At a brief April 20 Board of Selectmen meeting, First Selectman Pat Llodra and Selectman Will Rodgers reviewed and briefly discussed a proposed charge and a possible list of appointees to a new ad-hoc Community Center Commission. Selectman James Gaston was not present. The planned early May seating of the panel will launch a new chapter in fact-finding and community surveying to eventually render a recommendation on how Newtown should utilize a $15 million gift grant from General Electric in the wake of the 12/14 tragedy. Selectmen will ask the Community Center Commissioners to engage other boards and commissions, including the Community Center Advisory Committee, Commission on Aging, Parks and Recreation Commission, Cultural Arts Commission, the and the Strategic Plan for Municipal Facilities group.
On the evening of April 18, more than two dozen Newtown officials, staff, and local “celebrities” hit the runway at Rock Ridge Country Club to help support the C.H. Booth Library’s CHBMakers initiative. The event featured 3D printer-designed centerpieces and a grand prize jeweled necklace created by Quality Gem's Dennis Janofsky using the technology. Thanks to ticket buyers at the sold-out event, high participation in a silent auction, the pendent raffle, which was won by Judy Rosentel, and a live auction called by Monsignor Bob Weiss of St Rose of Lima Church, organizers of the event representing Booth Library Board raised more than $25,000.
The state Department of Transportation has scheduled a public information session on its plans to make roadway improvements at and near the Exit 11 interchange of Interstate 84 to alleviate traffic congestion and thus reduce the motor vehicle accident rate in that area. The Exit 11 interchange and adjacent roads are clogged with traffic during the morning and evening rush periods. The interchange was constructed in the early 1970’s to serve as a high speed interchange to link I-84 to an expanded version of Route 25. The expanded Route 25, however, never was constructed, but the Exit 11 interchange has remained in place, serving as an elaborate set of on-ramps and off-ramps for I-84 in Sandy Hook. The session is slated for Thursday, May 7, in the lecture hall in Newtown High School, 12 Berkshire Road. DOT officials will be available at 6:30 pm for individual discussions with residents. A formal presentation on the road improvement plans is scheduled for 7 pm.
The Board of Education will be sending a letter to state officials in support of funding school-based health care centers, like the one recently opened at Newtown Middle School, in the state’s proposed budget.
As Chair Keith Alexander explained during his board’s Tuesday, April 21, meeting, the letter was drafted by school board Secretary Kathy Hamilton.
“The state in [its] budget is currently reducing the amount available for health care centers and we would like, as a board, to let the state know how much we as a board appreciate our health care center already,” said Mr Alexander, “and how much we would like to see the full funding for health care centers.”
Police said they received a complaint from a person on Sugar Street concerning erratic driving, so they investigated and located the vehicle in question at about 10 am on April 16.
Police said they stopped motorist Matthew Rieve, 25, of Bethel near 11 Queen Street and then learned that there was an outstanding warrant against him for failure to pay a fine or to plead not guilty to a past marijuana possession charge, which had been lodged against him by state police from Troop A. Consequently, Newtown police charged Rieve with failure to respond to an infraction.
In connection with the erratic driving complaint, police charged Rieve with failure to keep to the right.
Additionally, police arrested Rieve on charges of possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics not in their original prescription container, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
After processing the charges, police released Rieve on $5,150 bail for an April 29 arraignment in Danbury Superior Court. Read more about recent police activity in this week's report.
Tim McGraw is defending his decision to headline a Connecticut concert to benefit Sandy Hook Promise (SHP), responding to critics who call it a gun control fundraiser. McGraw's concert at the XFINITY Theatre in Hartford on July 17 will benefit SHP, a nonprofit group organized by some of the families whose children and siblings were among the 20 children and six educators killed on 12/14. Its stated objective is to prevent gun violence and focus on mental health issues. SHP will receive 100 percent of the net proceeds from the event. Fans and dissenters have been supportive and critical since the announcement of the concert's intent was made last week. Meanwhile, 11 of the families directly affected by 12/14 issued a statement on April 22 clarifying that they we are not associated with nor supported by Sandy Hook Promise. Many have read into comments by Tim McGraw to believe that proceeds from "A Concert For Sandy Hook Promise" will benefit the families or the community at large.
Police said Monday, April 20, they are continuing their criminal investigation into a reported threat of violence against Newtown High School, interviewing multiple suspects and multiple witnesses in seeking to learn more. The particular nature of that threat was unclear.
Police Sergeant Aaron Bahamonde said, “We are actively pursuing all leads, and several officers are part of this investigation.”
Police will investigate the case to its conclusion in seeking to keep students safe now and in the future, he said.
Police have taken steps to prevent any incident from occurring at the school and have increased their visibility there as a deterrent, he said.
“We feel we’ve eliminated any potential immediate threat…We feel confident that all the schools are safe,” he added.
Sgt Bahamonde declined to describe the nature of the threat of violence.
The sergeant said that police learned of the threat on the morning of Friday, April 17. Local schools were not in session from April 13 through 17, as that week was a spring vacation.
The agenda for an unusual Saturday special meeting of the town’s Commission on Aging (COA) appeared to lack necessary details to conform to state Freedom of Information laws, and discussions during the meeting may have led at least one of the commissioners to threaten to resign. Commission Chair Curt Symes said he is researching whether an amended agenda could be filed after the fact, while acknowledging that much of the subject matter discussed in the April 11 closed session would be coming up in the next public meeting of the panel.