The state Labor Department threw some cold water Thursday on Connecticut’s optimistic job outlook. The department not only reported a 6,000-job decline in August, but scaled back the 11,500-job gain it announced in July by more than 16 percent. Despite the job losses, Connecticut’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in August at 8.1 percent. That’s because the number of people actively seeking employment also fell last month.
Two members of a panel charged with overseeing the town's new animal control facility spent most of their presentation to the Board of Selectmen September 16 detailing design and construction issues that are affecting the facility's operation nearly a year after it officially opened. Adria Henderson and Robin Olson, who lead the seven member Animal Control Advisory Board, appeared to present their annual report which is required as part of the board's charge. In introducing the pair, First Selectman Pat Llodra said the panel was appointed to be both a support system and “policy bridge” between the animal control center and the town. The group is also charged with developing and maintaining policies and best practices, the first selectman said. Ms Henderson and Ms Olson had both good news and bad news for the selectmen this week.
The trial of former Newtown resident John Heath, 70, who is accused of murdering his wife Elizabeth, 32, in 1984, is scheduled to start on Wednesday, September 25, in state Superior Court in Danbury. The starting date of the trial is subject to delay, if circumstances warrant. The state alleges that Mr Heath of Bridgewater murdered his wife in April 1984, and then hid her body, which was wrapped in bedding, in a container located beneath the floor of a barn near the home where they then lived at 89 Poverty Hollow Road in Newtown. Ms Heath’s remains were discovered in April 2010 when the Poverty Hollow Road property’s current owners were renovating the barn and uncovered her skeleton. Newtown police arrested Mr Heath on a warrant in April 2012, after which he pleaded not guilty to the murder charge. Since his arrest, Mr Heath has been held on $1 million bail on the murder charge at the Bridgeport Correctional Center.
A head-on collision involving a tractor-trailer truck and a compact station wagon early on the morning of Thursday, September 19, closed down a section of Berkshire Road near the Newtown-Monroe border for more than three hours. Police said motorist Joseph Sullo, 23, of Oxford was driving a 1998 Ford Escort station wagon eastward on Berkshire Road, near its intersection with Great Quarter Road, at about 4:47 am, when the Ford crossed over into the westbound lane and collided head-on with a westbound tractor-trailer truck driven by Stanley Swintlicki, 64, of Shelton. Police, firefighters, ambulance corps members and an on-call paramedic all responded to the scene.
He joked that he has been walking since he was a year old, but Stamford resident Al Forte’s most recent journey began August 31, at Old North Church in Boston, and will end at Ground Zero in New York City near the end of September.
Both a welcoming and a farewell, Newtown Police Department had a ceremony scheduled for Thursday, September 19, to pay tribute to the late K-9 officer Baro. The ceremony’s second purpose was to officially welcome and introduce to the community the department’s new K-9 officer, a 2-year-old German shepherd named St Michael. More than 30 K-9 units from around the state were expected to participate in the ceremony, as were Newtown K-9 Handler Officer Felicia Figol, Officer Matthew Hayes, and the Newtown Honor Guard.
Newtown police this week continued their probe into the whereabouts of Robert Hoagland, 50, of Glen Road in Sandy Hook, who disappeared from his property on Sunday, July 28. “He is still missing and we are actively following up leads,” Newtown Police Detective Lieutenant Richard Robinson said on the morning of Thursday, September 19. On Tuesday, police probed two reported sightings of Mr Hoagland that day near the Rhode Island-Connecticut border. Also this week, The Probate Court of Northern Fairfield County has scheduled an October 8 hearing on an “application for the appointment of a trustee when a person has disappeared” in connection with Mr Hoagland’s disappearance. Attorney James Gaston, who represents Mr Hoagland’s relatives, explained that in such a situation a person, serving as a trustee, is bonded and appointed by the court to oversee the assets of the missing individual in connection with the support of minor children and the spouse.
First Selectman Pat Llodra is seeking residents to fill several opening on local appointed boards and commissions. In some cases the appointments are required to be affiliated with a specific political party, while in other cases unaffiliated voters are encouraged to consider serving. Openings are available on Hattertown Historic District, Charter Communications Advisory Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Conservation Commission, Inland Wetlands Commission, Sustainable Energy Commission, C.H. Booth Library Board of Trustees, and Commission on Aging.
In a week in which another mass shooting took place, and in a year in which gun control has fallen off Congress’ radar, gun control activists again came to Capitol Hill to lobby unyielding politicians. About 50 activists from Connecticut, many from Newtown Action Alliance, are in Washington, D.C., trying to revive a bill that would expand federal background checks of gun buyers — and to mark the nine-month anniversary of the slaying of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. They have been joined by residents of other states that have been victim to mass slaughter. Carlos Soto, brother of Vicky Soto, who was one of the teachers killed at Sandy Hook School, has been to Washington six times since the Newtown shootings, and many of the other activists in Washington this week have also made multiple trips.
Starbucks says guns are no longer welcome in its cafes, though it is stopping short of an outright ban on firearms. The fine line that the retailer is walking to address the concerns of both gun rights and gun control advocates reflects how heated the issue has become, particularly in light of recent mass shootings. Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz said on Tuesday, September 17, that the company has decided to ask customers to no longer bring firearms into stores or outdoor seating areas unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel. The decision followed a number of "Starbucks Appreciation Days," which the CEO said have mischaracterized the company's stance on the gun debate and have made customers uncomfortable.