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Worker's arm caught in machine at Brewster business

A worker's arm got caught in a large machine at a Brewster business yesterday.  Brewster fire and ambulance were dispatched to the commercial facility on Danbury Road and responders were able to free the man in about 30 minutes. Brewster ambulance transported the injured worker to an awaiting LifeNet helicopter for a flight to Westchester Medical Center.  No other details were immediately available.

Informational about being 'bear aware' to be held at Danbury Library

Bear sightings have become a more common occurrence.  Danbury Library is hosting a program with a Connecticut Master Wildlife Conservationist about the Bear Reality and how to be Bear Aware.  Felicia Ortner will be at Danbury Library on October 3rd from 5:30-6:30pm.  Through her program, she hopes to dispel some of the myths associated with black bears using the knowledge she gained from studying bears for over 30 years.  The program is free and open to the public.  Registration is required and can be done online at

Drive-thru approved for Newtown building under construction

A drive-thru at a Starbucks under construction in Newtown has been approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission.  The group unanimously approved the modified special zoning permit for the planned service window at 75 Church Hill Road.  Eateries in Newtown aren't normally zoned for drive-thrus, though there is one pre-existing.  Plans for signage included a drawing with outdoor seating in front of the store, but the proposal was not part of the application to the Planning and Zoning Commission.  If outdoor seating is actually planned, Starbucks would have to go back to the Commission for approval.

New Milford considers sale of Lillis Building

The New Milford Town Council has authorized town officials to apply for a $20,000 state Historic Preservation Office grant to study uses for the Lillis Building.  The East Street facility currently houses the school district’s central offices. 


The New Milford Town Council also received a letter of intent from Dakota Partners to transform the building into affordable housing.  The proposal is for a $1.6 million sale, with the company remediating asbestos and lead-based paint. 


The plan calls for restoring the building's facade, creating 15 to 20 apartments, a gym and a leasing office.  Two buildings would be constructed on the back of the property, another 55 to 60 units.  The Town Council, the school and finance boards and residents would have to approve the sale after engineering and architectural reports are done.

Lawsuits filed over alleged sexual abuse by priests

New lawsuits have been filed by victims who claim they were sexually abused as children by priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport. 


The Connecticut Post reports that the alleged abuse took place from the late 80s through the early 2000s by three priests in Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury and Ridgefield.  The allegations were made against Reverends Walter Coleman, Robert Morrissey and Larry Jensen.  Coleman and Morrissey have both since died. 


In 2002, Connecticut extended the limit on filing lawsuits from a 5-year statute of limitations to the time that alleged victims reach the age of 48.  One man claims he was sexually abused by Coleman at St. Joseph’s Parish in Brookfield in the 1980s, another plaintiff was allegedly sexually abused by Morrissey at St. Mary’s Parish in Ridgefield in the 1990s. 


One alleged victim met Jensen in the early 2000s at an Emmaus retreat. Jensen, the spiritual director of the diocese’s Danbury program, is accused of abusing the plaintiff at St. Anthony Maronite Catholic Church, where the program was held.

Newtown officials start to discuss memorial budget

The Newtown Board of Selectman has gone over the proposed Capital Improvement Plan for the next several years.  It includes $2 million for the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial next fiscal year, and another $2 million in the following fiscal year.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says the entire allocation might not be used, but could be an accurate estimate of the project's cost. 

Bethel updates progress on improving water system quality

Bethel has sent out an update to Water Department customers on consent order progress.  The town  agreed with the state Department of Public Health in July 2016 to address and correct water system deficiencies in the system.  Quarterly updates have been made since that time. 


Bethel installed a new booster pump station at Briar Cliff Manor and water main extension to increase the pressure in the distribution system to correct the deficiency.  All customer service connections that did not meet the minimum psi operation pressure will be connected to the improved system by the end of this week and will be in compliance. 


Bethel conducted its annual inspection of both clearwells and found no problems. 


Quarterly samples have met regulatory requirements and have been below the Maximum Contaminent Level for Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM).  Bethel made system modifications to reduce the use of surface water supplies and replace it with additional groundwater supplies.  The lower total organic carbon level of the ground water supply, as compared to surface water supply, minimizes the formation of chlorination by-produicts such as TTHMs. 

New Fairfield residents concerned about solicitors going door-to-door

Some New Fairfield residents have raised concerns about solicitors selling products and services door-to-door.  Town officials have posted the list of licensed vendors and solicitors on the town website to let residents know who has obtained a license from the town. The application process includes fingerprinting and a background check by State Police. Vendors and solicitors must carry their license with them while doing business in New Fairfield.  Currently, there are three companies with a total of 9 licensed solicitors on the list:

John Lawrence
Marshall Read

Power Home Remodeling
Kevin Mallon
Samuel McCormick
Matt Sciarrino
John Walsh
Sean McSweeney
Stephen Brunetti

Trinity Solar
Aylin Kotapish

Suffrage Movement in Connecticut to be discussed at WCSU

The League of Women Voters of Northern Fairfield County is hosting an event at West Conn today called “The Suffrage Movement in Connecticut.  There will be a discussion of the suffrage movement in Connecticut including its history,  issues women fought for and the resistance they faced. The event is free and the public is invited.  The League will also help attendees to register to vote at this National Get Out the Vote Day event.  It takes place at Warner Hall on the midtown campus from 11am to 2pm.  The League serves Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown and Sherman. 

League of Women Voters hold registration event in Ridgefield

This is National Get Out the Vote Day.  The League of Women Voters of Ridgefield has partnered with the Ridgefield Library for the nationwide, nonpartisan effort to register voters. The league will be at Ridgefield Library from 10am to 2pm to assist voters who want to register, or update their registration if they have moved.

Metro North undertaking diesel locomotive overhaul program

Metro North is explaining to Danbury Branch commuters about why they've had so many buses running on the line, and why there have been so many delays.  Metro-North has started a diesel locomotive overhaul program, with the first rolling out at the end of the year.  It will take a few years for the full fleet to be in service.  A brochure was left on train car seats telling commuters that this program will bring more reliability to the Danbury Branch.  On time performance in the past year has been hovering between 85 and 90 percent, some being blamed on late connections from the New Haven line.

Wilton Police warn of mail theft around town

Wilton Police say there's  been an increase in mail theft throughout the state, including in Wilton.  Police say suspects are targeting both public and residential mailboxes.  Police recommend bringing mail directly to the Post Office and using a mail slot inside the Post Office building to avoid being a victim.

New Milford makes improvement to Young's Field kayak launch site

New Milford has taken steps to solve a recreation challenge on the Housatonic River, where the town already invested a significant amount of money.  Kayakers were reporting back to New Milford officials that as they launched from the Young’s Field site, and then returned, they would get stuck in the mud.  Mayor Pete Bass says they have now put in a so-called Yak Port on the dock at the Riverfront on Young’s Field Road.

Monroe firefighters caution residents to fundraising scam

First Responders in Monroe are cautioning residents to a fundraising scam from a group that calls itself the Volunteer Firefighters Association.  A a program of the Heroes United PAC has been calling and writing people in Monroe asking for donations to help firefighters.  The three volunteer fire companies in Monroe do not call residents for donations, but rather hold annual fund drives, asking for donations to be mailed to their respective fire department.  The Volunteer Firefighters Association is a political action committee based in Wisconsin and is not associated with any of the three local fire departments.  The volunteer firefighters also say they do not benefit from donations sent to the PAC.

DHS students to participate in SafeWalk

The Danbury High School Athletic Department will participate in the Women's Center annual SafeWalk next Sunday morning. Last year, more than 400 DHS students participated in the SafeWalk. The Hatters helps promote the Women's Center of Greater Danbury as a safe haven and sole provider for domestic abuse and sexual assault services in the Danbury area.

Redding officials inspect Joel Barlow for mold

The Redding Health Director toured Joel Barlow High School last week to check for mold.  There were no roof leaks and no mold found during the latest inspection.  Previously, mold and mildew was found in some rooms--caused by the hot, damp summer.  Dehumidifiers have been put in carpeted classrooms.  Some pipes have been wrapped to prevent future leaking through the ceiling tiles as the air conditioner runs. 

Modular classrooms to add to Westside Middle School Academy capacity

8 modular classrooms are being installed at Westside Middle School Academy in Danbury to increase capacity by 150 students.  The structures are mostly pre-constructed, will sit on concrete foundations and form a new wing on the back of the school.  The district must add a breezeway to the school.  The nearly $1 million project is being paid for with 80-percent state funding. 

Danbury negotiates to turn over control of city-run homeless shelter

The Danbury Department of Health and Human Services has been awarded a $69,132 emergency shelter grant from the state Department of Housing.  The funds will be used to offset costs associated with operating the shelter on New Street through June 30, 2019.  According to a statement about the grant submitted to the City Council, the money will be used until Catholic Charities takes over operations. 


The City partnered with the United Way in March to find a sub-contractor to manage the programs at the City Shelter. The Health Department, Finance, Corporation Counsel, and Mayor's office have been working with the United Way and Catholic Charities to solidify dates, performance measures, as well details of the contract. Health Director Lisa Morrissey says the process was very similar to the other grants that the United Way issues on behalf of the city, and proposals were reviewed by independent grant reviewers selected by United Way.


Mayor Mark Boughton noted that tentative negotiations are not yet complete.  He says the City would not be locked in if another operator comes in that could provide services for less.


 In December 2016, Boughton proposed merging the City run homeless shelter and the one at Dorothy Day Hospitality House.  The food service would be operated by Dorothy Day volunteers, and the shelter would be managed by city staff.  Each shelter currently has 20 beds.  His proposal is for a 40 bed facility, with a commercial kitchen, cafeteria, and a counseling center.  A new location for the merged shelter was not identified. 


Dorothy Day operators are currently in a legal battle with the City.  In 2015, officials discovered that a zoning permit expired in 1985 and was never renewed.

Armed robbery in Sherman under investigation

An armed robbery that happened in Sherman this weekend is being investigated by State Police.  Troop A is looking for an  older model light blue Honda Accord with Connecticut license plates, and its front bumper completely missing.  A handgun was displayed in the incident.  The driver was described as a heavy set black male, 40s-50s, approximately 6-feet tall, light beard, wearing a black t-shirt and blue jeans.  The passenger is described as a white male, 40s-50s, bald, long grey beard, wearing a navy blue t-shirt and blue jeans.

Treatment of female inmates reviewed by DOJ

The U.S Department of Justice Office of Inspector General has completed a review, prompted in part by members of Congress and public interest groups, of concerns about what they consider to be deficiencies in Bureau of Prisons's management of female inmates.  Part of the review determined that BOP’s conversion of Federal Correctional Institution Danbury to house male inmates negatively affected certain female inmates who had been housed there.


As a case study, the OIG also examined BOP’s 2013 decision to convert FCI Danbury from a female institution to a male institution as part of a larger plan to increase bed space for low security female and male inmates throughout BOP institutions. Although concerns were raised that the conversion would cause female inmates to be incarcerated farther from home, OIG found that, while 19 percent of U.S. citizen inmates were transferred farther from their homes, the overwhelming majority were transferred closer to their homes.  The conversion resulted in 366 low security sentenced female inmates serving a portion of their sentences in Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) Brooklyn, a detention center intended for short-term confinement.

The National Association of Women Judges found that the conditions of confinement at MDC Brooklyn amounted to a violation of the American Bar Association Standards on Treatment of Prisoners, as well as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. When OIG representatives visited MDC Brooklyn, they found that BOP offered female inmates no access to outdoor space, less natural light, and fewer programming opportunities than what would otherwise be available to female inmates at BOP facilities designed to house sentenced inmates in long-term confinement. 


In addition, a separate OIG criminal investigation determined that, during the time that sentenced female inmates were assigned to MDC Brooklyn, multiple custody staff sexually assaulted female inmates, resulting in the convictions of two Lieutenants and a Correctional Officer.  In December 2016, after reversing its decision not to house female inmates at FCI Danbury, BOP opened a new low security institution for female inmates at FCI Danbury. However, because FCI Danbury was constructed without a Special Housing Unit, they found that managing female inmates who needed to be placed in a SHU disrupted institution operations because BOP had to transfer these inmates to Federal Detention Center Philadelphia for SHU placement.


During a visit to MDC Brooklyn in August 2017, OIG representatives found that its female inmates had less access to fresh air and sunlight than what would have been available to them at FCI Danbury.


In response to congressional concerns that the conversion of FCI Danbury would cause female inmates to be housed farther from their homes, OIG analyzed the distances from home for female inmates transferred from FCI Danbury.  The analysis found that 81 percent of Danbury’s U.S. citizen female inmates were transferred closer to or remained the same distance from home and 19 percent were transferred farther from home.


OIG found that of the 1,127 female inmates transferred or released from FCI Danbury, 497 were U.S. citizen female inmates who were transferred to other BOP institutions. Of those 497, they found that 401 were transferred to a BOP institution closer to their homes or were reassigned to a minimum security prison camp at FCI Danbury. Conversely, 96 were transferred to a BOP institution farther from home. Of those 96, 61 were from BOP’s Northeast Region. OIG did not consider the non-U.S.citizen inmates whom BOP transferred from FCI Danbury in this analysis because the BOP data analyzed did not always include a U.S. residence for these individuals.


Though female inmates compose a small percentage of the nationwide incarcerated population, correctional officials have recognized that in some areas female and male inmates have different needs and the BOP has adopted gender-responsive programs and policies that account for these needs. As a continuation of prior U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General reviews examining BOP’s management of certain subpopulations of inmates, including aging inmates and inmates with mental illness in restrictive housing, OIG initiated a review of BOP’s management of female inmates, specifically BOP’s efforts and capacity to ensure that BOP-wide policies, programs, and decisions adequately address the distinctive needs of women.


OIG concluded that BOP has not been strategic in its management of female inmates.  OIG determined that BOP needs to take additional steps at the Central Office level to ensure that female inmate needs are met at the institution level.  Our review identified instances in which BOP’s programming and policy has not fully considered the needs of female inmates, which has made it difficult for inmates to access certain key programs and supplies. Further, while BOP is adhering to federal regulations and BOP policies requiring that only female Correctional Officers conduct strip searches of female inmates, BOP’s method for ensuring compliance with these requirements assigns staff inefficiently.

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