Hanover Road resident Scott Conant has witnessed a “huge change” in the invasive zebra mussel population in local waters this year. The mussel population has exploded. A Friends of The Lake board member living along Lake Lillinonah’s shore, Mr Conant first sent the alert to other members in late October after inspecting the underside of his dock. “The bottom of our dock was completely encrusted this year,” he said. Lake Zoar Authority Chairman Ray Hoesten, who also lives along one of the town's lakes with both public and private access, echoed Mr Conant's sentiment when he described Zoar's growing zebra mussel population. "We've got them bad this year," he said. Right now, unfortunately, there does not seem to be an effective method of eradication for the larval species.
Quickly packing canned goods into boxes Friday, November 21 was Danielle Sampson, one of many Newtown High School students helping prepare packages for roughly 80 families in need before Thanksgiving. Women Involved in Newtown (WIN) members coordinate the Thanksgiving Basket program each year, and last Friday afternoon everything came together in the hall of Newtown United Methodist Church. Volunteers of all ages received donations from the public and a number of school groups, while others sorted the donations into separate areas, one for each family that would benefit from the program by the end of the day.
The Newtown Foundation is seeking donations of books in like-new or new condition that are an appropriate reading level for elementary age school children. Volunteers from the Newtown Foundation will deliver books to the Savoy Elementary School in Washington, DC, prior to the second annual vigil for victims of gun violence, at the National Cathedral on Thursday, December 11. Many children at the elementary school are at risk, because they do not have access to books outside of school. The book drive will enable these children to attend a book fair at school, where they can fill a bag with books, before they go on holiday break.
A number of educators presented a report on full-day kindergarten at the Board of Education’s Tuesday, November 18, meeting.
Full-day kindergarten was first implemented in the district last school year, and this is the second year the school board has heard a report about how the program is doing.
“They have a little presentation for us and just a few words about what their experience has been for… a year-plus,” said Assistant Superintendent Linda Gejda.
The second, one-hour Parent/Community Forum hosted by the school district was held on Tuesday, November 11, and focused on rigor in the classroom.
Assistant Superintendent of Schools Linda Gejda led the discussion.
“We’re very excited about having the opportunity to begin the conversation about rigor,” said Dr Gejda, near the start of the evening.
Both Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, and Board of Education Chair Keith Alexander also spoke near the opening of the event. Members of the school board’s Curriculum and Instruction Subcommittee and district teachers were also in attendance for the event, along with district parents and members of the public.
Newtown Hook & Ladder, Company No. 1, the volunteer fire unit that serves the borough and adjacent areas, has filed plans for its proposed new firehouse for local land use review and action. The Borough Zoning Commission has submitted those plans to the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) for review and comment. The P&Z serves as the borough’s planning agency. The P&Z was scheduled to consider the matter at its meeting on the night of Thursday, November 20, after the deadline for the November 21 print edition of "The Bee." BZC is expected to conduct a public hearing on the fire company’s application for a special permit when it meets on December 10, said George Benson, town director of planning.
The Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) of the State of Connecticut released a report Friday, November 21, focusing on Sandy Hook Elementary School (SHS) mass murderer Adam Lanza. The report defines lapses in integration of education and health care, and how untreated mental illness contributed to Adam Lanza’s overall decline.
Directed by the State Child Fatality Review Panel (CFRP), in late January 2013, the OCA was asked to investigate “the circumstances leading to the death of the children at Sandy Hook, with a focus on any public health recommendations that may emanate from a review of the shooter’s personal history.”
The Legislative Council hosted the Boards of Finance, Selectmen, and Education for a budget preview session November 19. While First Selectman Pat Llodra and Finance Director Robert Tait both vowed to seek a zero tax increase budget, the school superintendent’s presentation focused as much on issues that could affect future budgets as he did on the 2014-15 spending cycle.
For the second year in a row, All-Star Transportation is hoping shoppers will help fill a school bus with donations for Newtown Social Services. A Stuff-A-Bus event will be held Saturday, November 22, from 9 am until 3 pm, at Stop & Shop in Sand Hill Plaza, 228 South Main Street. Donations of any nonperishable goods will be accepted, according to Social Services Director Ann Piccini. “We’re really low on everything,” Ms Piccini said this week. “We’ve used up all the excess pasta we had on the shelves.”