At a brief, windswept press conference staged at the I-84 Exit 2 Welcome Center January 22, Governor Dannel P. Malloy said widening Interstate 84 in both directions through Danbury is critical for economic growth in western Connecticut, as well as easing rush-hour traffic along that heavily congested section of the highway to improve quality of life. The governor, joined by Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, noted in a post-event release that the I-84 corridor through the western part of the state carries more than 125,000 vehicles on an average weekday, resulting in busy morning and evening peak hours. “Congested roads are bad for business and bad for families — and we need to fix them,” Gov Malloy said.
John Voket, Kendra Bobowick & Andrew Gorosko
• News •
Friday, January 30, 2015 at 10:30 am
This summary of Winter Storm Juno also appears in The Newtown Bee print edition of January 30, 2015. Stories by Bee Editorial staff were also posted online as the storm approached, arrived and then dispersed earlier this week. || Residents were well prepared this week for Winter Storm Juno, which was billed as a storm that would be historic in proportions. Fortunately Newtown was spared the worst of the snow storm, which arrived Monday, January 26, and dropped about a foot of snow before continuing on its easterly path.
In a statement, police said this week that plowing snow from private driveways and walkways onto roadways is illegal and dangerous. Private snowplow drivers and homeowners are legally liable when snow is plowed onto roadways. All residents are also reminded that Newtown has an overnight parking restriction that prohibits the parking of private vehicles on state and town roads during overnight hours, November 25 to March 15.
The town fire marshal’s office is asking for help from the public in terms of snow removal. Fire Marshal Bill Halstead asks that people who have a conventional fire hydrant, a dry hydrant, or a fire suppression water storage tank located in front of their businesses or residences, or which is located on their property, to keep those fire safety devices clear of snow by plowing and/or shoveling. Mr Halstead reminds businesses that their secondary exits, or stair exits, must be cleared of snow and ice.
In a special meeting Wednesday, January 29, the Board of Selectmen continued the process of reviewing and approving recommendations for a dozen department budget requests, including several of the largest spending proposals tendered by the police, Public Works and Parks and Recreation departments. The selectmen’s budget request for next year currently stands at a 1.22 percent increase totaling $483,058 over the current year’s spending. Debt service on all capital projects including all school projects represents $10,110,702 of the selectmen’s requested $40,203,958. Perhaps the biggest news came when Police Chief Michael Kehoe and Police Commissioner Brian Budd took their turn before the selectmen.
Since opening in 1975 with 40 one-bedroom units, Nunnawauk Meadows has provided affordable housing for the elderly in Newtown. The community on Nunnawauk Road, off Mile Hill Road, has expanded more than once in the past 40 years, with current units now numbering 134. More than More than 150 residents enjoy the affordable housing, and many more would, said Nunnawauk Meadows Board of Directors President Richard Kovacs and Linda Manganaro, executive director of the facility since 2011, if there were more apartments. “There has always been a need for more housing here,” said Ms Manganaro, “and we usually have a wait list of over 100.”
Over the next ten nights, temperatures across the state are expected to be near zero or subzero. Governor Dannel P. Malloy has ordered the state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol to be extended and remain in effect through Sunday, February 8, as dangerously cold temperatures continue to affect the state. The order activates a network of procedures among the relevant state agencies to ensure that the most vulnerable receive shelter from the cold. Residents calling 211 from anywhere in the state will find the latest list of warming locations around Connecticut.
The Board of Education is scheduled to conduct a public hearing on its 2015-16 operating budget on Tuesday, February 3, and its decision on the budget is expected during a meeting on Thursday, February 5. Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, said on January 28 that he hopes community members are willing to be informed voters. “The opportunity for the community to be an informed voter really has begun, but really commences on Tuesday, when the electorate will have the opportunity to voice opinions and ask questions,” said Dr Erardi.
The superintendent also said he plans to share a report with the school board on Tuesday that will list all of the expected meetings between now and the referendum in April that will include discussion on the budget. In all, Dr Erardi said there are about 35 meetings that will be held by the Board of Education, the Board of Finance, or the Legislative Council.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is next scheduled to meet on Friday, January 30 at 9:30 a.m. in the hearing room 2B of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. The group plans on holding a discussion among its members regarding the relevant issue areas that will be incorporated into its final report, including mental health/mental wellness, law enforcement, and safe school design and operation.