After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Elizabeth Vaughn, daughter of a Newtown Board of Education employee, saw a picture circulating from Karachi, Pakistan, with children lighting candles next to a sign that read, “Connecticut school killing, [we] feel [your] pain as [you] would feel our pain.” So when she learned about the devastating school attack in Peshawar last week, Ms Vaughn quietly organized a candlelight vigil that featured messages in Urdu translated onto posters by a Pakistani acquaintance. About two dozen friends and Sandy Hook Elementary School community members gathered for the brief memorial Friday, December 19, in Sandy Hook Center.
As shoppers, travelers, and commuters passed by or parked overhead during the rainy Christmas holiday, storm water infused with surplus pesticides left over on lawns mixed with sand and ice melt chemicals, as well as liquids from those passing or parked vehicles, and slowly seeped into the ground below. That polluted runoff eventually finds its way to Long Island Sound via stream and rivers like Newtown’s Pootatuck — and into local groundwater that feeds residential wells, where its effects on the environment and public health take their toll. In response, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is attempting, for the second time, to improve its regulations related to such runoff — referred to by the technical definition: nonpoint source pollution. But those proposed regulations, the subject of a recent statewide public hearing, would be initiated at apparent great cost to local municipalities.
All town offices and agencies will be closed from noon on Wednesday, December 24, until 8 am on Friday, December 26, for the Christmas holiday. The following week, offices will close at noon on Wednesday, December 31, and remain closed until 8 am Friday, January 2, for New Year's. Additional closings due related to December 24-25 and December 31-January 1 have also been announced.
State Senator-elect Tony Hwang, along with Representatives Mitch Bolinsky (R-106), Dan Carter (R-2), and State Representative-elect J.P. Sredzinski (R-112), have been given their respective committee assignments for the next two years.
Although the Borough Zoning Commission last week unanimously approved Newtown Hook & Ladder’s proposal to build a firehouse at 12 Church Hill Road without a traffic study having been performed, the Police Commission this week, in its role as the local traffic authority, told the volunteer fire company that it wants a traffic study done before it would review and make a recommendation on the traffic aspects of the firehouse project.
The Legislative Council heard from police and land use officials during its last meeting December 3, as the one-year mark passed on implementing local blight and firearms ordinances. Newtown Police Captain Joe Rios and George Benson, director of planning, each spent a few minutes reporting to the council on how the ordinances are working, and responding to whether either or both ordinances need further refining by council members.
The Water & Sewer Authority (WSA) has rejected, without prejudice, a developer’s application for preliminary approval to extend municipal sanitary sewer lines to serve a currently undeveloped 35-acre property near Exit 10 of Interstate 84, where the developer wants to construct a high-density, multifamily housing complex which has an “affordable housing” component. WSA members decided that the applicant had not provided sufficient technical information on which the they could base a preliminary decision on the sewering request.
Geralyn Hoerauf, consultant to Newtown’s Municipal Building Strategic Plan Committee, reviewed the panel’s plans for the coming weeks and months during her monthly reporting to the Board of Selectmen December 15. The committee, consisting of ten residents, has met once since Ms Hoerauf’s last report to selectmen in mid-November. The group is still in the process of defining its scope and mission, but members are orienting themselves to a two-phase plan of attack to accomplish their charge of reporting back to selectmen on possible future uses of municipal-owned facilities, eventually including local schools.