Local electrician Ken Burns has fond memories of his youth living with his family at a compact ranch-style house at 82 Berkshire Road in Sandy Hook. He recalls days of playing in the spacious backyard amid fields and trees which lead to the rustic, winding Sugarloaf Road. In the past, the area was generally agricultural, he noted. A large working farm stood across Sugarloaf Road in the area now proposed for the 42-lot Sherman Woods cluster-style residential subdivision. Today, Mr Burns, the proprietor of Ken Burns Electrical Contractors Inc, of Hawleyville, is overseeing the swift construction of a new house at the Berkshire Road site.
Three Connecticut lawmakers are among the 60 members of Congress who have signed a letter, dated September 30, to Gina McCarthy, administrator at the US Environmental Protection Agency. Elizabeth Esty (D-Fifth Congressional District), Rosa DeLauro (D-Third Congressional District), and James Hines (D-Fourth Congressional District) have joined in requesting the EPA to consider recent findings from the International Union for Conservation of Nature Task Force on Systemic Insecticides that have linked the environmental accumulation of systemic pesticides, such as the neonicotinoids, to negative impacts on land and water wildlife. Water-soluble neonicotinoids break down slowly in the environment, allowing them to be taken up by plants, and providing protection from insects. Neonicotinoids include acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, nitenpyram, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam, with imidacloprid being the most widely used.
Over the past decade, an increasing public awareness about treating and preventing concussions, especially among younger rec league, school, and college athletes, has brought the issue out of emergency rooms and into living rooms. It now concerns not just coaches, but whole communities. According to the governor’s office, 13.5 percent of high school students self-reported getting a concussion during sports. Fortunately for local student athletes the local school district, and particularly Newtown High School, is already ahead of the game when it comes to responding to and addressing students who may be exposed to, or who have already suffered, concussions. Little did Athletic Director Gregg Simon know that his planned info session would occur the evening after Mr Cochran made his potentially career-ending decision.
Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) members are reviewing revised and expanded technical information provided by the developers of The Preserve at Newtown, a proposed 23-lot residential subdivision on 167 acres in Dodgingtown. On October 8, the IWC held a public hearing on the proposed cluster-style development, which seeks to concentrate new single-family houses in two areas on the site in order to leave approximately one-half of the overall tract as undeveloped open space land. Such land would be open to the public for passive forms of recreation, such as hiking and nature study. About 25 residents attended the October 8 IWC session.
Beekeeper and resident Jeff Shwartz has been hearing a lot about wasps. He said, “I got more calls this year about wasps than any other year,” which may be because he has been doing bee and wasp removal for a long time and more people know about him, he said. Or, this year has been "good" for the wasps, he said. He and others agree that the number of ground nests and wasp activity is up this year.
A single car crash just before midnight Friday evening resulted in the state DOT closing the busy roadway for several hours while crews assessed and repaired damage to a snapped utility pole just north of Hanover Road. It was unclear whether the male driver sustained injuries requiring transport to the hospital, but local police, ambulance volunteers and Newtown Hook & Ladder responded to the initial calls for assistance at 11:43 pm. Hook & Ladder Chief Ray Corbo said the first fire dispatch warned of a possible extrication, but upon arrival, the unidentified male driver was conscious and alert. Chief Corbo said the driver appeared to be the only occupant of the car, and he did not require extrication.
The Board of Education approved on Tuesday, October 7, the fourth phase of the Sandy Hook School building construction project. The school board’s unanimous approval will now allow the Phase 4 documents to be submitted to the State of Connecticut’s Office of School Facilities for review and approval. The construction documents submitted for the board’s approval at this week’s meeting are “substantially complete,” said Geralyn Hoerauf of Diversified Project Management. "We're going to call them 95 percent complete," she said.
Selectman Will Rodgers did not want to close the August 18 Board of Selectmen meeting without praising First Selectman Pat Llodra, Public Works Director Fred Hurley, and his Highway Department crews for accomplishing a neighborhood’s worth of road resurfacing in the areas of Flat Swamp Road and Brookwood Drive earlier in the preceding weeks. And while Mr Hurley said he would like to see more of these areawide improvements, and endeavors to “tie neighborhoods together” with multiple streets being repaired and resurfaced at the same time, it can only be accomplished when there is a somewhat unique alignment among suppliers, vendors, and work crews — along with the cooperation of Mother Nature.
A community tag/vendor sale being planned for October 11 has been postponed by two weeks. The event, to raise funds for the Ayles family of Sandy Hook, will now take place Sunday, October 25, from 10 am to 2 pm. Openings are still available for those who wish to participate in the event. Tag sale tables can also include crafts or vendors. Organizers are requesting vendors each donate a basket for fundraising purposes.
Another main piece of the Fairfield Hills skyline is gone: Danbury Hall this week is reduced to just rubble as Bestech crews work to separate and remove or reuse the debris. Ground-down concrete will fill the empty hollow where Danbury Hall once stood, making a home to then-state hospital staff. The building, which sat to the east of Trades Lane when entering the campus through its main entrance off Wasserman Way, had been constructed to house male staff. Bestech crew member Fred Brace had set aside a few relics this week, as the building, less than two weeks after demolition began, sat in crumbling heaps behind him. Reaching into an open dumpster he found some broken wooden siding stamped with the original contractor’s information. Also within reach were some old brass doorknobs that he set aside.