About three dozen town residents listened, watched, and interacted with a large group of project and design professionals who are part of the Sandy Hook School design team during an information forum held June 5 in the lecture hall at Newtown High School. The 90-minute session was the latest in a series of public meetings and focus groups held as the new school project continues to gain traction. It served as an opportunity to unveil a number of building renderings and plans created by members of the project architectural firm Svigals + Partners, and Diversified Project Management, which is coordinating on the initiative. During the first half of the session, various members of the design team took turns relating some points of local history and geographical inspiration that helped them develop the project to the point where it stands today. They also shifted back and forth projecting hand painted renderings of exterior and interior aspects of the planned facility, along with various elevation drawings illustrating the building layout from a bird’s-eye perspective.
The town is a step closer to welcoming a new director for C.H. Booth Library. The library Board of Trustees convened a closed session Tuesday night to discuss a recommendation from the board’s Director Search Committee, which has been seeking candidates. After an hour of private discussion, the board resumed its regular public meeting, and at the end of the evening unanimously agreed to accept the search committee’s recommendation subject to a meeting with the candidate, possibly as soon as next week. Following personnel protocol, however, the candidate was not identified.
Prompted by the release of a thorough nationwide survey on pedestrian safety, a local traffic and behavioral expert suggests that Americans today may be better off if they just stay inside their motor vehicles. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not downplaying pedestrian fatalities, especially considering the strides we’ve made in vehicle occupant protection over the years,” Dr Neil Chaudhary said. “But there’s no similar program initiative for pedestrians. Unfortunately, we can’t make heads any harder.” Dr Chaudhary, who holds a PhD in Experimental Psychology, is a researcher and analyst specializing in traffic safety with Preusser Research Group.
On May 21, dozens of town officials, business leaders and interested potential tenants gathered at Fusion 25 for an “open house” promoting a planned commercial/office development at 146 South Main Street called the Summit @ Newtown. But the use of that development recently shifted to a somewhat precedent-setting mixed commercial/residential use after a zoning regulation was changed permitting limited residential uses in certain commercial zones.
Land Use Director George Benson told The Newtown Bee June 10 the Planning & Zoning Commission authorized the zoning language change after he reviewed current regulations and realized developments on smaller lots, like the Summit project, had very limited opportunity to include any residential options. The update to the regulations will now allow developers to apply for second floor residential use in business zones using up to 50 percent of a building for apartments.
As Sandy Hook Promise reaches out beyond the borders of Newtown and even Connecticut, more volunteers will be needed, said office and volunteer coordinator Betsy Gaier. Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national, nonprofit organization founded by community members, as well as parents and spouses who lost loved ones on 12/14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Since its formation in January 2013, volunteers have provided support and staffed the office. “We have had as many as 40 volunteers working with us,” said Ms Gaier. Lifestyle and job situation changes have created a drop in the number of volunteers available to assist the organization, though. Additional volunteers will be needed within the next four to six weeks, she said, as the new Promise Communities program begins to open across the country. Eight to ten volunteers, some local and some willing to travel, will assist the self-led Promise Communities formed to promote gun responsibility, Ms Gaier said.
Sparse, cottony clouds and a gentle breeze kept volunteers company Wednesday, June 4, at the Holcombe Hill Wildlife Preserve. Members from various departments at The Taunton Press gave their time and effort to Newtown Forest Association property. Nearly 600 volunteers from 25 local businesses and corporations demonstrated their community support, according to a recent release. More than 100 projects — including the Holcombe property maintenance for the NFA, a private, nonprofit land trust — took place to benefit more than 30 nonprofit agencies throughout greater Danbury and greater New Milford areas this week.
“There was never one ah-ha moment.” That observation from architect Barry Svigals of Svigals + Partners came during an interview ahead of a community information meeting revealing the latest Sandy Hook School developments set for Thursday, June 5. When asked if at any time since the earliest stages of conception, any contributor offered a single idea, thought, or inspiration that generated a major turning point in the development process, or significantly influenced a major design aspect, Mr Svigals was quick to reply. He explained that in all his years, he has never seen a public project that was so influenced by so many voices, and resulting in a concept that was so organically tied to its community.
Top elected officials began what is expected to be a slow, deliberate, and complex process to produce the most comprehensive analysis of town-owned buildings and facilities ever mounted in Newtown.
After much pre-meeting discussion, the Board of Selectmen June 2 welcomed Geralyn Hoerauf, AIA, LEED AP, and senior project manager from Diversified Project Management. Ms Hoerauf will be supporting selectmen and other town staff, contractors, and officials through at least the preliminary stages of facilities analysis prep.
During her visit and presentation Monday, First Selectman Pat Llodra brought a couple of other voices into the conversation, including a member of the Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers and the local Cultural Arts Commission chair.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation is announcing that traffic will be shifted on Interstate 84 to rehabilitate the bridges over Center Street in Newtown. The shifts on Interstate 84 are scheduled for Tuesday night, June 10, 2014 for I-84 eastbound and Thursday, June 12 for I-84 westbound.
In connection with the execution of a search-and-seizure warrant at his 10 White Oak Farm Road home on the morning of Friday, May 30, federal drug agents charged former National Football League player Gennaro Label DiNapoli, 39, with two counts of illegal sale of narcotics.
US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents made the arrest with the assistance of Newtown police.
After the two charges were processed at the town police station, DiNapoli was released on $150,000 bail for a June 17 arraignment in Danbury Superior Court, according to court records.
On May 30, DiNapoli was arrested on a court warrant which alleges that he sold a total of 330 pills of oxycodone to DEA undercover agents at his home in April and in May for a total of $6,200. Oxycodone is a powerful painkiller.