A safe boating course may be the only sign of spring hidden in this month’s frigid forecast. Sandy Hook-based Leaps of Faith (LOF) Adaptive Skiers is hosting a Boating License Course on Saturday, March 22, from 8 am to 4 pm at the Newtown United Methodist Church, 92 Church Hill Road. Completion of the course will qualify registrants for their Connecticut Boating & Personal Water Craft License.
Saint, the town police department ’s new German shepherd, has started work with K-9 Officer Felicia Figol, resuming the dog-assisted patrols which had ended in the middle of last year, when former police dog Baro was retired from service. Last September, the police acquired Saint, a nearly all-black shepherd who is smaller than Baro. Saint’s full name is Saint Michael. Officer Figol, who handled Baro, will continue in her role by handling Saint, most often on the police shift that runs from 4 pm to midnight. The dog started patrol work about seven weeks ago. Besides the dog’s keen sense of smell, which helps it find missing people or fleeing suspects, its nose helps it detect certain illicit drugs. Saint is trained to detect marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Also, Saint’s sensitive nose is able to detect the residual human scent on an object, such as a handgun, which has been thrown into a field, she said. The dog’s keen sense of smell allows it to track a scent in wet areas, she said. Saint is also trained to apprehend, and capable of making full-mouth bites on command.
Team 26 members and supporters gathered on the steps of Edmond Town Hall on Saturday, March 8, before embarking on a 400-mile journey— the 2nd Annual Sandy Hook Ride on Washington (SHROW)— to show how diverse communities across the nation have one common goal: make streets safer and put an end to the gun-violence epidemic.
The four-day “rolling rally” will include events in Ridgefield and Greenwich, Harlem, N.Y., Doylestown, Penn., Baltimore and College Park, Md., and Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., before ending at the steps of the US Capitol Building.
For the first time since early January, people mingled among the shelves at C. H. Booth Library Saturday, March 8, within an hour of the building’s reopening.The library has been closed since flooding from broken sprinkler pipes caused extensive damage the afternoon of Saturday, January 4. Now, computers are up and running, and other services are available.As Young Adult Librarian Kim Weber shared with The Bee Wednesday, March 5, reconfigured spaces provide a more natural flow, and newly painted walls, woodwork, and new carpeting give the library a fresh look.Multiple people were taking advantage of the library’s computers, like Newtown Middle School eighth grader Michael Arther, who tucked himself away in the Young Adult section. “We’re just so happy to be open,” said Acting Director Beryl Harrison, near the front door of 45 Main Street.
Interim School Superintendent John Reed knows there is a natural tendency for residents to believe rapidly declining local school enrollment in recent years translates into expectations of downtrending across all aspects of local school district operations. But in the months prior to the Sandy Hook tragedy, and especially in the months since 12/14, Dr Reed has been seeing an alarming increase in crisis interventions within the district, as well as referrals to an emergency mobile psychiatric team for all Newtown youths age 18 and under. He told The Newtown Bee in a recent interview that in the 12 months following the Sandy Hook shootings, emergency calls for psychiatric response from Wellmore, Inc — a regional mental health agency serving Newtown — has increased 80 percent.
The number of burglaries and larcenies that were reported to town police in 2013 dropped significantly compared to 2012, based on a set of crime/motor vehicle enforcement statistics Police Chief Michael Kehoe presented to the Police Commission this week.
In 2013, police received reports of 24 burglaries having occurred locally, compared to 35 such reports in 2012, reflecting a more than 31 percent drop in that crime category. The “clearance rate” for burglaries, or number of cases in which police solved in 2013, was one case. In Connecticut, burglaries are categorized as felonies, which are serious crimes.
Local crime rates fluctuate from year to year.
Garner Correctional Institution, the state Department of Correction’s (DOC) high-security prison at 50 Nunnawauk Road, which opened in 1992, now has its sixth warden, a man who served as a deputy warden there before being promoted late last year.
Henry Falcone, 51, who grew up in Bridgeport, is the new warden. Warden Falcone became a captain when he was assigned to Garner in 2006. He then became a deputy warden there in 2011.
Earlier in his career, he had worked at the Bridgeport Correctional Center.
The 22-year DOC veteran notes that there is a clear difference in pace at the two DOC units. The urban Bridgeport facility has a fast pace of activity, while the suburban Newtown facility has a slower pace.
Warden Falcone worked as a union carpenter before taking the DOC test for correction officer and then being hired for work at the Bridgeport facility.
Final preparations were under way at the C.H. Booth Library this week, as staff worked long hours to prepare for the reopening of the library, Saturday, March 8, at 9:30 am. The library has been closed since flooding from broken sprinkler pipes caused extensive damage the afternoon of Saturday, January 4.“I think we are ready,” said Young Adult Librarian Kim Weber, Wednesday morning. Patrons will find all computer services up and running and familiar services available. Reconfigured spaces will provide a more natural flow, said Ms Weber, and newly painted walls, woodwork, and new carpeting will give a fresh look to the library.The temporary information desk at the Edmond Town Hall has been closed in order to prepare for the library reopening. All forms that were located there have been moved to third floor Reference Department.
Every hour of March 7 could prove to be beneficial for area non-profits. Residents can support more than 300 organizations, including a number of Newtown-based groups, just by browsing the web and getting involved in Fairfield County Giving Day, which runs for 24 hours on Friday, March 7. The online fundraising initiative was launched by the Fairfield County Community Foundation in collaboration with Bank of America. Fairfield County Community Foundation Communications Manager Jeff Yates explained that Giving Days “have been successful in galvanizing the community into supporting non-profits.” Held elsewhere in the state and country in past years, this is the first Fairfield County Giving Day. The 24-hour donation window “gets the community to focus on supporting non profits,” he said. Ten Newtown non-profits have registered for in the event.
On Wednesday, March 5, Facebook announced a series of new educational and enforcement efforts for people discussing the private sale of regulated items. Offers posted on Facebook that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law, including private sellers of firearms in the US specifying no background check required will be prohibited. Wednesday's announcement also included the company's concern with facing "a difficult challenge balancing individuals' desires to express themselves ... and recognizing that this speech may have consequences elsewhere." A number of groups responded quickly to the announcement, including Sandy Hook Promise, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Moms Demand Actions, and National Shooting Sports Foundation.