To Newtowners, it’s snow, sleet, and slush. But to local officials and Highway Department crews slogging through it with plows, sand, and salt, these passing winter fronts are classified as “events.” So with six winter season events under their belt, the Board of Selectmen received a report from the Highway Department through First Selectman Pat Llodra January 5, detailing where the winter storm budget and related supplies of materials stand as Newtown moves into the most storm-prone period of midwinter.
Newtown’s Charter Revision Commission was still busily working through the holidays and into the New Year, but most of the commissioners’ efforts were focused in subcommittees, according to Chairman Jeff Capeci. “We’ve got a lot of irons in the fire, but I’m hoping by about a month from now we can get closure on the committee work and get moving on our main charge,” he told The Newtown Bee January 7. “”We’ve actually been doing a lot of work at the committee levels.” One committee is working on refining and modifying charter language related to appointed boards and commissions. Another group is working on reorganizing the physical layout of the document.
Visible from Old Castle Drive is a panoramic view looking down on the flagpole, church steeples. and rooflines along Main Street. Sitting just off the curb and facing this iconic scene is a small bench perched at the top of a rise that was once a sweeping meadow, but in more recent years has become overgrown and filled with invasives. Newtown Forest Association, which owns the property, has begun a large reclamation project to restore the meadows and fruit tree orchard, trails, and natural beauty once found there.
Town officials this week again tackled the thorny issue of traffic problems at the flagpole intersection, the five-legged intersection in the town center that holds the 100-foot-tall landmark flagpole where Main Street, Church Hill Road, and West Street meet. The flagpole, which is not shielded by barriers, stands squarely in the intersection. The massive pole holds several round yellow-and-black traffic signs, informing motorists to “Go Right” around the pole while negotiating the intersection, which has a high accident rate. Long a historic focal point and an enduring symbol of the town, public discussion of traffic safety at the flagpole occasionally resurfaces at public meetings.
The Board of Selectmen unanimously agreed January 5 to recommend to the Legislative Council that the 36 Yogananda Street residence once occupied by Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza be demolished. The residence was also the site where Lanza murdered his mother, Nancy, before traveling to the local elementary school and perpetrating one of the worst school shootings in US history. Residents have offered different to First Selectman Pat Llodra concerning the property and its dwelling, which is now town-owned land. Funds from a special insurance fund set up after 12/14 will more than cover the demolition costs.
There currently is no receptacle available in the police station lobby at 3 Main Street for the proper disposal of unwanted prescription drugs, including expired drugs and prescription drug packaging. Newtown police ask that residents who want to properly dispose of such substances do so at a neighboring police station.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, presented a $72,399,186, proposed operating budget, a 1.48 percent increase over this year’s budget, to the Board of Education on Tuesday, January 6.
The meeting was the first of multiple budget sessions for the school board to look over the proposed superintendent’s budget, deliberate it, and make possible changes. The budget is set for adoption by the board during a planned February 5 meeting.
Dr Erardi explained that the proposed operating budget was the culmination of dozens of meetings and a team effort.
The Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association (NEOA) has scheduled a presentation on Thursday, January 8, at 7 pm, at Newtown Middle School, 11 Queen Street, for middle school and high school parents from Newtown. The event will be held in the school’s auditorium. Newtown Public Schools, the Newtown Police Department, and the Newtown Prevention Council have partnered with the NEOA to bring parents the workshop on teen substance abuse.