Jim Coda
Jim Coda
8:00pm - 11:59pm
The Hawk Evenings

Local News Stories

Target seeks to expand in Bethel, add Starbucks and more curbside parking

Target is looking to expand in Bethel.  The Planning and Zoning Commission is holding a public hearing on September 28th at 7pm via Zoom.  The company is looking to add storage area for items people order online but pick up in store, add more curbside pick up parking spaces, and a Starbucks inside the store.

Target has requested a text amendment change and a modification of parking requirements. Target proposes to expand its existing 123,000 square foot store by 13,000 square feet because they need larger fulfillment and inventory replenishment areas.  The store’s current stock room holds about 50% of the replenishment stock product needed to operate efficiently so Target currently leases an offsite facility.  The addition will also be used for a new employee lounge area and training conference room area. 

8 existing contactless Drive Up parking stalls in the existing parking area will be relocated and 16 more stalls will serve guests who chose curbside pick up.

Target also proposes a minor floor reconfiguration to provide space for a Starbucks coffee bar adjacent to a reconfigured snack bar. The café/snack bar was a part of the original store approval from 2004, but the 25 seat facility was closed last year due to the pandemic.  The area was converted to a fulfillment storage function.

With the proposed expansion, Target plans to reinstitute the snack bar use, and add a Starbucks.

Bethel man sentenced for alleged sex assaults of two minors

A Bethel man has been sentenced for alleged sex assaults of two minors.  46-year old Santos Cardona was ordered to 40 years in prison, be suspended after 15 years served, with 35 years of probation. He pleaded guilty to two counts of Sexual Assault in connection with assaults involving two minors in Bethel between May of 2015 and May of 2020. After his release from prison, Cardona will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and will not be permitted to have unsupervised contact with minors under the age of 18. This case was investigated by the Bethel Police Department and prosecuted by the Danbury State’s Attorney’s Office.

New Fairfield still in Red Zone, Newtown drops to Orange

84 municipalities are currently in the red zone, the highest of the state’s four alert levels for COVID-19 community spread, including New Fairfield.  New Fairfield has 25 active COVID cases, 21 among unvaccinated and 4 breakthrough cases.  Newtown moved out of the Red and is now Orange.  Bethel moved up from yellow to Orange.  Newtown was a 15.1 cases on average last week and is down to 10 cases per 100,000.  Bethel is at 10.8 cases.  Most of the Greater Danbury area is orange, except for Ridgefield which is in the yellow zone with 8.3 cases per 100,000 population.

House fire in Danbury displaces family of 3

A house fire in Danbury has displaced one adult and two children.  The American Red Cross is helping the Union Circle family to meet their immediate needs. The Red Cross also provided a recovery envelope containing information helpful to families recovering from a fire, including tips on cleanup; notification of important contacts; and dealing with damaged items. The Red Cross is also providing comfort kits containing personal care items such as toothbrushes, deodorant and other items.  Those affected will connect with Red Cross caseworkers in the coming days to work on a longer-term recovery plan.

Woodbury is looking to install floodgates

Woodbury is looking to install floodgates at roads in the area that usually flood.  This comes on the heels of the line of duty death of State Police Sergeant Brian Mohl, who was swept away by the waters of the Pomperaug River earlier this month.  Woodbury’s Emergency Management Director says one area they're looking at is Jack’s Bridge Road and Jusdson Avenue.  Posts for the gates would be installed behind guardrails so drivers couldn't go around them.  Woodbury officials have asked the state Department of Transportation to pay for the infrastructure for Washington Road, which is Route 47, and Sycamore Avenue, which is Route 317.  The town also plans to apply to FEMA for a grant.

New Fairfield official calls for enforcement of indoor mask mandate

New Fairifeld has one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the area, at 21 cases per 100,000 population, well over the 15 case threshold to be considered in the state Department of Public Health's red zone for community spread.  While most of the towns Greater Danbury area towns are over 70 percent fully vaccinated, New Fairfield is still lagging at nearly 65 percent. 

At this point, First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says the town's vaccination numbers are increasing at 1 percent per week, not the kind of progress she wants to see.  As of last week, all New Fairfield residents 65 years and older were fully vaccinated.  That compares to 49 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds, nearly 73 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds, 58 percent of 25- to 44-year-olds and 66 percent of 45- to 64-year-olds. 

Griffin Hospital and the state Department of Public Health’s mobile vaccination team mobile clinics are being held twice a week in New Fairfield.  On Wednesdays, the yellow minivan is stationed at St. Edward Church from noon to 7pm and in the middle and high school parking lot Saturdays from 9am to 5pm.

Republican Selectman Kim Hanson remains concerned about the lack of compliance with the indoor mask mandate in public places, regardless of vaccine status.  Hanson says he understands it's difficult for business owners to enforce the mandate on patrons, but doesn't think it’s hard for them to enforce the mandate on themselves and their own employees.  Hanson wants warnings to be issued, with follow-up spot checks for those businesses out of compliance.  If they're in violation again, he wants the business automatically shut down for 24 hours. 

Hanson acknowledged that it's a drastic move, but says this is a drastic situation.

New Fairfield Day is taking place tomorrow

New Fairfield Day is taking place tomorrow.  The annual showcase of local businesses and organizations was canceled last year because of the pandemic.  The Parks and Rec event is from noon to 6pm on Memorial Field.  Face masks will be required regardless of vaccination status.  Among the groups participating are scout troops, the New Fairfield Veterans Association, Lions Club and Friends of New Fairfield Library.  There will be live music, a New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department truck showcase, and local restaurants offering for for sale.  As part of New Fairfield Day, the  Senior Center will hold an art show and sale from 10am to 3pm.  The Griffin Hospital/state Department of Public Health’s mobile vaccination team will be providing free COVID-19 vaccines at the fair.  The rain date is September 19th.

Jane Powell, Hollywood golden-age musicals star, dies at 92

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Jane Powell, who starred in Hollywood golden age musicals, has died. A longtime friend said that Powell died Thursday in Wilton, Connecticut, of natural causes. Powell sang with Howard Keel in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and danced with Fred Astaire in "Royal Wedding," among other 20th-century films. Powell performed virtually her whole life, starting at age 5 as a singing prodigy on radio in Portland, Oregon. She made her first movie at 16 and graduated from teenage roles to costarring in lavish musical productions through the mid-1950s. Jane Powell was 92 years old when she died at her longtime home in Connecticut.

Brookfield Selectmen seek to buy state land for pocket park, approve regional Hazard Mitigation Plan

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has referred the purchase of state land to the Planning Commission.  A $500 application fee was approved to start the appraisal process for an island that will become a pocket park.  Leases for state land start at a minimum of $75 per month. 

The design was originally included in Phase 3 of the overall Streetscape project but was delayed when the state required Brookfield to buy the land.  It will include benches, bike racks, and an art installation.  Selectman Harry Shaker thinks the park is a good idea, but voted against the motion saying he didn’t want to put money down when he was still confused about the plan. 

The Board also approved a Multi-Jurisdiction Hazard Mitigation Plan UpdateThe previous version was adopted in Brookfield in 2014.  FEMA Region 1 has completed its review of the plan and the Western Connecticut Council of Governments has received conditional approval pending adoption by each individual municipality in the region. 

Adoption of this plan will make Brookfield eligible for funding to alleviate the impact of future natural hazards.  The plan also allows regional towns to work together in a coordinated effort.

Local Police Officers honored by MADD

Southbury Police Officers Matthew Ezzo and Deondre Pierce have been honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.   National MADD President Alex Otte was the keynote speaker at their annual recognition ceremony this week.  Southbury Police Department officials thanked the officers for their tireless work to remove impaired drivers from the roads. Monroe Police Sergeant Mike Johnson has been honored by MADD. Johnson was recognized for his education efforts and his DRE enforcement actions.

Lake Zoar Marine Patrol provide updates on recent enforcement action

During the month of August, The Lake Zoar Authority Marine Patrol took 52 enforcement actions, including three no wake zone violations at the I-84 bridge construction zone in Newtown.  Several were issued for lack of Personal Floatation Devices, some for lack of a safe boating certificate, and others for no lights.  The scheduled patrols have ended for the 2021 season. There will be remaining patrols as needed, while weather and budget still permit.  The Marine Patrol responded to a report that there was a jumper at the Stevenson damn on Sunday, September 5th. The claim was unfounded, as officers reviewed camera footage from FirstLight at Rocky River, there were no reported missing people, and no one was found in Lake Housatonic. 

Weight-loss camp operating in Kent voluntarily surrenders license

A weight-loss camp operating in Kent that abruptly closed this summer has voluntarily surrendered its license to state officials.  The Office of Early Childhood and the state Department of Children and Families launched a joint investigation into Camp Shane in July.  The camp opened in June without a state license, which was approved just days before it then closed.  Hearst Connecticut Media reports that the Office of Early Childhood has since closed its investigation.  Violations and issues with documentation of policies and medical oversight had previously been identified when Camp Shane operated at The Rectory School in Pomfret.  It moved to the South Kent School this year.

Temporary moratorium enacted in Ridgefield on retail cannabis permits

The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission has voted to put a one-year moratorium in place on permits and applications for cannabis businesses as they look into the state law that would allow these establishments.  Only four people spoke during the public hearing part of the meeting. 

Commissioner John Katz says more information needs to be given to and discussion heard from residents.  Commissioner Joseph Dowdell opposed the pause saying Ridgefield could be missing out on economic opportunities.  Commissioner Robert Hendrick says there is a state social equity board that needs to give approval to any permit. 

The Commission can lift the moratorium at any time.  It covers 11 types of recreational cannabis-related business including producers, cultivators, retailers, manufacturers, delivery services and transporters.

One of the few people who attended the hearing was First Selectman Rudy Marconi backed a moratorium because of the short timeframe to institute a referendum by this Election Day. He says residents could potentially vote in May during the annual budget referendum.  The Board of Selectmen plans to continue discussing the matter, including holding public hearings.

Phone outages for police, schools, hospitals resolved

Phone outages for some police departments, schools and hospitals in the Greater Danbury area appears to be resolved.  A Fronteir outage prompted New Milford, Wilton and West Conn Police to set up alternate phone lines for non emergencies, or remind residents that anyone in need of immediate assistance was still able to dial 911.  The phones for the Brookfield Public School District were also affected yesterday.  Nuvance Health set up alternate phone lines to contact Danbury, New Milford and Norwalk Hospitals.  The issue also impacted their medical practices phone lines.  But Nuvance says they were fully open and keeping patient appointments.  Frontier said there was a fiber issue, leading to a loss of service statewide.

New Milford Health Department receives outpatient clinic licensure

The New Milford Health Department has received its official outpatient clinic licensure from the state Department of Public Health and can now expand local health services.  New Milford plans to operate an outpatient clinic at the John Pettibone Community Center, expanding from COVID-19 vaccines to flu shots and health screenings for diabetes, vision, and cholesterol.   Health Director Lisa Morrissey expects to ramp up services this month and next.  A waiver will also allow New Milford to perform rapid tests for COVID-19 at their drive-thru site, not just PCR tests. 

Danbury woman announces plan to seek 5th Congressional District GOP nomination

Another Republican has announced their intention to run for Congress in the 5th District next year.  51-year old Michelle Botelho of Danbury is a political newcomer who describes herself as a conservative whose values stem from her immigrant parents’ work ethic and her Christian faith.  The mother of two college-age kids is a paralegal and a tutor in Danbury public schools. The other Republican who has announced plans for a 2022 run is former state Senator George Logan of Ansonia, which is outside the 5th District.  The Constitution only requires that members of Congress live in the state they represent, not the district.  Logan said he would buy a house once redistricting is finalized and the district lines are drawn.  Two-term Democrat Jahana Hayes is seeking a 3rd term.

Fingerprinting Services fully restored at Easton Police Department

Fingerprinting Services are fully restored in Connecticut.  Many Greater Danbury area police departments require an appointment for fingerprinting services.  Connecticut updated the statewide fingerprinting system, a process that took several weeks and prompted area police department to temporarily suspend public fingerprinting.  People needing fingerprinting include educators, Department of Public Health long term healthcare employees and new pistol permit applicants among others.  Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation sent a letter to Connecticut's Public Safety Commissioner saying that retailers are  frustrated by the lack of adequate coordination and planning.  The organization called the roll-out of the upgraded system wholly inadequate, producing extended outages.  NSSF called the timing of this upgrade ill advised because the record number of gun sales throughout the state.

Bridgewater considering ban on recreational cannabis establishments

Bridgewater is the latest Greater Danbury area town to consider whether or not to allow retail cannabis sales within its borders.  The Bridgewater Planning & Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday at 6pm on proposed regulations amendments to prohibit all cannabis establishments.  When the General Assembly approved legalized recreational marijuana, they left it up to each municipality to decide how they would handle future sales.

New Milford, WCSU Police and Nuvance report phone line issues

The New Milford Police Department experiencing phone issues.  Temporary numbers have been put in place for routine phone calls 860-457-4188 or 860-355-3134.  In the event of an emergency or anyone in need of immediate assistance, can still call 911. 

The West Conn Police Department’s telephone system has been affected by an issue with an external line. The dispatch center can only receive calls from campus phones.  Any student or visitor with an emergency is asked to call 911. University staff is investigating. 

Danbury Hospital is reporting phone outages.  Nuvance Health received numerous reports since yesterday that there is an outage for incoming calls to Danbury and Norwalk phone numbers.  They are working with the vendor to resolve the issue, but in the meantime have set up alternate main phone numbers for the hospitals experiencing the outage.  The number to call to reach Danbury Hospital is 203-749-9200. 

Two feature filmes to shoot in New Milford

Two feature films will be using New Milford as a backdrop.  The New Milford Film Commission has partnered with Story Plant Entertainment Company to film two movies in town.  The producers they have offered a $25,000 scholarship to the Commission, to be granted to a local filmmaker and film student.  The Thursday Night Club, a family-oriented movie, will be filming early next year.  Mayor Pete Bass did not disclose the name of the other film.

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Jim Coda
Jim Coda
8:00pm - 11:59pm
The Hawk Evenings