Newtown Pizza Palace patrons have enjoyed the engaging conversations of server Ingrid Bergquist for three decades. Now Pizza Palace owners James Donahue and Katrina Lekay are calling on patrons and neighbors to help Ms Bergquist and homeowner Nancy Rahikka, who were both injured in a fire that destroyed their home early Sunday morning on The Boulevard. The restaurant owners have set up a collection point for cash, checks and gift cards to be dropped off for the benefit of their employee and her housemate.
One by one, family members of those lost on 12/14 filed out of the home of Annette Sullivan, where eight of the children who were tragically taken used to come to ride horses and enjoy the sprawling estate tucked away on a quiet cul-de-sac in Sandy Hook. Representatives of more than a dozen victim's families walked to an adjacent pool house and held a brief press conference early Monday afternoon ..
Governor Dannel P. Malloy is calling for houses of worship to mark the first anniversary of the Newtown school shooting by ringing their bells 26 times, once for each of the victims killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School on 12/14. In an op-ed piece posted on December 8, “Honoring A Solemn Day In Our State’s History,” the governor acknowledges that “many of us will seek an outlet for the grief and loss that remains close to our hearts." This week Gov Malloy is asking house of worship “and other organizations to ring their bells 26 times at 9:30 in the morning as a way to honor each life. I want to renew that call this year and ask those same institutions to toll their bells again at 9:30 am on December 14.”
The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) has designated as permanent open space an undeveloped area at Fairfield Hills near Wasserman Way. Following discussion at a recent session, P&Z members unanimously decided to protect as designated open space the areas known as the High Meadow and the East Meadow.
The adoption of a local anti-blight ordinance this past summer has led to questions about how it will be enforced and the process for filing complaints. Taking into consideration aesthetics, property maintenance, health and safety hazards, abandonment, neglect, and other factors, Director of Planning and Land Use George Benson said that determining blight “is not black and white.” A property “has to rise to a pretty high level to be blight,” he said. Abandonment, broken windows, and “obvious neglect” are all considerations for the designation of a property as blighted, which is a last resort, he said. The issue is not always about maintenance and aesthetics. It is about safety, said the town's top land use official. The new ordinance's language also brings a number of departments — building, zoning, police, land use, health, and fire — under one authorized order. “Because we all have different regulations or codes — this gives us one ordinance or action rather than letters from various departments,” he said, and “makes it easier for our enforcement too.”
Three quickly responding Newtown Police officers were able to rescue two occupants from a burning building at 31 The Boulevard, as all five local volunteer fire companies were dispatched to the residence at 1:11 am Sunday morning. Fire Marshal William Halstead said emergency dispatchers were notified by the occupants of fire and smoke in the home, and they were able to evacuate to an enclosed rear porch where they were found by Officers Officers Matt Wood, Steve Borges, and John McDermott, and "carried to safety." Both unidentified victims were initially transported to Danbury Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms, the fire marshal said. One of the victims was subsequently transferred to another medical center for more advanced treatment, he said. An on-scene investigation by fire marshals determined that the fire started when a box of tissues came in contact with a lit candle.
After hosting an exclusive press avail and video session for The Newtown Bee, and a subsequent press conference for local news outlets last Monday afternoon, the same group of top local officials and community leaders are planning to sit for a wider influx of media representatives on December 9. A notice posted on the Newtown municipal website informs members of the community that the press event is being held, and to not be alarmed or concerned if a number of media trucks are visible on the grounds of Fairfield Hills on Monday.
“Love Wins: A Conference Promoting Love, Connection and Community for Every Child and Family” took place Monday, December 2, at the University of Hartford’s Lincoln Theater. The inaugural event of the Ana Grace Project of Klingberg Family Centers celebrated the life of Ana Grace Márquez-Greene, and inspired the nearly 500 people in attendance to explore effective ways to build community and interpersonal connection to prevent violence and promote recovery. Participants in the December 2 symposium represented the fields of medicine, nursing, education, mentoring, early childhood, mental health, foster care, and the faith community, as well as state and local government.
Following a report from C.H. Booth Library Acting Director Beryl Harrison, at the Tuesday evening, December 3, meeting of the Board of Trustees, the next two hours were focused primarily on a line by line dissection of the library budget, which were to be submitted to the town by December 6. Among the topics covered were fire alarm issues, the library's archival information management project, the amount requested for the building's maintenance, the income line item for annual fundraising, and the search for a new permanent library director.