While the formal dedication of FunSpace II, the new playground at Dickinson Park, was held over the weekend, Newtown Parks & Recreation is reminding residents that the playground is still closed. “We need this week to finish the safety surfacing and borders,” the department announced via email Tuesday morning. The chance that the playground would be dedicated, but remain closed, on Saturday was a caveat the department had issued when it announced the date of its dedication earlier this month.
While the Board of Education held off making a decision on whether to implement a school-based health clinic at Newtown Middle School during its meeting on Tuesday, July 15, it also promised to take the topic up again at a future date. A number of people who worked on a committee to research the school-based health clinic were present to discuss the option with the school board, including nursing supervisor Anne Dalton, School Based Health Centers of Danbury coordinator Melanie Bonjour, NMS Principal Thomas Einhorn, school district medical advisor Ana Paula Machado, Thomas Draper representing the Newtown Health District in place of Donna Culbert, and school district health coordinator Judy Blanchard. “I think the exciting news in regard to this issue is that there is a funding stream in place for this to take place,” said Superintendant of Schools Dr Joseph Erardi said. “If the board supports this initiative they can move from paper to practice somewhere in the area of December 2014 or January 2015.”
Police report that during a sobriety checkpoint that they held on the evening of Saturday, July 19, and early morning hours of Sunday, July 20, at the intersection of Wasserman Way and Trades Lane at Fairfield Hills, they charged a Southbury man with driving under the influence.
The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission has published a document in the form of questions and answers (Q&A) at the town website as an effort to guide people through the process, said commission chairman Kyle Lyddy. “It is a format that the town has used previously and we thought it was a digestible way for people to get accurate information. We want this to be a collaborative effort and know there will be many groups involved in the process; therefore it will be important to be transparent as we progress. We are doing this as a proactive effort to keep the community in tune,” Mr Lyddy said.
Newtown is among a growing number of towns in recent years infested with the emerald ash borer, “a destructive insect responsible for the death and decline” of ash trees throughout the country, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Untreated ash trees will be lost and can die within two to three years. Monitoring the ground-nesting, native wasp (Cerceris fumipennis) that hunts many wood-boring beetles, including the emerald ash borer, can help detect the insect’s presence. The wasp is an effective “biological surveillance” survey tool and does not sting people or pets, according to Dr Claire E. Rutledge, who runs the extension station survey program. Newtown Land Use Director George Benson is aware of the pest, and recommends that residents with concerns contact the experiment station.
Launched in January 2013 by Newtown Cultural Arts Commission (NCAC), with the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut and the Connecticut Office of the Arts, the HealingNewtown project has offered dozens of programs, exhibitions, and workshops since its debut. The project’s first headquarters, in a then-vacant storefront at 5 Queen Street, was also host to numerous pieces of art, some created by local residents but the majority of which were sent to Newtown in response to 12/14. By June, the project had relocated to the lower level of Newtown Congregational Church. Valerie Culbertson has been serving as the project’s director since November 2013. With funds running out from an NEA grant that has been used to pay for Ms Culbertson's services, and the lease for the current space set to expire in a few months -- as well as encouragement from the first selectman that it is time for the commission to refocus its efforts -- NCAC voted this week to allow the longterm project to conclude. NCAC has every intention of continuing to offer, host, and/or sponsor programs covering numerous artistic interests, however.
Following a July 17 public hearing, the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approved the construction of an 18,750-square-foot mixed-use two-story building at a 2.35-acre site at 146 South Main Street, in which the lower level would be commercial space and the upper level would hold up to ten rental apartments. P&Z members unanimously approved the project known as The Summit at Newtown submitted by Summit Properties Group LLC of Norwalk. The site is on the west side of South Main Street, across that street from Newtown Self-Storage.
Dave Stowe, vice chairman of Newtown Action Alliance, joined more than 50 Newtown, Sandy Hook, and area residents in Greenwich on Monday, July 21, where at least an additional 150 people gathered to protest the appearance of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Gov Christie was was fundraising in the Bell Haven area of Greenwich for Connecticut Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley. “Christie, just a few weeks back, had the audacity to refuse to meet with Sandy Hook families saying that he was too busy and then, after making sure that they had left, he quickly vetoed a bill which would have reduced the legal magazine capacity for firearms in New Jersey from 15 to 10,” said Mr Stowe, who estimated Monday's demonstration attracted between 200 and 250 people.
Two development firms are proposing the construction of a cluster-style residential subdivision that would hold 23 single-family house lots on a 167-acre tract. Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) members have received for review the project known as The at Newtown from developers KASL, LLC, and IBF, LLC. The firms are represented by local developer/builder George L. Trudell. The cluster-style development, technically known as an “open space conservation subdivision” (OSCS) is designed to cluster its houses in two separate areas of the sprawling 167-ace site.
State Department of Transportation (DOT) officials this week provided more details on their plans to improve a 1,100-foot-long section of Church Hill Road, including realigning the broadly offset intersection of Church Hill Road, Commerce Road, and Edmond Road to make it a conventional four-way signalized intersection. Six DOT officials attended a July 22 informational session to answer questions on the approximately $4 million construction project, which is slated to start in April 2016. Approximately 20 people attended the session, about half of whom were local officials, with affected property owners also present.