Newtown is among a growing number of towns in recent years infested with the emerald ash borer, “a destructive insect responsible for the death and decline” of ash trees throughout the country, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Untreated ash trees will be lost and can die within two to three years. Monitoring the ground-nesting, native wasp (Cerceris fumipennis) that hunts many wood-boring beetles, including the emerald ash borer, can help detect the insect’s presence. The wasp is an effective “biological surveillance” survey tool and does not sting people or pets, according to Dr Claire E. Rutledge, who runs the extension station survey program. Newtown Land Use Director George Benson is aware of the pest, and recommends that residents with concerns contact the experiment station.
Police report that during a sobriety checkpoint that they held on the evening of Saturday, July 19, and early morning hours of Sunday, July 20, at the intersection of Wasserman Way and Trades Lane at Fairfield Hills, they charged a Southbury man with driving under the influence.
Launched in January 2013 by Newtown Cultural Arts Commission (NCAC), with the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut and the Connecticut Office of the Arts, the HealingNewtown project has offered dozens of programs, exhibitions, and workshops since its debut. The project’s first headquarters, in a then-vacant storefront at 5 Queen Street, was also host to numerous pieces of art, some created by local residents but the majority of which were sent to Newtown in response to 12/14. By June, the project had relocated to the lower level of Newtown Congregational Church. Valerie Culbertson has been serving as the project’s director since November 2013. With funds running out from an NEA grant that has been used to pay for Ms Culbertson's services, and the lease for the current space set to expire in a few months -- as well as encouragement from the first selectman that it is time for the commission to refocus its efforts -- NCAC voted this week to allow the longterm project to conclude. NCAC has every intention of continuing to offer, host, and/or sponsor programs covering numerous artistic interests, however.
Following a July 17 public hearing, the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approved the construction of an 18,750-square-foot mixed-use two-story building at a 2.35-acre site at 146 South Main Street, in which the lower level would be commercial space and the upper level would hold up to ten rental apartments. P&Z members unanimously approved the project known as The Summit at Newtown submitted by Summit Properties Group LLC of Norwalk. The site is on the west side of South Main Street, across that street from Newtown Self-Storage.
Dave Stowe, vice chairman of Newtown Action Alliance, joined more than 50 Newtown, Sandy Hook, and area residents in Greenwich on Monday, July 21, where at least an additional 150 people gathered to protest the appearance of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Gov Christie was was fundraising in the Bell Haven area of Greenwich for Connecticut Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley. “Christie, just a few weeks back, had the audacity to refuse to meet with Sandy Hook families saying that he was too busy and then, after making sure that they had left, he quickly vetoed a bill which would have reduced the legal magazine capacity for firearms in New Jersey from 15 to 10,” said Mr Stowe, who estimated Monday's demonstration attracted between 200 and 250 people.
Two development firms are proposing the construction of a cluster-style residential subdivision that would hold 23 single-family house lots on a 167-acre tract. Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) members have received for review the project known as The at Newtown from developers KASL, LLC, and IBF, LLC. The firms are represented by local developer/builder George L. Trudell. The cluster-style development, technically known as an “open space conservation subdivision” (OSCS) is designed to cluster its houses in two separate areas of the sprawling 167-ace site.
State Department of Transportation (DOT) officials this week provided more details on their plans to improve a 1,100-foot-long section of Church Hill Road, including realigning the broadly offset intersection of Church Hill Road, Commerce Road, and Edmond Road to make it a conventional four-way signalized intersection. Six DOT officials attended a July 22 informational session to answer questions on the approximately $4 million construction project, which is slated to start in April 2016. Approximately 20 people attended the session, about half of whom were local officials, with affected property owners also present.
About 2:33 am on Sunday, July 20, police received a call reporting that a vehicle had driven off the road and gone down an embankment alongside Hawleyville Road (Route 25), near the Brookfield town line. Police responded to the area to investigate and that motorist Robert Pallo, 62, of Brookfield, who was driving a 1991 Chevrolet Corvette coupe, was trapped inside the sports car amid trees and brush on an embankment on residential property at 63 Hawleyville Road. There were no passengers. Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company firefighters and the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps were called to the scene.
Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members are scheduled to conduct a public hearing on the zoning aspects of the proposed new Sandy Hook Elementary School at 7:30 pm on Thursday, July 31, at Newtown Municipal Center. The Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) had been poised to review and possibly act on the wetlands protection aspects of the school project at a July 23 session, following a public hearing the commission held two weeks earlier. IWC did not reach a quorum on July 23, however, so it has scheduled a special meeting on the application for review and possible action for 7:30 pm on Monday, July 28, also at Newtown Municipal Center.
DANBURY – A single-engine 1984 Beechcraft Bonanza airplane crashed near Danbury Municipal Airport on the evening of Thursday, July 24.
The airplane was approaching Runway 35 from the south for a landing, when for some unknown reason, it failed to reach the runway and crash-landed in a pond within a swamp off Miry Brook Road, about one-quarter mile south of the airport, officials said.
Steven Rogers, spokesman for the Danbury Fire Department, declined to identify the pilot who was alone in the airplane when the crash occurred.
The identification number posted on the airplane’s fuselage indicates that it is owned by Lionel G. Brown of Newtown, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.