Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield officials said Friday that the company needs to raise rates on its individual-market policies by an average of 12.5 percent to account for rising pharmaceutical costs, particularly costly new Hepatitis C drugs. During a public hearing at the Connecticut Insurance Department, Anthem officials also cited federal fees meant to cover the cost of subsidizing people’s premiums and reduced federal risk protection for insurers as reasons for seeking to raise rates. Customers, meanwhile, expressed outrage at the proposed rate hikes. In testimony and written comments, many described the premiums as unaffordable and expressed frustration with Anthem’s customer service, the health law commonly known as Obamacare and having had to switch plans when their old policies were canceled.
All town offices will be closed on Friday, July 4, in honor of Independence Day . It is also a holiday for the USPS, so there is no regular mail delivery/ pickup or retail services. The transfer station, Booth Library, Newtown Senior Center and even the offices of The Newtown Bee will all be closed Friday.
(AP) In the aftermath of the Newtown school shooting, communication between town officials and victims' parents broke down at times, ranging from delayed notification about counseling programs to deciding to remove photos of victims from the school yearbook without telling families, a parent told a state commission Friday. David Wheeler lost his son, Benjamin, on 12/14. He told the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, which is reviewing the shooting and making policy recommendations, that he hoped the panel could do something to make information flow better from local government officials to victims after such tragedies. The commission also heard via video chat from Michele Gay, whose daughter Josephine died in the shooting. She recommended that schools take a number of steps to try to stop or slow intruders .
A chance meeting between Newtown’s “diver doctor” David Charash, MD, and famed third-generation oceanographer Fabian Cousteau during a symposium at Norwalk’s Maritime Aquarium last February has bloomed into a friendship that most recently prompted an invitation to Cousteau’s laboratory — 60 feet below the surface of the Caribbean. Dr Charash is medical director for wound care and hyperbaric medicine for the Western Connecticut Health Network and Danbury Hospital. Following a meeting in Norwalk, Dr Charash invited Mr Cousteau to keynote the 2014 dive medicine conference in early April.
The Public Building and Site Commission (PBSC), which is representing the town in overseeing the new community center development, has selected a familiar firm to handle management as the project begins ramping up. Chairman Robert Mitchell said the PBSC requested Diversified Project Management (DPM) to provide appropriate support for the new center that will be underwritten by a $10 million grant from General Electric. GE has also provided an additional $5 million to cover the cost of staffing the new facility at $1 million per year for the first five years of operationMr Mitchell told The Bee following the July 24 PBSC meeting that the commission’s request to retain DPM is moving through the approval process at the municipal level.
Fire officials this week voiced concerns about the implications of a proposal to have the town’s radio dispatching for emergency 911, police, fire, and ambulance calls move about 25 miles from the Newtown Emergency Communications Center at 3 Main Street to the Northwest Connecticut Public Safety Communication Center, Inc at Route 68 in Prospect. Recently, Rob Manna of Newtown Hook & Ladder, who is chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners, and Bill Halstead, who is the town fire marshal and the Sandy Hook fire chief, toured the Prospect center to learn about that organization. Maureen Will, town director of emergency communications, has proposed that Newtown shift its dispatching to the Prospect center, which now handles calls for many regional fire companies and ambulance services, as well the Middlebury Police Department.
Following a June 19 public hearing, Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members declined to revise the zoning regulations for the M-2A (Industrial) zone located in Hawleyville, as had been requested by the Economic Development Commission (EDC)The EDC had sought to have the P&Z add three uses to the list of allowed land uses in the M-2A zone — distribution centers, warehouses, and/or wholesale businesses. In May, the EDC had sought to have the P&Z allow those uses in the M-2A zone as “permitted uses.” P&Z members, however, then expressed reservations about that regulatory proposal, suggesting that the EDC return to the P&Z with a revised, stricter version for such a zoning rule change.
Released late last month, "Community Connections: Town of Newtown 12-14-12 Resource Guide" is a new edition of a book published in November by Sandy Hook resident Sharon L. Cohen. Now a collaborative effort between the Town and Ms Cohen, the reference source offers a historic document of the massive volunteer and nonprofit efforts that occurred within town in response to the shooting on December 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School that took the lives of six women and 20 children; continues to increase awareness of the different organizations in order to promote collaboration, while also addressing gaps in services; and serves as a representation of positive community change. Unlike its predecessor, "Community Connections" is a resource guide that is available to read in a number of public locations but it is not available to purchase. It is also available to read as an online PDF, however.
The Connecticut Sun women’s basketball team honored three 2014 Women of Inspiration, including Newtown resident Rebecca Kowalski, during a pregame reception and halftime ceremony when the Sun hosted the Indiana Fever at Mohegan Sun Arena June 7. Ms Kowalski was honored alongside former governor Jodi Rell, who received the Margo Dydek Award. Heather Ciarletto, who inspired and led a social justice and diversity initiative at Wethersfield High School, was also honored during the event. “We are so pleased to recognize these three individuals,” Connecticut Sun Vice President and General Manager Chris Sienko said. “All of them, in their own way, are changing lives and positively impacting people and we are honored to have them as our 2014 Women of Inspiration.”