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The State Senate honored retiring Republican Clark Chapin of New Milford on the last day in session Wednesday.  He served two two-year terms representing the 30th District and 12 years before that in the House.  Chapin says 16 years has flown by.  He and his wife, former New Milford Mayor Pat Murphy, have been on the ballot 20 times.  He noted campaigns are fun for a while, but he is looking forward to not campaigning this fall. 

 

He said comments from his colleagues were very humbling, and he appreciated them.  His predecessor in the 30th District was Andrew Roraback, who had a perfect voting record.  Chapin says those were big shoes to fill, but he kept that streak going for his four years in the Senate.  He only missed two days in the House.

 

Chapin says he hopes the next chapter of his life matches the pleasure he has had in public service.  He has two adult sons who have been supportive and forgiving of times when he couldn't be at events because he was in session. 

 

He said he's tried to approach the job with a good balance of work ethic and humor. 

 

When the serious issue of potentially dangerous animals was debated several years ago, then Attorney General Richard Blumenthal advocated for the bill.  Some animals would have been grandfathered in, and amnesty period to turn in those animals.  Chapin says he and Representative Craig Miner found time for levity, and drafted an amendment allowing for the animals to be dropped off at the Attorney General's office.  Blumenthal reciprocated that humor in a letter to Chapin noting that some have equated attorneys in his office to sharks and snakes, so that drop off would have been fitting.

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A Superior Court Judge in Connecticut has denied a request by Bushmaster Firearms for a temporary stay of discovery in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by some of the families of those killed at Sandy Hook School.  The judge, who allowed the suit to move forward, said in a statement Thursday that given an April 2018 trial date, a delay in exchanging evidence would translate into a delay of the trial.  The Judge continued by pointing out that the lawsuit was filed in 2015.

 

The judge ruled in April that a federal law protecting gun makers from lawsuits does not prevent lawyers for the families of Sandy Hook victims from arguing that the AR-15 is a military weapon and should not have been sold to civilians.

 

A lawyer for the families had argued there is an exception in federal law that allows litigation against companies that know, or should know, that their weapons are likely to be used in a way that risks injury to others.

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Winters Brothers is partnering with Danbury for the annual Clean City Danbury Day on Saturday from 8 am to 12 pm. The clean-up program brings residents and and businesses together to help clean streets, neighborhoods, parks and waterways. Winters Brothers is supplying free hauling and disposal for waste material collected during the community cleanup.

 

Winters Brothers is also providing a free, one-day paper confidential shredding program for Danbury residents.  Residents can bring their sensitive documents that require shredding to their Recycling Center at 307 White Street in Danbury.

 

Volunteers will be picking up litter in a neighborhood, park or waterway, volunteering at a special designated dumpster location to assist residents and cleaning up abandoned property or lots of debris and unwanted items.  Almost 1,000 volunteers have signed up.

 

This is the 13th year for the Clean City Danbury program.

 

Dumpsters will be located at five locations:

1. City Hall (155 Deer Hill Avenue)

2. Rogers Park (by tennis courts)

3. WCSU West Side Campus (43 Lake Avenue Ext)

4. Public Works Building (53 Newtown Rd.)

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

 

No commercial waste or commercial vehicles will be allowed to dump for free. Additionally, Winters Bros. cannot accept the following items at the drop off centers:

NO ELECTRONICS (There is a free year-round electronic drop off center at Winters Bros. Recycling Center, 307 White St. in Danbury)

NO Hazardous Wastes (The City sponsors a Hazardous Waste Day in September)

NO Grass clippings or yard debris

NO Construction debris

 

Scrap metal and tires can be brought to the dumpster locations but cannot be placed into the roll off containers with the regular trash. Appliances that contain Freon (refrigerators and air conditioning units) must be kept separate from other garbage.

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An effort to give the public greater say about transfers of state-owned land in Connecticut has cleared the General Assembly.  But the proposal did not pass the Senate or House of Representatives Wednesday with enough support to place a proposed constitutional amendment before voters this fall. Proponents needed a three-quarters majority.

Eric Hammerling, executive director of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, says the vote was still a ``huge victory.'' The bill must now pass next year by another simple majority to appear on the 2017 ballot.

Under the proposal, voters will be asked to support amending the state constitution to require a public hearing and two-thirds vote of the legislature before the ownership of state-owned land can be transferred.

Proponents say state-owned parks and forests are currently at risk.

 

Wilton Senator Toni Boucher says public lands are always under pressure from developers, but should not be sold off.  She says it would be disappointing and a detriment for many generations to come if the assets are sold off.

 

New Fairfield state Representative Richard Smith says he's in favor of protecting open space, but that this bill goes too far.  He says the safeguards are in place with a committee process and public hearing process, the full chamber also has to sign off on any conveyance bill.

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A New York man has been arrested for burglarizing an animal hospital in Pawling.  Dutchess County Sheriff Deputies responded to Patter Paws Animal Hospital on Route 22 in Pawling around 9:45 Wednesday night to investigate a burglar alarm activation. 

 

50-year old Anthony Quatroni was located nearby and an investigation led to charges being filed against him.  The Sheriff's Office says in order to preserve the integrity of the upcoming court proceeding, no details about the burglary are being released at this time. 

 

Quatroni was charged with felony burglary and arraigned.  He is being held at Dutchess County Jail without bail. 

 

The investigation is continuing and the Sheriff's office says future charges are possible.

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A Seymour man who assaulted his girlfriend has been sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for illegal gun possession by a convicted felon.  50-year old Maurice Earley was also ordered yesterday to three years of supervised release. 

 

Earley was arrested in June 2013 by State police after punching his girlfriend in the face while they were driving on the highway.  He then pulled over, dragged her from the car, choked her and punched her several more times.  The victim was able to escape and was treated for a fractured nose and collar bone, among other injuries.  The U.S. Attorney's office reports that a loaded handgun with an obliterated serial number and 93 rounds of ammunition--including hollow point bullets, were seized from Earley's home. 

 

He was previously convicted for drug trafficking and robbery and has been detained since March 2015 on this latest charge.

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10-percent of polling places used during the presidential primary last month have been randomly selected for an audit.  State statute calls for a review of results to ensure the integrity of the vote and to promote confidence in the process.  There were 723 polling places that used optical scan machines, so the Secretary of the State chose 73 primary and 10 alternate locations. 

 

Among those to be audited are machines from Park Avenue School in Danbury, Center Fire House in Southbury and from the Bethel Municipal Center.  The results of audits will be analyzed, and then be made available to the public.

 

The audit can start no earlier than May 11th and will be complete by June 3rd.

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The nanny charged in Danbury with assault and 23 counts of risk of injury has rejected a plea deal.  32-year old Lidia Quilligana's case was in Danbury Superior Court Wednesday and will head to a jury trial.  The Danbury woman's next court appearance is slated for July 12th. 

 

She was caught on a nanny camera intentionally inflicting harm on the children in her care.  When questioned by the 3-year old girl's mother, Quilligana said the child accidentally touched the hot stove while she was tending to other children.  Police reviewed the footage and found several instances of the nanny abusing the three children. 

 

Quilligana was officered a 25-year prison sentence, suspended after 17 years with a mandatory minimum of 10 years served.  She has been in custody since her arrest in March of last year, and remains held on $1 million bond.

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NEWBURGH, N.Y. (AP) - A New York Air National Guard unit based in the Hudson Valley is getting a new commander.

National Guard officials say Col. Howard Wagner will take over command of the 105th Airlift Wing on May 15. The 105th, based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, operates nine C-17 Globemaster aircraft that support U.S. Air Force missions and respond to New York state emergencies.

The unit's current commander, Brig. Gen. Timothy LaBarge, has been named chief of staff of the Air Guard at the National Guard headquarters in suburban Albany.

Wagner, currently the wing's vice commander, joined the Air Force in 1982. He flew more than two dozen combat reconnaissance missions during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Wagner lives in Redding, Connecticut.

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The Danbury community held a rally yesterday in support of quality education for all children.

 

Parents, students, educators, administrators and civic leaders held a "walk-in" at three events in Connecticut; part of coordinated national day of action at approximately 2,000 schools in 87 cities.  Assembled outside main entrance to Henry Abbott Technical High School in Danbury, the group "walked-in" to the together.  More than 500 people turned out for the event.

 

The event was meant to demonstrate success at the technical high school, as part of the growing educational justice movement. The goal was to highlight the benefits of fairly-funded public schools for all children and send a message that there are better choices than cuts to education services. 

 

AFT Connecticut Communications Coordinator Matt O'Connor says all students deserve quality education, and ways to provide that were discussed during the event.

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Danbury is hosting two events for The National Day of Prayer today.  It's an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. 

 

It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Truman as a day to foster unity for America.  Days of prayer have been called for since 1775, when the Continental Congress designated a time for prayer in forming a new nation. 

 

Individuals of all denominations are encouraged to attend.

 

The first ceremony is at 11am at Danbury City Hall.  There is another at 6:30pm.  The later event has been organized by Councilman Elmer Palma.  Opening remarks will be delivered by Mayor Mark Boughton.  Councilman Tom Saadi will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.  Prayers, speeches and singing will follow.

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Main Street in Danbury has reopened between Center Street and Liberty Street following an earlier accident.  Danbury Police say a bike was struck by a car shortly before 3pm Wednesday.  Traffic was being detoured onto Wooster Street to Deer Hill Avenue and down to West Street to get around the closure.  The accident investigation team remained on the scene until about 5:30pm.  No further details are available at this time.

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A federal court has been asked by Connecticut officials to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Kent-based Schaghticoke Tribal Nation.  Chief Richard Velky says they are challenging the state law enacted last year allowing the two federally recognized tribes to open a third casino, jointly, on non-tribal land. 

 

The Schaghticokes claim the law violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. and state constitutions.  MGM, which is building a casino in nearby Massachusetts is providing financial support for the Schaghticoke's suit.  That company has also filed a similar lawsuit.  The state's motion, filed Monday according to the New London Day, is now pending. 

 

The Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohegans are seeking to open a casino to compete with the MGM one opening in Springfield, though no site has been selected.

 

Velky issued the following statement Monday night:

 

“Today's motion to dismiss is just the latest instance in a long history of the state’s denial of fairness and justice to the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation.  Rather than address STN’s complaint on the merits, the state raises a series of procedural technicalities, all of which lack merit.  The idea that a state-recognized tribe lacks standing to challenge a law that specifically excludes it in favor of two other named tribes is contrary to fundamental principles of fairness, equal protection and the right of everyone to have their day in court.  We look forward to ours."

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A New York man has pleaded guilty to placing skimming devices on ATMs in lower Fairfield County last year.  The Ridgefield Press reports that 31-year old Moises morales Cano of Astoria New York entered the plea on charges of conspiring to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.  Skimming devices take information from the magnetic strips, a camera captures pin numbers and counterfeit cards are then created and used.

 

The skimming devices were placed on ATMs in Ridgefield, Wilton and Norwalk and resulted in the theft of more than $709,000.  More than 1,300 people had their debit cards compromised. 

 

Cano admitted to conspiring with someone else to put the skimming device on ATMs in Rhode Island and Connecticut.  He will be sentenced July 20th.

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An untimely death in Newtown is under investigation.  Police responded to a home on Elizabeth Street in the Borough of Newtown around 6:45 this morning for a medical assist.  48-year old Robert Myer was a Westport Police Officer and a member of the Newtown Police Board of Commissioners. 

 

The medical examiner's office will determine a cause of death. 

 

Newtown Police said in a release that on behalf of the Chief and the Department, this day is a tragic loss for the family, friends and community of Newtown.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut lawmakers are attempting to pass a last-minute Democratic budget for the new fiscal year that would finally fix the state's projected $960 million deficit.

 

The General Assembly has until midnight Wednesday to pass the approximate $19 billion compromise that was reached between Democratic lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy late Tuesday.

 

It's unclear whether the legislature's minority Republicans will attempt to run out the clock with a lengthy debate. They were not part of the final negotiations and are unhappy with the last-minute push.

 

Republicans are also voicing concern about the decline in estimated revenues included in the budget plan. Republican Sen. Michael McLahlan of Danbury says the drop in income taxes represents an "atomic bomb."

 

Wednesday is the final day of the legislative session.

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Capital items have been approved in Ridgefield during the Annual Town Meeting.  Some of the items include guard rail replacements, equipment such as a plow with sander and rotary mowers, Wellness Center improvements and work on the golf course.  Tennis and basketball court repairs at Ridgefield High School, police department equipment, fire department cardiac monitors and park and field safety improvements were also approved. 

 

Ridgefield residents also set the date for the budget referendum last night.  The $139 million budget proposed for the coming fiscal year includes about $90 million for the schools, a $46.7 million municipal budget and $1.9 million for road and infrastructure improvements.  There was a failed motion to cut the education portion of the budget by $5 million. 

 

The vote will be held May 10th at Yannity Gym from 6am to 8pm.

 

Also on the ballot are larger capital projects.  One question is about $2 million for the planning, design, acquisition and construction of Phase 1 of the Branchville Transit Oriented Development Study, $548,000 for the planning, design, acquisition and construction of a Prospect Ridge parking area and $150,000 for the planning, design, acquisition and construction of sidewalk improvements, provided that state grants be awarded to cover the first two projects.

 

The next question asks for approval of $187,000 for the design and acquisition of a highway Mack truck, $138,000 for the design and acquisition of a mowing tractor for Town roads, $83,000 for the design and acquisition of a backhoe, and $225,000 for refurbishment of Engine #3. 

 

A question also asks about appropriating $62,500 for the design and acquisition of Venus Building windows, $46,000 for the design and acquisition of Highway Garage 1 floor repairs, and $87,000 for the design and acquisition of East Ridge Middle School roof repairs.

 

The last question asks about $355,000 for the planning, design, acquisition and construction of school energy conservation measures, which is expected to result in $92,405 of incentive savings.  It's also seeking approval of $435,886 for school portion of the public safety radio system.

 

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Easton residents have approved a budget for the coming fiscal year.  The Region 9 budget was also approved in both Redding and Easton.  About 12-percent of registered voters cast ballots in Easton yesterday for the $43.7 million budget.  It's a 1.84 percent increase in spending over the current year.  The $47.7 million dollar school and municipal budget in Redding was approved on a vote of 576 to 310.  That figure includes the town's share of the Region 9 budget.  The Redding Board of Finance will meet next week to set the mill rate.

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The Danbury City Council has approved a $244 million budget.  The vote was 15 to 6, with all six Democrats voting in opposition.

 

Danbury has deferred hiring 45 positions, saving $500,000 in the coming fiscal year's budget.  Mayor Mark Boughton says each department will be given an efficiency and savings goal, senior staff could get raises if the goal is met.  Currently, Danbury has $23 million in the Fund Balance.  The new budget reduces the use of the fund balance from $1.8 million to $750,000.  No one time revenues are used to balance the budget.


There is a 2.95 percent increase in sewer and water rates so that infrastructure improvements can be made to both systems.  Danbury is also preparing for state and federal mandated upgrades for phosphorus removal.  Boughton says it's a $65 million to $70 million expenditure for needed upgrades to the sewage plant.


A home valued at $275,000 will see an increase of less than $8 a month with the new mill rate.  Boughton touted Danbury having the lowest unemployment rate in the state, being the safest city in Connecticut and having among the lowest property tax rates in the state.


Despite the cost cutting in municipal spending, Danbury is increasing the City's contribution to the school.  Boughton says that's because of a significant positive trend in student test scores over the years.  He points to $55 million being spent at Danbury High School in the coming months for renovating the auto shop, constructing new front to the school, making roof repairs and building an addition to serve as the new Freshman Academy.


Boughton says the City is making difficult choices now, in order to avoid drastic measures later which are currently seen in other municipalities.

 

The City Council unanimously approved $3 million in capital projects.  The largest appropriation is $750,000 for the school roof replacement program. 

 

$500,000 is being allocated for the Still River project, including for the removal of vegetation, dredging and river wall repair.  $450,000 for paving, drainage and road improvements along with $100,000 for sidewalk and street improvements was approved. 

 

Other projects include HVAC replacement at the schools and various city buildings, money toward property revaluation and replacing highway department equipment. 

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NEW YORK (AP) - Health care data company IMS Health and Quintiles, which helps drug companies with clinical trial research, say they are merging in an all-stock deal worth nearly $9 billion.

The combined company will be called Quintiles IMS Holdings Inc. and will have a market value of nearly $18 billion, based on the companies' stock prices Monday.

The new company will keep two headquarters, one at Danbury, Connecticut, where IMS Health is based, and another in Durham, North Carolina, where Quintiles has its offices.

 

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TAYLOR SWIFT

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