Local News

Bethel Charter Revision Commission to hold public hearing

The Bethel Charter Revision Committee is holding a public hearing on proposed changes to the town's governing document.  The Committee was charged last October with coming up with technical revisions and larger changes.  The group previously held a public hearing and met monthly to discussed proposals.  Among other things, they propose increasing the Board of Selectmen to a 4-year term.  This new public hearing is on Wednesday in the General Purpose Room of the Bethel Municipal Center at 7pm.


Brookfield Police holding car seat safety clinic

The Brookfield Police Department is marking Child Passenger Safety Week with a car seat clinic on Saturday.  The event is at Brookfield Town Hall from 5 to 8pm.  The Department's car seat technicians will be there to answer questions and check or install car seats.  No appointment is needed.  The event is free and open to Brookfield residents, and nonresidents.


New Fairfield Library holds fall book sale

Friends of the New Fairfield Library Fall Book Sale is this weekend.  It's Saturday through Monday 10am to 4pm.  Proceeds will benefit the library.  Sunday is fill-a-bag day for $10.  Monday, all books are free though donations are accepted.  Most books priced at $2 or less.


Education organizations applaud Congresswoman for Pell Restoration bill introduction

The National Education Association and Connecticut Education Association has applauded 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, longtime NEA and CEA member, on her introduction of the Pell Grant Restoration Act.  The organizations said in a statement that Hayes has spent her entire adult life fighting for students, first in the classroom and now in Congress.  The proposed bill would allow students who were victims of predatory for-profit colleges to have a second chance at a higher education with a full slate of Pell benefits.


State Labor Department releases latest unemployment statistics

Four of the six Labor Market Areas saw job increases in August and only one saw a decline. The Danbury area remained unchanged. Only the Waterbury area had job losses, dropping 200 positions.  The August unemployment rate for Connecticut is estimated at 3.6 percent, unchanged from the revised July figure.  It's down four-tenths of a percentage point from a year ago. The US jobless rate in August was 3.7 percent.  Connecticut gained 2,800 net jobs in August.  Over the year, nonagricultural employment in the state grew by 0.4 percent.  The July originally-released job loss of 100 was revised up to a gain of 1,600.  State Department of Labor Researcher Andy Condon says Connecticut saw gains in six of the ten major Industry sectors measured. The labor force grew for the first time in many months.


Services scheduled for Redding native killed in horse riding accident

Services have been set for Samantha Calzone, a Greenwich resident who died in a horseback-riding accident on Monday in Dover, New York.  Services for the Redding native will be held Saturday from 3 to 7pm and Sunday 10am to 1pm at Leo P. Gallagher Funeral Home in Stamford.  The horse Calzone was riding reared for an unknown reason and fell on top of the 23-year old.  In 2014, Calzone was accepted into the animal science program at UConn and joined the equestrian team.  She graduated magna cum laude in 2018. The UConn Equestrian Team posted the following notice about Calzone, “She served as a mentor and a true ray of sunshine to UCET and all people who were lucky enough to know her. Sam was a true horsewoman and loved our sport, and these animals, with her whole heart.”


Committee formed in Bethel to bolster Sustainable CT efforts

The Bethel Board of Selectmen has voted to create a new ad hoc committee to focus on the Sustainable CT program.  The initiative encourages municipalities to meet various environmental, business, housing, health and related goals.  3 to 5 people will be asked to examine the goals the town has met or can work toward in promoting the environment.  Brookfield, New Milford and Roxbury are among the other 50 towns in the program.  The municipalities are eligible for grants when they reach certain benchmarks toward becoming more sustainable.


Vehicle snaps telephone pole, hits house in Monroe

Emergency responders in Monroe were alerted early this morning to a car versus  telephone pole and possibly into a house.  Firefighters, Police and EMS found a pickup truck off of Wheeler Road around 2:45am.  The vehicle severed a telephone pole and struck a local residence. Firefighters checked for various hazards and structural damage. The scene was turned over to Police and Eversource.  This happened near Pamela Drive.


WCSU students, staff participate in Western Day of Service

Today is Western Day of Service at West Conn. Work teams comprised of students, faculty, staff and alumni will spread out across the community to help local schools, service organizations, first responders and others.  Close to 300 volunteers helped over 40 not-for-profit organizations in the Greater Danbury area last year. From clearing trails at a local horse farm to painting stairwells, sorting through donated clothes, pulling weeds or washing fire trucks and ambulances, University officials say there were worthwhile projects to do everywhere. Generally all volunteers had fun and organizations appreciated the help.


Erratic driver in Newtown found with rifles, sword

A 911 call about an erratic driver in Newtown has led to a DWI charge against a Meriden man.  Newtown Police received the call Monday night, about a pickup truck in the area of the flagpole.  An officer with the department's traffic unit spotted the suspect vehicle on South Main Street. 

The driver, 56-year old John Petrocelli, failed field sobriety tests.  During the officer's investigation, police say Petrocelli was not very cooperative. 

He was found in possession of marijuana, two rifles, and a sword.  Police spokesman Lt Aaron Bahamonde says police have not been able to determine why Petrocelli was driving in Newtown, though he might have been lost.

Petrocelli was charged with DWI, Criminal Possession of a Firearm, Violation of a Protective Order, Weapons in a Motor Vehicle, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of drug Paraphernalia. 


Sherman tie vote denies funding to Candlewood Lake Authority for weed mapping

Funding for weed mapping on Candlewood Lake did not pass in Sherman.  During the town meeting last weekend, there was a tie vote which resulted in the $5,000 allocation being denied. 

The money would have been sent to the Candlewood Lake Authority so they could hire the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station to continue mapping the aquatic plants.  The move was proposed after First Light Power Resources, the lake's owner, hired Northeast Aquatic Research to do the mapping this year.  First Selectman Don Lowe told the Newstimes that the executive committee of the CLA sanctioned the change, but it was not supported by the CLA Board.

Sherman residents approved $2,000 for surveillance cameras at Volunteer Park in an effort to address vandalism issues with people driving on the grass.  Residents also signed off on Saturday for up to $7,000 for a fence at Volunteer Field. 

Sherman residents approved up to $15,000 to drill a new well by town hall.  The allocation will also be used for infrastructure needed to get the water to the Sherman Playhouse and the firehouse.  Sherman officials hope this solves a longstanding problem of high levels of sodium and chloride at town hall, the Sherman School and senior center. 

A study done last year found that the elevated levels are due to road salt getting into the wells.


Bethel officials disband Religious Display Committee

The Bethel Board of Selectmen has disbanded the holiday display guideline committee.  At their meeting this week, the Board voted 2 to 1 to officially close out their work.  Selectman Paul Szatkowski argued that they should remain through the application process for this holiday season.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said they should consider disbanding other committees that are no longer active.  This group was empaneled to come up with guidelines for religious displays on town owned property, and how applications would be selected.


Trial date set for permit issue in Danbury vs. Dorothy Day

A trial date has been set in the case of the City of Danbury Zoning Board of Appeals versus Dorothy Day Hospitality House.  The trial will proceed June 24th of next year.  The case centers on the decision to deny exemptions from certain zoning regulations so that the owner of the Spring Street facility could get a special permit from the Planning Commission to operate as a soup kitchen.  Dorothy Day hasn't held a permit for more than three decades.  City officials recently learned that the owners never applied for a renewal after the initial special permit was granted in the 80s. 


Woman convicted in 13-year-old girl's death released

NEW MILFORD, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut woman who was part of a gang convicted in the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl is going to be released from prison early for good behavior.

The News-Times reports that Maggie Mae Bennett will be released on Oct. 10 after serving 17 years of a 19-year sentence for conspiracy.

Bennett is one of eight people five men and three women convicted in the kidnapping, beating, rape and drowning of Maryann Measles in 1997.

Measles' sister, Jennifer Johnson, calls Bennett's impending release ``sickening.''

Measles was preparing to make statutory rape allegations against two of the men in the gang, one 19-year-old and one 21-year-old.

Measles had had sex with Bennett's boyfriend, A.J. Walter, who is serving a 60-year sentence.


Danbury Chamber to host Mayoral Debate

For the first time in 10 years, the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Mayoral debate.  Longtime Republican incumbent Mark Boughton is being challenged by former City Council president Chris Setaro.  The debate is October 10th at the Crowne Plaza.  Tickets are still available through the Chamber.  It will be livestreamed, so other City residents can watch live online.  Boughton has served nine terms as mayor.  Setaro is an attorney and former City Council President.  In the 2001 Mayoral race, Setaro lost to Boughton by just 127-votes.  Boughton and Setaro have agreed to an hour-long format, taking questions from a single moderator. 


Special Town Meeting in Bethel on Water Main Replacement Project

A Special Town Meeting is being held in Bethel about the 2019 Water Main Replacement Project. The Public Utilities Commission has recommended nearly a billion dollars for improvements to the water system.  The Boards of Selectmen and Finance are asking residents to weigh in on the 998-thousand dollar request for the work.  Payment for the project will be made by the water account users of the Public Utilities Commission.  The Special Town Meeting is at 7pm on September 24th in Meeting Room A of the Municipal Center. 

The streets in the project area are:

Mansfield Street

Grassy Plain Terrace

Oakland Heights

Maple Lane

Highview Terrace from Grassy Plain Terrace up to No. 22 Highview Terrace

 

Alternate Project portions:

Pleasant Street and Highview Terrace between Nos. 22 and 18


Brookfield Health Department issues warning about vaping

A warning has been issued by the Brookfield Health Department about the dangers associated with vaping.  With the advent of at least 11 serious cases of “chemical” pneumonia reported in the State of Connecticut, The Brookfield Health Department warns parents and others against all forms of Vaping, until the issue and its effects upon the body can be more thoroughly studied.  As of October 1st, sales of Vaping delivery systems and paraphernalia will be limited to persons 21 and older.  Brookfield health officials say individuals under the age of 24 are particularly prone to the harmful effects of vaping; even for those who do not vape nicotine or marijuana. 


Danbury Streetscape presentation scheduled

The Downtown Danbury Streetscape Renaissance project is underway with new design plans being prepared for construction.  This funded by a $2 million grant from the State of Connecticut Responsible Growth and Transit-Oriented Development Grant Program, with capital projects funding from the City. A presentation on the Downtown Danbury Transit-Oriented Development Study is being held tonight at City Hall. It's at 7pm in the 3rd floor Council Chambers. Plans include new sidewalk design, landscaping, and streetscape amenities.


Redding League of Women Voters Fall hosts 'Meet Your Legislators' event 

The Redding League of Women Voters Fall meeting featured a 'Meet Your Legislators' event Tuesday night at Highstead Arboretum.  Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan attended the discussion.  He says this is part of a commitment to be visible and accessible.  He added that there can be debate, exchange ideas and even disagreement, with mutual respect. At the end of the day, Allie-Brennan says they all want what’s best for the community - even if there's not agreement on what that is.


New Milford Senior Center hosts Storytime with Seniors

The New Milford Senior Center has welcomed kids back from the Children's Center of New Milford for Storytime with Seniors.  The Children's Center visits the Senior Center every third Wednesday morning of the month for about an hour.  The books are borrowed from New Milford Library.  Volunteers interested in reading to the children are asked to contact the New Milford Senior Center at 860-355-6075.


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