As you kick off the new year, remember that the next eight weeks will likely bring bitter cold to the Northeast. And there are many who need help braving the elements. Readers are being asked to help keep someone warm this winter by donating gently used coats, hats, and gloves to The Dorothy Day House in Danbury. The soup kitchen and overnight shelter is especially in need of men’s coats, hats with flaps over the ears or that are long enough to cover the ears, and thick gloves. Carolyn Mandarano, a member of the Missions Committee at Christ the King Lutheran Church, volunteers as part of Dorothy Day’s Shelter from the Cold program, where guests can come in from the cold to be served a hot meal. She is hoping local residents will help her help others during a collection that continues until January 24.
A wide representation of Newtown staff, along with elected and appointed officials, gathered with Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) representatives January 13 for a presentation illustrating how local agencies could better attract, enhance, and retain local commercial enterprises. Robert Santy, CERC president and CEO, told The Newtown Bee ahead of the gathering that Newtown was among the first two dozen among Connecticut’s 169 communities that he was visiting to pitch for intra-agency collaboration in the interest of increasing commercial tax bases. The CEO of the statewide nonprofit CERC led the two-hour session titled, “Transformational Approach, The fundamentals of Municipal Economic Development.”
Most people at one time or another have had to sit through interviews with bank officials as part of the application process for mortgages, business loans, or personal lines of credit. But what happens when tens of millions of dollars are in play and global bond rating agencies are asking the questions? That is what several Newtown officials had to do January 12 ahead of the town’s next round of planned bond refunding. First Selectman Pat Llodra, Finance Director Robert Tait, and Economic Development Coordinator Betsy Paynter spent about an hour on conference calls with Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s responding to a series of questions posed by those agencies.
A state Department of Transportation official is offering some ideas on how the Main Street flagpole intersection’s traffic problems can be alleviated through a redesign of the five-legged intersection. William Britnell, principal engineer in DOT’s highway design unit, said that creating a “roundabout” at the flagpole intersection would improve traffic flow there, alleviating the vehicle-turning conflicts that occur at the intersection, which becomes congested at times. However, in order to create a roundabout, the state likely would need to acquire some land adjacent to the intersection, he said. Existing traffic problems at the Main Street flagpole have been under discussion at the past two Police Commission meetings. Commission members appear interested in improving the intersection in terms of public safety, but acknowledge the historic aspects of the location.
The delivery of the latest Newtown school district enrollment study has validated what current and former members of the Board of Finance have been predicting for years: student population declines that could approach 30 percent over the next decade. This prompted Chairman John Kortze to tap freshman finance board member John Godin, to initiate an analysis of budget and enrollment predictions with the goal of targeting potential cost savings if and when the district determines it is feasible to close a school. Mr Godin presented his first, and admittedly presumptive findings January 12.
The estates of two of the 20 first grade students who were killed in the December 14, 2012, shooting incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School are the plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the town, which is seeking money damages. The lawsuit alleges there was insufficient security in place in the school and its grounds, allowing the shooter to forcibly enter the building and then enter two classrooms and shoot and kill people within those classrooms.
The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is scheduled to meet Friday, January 16, at 9:30 am, at the Legislative Office Building. The group was formed in January 2013, tasked with reviewing current current policies and making specific recommendations in the areas of public safety, with particular attention paid to school safety, mental health, and gun violence prevention. Among its agenda items this month is to schedule its final meetings.
Following a foot pursuit midday on January 7, police caught and then arrested a New York City man who allegedly stole nearly $1,200 worth of merchandise from a South Main Street drug store in a shoplifting incident. Police Sergeant Aaron Bahamonde said police received a call for help about 12:12 pm from Walgreens Pharmacy at 49 South Main Street, informing them that a shoplifting theft had occurred there. After a short foot chase, police caught the man, who put up no resistance. Police have charged a 33-year-old Queens, N.Y., man with fourth-degree larceny, after he left the store with at least eight boxes of One Touch Blue Ultra diabetic test strips. Police also found several thousand dollars worth of expensive health care items in the vehicle of Morgan Owens, which was parked in the drugstore's parking lot.