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Standing O’s and Oh No’s



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Continuing a tradition from previous editors, The Newtown Bee from time to time takes a moment to offer recognition of the good things happening in Newtown, as well as an occasional facepalm when things go wrong.

A Standing O goes to our Newtown delegation as well as our local leaders for a successful trip to Hartford as seen in our front page story, “Newtown Leaders Help Preserve Crisis Drills in Schools.” Representative Mitch Bolinsky, Representative Tony Foncello, First Selectman Jeff Capeci, Superintendent of Schools Chris Melillo, and Chief of Police David Kullgren all journeyed to Hartford last week to oppose language in a bill on the floor of the State House that would have limited crisis drills to one. The language was removed from the bill after Newtown leadership unanimously spoke against it, worried it would restrict the drills the town has been using to prepare students in case of emergencies.

An Oh No comes from the same story, as Bolinsky noted that the proponents of the bill stated that Newtown’s leadership supported the bill, which it clearly did not. How this miscommunication occurred was something Bolinsky says he frequently questioned, only to receive no response. Hopefully in the future, people do not attempt to put words into the mouth of Newtown and its leaders.

Another Standing O goes to Capeci and to Capital Tax Recovery, for resuming negotiations between the town and CTR. People not paying their fair share of taxes by registering their vehicles out of town or even out of state has long been a concern of taxpayers who are paying their properly owed vehicle taxes, and bringing CTR to town is an opportunity for not only the taxpayers to know that more people will be paying their fair share, but for the town to potentially bring in tens or hundreds of thousands in extra tax revenue. With a 3.82% proposed tax increase being floated for 2024-25, every little bit helps.

A big Standing O goes to the town’s little wrestlers, as The Newtown Youth Wrestling Association won its third consecutive New England championship. Newtown totaled 99 team points with Franklin, Mass. in second with 82 points, and Danbury in third with 72 points; the competition took place in Fitchburg, Mass. March 16 and 17. Congrats to them for their winning ways.

Friends of Newtown Seniors (FONS) is looking to resurrect rides for seniors with its Newtown Rides program, which definitely deserves a Standing O for a commendable cause. While Newtown used to have a rides for seniors program with Friends In Service Here (FISH), founded in the 1970s, the group disbanded in 2021, leaving a definite hole in the lives of people who may not be able to get around to places as well as they used to. FONS is now seeking volunteer drivers, who are asked to commit from 10 am to noon or noon to 2 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays to offer this invaluable service. Hopefully that program will get up and running quickly so Newtown’s housebound seniors can get up and running as well.

An Oh, No! definitely goes to the gas leak that happened at the Fairfield Hills campus two weeks ago, forcing the evacuation of not only the town’s municipal center, but also the NYA, Newtown Community Center, and businesses located in the campus.

Workers from contracting firm M. Rondano Inc, workmen had pulled away road plates covering up work from earlier in the week and were in the process of installing a hydrant tee onto the exposed side of the main, and while excavating the trench, an operator hit and broke a 2” gas main running to the municipal building.

The repair work was done by Eversource at M. Rondano’s expense. While mistakes happen, it is very good that everyone stayed safe and nothing unfortunate happened.

A final Standing O for this column goes out to the Newtown Historical Society for picking up the pieces in the wake of the vandalism of the historic Little Schoolhouse at Middle Gate School. The vandals don’t even deserve an “Oh No,” but to be forgotten (and hopefully caught) for their despicable actions. But those who are left to clean up after the damage is done, who donate so that repairs can be completed, and who care enough about the town and its history to make sure it can be shared with future generations always deserve an ovation and the town’s deepest thanks, even when there are miscreants who try to tear down what others built up. With work needing to be done by May when school children annually come to visit, The Newtown Bee has full faith the Little Schoolhouse will be back to its full glory by then.

Anyone interested in donating toward the restoration of the broken windows can visit the historical society’s website, newtownhistory.org.

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