The release of a draft report of Governor Dannel Malloy’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission has come one day ahead of a meeting where the panel was scheduled to vote on its formal release. The executive summary of the 250-plus page document, which uses the initials A.L. to refer to perpetrator Adam Lanza, identifies several other documents already released that relate exhaustive details about the incident and the parties involved. Among the key findings and recommendations in the draft is the suggestion that the state develop a comprehensive statewide plan for effectively responding to large-scale school crisis events that includes educational and behavioral health agencies. The report has already produced reactions from members of Connecticut’s legislative delegation in Washington.
About a year ago, on the heels of a $15 million gift to Newtown from General Electric, the Board of Selectmen appointed an advisory committee to look into the scope, logistics, cost, and future usage potentials of a community center that would be developed and operated through that generous donation. Committee leaders Robert Geckle and Andrew Clure recently reported their findings to the Boards of Selectmen and Finance. On February 5, during the presentation to selectmen, Mr Geckle said the committee set about determining to the best of their abilities without defined architectural plans, “what a community center looks like.” The volunteers focused on what is described as the Phase One aspect of a plan that will utilize the GE grant to build and staff a standalone senior center, as well as an aquatic facility on a parcel adjacent to the NYA Sports & Fitness complex at Fairfield Hills.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is next scheduled to meet on Friday, February 13 at 9:30 am in the hearing room 1B of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. The group plans to continue its discussion regarding the relevant issue areas that will be incorporated into its final report, including mental health/mental wellness, law enforcement, and safe school design and operation.
A US District Court judge on Thursday, February 12, sentenced a Venezuelan man to 12 months and one day of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of probation, for making threatening phone calls to residents of Newtown shortly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting tragedy in December 2012. Judge Michael P. Shea issued that sentence to Wilfrido A. Cardenas Hoffman, 31, of El Hatillo, Venezuela.
The long-duration snowstorm on Monday, February 9, dropped several inches of snow on Newtown. It was less snow accumulation than in some other parts of the state, but it was enough snow to cancel school for the day. Fred Hurley, town director of public works, said, “We were very fortunate,” noting that worse weather, in the form of icing conditions, occurred in southern sections of Fairfield County. It was a snowy Monday for the second week in a row, in fact. Another three-day weekend for students and faculty of Newtown’s schools, as well as for a number of residents. Some opted to work from home, or just had to stay home due to road conditions. More snow may be on the way within the next few days.
(AP) The family of a 12/14 victim has applied to trademark her name in an attempt to stop others from misusing it on social media. Victoria Soto was one of the teachers killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the shootings there 26 months ago.
What started as a projected savings of around $925,000 ballooned to more than $1 million on January 29, as Newtown refunded or refinanced 16 of its general obligation bonds. According to documentation provided by Newtown Finance Director Robert Tait, the total savings generated to offset debt service costs for local taxpayers is $1,013,258.22 to be precise. Board of Finance Chairman John Kortze said the latest refunding windfall is the result of many volunteers and government officials pulling together to create, enhance, and stick to well-documented financial policies and practices in recent years, which also yielded the community its first AAA bond rating from Standard & Poor’s in 2014.
Should the State DOT sell surplus lumber from tree trimming to generate revenue for road repairs instead of just chipping it up for mulch? Should state municipalities be able to establish donation funds to supplement their social services efforts? Should lawmakers be permitted to remove state department heads? Should Connecticut officials be required to explain violations to local businesses before levying fines for certain statutory violations? These are just a few questions that could be answered if Republican State Representative Dan Carter is successful in seeing a number of his proposed bills in the current legislative session become law.
In October 2013, Women Involved in Newtown (WIN) joined a special club: those who regularly provide items to FAITH Food Pantry. WIN members had long been encouraged to bring donations for the secular food pantry to meetings (the organization’s acronym stands for Food Assistance Immediate Temporary Help). During late summer/early autumn of 2013, WIN member Corey Kondas suggested the club set up an outreach project that would offer visitors to a popular location in the center of town the opportunity to also help the food pantry. By early October the new project was in place. For 15 months, customers of Starbucks on Church Hill Road have found a small basket to the left of the cashier’s counter. Inside the basket is a sign with a list of suggested items that customers can leave for FAITH Food Pantry. At least twice each week members of WIN stop in at Starbucks to collect the items and take them to St John’s Church, where the pantry is situated.
“We are the central place for support and resources for all community members, whether 12/14-related or not,” said Melissa Glaser. Ms Glaser is the community outreach liaison for the Newtown Recovery and Resiliency Team, funded through December 2015 by a Department of Justice grant. She was distressed to read a December 8 letter to The Newtown Bee from Steven Feinstein, who identified himself as the husband of a Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher. “They suffer PTSD and all manner of emotional injury,” Mr Feinstein wrote about SHS teachers, “making every day a challenge, yet they are largely forgotten," Mr Feinstein wrote in part.