Local News

Kent officials present streetscape project proposals

A public hearing in Kent last week drew a packed crowd to Town Hall to learn what the Streetscape Committee is proposing for Kent's sidewalks.  Each Committee member presented a piece of the information, including cost estimates and how to pay for the project. First Selectman Bruce Adams says the Power Point presentation created for the meeting is available on the Town of Kent's web site.


Danbury firefighters union supports Danbury FCI workers during government shutdown

The Union representing Danbury Federal Correctional Institute employees is thanking the Danbury firefighters union for their support during the government shutdown.  Danbury Firefighters Union Local 801 provided lunch for all three shifts for approximately 265 staff members. FCI Danbury Union officials say it made them proud to be part of such a great community.  FCI employees are required to work during the shutdown, but are not getting paid.

Hayes signs onto education measures as co-sponsor

One of the first bills that freshman 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes has signed onto as a cosponsor is a measure to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965.  The 2016 National Teacher of the Year is supporting the bill which would require institutions of higher education to disclose hazing incidents. 

Brookfield firefighters respond to numerous storm-related calls

The Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company responded to numerous emergencies over the past few days as a result of the winter weather.  Most of the calls were about trees on utility wires.  In one case, a downed wire entangled in a tree was blocking a driveway.  Several roads were partially blocked by downed tree limbs and wires as well.

Bethel residents called on to approve funding for school chiller plant equipment

A special Town Meeting is being held in Bethel tonight for residents to weigh in on replacing the chiller plant and water treatment equipment at Bethel Middle School.  The money would come from the the Fund Balance. 

A consulting firm has completed a study of Berry School, started at the high school and moved onto the Middle School.  The Middle School was designed with very few windows and is meant to have air conditioning. 

Superintendent Dr. Christine Carver and Director of Fiscal Services Theresa Yonsky explained and shared information on the replacement of the chiller plant with the Board of Selectmen.  They say an air-cooled system would be less expensive than a water-cooled system.  The Board of Finance was asked to sign off on the bidding process, purchase and installation of chiller plant and water treatment equipment, not to exceed $450,000. 

The school officials were told the current equipment might not hold through the next warm season, which is part of the reason why the work is not being included in the budget for the coming fiscal year. 

Carver says it's not just about being comfortable, but what it does about the interior of the building and the possibility of mold developing.  She says there were a few days when the system went down.  At the beginning of the school year there were some especially hot days, and other districts cancelled classes.  The humidity levels built up so much that the building was raining in some spots and kids were slipping.

The meeting is at 7pm in Meeting Room A of the Municipal Center. 

Danbury City Councilman to resign after 20 years

After 20 years representing Danbury's 4th ward on the City Council, Tom Saadi is stepping down.  The Council Minority leader will submit his resignation to the Mayor and the Council President at their February 5th meeting. 

Saadi often spoke at municipal land use meetings in opposition to developments and zone changes believed to be harmful to the neighborhood, including fighting against a proposed waste transfer station on Plumtrees Road.  Saadi, a Major in the Army Reserves, also fought for the Army Reserve Center in Danbury. 

Since 2017, Saadi has served as the Commissioner of the State Department of Veterans Affairs.  He says greater responsibilities as Commissioner and increased military obligations, combined family responsibilities, led to his decision. While calling it an honor to serve Danbury and its people over the years, Saadi said the time and energy necessary to properly serve the residents of the 4th Ward, while carrying out his duties to Veterans, to this county and to his family, made it tough. 

He added that he will miss serving on the Council.

Sandy Hook firefighters respond to tree into home, CO alarm during storm

On Sunday, during a 16 hour stretch, Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Department responded to 27 calls, all related to the winter storm that brought a small amount of snow but a lot of ice to the region.  All five of Newtown's companies were called on to respond to multiple calls for trees on wires, some of which led to road closures. 

There were no storm related injuries in any of the calls. 

Sandy Hook also responded to one call where a tree went into a house, and another call for a CO detector. In that latter call, the family evacuated to their car while firefighters ventilated the house. A faulty generator was moved away from the home , and the family was able to go back into their home once the machine was relocated.

Berkshire Road was closed in a few places, including at its intersections with Jordan Hill, Bennets Bridge/Grays Plan and HIgh Right. A tree that fell from the corner of Berkshire and Bennetts Bridge took down all wires and traffic lights in that intersection.

Few remaining outages in Newtown from weekend storm

There are just a couple of remaining scattered outages in the Greater Danbury area from this weekend's storm.  Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says they are limited to single homes so complete restoration will take more time.  Eversource crews are working round the clock, when wind gusts allow for bucket trucks to safely operate.  The Newtown Municipal Center, located at Fairfield Hills will be open 8am to 8pm today as a warming station, charging location and has wifi available.  The Newtown Emergency Management Office reminded residents to avoid the use of candles due to the risk of fire if left unattended, not use outside cooking equipment inside and keep generator exhaust away from the house.

Drivers, pedestrians cautioned that branches may continue to fall

Greater Danbury officials are cautioning drivers and pedestrians to use caution as limbs and trees may continue to fall because of the weight of the ice on them.  Most roads in the area are passable after the weekend storm, but black ice is a concern.  Eversource will have crews working throughout the day. They are prioritizing restoration to impact the largest number of customers as soon as possible.

Brookfield firefighters put out chimney fire Saturday

Firefighters from both Brookfield companies responded to a report of a chimney fire in a home on Kellogg Street around 3pm Saturday. Firefighters were able to contain and extinguish a blaze that had spread to the home’s roof, keeping the incident from potentially becoming much worse. The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Brookfield Fire Marshal’s Office.

Firefighters pull deer from partially frozen pond in Newtown

There was an animal rescue off Taunton Lake Road in Newtown Friday morning.  Firefighters responded to a call from a bus driver who said they thought a dog was on the ice, about 100 yards from shore.  Police reported that a deer had gone through the ice.  The Newtown Bee reports that a pair of Newtown Hook & Ladder firefighters, in cold water gear and tethered by ropes, went out onto the partially frozen pond to reach the deer. They pulled the animal from the water and bring it to shore.  Newtown Underwater Search And Rescue responded, with backup from Hawleyville and Dodgingtown fire companies and Newtown Animal Control.

Plow fire reported on highway

There was a plow truck fire on the highway yesterday.  Danbury firefighters responded to the area between exits 8 and 9 eastbound around 7:15am.  A full size International Harvester commercial plow truck was fully engulfed in flames.  Several fire trucks responded while State Police and the state Department of Transportation provided traffic control and protection. No injuries were reported.

(Photo: DFD)

Big power outages reported in Newtown, warming centers opened

The ice-encased tree limbs and utility wires were too heavy to hang on in some places in Newtown and during the height of the cold yesterday, there was about a quarter of the town without power.  Eversource focused on a large outage in the area of Route 34 that was responsible for about half of the reported outages.  There were 80 total outage locations reported yesterday throughout Newtown. 

Eversource said they have seen customers using aluminum ladders to remove ice from trees near power lines.  Officials caution against this dangerous activity. 

The Newtown Municipal Center, located at Fairfield Hills will be open today from 9am to 5pm as a Warming Station/Cell phone/electronic equipment charging and WiFi.  The Newtown Senior Center is open 9am to 5pm. 

Danbury residents heed parking ban during weekend snow

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says for the most part, people obeyed the Level 1 Snow Emergency parking ban on City streets.  Boughton says there wasn't a lot of traffic on the roads during the storm, which helped plow crews to clear the snow.  The concern today is the wind gusts.  Danbury officials are keeping an eye on the temperatures and the number of power outages to determine if warming centers will be needed today.  Some of the public spaces typically used by people to get out of the closed, including the Library, are closed for the Martin Luther King holiday.  In Danbury, anyone with a sidewalk in front of their home or business is supposed to shovel within four hours of daylight after the storm stops.  Area fire departments are asking that if people have a fire hydrant on their property or near by, that they make sure there is a clear path to the equipment in case of emergency.

New Milford Public Works out in force during storm

New Milford Mayor Pete Bass says the Department of Public Works got out ahead of the storm to treat the roads.  But with temperatures well below freezing, many road surfaces are still icy and slippery.  The New Milford Public Works crews went out yesterday evening to continue treating and scraping the road system.  If residents do not have power, fire officials ask that the use of candles be avoided due to the risk of fire if left unattended.  Outside cooking equipment should not be used inside and generator exhaust should be kept away from a home or garage.  Officials ask that residents check on any elderly or frail neighbors to be certain they are doing OK.

Ridgefield Police report at least one downed tree

Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi is reminding residents that sand is provided for residents, non-commercial, use.  The sand is in a pile directly across South Street from the Ridgefield Animal Control Center.  Ridgefield Emergency Management says anyone who doesn't have power, should call Eversource and not assume the company knows.  Outages can also be reported online.  Ridgefield Police reported at least one tree on wires yesterday.

Danbury Police Officer spots porch fire, grabs extinguisher from patrol car

A Danbury Police Officer out on patrol Saturday afternoon spotted a fire on a second floor porch and went into action.  Officer Emilio Masella called the Fire Department and then used the fire extinguisher from his patrol car to slow the flames on Rose Hill Avenue.  Other Police Officers were able to alert the residents of the blaze.  Within minutes of getting the call, firefighters finished extinguishing the fire, and removed the occupants from the building. The Fire Marshals Office is investigating cause and origin of the fire.  No injuries were reported.

Newtown Police to buy speed display signs for Toddy Hill Rd

Money has been earmarked in Newtown for two solar-powered electronic speed display signs to be located on Toddy Hill Road.  Police Chief James Viadero said during a recent Police Commission meeting that the funding was found for the devices to deter motorists from speeding.  Stepped up police patrols have been operating in the area, but now that it's winter, the current battery-powered portable speed display sign is in storage.

Stabilization work continues on Octagon House in Danbury

Crews continue to make emergency repairs to the Octagon House in Danbury.  Construction Services worked with the City Engineer and Planner as NAC Industries re-mobilized and performed some additional work to the second floor fascia boards, requested by the architect.  The work has been completed and the scaffolding has been removed.  Public Works is fencing the property in to secure the building.

Kent Parks & Rec Board has an opening

The Kent Park and Recreation Commission has an opening for a commission member to fill a three-year seat.  The commission meets the third Monday of the month at 7pm in Kent Town Hall.  The commission is charged with oversight of the Town’s recreational programs and two parks. Residents interested in being considered should submit their intention and background in writing to Kent Park and Recreation Commission, P.O. Box 678, Kent 06757 or email parkandrec@townofkentct.org.  

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