Groups and organizations that need to postpone or cancel events planned for today due to the weather are invited to contact Newtown Bee Associate Editor Shannon Hicks to get their word out. Businesses that decide to close early — or even open late — are also encouraged to contact Miss Hicks with those details. Announcements will be added to this page, and sent out through social media, as they arrive.
Newtown's roads are slippery today. Fred Hurley has had crews out working since 4 am, but 10 hours into the storm, the public works director says the roads are "slick." Snow began falling around 5 am Monday, and has continued steadily since.
The National Weather Service (NYC) had issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the entire southern portion of Connecticut, to be in effect from 5 am until 7 pm. A graphic posted at 3 pm Sunday, February 2, predicted 2 to 4 inches of snow to fall across Fairfield County by 7 pm Monday, February 3. By 9:47 am, NWS had upped its predictions to a "moderate to heavy snowfall event today. " Accumulations had been increased to between 3 and 6 inches of snow in northern Fairfield County. "At this point in the storm, unless you're on a road that's been plowed off, or has heavy traffic, they've very slick," Mr Hurley said shortly after 3 pm. "This snow is very slick."
After requesting developers for the Lexington Villages complex off Church Hill Road return to the Economic Development Commission to further discuss a pending business incentive tax abatement that was hastily approved earlier this month, the Board of Selectmen seemed momentarily taken aback January 29 when developers and economic development officials returned requesting the original three-year, 45 percent abatement be extended to seven years. Following a special meeting one day earlier, Economic and Community Development Director Elizabeth Stocker said the EDC had a much better opportunity to examine and discuss the pending development. Ms Stocker said the commission examined the package of improvements and permanent public benefits that will result from the mixed-use retail/office development, and determined that an extension to the original request was justified.
Printed bound versions of the 2014 Town Plan of Conservation and Development and the 2013 Fairfield Hills Master Plan are now available at the town Land Use Agency office at Newtown Municipal Center at 3 Primrose Street. The published volumes are the product of lengthy planning projects by the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) and by the ad hoc Fairfield Hills Master Plan Amendment Work Group, respectively. The documents are intended to serve as general guides for the future development and conservation of the town, and the town-owned section of Fairfield Hills. The price of the documents is $25 for the 171-page town plan, and $10 for the 34-page Fairfield Hills plan. Both documents are also available for public review on the town’s website on the Internet.
What will the Fairfield Hills Authority’s role be in the future? This and other topics including building upkeep and prospective tenants to occupy the nearly 80-year-old former state hospital buildings topped the list for conversation at the first authority meeting this year. New to the chairman’s seat, Thomas Connors addressed members on Monday, January 27, saying that he was honored that members put their faith in him and that he hopes to “keep up the excellent stewardship of prior chair” James Bernardi, who headed the authority until December 18, passing the baton to Mr Connors that evening.
A South Carolina company that has installed protective window coverings at the U.S. Capitol and other buildings around the world is apologizing for an email advertisement that used a photo of the shot-out entrance to Sandy Hook School. The Associated Press reported January 31 that Commercial Window Shield of Taylors, SC, sent an email Tuesday to school officials across Connecticut. The email said the window coverings can stop bullets and keep out intruders. The ad upset officials in Newtown and other towns. Some officials contacted the company, which immediately apologized. First Selectman Pat Llodra called the use of the photo "inappropriate," but also seemed to accept the company's apology. "We're hyper-vigilant because of this horrible event, so we're quick to respond, quick to react," Llodra said Friday. "There's no hard feelings here. I bear no ill will. People make mistakes."
Newtown officials and a GE representative working with the first selectman’s office are about a week away from filing for approximately $6 million in grants from the US Department of Justice that the town intends to use to fund several new, nongovernment professionals who will help deliver sustained and targeted mental health and recovery support in the community. In anticipation of receiving the grant, First Selectman Pat Llodra said she is about to send out invitations to individuals, organizations, and agencies from which a seven-member oversight board for the grant implementation would be created.
While continuing its review of the superintendent’s proposed operating budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, the Board of Education took up the topic of security during its workshop meeting on Thursday, January 30.Interim Superintendent of Schools John Reed presented his proposed budget on January 23, and the Board of Education began hearing from advocates for different parts of the budget that night. The superintendent’s proposed operating budget for 2014-15 totals $71,580,034, which reflects a $534,730, or a 0.75 percent, increase over the 2013-14 fiscal year.By January 28, the school board had heard from school principals, Director of Pupil Services Julie Haggard, and Newtown Continuing Education Director Elissa Gellis. On January 30, the board heard about its curriculum and technology budgets, general services and security, the plant operations and maintenance budget, the transportation budget, and employee benefits. Potential security costs in the budget took up the largest portion of the discussion in the January 30 session.
At 18 degrees and sunny, carpenters with Nosal Builders worked steadily Wednesday to get the roof structure in place. Clerk of the Works Brian Feeney said the progress on the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corp’s new ambulance garage is “going really well.” So far, the roughly $4.5 million project that broke ground in mid-2013, is on schedule, he said.
Roofing trusses were going into place this week and that phase of the roof should be completed in a few weeks, Mr Feeney said.
First Selectman Pat Llodra is seeking residents to fill several opening on local appointed boards and commissions. In some cases the appointments are required to be affiliated with a specific political party, while in other cases unaffiliated voters are encouraged to consider serving.