Following an hourlong public hearing on July 31, Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members unanimously approved redevelopment plans for the proposed new Sandy Hook Elementary School at 12 Dickinson Drive, off Riverside Road. The new school would replace the former Sandy Hook School, which the town demolished last year following the December 2012 massacre there. The P&Z’s zoning approval marks a major local hurdle for the construction project. On July 28, the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) approved a wetlands/watercourses protection permit for the project. On July 9, the Aquifer Protection Agency (APA) issued a “finding of no significant impact” in terms of the project’s effect on the underlying Pootatuck Aquifer, a major underground source of potable water. Plans for the school project are still subject to review and approval by state officials.
Newtown Parks & Recreation Department announced Tuesday that Dickinson Park Playground is closed until further notice. It was the second time in a week that the announcement had to be made. Signs that had been put in place alerting the public to the closure have been disappearing, according to Parks & Recreation Director of Recreation RoseAnne Reggiano. “Everyone has to stay off” the new equipment for a little longer, she said. If park visitors and the weather will cooperate in coming days, the playground could be open as soon as next week.
In conjunction with the construction of a new ambulance garage for Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps at Fairfield Hills, a section of Wasserman Way will be closed to through-traffic for an estimated nine-hour period from the night of Sunday, August 10, until the morning of MondayAugust 11, officials said. Town Director of Public Works Fred Hurley said August 5 said that the firm constructing the ambulance garage will install a 30-inch diameter storm sewer line below Wasserman Way to replace an existing smaller-diameter storm sewer line there, requiring the road closure. Work crews will dig a 14-foot-deep trench to install the sewer line. The trench will be dug across the width of Wasserman Way, east of its intersection with Mile Hill Road South.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation is conducting a milling and resurfacing project will be performed on Route 302 in Newtown and Bethel. The project consists of milling and resurfacing a 7.96 mile segment of Route 302.
Newtown Parks & Recreation Department has announced that “Dickinson Park Playground is closed until further notice. The construction company is [in] the final stages of completing the playground. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated at this time.” Although the new playground was dedicated on July 26, the facility was not completely built, with some construction remaining to be done, so the playground has not yet opened to the public.
Republican gubernatorial candidate John McKinney jumped at the chance to accuse his primary opponent of not offering voters a plan as detailed as his proposal to tackle future state budgets and eliminate the personal income tax on middle-class earners. Tom Foley, the party’s endorsed candidate, appears to be looking to the general election, acknowledging he plans to release more detailed policy proposals on urban issues, health care and the economy in late summer or early fall.
Annie, a rescue dog, could not have known her life was in danger, but owner Alison Cole did. Ms Cole, of Woodbury, works at The Taunton Press. She noticed something was wrong the week before July 4, “just a little red bump; I didn’t think much of it." A week later Ms Cole heard something from a veterinarian that no pet owner wants to hear: her dog had bone cancer, and the aggressive form of the disease had to be removed if the dog was going to live. Ms Cole was able to raise the money needed for Annie's surgery through the kindness of family, friends and strangers, who donated nearly $6,000 for the effort. Now Ms Cole is faced with another $4,000 needed to pay for needed chemotherapy treatments for the 75-pound mix she adopted from Danbury Animal Welfare Society in 2007.
A wandering peacock chose a beautiful late afternoon to walk into a backyard on Shepard Hill Road Thursday, July 24. The interloper, now named Harley, has made himself at home with Lex Nalley and Neil Unger. When people ask, “We tell them we’ve been adopted by a peacock,” Ms Nalley said. Harley seems content to occupy their back deck and yard.
The first of at least two public hearings being conducted by Newtown’s newly seated Charter Revision Commission (CRC) only took about 12 minutes, but it provided two residents an opportunity to air ideas on changes they would like to see to the community’s constitutional document.
Commissioners Kevin Burns, Eric Paradis, Dan Wiedemann, Deborra Zukowski, Tom Long, James Ritchie, Chairman Jeff Capeci, and Vice Chair Robert Hall were in attendance for the July 28 hearing, which subsequently adjourned into a brief planning meeting. The first resident who approached the commission was former CRC chairman and member Al Cramer, who spoke about the political party makeup of the Board of Education, and his desire to see party affiliation leveled to a more fair playing field for potential minority party members. The second citizen to come before the commissioners was Michael Scolaris, who asked that the panelists consider changing the annual split or bifurcated budget to a nonbinding vote.
Due to the likelihood of extreme heat, and no other place in the facility with air-conditioning, Republican Registrar of Voters Karin Aurelia is moving all GOP Primary voting August 12 from the Newtown Middle School gym to the Reed Intermediate School. Any registered Republican who normally votes at the middle school during political elections should report to the Reed School for the upcoming primary only.