Teachers and district staff kicked off the 2015-16 school year on Monday, August 24, at a convocation held at Newtown High School. Town board members and elected officials were also in attendance at the event, which highlighted teachers and district staff. “Welcome everyone,” said Board of Education Vice Chair Laura Roche near the start of the event.
Police said they charged a 24-year-old man August 15 with five offenses following their investigation into a burglary/larceny incident at a home on the northern section of Orchard Hill Road.
Police received a report that a burglary had occurred there, so they responded to investigate at about 3:46 pm on August 14. Police said their probe indicated that items taken included a television set, some model trains, and an electric guitar.
Police said they learned on the afternoon of August 15 that ransom was being sought for the items that had been stolen, so they set up surveillance near the home in seeking to find a suspect in the case.
Police said that when they confronted suspect Joshua Adams, he ran off into the woods, after which they found him near Pebble Road and then arrested him on five charges, four of which are felonies.
Adams was arrested on charges of first-degree larceny by extortion, third-degree larceny, second-degree burglary, third-degree burglary, and interfering with police, according to police.
The Board of Education approved a 25-cent increase for the district’s school lunch program during its meeting on August 18. Business Director Ron Bienkowski explained the school board would normally have made its decision to renew the district’s contract with Chartwells earlier in the year, but the state notified towns of provisions in some contracts with food providers that are not allowed by the Food and Drug Administration following an audit by the federal government. Following a July 20 directive, Mr Bienkowski said the district’s contract was changed to include “certain provisions that are acceptable to the state,” but new information from the state as of Monday, August 17, will require further amendments.
Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps will host a State of Connecticut EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) course this fall. Students must be at least age 16 by the completion of the course. Classes will run Tuesday and Thursday evenings, September 15 through December 22, from 6 to 10 pm, plus two Saturdays per month, for a total of approximately 170 hours.
The Police Commission chairman has recommended that the five-member elective agency hold special meetings three or four times a year whose sole purpose would be to improve communications between the public and the commission. Chairman Paul Mangiafico earlier this month told commission members that such meetings would provide the public with an open forum where they could raise issues of concern. Police Commission member Brian Budd observed that the current level of interaction between the public and the commission is much better than it was in the past. Mr Budd said he does not oppose holding special meetings for communications purposes, but said he believes that they are not necessary.
Following discussion at an August 20 meeting, Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members unanimously approved the construction of the River Walk at Sandy Hook Village, a 65-unit condominium complex planned for the west side of Washington Avenue in Sandy Hook Center, near the Pootatuck River.Voting in favor of the housing project were P&Z Chairman Robert Mulholland and members Michael Porco, Sr, Jim Swift, Frank Corigliano, and Fredrick Taylor.
The Board of Education postponed a decision on its five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) during its meeting Tuesday, August 18, and discussed looking at a proposed Hawley Elementary School heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) project further. As explained by school board CIP/Finance/Facilities Committee member Kathy Hamilton, changes to the board’s proposed CIP for 2016 through 2021 include a Middle Gate Elementary School boiler and lighting upgrade, a revision to the Newtown High School roof project, and a new project to replace the turf field at NHS, to meet the recommended ten-year replacement. According to Ms Hamilton, last year’s CIP had Middle Gate’s HVAC project planned to be completed in 2017-18, and it was moved ahead to the 2016-17 year, “so that they could take advantage of a program that is being offered by [Eversource].”
State police report that motorist Luis Hernan Camas-Matute, 32, of Danbury was driving a vehicle westward on Interstate 84, near Exit 10, about 8:09 pm on August 11, when the vehicle went off the road and knocked over two traffic signs, after which it reentered the road. Camas-Matute was not injured.
State police charged him with driving under the influence, failure to drive in the proper lane, improper entry/exit at a limited access highway, and improper parking.
He was released on $1,000 bail for an August 21 court appearance. Read more about recent police activity in this week's report.
After the tragic death of their 6-year-old son Dylan in the Sandy Hook School shooting, Nicole and Ian Hockley established Dylan’s Wings of Change, a foundation dedicated to the memory of Dylan that is committed to helping children with autism and other related conditions achieve their full potential.
“While many organizations have a philosophy of inclusion, they lack an easy framework to foster awareness and acceptance of physical, intellectual, and behavioral differences to achieve a supportive environment for all,” Ian Hockley said.
Erin and Jeromie Schumacher, athletics coaches from Middlebury, joined Dylan’s Wings of Change with a program concept they were developing, titled “Wingman.”
A years-long wish has come true for officials hoping to raze old buildings at Fairfield Hills. Residents at a town meeting Monday, August 17, approved $5 million in funding, an estimated $4.3 to $4.5 million of which will be used to remediate and raze Canaan House. Predemo work should start in the fall. Fairfield Hills Authority Chairman Thomas Connors said there is no specific plan for the area where the Canaan House now stands, “although parking and making space for the community center seems like it is where it’s headed.” Land Use Agency Director George Benson said that as redevelopment takes place in that area, they are also trying to save Plymouth Hall for reuse, “We are trying to continue cleaning up that area, and once [Canaan] is down we’ll figure it out; nothing has been decided at this point.” Demolition at Fairfield Hills is a continuing process, he said.