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Memorial Day weekend events scheduled around Greater Danbury

SATURDAY

The annual Redding Memorial Day parade and ceremony will be held on Saturday rain or shine.  Participants gather at 11:30am at the Redding Elementary School auditorium and the ceremony will start at noon. Parade step-off is at 12:15pm and proceeds to the Redding Green.  Flag-raising and flower-placing ceremonies will be held at the Memorial Stone.

 

SUNDAY

The third annual “Who are You Carrying?” event will be at Harrybrooke Park in New Milford at 10am on Sunday to benefit the park and Help Our Military Heroes. The workout includes push-ups, sit-ups, mountain climbers, flutter kicks and air squats.  The event honors fallen heroes, with the late Petty Officer First Class Jason D. Lewis of Brookfield named this year's event honoree.

The annual Brookfield Strawberry Festival will be held from 12:30 to 3pm outside the Brookfield Museum.  Inside the museum will be an exhibit honoring the 44 Brookfield residents killed in combat since the Revolutionary War.

The parade in Sherman is scheduled for 1pm. Sunday. It starts at the intersection of Spring Lake Road and Route 39 North, traveling through the center of Sherman and ending at Veterans Field.

 

MONDAY

Danbury's Memorial Day events begin with a memorial service at 6:30am at St. Joseph Church. A wreath placing ceremony will follow at 7:10am.  The parade will begin down Main Street, from Rose Street, at 9:30am. A ceremony will follow at the Rose Memorial to honor deceased veterans.

Bridgewater’s parade will begin at 8:20am at the firehouse.

The first of two parades in New Milford will be held in Gaylordsville at 8am. The New Milford parade starts at 10am. in front of the Library on the Village Green. In case of rain, the ceremony will be held at the VFW hall on Avery Road at 10 am.

The Kent Memorial parade steps off from Kent Center School at 9am at 9:30am.  In case of rain, the parade will be canceled.  A ceremony will be held at the entrance of the school.

The New Fairfield Veterans Association is hosting a Memorial Day ceremony at 11am at the Town Park.  A brief re-dedication ceremony will be held afterward at the New Fairfield Cemetery across from the Town Hall.

A ceremony in Newtown will be held at VFW Post 308 on 18 Tinkerfield Road at 11am.  The ceremony honors men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Ridgefield's American Legion Post 78 is organizing the annual Memorial Day parade, which begins at 11:30am with opening remarks and a wreath-laying ceremony at the monument in front of Jesse Lee Church.  The parade ends at Ballard Park with a closing ceremony.  King Lane will be a one-way street from 9:30am, until the end of the parade.


Wall of Honor ceremony held at state Capitol honoring service members

A ceremony was held at the state capitol Thursday to memorialize the 65 Connecticut troops killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 2001 terrorist attacks.  The Wall of Honor is a permanent memorial that includes photos of each of the service members. 

Department of Veteran Affairs Commissioner Tom Saadi, a Major in the Army Reserves from Danbury, says the men and women were from each branch of the military and ranged in rank from Private to Lt. Colonel.  

Some were not even into their 20s, while others were in their 50’s when they passed. They came from all walks of life, ethnic and racial backgrounds and religions.

They include several from the Greater Danbury area: 19-year old  Nicholas Madaras of Wilton, 21-year old John Schmidt III of Brookfield, 23-year old Kevin Dempsey of Monroe, 30-year old Jason Dale Lewis of Brookfield, 22-year old TJ Lobraico Jr. of New Fairfield and 24-year old Nathan Bruckenthal of Ridgefield.


Brookfield Lion's Club hosting annual Shred Day

Brookfield Lion's Club is hosting their annual Shred Day on Saturday.  People can get rid of old papers for a donation of $5 per box, with proceeds benefiting Lions Charities.  The event is 9am to 1pm at Brookfield Town Hall.  Boxes should be no larger than the size of a box from reams of paper.


New river access site is opening on the Housatonic River

A new river access site is opening on the Housatonic River after a decade of planning.  The ribbon cutting is set for Saturday, at 2pm at “The Bend” of the Housatonic River in West Cornwall. 

The HVA Watershed Conservation Director and others will hold a brief dedication ceremony. 

The completed project provides safe access for boating and fishing, addresses runoff issues, restores riverside wildlife habitat and provides parking for people visiting West Cornwall.  Runoff and erosion prevention measures were put in, invasive plants were removed and native trees and shrubs were restored. 

The access ramp was upgraded to accommodate the Cornwall Fire Department’s river rescue boat in emergencies.  An interpretive kiosk and a concrete pad for a portable toilet were also installed. 

Representatives from property owner Eversource Energy, the Housatonic River Commission and project designer and contractor will be on hand.  Experienced boaters are encouraged to join a short paddle from The Bend down to Housatonic Meadows State Park to mark the occasion, as weather conditions permit.


Sherman Resident State Trooper hosts Community Crime Awareness presentation

The Sherman Resident State Trooper held a Community Crime Awareness presentation at the Sherman Senior Center on Tuesday.  Topics impacting the community, such as criminal phone scams and larcenies from unlocked motor vehicles, were addressed. The Sherman Resident Trooper office is looking to provide more of these programs in the future to educate and learn from the residents of Sherman.


Wilton Police say one road closure no longer needed ahead of Memorial Day parade

Wilton Police say it will no longer be necessary to close the portion of River Road between Horseshoe Road and Stop and Shop ahead of the Memorial Day Parade on Monday.  All roads in the Town center will remain open until 9:30am, at which time the roads in Wilton Town Center will be closed.  In preparation for a 10 am parade start, Route 33 between Route 7 and Drum Hill Road will also be closed at 9:30am Monday.


Local lawmaker highlights two bills passed by Conn. Senate

The state Senate has voted unanimously for a bill commonly called the Time's Up Act.  Danbury Senator Julie Kushner says An Act Combatting Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment extends current statute of limitations for the most serious sexual assault crimes from 5 years to 20. 

It also increases certain sexual harassment penalties in Connecticut, extends the time limits people have to file lawsuits for sexual assault, allows more time for criminal prosecutions of sexual assault, and requires more employer-sponsored sexual harassment training. 

The bill was sent to the House.

A measure was also approved to strengthen Connecticut's ‘Trust Act,’ which provides protections for immigrants in Connecticut. 

Kushner says changes were made to the 2013 law to prohibit law enforcement officers from detaining an individual based on an ICE detainer.  She says it's just a request for cooperation from a federal agency to a local police department. 

Kushner notes that the new bill makes clear that when there is a very serious concern about an individual, if they are a member of a gang or potential terrorist, if they have a felony conviction or a final deportation order – local law enforcement will detain and secure that person if there is an order signed by a judge. 

This bill now awaits a vote by the state House.


Driver pulled from burning car by former Brookfield volunteer firefighter

A driver sustained serious injuries in a fiery car crash in Brookfield Tuesday morning.  Emergency responders were called to Federal Road near Laurel Hill Road along the Still River Greenway on a report of a driver trapped in the burning car. 

(Photo: BVFD)

Former Brookfield firefighter Jim Docktor Jr. was able to smash out a car window and remove the badly injured driver.  Other bystanders helped pull the driver further from the car.  Docktor then continued to work. 

First arriving Fire and Police personnel indicated that had he not removed the driver when he did, the man would have burned alive in the vehicle.  Docktor's father is a past chief of the volunteer fire company. 


Judge dismisses tribe's lawsuit in land-taking dispute

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut judge has dismissed all remaining claims in a lawsuit in which a Native American tribe alleged the state owed it more than $600 million for land seized from the tribe more than a century ago.

Judge Thomas Moukawsher in Hartford ruled Wednesday that the Kent-based Schaghticoke Tribal Nation doesn't own the mortgages on the land and dismissed the case.

The tribe sued in 2016, saying the state seized 2,000 acres from a 2,400-acre (9.7 square kilometers) reservation in western Connecticut between 1801 and 1918 without compensating the tribe. The same judge in 2017 dismissed the tribe's claim that it owned the land but let the mortgages issue proceed.

A lawyer for the tribe says it is seeking a clarification of the ruling, and the case is not over.

 


Connecticut considers blockchain technology to protect voter data

Connecticut will study the use of blockchain technology to collect voter information.  New Milford Representative Bill Buckbee says Blockchain is most commonly used in the trading and securing of cryptocurrency. However, many private industries outside of financial institutions have started looking into how it could be used to store internal and consumer data. 

West Virginia used blockchain to help 144 members of the military, spread over 24 different countries, vote in the 2018 election. 

.Buckbee says the Connecticut bill builds off an initial task force established by the legislature last year. With growing concerns of voter fraud and lack of voter participation, he says it’s important to consider how blockchain could be used to remedy those issues.  The measure was passed unanimously in the House and was sent to the Senate.


Road reconstruction underway in Danbury

Beginning today, Danbury Public Works Department will be conducting road construction on Hamilton Drive, Wheeler Drive, and Fanton Road. This construction will not result in road closings, however there is the possibility of travel restrictions and detours during this work period.  During construction there will be NO on-street parking. Construction should last approximately 2 to 3 weeks.


Bethel transfer station permits available next month

Bethel transfer station permits expire on June 30th.  The annual pass for the 2019-2020 year will be available to residents starting on June 1st.  The Bethel Town Clerk will be at the Transfer Station June 15th between 7am and noon, but asks that applications be filled out in advance to save time. The applications will be available on the town's website starting next Friday, and available at the Transfer Station.  Bethel issued 2400 permits this year.


Conn. Senators sponsor bills to end robocalls

The U.S. Senate has passed legislation Senator Richard Bluementhal co-sponsored to help block robocalls. 

The TRACED Act, legislation Senator Chris Murphy cosponsored, is aimed at ending the growing number of illegal robocalls that plague consumers.  The bill extends the Federal Communications Commission’s enforcement against violators and requires telecom companies to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before reaching consumers’ phones.

Blumenthal also wrote the ROBOCOP, or Repeated Objectionable Bothering of Consumers on Phones  Act, which  requires telephone companies to offer free robocall blocking services to all their customers.  Blumenthal says telephone harassment skyrocketed in 2018, with the number of robocalls made to Americans exceeding 16.3 billion in the first five months of that year.

The Do Not Call Registry has little to no impact, particularly when it comes to scams and call centers located outside of the United States. 


Man hit by own car in Oxford liquor store parking lot

A man was hit by his own car in the parking lot of the Oxford Liquor Shoppe yesterday afternoon when the vehicle was left in gear. State Police say 73-year old Stephen Kovzel of Oxford didn't put his Jeep in park and it rolled backwards into another vehicle.  The other driver, 62-year old Mark Reilly of Beacon Falls, moved backwards into the car causing Kovzel to be caught by the door and run over by his own vehicle.  The car came to a stop in the northbound lane of Route 67, against a steel guard rail.  Kovzel was taken to the hospital for treatment of serious injuries to his arms and left leg.    Reilly was issued a ticket for evading responsibility, not having insurance, driving without a license and for an expired registration.


Public input session tonight in New Milford on future uses for Lillis Building

A public input session is being held in New Milford tonight to gather opinions from residents on what the Lillis Administration Building could be used for in the future.  The 50 East Street facility currently houses the school district's central offices, but it does not meet ADA requirements. The 23,600-square-foot brick building is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.  A consulting firm is putting together a community-based adaptive reuse study, paid for with a State Historic Preservation Office grant.  The meeting is from 6pm to 9pm at the Senior Center.  Options discussed over the years for the building have included selling it to be affordable housing or an assisted living complex, emergency services headquarters or office space.


Owl rescued from roadway in Easton

An animal rescue was made in Easton last night.  Police received a call about an owl sitting in the middle of the road.  The baby Barred Owl was picked up and taken back to the police station.  A  dispatcher transported him to Wildlife in Crisis in Weston where he will be cared for until he grows up enough to be able to be released in a few months.

(Photo: Easton Police)


Weston High School named a Green Ribbon School

Weston High School has been named a 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School.  The program honors schools that reduce environmental impact and costs, improve the health and wellness of schools, students and staff, and provide effective environmental and sustainable education. Weston High School, along with other honorees from across the nation, will be formally recognized during an event on September 25th in Washington DC.  4th District Congressman Jim Himes says the school is playing an important role in teaching the next generation how to live in a responsible and sustainable manner.


New Milford to hire superintendent from New Mexico

The New Milford School District will start negotiations with a New Mexico Superintendent to come to Connecticut and take up the same role.  The New Milford Board of Education voted Tuesday and expect to formally approve the appointment of Kerry Parker next month.  She was one of 26 applicants from across the country.  Parker would take over for Stephen Tracy who has been interim Superintendent since August. 


Danbury Democratic Mayoral challenger releases education plan as teachers rally for more funding

A multi-step platform to improve education in Danbury has been released by Democratic Mayoral candidate Chris Setaro.  He says Danbury is at a crossroads in many ways, and nowhere more apparent than in the school system.

Setaro wants to ensure children get the best start in life by creating free pre-k citywide.  He also plans to work in collaboration with the state delegation to get more funding from Hartford.  Another part of the plan is to connect high school students with local companies and higher education institutions in Danbury to expand the workforce.  Setaro also wants to bring together facilities experts, educators and others to create a strategic plan for infrastructure and operational needs.

According to state records, Danbury is last in Connecticut in per-pupil spending.  The City does have 7 schools of distinction.  The city’s school system has a graduation rate of about 80 percent, also among the lowest in the state. And only 26 percent
of students are proficient in mathematics.

9-term Republican Mayor Mark Boughton noted that the City led a statewide lawsuit to rework the education cost sharing formula, which was denied on appeal and says the state isn't giving Danbury the City's fair share of funding.  He adds that the city does have pre-K programs for at-risk children.  Boughton says the City already has a facility task force of the Board of Ed to address the city’s growing enrollment.

Meanwhile, there's a nationwide movement to get more funding into classrooms.  In Danbury, some educators held protest signs outside Pembroke Elementary School yesterday morning before class.  Teachers Union NEA Danbury also supported the Red for Ed movement of teacher walkouts and protests across the country.  The educators are calling on more money from the City of Danbury to accommodate growing enrollment. 


Carmel couple charged with grand larceny for alleged exorbitant service charges

A Carmel couple has been arrested on felony grand larceny and other charges stemming from a complaint about the owners of Top Notch Towing in Mahopac.  New York State Police say an investigation was launched with the help of the Putnam County District Attorney’s office and the state Departments of Taxation and of Transportation. 

The complaint was about 47-year old Frank Inzano and 42-year old Shannon Inzano billing customers exorbitant charges for services.  The investigation found the Inzano’s stole over $50,000 using fraudulent billing practices, possessed five illegal hand guns, and committed tax fraud. 

They were arraigned and released for court appearances June 24th.  The couple also faces charges of  Attempted Criminal Possession of a Weapon, Offer to File a False Instrument and Criminal Tax Fraud.  


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