Governor Dannel P. Malloy, on June 6, signed a bill authorizing the State Library to “create and maintain an e-book platform for the distribution of electronic books (e-books) to public library patrons.” The bill followed up on legislation passed last year commissioning the Department of Consumer Protection to study how Connecticut’s public libraries could gain fair access to e-books, according to a press release from the governor's office. That study determined that while more than 90 percent of the libraries in Connecticut offer some e-books, many popular titles are often not available or available to libraries at prices above what a consumer might pay. The e-book distribution platform would be the first statewide e-book purchasing program in the nation, and hopes to ease the access and pricing of e-books to libraries, as well as broaden the selection of e-books. It is a right step, but possibly just one more baby step in the right direction, said C.H. Booth Technical Librarian Brenda McKinley on June 8.
A flag retirement ceremony took place at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 308 Saturday, June 14, on Flag Day, where collections of tattered American flags were honorably retired. “A flag is retired when it has served its duty,” said VFW Men’s Auxiliary President Robert Arnold. “The ceremony is a respectful, solemn way to say goodbye to an old friend.” This year, residents and local businesses donated more than 4,000 retired flags, said VFW member Donna Monteleone Randle. Many of the retired flags also came from local cemeteries.
Two Newtown moms who were deeply affected by the 12/14 tragedy have transitioned from quietly hosting recent gatherings of several dozen common-sense gun law supporters to joining more than 1,000 like-minded families during a very high profile march across the Brooklyn Bridge earlier this month. It has been a whirlwind of activity for Kate Mayer and Laura Muckell since they each hosted a pre-Mother’s Day house party supported by the national advocacy group Moms Demand Action. The pair most recently found themselves traversing the decks of one of the world’s most famous spans June 14 — having helped fill two buses with nearly 100 Newtowners who joined them at the march. According to the Associated Press, the event was organized by several groups, including Moms Demand Action, Everytown For Gun Safety, and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which are all funded by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The owners of 15 Hawleyville properties have informed the town that they want their properties to connect to the planned expansion of the Hawleyville sanitary sewer system, thus triggering the planning process for installation of the sewers, which are intended to spur local economic development. Fred Hurley, town director of public works, said June 17 that the 15 properties include existing residential and commercial uses, as well as currently undeveloped commercial properties. Water & Sewer Authority officials had expected that the owners of between eight and 12 properties would initially express interest in connecting to the planned sewer system.
In two swift motions with minimal discussion, a new nine-member Charter Revision Commission was unanimously seated and charged by the Legislative Council June 18. The new charter panel consists of two former council members, Jeff Capeci and Dan Wiedemann, who both worked with previous charter initiatives in their elected capacities. George Guidera, Kevin Burns, Thomas Long, Eric Paradis, Deborra Zukowski, James Ritchie, and Robert Hall round out the list of appointees. Councilman Paul Lundquist, who chaired the committee that interviewed and qualified the newly appointed commissioners, told The Newtown Bee that the council and the community are very lucky to have a group with impressive resumes reflecting their experience as executives in the private sector, working in finance, technology, and communications. George Ferguson, who chaired the Charter Charge Committee, said his panel received a wealth of input from town staffers, as well as from many elected and appointed panels. After sifting through the many suggestions to improve Newtown’s constitutional document, he said the charge committee welcomed most of the ideas submitted for consideration.
Up to now, Monroe’s Jen Aguilar has described herself as an active community member and volunteer. But come November, she hopes to take that level of service to new heights as the 112th District state representative for Monroe and Newtown. According to the Monroe Town Clerk’s office, she will be facing GOP challenger J.P. Sredzinski. Currently, Ms Aguilar serves as a commissioner on the Monroe Youth Commission, will shortly begin her term as co-president of the Monroe Parents Council, and serves on Monroe’s EMS Facility Search Committee. She participates with Monroe’s Project Warmth, which provides heating assistance to Monroe residents, volunteers at the Senior Center when it is a shelter and helps cook meals, and previously worked at Monroe Early Learning Center. “I know how to see things through from start to finish,” Ms Aguilar said in a release. “I created trunk or treat in Monroe as a safer alternative for kids on Halloween. [And] I was instrumental in getting the playgrounds for Sandy Hook Elementary and Fawn Hollow Elementary.”
The Economic Development Commission (EDC) has endorsed a zoning rule proposal that would allow the creation of rental apartments located above commercial uses at future development projects at the town-owned Fairfield Hills core campus. Following discussion at a June 10 session, EDC members endorsed a proposed zoning rule that would allow residential uses at Fairfield Hills under certain conditions, and provided that the applicants met the terms of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s (P&Z) special permit review process. The EDC voted 4-to-1 to endorse the proposal, with one abstention, according to EDC records. Although the town zoning regulations which were in effect in the past had allowed various residential uses at Fairfield Hills, the P&Z revamped its rules about a decade ago, eliminating such residential uses from the Fairfield Hills Adaptive Reuse (FHAR) zoning regulations.
The town Public Building & Site Commission (PBSC) has submitted a combined construction application for the new Sandy Hook Elementary School to the municipal land use agency, including an application to the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) and an application to the Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z). The project proposed for 12 Dickinson Drive would be constructed at the site of the former Sandy Hook School, which was demolished in 2013 after the December 2012 massacre at the school. The voluminous school application is one of the largest, most detailed such applications in memory, indicating the scope of the project.
Two businesses in the 31 Pecks Lane commercial complex are teaming up to help raise funds to sustain a permanent interactive children’s museum in the community. The EverWonder Children’s Museum, temporarily housed in the complex, will be the beneficiary of proceedsfrom the Pecks Lane Festival & Community Tag Sale. The event is set for Saturday, July 19, from 9 am to 4 pm. Co-organizer and museum neighbor LeReine Frampton of LeReine’s Cuisine, Renee Wilson of Total Performance Sports & Fitness, and Karen Smiley of the museum are still in the final planning stages regarding the family-friendly activities they hope to present.
Market Master Mary Fellows has announced the opening day for the Farmers Market at Fairfield Hills, this coming Tuesday, June 24, from 2 to 6 pm.
Shoppers will find approximately ten vendors selling organic and Connecticut grown spring produce, plants, flowers, and baked goods on the first day of the Market, with many more expected to join the Tuesday afternoon event “as the season grows,” quipped Ms Fellows.