The Board of Selectmen heard presentations by two key town staffers June 1, detailing a number of comings and goings. Brief presentations by Economic Development Coordinator Betsy Paynter and Planning Director George Benson revealed a number of new commercial projects going up or being planned for development, as well as buildings that have or will be coming down after being cited under Newtown’s Blight Ordinance. Ms Paynter also reviewed a new economic development map that has divided the community into seven separate business districts. Those districts, she explained, encompass Hawleyville, Botsford, Dodgingtown, Sandy Hook Village, the Newtown Borough area, Fairfield Hills, and a strip stretching down along South Main Street between the Borough and Botsford.
Anne Scarpa on May 26 thought she saw a dog in her yard from an upstairs window, then realized it was a bear. She and her daughter quickly took pictures as the bear “ate some vegetation, then went through a split rail fence.” She said it went in the direction of Bennetts Bridge. Ms Scarpa described the bear as “very cute and mellow.” She said its movements were slow and it was “doing nothing too destructive.” Ms Scarpa soon learned about a Facebook page, Newtown Moms Unite, where other residents had been posting accounts of bear sightings in late May. Locations for the bear, based on the Facebook posts and inquiries either sent to or shared with The Bee, track its locations in Sandy Hook along roads off Berkshire Road (Route 34) on the Lake Zoar side, from Great Quarter Road, and moving west along the river toward Stonebridge Road, Gelding Hill Road, Founders Lane, Jeremiah Road, and Cider Mill. The young black bear in Newtown most likely is the same bear that state officials tranquilized last month in Shelton and transported to a Newtown forest.
After learning that police held three warrants for her arrest, at about 6 pm on June 1, Kathleen McKinney, 49, of 5 Pomperaug Road turned herself over to police at the police station and was charged with three counts of second-degree failure to appear in court, police said.
The charges stem from McKinney’s failure to appear in March on various pending charges in courts at Bantam, Hartford, and Meriden, police said.
After processing, police released McKinney on an aggregate bail of $8,000 for appearances on June 23, June 24, and June 25 in courts at Bantam, Hartford, and Meriden, respectively. Read more about recent police activity in this week's report.
A facility and enrollment study, presented by Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, at the Board of Education’s meeting on Tuesday, June 2, recommends closing Hawley Elementary School due to declining enrollment. While Hawley Elementary School was the main focus during the presentation, cost estimates were also provided for the closure of the middle school. “This is difficult work, and this is work that makes folks very unhappy,” said Dr Erardi. Added together, the cost savings and cost avoidances, listed in the presentation of the Facility and Enrollment Study Committee, for closing Hawley are roughly $15,387,000. Cost avoidances are listed as Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) and maintenance costs.
Members of the Newtown Police Department and staff members from Garner Correctional Institution are scheduled to participate on Friday, June 5, in the Connecticut Special Olympics Torch Run segment to be held in Newtown. Bethel Police Department members are scheduled to hand off the Special Olympics torch to local runners at about 11:15 am that day at the Dodgingtown Firehouse, 55 Dodgingtown Road.
Newtown Town Clerk Debbie Aurelia Halstead reminds owners of dogs six months of age and over that their pets must be licensed annually during the month of June. The new 2015 licenses are available at the town clerk’s office beginning June 1. The town clerk’s office will also be sponsoring a Rabies Clinic on Saturday, June 20, from 10 am to noon, in the Edmond Town Hall gymnasium, 45 Main Street. Dog licenses will be available during this annual clinic.
American flags that are no longer serviceable will be retired at a ceremony Friday, June 5, at the VFW Post 308, Freedom Defenders Way (Tinkerfield Road). The full ceremony will begin at 5:30 pm. American flags that are worn and no longer usable may be dropped off at the post prior to that day.
After Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, presented configurations during the Board of Education's meeting on Tuesday, June 2, for closing a school in the district, he said the Facility and Enrollment Study Committee endorses closing an elementary school.
Hawley Elementary School was the main focus during the presentation, but cost estimates were also provided if Newtown Middle School were closed.
"This is difficult work, and this is work that makes folks very unhappy," said Dr Erardi.
Police Chief Michael Kehoe, 60, who joined the police department in 1978, has submitted his letter of retirement to the Police Commission, stating that his last day of work will be on January 6, 2016.
Chief Kehoe worked his way up through the ranks of the organization, becoming its acting chief in 1999, and then becoming its chief in 2001.
In a June 1 letter to Police Commission Chairman Paul Mangiafico, Chief Kehoe wrote, in part, that his career has been professionally and personally rewarding, adding that he will work to aid commission members as the police department makes a transition to a new leader.