UPDATE: This workshop has been postponed to Thursday, January 23, due to snow. || For residents interested in learning more about their home’s solar energy potential, a final workshop for the Solarize Newtown initiative will be offered Tuesday, January 21, from 6 to 8 pm, at the Sandy Hook Fire & Rescue main station. The deadline to join the Solarize Newtown program, which makes the solar process easier and more affordable for homeowners, is February 11.
Charged in September 2013 to investigate whether or not a permanent memorial to 12/14 is appropriate for the community, and if so, what that might look like, the Permanent Memorial Commission of 12 members appointed by First Selectman Pat Llodra has been getting to know one another, defining its mission, and otherwise preparing to take on what could be a daunting task, Permanent Memorial Commission Chairman Kyle Lyddy said this week.
The committee seems to be in agreement that such a memorial is fitting and that it is an action with which to move forward. Conversations at the most recent meeting, Thursday, January 9, have led to planning “what this could be,” Mr Lyddy said. The committee is also charged with determining where in the community a permanent memorial might be located, as well as how to fund and maintain any memorial.
Scott Lavelle, property manager for Divivo-Vona, LLC, confirmed Thursday morning, January 16, that an eviction is proceeding against Make A Home Foundation, located at 40 High Bridge Road in Newtown. Make A Home Foundation was established in Sandy Hook in 2010, and originally operated out of offices at 87 Church Hill Road. Its stated intention at that time was to provide free furniture, appliances, clothing, and other items to veterans, families, and other individuals who are homeless, either due to temporary circumstances or those problems that are ongoing. Founders Anita Pettengill and Dan Telesco moved the charity business to the 56,000 square foot High Bridge site in 2011. In June 2012, Ms Pettengill told The Newtown Bee, “Mario Divivo, the owner of the warehouse, has provided the warehouse to us, rent free, for one year. But in August, we will have to start paying rent.” The eviction is due to nonpayment of rent on the space for the past year and a half, said Mr Lavelle.
At their January 7 meeting, Police Commission members accepted the retirement of sergeants Darlene Froehlich and John Cole. In her letter of resignation, Sgt Froehlich cited a “cruel work environment” and “hatred” within the department as prompting her decision to retire.
Ms Froehlich, 55, joined the police department in July 1984. Mr Cole, 52, joined the organization in January 1989. The full-pension vesting period for town police officers is 25 years.
In a December 26 e-mail to Carole Ross, the town’s human resources director, Ms Froehlich retired from the police department, effective January 6.
Organizers of a documentary screening and panel discussion set for Monday, January 20, at 7:30 pm, at The Ridgefield Playhouse hope the event will inspire increased collaboration between urban communities that witness gun violence on almost an hourly basis, and communities like Newtown, whose experience with gun violence on December 14, 2012, continues to attract global attention. Newtown residents are invited to join Shell Shocked producer John Richie of New Orleans, Attorney Monte Frank of Newtown, the Reverend Sam Saylor of Hartford, and the Reverend Henry Brown of Hartford in a screening of the documentary, followed by a CNN segment featuring Mr Frank and Rev Saylor. A subsequent panel discussion on gun violence in America aims to illustrate how urban and suburban communities are joining forces to create a movement to reduce the gun violence epidemic.
MIDDLETOWN – Republican gubernatorial contender Tom Foley told the state’s largest gun group Tuesday night that he would block further gun-control legislation if elected, but he has no plans to seek repeal of the sweeping changes to the state’s gun laws approved last year in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“I will promise you this, if I am governor, any further attempts at restrictions on law-abiding residents by our legislature will stop at the governor’s office,” Foley told members of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, who packed the Elks Lodge for their monthly meeting.
Volunteer fire departments and emergency medical responder companies will not be required to provide health insurance for their members or face a penalty under the Affordable Care Act, the US Department of Treasury announced on January 10. The announcement was made after close scrutiny by the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service into IRS codes and proposed regulations, following comments received from firefighters and officials across the country in recent months. Leaders of volunteer companies had expressed concern about the financial impact of having volunteers fall under new regulations announced with the unveiling of Obamacare. The IRS also heard from at least five members of Congress with constituents in Connecticut.
Newtown High School Principal Charles Dumais was chosen unanimously by the Amity Regional School District #5 as that district’s new superintendent of schools at a meeting of that district’s Board of Education Monday, January 13. Just after the news started to spread, Mr Dumais posted an announcement called “Transition” to his blog about the appointment.Mr Dumais started his tenure in Newtown in January 2008. The Newtown Public School District also shared a press release on Tuesday, January 14, from Superintendent of Schools John Reed. "We are grateful for the many contributions Mr Dumais has brought to Newtown High School and for the profound leadership he has provided to staff, students, and families," Dr Reed wrote in the release. "I hope you will join me in expressing gratitude to [Mr Dumais] and wish him well when he assumes his new position." The release also explains that Mr Dumais will assume his new responsibilities for the Amity Regional School District #5 on March 1.
Every time an inmate enters or leaves a correction facility in Connecticut, a database is updated so the state has an accurate count of its incarcerated population. And each day, those numbers are used to produce a chart on the state’s website. It’s one of the few state “datasets” that is updated daily for the public. But it takes persistence to find the chart because it’s buried on the website of the state’s Office of Policy and Management (OPM), and it exists nowhere else, including on other government websites with state criminal justice data. Also, the feature to download the raw data is broken. These types of problems are common even in the best government data, which can be hidden in various corners of the Internet, and is often in formats that range from user unfriendly to unusable. In short, data is difficult to gather and analyze. Following the example of 39 states and 43 cities and counties, Connecticut is planning to launch an online data portal in February or March. The project is being run out of the governor’s office, with OPM doing much of the planning.
The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation is almost ready to close out and begin analyzing the results of an online survey it published in mid-December. The foundation's grant distribution committee hopes to review survey findings to learn about unmet needs, and how its members can assist individuals and specific groups with the remaining $4.3 million. After an initial distribution to survivors' families and victims, the remaining funds have been set aside to respond to both short and long-term concerns. In an interview Monday with The Newtown Bee, Foundation Executive Director Jennifer Barahona, LCSW, said committee members hope to close the survey on or around January 22. "The distribution committee is unique in that its 11 members are already able to share perspectives from various groups that were impacted by the tragedy," Ms Barahona said. "The first charge of the committee has been to solicit public input through this public survey as well as through soliciting feedback from impacted groups through committee members and myself."