It appears that a $1.5 million capital allocation that has been pending for several years as the Newtown Hook & Ladder fire company secured and planned to build a new headquarters could be restructured as a grant, with terms. Until recently, officials were describing the assistance being provided so the volunteer fire company to establish its independent headquarters as a “gift.” On September 8, the Board of Finance reviewed language that member John Godin created and labeled as a grant, and unanimously voted to recommend the administrative change to the Board of Selectman and Legislative Council for approval. Town Finance Director Robert Tait explained after the meeting that in the unlikely event the fire company closes or fails to continue operating under its current charter, the town needs a process in place to recover some or all of the funding granted for the development of its new building.
The effort to better understand the public’s perception and behavior regarding tick bites and tickborne disease is stepping up, according to Health District Director Donna Culbert. “Newtown, through a proposal/bid process, has contracted with MORE Advertising, and is launching a short survey which will capture the public’s current knowledge and perception of risk about tickborne diseases,” she said in a release. The survey is available online as well as being available in print “for folks who may not have internet access or prefer to do it manually,” she said. The plan is to promote the survey through The Newtown Bee, the Newtown municipal website’s News and Announcements section, Park and Recreation networks, and parent, recreation and civic organizations in an attempt to solicit maximum participation and input.
Visibly moved, Howard Lasher choked back tears Thursday morning, September 11, as he read the names of friends and colleagues killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers September 11, 2001. It was halfway through the ceremony hosted by Mr Lasher, a retired Wall Street executive and trader, and his wife, Jeanette Hubner, at their Route 302 property in Newtown, to honor the memories of all lost that day.
They were many, and they were loud. Roughly 2,400 motorcycles rumbled through town Sunday, September 7 on their winding route from Norwalk to Bridgeport during the 14th annual CT United Ride, Connecticut’s largest 9/11 tribute. Through registration fees and other funds raised, the ride benefits Connecticut firefighters, Connecticut law enforcement, and two local United Ways. Newtown’s fire companies suspended flags over the ride, with Dodgingtown and Hawleyville raising one over Route 302 in Dodgingtown, Hook & Ladder and Sandy Hook set up over the roadway next to Amaral Motors Inc, and Botsford Fire Rescue members presenting the colors at their South Main Street station. Those who did not participate in the ride were invited to cheer those riding their motorcycles from Norwalk to Bridgeport on Sunday, and once residents and friends of all ages turned out to line the route in Newtown.
A new state blueprint for children’s mental health services recommends standardized screening and enhanced school services, better training for all caregivers and the “pooling” of hundreds of millions in public funds to more effectively finance vital programs. The Department of Children and Families unveiled the first draft September 5 of a new report due to the General Assembly in October. The document, intended to put forward strategies for a comprehensive overhaul of children’s behavioral health, was ordered by legislators in response to 12/14. “A core finding from all input sources is that the children’s mental health services are fragmented, inefficient, and difficult to access for children and families,” the report states.
Town police are being urged to redouble their traffic enforcement efforts, especially along Main Street, to curb vehicular problems occurring along that thoroughfare. Resident Karen Banks of West Street, which links Main Street to Sugar Street, told Police Commission members on September 2 she supports a Main Street resident’s recent comments about the need for heightened traffic enforcement on Main Street. At an August Police Commission session, resident Sherry Bermingham said that Main Street needs “police help” for a its traffic-related problems, including speeding, congestion, rude motorists, and the presence of wide-load trucks. While the commission would prefer that trucks use Exit 11 and travel through Fairfield Hills before picking up Route 25 when en route to Bridgeport, Police Commission member Brian Budd pointed out that vehicles are legally allowed on I-84 and Main Street. The town cannot force truck drivers to stay on I-84 when hauling cargo, he said.
Police Chief Michael Kehoe has updated Police Commission members about police department staffing matters, including plans to hire two new officers, plus plans for promotions involving the naming of one lieutenant and two sergeants. Chief Kehoe told commission members on September 2 that the department remains two people short of its full roster of 45 sworn officers. Thus, the Police Commission will soon hire two new officers, both of whom would receive municipal police training before entering local service. One of the department's current sergeants could be promoted to lieutenant.
While driving a larger-than-life bright orange chair through New York City recently, Newtown resident Douglas Calderone soon realized that its eye-catching qualities could do more than raise a smile. He is now raffling off the chair with proceeds to benefit Reach Newtown -- an outreach program enhancing children's lives. The raffle ends on October 1.
The small, occasionally boisterous but often hushed group of women gathered around a set of tables one recent afternoon at a Newtown restaurant could have been mistaken for any group of friends or co-workers meeting up for some late day chat and a beverage. But a closer listen would reveal the group to be Sandy Hook School staffers discussing their inspired plan to take a national tragedy they all experienced first hand on December 14, 2012, and channel their collective experiences spreading a message about common sense gun law reform and the need for related legislation. The group has since been the focus of a special report by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and its journalists Jessica Boehm and former Newtown Bee intern and town resident Sarah Ferris. And this week, several members of the group were prepping for interviews that will eventually be compiled into a piece by the New York-based news website Buzzfeed.
From the barren, pocked lot where a boxy Shell station once stood greeting residents and visitors exiting Interstate 84 onto Church Hill Road, a new, more aesthetically pleasing Colonial-looking mini mart is about to take shape according to its developers. But to achieve that aesthetic improvement amid a state roadway realignment project, the newest addition to Church Hill Road’s commercial strip is coming with some additional costs. As a result, the owners of the planned Wheels gas station and mini mart — Consumers’ Petroleum of Connecticut, Inc — have begun the process of requesting what is described as a modest, three-year property tax abatement that Economic Development Coordinator Betsy Paynter said will amount to about $10,500.