Newtown members of the Salvation Army encourage the public to support the 2014 Salvation Army Kettle Campaign, scheduled to take place over two weekends this month. The Newtown/Bethel Chapter of Salvation Army has undertaken the kettle collection for more than 30 years, accepting donations that range from children’s pennies to a check of $100. Ten percent of money collected goes to Salvation Army headquarters in Hartford, and the remaining 90 percent stays in Newtown, to help residents in need.
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, AFT Connecticut Vice President Steve McKeever, and Newtown Federation of Teachers President Tom Kuroski presented a collage honoring the six educators who were murdered nearly two years ago on 12/14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School to the Board of Education during its meeting on Tuesday, December 2. Earlier on Tuesday, the group visited Sandy Hook School, spoke with school staff, held a media conference, and attended a dinner prepared by Newtown High School culinary students.
Eva Bermudez, a local, state and national union organizer for the Sevice Employees International Union, and outreach worker for Access Health CT is poised to take an open seat on the Legilsative Council Wednesday evening, December 3. Town Clerk Debbie Halstead told The Newtown Bee that she was prepared to appear at the meeting on the request of local Democratic leadership, to swear in Ms Bermudez. She is expected to receive the unanimous endorsement of the three Democratic council members who are charged with naming a replacement after Lisa Romano resigned her seat last month.
The police department is sponsoring its 14th Annual Mitten Tree display in the police station lobby at 3 Main Street until January 1. Police Patrol Officer Maryhelen McCarthy, who oversees The Mitten Tree Project, asks that residents make donations of new mittens, hats, and scarves to adorn the Christmas tree. Through the course of the holiday season, the tree will occasionally be “trimmed,” with the donated apparel being given to needy families.
The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation is soliciting grant applications for its second round of grant making from The Sandy Hook School Support Fund. Deadline for project applications is December 19. To qualify for funding, all applicants or their fiscal sponsors must have current 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status through the Internal Revenue Service. It is anticipated that a total of $100,000 will be available for this grant cycle and that grants to individual organizations will range between $5,000 and $20,000. Grant awards may vary depending on the scope and type of project.
Newtown taxpayers will not become stewards of an antique air strip complete with a small air control tower platform, nor will they become de facto landlords over several residential homes on a key Hattertown 17.7-acre parcel already partly owned by the community and reserved as open space. A conservation easement will stay in place on the entire parcel, however, continuing to block large-scale residential or commercial development in the area bordered by Orchard Hill and Platts Hill Roads, preserving what land use officials call a key local “viewshed.” On November 17, the Board of Selectmen — with the concurrence of the Legislative Council about a week later — voted to reject an option to purchase most of the remaining Fulton estate.
The town is apparently poised to receive, at no cost to taxpayers, the home and property of 12/14 shooter Adam Lanza. The Legislative Council is scheduled to discuss and possibly act on the acquisition at its next regular meeting Wednesday, December 3. Legislative Council Chair Mary Ann Jacob told The Newtown Bee Tuesday that the acquisition was discussed among council members in a closed or executive session during its last meeting. But since possible action on the acquisition was not properly noticed to the public, Ms Jacob said, she put off action until this week. "We will only be discussing and possibly acting on the acquisition, not the disposition of that property," Ms Jacob said. "Any disposition discussions will take place when and if we decide to acquire (the property)."
The possibility of incorporating a residential element into Fairfield Hills redevelopment has again entered conversations, which will be opened to the public in December. First Selectman Pat Llodra on Monday, November 24, told the Fairfield Hills Authority members of two upcoming forums on December 6 and 11 “to address housing.” The two moderated sessions will be sponsored by three town agencies: the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Fairfield Hills Authority, and the Economic Development Commission. A residential component to Fairfield Hills development has long been a source of controversy, earning mixed public and official opinion. Past projects that included apartments or housing associated with a small school, for example, never took shape.
Plans for a community center and a proposed mental health facility filled conversation during the Fairfield Hills Authority’s meeting on Monday, November 24. The facility, to be located at Fairfield Hills next to NYA Sports & Fitness Center, would also serve the senior community. The center and the “broad spectrum of needs” it meets for the town would be constructed in phases, for which funding requests are also in the town’s Capital Improvement Plan, First Selectman Pat Llodra told authority members. Members on Monday also returned to the discussion of a proposed 100-bed behavioral healthcare facility by US HealthVest.
What can the town do to generate activity for demolition at Fairfield Hills? First Selectman Pat Llodra told the Fairfield Hills Authority members Monday, November 24, that town officials recently have had “quite a bit of discussion” about the question. She soon handed members a draft of Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) recommendations that include three $3.5 million requests over consecutive years between 2015 and 2018 for demolition.