Newtown officials offered constructive comments along with members of the local legislative delegation at a public hearing in Middletown Tuesday, February 24, urging lawmakers in Hartford to grant municipalities relief from having to hire workers under a nearly quarter-century-old threshold that mandates prevailing wage consideration on most large municipal or state subsidized construction projects. With increasing concerns about unfunded state mandates, the recent escalation of unemployment costs, and budget constraints on local and state levels, Representatives Mitch Bolinsky and J.P. Sredzinski testified in support of state prevailing wage reform. They were joined by Newtown Legislative Council member Ryan Knapp, who was speaking on behalf of the town, and First Selectman Pat Llodra, who had to attend a local budget hearing that evening, but submitted written remarks.
The late Judith Beaudreau, a very active registrar of voters from Vernon and longtime mentor of Newtown’s Democratic Registrar LeReine Frampton, often referred to those local elected officials as the “gatekeepers to democracy.” But those Democratic and Republican gatekeepers may be losing their posts if a new election reform measure from Democratic Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is successful.
Ms Merrill is proposing transforming the office of registrar of voters from a local elected official handpicked by town political committees to a municipal employee appointed locally to administer elections as a nonpartisan professional. Ms Frampton, her Republican counterpart Joanne Albanesi, and First Selectman Pat Llodra all reacted to the proposal shortly after it was announced February 25.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr., in partnership with the district’s PTA presidents, is set to hold a community forum, “An All-School Parent Conversation Focused On Teaching, Learning, and the Proposed 2015-16 Spending Plan,” on Tuesday, March 10.
There are so many medical and health care-related projects planned for, or already operating, along Mt Pleasant Road just east of the Bethel town line that Newtown’s Economic Development Coordinator Betsy Paynter has nicknamed the stretch “Medical Mile.”
Earlier this winter several Fairfield Authority members and town Grants Coordinator Christal Preszler took a trip to Preston, where a former state facility similar to Fairfield Hills is now in that town’s hands. Unlike Newtown, however, which intends to redevelop its campus as a community and municipal asset, the town of Preston plans for the eventual sale of its property. After meeting with the group overseeing that property, Ms Preszler told the authority on February 23, “We’re hopeful to learn from them regarding contacts, funding, demolition.” With the help of grant writers and other professionals including contract management teams, the Preston group has worked closely with the state to coordinate remediation and demolition efforts for the old hospital buildings, structures, and grounds. The Authority this week also heard from residents who voiced opinions about recent forums concerning housing or rental units at Fairfield Hills, and discussed creating a mission statement to formalize what the authority feels is the best use for the land.
People navigating the twists and turns of the land use review process often found answers to their questions when they found Ann Mazur, who, as the town Land Use Agency’s administrative assistant, kept track of the many developmental details required for submission before construction approvals are granted. Ms Mazur of Sandy Hook, who has worked at the agency since 2001, has been a town staff member in various capacities for almost 25 years. She has also, since 1995, worked for various periods as the night clerk for the Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers, Newtown Forest Association, Commission on Aging, Public Building & Site Commission, Police Commission, Economic Development Commission, Legislative Council, and the Board of Finance.
She will be retiring on March 6.
Following lengthy review, Planning and Zoning Commission members on February 5 unanimously rejected a proposed change to the zoning regulations, which would have allowed privately-owned solid waste facilities for the storage and recycling of scrap tires at properties with M-1 (Industrial) zoning.
Police said midday on Monday, February 23, that they arrested a boy under age 18 on charges of first-degree threatening and first-degree falsely reporting an incident. Police allege he wrote a suspicious note discovered at Newtown High School, which resulted in the school temporarily entering a “lock-in open” security mode.
Police Lieutenant Richard Robinson said both charges are Class D felonies. It was initially unclear whether the boy is a student at the school. Also, it was unclear whether other arrests would be made in the case.
Police did not disclose the boy’s identity because he is under age 18.