May is upon us and the Newtown VFW, Men’s and Ladies Auxiliaries have quite a few activities and events planned. At the most recent Post meeting, James Rebman, who was reelected to a third year as Newtown Post 308 commander, said, “Spring is when everything is renewed along with our commitment to fellow veterans and our country.”
Longtime Newtown resident Anna Wiedemann believes the measure of a person cannot be defined by their political persuasion. So it is fitting that the Democratic Town Committee’s Jefferson-Jackson-Bailey Dinner honoring her for service to the community and its citizens will be open to everyone — regardless of party affiliation. Case in point: Republican First Selectman Pat Llodra said she is eager to attend; she sent in her reservation the minute she heard about the event.
(AP) Key lawmakers say they doubt a compromise will be reached on whether to place additional restrictions on the public release of information from homicides to protect the privacy rights of Connecticut victims. Senator Anthony Musto and Representative Ed Jutila, co-chairmen of the Government Administration and Elections (GAE) Committee, said May 1 they do not believe all sides can reach an agreement before the legislature adjourns on May 7. The debate was originally prompted by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
Since launching The Innovation Initiative in San Francisco on March 14, 2013, “a lot has been accomplished,” according to Sandy Hook Promise Co-Founder and Executive Director Tim Makris. The Innovation Initiative brought together local grassroots organizations and members of the Silicon Valley technology community to move forward on solutions to gun violence. A press release issued at that time explained the initiative is intended to be “an unprecedented effort to combat the causes of gun violence through breakthroughs in research, new technologies and new applications of existing technologies.” The Silicon Valley technology community seemed the best place to begin seeking solutions.
A judge sentenced a Naples, Fla., man on April 23 to three years of probation and 450 hours of community service for illegally possessing stolen firearms silencers. US District Judge Alvin Thompson gave Richard Sleeva, 51, that sentence, according to a statement from US Attorney Deirdre Daly. The firearms case has a link to a Newtown residence. Sleeva formerly possessed the firearms at residences in Newtown and in Pennsylvania, according to the US attorney. According to court documents and statements made in court, Sleeva was a federal firearms licensee and had obtained silencers as a member of Gemtech’s board of directors prior to his removal from that board in 2001.
All Connecticut town clerks are elected. But as far as any other requirement to learn or acquire skills to do a better job on behalf of their communities, there are no further requirements. That hasn’t stopped Newtown Town Clerk Debbie Halstead and members of her staff from striving to pursue higher levels of training and certification. As Newtown’s top administrative official, Ms Halstead recently became Connecticut’s 13th Master Certified Town Clerk. Staffers Aileen Nosal and Renee Weimann are also pursuing added professional development, having recently earned their Certified Town Clerk designations.
While natural disasters may be unavoidable, the severity of their effects in terms of loss of life, personal injury, and property damage, can be lessened through coordinated planning and preventive measures. With that goal in mind, regional and town planners have started formulating the Newtown Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan, a detailed document which the town would use for disaster preparedness in acting to reduce the potential damage caused by natural disasters. On April 30, David Hannon, deputy director of the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials (HVCEO), met with town officials to discuss formulating the town’s natural hazard mitigation plan. HVCEO is the ten-town regional planning agency to which Newtown belongs. Also, Maryellen Edwards, an environmental scientist with Milone & MacBroom, Inc, discussed the planning project. The consulting firm is working for HVCEO to develop the plan. Once completed, the plan will include comments from residents, business owners, and public officials. It will include hazard mitigation strategies. The draft plan will be prepared for review by the public and municipal officials, after which the plan would be adopted, following its local approval. With the plan in force, the town would then be eligible to seek the FEMA hazard mitigation grants, as needed.
On Saturday, May 10, letter carriers in more than 1,200 branches nationwide will participate in the 22nd annual Letter Carriers’ Food Drive. Last year, with the help of thousands of volunteers, letter carriers all across America collected more than 74.4 million pounds of non-perishable food — the second-highest amount since the drive began in 1992, bringing the grand total to just under 1.3 billion pounds. Newtown Social Services, which will benefit from the collection, is counting on residents to make this year’s collection a success.
Fire officials from the town’s five volunteer fire companies are reviewing a controversial proposal to move the town’s radio dispatching for 911, police, fire, and ambulance calls from the Newtown Emergency Communications Center (NECC) at Town Hall South to the Northwest Connecticut Public Safety Communication Center, Inc, in Prospect. Town Director of Emergency Communications Maureen Will, who heads the NECC, and the two members of a town study panel that is researching possibly having Newtown emergency calls dispatched from the Prospect center -- Jeffrey Capeci and Neil Chaudhary -- attended an April 28 Board of Fire Commissioners meeting. First Selectman Pat Llodra ultimately will make the decision on whether local emergency services radio dispatching should be regionalized.