On Saturday, May 31, more than 200 Newtown community members gathered at the Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel with approximately 45 members from communities across the country who have been affected by acts of mass violence to discuss their experiences of loss, healing, and post-traumatic growth. The event, titled “Community Connections: A Day of Shared Experience,” brought together a variety of perspectives of people impacted by school shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio, and in the Amish community in Nickel Mines, Penn., to share stories of resilience in the aftermath of tragedy. The day was organized and hosted by a group of coordinating charities in an effort to educate the community on the many service providers available and to offer an opportunity to forge connections through shared experiences of trauma.
Around this time of year, the energy level in the town assessor’s and tax collector’s offices begins to peak. That is because in the next couple of weeks local auto and residential tax bills will start going out, with the anticipated flood of tax reimbursements beginning to flow back in a few weeks later. Tax Collector Carol Mahoney told The Newtown Bee this week that residents should anticipate receiving their annual tax bills by early July, and that payments are due by August 1 on the first round of residential and all auto taxes.
Newtown Police Department members and Garner Correctional Institution staff participated on June 6 in the Special Olympics of Connecticut Torch Run to show their support for the Special Olympics, which were held that weekend in New Haven and Hamden. Members of Bethel Police Department handed the Special Olympics Flame of Hope (torch) to members of Newtown PD and employees of Garner CI in the area of Dodgingtown Fire Company’s firehouse last Friday morning. Newtown runners then carried the torch through the center of town, stopping at Blue Colony Diner. There, the torch was handed off to Connecticut State Police Troop A, who continued moving the torch toward its final destination.
Following a June 5 public hearing, the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) created the regulatory mechanism known as a “moratorium,” which allows the land use agency to suspend the filing of applications on certain specific types of land uses, if deemed necessary. After that action, the P&Z then voted to enact such a one-year moratorium on applications for the local growing and/or dispensing of “medical marijuana.” Although P&Z members had unanimously endorsed allowing moratoriums, when they then voted on placing such a one-year moratorium on applications for the local growing and/or dispensing of medical marijuana, P&Z member Donald Mitchell dissented.
Police recently concluded a two-week enforcement campaign on seatbelt-use compliance known as Click-It or Ticket, issuing many violations to motorists who failed to wear seatbelts as required by state law. During the heightened enforcement, which ended on June 1, local police issued 26 infraction tickets for failure to wear a seatbelt. Enforcement was also taken for other violations. Police found that approximately 95 percent of motorists driving in Newtown wear seatbelts, as compared to the national average of 86 percent compliance.
All local police patrol officers have received specialized training intended to help them spot “drugged drivers” or those motorists who are illegally driving vehicles while under the influence of various drugs, according to Police Chief Michael Kehoe. Chief Kehoe said this week that all patrol officers have received 16 hours of training in drugged driving detection to help them identify those drivers who are violating state law covering such activity. Most of the arrests that police make for such activity involves alcohol use, with the remainder involving drugs or both alcohol and drugs, Chief Kehoe said.
A local man, who is a former National Football League player, is scheduled for arraignment on Tuesday, June 17, in Danbury Superior Court, following his May 30 arrest on two counts of illegal sale of narcotics. Authorities allege that Gennaro L. DiNapoli, 39, of White Oak Farm Road, in April and May sold potent prescription painkillers at his home to an unidentified person working on behalf of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). DEA agents accompanied by town police served an arrest warrant against DiNapoli on May 30, charging him with the two drug offenses. DiNapoli is free on $150,000 bail.
About three dozen town residents listened, watched, and interacted with a large group of project and design professionals who are part of the Sandy Hook School design team during an information forum held June 5 in the lecture hall at Newtown High School. The 90-minute session was the latest in a series of public meetings and focus groups held as the new school project continues to gain traction. It served as an opportunity to unveil a number of building renderings and plans created by members of the project architectural firm Svigals + Partners, and Diversified Project Management, which is coordinating on the initiative. During the first half of the session, various members of the design team took turns relating some points of local history and geographical inspiration that helped them develop the project to the point where it stands today. They also shifted back and forth projecting hand painted renderings of exterior and interior aspects of the planned facility, along with various elevation drawings illustrating the building layout from a bird’s-eye perspective.