After presenting information, which he said took more than 40 hours to compile with interested Hawley School parents and PTA members, Democratic Selectman and Borough of Newtown Warden James Gaston, Sr said he plans to share a school closing cost/benefit analysis with Borough Burgesses June 9. The local official, who lives on Main Street not far from the school, said he has myriad concerns, and can counter district assertions that potentially closing the elementary school will save taxpayers money, both immediately and in the long run. Mr Gaston, who was former vice-chair of the Board of Finance, said that by his calculations, closing Hawley School will cost each Newtown taxpayer around $40 annually because of a decline in property values. But that is far from the selectman’s only worries.
Motorists traveling in both directions on Interstate 84 in Newtown on the morning of Monday, June 8, encountered extensive travel delays following serious motor vehicle accidents that occurred on both sides of the highway. That traffic congestion spilled over onto local roads during the morning commute, as motorists either sought alternate routes or were directed by state police to detours off the highway.
Owners of electric powered vehicles, including those that may be part of the town’s future municipal fleet, could soon cruise into Fairfield Hills or Edmond Town Hall parking lot and plug-in for a free “top-off.” The Board of Selectmen on June 1 charged several local officials, including Public Works Director Fred Hurley and members of the local Sustainable Energy Commission, to gather data in preparation for filing a grant application to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). That agency announced the first of several rounds of grants that would go to state municipalities to help establish a more robust network of electric vehicle charging stations, particularly focusing on areas lacking those facilities now.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, noted at the Board of Education’s meeting on Tuesday, June 2, that the educators who will be retiring at the end of this school year have spent a total of 354 years working in the district.
Recognizing and celebrating the “careers of master teachers,” Dr Erardi said, is one of his favorite things to do as a superintendent.
“And this evening… I think we will all be in agreement that 354 years of service that will be standing in front of you at some point, is simply amazing,” said Dr Erardi.
A lightning strike that occurred sometime during the weekend of May 29–31, damaged electrical lines in the town-owned Fairfield Hills water supply system, resulting in a series of events that caused the failure of two major water pumps in the system. After a low-water alarm at the Fairfield Hills water storage tanks sounded on May 30, town officials took steps to keep the water supply system functioning by having large water tanker trucks repeatedly replenish the water levels in the two tanks. Those tanks have a combined million-gallon capacity. Town Public Works Director Fred Hurley said June 4 that repairs to one of the two damaged pumps, which are known as booster pumps, allowed the system late on the afternoon of June 3 to resume the pumping of water from the Wasserman Way pumphouse up to the two storage tanks, which are located several thousand feet away atop a rise at Fairfield Hills.
The Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard unit in Newtown will be spared from state budget cuts, State Representative Mitch Bolinsky (R-106) told to The Bee Wednesday afternoon in an email confirming the “great news.”
Newtown’s registrars of voters both said they liked stipulations in a new bill proposed by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill that provide for training and continued professional development to assure state communities and voters experience the best equipped elections officials and poll workers each time the exercise their opportunities to vote. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill joined the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut (ROVAC) June 1 praising the Connecticut State Senate for unanimously passing Senate Bill No. 1051 “An Act Strengthening Connecticut Elections.” With a vote of 36-0, State Senators of both political parties approved the bill to enhance accountability and professionalism among Connecticut’s registrars of voters, who are charged with administering elections in Connecticut.
Residents are invited to take advantage of a cost-effective opportunity to have pet cats and dogs vaccinated against rabies. The annual rabies clinic will take place Saturday, June 20, from 10 am to noon, in the gymnasium of Edmond Town Hall.
The Police Commission is considering hiring a traffic engineering firm to analyze how the Main Street flagpole intersection could be improved to reduce traffic accidents at the busy five-way junction. A recent police study indicated that the flagpole intersection of Main Street, Church Hill Road, and West Street has the second-highest traffic accident rate in town. A 100-foot-tall flagpole without any protective barriers stands in the center of that intersection. At a June 2 Police Commission session, Police Chief Michael Kehoe suggested that the commission enlist a traffic engineering firm such as Fredrick P. Clark Associates, Inc of Fairfield for advice on how the intersection could be improved.
Newtown’s legislative delegation — Representatives Mitch Bolinsky, Dan Carter, and J.P. Sredzinski and Senator Tony Hwang — stood with GOP colleagues as Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) made his final, futile remarks before he and 35 colleagues cast their votes narrowly passing the biennial spending plan by a 19-17 margin as their midnight deadline loomed June 3. Following the vote, each local lawmakers expressed dismay over how state Democrats had, as The Connecticut Mirror described it, muscled passage of a much-maligned budget through both chambers in little more than 12 hours on the last day of the statehouse session. Earlier in the day, and following a marathon deliberation session that began Tuesday and ended near sunrise Wednesday morning, Reps Bolinsky, Carter and Sredzinski all cast No votes against the $40.3 billion, two-year package that largely restores deep cuts to social services and expands municipal aid while bolstering tax revenues by almost $2 billion.