The task force established after the Newtown shootings to examine mental health issues among young adults released 47 recommendations Tuesday in what a key legislative leader described as a “blueprint” for future legislative action on behavioral health. The task force concluded that the state’s overall system of providing mental health and substance abuse treatment for young people does not function well in meeting the needs of individuals and their families, although it cited some pockets of excellence. The group’s recommendations ranged widely, but many focused on the need to expand the capacity of professionals to provide behavioral health services to young people, access to services, and issues related to the rights of people with mental health or substance abuse problems.
Newtown High School Class of 2014 Salutatorian Amisha Dave told her graduating classmates: “2014 is officially the best class ever.” Standing before them during graduation ceremonies at Western Connecticut State University’s O’Neill Center Tuesday evening, June 17, she left attendees with memorable thoughts, as did Class President Mary Joe Rossi, Student Government President Siena Cicarelli, and Valedictorian Anne Beier, among others.
On the morning of Tuesday, June 17, US Representative Elizabeth Esty and US Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy announced a $7.1 million grant from the US Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime to support victims, family members, first responders, and community members in Newtown in the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The grant will be used to support victim services with a portion reserved for school safety efforts. After receiving confirmation of the award Tuesday morning, First Selectman Pat Llodra said the community is very appreciative of the ongoing support provided through the Department of Justice.
Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members have approved revised zoning regulations which, in effect, would greatly increase the amount of residential apartment space that could be included as a second-story use in new commercial buildings that include uses such as stores and offices on the first story. The revised zoning regulations would affect new development in the B-1 and B-2 (Business) zones; they will take effect on June 16. Pertinent zoning rules, which have been in effect for years, have allowed a developer to include one dwelling per one-half acre of land at a commercial site, based upon certain calculation rules. The revised zoning rules state that the overall square footage area of the second-story dwellings in a commercial building shall not exceed 50 percent of the gross floor area of the building, excluding the basement. Also, any such individual apartment located in a commercial building must be at least 800 square feet in area, but no larger than 1,200 square feet in area.
Tom Connors, who did not even live in Newtown the day the community signed off on acquiring the sprawling and abandoned Fairfield Hills hospital campus, is now leading the authority charged with overseeing its administration. Mr Connors recently took over chairing the Fairfield Hills Authority. And he recently finished a month long series of appearances introducing himself to three top elected boards. While Mr Connors brought the same brief outline to bullet key points he wanted to cover, members of the Boards of Selectmen and Finance, as well as the Legislative Council, each took advantage of opportunities to draw out deeper or broader perspectives on certain points.
Well over 200 people attended the 25th Annual Newtown Chapter Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western Connecticut Breakfast Fundraiser, Wednesday morning, June 11, at the Waterview in Monroe. Filling 39 tables hosted by individuals, clubs, businesses, and organizations, the morning started with a time for socializing.
Hosts and hostesses of each sponsored table were on hand, garbed in aprons, to pour coffee, tea, and juice for guests, in hopes of garnering “tips” — all to support Regional Hospice.
Authors and illustrators offered different activities and presentations at Reed Intermediate School on Saturday, June 7, for the 2nd Annual New Stories For Newtown event.
The day before, Friday, June 6, authors and illustrators also visited Newtown’s schools to offer individual presentations at local schools.
The two-day experience was possible thanks to funding from the Books Heal Hearts program at C.H. Booth Library, as Children’s Librarian Lana Bennison told The Bee prior to the event. Ms Bennison and event committee members Ross MacDonald, Janice Bernard, Yvonne Cech, Kim Weber, and Georgia Monaghan coordinated the programs.
New Stories for Newtown began last year when Mr MacDonald, a Newtown resident and children’s author and illustrator, suggested the idea to Ms Bennison.
In a touching tribute to the life and legacy of a first-grader lost in the Sandy Hook tragedy, The Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation hosted the first Catherine’s Butterfly Party, on Sunday, June 8. The family-focused fundraiser benefited the creation of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, which is proposed for a site at Fairfield Hills. More than 100 attended the Butterfly Party hosted at the home of Jeff and Wendy Waldron in North Salem. The event raised more than $50,000 through short- and long-term financial support, and also secured commitments for in-kind services, which will help the foundation reach its goal of building the sanctuary.
Newtown High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian both credit their families with support and encouragement throughout their academic years. Class of 2014 Valedictorian Anne Beier and Salutatorian Amisha Dave were both honored, along with other top students in their graduating class, at the Board of Education’s June 3 meeting. By the following day, both girls admitted to already pondering the speeches they will deliver before their fellow graduates at the 2014 NHS graduation commencement ceremony, set for June 17. Both students also sat down with The Newtown Bee to talk about the path that led them to these latest academic achievements.
A Police Commission member is resigning from that elected position to take the job of police chief at the Middlebury Police Department. On June 3, James Viadero, 54, who was serving the first year of his second four-year term as a Police Commission member, submitted his letter of resignation to the commission. Mr Viadero was first elected to the commission in November 2009. Mr Viadero, who has been a Bridgeport police officer for nearly 30 years, is expected to take over the chief’s job in Middlebury soon. Middlebury officials selected Mr Viadero as police chief in May. At the Bridgeport Police Department, Mr Viadero most recently served as a captain, supervising the department’s detective division. His resignation from the local police commission, he said, will become effective when he assumes the police chief’s position in Middlebury.
Mr Viadero explained that he would resign from the commission “due to anticipated time constraints and to prevent any conflicts from arising.”