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There is a Special Town Meeting in New Fairfield tonight.  Residents will be voting on three ordinances.  One is an update to the Code of Ethics

 

New Fairfield's Code of Ethics was crafted before the state had one and residents will be voting on minor changes to bring the town ordinance into compliance with state statute.  The law is not currently clear, but the proposal would make complaints confidential unless the ethics committee determines that there is a violation. 

 

Residents will also be voting on a stormwater ordinance.  The stormwater ordinance is being proposed because of previous safety concerns about icing and other damage to the roads. 

 

Several steps for remediation are outlined in the draft.  The first step is a citation providing written notice of the violation.  If the violation isn't fix within a reasonable amount of time, a fine of up to $250 can be issued.  If the violation isn't cleared up, the town will be allowed onto the property to make the corrections, at the homeowner's expense.  The ordinance also requires a homeowner looking to connect to the town's stormwater drainage system to get a permit. 

 

A blight ordinance is being proposed for the third time in New Fairfield.  The first two times, it failed because the language was overly broad.  First Selectman Susan Chapman says they receive a few complaints of blighted properties and right now town departments don't have the authority to force homeowners to clean up their properties. 

 

Examples included in the proposal include unsightly or excessive amounts of debris, refuse or excavated material, infestation by rodents or other pests, and excessively overgrown lawns or yards.  There is an exception for properties that are being regularly maintained such as a meadow or natural area. 

 

The Special Town Meeting tonight is 7 o'clock in the community room of the Senior Center.

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A Connecticut man is facing charges after authorities say he distributed heroin that led to an overdose death.

32-year-old James Hayes, of Waterbury, was arrested earlier Monday.  He's charged with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin and conspiracy to distribute heroin.

U.S. Attorney spokesman Tom Carson says police responded to a home in Monroe on June 16th for a reported overdose. Officers found a 32-year-old woman unresponsive on her bedroom floor. She was later pronounced dead.

Investigators say Hayes distributed the heroin the victim consumed shortly before her death.

The case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Tactical Diversion Squad, Monroe Police Department and Waterbury Police Department.  The Task Force includes participants from the New Haven, Hamden, Greenwich, Shelton, Bristol, Vernon, Wilton, Milford, Monroe, Fairfield and Manchester Police Departments, and the Connecticut State Police.

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Senator Chris Murphy hosted a roundtable discussion in Danbury Wednesday on a new education law repealing No Child Left Behind.  Murphy helped author the Every Students Succeeds Act, which passed last year.  He says it will improve educational achievement, reform school disciplinary practices, and support underperforming schools. Murphy met with the Danbury educators to learn firsthand about their needs and concerns, and to hear feedback on what he can do to support teachers.

 

Murphy says the law gets the federal government out of the business of determining what a good school is, what performance measures should be and what to do to turn around bad schools.  He says it leaves the decisions up to the state.  He says there still needs to be some accountability to make sure kids are performing.  A good school isn't just going to be based on a test anymore.  He called it a more comprehensive way of thinking.

 

Teachers told Murphy that they are concerned with a subset of kids who've been through traumatic experiences, have learning disabilities and are just learning to speak English.  They want to make sure that the performance standard wasn't something these kids can't meet, but rather based around growth.  He says making progress every year is a good benchmark. 

 

Murphy says the new law recognizes that the rates of growth are going to be different because there are more non-English speakers than ever before.  One administrator talked about a teen entering Danbury High School who moved to the country and had never had formal schooling before.  22-percent of kids in Danbury speak a different language as their first language.

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The New Milford Town Council voted five to four to list the East Street building for sale.  It was a party line vote with Democrats voting in favor of the list and Republicans in opposition.  The Town Council received a report last week with two scenarios for the property. 

 

While there has been interest in the property for assisted living,  Mayor David Gronbach says he would like to see what other proposals are presented. 

 

He will be issuing a Request for Proposals for the East Street Property and will then present the Town Council with the most promising ones, and a recommendation.  

 

The Board of Education and Youth Agency, which currently use the East Street Building, could be moved to the former Pettibone School.

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If you've lost an item in Bethel or had something stolen from you--the item could be at the Bethel Police Department.  On Saturday, Police are holding a public viewing of found property as well as evidence recovered in criminal cases where the owner is unknown.  Members of the public are encouraged to attend to view the property. You must provide documentation of ownership.  The viewing is on Saturday at the Bethel Police Station from 8am to noon.

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An agreement to resolve an insurance issue in New Milford has been reached.  Children's Center and two employee from Center Cemetery are currently on the town's health insurance plan.  The town's attorney said they could not legally stay on the Town's Plan, which is limited to Town Employees.  Under the agreement, the employees of both would stay on the plan through December.  New Milford would pay the difference between what the Children's Center currently pays and the private Platinum Century Preferred Plan that they want through June.  Children's Center can then ask for an increased budget to subsidize the payments next year, which will be discussed during budget season.

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A Connecticut woman has been sentenced to prison for stealing more than $380,000 from her employer.  The U.S. Attorney's office says 48-year-old Dawn Mininberg of Easton was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to 12 months and one day behind bars followed by three years of probation.  The first three months must be served in home confinement.

 

Mininberg pleaded guilty in January to wire fraud. 

 

Prosecutors say she worked for a company in Greenwich where she provided financial services and was issued a corporate credit card for business purposes.  They say Mininberg charged personal expenses to the card, including for clothing, children's parties and lessons, charitable donations, vacations and an $11,000 jungle gym.

 

Mininberg categorized the purchases as business expenses.

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A former Connecticut elementary school teacher has pleaded guilty to charges she sexually assaulted a boy since he was in sixth grade. 

 

Michelle Sulzicki, of Oxford, was arrested in October, a few weeks after the teen claimed he and 29-year-old Sulzicki had more than a dozen sexual encounters and feared he might be the father of her baby after learning she was pregnant. 

 

Police say the incidents began when the boy was 12 and she was tutoring him. He told police the alleged incidents always occurred at his house often while his parents were in a different room. 

 

The former Stratford teacher was in court Tuesday on charges of first-degree sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault and two counts of illegal sexual contact.

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The Connecticut Siting Council has held a public hearing in Brookfield on an application from Homeland Tower, LLC and Cellco Partnership, doing business as Verizon Wireless.   The companies are seeking a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the construction, maintenance, and operation of a telecommunications facility at 100 Pocono Road, behind the firehouse. 

 

The tower would be about 150 feet tall.

 

First Selectman Steve Dunn told the Board of Finance at their meeting this month that the hearing went well.  He spoke in favor of the proposal. 

 

One of the issues that came up though was the back up power supply.  Brookfield wants to piggy back off of Verizon and use their generator for the fire, police and emergency medical services antenna.  Dunn says right now Verizon had not planned to do that, but it doesn't make sense for the town to put two, three or four generators on the site.  Dunn says they are figuring out a way to share the power source. 

 

A Board of Finance member noted that the fire department has an emergency generator on site.  Dunn says they did think of that, but then there could be voltage drops and it is 100 feet away so they'd have to dig up parking lot in order to put in a connection to the antenna.  Dunn added that it would be cheaper to put a new generator on site.

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The detour at Route 53 in Redding will come to an end on Friday afternoon.  When the state Department of Transportation closed the road at Umpawaug Road, the work was slated to wrap up Tuesday.  The weather cooperated for the most part, but there was a slight delay.  The bridge carries traffic over a brook and was built in 1928.  A 21-foot section was rebuilt so that there can be 12-foot travel lanes and 4 foot shoulders in each direction.  Some other minor safety improvements were also completed.  There will be some alternating one way traffic through mid-September for minor work including tree replanting.

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Connecticut's congressional delegation is urging the U.S. Navy to suspend any possible plans to shift maintenance of the Marine One presidential helicopter fleet from Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford to a facility in Florida.  Senator Richard Blumenthal and others sent a letter Monday to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus urging him to conduct a "thorough review". 

 

Republican Senate candidate Dan Carter said outrage after the fact is only lip-service. 

 

Carter, who is challenging Blumenthal in November, says the Senator should instead write to Governor Malloy and Democrats in the legislature asking them to embrace economic policies that make Connecticut a better place to grow business and create jobs.

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The New Milford Town Council opted to not act right away on a proposed lease of some of the Sullivan Farm property. The item was tabled last night.  A special Town Council meeting could be held as early as next week.

 

Mayor David Gronbach says US Solar is interested in leasing about 10 acres near the back of the 110 acre property.  There is a September 1st deadline for this company to participate in a state-run program.

 

Rather than a traditional farm output, Gronbach says those acres would be farming energy.  New Milford would receive credits off its electric bill as well as the rental income of $1,500 per acre. 

 

Even if the Town Council does eventually approve the lease, it will require Town Meeting approval. 

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The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen will continue discussing whether or not to lift the moratorium on mobile vendors.  At their meeting last week, a part of the moratorium was lifted for those seeking to cater private events with a food truck.  The discussion will continue at their meeting on September 7th. 

 

Two vendors and three ice cream trucks are grandfathered in, as long as they continue to renew their annual permits.  Two other current vendors are allowed to operate at private events. 

 

The Ridgefield Press reports that questions were raised concerning the decades old peddling and soliciting ordinance and whether it included non-food trucks like dog grooming.  The ordinance does allow farmers to sell produce of their gardens from their property.

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A Danbury man has been arrested for illegally collecting nearly $23,000 in Unemployment Compensation benefits by under-reporting the wages he earned while working for the Derby public school system. 

 

57-year old Jeffrey Smith was charged with larceny and unemployment compensation fraud today. 

 

The Division of Criminal Justice says Smith worked as a school climate specialist for the Derby Board of Education and under reported the wages for two school years, starting in September 2012.  Smith was released on bond for a court appearance next Tuesday. 

 

The case is being prosecuted by the Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit, which was established under a partnership between the Division of Criminal Justice and the Department of Labor to investigate and prosecute fraud in the Unemployment Compensation program.

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An argument at a Danbury gas station led to one driver speeding off, but losing control and hitting a light post.  Danbury Police responded to the Shell Station on North Street this morning on a report of a dispute and accident.  Police say a Honda Pilot sped away from the gas pumps but crashed into a light pole near the driveway entrance.  Two passengers in the car were transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  The Newstimes reports that the other driver involved in the argument was also fighting with the gas station attendant while trying to pay with 15 dollars in change.

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A local swim area is closed because of elevated bacteria levels in the water.  Kettletown State Park in Southbury is not granting access to the designated swim area because of that.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection tests the water weekly at state parks.  DEEP says the elevated bacteria level could be from stormwater run off from the recent rainfall.  The water will be retested and when the all clear is given, the beach area will be reopened.  Local health departments are responsible for sampling municipal beaches and swimming areas.

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Ridgefield police are inviting residents to have ice cream with them.  An event being called Cops & Cones is being held tomorrow night in Ridgefield. 

 

The Police Department is partnering with Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe for the program.  Officers will be at 381 Main Street to answer questions and interact with the community. 

 

A police car will be on display and officers will have items for the kids.

 

Deborah Ann’s will be offering a discount on ice cream cones during this event.  The Cops & Cones event is tomorrow from 5pm until 7pm.

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The Brookfield Land Use office is hearing from the state about a proposed road improvement project.  The state Department of Transportation has presented their preliminary design for roadway improvements on southern Federal Road. 

 

The scope of work for this project is from the street light at BJ's Wholesale to the intersection near Brookfield Animal Hospital. 

 

The design includes sidewalks, additional turn lanes and a wider road shoulder.  Funding is anticipated to come from Federal Department of Transportation grants. The state DOT is working with Brookfield's Land Use Office on developing the design.

 

When completed, the plan will be presented to residents for public comment.

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Senator Chris Murphy is hosting a telephone Town Hall tonight to talk about mental health reform.  A bipartisan mental health reform bill passed almost unanimously in the House last month and awaits action by the U-S Senate.  The bill was promoted by Sandy Hook Promise. 

 

Senator Chris Murphy says he's spent the past two years working with a Republican colleague on what he called the most consequential mental health bill Congress has considered since the passage of mental health parity laws. 

 

Joining Murphy for the Telephone Town Hall is Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was killed on 12-14, and Bill Sherlach, husband of slain school psychologist Mary.  Mark Barden has told Murphy that his son might still be alive today if this bill had been in place years ago.

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Danbury students are getting ready to head back to school on Monday.  Superintendent Dr Sal Pascarella says the District is growing at a much more rapid rate than neighboring school districts.  This year alone, Danbury is expected to welcome more than 800 new kindergarteners and more than 250 other new students.

 

Danbury had one of the longest summer breaks that they've had in recent years because only one snow day was used.  School was out for the session on June 8th.  Pascarella says teachers are setting up their classrooms.  Returning teachers start Friday.  New teachers who replace retirees, along with opening a third level for the new middle school, started yesterday.

 

There are four new school principals, three of whom are from within the district.  Dan Donovan, principal of the Danbury High School Freshman Academy, is now the principal of Danbury High School, replacing Gary Bocaccio who retired this year.  Dr. Edie Thomas of Pembroke School will head Broadview Middle School, replacing Edward Robbs who retired this summer after 50 years as an educator.  Dr. Alison


Villaneuva, interim principal of Shelter Rock Elementary School following the retirement of Julia Horne, will remain at Shelter Rock as its principal.  Bethel native Dr. Sharon Epple, a former principal in the Hartford Public Schools, will take the helm at Pembroke.

 

There is a new bus contract, but with the same provider so the routes remain pretty much the same as in previous years.  Some adjustments have been made to accommodate out of district magnet school students. 

 

Danbury is getting a new fleet of buses next year.  They will be larger than the current buses.  The district is moving from gasoline powered buses to ones that run off propane.  Pascarella says that should save the district money on fuel costs.

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New Yorkers React After

Barely Missing Subway

  

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July issue of "American Way"

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