Members of the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission heard presentations from two area artists during the commission’s regular meeting on November 13, conducted at Newtown Municipal Center. The presentations were at the requests of the artists, said Kyle Lyddy, SHPMC chairman. Mr Lyddy stressed to both David Merrill and Richmond Jones that the commission cannot endorse any plan at this time, and is still heavily invested in gathering information. The commission is charged with determining if a permanent memorial is desired, and if so, the location, nature, and design of any memorial. The commission is also charged with how to fund and maintain any memorial.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy is directing US and Connecticut flags to half-staff in memory of the Honorable John T. Downey, a Connecticut judge who passed away early this morning. Flags will remain at half-staff until services for Judge Downey are held, the date of which has not yet been determined.
Newtown, by Charter provision, currently has its maximum allowable force of seven appointed, nonsalaried constables on the books. But according to Police Commission Chairman Paul Mangiafico, the local police chief apparently does not know who they are; they are vested with very limited legal responsibilities; and it appears that Charter Commissioner Robert Hall may have been one of the last local court officers to use one to serve civil papers — and that was “15 or 20 years ago.” The matter of weighing whether to keep these appointed by seemingly ceremonial officials in the Newtown Charter came before the commission November 12 as they continued examining revisions to Newtown’s constitutional document. After about 40 minutes of discussion with Mr Mangiafico, it was determined that more information may be needed before charter officials could adequately consider whether constables should be kept or eliminated from the document.
Town finance officials have announced a planned January “refunding” or refinancing of debt on a number of municipal bond offerings which they hope will generate at least $925,000 in interest savings. While those projected savings are based on interest rates and the financial formulary in place today, Town Finance Director Robert Tait told The Newtown Bee that there are no present indicators that interest rates will fluctuate significantly. “We’re not borrowing, but we are swapping one debt for another that is less expensive,” Mt Tait said. “This is not going to show up as revenue, but it will effectively lower our debt service budget, hopefully by about $925,000.”
Following discussion at a November 12 session, Inland Wetlands Commission members unanimously endorsed, after the fact, the recent construction of a 576-square-foot concrete pad at a 34-acre site at Fairfield Hills to be used as a pedestal for sculpture at a planned animal sanctuary. PH Architects of 22 Old Farm Road submitted the application on behalf of The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary project. The recent construction of the concrete pad, without prior formal town wetlands/watercourses protection approval, drew sharp criticism from Candlewood Valley Trout Unlimited.
Help feed families in need through the Thanksgiving Basket Program, now in its 50th year. Women Involved in Newtown (WIN) coordinates a program to feed families throughout the holiday season. WIN seeks individuals and groups to adopt a family this year.
The information being related Friday morning in the CH Booth Library meeting room could very well have represented keynote input for a symposium on handling victims of mass casualty disasters. But it came with tears, hand-holding, fleeting video images of happy, dancing children, and the often gut-wreching testimony of several parents whose first-graders were murdered on 12/14. Governor Dannel Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission held one of its final hearings just over a mile from the site of the 2012 tragedy on November 14. For nearly two hours, many of its members sat listening intently while Dr. Jeremy Richman and Jennifer Hensel, parents of 6-year-old victim Avielle Richman, along with Nelba Marquez-Greene, the mother of 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene detailed ways they believe Connecticut could improve response to incidents like Newtown faced on that fateful December morning 23 months before.
In the coming months, town public works crews will be going paperless — at least as far as their work orders and job tracking is concerned. At the same time, if all goes as planned, residents who discover issues like potholes, low hanging branches, or other town concerns will be able to click a button on the municipal website and instantly notify public works supervisors who can then dispatch the closest crew to respond.
These and other money- and time-saving efficiencies will be on tap as a result of an electronic work order system and hardware acquired by the town from a South Windsor-based vendor, according to Newtown’s Director of Technology Al Miles.
In light of the deteriorated condition of some repaved local roads, whose asphalt surfaces have been degrading much sooner than would normally be expected, the town public works director is expressing caution about spending large sums for extensive road repaving projects while road durability remains in question. Director Fred Hurley said November 12 that both locally and throughout the state, the durability of repaved asphalt roads has become an issue during the past several years, as those roads have physically deteriorated sooner than expected. Mr Hurley suggested a range of reasons why repaved roads do not last as long as they formerly did. The problem has affected municipal roads across the state, as well as state roads, he said.
Volunteers serving the Dodgingtown Fire Company are not only concerned about Newtown residents they are charged with protecting, as taxpayers themselves, they are always looking for ways to pinch pennies. As a result, the fire company, tucked into a mid-1950s-era building on Dodgingtown Road, has just completed the latest phase of energy improvements to help save taxpayer dollars. According to Dodgingtown’s Green Committee Chairman Kirk Blanchard, following the successful and economically advantageous changeover from an oil- to gas-fired boiler, Chief Steve Murphy charged the committee with upgrading electrical lighting fixtures and bulbs to achieve even more energy savings. The result was a successful partnership with Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) and an approved application to the utility’s Small Business Energy Advantage Program.