Newtown Hook & Ladder President Rick Camejo and Building Committee representative Rob Manna reported to the Board of Finance May 11 that the all-volunteer company could be facing as much as a $1 million deficit against projected costs on a new headquarters being built on Church Hill Road. The Newtown Bee reported last week that workers on the public project would likely qualify to be paid prevailing wages, adding as much as a half-million dollars to anticipated costs. In order to get the building outfitted for basic functions for the fire company, Mr Camejo and Mr Manna said they learned other related costs could double that deficit.
Police said this week they investigated a bomb threat at Newtown High School on May 4 which they determined to lack credibility and to be a hoax. However, the student at the school who was found to have made that threat was arrested on two criminal charges and will be seeing a judge at Danbury Juvenile Court.
A federal grand jury has indicted a former Newtown police sergeant and a former emergency communications dispatcher on felony charges, which allege that they were part of an anabolic steroids drug trafficking ring with others. Indicted were former sergeant Steven Santucci, 38, of Waterbury and former dispatcher Jason Chickos, 46, of Bridgeport. Santucci resigned from the police department on May 1. Chickos resigned as civilian dispatcher on May 8. Santucci, Chickos and others are scheduled for arraignment on the charges on Thursday, May 14, in US District Court in Hartford. The case has been assigned to US District Judge Robert Chatigny. The charges filed against Santucci and Chickos hold the potential for lengthy prison sentences in the event they are convicted of the alleged crimes.
Police report they arrested a Botsford man on multiple charges following an incident near King’s Breakfast & Lunch Restaurant at 265 South Main Street at about 4 pm on May 10, in which the man allegedly brandished a firearm, threatening to kill the restaurant’s owner. Following the incident, police arrested Collins Verstegen, 51, of 271 South Main Street, charging him with first-degree threatening, second-degree reckless endangerment, first-degree criminal mischief, and second-degree breach of peace.
Since being deeded 34.4 acres of property nearby the Newtown Park and Bark dog park and The Brian J. Silverlieb Animal Control Center in September 2014, plans for The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary (CVHAS) have continued to develop, said Jennifer Hubbard. Until last month, CVHAS had partnered with The Animal Center of Newtown, a local cat rescue/foster program. That partnership has been dissolved, said former Animal Center Vice President and CVHAS volunteer Harmony Verna, but there remains a mutual respect between the two organizations. “I don’t think any of us understood the magnitude of what we were taking on,” Ms Hubbard said. Separating allows both organizations to do what they do best, and to continue to support each other as they are able.
Newtown Country Club will host a clothing drive on Saturday, May 16, from 1 to 6 pm, to kick off its 100 Year Centennial Celebration. Donations received on Saturday will then be given to Newtown Social Services, for distribution to its clients.
With a gentle breeze pushing back her hair and early spring sunlight throwing shadows across a picnic area at Eichler’s Cove Marina, Deborah Denzel walked to the railing. Down a short slope was a small inlet on Lake Zoar where last week Parks and Recreation crews put in roughly 60-plus docks for the season. As of May 15, renters can put their boats in. Also as of that time, the park wardens and night security guards will staff the facility. The marina provides spaces for boats, jet skis, and a dry dock for canoes and kayaks.
As the May 15 application deadline approaches, officials have announced that about a quarter of Newtown's approximately 3,500 seniors have already qualified for an average 41 percent credit through one of the state's most generous localized senior tax relief programs.
Finance Director Robert Tait reported to the Legislative Council May 8, that in an unofficial audit of 25 applicants for the next two-year round of income-determined and tiered credits, the average discount being credited is 41 percent. That percentage is close to the same average discount seniors received in the 2014-15 fiscal cycle.
Tax Collector Carol Mahoney since confirmed that as of May 11, 870 seniors have applied.
Following more than a year of negotiations, the town and the Newtown Police Union, Local 3153, Council 15, of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) have reached a three-year labor contact, specifying the terms of employment for 43 of the 45 sworn officers at the police department. Since last July 1, police have been working without a contract because the previous agreement expired last June 30. Police Union President Scott Ruszczyk told Police Commission members at a May 5 session that the labor pact has been approved by the union and the town. The Board of Selectman unanimously endorsed the pact at a May 4 meeting. Police union members approved the labor agreement in late April.
Charter Revision Commission Chairman Jeff Capeci said after about 45 minutes of discussion April 30, commissioners narrowly voted down a proposal to clarify a 4-3 split designating specific political minority representation on the town’s Board of Education. Commissioners, with only Eric Paradis dissenting, then voted to recommend striking one sentence from the proposed charter revision they agreed clarified “bare minority” representation locally would mirror what is outlined in state statutes. It was previously determined the state statute stipulates a 5-2 party split constitutes a majority.