The charitable response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, was immediate, worldwide and exceptionally generous. But challenges emerged for both newly established and existing organizations as they struggled to manage the volume of donations, identify the needs of the community and coordinate with other organizations. On July 1, Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen and state Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein released a report on the overwhelming charitable response that evaluates information provided voluntarily by organizations engaged in fundraising related to the tragedy, provides a quantitative analysis of survey responses.
A joint report released July 1 by the state regarding money raised and distributed following 12/14 showed organizations reporting unspent funds were among the largest fundraisers. Each of the top ten fundraisers reported having some unspent funds. Of the approximately $23 million cumulatively raised by these ten fundraisers, approximately $10 million, or approximately 45 percent, remains unspent. Most of the largest fundraisers report that they intend to use their funds for a variety of purposes, such as mental health counseling and youth programs.
Debbie Leidlein announced at the school board’s meeting on Monday, June 30, that it would be her final meeting as the board’s chair. “I’ve had some experiences in my personal life recently that have made it difficult for me to focus 100 percent of my attention to the Board of Education and to being the chair of the Board of Education,” Ms Leidlein announced. “And so, after tonight’s meeting, I will be stepping down as chair at the Board of Education.” Ms Leidlein said the decision was made with deep regret.
Following an executive session on Monday, June 30, the Board of Education announced the unanimous selection of James Ross as Newtown Middle School’s new assistant principal. Mr Ross, who has been teaching seventh and eighth grade math at NMS since 2008, was welcomed by school board Chair Debbie Leidlein and applause from the audience after the unanimous vote. CABE Student Leadership Award winners, the Newtown High School Odyssey of the Mind team and General Electric team member Joni Capoccitti were also honored.
Approximately 100 new laws are poised to take effect in the State of Connecticut today. The new collection includes a temporary moratorium on the storage and disposal of fracking waste, new requirements and Superior Court procedures related to the appointment of guardians ad litem and counsel for minors “in family relations and other matters,” and new limits on information concerning probation officers under the Freedom of Information Act. In addition, the revised state budget takes effect today.
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.
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.