WASHINGTON, DC – On December 12, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn) and U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) announced a $775,914 grant from the US Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime to victims and their families, first responders, and members of the Newtown community in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The grant will help fund continued mental health services and other support services for victims, their families, and the entire community, including enhanced safety and security at the schools and parks.
Additionally, the grant will help reimburse the United Way for providing support to victims’ families after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
From festooned fire trucks and the “Mini Rockettes” from Dance Etc, to fresh-baked fire truck-shaped cookies and special guests Mr and Mrs Claus, the annual Hawleyville holiday tree lighting December 7 was packed with fun and festivities befitting the season.
A group of Walnut Tree Hill Road residents is monitoring the Planning and Zoning Commission’s efforts to create a new zoning designation for high-density, multifamily housing, which would include an “affordable housing” component. The group is paying close attention since one of the two local sites now being eyed by developers for such growth is land lying between Walnut Tree Hill Road and Interstate 84. At a December 4 public hearing, P&Z members reviewed a six-page proposal for a Mixed-Use, Mixed-Income Overlay Zone (MUMI-10). The proposal under review is similar to a four-page proposal that the P&Z had considered on November 20, except that the revised version includes more detail and lists a range of design standards for such development. About 20 people attended the December 4 P&Z session that included discussion of the proposal, and few had anything positive to say about it.
An industrial firm has told Planning and Zoning Commission members that it plans to reduce the scope of its controversial proposal to create zoning regulations to allow the recycling of scrap tires. Moses Velez, president of MAAK Environmental Corporation, told the P&Z at a December 4 pubic hearing that the firm was withdrawing its pending application on proposed scrap tire recycling regulations and would submit a revised application which is narrower in scope.
Following a 90-minute public hearing attended by about 50 people, Borough Zoning Commission members on Wednesday, December 10, unanimously approved issuing a special zoning permit to Newtown Hook & Ladder Company, No. 1, for the construction of a firehouse at a 3.16-acre site at 12 Church Hill Road. Hook & Ladder members at the session enthusiastically responded to the zoning approval, an action that follows the fire company’s multiple past attempts to build a new firehouse in the borough, which had failed to materialize for one reason or another.
Despite a gentle rain, a small crowd gathered at Ram Pasture on Friday, December 5, for the 30th Annual Ram Pasture Tree Lighting.
As announced at the event, Newtown Chamber of Commerce President Tim Haas, Peggy Velthuizen, and Carol George were in charge of “flicking the switch” for both of the trees at Ram Pasture during the lighting event.
Wilfrido A. Cardenas Hoffman, 31, of El Hatillo, Venezuela waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty on December 11 in federal court to making threatening phone calls to residents of Newtown shortly after December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. According to court documents and statements which were made in court, on December 16, 2012, two days after the shootings that claimed 26 lives at the school, Hoffman used a voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) computer application on an iPod to make numerous phone calls from his home in Venezuela to Newtown residences. The charge of making threatening telephone calls carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Court documents indicate that the parents of several of the children killed on 12/14 intend to file wrongful death lawsuits. Probate court records show that parents of 11 of the 20 first graders killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School have created estates for their children, which would be required to file lawsuits on their behalf. The documents do not say who they intend to sue. A court clerk says most of the parents checked a box on the forms saying they intend to file wrongful death actions.
Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy are giving fellow senators pins that show how many people in their state have been killed by guns since Adam Lanza shot 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School nearly two years ago. Gilles Rousseau of Newtown, whose daughter Lauren was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012, speaks at a press conference in the U.S. Capitol Wednesday supporting gun control legislation. His wife Joyce is beside him. On Wednesday, the senators and other Connecticut lawmakers joined Newtown families and victims of gun violence across the nation in renewing their calls for new federal gun laws at a press conference in the U.S. Capitol.