In Danbury... a 64-year-old man was arrested this week for sexually assaulting a teenage girl earlier this summer. Police Spokesman Lt. Christian Carrochio says Nelson Cassiano was taken into custody by police this week on an arrest warrant charging him with second-degree sexual assault and two counts of risk of injury to a minor. Cassiano was arrested for the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old-girl. He was held on a $200,000 bond after his arrest.
In New Milford... fire department crews were able to contain a fire that broke out at Staples on Route 7 this morning. Dispatchers say several engines responded to the retail store after a report of an electrical fire in the building. Customers were evacuated while crews responded to the fire. Authorities say the fire appeared to be under control around 10:30 this morning and no major structural damage to the retail store resulted from the blaze. There were no injuries.
Instead of cutting the ribbon on a new Danbury Fire Department training building, the Jaws of Life cut through a metal pole. Danbury Fire Department training used to be done in a construction trailer. Since April, members of the Danbury Fire Department have been taking classes in their new 6,000 square foot facility on Plumtrees Road. The new facility has been 10 years in the planning, since the rebuilding of the burn tower, which is also located on the property.
The new training classroom is also being used by 30 other fire departments around the region.
Maura Juan, principal architect at 72Architects, designed the training building, free of charge. Friar Associates, Hawley Construction and Nozzle Construction also worked on the project. The overall cost was about $1.1 million.
Fire Chief TJ Wiedl says in a time when other communities are making cuts in training and in facilities, they are blessed to have a community that takes care of the Fire Department. He added that the Department will never let the community down.
Assistant Chief Mark Omasta says a major drainage project doubled the useable size of the property.
In the old construction trailer classroom, Training Officer Steven Rogers had to use a projector and could only teach to 10 students at a time. Now there is state of the art technology, including a touch screen interactive smartboard. In theory, the Fire Department could take a picture of every building in Danbury and use it for training purposes by adding a virtual fire and discuss how to tackle it.
Rogers says they are constantly training to keep up on skills. Once they stop practicing, they start to lose a safety factor.
25 students are currently enrolled in the Firefighter 1 training class.
Rogers says a $400,000 federal grant allowed the Department to purchase all new emergency radios.
Lt. Nick Cabral says 30 years ago, turnout gear was just rubber boots, a long coat and orange rubber gloves that stuck to skin in a fire. It only let firefighters get a few feet in the door. Today’s gear covers the entire fighter from a hood and helmet to coat, pants and boots. Cabral says this allows them to push into a building, make more rescues and get more people out to safety. The gear is fire resistant and can withstand 2.5 seconds of direct flame contact. Today’s house fires burn at about 800 degrees.
The radios and turnout gear represent about $3,500 worth of equipment. Cabral says the gear they have now is innovative for its time because it’s considered “athletic”. It’s designed to fit the firefighter perfectly and not leave skin exposed if they reach up or down. The turnout gear is also lighter than it used to be. The helmet is about 6 pounds, 30 pounds for the breathing apparatus and 25 pounds in bunker gear.
In addition to classroom training, the firefighters can practice a number of practical skills. There are bailout trainings so that firefighters can safely evacuate from a building.
Besides the training classroom building and the burn tower, there are donated vehicles which firefighters can practice using the Jaws of Life tool. They now open battery-operated tools. There is a burnt out car on the property with a fire that can be controlled remotely. Firefighters can use that to train on what to look for when there is a vehicle fire.
A structure on the property can be used to train on how to fight fires in attics. There are built in rafters and a section of the roof that can be cut away for firefighters training to ventilate the roof of a home that’s on fire. The saw that the department uses is specially designed to be able to cut through nails and hardwood. Firefighters are also trained on how to “sound the roof”. They constantly test roof strength for collapse.
Danbury has more than 2,000 fire hydrants, and yet that doesn’t cover the entire city. Firefighters are also trained on how to use the tanker trucks, which pump water into a pool that can be used to supply water to fire hoses.
Danbury’s HAZMAT truck is a regional asset paid for with state and federal funding. It can be called to 43 towns in Northwestern Connecticut. 30 HAZMAT technicians undergo annual training. They can respond to radiological, chemical and biological emergencies. A “rad seeker” allows this specially trained unit to identify a radiological source and determine whether it’s a weapon of mass destruction, or medical radiology. The state doesn’t have one of these tools, when the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection response to an emergency, they borrow Danbury’s tool. The HAZMAT Unit is like a rolling warehouse with enough protection suits for 20 members of the units can go out on call.
A heavy rescue truck has tools for responses in confined spaces, trench rescues and ropes. The Danbury Fire Department responds to Tarrywile Park to rescue hikers on average once a week.
A jury has found a Monroe massage therapist not guilty on a sexual assault charge. 60-year old Bruce Smith was acquitted of the charge by a jury on Wednesday. The claim against him was filed in 2014 by a client who told police that she was inappropriately touched. Smith maintained his innocence. He said in an emailed statement that his life was completely destroyed by the unfounded allegations of one individual and will never again be able to practice his profession due to all the negative publicity that followed.
A Danbury man accused of stealing a purse from a car on Main Street was caught quickly. Danbury Police responded to a report of a larceny early Friday morning. The victim, who parked her car and went into a restaurant to buy food, said she returned about five minutes later to find her purse had been stolen.
Witnesses described a man they saw near the vehicle. He was later identified as 23-year old Lucas Viganor. Officers later observed Viganor down the road in the parking lot of Walgreens, carrying two shopping bags.
Viganor admitted to stealing the purse and using the victim's credit card to charge about $2,000 of merchandise. He was charged with larceny and held on $10,000 bond.
A Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Day is being held in Danbury this morning. Residents from the towns of Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield can participate. It's being held from 9am to 2pm at the the Public Works building on Newtown Road.
Proof of residency is required. There is no cost or limit to dispose of items. A licensed contractor will dispose of the items and is being paid with funding that each of the towns send to the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority.
The HRRA says this is a responsible way to get rid of products that require special handling. Otherwise, it goes into landfills and can pose environmental issues down the road.
Paints, Stains and Varnishes, Paint Thinners, Polishes for Furniture, Floor & Metal, Cleaners for Upholstery, Ovens , Toilet Bowls and Drains, Swimming Pool Chemicals and Fluorescent Bulbs. Also being accepted are Pesticides, Herbicides, Insecticides, Moth Balls, Lighter Fluids and Kerosene and Gasoline. Rechargeable Batteries, Camera Batteries and Thermometers will also be collected.
Certain items will not be collected including electronics, empty Aerosol Cans, Auto Batteries and Tires, Controlled Substances and Pharmaceutical or Medical Wastes.
The Association of Religious Communities and an interfaith group of area congregations is taking part in a national Concert Across America to End Gun Violence on Sunday. ARC is co-hosting one of hundreds of concerts held across the United States. In 2007, Congress designated September 25 as the National day of remembrance for murder victims.
Rev. Phyllis Leopold, the Executive Director of ARC, co-chaired the concert at the Central Christian Church on West Street from 2pm-3pm. Some of the congregations participating in the concert include B’Nai Israel, the Islamic Center of Western Connecticut, New Hope Baptist Church and the United Universalists Congregations of Danbury.
Leopold says the interfaith community is standing together to bring awareness to the need to end gun violence. She says ending violence is a core principle of all major religions and notes that advances will come as faith communities unite in solidarity and service. Organizers say it's a tribute that interfaith congregations are gathering to turn up the music and drown out the rhetoric that has sidetracked common sense gun safety legislation.
They peacefully gather and raise voices in song in hopes of bringing an end to the growing epidemic.
A Danbury man involved in a motorcycle accident on the highway Wednesday sustain a serious leg injury. State Police say 52-year old David Costello was exiting Interstate 84 westbound at exit 7 when he failed to negotiate the curve and dropped the motorcycle on its right side.
The motorcycle slid across the road hitting a metal wire rope guard rail post off the left side of the ramp. The man hit a support post with his left leg sustaining a severe laceration.
Costello is listed at Danbury Hospital in fair condition.
The accident remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact State Police Troop A at 203-267-2240.
A Weston woman accused of falsifying patient files for Medicare claims has pleaded guilty to obstruction of a federal audit and making false statements on an income tax return. The U.S. Attorney's Office says 48-year old Danielle Faux entered the plea yesterday.
Faux operates a physical therapy clinic in Norwalk.
In 2009, a contractor for the Medicare program conducting an audit requested records of 40 claims for physical therapy. The documentation was to support the services billed, including the physical therapy progress notes, physical therapy flow sheet/activity sheets, and any additional documentation verifying medical necessity for the physical therapy procedures. According to statements made in court, the no patient progress notes or similar records existed that would support many of the Medicare claims so Faux told an employee to create such records.
Faux admitted that from 2008 through 2011, she skimmed checks and cash proceeds from her physical therapy practice and did not declare it on tax returns. She avoided paying more than $77,000 in taxes over the four year period.
A Danbury man has been arrested for sexually assaulting a child. 55-year old Baltazar Lopez was charged yesterday with 4th degree Sexual Assault, Risk of Injury to a Minor by Sexual Contact and Risk of Injury. Danbury Police received a complaint in mid-July about the sexual abuse of an 11-year old boy. The suspect was identified as Lopez. He was taken into custody without incident and is being held on 200-thousand dollars bond.
SHERMAN, Conn. (AP) - An attorney representing a man who has been living in Connecticut as a fugitive for 48 years after fleeing a Georgia prison work camp says his client will be allowed to remain in the state.
Norm Pattis tells the Hartford Courant that Connecticut officials have accepted terms to allow 71-year-old Robert Stackowitz to stay in Sherman under the supervision of a state parole officer until 2022.
The Georgia Department of Corrections said this week that it would turn over Stackowitz's supervision to Connecticut if state officials agreed.
Stackowitz was arrested May 9 as a fugitive from justice after applying for Social Security benefits. He was serving a 17-year robbery sentence in Carrolton, Georgia, when he escaped in 1968.
Stackowitz had fought extradition to Georgia citing his deteriorating medical condition.
Western Connecticut State University students will once again canvas the city in an effort to help out a variety of charitable organizations and agencies as part of the third annual Western Day of Service. The event will begin with a welcome reception and ceremony at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 23, at Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White Street in Danbury, with speeches by Mayor Mark Boughton and WCSU President Dr. John B. Clark.
After the ceremony, approximately 500 WCSU students, faculty and staff will volunteer at a variety of activities to help area 49 organizations and those they serve. Work will include raking, trimming, weeding, cleaning offices, washing firetrucks, moving books, working with animals, picking up trash and painting. Students will be also out today reading to school children, working at museums and cleaning the Lake Kenosia area.
The goal of the Day of Service is to connect the university with the community and for students to become more familiar with the Greater Danbury area. Dean of Students Dr. Walter Cramer says this is also an effort to highlight the work of students during the year.
A benefit for Sandy Hook Promise is being held Sunday in Danbury.
The Danbury Music Centre will host the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence. It's presented by composer and Danbury native Paul Frucht. He says the concert is part of a nationwide series of concerts and live events that will all be held on Sunday to raise awareness of the approximately 12,000 Americans who are murdered by a firearm each year. September 25 is the day designated by Congress in Remembrance of Murder Victims.
Frucht says the concert at Danbury Music Centre, which will be performed by recent graduates of the Juilliard School, will realize the mission of Sandy Hook Promise through music. Musical selections will reflect the values of Sandy Hook Promise’s mission through their musical character, history of community engagement, and unique ties to the local community.
The concert is free with a suggested donation of $15. Proceeds will go to Sandy Hook Promise. It's being held in the Marion Anderson Recital Hall at the Danbury Music Centre on Main Street at 3pm Sunday.
A film festival is being held in New Milford starting on Sunday and running through Saturday October 1st. Films and forums will be held throughout the week. On Sunday night there was going to be a Q&A at Bank Street Theater with Mia Farrow following a screening of Rosemary's Baby, but Mayor David Gronbach says no one expects the Q&A to go forward following the death of the actress's 27-year old son Thaddeus. There's been no official word though on if the Q&A will be cancelled.
Over 100,000 film lovers in over 250 cities will be viewing and voting on the Finalist’s Films in the 19th Annual Manhattan Short Film Festival. Two shows are available this year in New Milford, and all of the finalists will be shown at each screening.
Mr. Deeds and the Six Wives of Henry Lefay were filmed in New Milford in the recent past and will be shown during the festival. The screenings of each of these films are free. There are a few ticketed events during the week-long festival ranging from $5 to $20, but many of the showings have been underwritten by local businesses.
A man was robbed on a Danbury street in the middle of the afternoon Wednesday. Danbury Police say a man was walking on Wooster Street to a bodega shortly before 2pm when a man walked up to him and grabbed the Versace sunglasses off his face.
The suspect, later identified as 23-year old Devante Laurel of Danbury , started punching the victim and rifling through his pockets. Laurel took the victim's phone and wallet.
An officer was nearby and flagged down by the victim, who declined medical treatment.
Laurel was charged with assault, breach of peace, larceny and robbery. He was held on $10,000 bond. A man by the same name has an upcoming court appearance on assault and strangulation charges filed by Bridgeport police in May.
Ridgefield Police are investigating whether the death of a woman earlier this month was from a possible overdose. The death of a 26-year old was reported to Ridgefield Police on September 14th. Police say the investigation is ongoing and they are waiting to hear back from the Medical Examiner on the woman's cause of death. Police spokesman Captain Jeff Kreitz told the Ridgefield Press that the woman died at her Ridgefield home and that heroin was suspected to be involved.
A man trying to get his brother to the Hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in a workplace accident was involved in a three car crash on Triangle Street in Danbury Tuesday afternoon.
Danbury Police say 20-year old Cody Ramirez of Bethel was trying to pass a car in the left turn lane of Triangle Street near Wildman Street when he hit a vehicle also travelling northbound. That vehicle overturned and hit a mailbox and traffic sign.
The force of the crash sent the vehicle into the car waiting to turn left. A 69-year old Danbury woman, whose vehicle overturned, was transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment of injuries. She has since been released from the hospital.
The driver of the other car involved was not hospitalized.
Ramirez was transported to the hospital for observation. He was charged with reckless driving and released on a written promise to appear in court on the 30th.
Ramirez's brother, 24-year old William Ramirez, had severed his fingers in a work-related injury. He was treated and released from the Emergency Department.
Train service was halted Tuesday because the vehicles were near the Metro North tracks.
ROXBURY, Conn. (AP) Connecticut authorities have ruled the death of Mia Farrow's 27-year-old son, Thaddeus Wilk Farrow, a suicide, saying he shot himself in the torso.
State police said Thaddeus Farrow was found in his vehicle Wednesday afternoon in Roxbury with a life-threatening injury and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
The state medical examiner's office determined the cause of death Thursday after an autopsy.
Mia Farrow says her family is devastated by the suicide of her son. The actress writes on Twitter that the 27-year-old was a courageous person who ``overcame so much hardship in his short life.'' Thaddeus Farrow contracted polio in Kolkata, India, and was paralyzed from the waist down. The actress adopted him in the mid-1990s.
State police say Thaddeus Farrow lived in Torrington, about a 24-mile drive from Roxbury. Public records show he had lived at his mother's property in nearby Bridgewater until a few years ago.
DANBURY, Conn. (AP) -- A former Newtown teacher who brought a loaded gun into school purchased the weapon after receiving threatening messages from conspiracy theorists claiming the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre never occurred, his attorney said Thursday.
At his court appearance, Jason Adams, who resigned from Newtown Middle School following his arrest in April, received a form of probation that can lead to dismissal of the charges, The News-Times reported.
His attorney, John Maxwell, said Adams had received dozens of threatening phone calls and social media messages. One of the messages included a photo of his wife, Geri Adams, reading in a kindergarten class with the words "have fun reading to the dead children," Geri Adams said.
"We're just happy that this is finally over," she said.
The middle school is less than 2 miles from the site of the 2012 shooting rampage that killed 20 students and six educators.
On the day Adams was arrested, he said, he was running late and forgot to lock the gun inside his vehicle. There were no students in the school at the time, he said. Adams had a permit for the .45-caliber pistol, but state law prohibits firearms on school grounds. He was detained after a school employee saw the pistol and notified authorities.
Adams was placed on administrative leave after his arrest on weapons possession charges. He later resigned.
A seminar about water quality of Candlewood Lake is being held tonight. Candlewood Lake Authority and Western Connecticut State University are hosting the presentation about Blue-green algae blooms and what's being done about them. The blooms occur naturally in lakes and ponds across the nation, but there have been changes in the frequency and timing of blooms in Candlewood.
Blue green algae can emit toxins harmful to people and pets. People exposed to the toxins by ingesting, inhaling or coming into contact with the algae have experienced irritation of the skin and respiratory tract; vomiting; and, if large amounts of the toxins are ingested, ailments of the liver or nervous system.Officials will discuss the potential health implications should a boom produce toxins and the steps the public should take to remain safe.
There will be a question and answer session after the presentation. The Candlewood Lake Authority partnered with WCSU recently on a blue-green algae toxin testing program. The results of the testing will be revealed, and what it means for residents and users of Candlewood Lake. The presentation is at 7pm.
Last summer, Candlewood Lake saw its first-ever municipal beach closings due to new State guidelines which rely on a visual assessment indicating the potential of high blue-green algae toxin concentrations. Samples from the sitings at the five town park beaches were collected and driven to a lab in Berlin, Connecticut for analysis. It took several days to get the results back and for the beaches to reopen.
The CLA now brings blue-green algae samples from Candlewood Lake and Lake Zoar for analysis to WCSU labs in Danbury. CLA officials say quicker result turnaround times will be of great value to lake communities.