Police Commission members conducted a special meeting last week to discuss the traffic problems posed by the flagpole intersection of Main Street, Church Hill Road, and West Street. They invited the chief elected official of the borough to discuss the matter with them. But Borough Warden James Gaston, Sr, urged the Police Commission on March 24 to broaden its review of local traffic issues and to support having a traffic study performed on town roads. Police Commission members have been reviewing traffic data which indicate that during a six-year period, representing calendar years 2009 through 2014 inclusive, there were 94 reported traffic accidents in the area of the five-legged flagpole intersection, reflecting a high accident rate. Some of the collisions there involve vehicles striking the flagpole itself, as the 100-foot-tall steel structure is not shielded by protective barriers.
Organizers announced that the next Newtown Community Center Phase I Information Session will be held at an alternate venue on Tuesday, March 31. That session will be in The Alexandria Room at Edmond Town Hall, which offers greater capacity than the senior center, where the program was originally scheduled. Additional info sessions have been set for Thursdays, April 2 and 9 at 7 pm, in the Newtown High School Lecture Hall, 12 Berkshire Road.
Bill Halstead was honored by the Board of Fire Commissioners at the conclusion of the board’s meeting on March 23. Mr Halstead celebrated his 50th anniversary as a firefighter in January. Once the business meeting was finished Monday night, the commissioners surprised Mr Halstead with the honor. Sandy Hook firefighters took a break from their training drill to join the commissioners for the brief presentation to their chief.
With their 400 mile route displayed on a huge banner, a Ben's Bell dangling from the podium, spiritual blessings, encouragement from political leaders, nonprofit founders, a 12/14 victim's parent and the staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School, Team 26 departed for its third ride to Washington, DC Saturday morning, March 28. Amid swirling snow and decidedly un-springlike cold, approximately 150 residents and supporters gathered for a brief ceremony on the steps of Edmond Town Hall to bid farewell and Godspeed to the 26 cyclists and support staff accompanying them on their four-day trek.
All town fields remain closed, according to a reminder from Newtown Parks & Rec, which made the announcement via email Friday, March 27. Treadwell and Tilson artificial fields remain closed as well, due to snow cover and frozen sub-surface conditions.
After nearly three hours of responding to a room full of raised hands inquiring and commenting about a community center project, March 24, First Selectman Pat Llodra continued the discussion this week with The Newtown Bee. Residents have concerns about the funding, use of space, and how well the facility would serve Newtown. Many who attended Tuesday's info session were particularly concerned that the project, aside from the aquatic center, was mostly for senior citizens and not a true community center.
As Connecticut lawmakers consider whether to fund a pilot program to help local police agencies acquire body cameras, Newtown’s local police department is in the final stages of completing its first elementary study on the new technology. Police Chief Michael Kehoe told The Newtown Bee this week that his department is always looking for new ways and technologies to improve citizen-law enforcement relations. “Education both ways is always good,” Chief Kehoe said regarding the prospect and possible detriments to employing body cameras. He said many citizens believe that officer body cams, as the devices are generically called, are an extension of the dashboard cameras already in operation in all Newtown patrol vehicles. But they are not. The chief said the department is in the final stages of its first study, which in part will identify optional body cam models, implementation, and possibly ways to begin integrating the technology along with all the other equipment being used day to day by local officers.
Karyn Holden and Kinga Walsh, co-chairs of the Newtown Education Advocacy Group (NEAG), were the sole representatives of more than 6,000 Newtown taxpaying households at this week’s annual Legislative Council public hearing on the 2015-16 budget proposal. Ms Walsh, reading from a prepared statement, took a little more than two minutes to relate the group’s collective advocacy for the education budget request, and the session adjourned a few moments later with nobody else in the sparse audience opting to come to the microphone. “Our message is simple,” Ms Walsh said. “Please support the proposed education budget as is, and pass it through to the voters.”