Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr., offered an overview of the proposed 2015-16 budget during an evening Community Forum on Tuesday, March 10. Board of Education Chair Keith Alexander also spoke at the event, and time was set aside for parents to ask questions. The superintendent first presented his proposed budget during a school board meeting on January 6, and the Board of Education adopted its planned 2015-16 budget at a meeting on February 5. As of March 4, Dr Erardi explained changes to the district’s self-funded medical account further decreased the budget proposal to $71,915,679, or a 0.8 percent increase over the 2014-15 spending plan. Once the Board of Finance completes its inspection of the budget, it will be passed along to the Legislative Council for review before it goes to referendum on April 28.
For the third consecutive year, a group of 26 hearty cyclists will pedal their way from Edmond Town Hall to the US Capital in Washington, DC, to support a number of what the team describes as “common sense legislation to reduce the epidemic of gun violence that plagues our nation.” The group — dubbed Team 26, representing those killed on 12/14 — and their support team, is the brainchild of Sandy Hook resident and world-class competitive cyclist Monte Frank. Mr Frank is kicking off this third ride on the morning of March 28 along with fellow Newtowner Bill Muzzio. Team 26 consists of professional and top amateur and masters cyclists from the Northeast. The riders invite all Newtown residents to join together sending off the team March 28 with an 8 am rally that will also welcome US Senator Richard Blumenthal and US Representative Elizabeth Esty.
Newtown’s park lights have been upgraded to new LED fixtures thanks to a $10,000 grant earned through Energize Connecticut’s Clean Energy Communities program, administered by Eversource. A total of 31 light post fixtures have been replaced with new high efficiency LEDs.
Pootatuck Watershed Association, a private environmental protection group, is seeking new members to participate in its programs intended to preserve local environmental quality. The group wants to recruit volunteers to aid in an ongoing water quality sampling program, which it jointly conducts with several other organizations. PWA also is seeking people to participate in its new “citizen watchdog” program, in which volunteers are encouraged to report suspicious or troubling events such as “fish kills” or evidence of contamination in a watercourse, according to a PWA statement.
Boxes of books wait to be replaced on shelves in the Children’s Department of C.H. Booth Library. Damage repair from the February 17 flood is nearly complete. Only minor repairs remain to be completed, and library staff hopes to reopen the Children's Department by midweek. Library patrons will notice gaps in the collection, due to the loss of nearly 10,000 books during the February flooding of that department.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy accepted the final report of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission on Friday, somberly and profusely thanking its 15 members while offering no support for further restrictions on firearms and ammunition.
The commission’s findings and recommendations, including a call for significant investments in an “underfunded and fragmented behavioral health system,” comes as the legislature considers deep budget cuts proposed by Malloy.
“I do think the elephant in this room is the cost of this document,” said Wayne Sandford, a University of New Haven professor and former public safety official who served on the commission. “I know it couldn’t come at a worse time.”
Due to a heating issue in the church building, all services have been cancelled at St Rose of Lima Church today. This includes Stations of the Cross, at noon and 7:30 pm; and First Friday Adoration, which would have been offered until 4 pm. The heating issue is not affecting St Rose School, nor will it cause an issue with tonight's scheduled Friday Fish Fry.