The chief elected official of the borough told Police Commission members March 24 that although the commission, acting as the local traffic authority, in the past had decided to install broad speed bumps, known as speed tables, on Queen Street, the commission had not notified the the Borough Board of Burgesses of those plans. Borough Warden James Gaston, Sr, who heads the Board of Burgesses, told Police Commission members that the burgesses became upset because the speed tables’ presence resulted in some motorists using nearby streets to avoid the devices. The presence of speed tables on Queen Street has placed the burgesses in a difficult position, Mr Gaston told Police Commission members. Within a quarter-mile section of Queen Street there are several dozen signs posted, he said. Queen Street is a scenic area which now has several dozen signs, he said. “It was done without intergovernmental collaboration,” Mr Gaston said of the speed table installation project.
With kindergarten registrations happening locally in the coming weeks, Town Clerk Debbie Halstead is reminding parents that if they resided in Newtown at the birth of their child they do not have to go to the hospital or town where the child was delivered to obtain a required birth certificate for registration.
Sixty-four years ago, former Fairfield Hills worker Joe Howard was at his regular post on the second floor of Shelton House. His job was to monitor the facility’s newly hired student nurses as they arrived for their first day of work. He remembers it as though it were yesterday. “On March 27, 1951, I opened the door for a student nurse named Audrey Avery,” he told The Newtown Bee. “I turned to my co-worker and said, ‘That’s the girl I’m going to marry.’ He said, ‘Joe, you’re crazy.’” But it ended up being one of those storied cases of love at first sight.
While local registrars withheld comment on the matter, Democratic Registrar LeReine Frampton said she and her Republican colleague JoAnne Albanesi were looking forward to reviewing the full detail of what she described as a “compromise bill” that was voted out of the Legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee on March 31. According to a release, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill joined the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut in praising the committee’s passage of Senate Bill No. 1051, An Act Strengthening Connecticut Elections. By a vote of 13-2, the GAE committee approved a bill that will increase accountability and professionalism among Connecticut’s registrars of voters who are primarily charged with the responsibility of administering elections in Connecticut.
When Newtown’s Team 26 cycling leader Monte Frank paraphrased the postal carrier’s credo ahead of the cycling group’s departure to Washington, DC, Saturday, March 28: “Neither snow, nor rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” he forgot to mention the cold. Despite bone-chilling temperatures that accompanied the riders on much of their four-day, 400-mile trek, Mr Frank said their cause and the warm greetings enjoyed at virtually every stop along the way helped keep them going.
Despite a brief and unsuccessful attempt to eliminate the school district’s requested 0.34 percent budget increase, the Legislative Council unanimously voted to send a budget plan to referendum representing the first tax rate decrease in memory. On April 1, the council endorsed a 2015-16 budget proposal of $111,730,513, representing a 0.6 percent spending increase over the current year. If approved as endorsed by the council in an April 28 referendum, the new spending plan would represent a net reduction in taxation of 0.71 percent, with a new tax rate of 33.07 mills, about a one-third of a mill reduction from the current rate of 33.31.
Trails at Fairfield Hills will be extended this spring, adding nearly another paved mile through the sprawling, scenic campus. Addressing the Fairfield Hills Authority earlier this month, Parks and Recreation Director Amy Mangold explained the trails project, which will extend the existing paved passive recreation surface. With a budgeted $300,000 in this year’s capital improvement plan, a recent bid came in from LRM Construction for $291,000, which was “great,” Ms Mangold said.
Newtown Board of Realtors president Barbara Frey is pleased with the direction the housing market in Newtown is headed this year. “There’s a real positive feeling in the air,” she said. Despite year-to-date sales slightly off from this time one year ago (60 homes sold since January 2015 versus 66 that period in 2014), it is an “extremely active market right now. Agents tell me they are busy morning to night,” Ms Frey said. Fifty-two homes have recently gone under deposit. There are an additional 23 pending sales, as of March 25.
The Newtown/Sandy Hook market currently has 255 single-family homes listed for sale, a number that Ms Frey said seems reasonable. As recently as this past September, 284 houses were listed for sale. According to information provided to The Newtown Bee by the local board in 2013, Newtown’s inventory was 253 at that time, down from a 2012 high of 319 homes on the market.