the town clerk. 

 

There are 7 questions on the ballot for Tuesday. 

 

One is the $47.79 million budget, including the town's share of the Region 9 school budget.  The next is about Region 9's budget of $23.1 million.  Easton's share is $10.8 million, Redding's is $12.3 million. 

 

The other questions are about capital items.

 

The next Question is if $1.95 million should be allocated for repairs and improvements at Redding Elementary and John Read Middle schools.  There would be parking lot paving and curb replacement, and HVAC system engineering designs at each school.  Upgraded electrical service in two wings of the elementary school, an added security entrance and new sidewalks and steps would also be done there.  At the middle school, bleachers would be replaced, the gym floor refinished and wall padding replaced.

 

The next question is about $660,000 for converting  Redding Community Center Field #2 to turf. 

 

Question 5 is a $123,000 to replace the police Communications Tower.  Question 6 is about $47,000 for a pavilion at the Redding Community Center Fields. 

 

The last question is about appropriating a little more than $1 million to replace the roof at Joel Barlow High School.  Redding's share is about $566,000, Easton's is $477,000.  The 54-percent shouldered by Redding and 46-percent by Easton is based on enrollment in the school by each town.

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Tax and spending increases have been proposed this week by two state legislative committees.  Wilton state Senator Toni Boucher is a member of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.  She was critical of the proposals.

 

She specifically addressed concerns with two transfers.  One sends $12 million from the Tobacco Health Trust Fund to the General Fund in each of the next two years.  $25 million is diverted from The Special Transportation Fund, despite efforts to prevent that.

 

Boucher says the lockbox proposals are backed by both parties because the needs are so great, but the transfer jeopardizes that.  She says Connecticut residents desperately need transportation infrastructure to be repaired.

 

Backers of the plan called it a balanced and fair attempt to restore cuts proposed by Governor Malloy.

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Today is Clean City Danbury Day.  The free bulky waste drop off day is held each year to help people dispose of litter and blight.  Mayor Mark Boughton says bulk garbage dumping is limited to residents only, no commercial vehicles will be allowed.  That means vehicles with any business name on them, vehicles with commercial plates and vehicles that can clearly be used for hauling.  Box trucks are also not allowed.

 

Construction debris, electronics, household hazardous waste, grass clippings and yard debris are not permitted.  Scrap metal, tires and appliances containing freon can be disposed of today, but must be kept separate from other garbage and should not be put in the dumpsters. 

 

Nearly a thousand volunteers are participating today.  The volunteers are being supplied with trash bags and safety vests before heading out to clean litter from the streets. 

 

The disposal is from 8am to noon.

 

DROP-OFF LOCATIONS:

City Hall (155 Deer Hill Avenue)

Rogers Park (by tennis courts)

Public Works Building (53 Newtown Rd.)

P.A.L. Building (35 Hayestown Rd.)

New Location: WCSU West Side Campus (43 Lake Avenue Ext)

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A Ridgefield man who stole more than $2 million from a Staten Island Cemetery in an effort to hide the theft of money from his law clients, continued to steal from clients while out on bail.  The New York state Attorney General's office on Tuesday announced the sentencing of Timothy Griffin to 4 1/3 years to 13 years in prison. 

 

After his February arrest in Westchester County, officials say Griffin diverted $175,000 from a client's escrow account into his own.  In February, he pleaded guilty to charges filed in Richmond County in exchange for a 3 to 9 year sentence to run concurrently with a 6 month federal sentence in Connecticut. 

 

Griffin was also ordered to pay more than $2.5 million in restitution. 

 

He was rearrested April 22nd on additional charges of Grand Larceny.  His next court appearance in Westchester is set for May 8th.

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Newtown Police are investigating a number of vandalism cases.  Police tell the Newtown Bee they responded to the Yogananda Street area in Sandy Hook on Sunday and found 15 separate cases of vandalism.  The incidents ranged from mailboxes being knocked off their posts, posts being removed from their footings and driveway light posts damaged and thrown to the ground.    Police estimate the damage in the 15 cases to total about $2,000.  Anyone with information on the criminal mischief is being asked to contact Newtown Police.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A 36-year-old Wolcott man who prosecutors say served as a conduit for a campaign donation from tobacco shop owners to Christopher Donovan's 5th District congressional campaign has been sentenced to 13 months in prison.

Daniel Monteiro was sentenced in U.S. District Court Thursday after pleading guilty in March 2013 to conspiring to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission and defraud the U.S. government.

Prosecutors say Monteiro served as a middleman, agreeing to donate $2,500 to Donovan's 2012 campaign while accepting the same amount in return from the real donors, tobacco shop owners.

The government says the donations were directed to the campaign with the hopes of stopping state legislation that would tax roll-your-own tobacco businesses. Eight people were ultimately convicted in a scandal. Donovan was not charged.

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A security system firm has named several Fairfield County towns as being among the 100 safest cities in America.  SafeWise used FBI crime data from 2013 to rank the municipalities, which have a minimum population of 10,000 people. 

 

At number 4, Ridgefield.  "The local police hold an annual Halloween party and have developed programs like “G.R.A.D.D.” (Government of Ridgefield against Drunk Driving) in order to tackle substance abuse and other safety-related issues."

 

Ranked number 10, Weston. "The city employs technologically-advanced policing features, such as computer forensics and a communication center that can reach thousands of residents in mere seconds during emergencies."

 

Number 23 is Newtown.  "After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Newtown was unfortunately thrust into the national spotlight. The families of the 26 murder victims, other affected community members, and our nation will forever be haunted by the events of December 12, 2012. In the ten years previous to the shooting, only one murder was recorded in Newtown. Likewise, our ranking reflects FBI data from 2013, in which very little violent crime occurred in Newtown."

 

The final Connecticut town ranking in the top 100,at 73, is Wilton.  "Major corporations like Cannondale and Melissa & Doug help provide economic stability in Wilton. To help keep the community stable and safe, police coordinate free initiatives like the “Citizen Police Academy”—a 12-week program that teaches the public about crime detection and prevention."

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Two Danbury residents have been arrested after police saw a drug deal take place between them.  Danbury Police officers were conducting surveillance on Main Street near Elmwood Place on Wednesday afternoon and saw a hand-to-hand transaction. 

 

The suspected dealer, 43-year old Jerome Weathers, fled when officers approached him.  He was arrested after a short foot chase and struggle.  Police charged Weathers with distribution of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school, interfering with an officer, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school, and sale of illegal drugs. 

 

The suspected buyer, 33-year old Patricia Gibson was charged with possession of narcotics, possession within 1,500 feet of a school and use of drug paraphernalia.  She was released on a promise to appear in court on May 6th. 

 

Weathers is being held on a $100,000 bond. 

 

He had heroin and crack cocaine on him  Gibson was found with crack cocaine.

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A Connecticut woman who gave police a fake name during an investigation is due in court today.  33-year old Natasha Michaud of Bristol is due in Norwalk Superior Court today on a number of charges following a bizarre incident in Wilton last month. 

 

Wilton police were called to a gas station on Danbury Road April 9th on a report of a woman leaving a rental car and its paperwork there.  Wilton officers located the woman walking along the road.  She didn't have ID and gave police a fake name. 

 

After contacting the car rental company and determining the woman hadn't rented it, police called the true lessee.  That person gave Michaud's real name and says she didn't take the car illegally.  During their investigation, Wilton officers found two crack pipes, with crack residue, in the woman's boot. 

 

Michaud is being held on $1,000 bond for today's court appearance.

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The Democratic controlled tax committee has voted out a tax package that increases income tax rates for high-earners, expands Connecticut's sales tax and legalizes keno.  The plan passed the Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee Wednesday on a mostly party-line vote. 

 

Freshman Republican state Representative Stephen Harding of Brookfield called it a smoke and mirrors plan.  Even though the sales tax rate is slated to decrease, there are exemptions being lifted.  He says the average Connecticut resident buys goods and services in the state, and this proposal will hurt them.  Services including accounting, veterinary, engineering and dry cleaning would be subject to the state's sales tax under the measure approved this week.

 

Harding says the Business Entity Tax is cut in half under the bill, but the Governor's plan would have eliminated it.  He says $125 every few years may not seem like a lot, but that's money in the hands of middle class and small business owners that's being taken away.

 

Harding says corporate tax changes being made could also significantly impact jobs.

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The second of three suspects wanted for beating and robbing a man in downtown Danbury has been arrested. 

 

21-year old Fakeem Mouning turned himself in to police after learning of a warrant for his arrest.  Danbury Police were called March 23rd to Railroad Place on a report that a 57-year old accidentally brushed up against one of the suspects, who then started yelling at the victim.  The victim tried to walk away, but witnesses say three men punched him, hit him from behind with a bottle and took off with his cash.   

 

19-year old Mikayel Zullo of Danbury was caught after a brief foot chase. 

 

Zullo was charged with assault 2nd degree, 6th degree larceny , breach of peace, 1st degree robbery, 1st degree conspiracy to commit robbery and interfering with an officer.  Zullo was released on a court set $50,000 bond for an appearance in Danbury Superior Court on May 4th.  He also has two other cases being heard that day.

 

Mouning was charged with 1st degree assault, 1st degree conspiracy to commit robbery, 2nd degree conspiracy to commit larceny, 6th degree larceny and breach of peace.  He is being held on a $100,000 court set bond for an appearance May 7th.  He also has another case on the docket for that day.

 

The victim was treated at Danbury Hospital.

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New York State Police are investigating a fatal accident that happened on Route 22 in Patterson yesterday afternoon near Route 311.  Troopers say 42-year old Christopher Osborne of Pawling was travelling northbound shortly before 4pm and crossed the double yellow line into the southbound lanes, striking a Subaru. 

 

A passenger in that car, 63-year old Jean Riccobon of Carmel was pronounced dead at the scene.  The driver, 65-year old Mario Riccobon was transported to Danbury Hospital with injuries that do not appear to be life-threatening. 

 

The accident remains under investigation.  Anyone with information is asked to contact New York State Police in Brewster at 845-677-7300.

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The Bethel Board of Finance has made revisions to the budget proposal for the coming fiscal year.  The budgets last week were rejected by residents, 29 votes on the municipal side and 2 votes on the education side. 

 

The Finance board cut $300,000 from the education spending plan and $242,000 from the municipal side.  The proposed tax increase is .21 percent.  The overall proposal of $70.3 million will go to a special town meeting set for Monday night. 

 

Bethel residents will then set a date for the next referendum.

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There was a three car crash on I-84 eastbound Wednesday night.  The accident happened shortly after 5pm, just before exit 7.  State Police say 52-year old Mark Conrad of New Milford was travelling in the right lane when he lost control, spun out and hit a car in the center lane, which then hit a car in the left lane. 

 

Police say the driver in the center lane, 22-year old Montana Sclavos of New Fairfield, was transported to the hospital with minor injuries.  Her car and the vehicle in the left lane, driven by 30-year old Joseph Thomas Harper of North Carolina, were towed from the highway.  The vehicle in the right lane was able to be driven from the scene. 

 

Conrad was found at fault for the accident and charged with following too closely

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An accident on Lake Avenue in Danbury originally reported as a car fire has left one man dead. 

 

Assistant Fire Chief Mark Omasta says a 55-year old man died from injuries sustained in the crash.  The Grey GMC Sierra City of Danbury utility truck went off the road around 5pm and struck trees.  Firefighters extricated the man from the truck, but the impact caused fatal injuries.  There were no other cars involved and no one else in the truck. 

 

Samuel Crews was the ground foreman at Tarrywile Park in Danbury.  Park Executive Director Becky Burr-Petro says Crews was a great man, always had a smile on his face, and was very dedicated to the park.

 

Any witness's are asked to contact Officer Lance Brevard or Sgt. Rory DeRocco at (203) 797-2156.

 

Around the same, there was a three-car crash on Interstate 84 eastbound between exits 5 and 7.

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A ceremonial groundbreaking has been held for the renovation to the New Fairfield Free Public Library.  A massive renovation is planned in New Fairfield to bring the Library into compliance with the American Disabilities Act.  A competitive state library grant will help pay for the project, which includes improved walkways and construction of an elevator.  There will also be energy-efficiency improvements for the building that hasn’t seen renovations for 30 years. 

 

The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Friday. 

 

 

State Representative Richard Smith says the library provides important educational services to the community and he hopes the renovations will attract new visitors, noting that the improvements will assist the people who already visit regularly. 

 

The library will remain open during the renovation, which is expected to last a few months, with entry available only through the front doors.  The Children's Library is temporarily located in the upper level community room.

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The Department of Consumer Protection has provided an update on the number of people registered for the state's medical marijuana program.  The state's medical marijuana program was signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy about three years ago.  It allows licensed physicians to prescribe medicinal marijuana for certain debilitating diseases or conditions. 

 

At that time, the state also approved four producers and six dispensaries, one of which is located in Bethel. 

 

The latest numbers from the state are from mid April, and show overall there are more than 3,600 qualified patients.  Fairfield County has 884 patients approved for medicinal marijuana, the second largest of all counties in Connecticut, behind only New Haven County.  There are 994 patients in that county.  Litchfield COunty has 235 qualified patients.

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The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission has held another meeting about outreach.  During the gathering Tuesday night, the Commission discussed information gathering and re-engaging with the 26 families who lost loved ones on 12-14. 

 

During previous meetings, Chairman Kyle Lyddy talked about the ongoing presentations and whether they should continue if the group decides that ultimately an anonymous competition will be held.  The group looked at the 9-11 Memorial Competition Guidelines for design concept and submissions for similar rules. 

 

Lyddy said he wanted to re-engage with the families, some of whom are members of the Commission, to show them what the group has so far and to ask for their input. 

 

Lyddy is also working on another Q&A sheet for the next meeting.

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An appeal by five Connecticut police departments has been denied by the U-S Supreme Court saying they are not shielded from the lawsuit by government immunity. A federal lawsuit over a 2008 drug raid that killed an unarmed former Ridgefield man and injured an Easton resident can move forward. 

 

Ronald Terebesi, formerly of Easton, named the police departments of Easton, Monroe, Wilton, Darien and Trumbull—along with the towns of Easton and Monroe—in his suit. 

 

Hersam Acorn Newspapers reports that the regional police team raided Terebesi’s home during a drug investigation, and a Monroe police officer fatally shot 33-year old Gonzalo Guizan of Norwalk.  A state prosecutor determined that the use of force was appropriate.  Terebesi’s lawsuit claims he was injured when police pinned him to the floor.

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A Danbury High School science teacher facing charges of second-degree sexual assault and distributing alcohol to a minor has been fired.  A school official says 24-year old Kayla Mooney failed to maintain her certification. 

 

Mooney appeared briefly in Danbury Superior Court Monday for arraignment, which was postponed to May 27th. 

 

She has been on administrative leave since February when a student told district officials about the sexual relationship and they confirmed parts of his story after obtaining emails he and Mooney exchanged.  Mooney was charged March 31 after an investigation into a complaint she made to school officials that she was being harassed by the boy's ex-girlfriend.

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