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.
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.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced on January 13 that, as part of National AMBER Alert Awareness Day, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has partnered with Facebook to send AMBER Alerts to the social network’s community to help law enforcement find missing children. When a child goes missing, the first three hours are critical and the most important thing to disseminate to the public detailed information about the missing child as quickly as possible. Facebook will complement existing AMBER Alert distribution systems through reach, comprehensive information, and community involvement.
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.
UPDATE: Due to anticipated weather, this event has been postponed to Wednesday, January 4. || Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, will hold a one-hour community forum on Wednesday, January 28, starting at 2:30 pm, at Newtown Senior Center. During the gathering, the superintendent will share information on the present state of Newtown schools and will also share information on how the community can be an active partner with teaching and learning. In addition, Dr Erardi will share new initiatives that the Board of Education has introduced within the 2014-15 school year.
Sandy Hook Promise, the community organization founded in the days following 12/14, announced Monday, January 12, its partnership with Beyond Differences, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending social isolation in schools across the country. Together, they are promoting February 13 as National No One Eats Alone Day, and urging schools to participate in tackling the epidemic of social exclusion by holding lunchtime events at their schools with activities that encourage students to engage with one another. In time for National No One Eats Alone Day, schools can request a toolkit of materials, games, icebreakers, and ideas that help students engage with others at lunchtime and create a more inclusive environment in their school and community. The toolkit comes in the form of a backpack filled with game ideas, conversation starters, ways to publicize their events, and more. The backpacks are sent free of charge.