Tom Connors, who did not even live in Newtown the day the community signed off on acquiring the sprawling and abandoned Fairfield Hills hospital campus, is now leading the authority charged with overseeing its administration. Mr Connors recently took over chairing the Fairfield Hills Authority. And he recently finished a month long series of appearances introducing himself to three top elected boards. While Mr Connors brought the same brief outline to bullet key points he wanted to cover, members of the Boards of Selectmen and Finance, as well as the Legislative Council, each took advantage of opportunities to draw out deeper or broader perspectives on certain points.
Newtown High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian both credit their families with support and encouragement throughout their academic years. Class of 2014 Valedictorian Anne Beier and Salutatorian Amisha Dave were both honored, along with other top students in their graduating class, at the Board of Education’s June 3 meeting. By the following day, both girls admitted to already pondering the speeches they will deliver before their fellow graduates at the 2014 NHS graduation commencement ceremony, set for June 17. Both students also sat down with The Newtown Bee to talk about the path that led them to these latest academic achievements.
Authors and illustrators offered different activities and presentations at Reed Intermediate School on Saturday, June 7, for the 2nd Annual New Stories For Newtown event.
The day before, Friday, June 6, authors and illustrators also visited Newtown’s schools to offer individual presentations at local schools.
The two-day experience was possible thanks to funding from the Books Heal Hearts program at C.H. Booth Library, as Children’s Librarian Lana Bennison told The Bee prior to the event. Ms Bennison and event committee members Ross MacDonald, Janice Bernard, Yvonne Cech, Kim Weber, and Georgia Monaghan coordinated the programs.
New Stories for Newtown began last year when Mr MacDonald, a Newtown resident and children’s author and illustrator, suggested the idea to Ms Bennison.
In a touching tribute to the life and legacy of a first-grader lost in the Sandy Hook tragedy, The Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation hosted the first Catherine’s Butterfly Party, on Sunday, June 8. The family-focused fundraiser benefited the creation of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, which is proposed for a site at Fairfield Hills. More than 100 attended the Butterfly Party hosted at the home of Jeff and Wendy Waldron in North Salem. The event raised more than $50,000 through short- and long-term financial support, and also secured commitments for in-kind services, which will help the foundation reach its goal of building the sanctuary.
Police recently concluded a two-week enforcement campaign on seatbelt-use compliance known as Click-It or Ticket, issuing many violations to motorists who failed to wear seatbelts as required by state law. During the heightened enforcement, which ended on June 1, local police issued 26 infraction tickets for failure to wear a seatbelt. Enforcement was also taken for other violations. Police found that approximately 95 percent of motorists driving in Newtown wear seatbelts, as compared to the national average of 86 percent compliance.
All local police patrol officers have received specialized training intended to help them spot “drugged drivers” or those motorists who are illegally driving vehicles while under the influence of various drugs, according to Police Chief Michael Kehoe. Chief Kehoe said this week that all patrol officers have received 16 hours of training in drugged driving detection to help them identify those drivers who are violating state law covering such activity. Most of the arrests that police make for such activity involves alcohol use, with the remainder involving drugs or both alcohol and drugs, Chief Kehoe said.
With the news that Newtown High School Assistant Principal Paul Jones has been hired to be the next principal at Watertown High School, Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, reflected on all the recent changes to the district’s leadership.
Mr Jones was voted by the Watertown Board of Education to start as Watertown High School’s principal on July 1 during a special meeting held on Monday, June 9.
Mr Jones was appointed to be assistant principal at NHS by the Newtown Board of Education last July, and he came to the district from High Point Central High School in North Carolina, where he served as assistant principal since November 2010.
A Police Commission member is resigning from that elected position to take the job of police chief at the Middlebury Police Department. On June 3, James Viadero, 54, who was serving the first year of his second four-year term as a Police Commission member, submitted his letter of resignation to the commission. Mr Viadero was first elected to the commission in November 2009. Mr Viadero, who has been a Bridgeport police officer for nearly 30 years, is expected to take over the chief’s job in Middlebury soon. Middlebury officials selected Mr Viadero as police chief in May. At the Bridgeport Police Department, Mr Viadero most recently served as a captain, supervising the department’s detective division. His resignation from the local police commission, he said, will become effective when he assumes the police chief’s position in Middlebury.
Mr Viadero explained that he would resign from the commission “due to anticipated time constraints and to prevent any conflicts from arising.”
On Saturday, May 31, more than 200 Newtown community members gathered at the Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel with approximately 45 members from communities across the country who have been affected by acts of mass violence to discuss their experiences of loss, healing, and post-traumatic growth. The event, titled “Community Connections: A Day of Shared Experience,” brought together a variety of perspectives of people impacted by school shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio, and in the Amish community in Nickel Mines, Penn., to share stories of resilience in the aftermath of tragedy. The day was organized and hosted by a group of coordinating charities in an effort to educate the community on the many service providers available and to offer an opportunity to forge connections through shared experiences of trauma.