A bittersweet ceremony Thursday afternoon bid farewell to K-9 officer Baro, and welcomed Saint Michael, a nearly all black German shepherd, to the Newtown Police Department. Chief Michael Kehoe started the afternoon ceremony at Newtown Municipal Center by asking for a moment of silence to remember Baro, who retired earlier this year then died of cancer in late June. The afternoon, Officer Matthew Hayes later said, marked "the dawn of a new era" for the department. Police Officer & K-9 Handler Felicia Figol addressed a crowd that included town officials, residents, police department members, AKC club members and a host of K-9 units and handlers from surrounding towns, before Town Clerk Debbie Aurelia Halstead swore the new K-9 into service.
With the October 5 referendum on the town accepting state financial assistance to demolish the Sandy Hook School building and to design and build a new facility, the Board of Education took up a few related topics during its meeting on September 17.
“As we discussed at a couple of other meetings,” Business Director Ronald Bienkowski told the school board Tuesday evening, “we are interested in retrieving useful items from Sandy Hook School before it is demolished.”
Two members of a panel charged with overseeing the town's new animal control facility spent most of their presentation to the Board of Selectmen September 16 detailing design and construction issues that are affecting the facility's operation nearly a year after it officially opened. Adria Henderson and Robin Olson, who lead the seven member Animal Control Advisory Board, appeared to present their annual report which is required as part of the board's charge. In introducing the pair, First Selectman Pat Llodra said the panel was appointed to be both a support system and “policy bridge” between the animal control center and the town. The group is also charged with developing and maintaining policies and best practices, the first selectman said. Ms Henderson and Ms Olson had both good news and bad news for the selectmen this week.
The trial of former Newtown resident John Heath, 70, who is accused of murdering his wife Elizabeth, 32, in 1984, is scheduled to start on Wednesday, September 25, in state Superior Court in Danbury. The starting date of the trial is subject to delay, if circumstances warrant. The state alleges that Mr Heath of Bridgewater murdered his wife in April 1984, and then hid her body, which was wrapped in bedding, in a container located beneath the floor of a barn near the home where they then lived at 89 Poverty Hollow Road in Newtown. Ms Heath’s remains were discovered in April 2010 when the Poverty Hollow Road property’s current owners were renovating the barn and uncovered her skeleton. Newtown police arrested Mr Heath on a warrant in April 2012, after which he pleaded not guilty to the murder charge. Since his arrest, Mr Heath has been held on $1 million bail on the murder charge at the Bridgeport Correctional Center.
A head-on collision involving a tractor-trailer truck and a compact station wagon early on the morning of Thursday, September 19, closed down a section of Berkshire Road near the Newtown-Monroe border for more than three hours. Police said motorist Joseph Sullo, 23, of Oxford was driving a 1998 Ford Escort station wagon eastward on Berkshire Road, near its intersection with Great Quarter Road, at about 4:47 am, when the Ford crossed over into the westbound lane and collided head-on with a westbound tractor-trailer truck driven by Stanley Swintlicki, 64, of Shelton. Police, firefighters, ambulance corps members and an on-call paramedic all responded to the scene.
He joked that he has been walking since he was a year old, but Stamford resident Al Forte’s most recent journey began August 31, at Old North Church in Boston, and will end at Ground Zero in New York City near the end of September.
Both a welcoming and a farewell, Newtown Police Department had a ceremony scheduled for Thursday, September 19, to pay tribute to the late K-9 officer Baro. The ceremony’s second purpose was to officially welcome and introduce to the community the department’s new K-9 officer, a 2-year-old German shepherd named St Michael. More than 30 K-9 units from around the state were expected to participate in the ceremony, as were Newtown K-9 Handler Officer Felicia Figol, Officer Matthew Hayes, and the Newtown Honor Guard.
Newtown police this week continued their probe into the whereabouts of Robert Hoagland, 50, of Glen Road in Sandy Hook, who disappeared from his property on Sunday, July 28. “He is still missing and we are actively following up leads,” Newtown Police Detective Lieutenant Richard Robinson said on the morning of Thursday, September 19. On Tuesday, police probed two reported sightings of Mr Hoagland that day near the Rhode Island-Connecticut border. Also this week, The Probate Court of Northern Fairfield County has scheduled an October 8 hearing on an “application for the appointment of a trustee when a person has disappeared” in connection with Mr Hoagland’s disappearance. Attorney James Gaston, who represents Mr Hoagland’s relatives, explained that in such a situation a person, serving as a trustee, is bonded and appointed by the court to oversee the assets of the missing individual in connection with the support of minor children and the spouse.
Following some concerns and criticisms about installation costs on social media sites, Newtown’s Parks and Recreation Director Amy Mangold released a document detailing the expenses related to Oakview Field.
Assistant Parks Director Carl Samuelson produced the report following a request from Legislative Council Vice Chair Mary Ann Jacob for detailed financial accounting of costs related to her department’s newest playing venue on Wasserman Way.
Mr Samuelson opens responding to some of the public concerns regarding the park’s development...
First Selectman Pat Llodra is seeking residents to fill several opening on local appointed boards and commissions. In some cases the appointments are required to be affiliated with a specific political party, while in other cases unaffiliated voters are encouraged to consider serving. Openings are available on Hattertown Historic District, Charter Communications Advisory Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Conservation Commission, Inland Wetlands Commission, Sustainable Energy Commission, C.H. Booth Library Board of Trustees, and Commission on Aging.