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Bethel man killed in hit & run accident in New Milford

A Bethel man has been killed in a hit and run accident in New Milford.  Police responded to Route 7 between Dodd Road and Still River Drive shortly before 9:30 last night on a report of a car striking a pedestrian.  64-year-old John Capodanno was pronounced dead at the scene.  Police found the suspect vehicle a short distance away at an apartment complex.  The driver was not injured and is cooperating with the investigation.  The woman wasn't identified by police.


Odor of gas prompts DHS evacuation

An odor of gas at Danbury High School prompted a brief evacuation this morning.  Danbury firefighters responded to the school around 8am on a report of the smell outside the school.  Firefighters ventilated one area and Eversource was called to the scene.  The Fire Department cleared the scene in less than an hour. 


Series of attempted break ins investigated by Washington Troopers

A series of attempted break ins at businesses in the northwest corner is under investigation by the Washington Resident Trooper Office.  During the overnight hours Monday into Tuesday, a man was captured on surveillance cameras attempting to break into several businesses including Paws and Paddle Canine Conditioning of New Milford, Aspetuck Animal Hospital, Denscot Pool and Spa, and Washington Hairport.  A photo of the suspect, who was wearing a black ski mask, has been posted to the Washington Resident Trooper Facebook page.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Office at 860-868-9671.


COVID-19 data for Greater Danbury area updated

The number of COVID-19 cases reported by Danbury to the Connecticut Department of Public Health dropped this week compared to last.  Rates held steady in all other Greater Danbury area municipalities.  According to the report ending October 3rd, there were 48 cases in Danbury, Bethel reported 17, and Brookfield had 17.  There were 16 COVID cases in New Milford, 7 in New Fairfield, 15 in Newtown, 5 in Redding while Ridgefield had 11. 

 

Most Greater Danbury area towns reported about 50 to 150 COVID-19 tests to the state Department of Public Health over the last 7 days with positivity of 7 to 13 percent.  New Milford reported 250 tests and Danbury reported 587, about the same as last week.  Newtown for several weeks has been alternating between reporting about 600 tests or just 200.  At home tests are not reported. 

The test positivity rates are:

New Fairfield  7.4 percent

New Milford 7.4 percent

Danbury 7.7 percent

Ridgefield 9 percent

Newtown 9.5 percent

Redding 9.8 percent

Bethel 11.8 percent

Brookfield 13.4 percent

 

New state data released Thursday shows a slight increase in COVID-19 positivity statewide compared to last week.  The rolling 7-day average is 9.5 percent, 3 tenths of a percent higher than the week before. There were 3,400 positive COVID cases reported to the state out of about 36,000 tests, slightly less than last week. The number of people in Connecticut hospitals testing positive for COVID-19 over the last 7 days increased by 5.  The inpatient total is 388, with 32-percent not fully vaccinated. The number COVID-associated deaths in Connecticut has grown by 20 since last Thursday.

 

The BA5 Omicron subvariant of COVID-19 continues to make up the majority of the cases sent for genomic sequencing in Connecticut, according to the latest report. 83.8 percent of samples were BA5, while 12.9 percent were identified as BA4.  A new subvariant, BF7 is now being reported, identified in 1.7 percent of samples tested in Connecticut. The rest sent for sequencing were identified as BA 2.


Temporary Cherniske Road bridge in New Milford assembled

The temporary bridge for Cherniske Road in New Milford has been assembled and is on the abutments.  The one-lane bridge was closed in January 2021 due to poor condition.  Once today's work is completed, Mayor Pete Bass says the bridge will be moved and baseplate replaced.  The temporary bridge will be used until the permanent bridge is designed and installed.  New Milford can reuse the temporary structure on other bridges that need to be maintained, repaired or replaced.  The parts could be disassembled and stored for future use at any other location.  A two-lane bridge is replacing the structure in order to qualify for state funding since the one-lane design is considered functionally obsolete.


Sherman scouts collecting donations for Hurricane Ian relief

Sherman Volunteer Fire Department is collecting donations for Hurricane Ian relief.  Troop 48 and Pack 84 will be making a hurricane relief trip to Florida.  The scouts are collecting donations from the community to take to a devastated area around Ft. Myers so they can distribute items to those most in need.  This trip will focus on feeding the first responders, lineman, National Guard and Coast Guard members cleaning up the region.  Essentials such as toilet paper and any other donations will also be distributed.  MRE’s--Meals Ready to Eat--are being handed out, but no hot food.  The menu will focus on breakfast sandwiches for the morning, hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch and spaghetti and meat balls for dinner.  Donations of non-perishable items can be brought to the scout house in Sherman on Saturday from 10am until noon.  Financial contributions can be made using online.  Any excess funds and goods remaining at the end of the trip will be donated directly to the Cajun Navy who is assisting with the relief effort.


FEMA grant awarded to Water Witch Hose Co. #2

Water Witch Hose Company #2 of New Milford has been named a recipient of a 2022 FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant.  The Grant Committee will use the nearly $132,000 to equip the stations with exhaust capture systems for apparatus.  In the last three years the Fire Department has made an effort to limit exposure of carcinogens to protect firefighters.  From annual cancer screenings, to a new ARPA funded Washer and Dryer, and now a capture system officials say the fire company is mitigating factors that can harm first responders.  


Danbury man arrested for alleged fentanyl sales

A Danbury man has been arrested for allegedly selling fentanyl in the City.  Detectives determined that 40-year old Jeremy Tamburri was buying fentanyl in bulk and packaging it for individual street sales. A search warrant was carried out yesterday in a North Street parking lot.  He had a bag of fentanyl on him, as well as 100 glassine bags for packaging, an electronic scale, Xanax pills, and money.  He was charged with 2 counts each of possession of a controlled substance and of narcotics with intent to sell as well as one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.  Danbury Police say this is part of the Special Investigations Division and the Drug Enforcement
Administration's crackdown on fentanyl sold in the City to reduce overdose deaths.


Congressmembers to take bike tour of 4th, 5th Districts

Two members of Connecticut's Congressional delegation will be hitting the road today to talk with constituents. 4th District Congressman Jim Himes and 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes will bike across a portion of their districts, starting in Danbury.  They're meeting at 10am at Rogers Park to talk about the Infrastructure and Jobs Act with state Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner Carlo Leone and members of the Connecticut Construction Industries Association.  They'll head to a farm in Bethel, the Saugatuck Universal Access Trail in Redding, and Bisceglie Park in Weston.  Redding First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton will be joining them for the last leg of the ride.


Absentee ballots now available in Newtown

Absentee ballots will be available in Newtown starting today for the November 8th election.  Polls will be open 6am to 8pm, but those who can't vote in person can apply for an absentee ballot.  In addition to candidates for office, and a statewide ballot question about whether to allow for early voting, Newtown residents will be deciding on charter revision questions.  Absentee ballots may be applied for by any qualified voter unable to vote at the polls due to specific reasons such as sickness, physical disability, religious tenants, and absence from home during hours of the vote.  Newtown will hold special absentee ballot voting hours on Saturday, November 5th at the Town Clerk's office from 9am to noon.


EXPLAINER: Jurors weigh cost of Alex Jones' Sandy Hook lies

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — For a decade, the parents and siblings of people killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have been tormented and harassed by people who believe the mass shooting was a hoax.

How do you put a price tag on their suffering?

That’s part of the task faced by a Connecticut jury that has been asked to decide how much Alex Jones and his company should pay for spreading a conspiracy theory that the massacre never happened.

The six jurors deliberated for less than an hour Thursday before breaking for the evening. Their work was set to resume Friday.

Jones now acknowledges his conspiracy theories about the shooting were wrong, but says he isn’t to blame for the actions of people who harassed the families. His lawyers also say the 15 plaintiffs have exaggerated stories about being subjected to threats and abuse.

Here are some questions and answers about the deliberations.

COULD THE JURY DECIDE THAT WHAT JONES DID IS PROTECTED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT?

No. A judge has already ruled that Jones is liable for defamation, infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and violating Connecticut’s unfair trade practices law. The jury’s job is to decide how much he owes for harming the people who sued him over his lies.

HOW MUCH COULD JONES PAY?

Jones, who lives in Austin, Texas, could be ordered to pay as little as $1 to each plaintiff or potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to them. The decision will be based on whether the jury determines the harm to the families was minimal or extensive.

Christopher Mattei, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the jury should award the plaintiffs at least $550 million. Jones’ lawyer, Norm Pattis, says any damages awarded should be minimal.

HOW DOES THE JURY COME UP WITH THE DOLLAR FIGURES?

In her instructions to the jury, Judge Barbara Bellis said there are no mathematical formulas for determining dollar amounts. Jurors, she said, should use their life experiences and common sense to award damages that are “fair, just and reasonable.”

WHAT KIND OF DAMAGES ARE THE JURY CONSIDERING?

Jurors could award both compensatory and punitive damages.

Compensatory damages are often meant to reimburse people for actual costs such as medical bills and income loss, but they also include compensation for emotional distress than can reach into the millions of dollars.

Punitive damages are meant to punish a person for their conduct. If the jury decides Jones should pay punitive damages, the judge would determine the amount.

DOES CONNECTICUT CAP DAMAGES?

No, and yes. The state does not limit compensatory damages, while punitive damages are limited in many cases to attorney’s fees and costs. So if the jury says Jones should pay punitive damages, he would potentially have to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Sandy Hook families’ lawyers’ costs.


Renovations completed on transitional housing facility run by Amos House

Renovations have been completed on a transitional housing facility in Danbury run by nonprofit Amos House.  The first women and children were welcomed back to the facility after more than a year of work.  Executive Director Jennifer Seeley says the kitchen is probably the biggest improvement, but the whole house has been redone.  Amos House not only provides housing, but also job training services and educational programs through partner organizations.  Seeley says families can stay for up to two years as they work toward self-sufficiency. The renovation work began in June 2021 with support from a $150,000 state grant.  Amos House was formed in 1986 by five local churches.


Southbury Selectmen to continue discussion on proposed detective job description

The Southbury Board of Selectmen will take up the job description of Detective once again when they meet tonight.  The members will also discuss the current position of Community Resource Officer.  Tonight's Board meeting is at 7pm in Southbury Town Hall.  A number of residents of Heritage Village in Southbury are upset to learn that the CRO position stationed on site is proposed to change to the detective position.  The position is currently vacant and First Selectman Jeff Manville explained that contractually, they can't force someone to take role.  There have been no applicants for the job.  Part of the proposed detective job description is to act as a liaison to Heritage Village, the state’s largest senior housing complex.  The contract, including the detective position, was previously ratified by the Board and the union.  While Southbury has a police department, the first selectman is the police chief.


SafeWalk raises $75,000 for domestic violence, sexual assault victims

The Center for Empowerment & Education, formerly the Women's Center of Greater Danbury kicked off Domestic Violence Awareness Month with their 16th Annual SafeWalk Fundraiser.  The organization was able to raise over $75,000 to help victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence. Hundreds of individuals on over 20 teams ran, walked, hiked, and creatively moved their way to a 4k from across the country.  Fairfield County Bank was the Top Fundraising Team and Girls Inspiring Girls of Newtown was the Top Youth Fundraising Team.  This was the 4th year in a row for each receiving the honor. Chip Neumann was Top Individual Fundraiser.


Bethel School District seeks participants for Business Advisory Council

The Bethel School District formed a Business Advisory Council, which meets once a month at Bethel High School to discuss skills needed to ensure students can be part of a global workforce.  They also advise on the Pathway Program, which is designed to connect students with specific interests to a concentration of study. The Council consists of higher education (Naugatuck Valley Community College and WCSU), small businesses, representatives from larger companies, and municipal leaders, including our Director of Economic Development.   The district is looking for more participants to serve both on the Business Advisory Council and/or support students in job shadowing and/or internship placements.  Job Shadowing and internships are a part of every pathway.  There are currently six Pathways:
Arts
Education
Global Studies
Business
Healthcare
Career Technical Readiness


Newtown land use agencies approve self-storage facility application

The Newtown Planning and Zoning Commission has approved an application for a self-storage facility.  19 Commerce Road, LLC requested a special exception to the zoning regulations following approval by the Inland Wetlands Commission.  The property is currently a vacant lot.  Five self-storage facilities over the 5-and-a-half acre site are proposed with an office building and storage units accessed through a gated driveway.  Units in 4 buildings are accessed internally, and one building has exterior access.


Proposed apartment complex gets Newtown Inland Wetlands approval

Newtown Inland Wetlands Commission has signed off on a proposed apartment complex development on Mt Pleasant Road.  Farrell Building Company is looking to construct 11 Garden Apartment buildings and one clubhouse.  Associated site improvements include driveways, parking, and stormwater management.  An annual report on Stormwater Maintenance and Functionality must be submitted to the Land Use Agency on every December 1st for the duration of the permit.  An Invasive Species Management and Removal plan must be submitted to the Land Use Agency for approval.


Danbury Police to take part in DEA Drug Take Back Day

The Danbury Police Department Drug Take Back Day is taking place later this month.  This is part of a nationwide effort to help people clean out medicine cabinets and drop off unused medicines for proper disposal.  A drop box will be located in the front lobby of the Danbury Police Department October 29th between 10am and 2pm. The DEA says medicines in the home are a leading cause of accidental poisoning and flushed or trashed medicines can end up polluting the waters.


Monroe firefighters to hold Touch-A-Truck event

National Fire Prevention Week will be kicked off in Monroe with the Volunteer Fire Department's Touch-a-Fire Truck and Fire Safety Day on Sunday.  Residents will be able to meet with the volunteer firefighters, sit in fire trucks, see their equipment and learn fire safety tips.  The event on October 9th is at the fire station on Route 110 from 11am to 1pm.


Donations sought for Southbury Fire's Halloween Spooktacular

The Ladies Auxiliary of the Southbury Volunteer Firemen's Association is accepting unopened packages of individually wrapped candy for distribution at the 12th Annual Halloween Spooktacular. A collection box will be located at the back entrance of the firehouse until October 20th.  The Halloween Spooktacular will take place on Saturday, October 22nd from 3pm to 5:30pm between Southbury Town Hall and the Southbury Firehouse on Main Street South. Costumed children and families are invited to trick-or-treat at creatively decorated booths hosted and sponsored by dozens of community organizations and businesses from Southbury and neighboring towns.  Costumed characters will be accepting donations in the front parking lot of the firehouse this Saturday from 10am ro Noon, and Tuesday, 3-5pm.


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