Approximately 100 new laws are poised to take effect in the State of Connecticut today. The new collection includes a temporary moratorium on the storage and disposal of fracking waste, new requirements and Superior Court procedures related to the appointment of guardians ad litem and counsel for minors “in family relations and other matters,” and new limits on information concerning probation officers under the Freedom of Information Act. In addition, the revised state budget takes effect today.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield officials said Friday that the company needs to raise rates on its individual-market policies by an average of 12.5 percent to account for rising pharmaceutical costs, particularly costly new Hepatitis C drugs. During a public hearing at the Connecticut Insurance Department, Anthem officials also cited federal fees meant to cover the cost of subsidizing people’s premiums and reduced federal risk protection for insurers as reasons for seeking to raise rates. Customers, meanwhile, expressed outrage at the proposed rate hikes. In testimony and written comments, many described the premiums as unaffordable and expressed frustration with Anthem’s customer service, the health law commonly known as Obamacare and having had to switch plans when their old policies were canceled.
All town offices will be closed on Friday, July 4, in honor of Independence Day . It is also a holiday for the USPS, so there is no regular mail delivery/ pickup or retail services. The transfer station, Booth Library, Newtown Senior Center and even the offices of The Newtown Bee will all be closed Friday.
A chance meeting between Newtown’s “diver doctor” David Charash, MD, and famed third-generation oceanographer Fabian Cousteau during a symposium at Norwalk’s Maritime Aquarium last February has bloomed into a friendship that most recently prompted an invitation to Cousteau’s laboratory — 60 feet below the surface of the Caribbean. Dr Charash is medical director for wound care and hyperbaric medicine for the Western Connecticut Health Network and Danbury Hospital. Following a meeting in Norwalk, Dr Charash invited Mr Cousteau to keynote the 2014 dive medicine conference in early April.
The Public Building and Site Commission (PBSC), which is representing the town in overseeing the new community center development, has selected a familiar firm to handle management as the project begins ramping up. Chairman Robert Mitchell said the PBSC requested Diversified Project Management (DPM) to provide appropriate support for the new center that will be underwritten by a $10 million grant from General Electric. GE has also provided an additional $5 million to cover the cost of staffing the new facility at $1 million per year for the first five years of operationMr Mitchell told The Bee following the July 24 PBSC meeting that the commission’s request to retain DPM is moving through the approval process at the municipal level.
Fire officials this week voiced concerns about the implications of a proposal to have the town’s radio dispatching for emergency 911, police, fire, and ambulance calls move about 25 miles from the Newtown Emergency Communications Center at 3 Main Street to the Northwest Connecticut Public Safety Communication Center, Inc at Route 68 in Prospect. Recently, Rob Manna of Newtown Hook & Ladder, who is chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners, and Bill Halstead, who is the town fire marshal and the Sandy Hook fire chief, toured the Prospect center to learn about that organization. Maureen Will, town director of emergency communications, has proposed that Newtown shift its dispatching to the Prospect center, which now handles calls for many regional fire companies and ambulance services, as well the Middlebury Police Department.
Following a June 19 public hearing, Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members declined to revise the zoning regulations for the M-2A (Industrial) zone located in Hawleyville, as had been requested by the Economic Development Commission (EDC)The EDC had sought to have the P&Z add three uses to the list of allowed land uses in the M-2A zone — distribution centers, warehouses, and/or wholesale businesses. In May, the EDC had sought to have the P&Z allow those uses in the M-2A zone as “permitted uses.” P&Z members, however, then expressed reservations about that regulatory proposal, suggesting that the EDC return to the P&Z with a revised, stricter version for such a zoning rule change.