In an effort to discourage Squantz Pond visitors from parking along Shortwoods Road in New Fairfield, signs were put up for the weekend saying that the road is closed to through traffic. There is still storm debris along Shortwoods Road, so parking along the street could have created a safety hazard. The road remained open to local traffic. Signs were placed at the intersection with Beaver Bog Road.
New York State Police are investigating a fatal all-terrain vehicle crash. The accident happened Friday morning on Blackberry Hill Road in Somers. The ATV was operated by 15-year old Reece Ferrara. He struck a concrete mailbox pillar, was ejected from the vehicle, and later pronounced dead at the hospital.
A parent workshop on teen dating violence is being held tomorrow night by the Women's Center of Greater Danbury. The workshop at Ridgefield Library will include a panel discussion with local teens, parents and experts, and a presentation on the dynamics of abuse. Parents will learn how to support children and start conversations with them about healthy relationships. The goal is to create a safe space to have an open discussion about this issue. Tomorrow's workshop is from 6:30 to 8pm.
The Danbury Early College Opportunity program has received a $30,000 grant. Funding from the Fairfield County Community Foundation will pay for course programming to help the Danbury High School students as they pursue an Associate Degree in Computer Information Sciences. The degree is offered by Naugatuck Valley Community College, earned simultaneously with a high school diploma.
An anonymous donor is offering to pay for a track and field training center at Bethel High School. The Newstimes reports that the facility would be for practices only and not to hold competitions. It would included a 200-meter track, storage space and practice space for hurdling, long jump and shot put. Plans call for leasing the lot by the old tennis courts for a dollar a year for 5 years, and then it be given to the Board of Education. If all approvals go through, construction could be done at the same time as renovations to Rockwell and Johnson schools are done, beginning this fall.
A judge has encouraged Danbury and the Dorothy Day Hospitality House to come to an agreement so he doesn't have to issue a ruling in a cease and desist case. The Zoning Board of Appeals took up a request for variances at their meeting last week. The ZBA continued the hearing to July 12th so Dorothy Day can get more information to the board. Variances are being sought so a site plan, with special exceptions, can be filed with the Planning Commission.
In order to bring the application to the Planning Commission, Dorothy Day has to show to that the site conforms to regulations for proposed use, or has obtained variances if the property doesn't conform.
There are three buildings on the property. The largest is a brick building with a market and the Dorothy Day Hospitality House and four 1-bedroom apartments on the second floor. Another building housed the former office of catholic charities office and has two apartments. The third building is the shelter.
Setback exceptions were requested because the buildings, constructed in the 19th century, and are not in compliance today. The zone also requires a 20,000 square foot lot to apply for a special exception for a homeless shelter, but the lot is only total 13,118 square feet.
There are two driveways on the property, and there isn't room for a 24-foot wide driveway at either current location. The ZBA wants input from the fire department on driveway exceptions. One ZBA member said the lot should be regraded so a variance isn't needed on the parking lot size.
Bethel Police are investigating numerous reported thefts from vehicles that happened Saturday into Sunday. At least one vehicle was stolen from Wolfpits Road. The attempted break ins happened around Andrews Street and Governors Lane. One vehicle reported stolen recently has been recovered. Bethel Police say the targeted vehicles were left unlocked and the stolen vehicles had the keys inside. Several other Police Departments in the region are investigating incidents in their jurisdictions as well.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's medical examiner has ruled the death of a prison inmate who struggled with guards a homicide.
J'Allen Jones died in March at the Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown. Authorities said the 31-year-old Atlanta man was being transferred to a mental health unit when he became combative with staff, and then become non-responsive.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Gill told the Hartford Courant that Jones' death resulted from "restraint with chest compression" and an adverse reaction to pepper spray.
Gill says the homicide finding does not necessarily mean a crime was committed.
A correction department spokeswoman says state police are continuing to investigate the incident, but added the agency stands by its initial assessment that officers did not appear to use excessive force.
Jones was serving a 10-year sentence for armed robbery.
A Pennsylvania man has been arrested in Southbury after Connecticut Police were alerted by authorities in that state about the stolen vehicle. Troopers located 36-year old Alex Ocasio near exit 13 on Friday and pulled him over. He allegedly broke into several cars before finding the one he was driving in Connecticut. Ocasio gave Troopers his brother's name, but his real identity was discovered when he was fingerprinted. Ocasio was charged with larceny, criminal impersonation and driving with a suspended license. He is due in Danbury Superior Court today. Ocasio is also wanted in Waterbury, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
A public hearing is being held by the Danbury City Council tonight about an abatement on personal property taxes for information technology. The Danbury Tax Assessor's Office asked the Danbury City Council in October 2016 to approve an ordinance. It would give the City an option to abate personal property taxes on information technology. State law allows for municipalities to abate up to 100-percent of IT personal property taxes, with no other guidelines. The Danbury ordinance would abate 50-percent of the personal property taxes attributable to information technology personal property for use in a qualified data center.
The proposal outlines certain deadlines and criteria. It establishes that there be a $15 million minimum value for the qualifying property. The abatement would be for three years. New property added during that three year period would be eligible for another abatement.
Praxair asked for this kind of abatement, but the ordinance can't be tailored to Praxair, it's has to be available to anyone that wants to make an investment in Danbury. Councilman Paul Rotello was concerned because there's a limited amount of industrial property in the City and he doesn't want a company put up an empty building in order to get this abatement with no employees. He referred to it as a turn-key server farm, doing nothing else.
The public hearing is at 7pm and will be followed by a meeting of the Council.
A Praxair representative noted that after a nationwide search in 2015, the company decided to remain in Danbury and purchased a property on Riverview Drive. At that time, they also purchased a property in upstate New York specifically zoned for data centers. The company says data centers are attractive investments, not because of the amount of jobs they bring to an area, but because they bring tangible property with little to no drain on local resources like water and electric. There's also little impact on traffic.
An accidental fire last Saturday at the New town landfill destroyed a town-owned excavator. It was being used to move wood debris from last month's extreme storm. The Newtown Bee reports that the machine was driven off the flammable pile and extinguished by Botsford volunteer firefighters with water and foam. There were no injuries. Newtown is temporarily renting an excavator for storm debris cleanup work.
Danbury State Representative Michael Ferguson went back to school recently, to explain the role of local representatives in state government. The former Board of Ed member spoke to a Danbury High School civics class and answered questions on topics including current and proposed state law, the passing of a bi-partisan compromise state budget, education policies, and tolls.
Some Newtown students recently spent time at the state capitol. St. Rose’s fourth-grade students were welcomed by Representative Mitch Bolinsky. The students also met with Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, learned about the Capitol's history, and visited the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Bushnell Park.
As New Milford High Schoolers head into their last few days of classes, State Representative Bill Buckbee spoke with two groups of students enrolled in civics courses. Buckbee answered questions about the job of representing New Milford in Hartford, how state business is conducted, and was specific pieces of legislation he crafted.
Danbury firefighters helped a couple with a flat tire earlier this week. A crew was returning to the station when they came across a couple who got off the highway with a blown tire. The couple tried to jack the car up, but the jack failed and broke and the car dropped. A firefighter used their lift stabilizer, changed the tire and sent the couple on their way.
A rollover accident in Danbury last night sent one person to the hospital. Firefighters responded to Town Hill Avenue near Clark Street shortly after 11pm and found the vehicle had struck a pole and rolled onto its side. The pole was broken into three pieces, and contained a transformer, a street light, and multiple power and telecommunication lines. The car was close to the wires and Eversource was called in. Bethel firefighters helped stabilize the car, and helped to keep bystanders away from downed lines. The driver had to be extricated from the vehicle. Town Hill Avenue was closed for about 8 hours while Eversource restored service.
Changes have been made to the Danbury school calendar for next year to comply with a waiver from the State Board of Education. The first day of the upcoming school year in Danbury will be August 31st. The Danbury Board of Ed approved the new calendar at its meeting this week.
August 31st is an addition to the calendar to make up for the one day the schools fell short this year, and will be shortened as a weather/emergency dismissal. The remainder of the day will be pre-opening for faculty and staff.
Broadview Middle School and Pembroke and Hayestown Avenue elementary schools will go 182 days next year due to other closures due to a city water main break and an October power outage. The extra day for these three schools is October 8th, when schools are closed to students for staff professional development, and is scheduled as a weather/emergency dismissal. The remainder of the day, faculty and staff will join planned professional development activities.
The town of Redding is facing higher legal bills than budget for. The Board of Finance discussed the situation Wednesday. Appeals for recent appraisals, along with attorney bills for an investigation into the Police Chief exceeded the $200,000 legal budget. The Newstimes reports that the investigation has cost $150,000. Chief Douglas Fuchs has been on administrative leave since last fall when the town was sued over the department's handling of a suicide case. In order to make up the $116,000 difference, Redding will implement a hiring freeze through the end of the fiscal year. Roadwork that isn't bonded, highway department overtime and purchases will not go through until after June 30.
Students in the Danbury Early College Opportunity program at Danbury High School have participated in an Internship Exposition. Students shared their internship projects while others received awards for their academic performance in the program, which gives students an opportunity to earn an Associate Degree simultaneously with their high school diploma. The degree program is offered by Naugatuck Valley Community College. Students begin accelerating their high school requirements so that by sophomore or junior year they can begin incorporating college-level courses. They can expect to complete the Associate Degree in four, five or six years. Some courses may take place at NVCC’s Danbury campus.
Putnam County has received a $100,000 state grant for drainage improvements to Airport Park in Mahopac. The county-owned property was leased to the Town of Carmel in 2005 for 99-years. The drainage improvements will improve water quality to downstream wetlands and surrounding water bodies, address a water runoff issue and phosphorous reduction at Lake McGregor that abuts Airport Park.
There's a potable water issue at John Read Middle School in Redding. During Tuesday's Board of Selectmen meeting, it was mentioned that comments on social media have linked the lack of potable water to inadequate funding, but that's been rebuked. According to meeting minutes, funding has not been sought as solutions are explored. Three wells have been dug over the years due to longstanding issues with the water. The current well in use at John Read has sodium levels that are too high for drinking water.
The Redding Boards of Finance and Education have approved revised budgets for the coming fiscal year. The Board of Selectmen set the date of the referendum as Tuesday, June 26th at the Redding Community Center.
Residents are being asked to sign off on a $49.2 million budget, which includes Redding's share of the Region 9 budget. Redding's share is $13.4 million. The amount was unchanged because voters in Redding and Easton approved the plan on the second ballot.
The overall budget includes $14.7 for the town, $21.1 million for the schools. Absentee Balloting is currently available.