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Danbury Police seek motorist who fled scene after crash into bank building

Danbury Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the driver of a truck who crashed into a bank building earlier this month.  On January 7th, around 10pm, an older model white pickup truck struck the rear of Webster Bank at 301 Main Street.  The vehicle crashed through the building causing extensive damage, then left the scene before being reported. Still images captured the accident which are posted to the Department's Facebook page. Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Daniel.


Local lawmaker to hold virtual COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall

A virtual COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall is being hosted by Newtown state Senator Tony Hwang tonight.  He says there are many confusing aspects of changing eligibility so members of Governor Lamont’s Vaccine Distribution Task Force will share the current guidelines.  They'll also discuss the science behind the two different approved vaccine formulas and estimates on when the inoculation rate will change Connecticut’s reopening plans.  The informational forum will be live streamed on Hwang's Facebook page starting at 7pm.  


Ridgefield sets up hotline for COVID-19 vaccine related questions

The COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Yanity Gym is limited and Ridgefield residents are urged to take available appointments at nearby locations such as Nuvance-Danbury Hospital, when they are offered.  First Selectman Rudy Marconi says Danbury Hospital receives many more doses and can handle a greater number of vaccinations. 

When the town can hold a clinic, appointments for the week will be released on Monday afternoons to be held on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.  They are subject to the number of doses received.  Clinic times and dates may vary depending on vaccine doses available and weather conditions.

The town of Ridgefield has set up a Help Line to answer questions about COVID-19 vaccines.  Marconi says it's currently open for messages only at 203-431-2718. Someone will call back with answers. He notes that the line will be answered live soon, but asked for patience as Ridgefield trains volunteers.


Stadium stands being reopened in Wilton

The Stadium stands are being reopened in Wilton this week.  First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice is reminding residents though that the stands were not designed to maintain the vibration associated with individuals running on the steps.  The vibration causes the screws to loosen and possibly create a dangerous situation.  Residents are encouraged to walk the stairs, but not run on them.


Man charged with pinning officer during US Capitol attack

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man seen in a widely viewed video pinning an officer into a doorway during the attack on the U.S. Capitol has been charged with assaulting police officers, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Patrick McCaughey III, 23, of Ridgefield, was arrested Tuesday in South Salem, New York, on charges including assaulting, resisting or impeding officers, violent entry or disorderly conduct, and entering a restricted building or grounds.

A federal magistrate judge in New York ordered McCaughey detained without bail Wednesday afternoon, saying his actions were disturbing and he presented a threat to the community. McCaughey’s case is being transferred to Washington and he is detained pending proceedings there early next month.

Federal authorities said McCaughey struck several police officers with a clear, plastic riot shield inside the Capitol. Authorities said he also used the shield to pin Officer Daniel Hodges of the Metropolitan Police Department against a doorway; a video shows Hodges writhing in pain and another rioter beating Hodges after ripping off the officer’s gas mask. Hodges survived.

Police asked for the public’s help in identifying the attackers and released photos of a man later identified as McCaughey seen in the Capitol during the violence on Jan. 6. A witness came forward identifying McCaughey as the person in the photos.

“What this case is really about is a man who on Jan. 6 of this year struck at the heart of American Democracy, that is the U.S. Capitol, both literally and figuratively, as part of a mob that was apparently attempting to overturn a legitimate election,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Gianforte said during Wednesday’s court hearing, which was held by video conference.

In a statement, acting District of Columbia U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin called the attack on Hodges vicious and “quintessentially un-American.”

McCaughey’s public defender, Jason Ser, asked for bail to be set at $150,000, saying his client was not as “maniacal and dangerous” as federal prosecutors were portraying him. Ser said other people were pushing McCaughey, and other parts of the video show McCaughey trying to help Hodges by lowering the officer’s face shield and telling another officer that Hodges was injured.

McCaughey, who has both U.S. and German citizenship, is unemployed and lives with his mother in Ridgefield, an affluent town along the New York border, Ser said. He was arrested at his father’s second home, where he was quarantining.

“The image I think that’s being fostered here, created here, by focusing only on parts of the video certainly I think do a disservice to Mr. McCaughey,” Ser said. “The government is emphasizing two and a half minutes of out of essentially 23 years of Mr. McCaughey’s life.”

McCaughey is a high school graduate who got good grades, made the honor roll and has no criminal record, Ser said.

More than 150 rioters at the U.S. Capitol have been arrested. The attack came as Congress met to certify the results of the presidential election. But an angry mob coming from President Donald Trump’s rally near the White House broke into the Capitol, forcing members of Congress to flee. Five people died during the riot, including one Capitol Police officer.

Federal authorities said McCaughey and other rioters pushed officers defending the Capitol back. A deputy U.S. marshal said in arrest documents that McCaughey pushed Hodges in a doorway with the riot shield as other rioters shoved McCaughey forward, putting a lot of force on Hodges. McCaughey told Hodges to “just go home dude,” the marshal said.

After another rioter assaulted Hodges, McCaughey motioned to other officers that Hodges was injured, the deputy said, and McCaughey later started hitting other officers with the plastic shield.

At one point during the Capitol attack, McCaughey told another person, “I’m not doing anything. I’m just a regular person like everybody else,” the marshal said, citing a cellphone video. McCaughey then said, “This is our building.”

Another man arrested in New York City early Wednesday as part of the riot roundup was ordered held without bail after prosecutors argued he is a danger to the community.

The government cited a photo on social media that suggested Samuel Fisher had stashed firearms in a vehicle he took to Washington for the pro-Trump protest. Court papers said he also posted a photo of himself at the Capitol entrance and later wrote online, “seeing cops literally run . . . was the coolest thing ive ever seen in my life.”

At a bail hearing, a prosecutor said that firearms, bullet-proof vests and ammunition were found at the Manhattan residence where he was arrested on Wednesday. Fisher’s lawyer said there was no proof he ever took weapons to Washington and that he was ever actually inside the Capitol.


Trump pardons Connecticut man convicted of health care fraud

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man who pleaded guilty in a 1998 health care fraud case was granted a full pardon by Donald Trump, the White House announced early Wednesday.

Glen Moss was among dozens of people Trump pardoned during the final hours of his administration.

In a statement, the Trump White House said Moss has become a “vital member of his community” and has been “committed to numerous philanthropic efforts at the national level, including St Jude’s Hospital for Children, Breast Cancer Awareness, and the Colon Cancer Foundation. Within his community, he has contributed to Danbury Hospital and Ann’s Place, a community-based cancer support center.”

But Shannon Cobb, the president and chief executive officer of Ann’s Place, said they have no record of Moss’ contribution.

“We have no Glen Moss in our system at all,” she said. “I don’t know where they got that information.”

Moss pleaded guilty to a tax charge after he acknowledged conspiring to pay kickbacks to obtain referrals for his employer, Analytical Diagnostics Lab of Brooklyn, N.Y. He admitted that he earned close to $500,000 in 1992, but claimed a taxable income of just over $2,000.

The arrest was part of “Operation Overdraw,” a three-year federal investigation into medical fraud among doctors and medical supply companies.

Attempts to reach Moss were not successful. Phone numbers listed for him in Brookfield, Connecticut, were no longer in service.


Car strikes tree, rolls over in Bethel driveway

A car hit a tree and rolled over in a driveway in Bethel Tuesday evening, sending two people to the hospital.  Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company responded to Old Hawleyville Road just after 5pm on a report of a vehicle going off the roadway.  The occupants were able to self extricate.  Both were transported to Danbury Hospital, one with a traumatic arm injury. The accident remains under investigation by Bethel Police.  Anyone who witnessed the crash, or the actions of the involved blue BMW M6 prior to the crash, is asked to contact Officer Iadarola.


Hearing tonight on proposed Route 37 improvement study

A virtual public meeting is being held tonight about improving Route 37 from Danbury into New Fairfield.  The City of Danbury and Town of New Fairfield are developing a corridor study with the help of the Western Connecticut Council of Governments, the regional planning agency for the Greater Danbury area.  The study is about the length of Route 37 between I-84 Exit 6 in Danbury to just north of Route 39 in New Fairfield.  It aims to find solutions to alleviate traffic congestion, improve pedestrian mobility, and to promote healthy and environmentally friendly modes of transportation.  The purpose of tonight's meeting is to introduce and update the public about the study recommendations and gather feedback on proposed design concepts for the corridor.  The meeting is from 6:30pm to 8pm.  https://westcog.org/transportation/studies/dnfcs/


Putnam County leader decries lack of vaccine doses

More than 30,700 Putnam County residents are eligible under New York state rules to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.  County Executive MaryEllen Odell says the state has allocated just 200 vaccines to the health department this week for essential workers and 200 doses to a pharmacy to administer to senior citizens. 

Odell says it should be easier and faster to get COVID-19 vaccine, but the hard truth is that a lot of the most vulnerable residents are having to wait too long to be vaccinated. 

Right now, there are only three options for vaccination in Putnam County, one through Department of Health, which is running clinics in Carmel and Philipstown but only for eligible essential workers.  Putnam Hospital Center is only authorized to vaccinate healthcare professionals.  A pharmacy in Cold Spring is authorized for senior citizen vaccinations only.

Putnam County has almost 18,000 residents aged 65 or older, and an estimated 2,600 residents work in law enforcement, firefighting or other protective service occupations.  Another 6,200 or so residents work in education and libraries, which the Census lumps together. Then there are 3,900 healthcare practitioners, technologists and technicians.  There's also nursing home and group home staff and residents. 


Ridgefield asks ineligible Phase 1b residents to cancel vaccination appointments

As the Town of Ridgefield continues the vaccination program, residents are reminded that only those who are 75 and older in Phase 1b are allowed to be vaccinated at this time. Those who make appointments will be asked to sign an affidavit attesting to their eligibility to receive the vaccine when they arrive for their appointment.  The Governor has asked that those who have mistakenly made appointments after Friday, but do not fall into the current category of eligibility, to cancel and reschedule when their category is allowed.  The vaccination clinic at Yanity Gym is by appointment only.  The Town of Ridgefield has an eligibility form on their website, but that's not a registration form.  Residents must follow VAMS instructions to receive an invitation to register.


Former Danbury Mayor's Commissioner nomination advances

The General Assembly’s Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee has officially signed off on former Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, a Republican, to lead the state Department of Revenue Services.  The across-the-aisle pick from a Democratic governor was commended by the committee.

He was asked about his last job, and noted the last official tie is leading a steering committee for the planned Danbury Career Academy.  While Boughton says he has disengaged himself from local government, he is answering the phone on questions of long standing issues.  He expects that to go on for a while as he served the City in the top spot for almost about 20 years.

He was also asked if he intends to use this job as a jumping off point for another run at governor.  His response was 'been there, done that" and he accepted the nomination to get out of running for office all the time.  Boughton added that he also wants to try to help the state in a different manner.

Boughton noted that it's important taxpayers are looking at somebody that can handle the problem in a fair manner and not have to worry about politics.  He pledged to listen a lot, empower problem solving, and support a work environment that values inclusion and different perspectives.

Senate President Martin Looney said it's important to have a seasoned and experienced government manager in charge of DRS.


Wilton Senior Center creates video to walk people through vaccine sing up system

Wilton Senior Center has created a video aimed at helping walk people through the COVID-19 vaccine registration and sign up system.  It is a multi-step process which starts with entering name, email and date of birth.  Activities Coordinator Stephanie Rowe points out that the email must be typed in all lowercase letters. 

After hitting submit, eventually an email will arrive from the State Department of Public Health confirming eligibility.  Next, on the VAMS system, confirm you haven't registered before and choose state and county.  There is two-factor authentication, with the CDC sending out a one-time passcode. 

That will lead to a page to create a password to create an account.  VAMS will ask for name, date of birth, gender, address, phone number and race.  With that last category, you have to click the arrow in between two boxes to confirm your selection.  You can include an emergency contact. The next page asks about medical history, with check boxes, and you can include medications in an open field. 

Insurance information is optional to input.  If you do include it, don't put hyphens or dashes. 

That will then bring up a page to review information before a page with the clinic sites and a calendar.


Brookfield officials urge residents to check spam folder for VAMS emails

Area residents are being cautioned that it could take some time to get confirmation emails back when registering with the CDC Vaccine Administration Management System, VAMS, and then in getting an appointment.  Brookfield officials say people should also check all email addresses they have for the invite to register, in case a health care provider has already entered the data.  For Brookfield officials still unable to locate an invitation to the CDC-VAMS appointment, they can add their name to the town website with a unique email address. Confirmation emails could come from several addresses, including 
vams@cdc.gov, noreply@mail.vams.cdc.gov, VAMSHelp@cdc.gov, and people should check their spam folders.


'Kill-A-Watt' kits available at local libraries

Eversource customers in Bethel, Brookfield, and Danbury can check out a “Kill-A-Watt” kit from the local library.  State Representative Steve Harding says this will help residents learn more about three types of electric use: plug, lighting, and mechanical.  The device measures and records the amount of electricity consumed.  The kit comes with a booklet that gives tips on reducing energy consumption and costs.  In addition to public libraries in Bethel, Brookfield and Danbury, the kits are on hand at Long Ridge Library.  


More COVID-19 cases reported in Ridgefield school community

On Monday, Ridgefield school officials said two COVID-19 cases were identified at Farmingville Elementary School.  One person was quarantining after exposure on January 11th and Health and safety compliance liaison Aaron Crook says in-school transmission cannot be ruled out in this case.  But he said there is also a potential source of infection from outside of the school building which is the more likely source of infection.  One of the people who tested positive was last in the Farmingville building January 13th. Crook says two cases were also recorded at Ridgefield High School. 


Rochambeau Bridge construction to last through Feb.

Loud construction work taking place on the Rochambeau Bridge in Newtown and Southbury will continue for several more weeks.  As part of the I-84 bridge replacement project, crews are stripping the deck of the westbound bridge, while traffic is routed in both directions to the eastbound lanes.  The concrete crushing noise has drawn complaints from area residents.  It's slated to continue through the third week of February 6am to 6pm during the week.  The $53 million project has it's own website where the DOT provides updates and contact information.  That can be found at RochambeauBridge.com.


New Fairfield Economic Development Commission looks to rebrand town, redesign seal

The New Fairfield Economic Development Commission is looking into changing the town seal.  The design was approved by the town in 1968.  During last week's Board of Selectmen meeting, Commission chair Myke Furhman said they're looking into the possibility from a marketing standpoint to rebrand the town.  He recommended that the Board consider the idea.  In 1963, then-town clerk Arthur Mulligan proposed the idea of creating a town seal for New Fairfield.  The current seal includes a horseshoe, arrowhead, anvil, plowshare, carriage, boat and water, a Native American man as well as NF.


New Milford Public Works removes steel plates off Cherniske Road bridge

New Milford Public Works crews are removing steel plates off Cherniske Road bridge today.  They're also going to be setting up permanent detour signs.  The road was closed on Friday after a recent shift in the abutment.  The department started monitoring it over the summer.  Public Works is partnering with engineers to expedite the bridge replacement. 


Brookfield student wins Sen. Murphy's MLK essay contest

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Senator Chris Murphy announced the 15 winners of his fifth annual Essay Contest. This year, Murphy received close to 2,800 entries from elementary, middle, and high school students from across Connecticut reflecting on Dr. King’s dream and their own aspirations.  3 winners from each congressional district was selected.  Samhita Shirsat, of Brookfield High School, wrote about dreams only being the first steps in achieving a change and striving to create a world where equality is normalized.  Murphy says the essays he received from students continue to give him hope for the future and to realize King's dream for justice and equality in America.


Danbury schools distribute meals to remote, in-person students

The Danbury Public School District will continue to distribute lunch and breakfast at a drive up for those in remote learning, whether all-distance learners or on the remote day of a hybrid schedule.  Distribution will be done at Danbury High School and Broadview Middle School. The student does not need to be present to receive meals. The parent or guardian may pick up meals for their child outside of the designated school location Monday through Friday from 9am-11am.  Students will be offered breakfast and lunch during in-person learning. For the elementary grades, breakfast will be offered upon entry and eaten in the classroom. Lunch will be eaten in school.  For middle schoolers, who start back next Monday, breakfast will also be provided upon arrival and lunch will be distributed as a “grab and go” meal to take home.


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