On Wednesday, May 20, the Newtown VFW Post 308 inducted new officers for the 2015-16 term. Walter Dolan became the new post commander. Mr Dolan served in the US Army in the Military Police Corps, and was overseas during Desert Storm. At the Newtown VFW, he has served as post junior vice commandant and adjutant. Mr Dolan is taking over from James Rebman, who served as post commander for the past three years.
A sampling of Newtown’s population gathered on the grounds of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 308 on Monday morning, May 25, to honor the memories of service men and women who have died, as well as to recognize the service of current troops. In the crowd was a number of veterans from earlier wars including World War II, Korea and Vietnam, as well as more recent efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In observance of Memorial Day, all United States and state flags should be lowered on Memorial Day Monday, May 25. In accordance with US Flag code, flags should be lowered from sunrise until noon on the day that Americans honor those who have served and those who continue to serve in the Armed Forces. President Obama and Governor Malloy each issued their annual Memorial Day proclamations this week.
Ferris Acres Creamery, a family-operated ice cream stand that opened for business at 144 Sugar Street in 2004, has become a popular destination for both residents and out-of-towners, seeking to enjoy the pleasures of ice cream amid the bucolic setting of a working dairy farm. The creamery has become so popular that, at times, the site becomes overcrowded, attracting dozens of vehicles, many more vehicles than the vehicular capacity of its parking lot.
Honoring veterans both living and deceased was a small group of residents, setting out flags to surround the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, a/k/a the War Memorial, on Main Street Friday, May 22, in time for the Memorial Day weekend. Among the efforts that the Newtown Woman’s Club GFWC makes on behalf of veterans during the year, member Millie Anderson said, “Our veterans do a lot for us.” Gathering on the small lawn surrounding the monument at the intersection of Hannover Road and Main, the group set flags in the ground for the fifth year. Newtown’s VFW Post 308 has donated the flags for the past three years, said public issues representative Marion Thompson. The small, decorative flags stay out until Flag Day in June. Working steadily on a breezy and
NOTE: This is an extended version of a story published on May 19, with comments from Kathy Ballwig Holick. || “Dancing Traffic Agent” Kathy Ballwig Holick said she tried to convey everything was fine after social networks exploded with negative posts from friends, followers, and fans — even some comparing Newtown to the fictional community in "Footloose," where dancing is illegal. This was after a Newtown Police Department supervisor instructed her to stop her routine following one particularly irate complaint alleging her dance moves distracted another passing driver while children were crossing the street at Ms Holick’s Hawley School post May 8. But that police official said Ms Holick is being allowed to “bop and weave” again, albeit with a few minor modifications.
After failing to reach an acceptable settlement with the owner of a private residential road adjacent to Sandy Hook Elementary School, the town has sought and received court authorization to take an underground right of way to stretch new gas utility pipes to the school site by eminent domain. According to Columbia University Law School, “Traditionally the power of eminent domain has been exercised for the construction of large public projects, but its use is beginning to be broadened to projects involving not ‘public use’ but ‘public benefit.’” This latest action, which was revealed during action by the Board of Selectmen on May 18, is the second time the use of eminent domain has been proposed related to the new school project.
Jeremy Richman introduced himself to the Board of Education during its meeting on Tuesday, May 19, before he explained an interest in a collaboration between The Avielle Foundation and the school district.
Dr Richman then explained that as the parents of Avielle Richman, one of the victims at Sandy Hook School on 12/14, he and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, began the foundation to stop violent events and to answer why such events occur.
“Playing to our strengths as scientists, we established The Avielle Foundation,” Dr Richman said, “geared to prevent violence through research, research of the brain, and community education and engagement. Specifically, we wanted to bridge the biochemical sciences and the behavioral sciences to understand violence, aggression, and compassion.”
Selectmen peppered a principal developer of a planned new, state of the art mental health recovery hospital being eyed for Fairfield Hills, with questions about security, and the potential for patients’ comings and goings to interfere with recreational activities on the town-owned campus. On May 18, Richard Kresch, MD, CEO of the growing hospital syndicate, appeared before the Board of Selectmen to pitch an idea for opening Connecticut’s first US HealthVest behavioral health care venture in the area of Norwalk Hall.
It was not lost on local officials that in a 20-year window, Newtown’s pension investments have met a benchmark goal set by local policies. It was the last five years that have prompted a call for hiring a pension consultant. After meeting with Finance Director Robert Tait and Pension Committee Chairman Thomas Murtha on May 18, the Board of Selectmen unanimously agreed to hire a consultant that Mr Tait said would focus on several key tasks, including analyzing the pension fund; its mix of investments; the town’s pension policy; and the current benchmark of performance tied to that policy. The finance director told The Newtown Bee following the meeting that one of the most important things a consultant would determine is whether that current investment performance benchmark is appropriate.