Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to announce this afternoon that $100 million will be made available to increase access to mental health services and improve mental health facilities. He is expected to be joined by families of those killed on 12/14 when making the announcement. The funding comes as part of the Obama Administration’s ongoing commitment to help individuals experiencing mental health problems. The Vice President will discuss the new funding during a meeting at the White House with families who lost loved ones during the shooting in Newtown, as well as mental health advocates according to a White House advance.
Due to today’s storm a number of meetings, gatherings and other events are being postponed or outright cancelled. Following is a list of events that have been affected by today’s snowstorm. Please call Newtown Bee Associate Editor Shannon Hicks at 203-426-3141 to have your group added to this list. The weather is expected to remain challenging all day, so businesses that decide to close early are also invited to contact Ms Hicks to be included in this posting. Additions will be made as they are called in. Newtown Parks & Rec, Newtown Senior Center, C.H. Booth Library Board of Trustees and the high school band, orchestra and sports teams are among the first groups to have events cancelled and postponed today.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy is calling for houses of worship to mark the first anniversary of the Newtown school shooting by ringing their bells 26 times, once for each of the victims killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School on 12/14. In an op-ed piece posted on December 8, “Honoring A Solemn Day In Our State’s History,” the governor acknowledges that “many of us will seek an outlet for the grief and loss that remains close to our hearts." This week Gov Malloy is asking house of worship “and other organizations to ring their bells 26 times at 9:30 in the morning as a way to honor each life. I want to renew that call this year and ask those same institutions to toll their bells again at 9:30 am on December 14.”
The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) has designated as permanent open space an undeveloped area at Fairfield Hills near Wasserman Way. Following discussion at a recent session, P&Z members unanimously decided to protect as designated open space the areas known as the High Meadow and the East Meadow.
One by one, family members of those lost on 12/14 filed out of the home of Annette Sullivan, where eight of the children who were tragically taken used to come to ride horses and enjoy the sprawling estate tucked away on a quiet cul-de-sac in Sandy Hook. Representatives of more than a dozen victim's families walked to an adjacent pool house and held a brief press conference early Monday afternoon ..
Three quickly responding Newtown Police officers were able to rescue two occupants from a burning building at 31 The Boulevard, as all five local volunteer fire companies were dispatched to the residence at 1:11 am Sunday morning. Fire Marshal William Halstead said emergency dispatchers were notified by the occupants of fire and smoke in the home, and they were able to evacuate to an enclosed rear porch where they were found by Officers Officers Matt Wood, Steve Borges, and John McDermott, and "carried to safety." Both unidentified victims were initially transported to Danbury Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms, the fire marshal said. One of the victims was subsequently transferred to another medical center for more advanced treatment, he said. An on-scene investigation by fire marshals determined that the fire started when a box of tissues came in contact with a lit candle.
After hosting an exclusive press avail and video session for The Newtown Bee, and a subsequent press conference for local news outlets last Monday afternoon, the same group of top local officials and community leaders are planning to sit for a wider influx of media representatives on December 9. A notice posted on the Newtown municipal website informs members of the community that the press event is being held, and to not be alarmed or concerned if a number of media trucks are visible on the grounds of Fairfield Hills on Monday.
The adoption of a local anti-blight ordinance this past summer has led to questions about how it will be enforced and the process for filing complaints. Taking into consideration aesthetics, property maintenance, health and safety hazards, abandonment, neglect, and other factors, Director of Planning and Land Use George Benson said that determining blight “is not black and white.” A property “has to rise to a pretty high level to be blight,” he said. Abandonment, broken windows, and “obvious neglect” are all considerations for the designation of a property as blighted, which is a last resort, he said. The issue is not always about maintenance and aesthetics. It is about safety, said the town's top land use official. The new ordinance's language also brings a number of departments — building, zoning, police, land use, health, and fire — under one authorized order. “Because we all have different regulations or codes — this gives us one ordinance or action rather than letters from various departments,” he said, and “makes it easier for our enforcement too.”
Following a report from C.H. Booth Library Acting Director Beryl Harrison, at the Tuesday evening, December 3, meeting of the Board of Trustees, the next two hours were focused primarily on a line by line dissection of the library budget, which were to be submitted to the town by December 6. Among the topics covered were fire alarm issues, the library's archival information management project, the amount requested for the building's maintenance, the income line item for annual fundraising, and the search for a new permanent library director.