A requirement for state public safety officials to create a registry of people convicted of offenses involving a deadly weapon is one of a host of new laws that took effect in Connecticut as of January 1. The registry, which will also track those found not guilty of deadly weapon offenses by reason of mental disease or defect, was part of the package of laws that passed earlier in 2013 in response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The law was one of many that went into effect, or was updated, as of January 1. Connecticut is one of a number of staes that has raised its minimum wage this year. The rates for some state transportation has also increased, however. Snow and ice must be removed from large vehicles before they are driven, and another new law increases the income limit for participants in the state's breast and cervical cancer early detection and treatment referral program.
The Office of the First Selectman has issued an announcement, urging all residents to be prepared for a snowstorm that arrived in the area during the early morning hours. The National Weather Service is predicting between 6-10 inches of snow, heavy winds and very low visibility as a result of the weather event. Public schools have already announced an early dismissal for today, and CL&P has stationed service trucks at Fairfield Hills as a precaution.
A growing number of officials believe that helping residents better understand the relationship between declining student enrollment and the amount school leaders will ask taxpayers to underwrite next year could help pass the annual budget referendum sooner.
Providing additional evidence to taxpayers that town and district leaders are working collaboratively, and with mutual support for each other’s spending proposals, could also go far toward propelling a first-round budget vote to passage, some officials believe.
These were early stage issues emerging following a multiboard budget orientation session held with members of the Legislative Council, and the Boards of Education, Selectmen and Finance
All town offices and agencies will be closed from noon on Tuesday, December 31, and remain closed until Thursday, January 2, for New Year’s. Additional special hours for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are announced for Newtown Senior Center, C.H. Booth Library, public schools and the offices of The Newtown Bee.
Momentum is building, literally, as more than a half-dozen capital projects move toward completion, or begin shifting from the drawing board to their respective construction phases in 2014. While the reconstruction of Sandy Hook School is certainly one the the community, the state, and, in some respects, the entire world is waiting to see commence in the new year, Newtown residents also expect to see a groundbreaking for a new headquarters for Hook & Ladder on Church Hill Road, solidified plans for a new recreation center, a new headquarters for Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and work on a Newtown Parent Connection base of operations.
Allen G. Breed & Michael Biesecker, Associated Press
• News •
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Adam Lanza was fascinated with chimpanzees because of their capacity for empathy, but could show little or none himself. He could write stories that struck horror into a teacher’s heart, then turn around and craft a poem so beautiful it moved listeners to tears. As a kid growing up in Connecticut, he rode bikes, played baseball and saxophone, and kept hamsters. As a man, he taped black garbage bags over his bedroom windows, retreating into a world of violent video games, guns and statistics on mass murder. Despite the release Friday by Connecticut state police of thousands of pages of interviews, photographs and writings, the man who gunned down 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, remains an enigma. The picture most people have of Lanza is the skeletal, blank face from photographs released by police following the massacre. Childhood photos show a smiling boy who could look into a camera, but signs of trouble — if not violence — emerged early.
Among the more than 7,000 images, audio files, videos and documents released by the Connecticut State Police last Friday, is a nondescript subfile marked "0030290." It contains three multi-page documents that have received little or no attention compared to reams of investigatory data from the 12/14 crime scenes, incident responders, witness testimonies, and about the shooter himself. The "0030290" file contains a letter from Brookfield resident Steve Kohlhase, sent to State Police investigators about six weeks after the shooting, reflecting his conviction that a low frequency audio phenomenon he believes is generated by a nearby high volume gas pipeline, could have had something to do with the behavior the shooter was exhibiting in the months, days and hours leading up to that devastating event.
An organization composed of Medal of Honor recipients traveled to Newtown on December 23 to honor the six educators killed on 12/14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society said it chose Rachel D’Avino,Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach and Victoria Soto to receive its Citizen Honors Medal, the highest award it gives to a civilian, after receiving dozens of nominations for their actions during the shooting. The organization also planned to honor every other member of the school’s staff with a Certificate of Commendation.
An exhaustive body of reporting by the Connecticut State Police (CSP) resulting from investigations following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, was released by the State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) shortly after 3 pm December 27. The collection of data includes approximately 7,000 pages of written reports, as well as photographs, video recordings, and audio recordings. Tens of thousands of hours were spent by investigators from across the country, tracking down leads, processing evidence, and "doing everything within their collective ability to provide answers for the questions that remained in the wake of the terror of that morning," DESPP Commissioner Reuben F. Bradford wrote in a letter that accompanied the reports.
With the end of 2013, the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is stepping back momentarily to regroup and refocus its efforts, according to member and former Newtown state representative Christopher Lyddy, who sits on the panel. The panel met for the final time this year on December 20 to review details from the recently released state prosecutor’s report on the events of 12/14. The commissioners adjourned that meeting after calling for more information about shooter Adam Lanza’s mental state, and what level of access he had to treatment, before any substantial recommendations concerning mental health policy can be tendered. Mr Lyddy said members are regrouping "to really refocus on what we've learned ... [are] in the process of dialoguing about priorities, and what the charge is in terms of what kind of report or recommendations we out to make." The commission, he continued, is at a point where its members are starting to sift through information "to decide what kind of recommendations are on the table."