Tracy Heim, a Newtown resident and a St Rose of Lima School parent, appeared before the Connecticut Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee on March 13.She was there, she said, on behalf of her three children, St Rose of Lima School Principal Mary Maloney, and all of the staff and parents of St Rose.“I appreciate this opportunity to offer my comments in support of amending Section 9 of Bill 29,” Ms Heim said before the committee in Hartford. “We applaud Governor [Dannel P. Malloy] and the General Assembly for their hard work in 2013 on the school security grant program, and Section 84 Public Act 13-3. Going forward we are respectfully requesting on behalf of all the Catholic schools in Connecticut that the law be amended to allow schools to access grants for school safety and upgraded security measures.” Ms Heim and Mrs Maloney explained this week that they are asking for the language of the bill to include nonpublic schools, to allow access to grants for all schools in Connecticut.
It may have been one of the shortest budget public hearings the Legislative Council has hosted, but its four participants brought the same degree of passion and advocacy for the school district budget proposal as dozens have in previous years. The four residents, plus Interim Superintendent John Reed, spent a total of about ten minutes Wednesday evening relating their support for the district’s spending plan, and calling for the council to move the budget request to referendum with no further reductions. Council members will be considering a spending plan that, according to town Finance Director Robert Tait, provides $111,066,204 to cover town and school services, along with the annual cost for debt service on bonding, which is carried in the Board of Selectmen budget.
From prospective tenants to memorial bench locations, Fairfield Hills Authority members this week discussed a grab bag of topics. FHA Chair Thomas Connors first noted the several parties interested in reusing the Plymouth Hall building. “There has been a significant amount of activity,” he said Monday, March 24. While the interest in reusing a campus facility “is a good thing,” he added that there is “nothing on the table” as far as a lease agreement for the space. “But, there are a lot of people looking,” he said. The meeting also covered the possibility of a viability study for the building, continued the discussion of 12/14 memorial benches being placed on the campus, the addition of an online calendar to FHA's website, and the possibility of creating a liasion between FHA and one of the town's newest commissions.
Barry Svigals, a principal at Svigals + Partners, says he has derived much inspiration for conceptual designs of the new Sandy Hook Elementary School from the natural environment of its site, as well as from many ideas revealed during meetings he and his team have arranged with parents, school staffers, leaders, and other community members. Mr Svigals and colleagues Jay Brotman and Elena Konefal appeared before Newtown’s Public Building and Site Commission March 25, essentially doing a rerun of a February presentation to the local Board of Education and members of the Public Building & Site Commission showcasing developing schematic concepts of the soon-to-be-built facility.
Now that the long, cold winter of 2014 is coming to an end and spring weather is emerging, motorists are driving more. That increase in traffic means that town police are stepping up their motor vehicle enforcement to address the added traffic volume on local roads. The 45-member police department has a specialized traffic enforcement unit that uses a motorcycle and an unmarked white Dodge Charger sedan for traffic enforcement duty. The normal complement of the traffic unit is two people, but it is now staffed with one person because the other member recently was promoted to the rank of sergeant. Police Chief Michael Kehoe said March 18 that he expects to assign another officer to the traffic unit.
The Solarize Newtown initiative was a success, said Sustainable Energy Commission chairman Kathy Quinn.The program, a town and state sponsored initiative aimed to increase residential solar energy use, came to a close in February, but not before doubling the number of households using solar power. In the last year, 42 residents signed contracts that will result in the installation of new solar systems (370 kW’s of new solar), more than doubling the prior figure of 39 residential installations (240 kW’s of power), as stated in a recent release.“We achieved our goal,” said Ms Quinn.With these new installations completed, total solar systems in Newtown will be approximately 1.2 megawatts...
First Selectman Pat Llodra has signed on to letters that were sent March 20 to Governor Dannel Malloy and Nicholas E. Neeieyl, executive secretary of the CT Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) opposing a moratorium on a tree trimming program put in place following a a series of devastating storms in 2011 and 2012. Mrs Llodra joined colleagues whose communities are members of the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials (HVCEO) signing on to a statement recognizing that PURA has requested tree trimming efforts by the Connecticut Light & Power Company (CL&P) be scaled back. CL&P has been directed to curtail what is described as "enhanced" tree trimming programs, including removal of entire trees. Mrs Llodra told The Newtown Bee that she has received no complaints from the public concerning tree trimming.
Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) Commissioner Dora B. Schriro announced on Monday the restoration of 24/7 trooper coverage at all State Police barracks across the state. Previously, as part of the recent consolidated dispatch project, some troops were closed after normal business hours. “After careful review, I have determined that our State Police barracks need to be open and accessible to the public 24/7,” said Commissioner Schriro. “I have directed Eastern District Major Michael Darcy and Western District Major William Podgorski to implement this plan, effective immediately.”
With votes scheduled Wednesday, Connecticut is poised to become the first state to adopt a $10.10 minimum wage, delivering on an election-year priority of Gov Dannel P. Malloy. The Democratic leaders of the Senate and House plan final votes Wednesday, first in the Senate and immediately following in the House, spokesmen for the two Democratic majority caucuses said Monday. Legislation increasing the $8.70 state minimum to $10.10 by January 2017 was sent to the Senate floor Monday by the Appropriations Committee, the final hurdle before a floor vote. Under legislative rules, the Republican minority could delay a vote in the House until next week, but House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. (R-Norwalk) said he sees nothing to be gained by a one-week delay. “What’s the point?” Cafero said.
Girl Scout Troop 50166 and the Reed Intermediate School PTA has launched Sheets From Home: Sheets Drive 2014. The groups are collecting new sheets for children who are in hospitals for a lengthy period of time. Their hope is to bring a smile to their faces while they undergo some tough health situations. Donated sheets must be new. The public is invited to help the groups achieve their school goal of 100 sheet sets. Collection bins have been set up near the security desk in the main lobby of the school, at 3 Trades Lane, and will remain in place until April 4.