Following the approval of the Legislative Council on April 2 to send a request for $111,066,204 to voters to cover town and school services, along with annual debt service for capitol projects (carried in the Board of Selectmen budget), Town Clerk Debbie Aurelia Halstead has announced that absentee ballots for the April 22 referendum will be available beginning Friday, April 4. The referendum will have four Yes-No questions, including a pair of Advisory Questions. The referendum will be held on Tuesday, April 22, from 6 am to 8 pm, at Newtown Middle School. Any person who is a registered voter in the Town of Newtown or who is a US citizen who is assessed at least $1,000 for the real estate or motor vehicles on the 2013 Grand List for the Town of Newtown is qualified to vote at the referendum.
Two Newtown residents, the father of one of the 12/14 victims and the daughter of a 12/14 survivor, have been named Champions of Change by The White House. All of this year’s honorees are gun violence prevention leaders, recognized for taking critical steps in their communities to reduce gun violence. Sarah Clements, founder and chairwoman for the Jr Newtown Action Alliance, and Mark Barden, director of advocacy for Sandy Hook Promise, were among the nine Americans formally named Champions of Change during a morning ceremony on April 3. The César E. Chávez Champions of Change awards are given by The White House to honor those community leaders who embody the spirit of Mr Chavez’s legacy. Each Champion of Change has committed themselves to improving the lives of others in their communities and across the country. Honorees represent the values and steadfast determination of Cesar E. Chavez.
“One and done!” was the final comment of longtime budget critic and Legislative Council member Dan Amaral as he stood with fellow council members, and the Boards of Selectmen, Finance, and Education before him, in unanimously passing next year’s zero-increase budget request to voters. Calling for taxpayers to get behind a rare spending plan that actually cuts taxation incrementally, Mr Amaral uttered the phrase that could serve as a rallying cry for budget proponents hoping to pass the proposal during a single referendum. In past years, budgets have generally required multiple votes to pass. Voters will make up their minds on the bifurcated, or split, town and school budgets April 22 when they are called to the Newtown Middle School to cast their votes between 6 am and 8 pm. Town Clerk Debbie Halstead told The Bee that absentee ballots would be available for voters beginning Friday, April 4. On April 2, the council unanimously endorsed sending a request for $111,066,204 to voters to cover town and school services, along with annual debt service for capital projects, which is carried in the Board of Selectmen budget.
Before voting to schedule Newtown High School’s graduation ceremony for June 17 and Newtown Middle School’s moving up ceremony for June 16 at Western Connecticut State University’s O’Neill Center, the Board of Education discussed recommendations at its April 1 meeting that will be passed on to the Legislative Council for a Charter Revision Commission.
The school board first discussed charter revision considerations during its March 18 meeting. Board of Education member Michelle Ku presented recommendations both during the March 18 meeting and the April 1 meeting for the school board consider.
Although town officials have long been exploring the prospect of regionalizing municipal emergency radio dispatching for 911, police, fire, and ambulance calls to improve cost efficiency, Police Commission members this week voiced strong concerns about it, stressing that such an arrangement could do more harm than good in terms of town police operations. Currently, all town 911, police, fire, and ambulance dispatching is done at the Newtown Emergency Communications Center at 3 Main Street, in the same building that houses the police station. Two town-employed dispatchers staff the facility around the clock on 12-hour shifts. Under a proposal advanced by Maureen Will, the town’s emergency communications director, the multiple functions of town emergency dispatching would be handled by Northwest Connecticut Public Safety Communication Center, Inc, in Prospect at an existing private facility.
Four members of the Young Adult Council of C.H. Booth Library and seven community members met Monday, March 31, with consultants from the Connecticut State Library to provide input regarding the selection of a new director for the library. Dawn LaValle, director of the Division of Library Development, and Mary Engels, director of the Middletown Library Service Center, facilitated the afternoon meeting for the young people, and the evening meeting that was open to the public. A third focus group, for adults, is scheduled for Monday, April 7.
Police report they charged two New York City residents with first-degree forgery on March 27 following an incident involving some counterfeit US paper currency that a customer had used at one store in Newtown. The pair was stopped when they tried to make a purchase using more counterfeit money at a second store in town. Charged are Azucena Z. Ancajima, 31, and Ivan Javier Gonzalez, 39, both of the same address in the Elmhurst section of Queens, NY, police said. First-degree forgery is a felony. Each person was held on $10,000 bail for arraignment on March 28 in Danbury Superior Court.
While many residents surveyed by volunteers of the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation continue to express a high degrees of anxiety, fear, and stress, it has also become evident that efforts to raise funds to assist these individuals with ongoing counseling are challenged to maintain the level of fundraising required to cover the related costs.
These are among a number of important points outlined in the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation’s newly released findings derived from a survey of community needs resulting from the tragedy of 12/14. The Second Distribution Committee of the Sandy Hook School Support Fund used the findings to make decisions regarding the release of funds into the community.