Local News

New Fairfield firefighters put out brush fire

New Fairfield 911 received multiple reports of a brush fire Wednesday on Douglas Lane.  Firefighters spotted the smoke and confirmed a working brush fire. The flames were quickly knocked down and only land was affected by the blaze. Firefighters were challenged by a steep hill, but were able to overcome that obstacle. There is no cause for the fire that is being released at this time.  Firefighters urged residents to be careful with outside fires, and to keep a hose nearby in case the fire becomes uncontained.


Greater Danbury area Police offer advice for Black Friday shoppers

Greater Danbury area Police are offering some advice for Black Friday to protect shoppers while out and about.  Their primary recommendation is to keep parked vehicles locked and remove all items of value, partly because there's been an uptick in thefts from vehicles recently.  Police say shoppers should keep at least one hand free at all times and not to carry so many bags that you become an easy target for someone who may want to assault or rob you.  Anyone who sees someone who looks suspicious in the parking lot, should not park by that person and inform security or Police of their presence.


Precincts selected at random for Election Day audit

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has randomly selected voting precincts to have results audited following the municipal election. Five percent of the polling precincts are subject to the audit.  The ballots will be matched against the vote totals from the optical scan machines.  Among the precincts chosen at random was the Newtown Middle School Gym.  Southbury Community Center District 3 was selected as an alternate to be audited.  Merrill says this process is one of the strongest protections Connecticut has in order to ensure that the results accurately reflect the votes cast.


Public Health Department updates Danbury area COVID-19 data

According to the latest COVID-19 data from the state Department of Public Health, Bethel has had 25 cases of COVID-19 in the last two weeks, Brookfield reported 35 and Danbury experienced 89.  There were 11 COVID cases in New Fairfield, 82 in New Milford and 27 in Newtown.  Redding reported 17 cases in the last two weeks while Ridgefield had 41.

The state department of Public Health is reporting that Bethel has a COVID-19 infection rate of 2.7 percent.  Danbury is similar at 2.8 percent.  The rate is based on population per 100,000.  Brookfield's COVID-19 infection rate over the last two weeks is 4.1 percent. New Fairfield's is 5.7 percent while New Milford is at 5.9 percent.  Newtown's COVID-19 infection rate ticked up a bit to 2 percent.  Redding has seen a spike in cases and the infection rate is 4.3 percent.  Ridgefield's positivity rate is 2 percent. 

The state's latest daily COVID-19 test positivity rate is 3.72 percent.  841 positive confirmed or probable cases were detected out of about 22,000 tests. 

There were 18 more patients in the hospital with COVID.  The inpatient total is 300.  31 people have died in Connecticut over the past week from causes related to COVID-19. 

As for breakthrough infections, 22,621 cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated persons in Connecticut have been identified, a .93 percent breakthrough rate.


COVID-19 cases increase in Danbury area

Many more Connecticut municipalities are reporting higher cases of COVID-19.  The state's color coded community spread map shows a few Greater Danbury area towns in the Red, with 15 or more cases per 100,000 population.  That includes New Milford, Southbury, Bridgewater, Roxbury and Woodbury.  In the Orange zone with 10 to 15 cases per 100,000 population over two weeks are Brookfield, Redding, Ridgefield and Wilton.  The Yellow zone, with 5 to 10 cases per 100,000 population include Danbury, Bethel, Newtown, New Fairfield and Weston.  In the Grey, with fewer than 5 cases, are Sherman, Kent and Washington.


New American Dream Foundation to deliver holiday meal to Danbury seniors

The New American Dream Foundation COVID-19 Hot Meal Program will be delivering a special holiday meal to Danbury seniors and families this Thanksgiving Saturday.  Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the program has served children, families, and seniors in Danbury with over 30,000 meals purchased at cost from The Amber Room. 

A UConn report found that 10.9 percent of older adults in Danbury are food insecure.  According to the United Way, in parts of the city, food insecurity among older adults is as high as 30 percent, likely increasing due to the pandemic. 

On Saturday, between 11:30 am and noon, 650 meals will be delivered to seniors residing at, Palace View, Kimberly Place, Danbury Towers, Augustana Homes, Putnam Towers, Glen Apartments, Crosby Manor, and Danbury Commons.  As part of the special Holiday Meal delivery, members of the National Charity League Nutmeg chapter have also prepared handmade greeting cards to be delivered with each meal. Anyone interested in volunteering or donating can find more details at thenewamericandreamfoundation.org

Foundation Vice-President Emanuela Palmares says they not only provide a warm meal, but safe human contact to the most vulnerable seniors in the community.  She says their excitement to say hello to our volunteers is what drives them to continue the monthly meal delivery program. 


84 stolen vehicles recovered over two-months by local police coalition

84 stolen vehicles have been recovered over a two-month period as a result of local police departments working together in a collaboration dubbed Operation Wingspan.  Newtown Police Chief James Viadeo says 11 of those were recovered while being used in the commission of another crime.  The $5 million operation, using state funds, involved Newtown, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Westport, Monroe, Trumbull, and Stratford along with the FBI. 

The departments have arrested 38 adults and seven juveniles, seized 12 guns, and recovered narcotics.  Monroe Chief John Salvatore says one of the guns was later traced to a shooting. 

The police chiefs say the same technology that makes driving a modern car more convenient also makes it easier to steal.  Their efforts will continue through the end of the year and Viadero says they're asking the state if they want to extend the funding. 

The coalition is based in the recently opened Bridgeport Police Fusion Center.  A couple of town police officers joined nearly a dozen from Bridgeport to monitor about 12-hundred cameras around the Ciuy and pool their information from license plate readers.


Brookfield Police report uptick in stolen cars, thefts from vehicles

There has been a significant uptick in stolen vehicles and thefts from cars throughout Brookfield over the past week.  Brookfield Police say several vehicles have been stolen and numerous unlocked cars have been entered and items removed. Police say there are a few simple acts that can stop these nighttime thieves, including locking doors, removing keys and placing them in a secure area.  Valuables should not be left in vehicles and anything suspicious should be reported to Police.


No injuries in Bethel, Brookfield rollovers

No injuries were reported in a rollover accident in Bethel yesterday afternoon.  Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company responded to Walnut Hill Road and found the sole occupant uninjured.  In Brookfield yesterday morning, firefighters responded to a rollover accident on Huckleberry Hill Road. There were no injuries reported.  On Tuesday night though, two drivers were injured in a  Brookfield crash.  The accident happened in the area of Whisconier and Pocono roads.  The crash also resulted in a large fluid spill in the area. Crews remained at the scene for roughly 45 minutes until the crash site was cleared and the spill was handled.


New Milford man arrested for alleged drug sales

New Milford Police have arrested a local man on drug related charges.  Police say 53-year old Robert Rotella was charged on Tuesday after an investigation by local Police and the statewide narcotics task force.  He was found in possession of cocaine, fentanyl, Xanax and oxycodone.  Rotella was charged with operating a drug factory, possession with intent to sell and 4 counts of possession of a controlled substance. He is due in court on December 8th.


Zoning Commission rejects application for homeless shelter in Danbury

The Danbury Zoning Commission has rejected an application for a regulation change that would have paved the way for the former Super 8 motel in Danbury officially being changed into a homeless shelter.  The vote against was 6 to 3.  The three were Commissioners Kelly, Masi and Melillo. 

Commission member Candace Fay says the shelter changes the character of the neighborhood.  She and others opposed to the application cited safety and other concerns.  Some members also expressed concern that the application could be viewed as spot zoning, which is illegal.  Only three other properties in Danbury would fit the proposed regulation. 

The application was for an 86 room facility with supportive services.  Pacific House planned to provide 48 supportive housing units, with the rest of the rooms for emergency beds.  The state worked with the Stamford-based nonprofit to use $4.63 million in federal funds to purchase the property.  Had the Commission approved the application, Pacific House would next needed to have applied to the Planning Commission for a Special Permit.


New Fairfield Holiday Light Parade this weekend

The 10th Annual New Fairfield Holiday Light Parade will take place on Saturday, with a rain/snow date of Sunday.  The parade will start at 5:15 at the intersection of Saw Mill Road and Route 37, proceeding up Brush Hill Road past Town Hall, and ending at Brush Drive. The Town Tree on Memorial Field will be lit following the parade.  Santa's Wonderland will be located in front of the Senior Center located at 33 Route 37.  Santa will be accepting letters from children during the drive through.  No reservations required.

 


Bethel FD Christmas Tree sale set to begin

Some reports are that there could be a Christmas tree shortage this year, but Bethel Fire Department has been planning for this.  Last week a handful of members drove over 600 miles to bring home 225 trees for their annual fundraiser.  Area residents can begin purchasing the New England-grown trees on Friday.  They are $45 each, with trees ranging from 6 feet to 9 feet, and firefighters can help families shorten them if needed.

 


Friends of the Danbury Library hosting weekend bag sale

The Friends of the Danbury Library are hosting a Thanksgiving weekend bag sale at the Friends Little Red House Book Store Friday and Saturday.  The hours are from 10am to 3pm at 15 Main Street. Items include pre-owned children and adult books, CDs, and DVDs.  The fundraiser for the library costs $10.  Attendees will receive a Friends cloth bag to fill with items, excluding rare and collectibles.

 


Basketball courts being built at Rogers Park

Years ago the City of Danbury approved funding in the budget for basketball courts, but no location was ever found.  Now Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says the $200,000 will be used to create a court at Rogers Park.  It will be a full regulation size court.  Over the years the Department identified potential locations, but environmental testing showed that none of them would be acceptable locations.  He notes that every square inch of the park is utilized, except one area where there used to be bathhouses for when there was a pool at the park.  An old sewer and an abandoned water main needed to be removed.  Iadarola says they did the design in-house and shoe-horned it in.  This was the only spot left to be able to fit a full sized court with seating around it.  It is handicap accessible.


Grant to help bring Revolutionary War soldier stories to life

A grant will help make the stories of the soldiers who spent time at Putnam Park in Redding during the Revolutionary War more accessible.  The American Battlefield Protection Program at the National Park Service has awarded a 46-thousand-241 dollar grant to expand access to Revolutionary war history.  The funding is going to the CRIS, the Connecticut Radio Information System, which provides audio access to people who are blind or print challenged.  4th District Congressman Jim Himes touted the grant award.  Redding served as the winter encampment for three brigades of the Continental Army, under General Israel Putnam, during the winter of 1778-79.


Danbury Zoning Commission rejects application for homeless shelter regulation changes

After more than 20 hours of testimony and 741 documents, the Danbury Zoning Commission has denied an application for a regulation change that would have allowed a homeless shelter on Lake Avenue Extension.  Pacific House recently bought the building and took over operations from the City.  The homeless population has been housed at the former Super 8 since the start of the pandemic.  The shelter will be allowed to continue operations under the Governor's executive orders on congregate settings, which expires in February.  The Commission voted 6-to-3 against the application.


Sherman firefighters respond to report of car in pond

A sinking vehicle has been pulled from a pond in Sherman.  The Volunteer Fire Department was called to Schimpf Pon at Volunteer Park on Sunday afternoon.  It was unknown if the half-submerged minivan was occupied.  Firefighters donned dry suits and entered the water to search for potential victims.  No occupants were found in the vehicle.  The driver was later located and evaluated before being transported to New Milford Hospital.  Gaylordsville Volunteer Fire responded with mutual aid.  Crews cleared the scene about 2 and a half hours later. 


Bethel Firefighters caution of Thanksgiving cooking dangers

Bethel Fire & EMS is warning that frying pans can catch fire.  They say it's a natural reaction to reach for a pot of water, but grease fires and water do not mix.  This holiday season, as residents spend more time in the kitchen,  people are urged to be confident with how to safely smother a grease fire to avoid a dangerous situation.  Bethel and Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Companies have created safety videos, posted to their Facebook page.


New Fairfield firefighters offer cooking safety tips

The last two nights the New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department had been called to extinguish chimney fires. With the colder weather setting in, fire officials are reminding residents to get chimneys cleaned prior to use each year.  The New Fairfield Fire Marshal is also offering some Thanksgiving cooking safety tips.  Those include staying in the kitchen to keep an eye on the food, keeping children away from the stove and away from knives.  Fire officials note that the steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.


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