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Route 25 in Newtown is getting a facelift.  The state Department of Transportation has announced that the road will be milled and repaved during the evening hours.  The four mile stretch of Route 25 will be resurfaced between Mile HIll Road and the Monroe Town Line.  Drivers should expect various lane closures on Route 25 from 8pm to 5am on Sundays through Fridays.  The project is starting tonight and is expected to be wrapped up by September 21st.

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The beach and swim area at Kettletown State Park in Southbury and at Indian Wells in Shelton remain closed due to blue green algae.  The algae can emit toxins possibly harmful to people and dogs.  The effects from exposure include a skin rash, nausea or even liver or nervous system effects if large amounts of the algae are ingested.  The swim area at Kettletown has been closed for 9 days.  Blue green algae has been spotted in several other water bodies in the Greater Danbury area over the past two months, but the beach closures haven't been as long as the one at Kettletown.

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State Police are setting up roving DUI patrols and checkpoint during this second to last weekend of summer.  State Police say they decided to add an extra weekend of patrols because of an anticipated increase in drivers.  With many classes back in session and final vacations, Troopers want to keep the summer driving season a safe one.  There will be roving patrols on I-84 and Route 7 in the Greater Brookfield and Danbury areas today through next Wednesday.  There will also be a Sobriety Checkpoint set up on Lake Avenue tomorrow by the highway ramps.  This is being done in conjunction with the Breath Alcohol Testing Mobile Unit.

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A Danbury man has been arrested for grabbing a man off the street that he thought was homeless and feeding him.  Danbury Police spokesman Lt Christian Carroccio said in an emailed statement that officers responded to a West Wooster Street home shortly before 6:30 last night and officers were told the bizarre story. 

 

A 77-year old man said he was pushing a shopping cart with cans and bottles down Lincoln Avenue when a man, later determined to be David Pope, grabbed him by the arm and insisted that he follow.  Pope brought the man to his nearby home.  His dog bit the victim on the leg.  Pope fed the man, who was eventually able to leave without being seen.  That's when the victim called police. 

 

Officers responded to Pope's house.  He refused to put his dog away, and showed signs of being intoxicated.  Pope told police he thought the other man was homeless and was offering him food. 

 

Pope was charged with interfering with an officer, reckless endangerment, kidnapping and disorderly conduct.  He was held on bond for a court appearance today.

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Ground has been broken on a new Fire Training Classroom building in Danbury.  The 6,500 square foot facility on Plumtrees Road is costing about $1 million.  It will be on the same property as the Department's burn tower, which was rebuilt in 1992.  The tower has had some upgrades and renovations since that time. 

 

 

Classroom training is currently run out of a single-wide trailer.  It can only accommodate 15 firefighters.  Most of the state certification courses and the classes held by the Department require classroom time.

 

 

The new building will have two classrooms, a computer room, conference room and offices for the Training Division in the new building.  Infrastructure for training activities around the building will also be installed.  While no fire engines will be housed at the site, there will be two bays.  One will be for a fire engine, one for a tanker truck.  The bays will face the burn tower so firefighters can practice getting their gear on and out the door headed toward an emergency situation.

 

12 volunteer fire companies in Danbury also train at this site.

 

 

Hawley Construction is building the exterior of the facility.  A request for proposals is going out for the interior work.  Bids for Phase 2 of the project will be accepted through September 10th.

 

(Chief TJ Wiedl, Mayor Boughton, Drill Master Steve Rogers, former Chief Geoff Herald, Deputy Chief Mark Omasta)

 

Mayor Mark Boughton says this is not only about better training and providing better public safety services, but also about being aregional leader in training.  While he hopes they never get called, Boughton says when the Fire Department does get called to an incident, they'll be prepared.

 

Chief TJ Wiedl says this is something that they've been looking forward to for a long time.  He notes that this is a City wide effort.  He says this will be state of the art classrooms by Spring of next year.

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A Patterson man has been arrested for stealing copper from cell towers in Putnam County.

 

38-year old Brian Windover is accused of breaking into three cellular communications tower site shelters and stealing several copper grounding bars from inside the facilities at the end of last month and earlier this month.  He allegedly committed the break-ins at a cell tower located along Concord Road in Patterson on July 23rd, at another tower along Route 301 in Kent on July 27th, and at a third tower along Ludingtonville Road in Patterson on August 14th

 

Windover's vehicle was captured on a security camera recording July 27th.  On August 14th, a Sheriff’s Investigator saw a vehicle matching the description enter a cell tower property. 

 

Windover was charged with burglary, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, and possession of burglar’s tools.  He was arraigned and remains held in the jail on bond as of Wednesday. 

 

Investigations into other similar thefts of copper fixtures from cellular towers in the area are ongoing.

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The federal government is claiming to be exempt from Ridgefield blight ordinances when it comes to a dilapidated property on Catoonah Street owned by the Post Office. 

 

First Selectman Rudy Marconi says this property is a prime example of why a blight ordinance was adopted.  The town's attorney agrees with the interpretation that the post office is exempt from zoning ordinances.  The landlord's attorney says the Post Office's immunity has transferred to the landlord. 

 

Marconi says the town will continue to pursue a solution. 

 

He says it's disappointing that the government would leave this house to fall into a state of disrepair.  The windows are boarded up, the grass is high, it's only 10 feet from the abutting homeowner's dwelling and is a fire hazard. 

 

One proposal was to sublease the property, but the Post Office is opposed to that option saying they will never get the property back.  Another idea discussed by the Ridgefield Board of Selectmen is to make it a historic property, offer to take the structure down and then see who would be willing to buy the land. 

 

The demolition estimate, including cleaning up the property, is $52,000.  Some of the neighbors have offered to help offset the cost.

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5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty paid a visit to the YMCA of Western Connecticut Children's Center in Bethel on Wednesday.  She says nonprofits are under stress and strain, so she wanted to find out what she can do to help.

 

Esty says YMCAs are the number one child care provider in the country.  She says they provide critical social services in a variety of ways.  She also noted their commitment around fitness, an issue vitally important to long term health and vitality of all people.

 

There are about 150 kids at the Bethel preschool center.

 

YMCA President and CEO Marie Miszewski says there was one aspect in particular they wanted to show off.  The work they're doing to close the achievement gap in the Greater Danbury area.  While the Y is generally known for swimming, gym, and fitness Miszewski says they're doing a lot of work to combat diabetes and youth obesity.

 

The achievement gap work stems from school readiness programs, which are federally funded.  Miszewski says it makes a huge difference in those kids lives, and the lives of their parents.  Because of their success in school readiness, the YMCA has gotten some grants.  Miszewski says the grants allow them to follow through with students all the way through first grade.

 

Miszewski cited research showing that if kids have a solid foundation through second grade, the odds of graduating from high school improve dramatically.

 

Miszewski says they also have a technology room with smart boards, iPads and computers.  The YMCA afterschool program is one of two Kahn Academy sites in the state.

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The Fairfield Ridge Apartment complex in Danbury is receiving some state funding for rehabilitation efforts. 

 

The State has awarded nearly $18 million in loans and grants to ten affordable housing developments.  Department of Housing Deputy Commissioner Nick Lundgren says the grants are part of a 10-year state-sponsored Housing Portfolio Revitalization Initiative.  The portfolio is made up of over 340 properties at which approximately 19,000 people reside.

 

Fairfield Ridge Housing Associates is receiving $2.5 million, paired with $6.3 million from the Connecticut Housing Financing Authority and the Low-Income Housing Tax-Credit Program.

 

 

Fairfield Ridge Apartments is moderate rental family housing with a mix of 45 two-bedroom units and 13 three-bedroom units in duplex and ranch style homes.

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A Newtown liquor store employee has been charged by police for selling alcohol to a minor.  Newtown Police were conducting patrols last week in an effort to enforce underage drinking laws.  A teen was seen coming out of Sandy Hook Wine and Liquor last Wednesday with a case of beer.  Police approached the 18-year old who was given an infraction.  the clerk, 21-year old Nicholas Heron was charged for sale of alcohol to a minor.  He was released on a written promise to appear in Danbury Superior Court on September 1st for arraignment.

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Two fields vandalized in Ridgefield over the summer have been repaired in time for the start of the new school year this week. 

 

Vandals drove on the fields at Shadow Lake and East Ridge Middle School in late July and early this month, causing considerable damage.  Officers have identified two people responsible for the damage caused to the East Ridge ball field and applied for warrants in that case. 

 

The Ridgefield Press reports that the cost to fix each field was about $2,800.  They were covered with top spoil and reseeded.  If the fields were resodded it would have been up to $20,000 to fix them.

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5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is hosting her 2nd annual Community Resources Fair today in Danbury.  The event last year was held at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury.  Representatives from over 30 federal and state agencies will be at Western Connecticut State University this afternoon. 

 

The gathering is aimed at giving residents the opportunity to address individual issues – such as delayed Social Security payments, veterans’ benefits, tax refunds, or immigration services – with federal, state, and local agencies.

 

The event is being held at the Westside Campus Center, in The Grand Ballroom from 2pm to 5pm.

 

In the Greater Danbury area, Esty says more than 470 households have helped by her office since she was elected.  She says 3,100 people have contacted her office for help, with over $5.8 million returned to people through Social Security benefits, disability benefits for veterans, medicare, IRS refunds or small business loans.

 

Below is a complete list of attending agencies:

 

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

Connecticut Fair Housing Authority

Connecticut Passport Agency

CT Housing Finance Authority

Danbury Vet Center

Department Mental Health & Addiction Services (DMHAS)

Department of Banking

Department of Children and Families (DCF)

Department of Consumer Protection (DCP)

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Department of Insurance

Department of Labor Office of Veterans Workforce Development

Department of Social Services (DSS)

Department of Transportation - CT Rides

Department of Veterans Affairs, Hartford Regional Office (VBA)

Department on Aging

Department Public Health (DPH)

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

IRS Taxpayer Advocate Office

Office of Higher Education

Office of Protection & Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities

Office of the Health Care Advocate

Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA)

Social Security Administration (SSA)

Social Security Assistance Program

U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Department of Homeland Security -FEMA Region I

U.S. Department of Labor

U.S. Small Business Administration

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

VA Connecticut Health Care System (VHA)

Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging

Workers’ Compensation Commission

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55-year old Richard Doyle has pleaded not guilty to three counts of animal cruelty stemming from allegations he failed to properly care for two dogs and a kitten at American Breeders pet shop on Federal Road.  Two of the animals had to be euthanized.  Doyle also owns two other shops in New York. 

 

A complaint by an employee about animal mistreatment led to an investigation by Connecticut animal control officers. 

 

The Mahopac resident was not held on bond.

 

One of Doyle’s store managers, 29-year old Kathy Seton of Cold Spring New York, was charged with two counts of animal cruelty.  Seton has also pleaded not guilty.

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A former Danbury High School science teacher facing charges of sexually assaulting one of her students is due in court today.  25-year-old-year-old Kayla Mooney had the case continued earlier this month to today at the request of her attorney. 

 

She was charged in March after an investigation into a complaint she made to school officials that she was being harassed by the boy's ex-girlfriend.  Police say the boy involved told them about the sexual relationship and they confirmed parts of his story after obtaining emails the he and Mooney exchanged. 

 

She was placed on administrative leave in February, but failed to maintain her certification and was let go.

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An oversized soccer field has opened in Danbury.  It allows for three games going the short way on the field, or one game the long way.  The field is also lined for field hockey, lacrosse and football. 

 

There is a scoreboard and grandstand installed.  Parking around the field has been paved and lined.  

 

Lights were donated by Danbury Youth Soccer Club, a value of $200,000.  The lights extend the use of the field to 9pm.  The lights will be turned off promptly at 9pm, so as not to disturb area residents in the evenings.

 

Mayor Mark Boughton called it a great asset for the City and a first class facility.

 

(Photos: Mayor Mark Boughton)

 

This is a replacement for the field that has been used on 13 acres of land off Old Ridgebury Road sold last fall to Subway co-founder Peter Buck.  Boughton says Buck has been very generous in letting the City use the field as long as people want.  When the sale was made, Danbury Youth Soccer and others questioned where the displaced kids would be able to play in the future.  Boughton says DYS is growing and has over 1,000 children participating. 

 

He notes that this new field enhances the new Westside Middle School and the recently renovated Mill Ridge Elementary School because kids can use the new field for gym and activities.

 

The $1.3 million field is being paid for with surplus money from the school bond project that came in about $5 million under budget.  The rest of that money will be reprogrammed and targeted toward Danbury High School to save taxpayers some money on the DHS2020 addition project.

 

Besides Danbury High School, this is the only lighted artificial turf field in the City.

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A Connecticut landfill is again being searched by State Police as they continue to investigate the disappearance of an Easton couple earlier this month.  A State Police spokeswoman on Friday said that Putnam Ash Residue Landfill was searched for Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin, in an effort to rule it out as a possible location.  The Navins haven't been seen since August 4th.  State police searched their son's Bridgeport home last week.  Kyle Navin was the last person to talk to his parents.  Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin, or has any information, is asked to contact State Police at 860-685-8190.

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A man has been charged with DUI for having a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit and falling asleep behind the wheel.  Monroe Police were called Sunday about a Jeep that hit something on the side of the road and then parked in a shopping plaza off Route 25.  Officers responded and found the vehicle parked diagonally in the lot.  39-year old Daniel Henion was slumped over the steering wheel with the engine running.  Police say when the Monroe man was woken up, officers could smell alcohol.  He failed field sobriety tests and was charged with driving under the influence.

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There is a partial wall collapse at DSW Shoe Warehouse in Danbury.  Fire Department personnel and ambulances were on scene in the plaza on Mill Plain Road. 

 

Deputy Fire Chief Mark Omasta says a truck trying to make a delivery to Staples next door, turned around in an area that was too small and hit the wall at the back of the building.  No injuries are reported.  The building was evacuated shortly before noon.  The hole is about 20 feet wide and 30 feet tall.

 

 

 

(Photo Courtesy: @MayorMark, Twitter)

 

Three city building inspectors responded.  They determined the area to be safe.  The rear of the building is blocked off.  DSW has since reopened.

 

Omasta says it will be a long term project to close up the wall.  There was a door in the damaged part of the building and the rest was cinder block.

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An engineering study on Hearthstone Castle in Danbury is almost complete.  There are several possible uses in the City's master plan, but Mayor Mark Boughton says the City is leaning toward stabilizing the walls and putting in a floor so that the structure could be used for small gatherings. 

 

It won't be a fully rebuilt castle.  That's a $6 million to $10 million project, because there are no utilities at the site.  Boughton says the time to renovate the castle was 30 years ago.  But the price tag, given all of the other priorities in the City, is something that Boughton says it just not affordable. 

 

He notes that the City can't leave the structure the way it is because someone is going to get hurt.  He previously called the site an attractive nuisance.

 

(Courtesy: Mayor Mark Boughton, taken via drone)

 

After years of neglect, the outer walls are all that remain.  The roof and internal structure have collapse into the basement.  Boughton says the idea is to clean up the interior, so the iconic building can be used.

 

(Courtesy: Mayor Mark Boughton, taken via drone)

 

Mark Nolan of the Friends of Tarrywile Park told the City Council last year that the retaining wall on the lower side was deteriorating.  If that is allowed to go, he cautioned that more damage will de done to what is left of the structure. 

 

Hearthstone Castle was built in 1897 for E. Starr Sanford by New York architect Earnest George Washington Dietrich.  The land was bought in 1902 by New York financial mogul Victor Buck, who sold the castle in 1918 to Charles Darling Parks.  His oldest daughter occupied the castle until her death in 1983.  The City purchased it as part of the acquisition of the Tarrywile property in 1985.

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Renovations are nearing completion at New Fairfield Free Public Library.  The changes are aimed at bringing the Library into compliance with the American Disabilities Act.  First Selectman Susan Chapman says an elevator is now being installed.

 

The library has remained open during the renovation, with entry available only through the front doors.  A ceremonial groundbreaking was held in April. 

 

The Children's Library was temporarily located in the upper level community room.  Last month, there was a grand re-opening for the Children's Library.  It has new flooring, lighting and a program room.  Chapman says everything looks to be on track for a full re-opening in early fall.

 

A competitive state library grant is helping to pay for the project, which includes improved walkways.  Energy-efficiency improvements are also being made.

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