The Capener family of Sandy Hook took advantage of Saturday’s snow to do what they do very well: the family built a large snow sculpture in their yard. Joined by some friends, a large snow bust of Bart Simpson now has a place of prominence in the family’s yard. Sculptors on Sunday included Ethan Capener, Miles Capener, Lily Capener, Eric Gray, Richard Guman, Julian Crane, and Vinny Wilson
First Selectman Pat Llodra and Newtown’s Emergency Management Team are asking that every resident make appropriate preparations to ensure personal safety and readiness for what might be a major disruption in services. Following a meeting this morning between Mrs Llodra, Director of Health Donna Culbert, Fire Marshal Bill Halstead, Director of Communications Maureen Will, and Deputy Land Use Director Rob Sibley, the team is announcing that Newtown’s emergency services are prepared and ready; and Public Works, Parks & Recreation and Newtown Police Department are fully equipped with materials and supplies are staffed for full response. Snow has already begun falling in Newtown. While it had been moving at a moderate rate during the mid to late morning hours, there is currently a lull in action. The Newtown Emergency Response Team is continuing to monitor the storm, however. The team, which participated at 9:15 this morning with Governor Dannel P. Malloy in a conference call among other towns and municipalities, has activated the town’s Emergency Operations Center at a “monitoring level” at this time.
Newtown Public Works crews spent the majority of Saturday working to clear the town’s roads of a quick snowstorm that dropped approximately 6-8 inches of snow and a small amount of freezing rain on Newtown before the storm cleared by late morning. Now it looks like the same employees who spent up to 15 hours working on January 24 need to get ready for a second storm, and this one may be very serious. The National Weather Service this afternoon has upgraded a Winter Storm Watch that had included most of Fairfield County to a Blizzard Warning. Snow is expected to arrive by Monday afternoon and continue well into Tuesday. Portions of the state may be buried by more than two feet of snow, the NWS is reporting. Newtown and the area covered by this Blizzard Warning may receive up to 30 inches of snow.
Readers, groups and individuals with events planned for Saturday — or even Sunday, if this storm hangs around — that will be affected due to the weather are invited to contact Bee Associate Editor Shannon Hicks with this information. Owners of businesses that will be opening late or closing early are also welcome to contact Ms Hicks, who will also help get that word out.
Members of The Distribution Committee of The Sandy Hook School Support Fund, part of The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, have the responsibility to solicit input from the public as to the ongoing needs of all of those who have been affected by 12/14. According to foundation Executive Director Jennifer D. Barahona, LCSW, this input is necessary in order to make well informed funding recommendations. The public is being invited to participate in an online survey, which the committee hopes to close by February 6.
Frigid temperatures and frozen ground have slowed progress on a Memorial Sidewalk project — its first section leading from the top of Church Hill Road downhill to an existing stretch of walkway. Work stopped at the very top of Church Hill Road several weeks ago, when cold weather set in. Since then, many drivers and pedestrians have passed by the site where ground moving machinery is still parked on an already excavated area, the earth eaten away where a retaining wall will go, and overturned wheelbarrows sit waiting. Bright orange cones mark off the work zone on Church Hill Road just below the flagpole. “Frost has really set into the ground and it’s too hard to dig,” said contractor Rob Manna of LRM Landscape Contractors. Waiting for temperatures to hit above the freezing mark to resume work, Mr Manna said this week he hopes to get a crew back to the site soon.
Following lengthy discussion at a heavily attended January 15 Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing, commission members unanimously approved a new set of zoning regulations that would cover high-density, multifamily housing complexes that include an affordable housing component.
After several reminders from Chairman Kyle Lyddy that Newtown’s Permanent Memorial Commission is not discouraged by low turnouts at their public information forums, Lions Club President Robert Schmidt suggested that there may be a good reason why so many seats in the high school lecture hall remained empty January 20. “The diversity of your group inspires trust,” Mr Schmidt said. “Maybe that explains why not a lot of people are here tonight — they trust you.” Neither that observation, nor the elementary questions about how many memorials might be planned, where those tributes to the 26 who lost their lives on 12/14 might be located, or when the committee planned to complete its work seemed to faze Mr Lyddy or the commissioners in attendance.