The month of March was a busy one for legislators concerned about the proliferation of e-cigarette use among the country’s youth, the lack of regulation for sales of e-cigarettes to minors at state and federal levels, and advertising directed at young people that glamorizes “vaping” in much the same way that conventional cigarettes were once marketed. On March 12, Governor Dannel P. Malloy introduced legislation to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes, electronic delivery systems, and other vapor products to those under the age of 18. Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or vape pens, are currently not regulated in the state. Local health officials and school leaders have concerns about the marketing of these products, which have not been submitted to the FDA for evaluation or approval.
At about 8:12 pm on Saturday, March 29, about 25 volunteer firefighters responded to an automatic alarm from a home at 54 Mt Pleasant Road where a system used to electrically heat drainage gutters failed, causing a house fire, officials said. Fire officials described damage to the house as moderate to significant. A damage estimate was not available. There were no injuries. Two women were home at the time of the fire at the residence, which lies just west of Mt Pleasant Road’s intersection with Diamond Drive. Fire Marshal Bill Halstead said that an electrically powered system, which is used to heat drainage gutters on the house, apparently failed, resulting in the accidental blaze. The fire occurred at the rear section of the house, he said.
When the state’s child welfare agency announced it needed to open a locked facility for troubled girls who break the law, state legislators had a list of questions they needed answers to if they were going to give the Department of Children and Families the $2.6 million needed each year to operate the center. Weeks later, the state agency has answered the 20 questions posed to them by legislators, the General Assembly’s budget-writing committee has signed off on funding the new program, and girls now live at the 12-bed facility. “What made me really conclude that this was the right time to do this, I looked at the numbers,” DCF Commissioner Joette Katz said.
Gun rights activists gathered outside the Connecticut State Capitol and protest the one-year anniversary of the state’s wide-ranging gun control law. The legislation was signed into law on April 4, 2013, in response to 12/14. A pro-gun rights organization, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, organized the Saturday afternoon rally. CCDL President Scott Wilson said the group wanted to show it is determined to see the law overturned in federal court or repealed by the General Assembly.
James M. Powers, Attorney at Law, LLC, of New Milford announces that, effective immediately, it will be attending to the clients of recently deceased Attorney Paul S. Lux of Lux & Timmel LLC in Newtown. Attorney William C. Timmel will continue his practice independently in Newtown. James M. Powers, Attorney at Law, LLC will continue to maintain an office in Newtown, in addition to the firm’s New Milford and Southport offices.
Soft ground bore scars left by heavy machinery as Parks and Recreation crews dug out 21 tree stumps Wednesday at Treadwell Park. Pine, hemlock, and several birch trees that came down several weeks ago, leaving behind stumps, will make way for a future tennis court project, according to Parks & Recreation Director Amy Mangold. Approved in a past Capital Improvement Plan, the project will include four tennis courts and one smaller pickle ball court, along with some reconfiguration of the current courts in order to allow a better flow of traffic and safer entry and exit to and from the town parkl on Philo Curtis Road.
Following the approval of the Legislative Council on April 2 to send a request for $111,066,204 to voters to cover town and school services, along with annual debt service for capitol projects (carried in the Board of Selectmen budget), Town Clerk Debbie Aurelia Halstead has announced that absentee ballots for the April 22 referendum will be available beginning Friday, April 4. The referendum will have four Yes-No questions, including a pair of Advisory Questions. The referendum will be held on Tuesday, April 22, from 6 am to 8 pm, at Newtown Middle School. Any person who is a registered voter in the Town of Newtown or who is a US citizen who is assessed at least $1,000 for the real estate or motor vehicles on the 2013 Grand List for the Town of Newtown is qualified to vote at the referendum.
Two Newtown residents, the father of one of the 12/14 victims and the daughter of a 12/14 survivor, have been named Champions of Change by The White House. All of this year’s honorees are gun violence prevention leaders, recognized for taking critical steps in their communities to reduce gun violence. Sarah Clements, founder and chairwoman for the Jr Newtown Action Alliance, and Mark Barden, director of advocacy for Sandy Hook Promise, were among the nine Americans formally named Champions of Change during a morning ceremony on April 3. The César E. Chávez Champions of Change awards are given by The White House to honor those community leaders who embody the spirit of Mr Chavez’s legacy. Each Champion of Change has committed themselves to improving the lives of others in their communities and across the country. Honorees represent the values and steadfast determination of Cesar E. Chavez.
“One and done!” was the final comment of longtime budget critic and Legislative Council member Dan Amaral as he stood with fellow council members, and the Boards of Selectmen, Finance, and Education before him, in unanimously passing next year’s zero-increase budget request to voters. Calling for taxpayers to get behind a rare spending plan that actually cuts taxation incrementally, Mr Amaral uttered the phrase that could serve as a rallying cry for budget proponents hoping to pass the proposal during a single referendum. In past years, budgets have generally required multiple votes to pass. Voters will make up their minds on the bifurcated, or split, town and school budgets April 22 when they are called to the Newtown Middle School to cast their votes between 6 am and 8 pm. Town Clerk Debbie Halstead told The Bee that absentee ballots would be available for voters beginning Friday, April 4. On April 2, the council unanimously endorsed sending a request for $111,066,204 to voters to cover town and school services, along with annual debt service for capital projects, which is carried in the Board of Selectmen budget.
Although town officials have long been exploring the prospect of regionalizing municipal emergency radio dispatching for 911, police, fire, and ambulance calls to improve cost efficiency, Police Commission members this week voiced strong concerns about it, stressing that such an arrangement could do more harm than good in terms of town police operations. Currently, all town 911, police, fire, and ambulance dispatching is done at the Newtown Emergency Communications Center at 3 Main Street, in the same building that houses the police station. Two town-employed dispatchers staff the facility around the clock on 12-hour shifts. Under a proposal advanced by Maureen Will, the town’s emergency communications director, the multiple functions of town emergency dispatching would be handled by Northwest Connecticut Public Safety Communication Center, Inc, in Prospect at an existing private facility.