The town fire marshal is warning that a popular brand of residential smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors is having a major recall of the safety devices, recalling 1.3 million units which the firm has sold in the United States and Canada. According to Fire Marshal Bill Halstead, on September 11 the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that more than 1 million alarms intended to alert people to smoke and carbon monoxide in their homes are being recalled because of a defect which could cause the devices to fail. The Kidde brand smoke alarms and combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms are hard-wired devices and can fail after a power outage, according to CPSC. About 1.2 million were sold in the US and about 112,000 units were sold in Canada.
Following a brief update to the Board of Selectmen by the Town’s Pension Committee and representatives from Westport Resources, which administers the fund, Finance Director Robert Tait pronounced the local program to be “in good health.” The highpoint of the September 15 presentation was the news that after several years of falling substantially below the earnings benchmark, the fund has rebounded and yielded a 14 percent return for the 2014–15 fiscal year, Mr Tait explained following the meeting. At the same time, he noted that the benchmark for the current fiscal year is 16 percent.
A one-vehicle accident early on the morning of Saturday, September 13, caused a more than three-hour power outage, which affected about 400 Connecticut Light & Power Company electric customers in the Botsford area. Police said an 18-year female from Middlebury was driving a 2000 Toyota 4-Runner SUV southward on Toddy Hill Road, just south of its intersection with Settlers Lane, at about 2 am when she was rounding a curve but lost control of the SUV and drove off the right road shoulder onto some turf. The SUV struck some rocks and drove across a driveway at 118 Toddy Hill Road, after which it struck an embankment and went airborne, striking a utility pole. The utility pole was located on the west side of Toddy Hill Road, across that street from the driveway entrance to Masonicare Health Center. The pole broke into three segments, resulting in utility lines falling onto the ground and being draped across the roadway. The heavily damaged SUV came to rest on its roof on the roadway about 200 feet from its point of impact with the pole.
On Thursday, December 11, a service of mourning and loving remembrance for all who have fallen victim to the ongoing epidemic of gun violence will take place at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The Newtown Foundation plans to bring families of victims and survivors of gun violence from Newtown and around the country to the vigil at the Cathedral. In order to transport families to Washington, D.C., however, funding is needed.
Kelly Paredes is settling not only into her new position as program manager of Ben’s Lighthouse, but resettling into the community she once called home, graduating from Newtown High School in 1998. Along with her husband, Hernando, and 19-month-old son, Oliver, Ms Paredes moved back to Newtown during the Labor Day weekend, and started her new job on Tuesday, September 2. Named for Ben Wheeler, one of the 20 first grade children killed on 12/14, Ben’s Lighthouse was founded by teachers, social workers, clergy, counselors, parents, and students invested in helping youth deal with post-12/14 difficulties.
Jen and Mike Guman of 38 Main Street, welcomed town officials and residents onto their property for the kickoff to the Memorial Sdewalk Project. The start of construction will be a portion of sidewalk running from the corner of Main Street as far as 3 Church Hill Road, where a section of sidewalk already exists.Newtown Director of Planning and Land Use George Benson said that the first phase of construction would begin in early October. Completion should be within six months, added Rob Sibley, deputy director of Planning and Land Use.
During its regular meeting September 8, the Board of Finance approved contributing $47,185 the school district compiled from dozens of smaller line item surpluses in the 2013-14 budget, to a nonlapsing account earmarked for anticipated security-related “building hardening” expenses. The distribution will act as matching funds to qualify the district for a larger security grant. This new account, which was recently authorized through legislation, will replace a capital nonrecurring account, and will permit the school district to occasionally seek opportunities to transfer similar budget surpluses in the future.
Even Mother Nature joined the Newtown Forest Association’s (NFA) 90th anniversary Sunset Wine Tasting celebration Saturday, September 6. Lightning cut the darkened sky, driving many guests home. Sudden rain pushed others indoors. But moods of remaining guests remained bright. Although initially worried about the weather, NFA Treasurer Guy Peterson, a little damp, but smiling, said, “We had three wonderful hours.”A glance outdoors from the top of Holcombe Hill Wildlife Preserve — Newtown’s highest point — offered a panoramic view of a storming sky. On the hilltop facing heavy rain clouds and waiting for an-other streak of lightning was Connie Widmann. She noted the earlier “great turnout,” and said the evening was a “great event.” Soon joining Ms Widmann to enjoy the stormy view was NFA Secretary Aaron Coopersmith. The two stood near a gazebo on the lawn where several residents ducked out of the weather, but continued their own small celebration. Indoors in a small gallery filled with NFA photos and maps above the garage at the former Josephine Holcombe residence, Evelyn Watts turned her back to the weather and received a sample of wine from server Amy Murphy. With Ms Murphy behind the small wine bar was Isabelle Duval. The buildings at the Holcombe Hill Preserve were once home to Josephine Holcombe, and now belong to the NFA. The site is used as NFA headquarters and is occupied by a caretaker. Although many guests promptly headed downhill shortly after 7 pm to the parking area, others huddled indoors, wine glasses in hand.