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Danbury man sentenced to 5 years in prison on gun, drug charges

A Danbury man has been sentenced for having a gun and drugs in a secret trap compartment in his car.  28-year old Ernando Rodriguez was sentenced to 5 years in prison for illegally possessing a firearm in connection with his drug trafficking activities.  Stamford Police arrested the Danbury man when he showed up to conduct a drug sale in September.  His backpack had 58 grams of cocaine and 116 grams of marijuana in it.  The secret storage area had another 100 grams of cocaine, a handgun and a loaded 9mm magazine.  Rodriguez has been detained since his federal arrest in January.


Bethel man arrested for allegedly groping child while babysitting

A Bethel man has been arrested for the sexual assault of a child.  Bethel Police arrested 42-year old Nathan Shupp yesterday for assault and two counts of risk of injury.  A 10-year old reported that Shupp had inappropriate contact with the intimate parts of the victim's body in the form of groping while he was babysitting.  The alleged incidents occurred at Shupp's home while he was watching the child.  He is being held on 50-thousand dollars bond and will be arraigned today.


Ridgefield Police investigate counterfeit bill used at local store

Another incident of fake money being used at a Ridgefield store is under investigation.  Ridgefield Police say a local business received a counterfeit $20 on Tuesday night.  Police say it appears that the bill came from a store in Norwalk.  In late June, Ridgefield Police arrested a New York resident on a Forgery charge for passing counterfeit bills.  In that case, a Brooklyn teen was charged for allegedly trying to use a bogus $20 bill at a gas station on Danbury Road.  At that time Ridgefield Police cautioned businesses to use tools at their disposal to determine whether cash is legitimate. 


Two vehicle crash closed westbound I-84 in Carmel

A serious two car crash closed part of the westbound highway in Carmel early yesterday afternoon.  A van and a passenger car collided just east of Route 312, exit 19 shortly after 11am. Both drivers were transported to Danbury Hospital.  Police say a truck that tried to stop in the stalled traffic near the 684 interchange went off the road. The truck driver was uninjured.  


Greater Danbury area towns to open cooling centers

Due to the forecasted weather conditions for this upcoming weekend, Wilton officials say the Comstock Community Center will be open as a cooling center on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Residents can use the gym and classrooms. The Senior Center will also be open.  A building monitor will be on hand. 

Sherman officials say the senior center will be available and cool from 9am to 8pm today through Sunday. 

In Redding, the community center will be open 9am to 8 pm Friday, 10am to noon Saturday and 8:30am to 2pm Sunday.  The library is open Friday and Saturday 10am to 5pm.  

New Milford is set to open the Town Cooling station at 25 Church Street on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Opening hours vary--5pm on Friday and 1pm on the weekend, with the facility closing at 8pm each evening. 

Staying cool and hydrated is the key to staying healthy and safe in a heat wave. Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell says several facilities will be open as cooling centers during normal operating hours including Mahopac Library, Patterson Rec Center and Putnam Valley Senior Center. 

A heat-related illness can affect anyone–even those who are young and physically fit, but those at highest risk are infants, young children and the elderly. During hot weather, especially when it lasts a few days or longer, outdoor activities are best done in the early morning or evening hours when it is coolest.


Public funding. licensing to be withheld if schools have enrollees waive rights

Governor Ned Lamont has signed a bill into law making certain higher education institutions and private occupational schools ineligible for public funds and licensure.  Senator Tony Hwang, whose district includes Newtown, says the goal is to prevent funds and licensing from the Office of Higher Education for for-profit colleges and occupational schools if they require students to waive certain rights as a condition of enrollment.  Beginning January 1, 2020, this bill imposes disclosure requirements on for-profit colleges and universities and private occupational schools that require students to enter into agreements as a condition of enrollment that limit their right to legal recourse in claims against the institutions. Under the bill, these institutions must disclose the nature and status of certain legal claims against them as part of their applications to the Office of Higher Education.


Danbury Animal Control rescues dog from I-84, suspect abuse

A dog picked up by Danbury Animal Control off of interstate 84 is now up for adoption because his statutory hold is up.  They've received no calls to reclaim him. 

Officials say he appears to have been abused, with his snout scarred from either being tied or tie wrapped shut.

(Photos: Danbury Animal Control)

Danbury Animal Control says a municipal pound is no place for a little dog, who has shown no signs of aggression and they believe would get along with another dog his size. They believe the dog is approximately 2 to 3 years old.  More information and applications can be obtained by contacting Danbury Animal Control.


Danbury accepts land donation from estate of City resident

5 parcels of land on Bear Mountain Road have been officially acquired by the City of Danbury.  The City is the beneficiary of the estate of the late Victor Westman.  The nearly 27 acres will become open space land known as Westman Park. 


Danbury Democrats nominate Mayoral candidate

The Danbury Democratic Town Committee has held its nominating convention for municipal candidates.  They officially nominated Chris Setaro to run for Mayor in November, challenging long time incumbent Republican Mark Boughton, who is expected to be nominated to seek another term in office.  The Democrats also nominated a full slate of candidates for City Council and other positions on the ballot in a few months.


Man injured in fall at Kimberly Place gets settlement

The companies that maintain the Kimberly Place apartment complex parking lot in Danbury have agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by a man who injured himself in a fall on ice.  69-year old Andres Reyes injured his head, wrist and shoulder.  The Connecticut Law Tribune reports that Kimberly Danbury Limited Partnership and Kimberly Danbury Management agreed to pay $190,000.  The suit alleged negligence and carelessness in allowing snow and ice to accumulate in the parking spaces.  His attorney says they could have shoveled or applied sand and salt after plowing for vehicle traffic.


Tails of Courage investigated by Wolcott Animal Control

Wolcott Police are investigating Tails of Courage, which moved to that town from Danbury after the City filed a lawsuit for health and zoning violations in 2018.  Wolcott's Animal Control Officer told NBC that 6 puppies are sick and two have died from suspected parvovirus. 

Officials believe they were shipped from Texas to the animal rescue organization.  Preliminary testing on one of the deceased puppies also showed dehydration and emaciation. 

When officials did a check last week, things looked ok until they heard puppies in an isolation and food room.  A Watertown veterinarian treating three sick dogs told NBC he heard they were just being given subcutaneous fluid which in his opinion is inadequate, substandard care. 

Wolcott Animal Control says the land owner was told by Tails of Courage will be leaving his property by the end of the week.

The Danbury lawsuit was withdrawn this spring when Tails of Courage promised to no longer conduct business in Danbury.


New Milford to open cooling stations this weekend

With expected extreme high temperatures and humidity this weekend, New Milford is make preparations.  The Mayor and Emergency Operations Command have decided to open the Town Cooling station at 25 Church Street on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Opening hours vary--5pm on Friday and 1pm on the weekend, with the facility closing at 8pm each evening.  During the week New Milford library and town hall are available during opening hours.  Mayor Pete Bass reminded residents to drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated.


Ridgefield Police seek community input in online survey

The Ridgefield Police Department is looking for the public's input in a new community survey about how they're doing and to make suggestions.  Th online community survey asks residents and people who work in town if they feel safe, if they've ever been a victim of a crime and if their neighborhood has a crime watch group.  Respondents are also asked to rate several issues in order of seriousness--including vandalism, drug use, domestic violence and unnecessary noise.  People are also asked to rate quality of life issues such as speeding, DUIs, identity theft, bike safety and distracted driving.  There is also a series of question about the police department response to various scenarios.


Newtown Police look to hire school traffic agent

The Newtown Police Department is looking for a School Traffic Agent. Duties will include directing traffic flow and school bus movement into and out of school parking lots during the school year. Traffic agent works about 15 hours per week.  The uniform and training are provided, with an hourly salary of $16.  Applicants must be 18 years or older, have current driver’s license and undergo background investigation.  Interested people can apply to the Newtown Police Department via email, fax, post office or turned in by hand. Applications can be downloaded from the town's website.


Redding Fire Department looks to install dry hydrant on town owned property

The Redding Fire Department is looking to have a dry hydrant installed on town owned property.

Dave Hermenze of the Redding Fire Department reviewed the proposal with the Board of Selectmen recently to install a dry hydrant at Lonetown Marsh Pond for faster, safer and more reliable operations. The 7.39- acre parcel, across from Redding Elementary School, is estimated to be able to provide 1 million gallons of water.

It has been used as a drafting site since at least the 1940s. There's a reinforced surface to pull up a fire pumper and access to the pond through the bushes.  Firefighters have to extend suction hose into the water, hook it up to the pumper and a vacuum is created to get the water onto the apparatus.

A dry hydrant is a pressurized pipe that extends underground into a water source.  The only ones in Redding are in the Georgetown section of town.  The installation has a pipe sticking up out of the ground, empty of water.  The hose can then be hooked up to the dry hydrant, rather than going directly to the pond.

The Board provided a positive response to the proposal that will move on to the Conservation Commission.


Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island governors meet

Transportation, improved data sharing and renewable energy are some of the issues where the governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island say they've found common ground, promising to work together.

The two Democrats and one Republican met Tuesday for two hours during a private lunch at Eastern Connecticut State University. The three say they found the meeting beneficial and agreed to meet again in Providence this fall.

The event was organized by Governor Ned Lamont, a former businessman who said he believes developing personal relationships with Connecticut's neighbors is important.

Lamont, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island all spoke of the challenges they face addressing transportation infrastructure needs. Raimondo urged Lamont not to give up on enacting electronic tolls.

Senate President Martin Looney is bringing back the idea of truck only tolling.  Lamont's spokeswoman said the Governor is open to a number of options, but doubts the idea could win federal approval.

Transportation Committee chair Roland Lemar says a limited approach that meets the very basic needs of the state might be the right approach at the moment.  If toll gantries were to be placed only on bridges, only certain ones meet federal criteria.  Washington would have to sign off on plans for a major repair or a replacement before a gantry can be installed.  Once the project is complete, the gantry could stay up to fund other projects or it can be taken down.


Online pre-ticketing program to start this week for access to Squantz Pond State Park

An online pre-ticketing program is being implemented for access to Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  Once ticket sales reach capacity, park closures will be announced online.  After the system has been tested and up and running for a while, no vehicles will be admitted without a ticket. 

First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says the nice weather on Independence Day again frustrated New Fairfield residents who travel on Route 39 near Squantz Pond.  The Park Supervisor opened an hour early on the 4th because there were already 200 cars waiting to be let in. 

State Police sent four Troopers to assist the four ENCON police already in place, and by about 9:30, the congestion had cleared. 

Del Monaco says the DEEP Bureau Chief of Outdoor Recreation has agreed to open the park as soon as traffic begins to back up on Route 39. Hammonasset State Park, which has never before filled to capacity, also experienced capacity crowds and traffic issues on the Fourth this year.


Wilton, Torrington Police experience phone outages

Wilton Police experienced an issue Sunday morning where their phone and internet systems went down.  The 911 system remained functional.  A back up non-emergency line was established.  Within 3 hours phone and internet service was restored.  Torrington police said this morning their phone lines were down and asked the public to refrain from using its emergency phone system for routine calls.  Police say they don't know what caused the problem Tuesday morning.  The 911 system is operational.  The Torrington department established a temporary line for routine calls.


Vote on recommendations from Religious Display Committee postponed

The Bethel Board of Selectmen has postponed discussion of recommendations from the Religious Display Committee until next month.  Members of the committee could not make tonight's meeting.  The group recommended that applications approved in past years, the creche and atheist banner, be given priority if their applications are completed again in future years.  New applicants for PT Barnum Square would go into a lottery to determine where their display would be placed, if there's not enough room on the property.


Construction continues on campuses of Bethel, Region 12 schools

The Town of Bridgewater is highlighting major additions to Shepaug Valley High School in neighboring Washington.  The towns are part of the Region 12 school district.  The renovations have been underway for several months and a youtube video posted to their Facebook page with a view of the construction inside and outside several buildings being created for the new Agriscience/Science Labs center.

Claris Construction has provided an update for the Bethel High School indoor Track & Field Training Center.  Drone footage shows the skeleton of the facility. Butler Manufacturing steel is erected and the roof has started. Concrete on mezzanine is also in place. The footage shows where the 200m track will be looking down on the space below.  A concrete slab on lower level is being poured.


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