The Board of Selectmen September 15 agreed to pursue the possibility of eventually creating a regional emergency dispatch center in Newtown, or possibly consolidating into a regional facility in Danbury. As a result of that consensus, the board has effectively rejected pursuing regional dispatch partnerships with nonprofit, civilian operated centers in Prospect and Torrington. In related news, selectmen authorized Police Chief Michael Kehoe to move forward closing out the town’s remaining contract with a Minnesota company currently providing emergency dispatch and record-keeping technology. Officials then gave the police chief authorization to begin negotiating with a North Haven company to replace dispatch and record-keeping hardware and software services.
Newtown and Sandy Hook remain popular towns with house hunters, despite economic downturns, the tragedy of 12/14, and taxes that make selling a tour de force for local realtors.With listings of single-family homes for sale in Newtown and Sandy Hook numbered at 284 as of September 14, the inventory is high, admitted Newtown Board of Realtors President Cyndy DaSilva. However, it is not substantially out of line with previous years’ inventories. Selling a home in Newtown is challenging but far from impossible, despite the increased inventory. A single family home in Newtown, with an average listing price of $527,781 currently, can expect to be on the market just over four months. Sellers are cautioned, though, that they should be prepared to drop the initial asking price before the property sells
Blues, greens, tans, and grays made up the primary colors of the proposed interior and exterior materials for use in the new Sandy Hook Elementary School that were presented to the Board of Education at its meeting September 16. Geralyn Hoerauf from Diversified Project Management reminded the school board that the last time the board was updated on the project was at the end of June, when the school board approved Phase 3 of the project, which includes site work.
“Since that time the project team has successfully marshaled the project through the local review process,” Ms Hoerauf said. Adding later, “and then we were able to take that packet of information back to the state to the office of school facilities and received their approval to proceed to bid on Phase 3.” Aaron Krueger, project manager for Consigli Construction, reported that bids for the third phase of the project came in earlier that day.
A one-vehicle accident early on the morning of Saturday, September 13, caused a more than three-hour power outage, which affected about 400 Connecticut Light & Power Company electric customers in the Botsford area. Police said an 18-year female from Middlebury was driving a 2000 Toyota 4-Runner SUV southward on Toddy Hill Road, just south of its intersection with Settlers Lane, at about 2 am when she was rounding a curve but lost control of the SUV and drove off the right road shoulder onto some turf. The SUV struck some rocks and drove across a driveway at 118 Toddy Hill Road, after which it struck an embankment and went airborne, striking a utility pole. The utility pole was located on the west side of Toddy Hill Road, across that street from the driveway entrance to Masonicare Health Center. The pole broke into three segments, resulting in utility lines falling onto the ground and being draped across the roadway. The heavily damaged SUV came to rest on its roof on the roadway about 200 feet from its point of impact with the pole.
The town fire marshal is warning that a popular brand of residential smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors is having a major recall of the safety devices, recalling 1.3 million units which the firm has sold in the United States and Canada. According to Fire Marshal Bill Halstead, on September 11 the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that more than 1 million alarms intended to alert people to smoke and carbon monoxide in their homes are being recalled because of a defect which could cause the devices to fail. The Kidde brand smoke alarms and combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms are hard-wired devices and can fail after a power outage, according to CPSC. About 1.2 million were sold in the US and about 112,000 units were sold in Canada.
Following a brief update to the Board of Selectmen by the Town’s Pension Committee and representatives from Westport Resources, which administers the fund, Finance Director Robert Tait pronounced the local program to be “in good health.” The highpoint of the September 15 presentation was the news that after several years of falling substantially below the earnings benchmark, the fund has rebounded and yielded a 14 percent return for the 2014–15 fiscal year, Mr Tait explained following the meeting. At the same time, he noted that the benchmark for the current fiscal year is 16 percent.
On Thursday, December 11, a service of mourning and loving remembrance for all who have fallen victim to the ongoing epidemic of gun violence will take place at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The Newtown Foundation plans to bring families of victims and survivors of gun violence from Newtown and around the country to the vigil at the Cathedral. In order to transport families to Washington, D.C., however, funding is needed.
Kelly Paredes is settling not only into her new position as program manager of Ben’s Lighthouse, but resettling into the community she once called home, graduating from Newtown High School in 1998. Along with her husband, Hernando, and 19-month-old son, Oliver, Ms Paredes moved back to Newtown during the Labor Day weekend, and started her new job on Tuesday, September 2. Named for Ben Wheeler, one of the 20 first grade children killed on 12/14, Ben’s Lighthouse was founded by teachers, social workers, clergy, counselors, parents, and students invested in helping youth deal with post-12/14 difficulties.