With the help of a hydraulic lift, members of Sound Solar Systems LLC fitted solar panels in place on the Parks & Recreation Department garage on Trades Lane Tuesday morning. The new solar system will cover “virtually the entire roof,” front and back, said Public Works Director Fred Hurley. Via a renewable energy program through the state and utility companies, and at no cost to the town, the municipal building is being fitted with solar panels.
Similar solar installs already include a system at Newtown Middle School, which is less visible to the public; and another system at Reed Intermediate School, which faces south, toward Wasserman Way. Another smaller install will take place at The Brian J. Silverlieb Animal Care and Control Center, just down hill from Reed and the Parks & Rec garage.
An acute psychiatric hospital at Fairfield Hills would treat bipolar disorder and people suffering from psychosis. “Those are patients we treat,” said Richard Kresch, MD, and CEO of HealthVest. He spoke with The Newtown Bee this week, after making a preliminary proposal to the Fairfield Hills Authority a week earlier. Dr Kresch spoke with the authority’s members about his idea for a roughly 100–125 bed, 70,000-square-foot behavioral health care hospital. This week he said the type of hospital he is considering for Newtown treats patients “in acute crisis — those suicidal or unable to care for themselves,” or where “there is an emergency component.” HealthVest is “an innovative behavioral healthcare firm that has redefined the psychiatric hospital space,” according to the website USHealthVest.com, which offers details about the Greenwich-based for-profit that has facilities operating in several states. “We have developed a number of new hospitals before — start-ups in areas in need, and we do this with our own funding,” Dr Kresch said this week. The hospitals are taxpayers, and could employ up to 200 staff.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy has proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the State of Connecticut. And on October 1, Newtown Police Lieutenant Christopher Vanghele told The Newtown Bee he was days away from starting a “train the trainer” program so the local department can implement a Lethality Assessment Program (LAP). The program has been implemented among a growing number of local police agencies since it was introduced through the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) in 2012. That same day, Gov Malloy announced the Connecticut State Police will be adopting LAP to keep victims of domestic violence safe by counseling and advocacy and support services.
On September 30, Town Attorney David Grogins went before the Charter Revision Commission requesting the panel simplify what he called the currently mandated and “elaborate procedure to acquire or dispose of town-owned property.” He suggested commissioners consider language in other town charters that is effective but much less complicated. Mr Grogins said the idea of such a complex process may have been more justified at the local level before the state initiated a recent law requiring all municipalities to conduct a “widely advertised public hearing to protect from [the] secret disposition” of town and city properties in so-called “sweetheart deals." The town attorney suggested Newtown charter commissioners begin by looking at Ridgefield’s process for handling town land sales.
Stepping back for a better view of the new Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Association (NVAA) garage at Fairfield Hills, Board of Trustees President Robert Grossman, MD, watched contractors finish floors in the entryway. “Title that the finishing touches,” he said. Construction on the new, privately funded, $4.5 million project with a six-bay garage, staff quarters, conference and classrooms, and more, is finished. Although Dr Grossman and NVAA Treasurer Bruce Herring were still waiting Wednesday, October 1, for the certificate of occupancy, grand opening ceremonies have been set for Saturday and Sunday, October 18 and 19, at the new site for NVAA’s headquarters: 6 Washington Square. The driveway for the new location is off Wasserman Way, opposite Reed Intermediate School. Town officials and staff from Danbury Hospital, Masonicare, and Maplewood are invited to the facility on Saturday, October 18, from 2 to 4 pm. The following day will host a pair of receptions: first responders are invited to visit from 2 to 4 pm, and the public is invited for 4 to 6 pm, for walk-throughs and barbecue celebration.
Newtown Veterinary Specialists (NVS) has donated specially designed pet oxygen masks to Fairfield County fire companies to help firefighters save the lives of cats and dogs rescued from burning buildings. Pet oxygen masks were donated to Wilton Fire Department in May, and more recently to Hawleyville Fire Company, Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company, and Newtown Hook & Ladder. Each fire company received a set of three masks in sizes small, medium, and large specially made to fit the faces of animals, from large breed dogs to small cats.
Following a day that brought back fears for many in the community, Superintendent of Schools Joseph Erardi, Jr, held an evening meeting at Newtown High School for local residents on Wednesday, October 1. Dr Erardi was joined by school administrators, members of the Board of Education, and Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe. Dr Erardi told those assembled that there would be enhanced security at the school for some time, but reiterated it is “100 percent safe to attend school tomorrow on time at Sandy Hook.”
At least five law enforcement agencies are investigating a telephoned bomb threat to Sandy Hook Elementary School at 375 Fan Hill Road, which was received on the morning of Wednesday, October 1. The incident amounts to a terroristic act” heavily punishable by federal criminal law, according to a spokesman for Monroe Police Department. Monroe Police Lieutenant Brian McCauley said October 2 that Monroe police are being aided by Newtown police, state police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the US Attorney’s Office for Connecticut in the probe into the threat received at the school at about 9:39 am on October 1.