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A New Fairfield man was killed in a highway crash early yesterday morning.  State Police say 27-year-old Kurtis Liska was travelling westbound on Interstate 84 near exit 8 in Bethel when his car drifted into the right shoulder.  The vehicle struck a trailer that was parked on the side of the highway.  Liska was transported to Danbury Hospital, but died of his injuries.  The occupants of the trailer were not injured.  State Police are continuing to investigate the accident.  Anyone with information is asked to call Troop A at 203-267-2200.



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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The state of Connecticut is doling out $15.1 million in grants to help 50 nonprofit agencies across the state pay for one-time infrastructure improvements.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy created the Nonprofit Grant Program in 2013, which has helped hundreds of groups. This marks the fifth round of grants.

The capital purchases being funded by the grant program are varied. They range from vehicles for the ARC of Litchfield County Inc. in Torrington to a case management system at the Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging in Bridgeport.

Malloy says the capital purchases will help to improve the nonprofits' service delivery, efficiency and effectiveness, as well as address health, safety and accessibility issues. He says that allows the groups to focus on "getting services to those who need them the most."

 

Bethel-based Ability Beyond Disability, Inc. will receive $774,451 for Bethel renovation, Beckerle Street improvements, Tammany Trail improvements, and information technology.

 

Danbury-based CT Institute for Communities, Inc. has been awarded $130,681 for Information technology.

 

Parking lot improvements will be funded for Danbury-based MWCCA with a $78,671 grant.

 

Newtown Youth & Family Services, Inc. will receive $136,633 for energy efficiency projects.



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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) The case of a Connecticut man accused of killing his parents after they threatened to cut him out of their wills is set to return before a judge for more pretrial discussions.

The private hearing in Kyle Navin's case is scheduled for Monday in Bridgeport Superior Court.

The 28-year-old Easton man has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the deaths of his parents, Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin. The couple's bodies were found in Weston in October 2015, two months after they disappeared.

Court documents say the couple was upset about their son's behavior and drug use, and planned to cut him out of their wills.

Navin is being held on $2.5 million bail.

His girlfriend, Jennifer Valiante, also is detained on bail on charges including conspiracy to commit murder.



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The Danbury City Council has voted to send a proposal to a public hearing that would transfer ownership of the Mallory Hat site to the Women's Center for a new transitional housing center.  The city owned property at 89 Rose Hill Avenue would be sold to the Women's Center for $1 if approved.

 

The public hearing date was not immediately scheduled.

 

The land does need an environmental remediation because of chemicals that seeped into the soil over the years.  The clean up is estimated at between $700,000 and $800,000. 

 

City Council Minority Leader Tom Saadi says this is a win for the City, a win for the environment, and addresses a critical need in the community in protecting women and children.  He called it a model, both physically in the structure and program support that's been developed over the years as a best practice.

 

Saadi noted that concerns with a short term flip of the property or conversion to another use are addressed in the ordinance.

 

Mayor Mark Boughton called it a big deal for every entity involved.  He noted that the Women's Center worked tirelessly on their capital plan.  Boughton told the Council they will be doing something for those people that are in a difficult position, and that's what government is supposed to do.

 

The plan would bring stability to the neighborhood while also cleaning up a blighted and contaminated property.



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FEMA funding from the Assistance to Firefighter Grant program is being allocated to to support a fire department in New Milford.  Water Witch Hose Company # 2 will received 45,455 for an Air Refill – Compressor System. 

 

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty says day in and day out, firefighters put their lives on the line in order to save others--and noted that they must have access to the equipment and training necessary to do their jobs safely and effectively. 

 

Since 2001, FEMA's Assistance to Firefighter grant program has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.



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On Monday night, the New Milford Town Council will consider an additional expenditure to turn the former Pettibone School into a Community Center.  The Zoning Commission has required the Town to install additional lighting in the parking lots, and the estimated cost is $155,000. 

 

Mayor David Gronbach has proposed tapping the Waste Management Fund for the allocation.  He says the fund has over 11 million dollars in it and cannot be used on roads or bridges and can only be used to buy land or construct municipal public recreation, educational or library facilities.  

 

The community center would house the Parks and Rec and the Youth Agency. 

 

Gronbach says the interior work is 95% done. High speed fiber has been installed and electrical upgrades were made.  Parks and Rec has painted their offices, which he says will save New Milford thousands of dollars in the process. The Youth Agency has also prepped their space, painted and cleaned. 

 

Consultants, at no cost to the Town, are studying a plan to replace the roof, install solar and other sources to generate its own electricity.



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A young driver was injured in a car versus utility pole accident in Newtown on Monday.  The crash happened at the intersection of High Rock and Grays Plain.  The driver had minor facial lacerations following the airbag deployment. He was checked for further injury, and released into the care of a parent.  Firefighters assisted with patient care, and disconnected the car's battery as a precaution. Speedi-Dri was applied to fluids in the roadway. 

 

(Photo: Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue)



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Part of Route 7 in Ridgefield will be closed this weekend for a bridge replacement project.  The state Department of Transportation is replacing the bridge just north of Route 102.  This is the second of five scheduled weekend closures that will take place over the next several months. The next closure will take place in July.  Local traffic and those needing access to businesses on Route 7 between 35 and 102 will still be allowed access except to the area where the bridge construction is taking place. 



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A rollover accident tied up the morning commute Monday on the highway in Newtown.  A driver headed eastbound took down several feet of guardrail before rolling multiple times and landing in the median.  The man sustained multiple injuries and was transported to the hospital.  Around the same time, a rear-end accident happened near the rollover, but was unrelated.  Part of the highway was closed while emergency responders worked.

 

(Photo: Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue)



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It took Newtown fire companies about two hours to put out a blaze in an Abbotts Hill Road home last weekend.  The fire heavily damaged an apartment over the single-family dwelling's garage, but the house was spared significant damage.  No one was home when a neighbor discovered the fire Saturday afternoon.  There were no injuries to any firefighters, but Chief Murphy says a small dog died, probably due to smoke inhalation.  The apartment was uninhabitable following the blaze. Murphy estimates the fire caused $40,000 in damages to the apartment.  Southbury and Bethel provided mutual aid.

 

(Photo: Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue)



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A UPS employee has been arrested by Wilton Police on larceny and identity theft charges.  Wilton Police received two separate complaints from people living in Tolland and Southington who had their personal identifying information used to purchase cell phones online. 

 

The phones were scheduled for delivery to various Wilton addresses, unbeknownst to the homeowners. 

 

Surveillance at one of the homes showed 26-year old Jonathon McClain of Norwalk driving up for the scheduled delivery, but never dropping off a package. 

 

Wilton Police and UPS management determined that McClain was involved in a scheme to sell the fraudulently purchased phones on his truck for delivery to third parties.



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New Milford Police are reminding residents of the town's Panhandling Ordinance.  Police say if you're approached by somebody who is violating the ordinance, contact the department to report the incident.  In order to determine a violation, complainants need to speak with the responding officer.  The reminder comes following postings in a Facebook community group about people being approached at ATMs in New Milford by a man asking for money.



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One critic of New Milford Mayor David Gronbach could be ousted from the Sewer Commission.  Gronbach maintains that commission members should serve four year terms, as outlined in town ordinances.  Mike Bensema was named to the commission in 2010, with a term to expire this November.  The Newstimes reports that the same reasoning was not applied to commission member Gary Pfaff.  The also has a long-standing vacancy.  Bensema told the publication that town officials have known about the term length mistake since February.



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An off duty Danbury Police Detective and two passing motorists rescued a 17-year old girl from a partially submerged vehicle in Ball Pond Tuesday morning.  Detective Sergeant Adam Marcus was driving on Ball Pond Road and saw that an accident happened. 

 

 

 

He and two Danbury residents, 32-year old Chris Dimauro and 28-year old Danielle Lo Medico, saw the Jeep Liberty on its side in the pond.  The vehicle was about 50 feet from the shoreline.

 

 

 

The three entered the pond to help the injured 17 year old.  They were able to free her from the vehicle and bring her to shore where medical emergency personnel later arrived. 

 

The investigation determined that the teen was headed south, lost control and struck a telephone pole and several guard posts. The teen was transported to Danbury Hospital and issued a verbal warning for traveling too fast for conditions. 

 

 

 

The state Department of Environmental Protection also responded to the scene.



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Three Danbury residents have been arrested on drug related charges.  Neighbor complaints about 24-year old Denzel Wilkins and 25-year old Tiffany Ortiz allegedly selling drugs from their Main Street apartmen prompted an investigationt. 

 

While conducing surveillance Thursday, Danbury Police say Wilkins make a suspected drug transaction to 25-year old Marissa Palumbo in a parking lot near 385 Main Street.  When Palumbo realized that police were approaching Wilkins' car, she hid the suspected drugs in her shirt/bra area, which was later confirmed. 

 

Wilkins was found in possession of heroin packaged for sale.

 

    

(Wilkinson, Ortiz, Palumbo)

 

Investigators went to the apartment where Wilkins and Ortiz live.  Ortiz was there with a young child.  Police found more heroin packaged for sale and suspected cash proceeds of drug sales.

 

Palumbo was charged with possession of narcotics and released on a written promise to appear in court at a later date.

 

Ortiz was charged with possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession within 1500' of a prohibited place, possession with intent to sell within 1500' of a prohibited place, possession of drug paraphernalia within 1500' of a prohibited place, possession of drug paraphernalia and risk of injury to a child.  She was held on $2,500 bond.

 

Wilkins was charged with possession and sale of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession and sale within 1500' of a prohibited place, possession with intent to sell within 1500' of a prohibited place, possession of drug paraphernalia and risk of injury to a child.  He was held on $25,000 bond.



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A bus driver has been arrested on allegations he sexually assaulted an 11-year old intellectually disabled girl.  State Police launched the investigation into 39-year old Luis Cruz in February.  He was a bus driver for Connecticut Transportation Services, LLC and would drive the girl from New Fairfield to Bridgeport.  The alleged assault happened in the parking lot of the National Shooting Sports Foundation in Newtown.  Cruz was charged Wednesday with sexual assault, risk of injury to a minor and illegal sexual contact of a victim under age 16.  He was held on bond for an arraignment hearing yesterday.

 

The victim told her foster mother that Cruz touched her.  Since the girl couldn't say where the incident took place, the Department of Children and Families had trouble determining which police department to contact.  Emails between the bus company and DCF initially also misidentified the involved driver.

 

The alleged assault took place on January 25th.

 

The girl's regular driver says she is usually joyful and would sing along with the radio.  The day after the alleged assault, he reported that she was rigid and quite.  When he got near exit 11, the victim's usual driver reported that she started screaming "Don't get off! Stay on the highway!"  An investigation revealed no unauthorized stops that day.

 

DCF sent document to police in March that CTS provided a one-time transport of the victim from New Fairfield to her foster home in Bridgeport.  Police then spoke with a social worker at Family & Children's Aid in Danbury about their interview with the girl.

 

Cruz initially said he didn't know why police were questioning him.  He also told investigators that he took Route 34, and was told by police that the bus had GPS, showing he took Route 25.  When asked about the unscheduled stop, Cruz claimed he went to check if the victim was still wearing her seat belt. 

 

When Cruz dropped the girl off at her foster home, she told her foster mother that he touched her.  He claims that the woman told him not to worry about it because the victim "was not all there."  The foster mother denied his claim, saying she told the driver to wait there.

 

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Cruz eventually told investigators that he pulled into the NSSF parking lot with the sole intent to sexually assault the victim.  He reportedly believed she was asleep and would be unaware of the contact.  Cruz said he touched the victim's inner thigh on top of her clothing.



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5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty and Senator Chris Murphy are each introducing legislation to combat climate change and create jobs in the clean-energy sector.  The measure calls for a $50 billion capitalization of the national Green Bank.  But they have left it open to discussion how to pay for that investment since there are different rules in the House and Senate.

 

They say this will help bolster the Connecticut Green Bank, which was the first of its kind in the country.  The entity just marked 5 years in existence. 

 

Esty says the climate change debate is not a choice between protecting the environment or protecting jobs, it can be both.  The legislation establishes a national green bank to fund clean energy and energy efficient projects. 

 

Esty says she wants to reclaim America's leadership in the clean energy market.  She says the wind industry employes 102,000 people, the natural gas industry employs 262,000 people and the solar industry employs 374,000 people.

 

The biggest obstacle Green Banks face is a lack of access to large scale financing.

 

Esty says climate change will be the defining economic and social challenge of the century.  She called this bill a pragmatic, market-driven plan to create jobs, help businesses reduce energy costs and ensure this country does its part to protect the environment.

 

Senator Chris Murphy says because of the withdrawl from the Paris Climate Agreement, some country will be the beneficiary of millions of new jobs in green energy, and right now it's not going to be America.  He says this country is ceding global leadership on renewable energy jobs.  If sensible, pro-growth, pro-environment policies soon, Murphy says America will be left out in the cold.

 

Murphy called the Connecticut Green Bank a huge success.  He says the entity has helped create 13,000 direct or indirect jobs.

 

Curtis Packaging has operated in Newtown since 1845 and is a small to mid-sized manufacturer.  Vice President of Operations Kerry Brown says the new owner bought the company in 2003 and has focused on environmental responsibility.  They use wind, solar and natural gas power, the company is 100 percent carbon neutral, recycles 98 percent and is 100 percent landfill-free.

 

Other businesses that have benefitted from Connecticut Green Bank investment include Tier ONE Machining and Assembly in Newtown and Defeo Manufacturing in Brookfield.



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A Pawling man has been accused of stealing from a Carmel cemetary.  New York State Police charged 47-year old Robert Bauer Tuesday with Grand Larceny, Forgery and Falsifying Business Records.  All area felony counts. 

 

The Putnam County District Attorney's Office contacted police in January about a sizeable loss of money and supplies from the Raymond Hill Cemetery.  An investigation revealed that Bauer, a former employee, stole in excess of $250,000 in money and equipment from the cemetery. 

 

He is accused of submitting inflated invoices from actual companies to reflect a purchase made for the cemetery between 2007 and 2015.

 

Bauer was held on bond and is due in Carmel Town Court July 11th.  New York State Police say the investigation is ongoing and additional charges against Bauer are likely. 



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Brookfield has decided to cover legal fees of former Republican Registrar of Voters Tom Dunkerton.  The Board of Selectmen voted this week, after losing several rounds in court.  The matter stemmed from when Dunkerton removed a Brookfield resident from the GOP voter rolls under a little used statute about lack of good faith party affiliation. 

 

First Selectman Steve Dunn previously said that Dunkerton was acting as a member of a local political party, not in his official town employee capacity.  Brookfield and Dunkerton's attorney are negotiating how much Brookfield owes. 

 

Dunn told the Newstimes that he is concerned the case sets a precedent that any board member could hire a lawyer without the town's permission and could prevent Brookfield from negotiating possible legal fees.

 

The former registrar sued the town for more than $15,000 after the town refused to pay his attorney's $26,000 legal bill.



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Normal boating traffic on Candlewood Lake in the area of Danbury Bay will be disrupted Saturday due to the Annual Danbury Volunteer Fireman’s Fireworks Display.  Beginning at 4pm, all boats in the vicinity of City Island must maintain a “slow-no- wake” speed to allow for the fireworks company to safety set up the fireworks behind the Island.

 

The Marine Patrol will be setting up a safety zone just north of City Island in Danbury Bay.  No vessels will be allowed to anchor south of the safety zone starting around 5 hours prior to and during the event.

 

The Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol is working with DEEP EnCON Police on a safety operation tomorrow.  They will be stopping all boats entering Danbury Bay for a safety inspection.  One Life Jacket for each person on board and lights in working order must be on board.  Any boat without the required safety equipment will be turned away and not be allowed to enter the area until the requirements are met.

 

Marine Patrol Chief Doug Vane says a safety lane will also be created along the eastern shore of Danbury Bay.

 

Boaters are also reminded that as they pass within 200 feet of a stationary law enforcement vessel using its lights and audible signal, they are required to slow to “slow-no- wake” speed until it is more than 200 feet away.

 

After the fireworks, boaters must proceed out of the viewing area at “slow-no- wake” speed.



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