Three members of Newtown Underwater Search and Rescue (NUSAR) became certified in ice diving on Easter weekend. On April 4, the NUSAR members stepped into the frigid, and in places ice-covered water at Eickler’s Cove Marina with instructor Kevin Brodley from Safety First Divers. By the end of the session Dr Mike Cassetta, Mark Frazen and Lee Wassen had achieved the next level of certification they set out for.
The Animal Center announced April 1 a separation from the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, a joint effort of The Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation and the local animal rescue organization. As recently as October 2014, The Animal Center President Monica Roberto, Ms Verna, and Ms Hubbard walked the property and discussed with The Bee the mutual vision of a refuge for animals awaiting adoption, a learning center, a community garden, and a welcoming property providing outdoor access to trails and places of quiet contemplation.
The Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) has scheduled a public hearing for later this month on a developer’s application to construct a 74-unit housing complex on Washington Avenue in Sandy Hook Center. At a March 30 meeting, IWC members agreed to hold a hearing on the proposal known as The River Walk at Sandy Hook Village at 7:30 pm, on Wednesday, April 22, at Newtown Municipal Center. Local developer/builder Michael Burton is seeking a wetlands/watercourses protection permit for the project from the IWC. Also, the applicant’s request for sanitary sewer service for the proposed housing complex is slated for a Water & Sewer Authority (WSA) public hearing for 7 pm, on Thursday, April 9, at the sewage treatment plant office building at 24 Commerce Road.
Following the conclusion of an April 1 public hearing, Water & Sewer Authority (WSA) members unanimously rejected a Trumbull developer’s controversial request for sanitary sewer service for 79 Church Hill Road. That 35-acre site, near the Exit 10 interchange of Interstate 84, is where the developer has proposed the construction of a large multifamily complex, with an affordable housing component. WSA members rejected applicant 79 Church Hill Road, LLC’s request to expand the sewer service district so that all 35 acres of the site are in the district, not just the three acres nearest Church Hill Road, as is now the case. Also, the WSA turned down the developer’s request that 43,750 gallons, or alternately 43,845 gallons, of daily wastewater treatment capacity be reserved at the sewage treatment plant for wastewater from the proposed complex.
The chief elected official of the borough told Police Commission members March 24 that although the commission, acting as the local traffic authority, in the past had decided to install broad speed bumps, known as speed tables, on Queen Street, the commission had not notified the the Borough Board of Burgesses of those plans. Borough Warden James Gaston, Sr, who heads the Board of Burgesses, told Police Commission members that the burgesses became upset because the speed tables’ presence resulted in some motorists using nearby streets to avoid the devices. The presence of speed tables on Queen Street has placed the burgesses in a difficult position, Mr Gaston told Police Commission members. Within a quarter-mile section of Queen Street there are several dozen signs posted, he said. Queen Street is a scenic area which now has several dozen signs, he said. “It was done without intergovernmental collaboration,” Mr Gaston said of the speed table installation project.
With kindergarten registrations happening locally in the coming weeks, Town Clerk Debbie Halstead is reminding parents that if they resided in Newtown at the birth of their child they do not have to go to the hospital or town where the child was delivered to obtain a required birth certificate for registration.
Sixty-four years ago, former Fairfield Hills worker Joe Howard was at his regular post on the second floor of Shelton House. His job was to monitor the facility’s newly hired student nurses as they arrived for their first day of work. He remembers it as though it were yesterday. “On March 27, 1951, I opened the door for a student nurse named Audrey Avery,” he told The Newtown Bee. “I turned to my co-worker and said, ‘That’s the girl I’m going to marry.’ He said, ‘Joe, you’re crazy.’” But it ended up being one of those storied cases of love at first sight.
While local registrars withheld comment on the matter, Democratic Registrar LeReine Frampton said she and her Republican colleague JoAnne Albanesi were looking forward to reviewing the full detail of what she described as a “compromise bill” that was voted out of the Legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee on March 31. According to a release, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill joined the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut in praising the committee’s passage of Senate Bill No. 1051, An Act Strengthening Connecticut Elections. By a vote of 13-2, the GAE committee approved a bill that will increase accountability and professionalism among Connecticut’s registrars of voters who are primarily charged with the responsibility of administering elections in Connecticut.
When Newtown’s Team 26 cycling leader Monte Frank paraphrased the postal carrier’s credo ahead of the cycling group’s departure to Washington, DC, Saturday, March 28: “Neither snow, nor rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” he forgot to mention the cold. Despite bone-chilling temperatures that accompanied the riders on much of their four-day, 400-mile trek, Mr Frank said their cause and the warm greetings enjoyed at virtually every stop along the way helped keep them going.
Despite a brief and unsuccessful attempt to eliminate the school district’s requested 0.34 percent budget increase, the Legislative Council unanimously voted to send a budget plan to referendum representing the first tax rate decrease in memory. On April 1, the council endorsed a 2015-16 budget proposal of $111,730,513, representing a 0.6 percent spending increase over the current year. If approved as endorsed by the council in an April 28 referendum, the new spending plan would represent a net reduction in taxation of 0.71 percent, with a new tax rate of 33.07 mills, about a one-third of a mill reduction from the current rate of 33.31.