Now that the long, cold winter of 2014 is coming to an end and spring weather is emerging, motorists are driving more. That increase in traffic means that town police are stepping up their motor vehicle enforcement to address the added traffic volume on local roads. The 45-member police department has a specialized traffic enforcement unit that uses a motorcycle and an unmarked white Dodge Charger sedan for traffic enforcement duty. The normal complement of the traffic unit is two people, but it is now staffed with one person because the other member recently was promoted to the rank of sergeant. Police Chief Michael Kehoe said March 18 that he expects to assign another officer to the traffic unit.
First Selectman Pat Llodra has signed on to letters that were sent March 20 to Governor Dannel Malloy and Nicholas E. Neeieyl, executive secretary of the CT Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) opposing a moratorium on a tree trimming program put in place following a a series of devastating storms in 2011 and 2012. Mrs Llodra joined colleagues whose communities are members of the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials (HVCEO) signing on to a statement recognizing that PURA has requested tree trimming efforts by the Connecticut Light & Power Company (CL&P) be scaled back. CL&P has been directed to curtail what is described as "enhanced" tree trimming programs, including removal of entire trees. Mrs Llodra told The Newtown Bee that she has received no complaints from the public concerning tree trimming.
Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) Commissioner Dora B. Schriro announced on Monday the restoration of 24/7 trooper coverage at all State Police barracks across the state. Previously, as part of the recent consolidated dispatch project, some troops were closed after normal business hours. “After careful review, I have determined that our State Police barracks need to be open and accessible to the public 24/7,” said Commissioner Schriro. “I have directed Eastern District Major Michael Darcy and Western District Major William Podgorski to implement this plan, effective immediately.”
With votes scheduled Wednesday, Connecticut is poised to become the first state to adopt a $10.10 minimum wage, delivering on an election-year priority of Gov Dannel P. Malloy. The Democratic leaders of the Senate and House plan final votes Wednesday, first in the Senate and immediately following in the House, spokesmen for the two Democratic majority caucuses said Monday. Legislation increasing the $8.70 state minimum to $10.10 by January 2017 was sent to the Senate floor Monday by the Appropriations Committee, the final hurdle before a floor vote. Under legislative rules, the Republican minority could delay a vote in the House until next week, but House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. (R-Norwalk) said he sees nothing to be gained by a one-week delay. “What’s the point?” Cafero said.
Sandy Hook resident Richard Fenaroli firmly believes an informed taxpayer will tend to be more involved in the budget process. To that end, on March 19 he formally requested the Legislative Council act to publish the entire town roster of employees by name, the position they hold, and the gross amount of income and benefit costs of those employees to taxpayers. He also requested that similar data be posted for all current town pensioners. After some discussion among council members, First Selectman Pat Llodra, and Finance Director Robert Tait, a motion was approved unanimously taking most of Mr Fenaroli’s request into consideration. The council did, however, limit the scope of his request. The list will not include pensioners, it will only identify positions tied to annual payroll figures, and it will not include the names of those employees on the list.
Girl Scout Troop 50166 and the Reed Intermediate School PTA has launched Sheets From Home: Sheets Drive 2014. The groups are collecting new sheets for children who are in hospitals for a lengthy period of time. Their hope is to bring a smile to their faces while they undergo some tough health situations. Donated sheets must be new. The public is invited to help the groups achieve their school goal of 100 sheet sets. Collection bins have been set up near the security desk in the main lobby of the school, at 3 Trades Lane, and will remain in place until April 4.
A Trumbull firm has gained Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approval to construct a gas station/convenience store, including a food service area, at 67 Church Hill Road, at that street’s western corner with Edmond Road.
Following two March 20 public hearings on the matter, P&Z members unanimously approved the project, which is known as Wheels, submitted by Consumers Petroleum of Connecticut, Inc (CPCI).
To make way for the new construction, CPCI would demolish an existing deteriorating building on the one-acre site that formerly held a Shell gas station/convenience store. As a condition of the special permit approval, the P&Z is requiring that the structure be demolished by mid-May.
The public is invited to celebrate the reopening of the C.H. Booth Library, Saturday, March 22, during regular library hours, 9:30 am to 5 pm. After remediation for flooding that occurred January 4, newly painted walls and woodwork, new carpet, and upgraded utilities, alarms, computers, and more mean that patrons of the C.H. Booth Library will find the library an even more welcoming space to visit. Balloons will decorate the library, and refreshments and treats will be offered all day long. Extra staff will be on hand to explain any changes or updates, said Acting Director Beryl Harrison. In addition to the temporary decorations and new additions, Saturday will include a full schedule of entertainment and presentations for visitors of all ages. Plans include everything from make and take crafts and board games to the talents of a modern day vaudevillian style entertainer and a performance by a recording studio singer-songwriter. Visitors can even check out a book or two if they want to.
Following a closed session during its March 19 meeting, the Legislative Council reconvened in public and unanimously endorsed the acquisition of a 36.89-acre parcel off Chestnut Hill Road that will become permanently preserved for the community as open space. While the cost of the acquisition is $255,000, the town anticipates receiving a grant from Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) that will offset about 60 percent of that purchase price. The balance of funds that would be required to complete the purchase, after the grant, are already available and bonded as part of a long-term open space program established during the administration of former First Selectman Herb Rosenthal.
As part of C.H Booth Library’s search for a new director, a series of focus groups have been scheduled, facilitated by the State of Connecticut Library Development office. Young adults are invited to participate in the first session, scheduled for Monday, March 31; adults are invited to attend either of the sessions scheduled on Mondays, March 31 and April 7.