With a gentle breeze pushing back her hair and early spring sunlight throwing shadows across a picnic area at Eichler’s Cove Marina, Deborah Denzel walked to the railing. Down a short slope was a small inlet on Lake Zoar where last week Parks and Recreation crews put in roughly 60-plus docks for the season. As of May 15, renters can put their boats in. Also as of that time, the park wardens and night security guards will staff the facility. The marina provides spaces for boats, jet skis, and a dry dock for canoes and kayaks.
As the May 15 application deadline approaches, officials have announced that about a quarter of Newtown's approximately 3,500 seniors have already qualified for an average 41 percent credit through one of the state's most generous localized senior tax relief programs.
Finance Director Robert Tait reported to the Legislative Council May 8, that in an unofficial audit of 25 applicants for the next two-year round of income-determined and tiered credits, the average discount being credited is 41 percent. That percentage is close to the same average discount seniors received in the 2014-15 fiscal cycle.
Tax Collector Carol Mahoney since confirmed that as of May 11, 870 seniors have applied.
Following more than a year of negotiations, the town and the Newtown Police Union, Local 3153, Council 15, of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) have reached a three-year labor contact, specifying the terms of employment for 43 of the 45 sworn officers at the police department. Since last July 1, police have been working without a contract because the previous agreement expired last June 30. Police Union President Scott Ruszczyk told Police Commission members at a May 5 session that the labor pact has been approved by the union and the town. The Board of Selectman unanimously endorsed the pact at a May 4 meeting. Police union members approved the labor agreement in late April.
Charter Revision Commission Chairman Jeff Capeci said after about 45 minutes of discussion April 30, commissioners narrowly voted down a proposal to clarify a 4-3 split designating specific political minority representation on the town’s Board of Education. Commissioners, with only Eric Paradis dissenting, then voted to recommend striking one sentence from the proposed charter revision they agreed clarified “bare minority” representation locally would mirror what is outlined in state statutes. It was previously determined the state statute stipulates a 5-2 party split constitutes a majority.
A 104-page court affidavit, which serves as the basis for the arrests of eight men who have been charged with federal drug offenses, provides information on the drug trafficking investigation known as Operation Juice Box. Among those men are former Newtown Police Sergeant Steven Santucci and Newtown dispatcher Jason Chickos. “The investigation began with an anonymous letter that described the steroid manufacture and distribution of a drug trafficking organization, the head of which was Newtown Police Department Sergeant Steven Santucci, 38, of Waterbury.
Following a presentation to the Board of Selectmen on Monday, May 4, First Selectman Pat Llodra said town Grants Coordinator Christal Preszler’s reporting showed that the local part-time Planning Department staffer has a good grasp on how the town hopes to advance both its applications for and use of nonlocal funding sources for development projects. Mrs Llodra said the latest grant report is evidence that Newtown is beginning to reap benefits following a 2014 restructuring by selectmen, who decided to divide duties formerly handled exclusively by former Community and Economic Development director Elizabeth Stocker.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, and the Board of Education honored 12 teachers at the start of the school board’s meeting on Tuesday, May 5, with the district’s 2014-15 Profiles in Professionalism Award.
This is the first year the award honors local educators, school personnel, and parents.
“It’s an opportunity this evening that the school board has a chance to witness 12 outstanding employees for the town Board of Education,” said Dr Erardi before he named each of the 12 honorees alphabetically. “And I am absolutely certain when I say the 12 employees represent so many others that could be standing with them this evening.”
A Wallingford man will not serve prison time for making harassing calls to Newtown schools claiming 12/14 was a hoax. Thirty-year-old Timothy Rogalski of Wallingford received a suspended sentence Friday in Bridgeport Superior Court and was ordered to have no further contact with the schools.
It appears, at least for this year, state labor unions will not agree to help some of the agencies their own members depend on for support when they are in times of crisis. First Selectman Pat Llodra told the Legislative Council May 6 that a failure to either raise thresholds triggering prevailing wage standards for two key town projects or to waive the standard for certain nonprofits like Newtown Hook & Ladder and the Parent Connection, likely means both agencies will face significantly higher building costs as each develops new headquarters to better serve and protect the community.
Fire Marshal Bill Halstead said May 6 he is investigating the cause of an accidental fire that destroyed a cape-style house at 4 Aunt Park Lane in Hattertown early on the morning of Monday, May 4. The fire did not start due to the presence of compressed propane within two large tanks near the house, but after the fire started, the gas intensified the blaze, fueling the flames, he said.