Local News

Court rules for archdiocese in priest abuse insurance case

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A federal appeals court says an insurance company must reimburse the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford nearly $1 million for payments the archdiocese made to settle sexual misconduct cases involving priests and minors.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling in the archdiocese's favor.

Chicago-based Interstate Fire & Casualty refused to reimburse the archdiocese, citing an assault and battery exemption in the insurance policy. Many policies don't cover intentional acts, but church officials argued they did not know about the alleged assaults and sued the insurer in 2012.

The settlements, one of many paid by the archdiocese in priest abuse cases, involved four claims of sexual misconduct by priests against minors in the 1970s and 1980s.

Judge throws out lawsuit by ex-wrestlers over concussions

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A federal judge in Connecticut has dismissed a lawsuit by 60 former professional wrestlers who claimed World Wrestling Entertainment failed to protect them from repeated head trauma including concussions that led to brain damage.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa Bryant in Hartford threw out the lawsuit Monday at the request of the Stamford-based WWE, saying many of the claims were frivolous or filed too late, after the statute of limitations expired.

Bryant also criticized the wrestlers' lawyer, Konstantine Kyros, of Hingham, Massachusetts, and ordered him to pay WWE's legal fees.

Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, Joseph "Road Warrior Animal" Laurinaitis and Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff were among the plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit. Snuka died last year, and Kyros said he showed signs of brain damage.

Kyros said he will appeal Bryant's decision.

Lawmakers, coalition fight to block sale of Plum Island

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Lawmakers from New York and Connecticut have joined environmental groups in ramping up efforts to block the federal government from selling a mysterious piece of land in Long Island Sound that for years housed an animal disease research facility.

The lawmakers penned a letter this week asking Congress not to provide funding for the marketing or sale of Plum Island. The island is also home to endangered birds, turtles and other animals.

The federal General Service Administration is charged with selling the island to help fund a new bio-research center in Kansas. It's agreed to postpone the sale until it conducts a second environmental impact study.

The Preserve Plum Island Coalition, which includes more than 100 groups, says it will bring stakeholders together later this year to come up with an alternative conservation plan.

Stand Down 2018 vet event Friday

The Department of Labor will provide employment and job training guidance to veterans at an upcoming event to help Connecticut's 200,000 veterans.

Stand Down 2018 will take place from 8am to 2pm on Friday at the Department of Veterans' Affairs main campus in Rocky Hill.

More than 70 government agencies and social services organizations are expected to take part in the program, which is organized by the Connecticut Department of Veterans' Affairs. Besides employment and education services, there will be information about state and Veterans Administration benefits, legal and motor vehicle matters and housing matters.

There will also be medical, dental and mental health screenings, as well as free clothing.

The Department of Transportation will provide free bus service from a number of locations around the state.  A bus will be leaving from the Danbury War Memorial at 7am.  Return transportation will also be provided.

Pre-registration is no longer required.  Veterans will have to show proof of service such as VA card.

Still River Greenway reopens after May storm debris removed

All of the Still River Greenway in Brookfield is now reopened.  The town has cleared storm debris from the southern portion of the Greenway, announcing this week that it's been reopened.  While the path was walkable after a first round of clearing along the southern end, there were trees off of the path that were dangerous and had to be cleared.  Depending upon the weather, crews will be blowing leaves and minor debris from the Greenway over the next few days.  The northern end of the two mile path reopened about two months after being closed by the May macroburst.

Architectural plans for two Bethel school renovation projects reviewed

A Third Party Code reviewer has been hired in Bethel for the Rockwell and Johnson schools renovation projects to make sure the construction drawings show that the facilities will be in compliance with town, state and federal building  codes.  Superintendent of Schools Dr Christine Carver said in a district newsletter that they've reviewed those drawings and provided feedback back to the architect who is revising the documents for code compliance.  An Owner's Representative, who will represent the town in the oversight of the project, has been selected by the Building and  Site Committee.  They are in the process of negotiating a contract.  The construction manager has identified a few options for obtaining portable classrooms for the swing space at Rockwell School.

FuelCell Energy reaches clean power generation milestone

Danbury-based FuelCell Energy has reached a clean power generation milestone with a total of more than 8 million megawatt hours having been generated by SureSource fuel cell power plants globally since the first commercial installation.  The plants are operating on three continents.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 8 million megawatt hours of clean energy production is enough to offset about 13 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.  The EPA says it's also adequate to power over 725,000 average size U-S homes for one year, 1.8 million German homes for one year or 2.235 million South Korean homes for one year.

Newtown resident confirmed as federal judge

A Newtown resident has been tapped to serve as a federal judge for the District of Connecticut.  Judge Kari Dooley has served as a judge in state court for the last 14 years.  She was nominated by President Trump in December and confirmed by the U-S Senate Judiciary Committee this month.  The vacancy was created when a judge assumed senior status.  Dooley will be based in Bridgeport and serve as one of eight authorized judges in the District of Connecticut.  She graduated from UConn School of Law in 1988, became an associated for a Greenwich law firm and in 1992, joined the U.S. Attorney’s office, where she prosecuted criminal cases. 

New Milford man accused of breaking into neighbor's home accepts plea deal

A New Milford man who allegedly broke into his neighbor's home last June and attacked the occupants has accepted a plea deal.  The Newstimes reports that Michael Saunders pleaded guilty this week under the Alford Doctrine to burglary and assault of a person over age 60.  Under the plea, he disputed some facts but admitted the state had enough evidence for a conviction.  The 34-year old would serve 5 years in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release.  Authorities have said Michael Saunders was likely hallucinating when he broke into his neighbors’ house, armed with a wooden two-by-four, and yelling about being pursued.  A woman sustained a concussion and a man had cuts on his arms and hands.  Sentencing has been set for December 14th.

Candlewood gets a sister lake in New Jersey

The Candlewood Lake Authority has partnered with representatives from a group in New Jersey on a collaboration aimed at helping both bodies of water.  The CLA recently made a trip to meet with the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, and learned about some of their environmental challenges and proposed solutions. 


The lakes have officially been proclaimed sister lakes.  The proclamation will lead to a commitment to long-term information sharing partnership. 


Members of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation visited Candlewood a few months ago.  The New Jersey group expressed an interest in the sterile grass carp stocking initiative helping to combat milfoil growth in Candlewood.  The CLA wants to gain insight how the Hopatcong group has successfully prevented the spread of water chestnut and other invasive species in their waters. 


Hopatcong experiences other similar environmental stressors that Candlewood Lake does, including blue-green algae bloom.  The 4 square mile New Jersey lake, like the 8.5 square mile Candlewood Lake, has a shoreline with many coves, split among several municipalities. 

Brookfield Police seek help identifying man for ongoing investigation

The Brookfield Police Department is looking the public’s help in identifying a man wanted as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.  Police created a bulletin with images from surveillance cameras of the man.  Anyone recognizing him is asked to contact Cpl. Fiege by phone 203-740-4144.


Bethel schools to hold food drive tomorrow

If you see a lot of kids in Bethel tomorrow wearing orange, it's to mark No Kid Hungry Month.  All Bethel Public Schools will be holding a food drive tomorrow and encourage students to donate a kid-friendly food item; something that can be opened and consumed without adult assistance. These items will be distributed by school social workers and other agencies in Bethel.  Popular items at the food drive last year were macaroni & cheese, pre-packed snacks like pudding, and pop-top soups.

Monroe Police investigating IRS scam calls

The Monroe Police Department has received several complaints from people saying that someone claiming to be from the IRS has contacted them. The caller says a sum of money must be paid urgently or the recipient will be arrested.  Police are reminding residents that the IRS does not call people, nor do they threaten to arrest.  Immediate payment will not be demanded, the IRS will first send a bill in the mail if you owe money and will not require you to pay in a certain way--such as with a prepaid debit card.

New York State Police remove 25 impaired drivers from roadways

New York State Police Troopers have released details about a routine traffic stop that led to a number of charges to be filed against a Connecticut man who was allegedly driving while intoxicated, with a child in the vehicle. 


25-year old Joseph Brown was pulled over on I-84 in Southeast on Friday for a traffic law violation. A search of the car turned up a loaded handgun and approximately 7.5 grams of marijuana.  The West Haven man was charged for Aggravated DWI with a child in the vehicle, Possession of a Weapon and Unlawful Possession of Marihuana. 


State Police in the Putnam County area removed a total of 25 impaired drivers from the roadway last weekend.  Among them was also 29-year old Matthew Rooney of Brewster.  He was pulled over on Saturday on I-84 in Southeast for a vehicle and traffic law violation.  An investigation determined that he was in possession of a small quantity of cocaine.  Rooney was charged for DWI with a Prior Conviction within ten years and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance. 


Two men were charged after Troopers responded to separate accidents over the weekend.  41-year old Marco Gonzalez-Borja, of Brewster, was involved in a two-car motor vehicle crash in the parking lot of Xtra Mart in Brewster on Friday.  54-year old Stephen  Parrett, of Norwalk,tried to make a u-turn on Smith Ridge Road in Lewisboro on Saturday when his car got stuck in someone's front yard.

BI makes donation to Danbury Hospital Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation has made a $40,000 donation to the Danbury Hospital Foundation.  This is the third contribution from the Ridgefield-based pharmaceutical company's charitable foundation to support the outreach efforts of the Greater Danbury Community Care Team's peer engagement specialist. 


The community-based outreach initiative was started in 2015 and is a partnership with nearly 30 community and municipal agencies. 


The navigators work to improve access to care for at-risk residents, many of whom suffer from substance abuse, chronic medical or mental health conditions, are homeless, or frequent the emergency department. To date, more than 170 community residents ages 23 to 83 have benefited from Greater Danbury Community Care Team services.  Emergency Room utilization by high-risk frequent users has decreased approximately 30 percent, according to the Danbury Hospital Foundation.

ARC, Danbury schools seek volunteer mentors

The Danbury School District and the Association of Religious Communities is looking for volunteers to help with their KIDS program.  The collaborative matches mentors with elementary school classes in Title 1 schools.  There are some large class sizes in the elementary schools and an information session next Wednesday will explain to volunteers how they could spend two hours a week from October through June helping in Kindergarten classes.  The info session on the 26th is from 3:30 to 4:30pm at ARC's new office at 24 Delay Street.  Volunteers do not need a background in education. 

New Milford school hires new teacher to reduce class sizes

The New Milford Board of Education has decided to add another 2nd grade class at Northville Elementary School, to lower class sizes.  The Newstimes reports that the maximum salary for the teacher is $60,000 and the other teachers will work with the students on the transition. There are 6 second grade classes at Northville, with about half a dozen more students each than at New Milford's other elementary school.  While there was some hesitation among Board of Ed members and parents, they say the post-start hire will help students.

CT NAACP to honor Danbury Police Chief

The Connecticut NAACP is honoring Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour this weekend.  He has been named one of the most influential African American leaders in Connecticut.  Prior to becoming Danbury's Chief, Ridenhour served in the same role in Stratford, having worked in Waterbury for nearly 20 years.  The event is on Saturday at Foxwoods. 

CT helps Florence victims in the Carolinas

A unit of Connecticut National Guard soldiers are continuing to assist with Hurricane Florence relief efforts throughout the North Carolina area.  To date, the 11 guardsmen have performed multiple search and rescue missions, providing life-saving evacuation measure for those in communities completely cut off by the rising waters.  A Bethel woman is among the 3-thousand Red Cross volunteers helping in the Carolinas.  Joyce Burns, a retired social worker at the Park Avenue School in Danbury, is providing mental health care to people evacuated to shelters in South Carolina.

Maintenance costs discussed for Sandy Hook memorial design

Newtown officials have questioned the cost of maintenance for the design selected by the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission.  The design features a large tree in the center of a reflection pool.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says the group tried to give thought to maintenance, but their charge was to select a design.  There was no budgetary restriction given to the Commission by the previous Board of Selectmen.  The task now is to have them work with the Public Building and Sites Committee, designer SWA and others on a workable budget for the project.  The cost of ongoing maintenance will have to be factored in to material decisions.  Some value engineering may be needed so the Memorial Commission will be kept as active.  As other municipal officials seek to keep the project on a reasonable financial path, they could ask the Commission advice on those material changes.

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