After hearing a presentation by the Newtown Federation of Teachers at the Board of Education’s May 20 meeting, Superintendent of Schools Joseph Erardi, Jr, said this week he plans to form a culture and climate committee in the school district. At the school board’s May 20 meeting, federation members voiced concerns regarding a range of topics, and Dr Erardi suggested at the meeting that a committee be formed.The concept for the panel has grown in the last week, according to the superintendent.“The intent of the committee will be to work in partnership in a positive manner with the teachers’ association and the Board of Education,” Dr Erardi said. Membership of the committee was to be determined by the end of this week, according to Dr Erardi, who said he asked the teachers’ union to recommend four teachers to be on the committee, the administrators’ union to recommend two administrators, and the Board of Education to offer two representatives. The superintendent and assistant superintendent will also serve on the committee.
The Newtown Public Schools Recovery Project has slated its next community forum, “Caring for our Youth, Signs of Suicide (SOS),” to take place Thursday, June 5, from 6 to 7 pm, at Newtown Middle School. The forum will highlight the relationship between depression and suicide, teaching that most often suicide is a fatal response to a treatable disorder: depression. The forum will be facilitated by David Jacob, LCSW, Recovery Project Director, and by District Health Coordinator Judy Blanchard, MS, CPP.
Amid a late spring thunderstorm on the evening of Friday, May 23, firefighters from three local volunteer fire companies responded to a report of a house fire caused by a lightning strike on Jeremiah Road in Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook, Botsford, and Hook & & Ladder firefighters responded to the incident at 5:55 pm at 27 Jeremiah Road, on the corner of Jeremiah Road and Fox Hollow Lane. There were no injuries. Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Chief Bill Halstead said that no one was at home at the Carpenter residence when lightning struck the building’s propane system. The fire caused an estimated $5,000 to $10,000 worth of damage to the insured building, he said.
State Department of Transportation (DOT) workers last week took subsurface core samples at Sugar Street, at its intersection with Elm Drive, for geological information on the soil there to be used in the design of a new, wider Sugar Street bridge. The new span will replace the existing Sugar Street bridge which becomes a traffic bottleneck during commuter rush periods. As the DOT workers ran a drilling rig to take the core samples, a police officer stood by, directing eastbound traffic on Sugar Street to a detour that sent motorists southward on Elm Drive and then eastward on Hawley Road to reach South Main Street. DOT engineer Louis Bacho, the bridge project manager, said May 21 the core samples will show what lies beneath the surface for aid in designing the concrete abutments for the planned new bridge.
About a decade ago, Connecticut started getting serious about reclaiming and reusing former and abandoned, environmentally tainted industrial sites known as brownfields. Around that same time, Newtown’s Director of Economic and Community Development Elizabeth Stocker began began compiling an informal list of local brownfield sites. Once she realized there were grant and other assistance programs offering funds and services to assess these contaminated former industrial sites, she also began applying for help in the hopes of eventually returning some or all of these local parcels to some degree of productive use. Pursuing that goal would not only provide financial benefits to the community and its taxpayers by returning these unused or abandoned properties to the tax rolls, but would also help to mitigate the types of public health issues that arise around these sites like contaminated water tables. Today, Ms Stocker’s office is administering more than a half-million dollars
A severe thunderstorm, which passed through the area Tuesday evening, focused its strongest wind energy in the Riverside section of Sandy Hook, causing many trees to fall, resulting in extensive property damage and electrical outages in that neighborhood along Lake Zoar, near Interstate 84.The storm, which tracked from northwest to southeast, caused an intense, isolated pocket of damage as it struck Riverside at about 7:30 pm, lasting for about 30 minutes. The National Weather Service had issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for the area at 7 pm. The warning was in effect for 45 minutes. Sandy Hook volunteer firefighters responded to 16 storm-related emergency calls between 7:31 and 11:02 pm.Anthony Capozziello, who was Sandy Hook’s acting fire chief during the storm, said that much of the damage occurred along the Waterview Drive section of Riverside. There were no injuries due to the storm, he said.Connecticut Light & Power Company spokesman Mitch Gross said that at about 8 pm on Tuesday, CL&P received reports of 254 electrical outages in Newtown. That number rose to 288 outages by midnight.
In the final hours of the 2014 state legislative session, lawmakers overwhelmingly supported a proposal that mandates all Connecticut police agencies adopt a policy on the use of Tasers. These handheld devices resemble firearms, and shoot barbed darts that contact combative suspects allowing police officers to subdue them using jolts of electricity instead of other, more potentially dangerous means. The devices can also be used as a “stun gun” delivering a painful sting to suspects who may not be adhering to verbal commands from responding officers. Police Chief Michael Kehoe said that Newtown was among the first communities in the region to acquire Taser technology, and as a result, also became one of the first towns in Connecticut to not only develop a Taser policy, but a substantial training regiment and a series of post-incident reporting and analysis.
“It’s an important tradition for us to come here,” said Richard Gottmeier, prior to the start of the Monday, May 26 ceremony at the VFW Post 308 honoring veterans who have died in service to the country. Mr Gottmeier served 28 years in the Army and Army Reserves, he said, is a member of the VFW, and comes from a family tradition of serving the country since the Revolutionary War. “We pay our respects today to those who didn’t get to come home. They are the true heroes,” he said.