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The Bull Hometown News

Danbury contractor charged by Brookfield Police with larceny

A Danbury contractor has been charged by Brookfield Police with larceny.  Police were contacted over the summer by a Laurel Hill woman who said she and her husband wrote a more than $23,000 check to Paul Stock for an addition to their home.  The check was reportedly cashed, but no work was done by the 39-year old. 

According to the warrant, Stock said he was "fully licensed and insured" and had the woman sign a contract with C&R Contracting.  He repaired the house after a chimney fire earlier in the year, and converted a closet into a bathroom.  Permits were not filed for those projects. Stock was also charged with three counts of misrepresenting himself as a home improvement contractor.

He is due in court today. 

According to court records, Stock was charged by previously charged with violating home improvement contractor requirements and subsequently violation of probation in the case in Norwalk Superior Court.


Congresswoman supports Export Finance Agency Act

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Export Finance Agency Act.  5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes called it an important piece of legislation-- reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank for ten years and increasing its lending threshold to $175 million. 

She says this will also streamline operations in order to better serve consumers.  Hayes added that this bill ensures critical resources for Connecticut businesses is available over the course of the next decade.  She notes that there are companies in Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, New Milford, Southbury, and Watertown that export goods.  Hayes says over $230 million has been generated by exporters in Connecticut’s Fifth District as a result of assistance rendered by the Export-Import Bank, which supports small businesses. 

She encourage the Senate to pass this reauthorization and deliver it to the president’s desk for his signature.


UNIT addresses three blight issues in Danbury

Three issues of blight in Danbury are being addressed by the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team, including a vacant property across from West Conn. 

In a report to the City Council this month, UNIT officials said the former Wendy's and other subsequent restaurants on White Street, has been used as a dumping ground.  UNIT sent out an order, but it was returned to the Department.  The property owner lives out of state and UNIT plans to follow up. 

Another long-vacant property on the City's west side has gotten worse.  20 Old Ridgebury Road is not secured, unsafe inside, and graffiti has been painted outside.  The City's Building Department has sent a notice to the property owner of the unsafe structural conditions.  UNIT sent an order for the graffiti to be cleaned up.

29 Ball Pond Road has been vacant and has gone uncared for after the property owner passed away a couple of years ago.  While the house is secure, the garage or barn is not and UNIT officials say homeless people have been squatting there.  A notice was sent to the estate to have the property cleaned up and secured.  The property has now been mowed, and the bank has put it on the market.


Turkey pardoned by Danbury Mayor as part of Stew's 'Turkey Brigade'

A turkey has been pardoned by Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton ahead of Thanksgiving next week.  During Stew Leonard's 40th annual Turkey Brigade event, Dot the Turkey was presented with a medal and will be headed to Meriden.  Members of the Danbury police and fire departments helped give out the turkeys to charities, businesses, churches and senior homes.  This event collects and donates over 2500 turkeys to more than 100 organizations and facilities throughout the Connecticut, New York and New Jersey area.  The goal is  to provide Thanksgiving Day meals for families in need.


Danbury applies for grant funding to support emergency shelter staffing

The Danbury City Council has authorized the City Health Director to apply for state funding to benefit the emergency shelter.  Director Lisa Morrissey is applying for $138,000, with no local match required.  The money would be sent to the City over two years.  Morrissey says this helps with operation expenses to staff the shelter during the day and overnight.  She says this will improve safety by keeping the facility in ratio.  Morrissey says they do keep 3 beds empty for an emergency.  With this funding, she says they will be able to explore more options to provide beds to the homeless in winter.  There are additional restrictions with the accompanying funds.  Morrissey notes that the City has been a recipient of this grant in the past, so no change in procedures are needed.


Ridgefield sculptor crafting first statue of real-life woman for New York's Central Park

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. (AP) A sculptor known for trying to redress history through her art is creating the first statue of real-life women for New York's Central Park, where the only females so honored until now have been fictional characters.

Meredith Bergmann's vision for the sculpture, chosen from 91 submissions, features three women's rights pioneers Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth. While honoring their specific efforts on behalf of women's suffrage, women's civil rights and the abolition of slavery, Bergmann hopes her latest work will also make a statement about the need to recognize the contributions of women.

``This monument has a very focused message,'' she said in an interview at her studio in Ridgefield, Connecticut. ``The fact of the monument itself, that it exists at all, that it will be where it is, is the message.''

Of the 23 statues of historical figures in the 840-acre, 166-year-old public park, none honors actual women. There are statues of three female fictional characters: Alice in Wonderland, Mother Goose and William Shakespeare's Juliet, who appears with Romeo.

There had been a moratorium on erecting any new statues in Central Park. But in 2014, a volunteer, nonprofit group called Monumental Women, made up of women's rights advocates, historians and community leaders, set out to break what they've called the ``bronze ceiling'' and develop a statue depicting real women. With the help of the Girl Scouts, private foundations and others, they raised $1.5 million in private funding for the 14-foot-tall monument, to be located on the park's Literary Walk. It's scheduled to be unveiled on Aug. 26, 2020, marking the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which enshrined the right for women to vote.

``It's fitting that the first statue of real women in Central Park depicts three New York women who dedicated their lives to fighting for women's rights,'' said Pam Elam, president of Monumental Women, in a written statement last month after the project received approval from a city commission. ``This statue conveys the power of women working together to bring about revolutionary change in our society. It invites people to reflect not just on these women and their work for equality and justice, but on all the monumental women who came before us.''

Midway into the massive and multi-faceted project, Bergmann and her assistants have nearly finished sculpting from foam and clay an imagined scene of the three women having a conversation at a table. Truth is speaking, Anthony is organizing and Stanton is writing, which Bergman describes as the three essential elements of activism.

The current design is the result of a long process that involved various changes, including the late addition of Sojourner Truth, an African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist who was born into slavery but escaped to freedom in 1826. It originally included Anthony, a writer, lecturer and abolitionist who fought for the rights of women to vote and own property; Stanton, another leading figure in the women's voting rights movement, and an abolitionist and author; and a scroll with a list of 17 other women involved in the women's movement from 1848 to 1920.

Bergmann dove deeply into the worlds and histories of all three women and their senses of mission, similar to what the artist has done with her other works of public art. One such work, the Boston Women's Memorial, features statues portraying Abigail Adams, the wife and mother of two U.S. presidents and a women's rights advocate; abolitionist and suffragist Lucy Stone; and Phillis Wheatley, a former slave who became a literary prodigy.

Meanwhile, work is nearly complete for the FDR Hope Memorial on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan, which features two statues Bergmann created of the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a wheelchair and a young girl with crutches, greeting one another. The memorial is supposed to be an inspiration to people struggling with all forms of disability, in a location once called Welfare Island a stretch of land with a long past that included a prison and a smallpox hospital.

For the Central Park project, Bergmann studied every photo and description she could find, taking great pains, for example, to reflect a ``hint of a smile'' on the face of Truth, known to have a good sense of humor. While the three activists are not depicted in the monument at any known meeting, Bergmann said it's plausible they could have met together. She noted how Anthony and Stanton, who worked together and formed the National Woman Suffrage Association, would have known Truth through abolition and women's rights circles, and how Truth was a guest at Stanton's home in the 1860s. Stanton's daughter would read newspapers aloud to Truth, who was illiterate.

Such a gesture, Bergmann said, ``just seemed to express the idea of women's cooperation,'' a message the artist has tried to invoke in the sculpture.

Bergmann has also focused on other fine details, such as the women's clothing. She noted that all three ``used their outfits to calm people, to show that they were not threatening propriety, but also that they were women who valued themselves.''

Once the sculpting work is done, likely in the coming weeks, Bergmann said molds will be taken and they will eventually be cast in bronze at a foundry in New York. Detailed work will need to be performed, such as making sure the women's heads are at the right tilt and the ends of the granite base are curved perfectly.

It has become a labor of love for Bergmann, albeit a challenging one.

``I haven't had a project on this scale, with this ferocious of a deadline. And it is, it is nerve-wracking. And I'm working harder than I've ever worked,'' said Bergmann. ``All summer, all fall, this is what I'm doing. And it's thrilling.''


Bethel Police investigating reports of stolen vehicles

Bethel Police have recently investigated two reports of stolen vehicles in the Codfish Hill Road and Wolfpits Road areas.  Police are reminding residents to lock vehicles and take keys out of them at night.  Bethel Police say if a resident believes a vehicle may have been disturbed or broken into, not to touch it and contact Bethel Police Dispatch immediately.  In addition, anyone with residential video surveillance systems, is asked to report any suspicious activity observe on the footage.


Congresswoman introduces reauthorization of Runaway, Homeless Youth Act

5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes has co-introduced reauthorization of the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act.  Hayes says the bill renews key federal grant programs to provide states with grants to help thousands of homeless young people nationwide.  The measure was first passed by Congress in 1974.  The reauthorization would expand protections to youths who are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, and it would authorize funding for state and local programs to help provide transitional housing, street outreach, and crisis intervention programs to address the needs of homeless and runaway youth.  It would also raise the authorization of appropriations and double the minimum grant allocation provided to small states.


Monroe Police release surveillance photo of suspicious person at Masuk

Monroe Police have released a surveillance image of a man suspected of fleeing the Masuk High School campus after being confronted by the School Resource officer.  Monroe Police say they have identified a suspect in yesterday's incident and will continue to investigate the matter.  Anyone with information about the Hispanic man, who is about 30 years old with a beard and was wearing tan pants and a black hoodie sweatshirt with white lettering is asked to contact Monroe Police at 203-261-3622.  Police remained on campus throughout dismissal yesterday.  The suspicious person drove away from the school and he fled on foot after abandoning the vehicle.


Conn. man gets suspended sentence for fatal motorcycle crash

A Connecticut man who killed a motorcyclist in a Monroe accident has avoided jail time.  The judge Tuesday sentenced  60-year-old Louis Maiorino to a six-month suspended term.  Under the plea agreement, he was ordered to two years probation.  According to police, Maiorino crossed the yellow line on Route 25 in July of 2017 and collided head-on with Dan Falls of New Milford.  Falls died several weeks later.  His wife, Betty, was seriously injured and recovered.  The West Haven man pleaded guilty to negligent homicide with a motor vehicle.


Danbury teen battling leukemia gets wish fulfilled

A teen from Danbury who is battling leukemia is getting a boost from Make-a-Wish and Macy’s Believe Campaign.  The Make-A-Wish foundation is seeking to capture the joy and generosity of the holiday season.  The organization is partnering with Macy’s Believe letter-writing campaign, with the retailer donating $1 for every letter dropped off or submitted online, up to $1 million, to help grant wishes for children battling critical illnesses. 

As part of the campaign, celebrations will be held across the country each Wednesday to grant the wish of a local Make-A-Wish child. 

Yesterday, the Danbury location welcomed 16 year-old Alexandra Chakar.  She wishes to go to Australia.  The High School senior loves marine animals and will get to have the opportunity to snorkel, with the help of Macy’s and Make-A-Wish. 

(Photo: All Rich Images)

Alexandra was diagnosed in June.  She is now nearing the end of her treatment, with her last chemo treatment right after Thanksgiving.  

The standout on the Hatters cross country and track teams missed the fall season and was home schooled while undergoing chemotherapy.


New Milford, DOT coordinate traffic congestion mitigation work

New Milford officials have been working with the state Department of Transportation on traffic congestion mitigation around Bridge Street, and  intersections of West, Railroad, Main and Grove streets.  Mayor Pete Bass says engineers changed the traffic and pedestrian sync when they changed the lights on Railroad and  Bridge streets and took down the flashing light at West and Bridge. 

DOT Engineers were in New Milford this week assessing the light sync issues on Bridge Street to make adjustments, and that work is continuing. 

Bass has requested a ' do not turn on red' sign  at the intersection of East Street, Route 202 and Bridge Street, which he believes will alleviate cars entering Bridge Street  with a left hand turn from Grove being stuck in the intersection due to congestion. 

For East Street, Bass says the town has applied for Federal grant funding for a left hand turn lane at the intersection of Elm and Route 202, which he says  should help ease traffic on 202 from the light to Grove Street.


Bethel man pleads not guilty to murder

A Bethel man has pleaded not guilty to murdering his brother.  40-year old Matthew O'Dell was charged for allegedly fatally shooting his 42-year old brother, Richard, on November 11th.  Bethel police say their mother returned to the Apollo Road home they all shared that evening and found her son’s body.  Police said at the time that she initially thought he had taken his own life.  O'Dell was arrested by Bethel Police at the courthouse, where he was brought by New Milford Police for charges in that town.  New Milford Police say O'Dell tried to steal a car at Young’s Hotel that night. The car's owner was able to disarm him and hold him until officers arrived.  O’Dell has a pre-trial hearing Friday on the murder charge and is due in Torrington Court on December 3rd for the charges out of New Milford.


Bethel officials seek answer on flooding police station firing range

Bethel officials are asking the town's attorney to send a letter to Downes Construction Company over flooding issues at the new police station.  The firing range has experienced months of water issues.  The town is looking for a date of when the leak will be fixed.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the town has paid for a building, but one section is not working properly and needs to be corrected.  Police moved in at the end of 2018. A study from outside experts was not able to provide a reason for the flooding issue.  Knickerbocker says rain from recent storms cascades through the bricks.


Department of Consumer Protection has role in Southbury crash investigation

The state Department of Consumer Protection Liquor Control Division has launched an investigation into the case of a Connecticut State Police Sgt who was charged this week for a DUI crash that injured a mother and her daughter in September.  The Department is looking into whether any Liquor Permittee in the state knowingly served an intoxicated individual, which is against state law.  While the spokeswoman declined to say whether regulators are investigating the Black Hog Brewery specifically, Sgt John McDonald was at a Trooper retirement party there before the crash.


Danbury UNIT gets Jansen Street property owner to clean up parcel

The Danbury City Council has gotten an update from the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team on an ongoing blight issue.  UNIT officials say a commercial location on Jansen Street has been an eyesore for years, with construction debris, old vehicles, storage containers, mobile homes, a school bus and other blight.  For about a year, UNIT has been working with the property owner to comply with an order to clean up the property.  The agreed deadlines have been met by the owner, who systematically cleaned up the whole area. Since then, UNIT has received positive feedback and thanks from individuals who work nearby.


Technology to detect wrong-way drivers tested in Danbury

Technology to prevent wrong-way drivers is being tested in Danbury.  The state Department of Transportation is installing the video software   detection device at the Exit 8 westbound off-ramp.  The Newstimes reports that flashing lights will activate on existing 'do not enter' and 'wrong way' signs to get the driver's attention.  The 250-thousand dollar project is being installed as the DOT replaces aging traffic signals.  DOT spokesman Kevin Nursik said in the published report that Danbury was chosen because of the confusing intersection configuration, and because three crashes have been reported there involving wrong-way drivers over the past several years.  If the pilot program is a success, the technology could be expanded across the state.


Suspicious individual seen near Masuk High School in Monroe

A suspicious individual was seen near Masuk High School in Monroe this morning. The person was sitting in a vehicle, but when the School Resource Officer approached, the driver sped off.  The vehicle was abandoned shortly after and the driver fled on foot.  Monroe Police are searching for this person in the area outside of Masuk. 

The man appears to be in his 30s to 40 years old, with a beard.  He was wearing a black and gray sweatshirt and tan pants. 

All students are safe, but Masuk was initially put in a lockdown as a precaution. That status has since been changed to controlled movement with all exterior doors remaining closed and locked.  Police are in close communication with the school.  

Newtown and State Police are assisting in the search.


Newtown firefighters to collect donations for Food Pantry

On Saturday, from 9 am until 2 pm, firefighters from all five of Newtown's volunteer fire companies will be collecting food and other needed items for those who count on FAITH Food Pantry. The Fill The Fire Truck Food Drive will be outside Big Y on Queen Street, hosted by Sandy Hook, Hawleyville and Hook & Ladder members.  The food drive at Stop & Shop in Sand Hill Plaza is hosted by Botsford and Dodgingtown.  All donations will be delivered immediately to the nondenominational food pantry on Church Hill Road.


Danbury High School robotics team hosts 6th annual competition

The Danbury High School Mad Hatters robotics team hosted their sixth and largest annual competition over the weekend.  61 teams from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey gathered at Danbury High School on Saturday.  Danbury’s team robot 5150D won the design award for the best engineering notebook and is now qualified for the Southern New England Regionals held in March in  Massachusetts. Team 5150J ranked second after qualifying rounds and is likely to be have scored high enough in robot skills, a separate competition where a driver has one minute to score as many points as possible, to also qualify for the regionals.


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