Hours before the Board of Selectmen approved a $250,000 bonding resolution to tear it down, Public Works Director Fred Hurley was shoving the rotted front door of Danbury Hall open revealing a sensory collision. Within the long low brick structure that visually obstructs the front expanse of Fairfield Hills, Mr Hurley pointed to the crumbling plaster walls and collapsing ceilings amid beautiful two story high arch windows and artfully crafted woodwork and marble. By mid-October, he hopes to have salvaged as much valuable material as possible from the former hospital dorm. And then the rest will likely be gone forever.
A unanimous town meeting vote that approved the appropriation of $750,000 in funds from the state for planning and design work for a new Sandy Hook Elementary School was over in 11 minutes. A full parking lot and line out the door at a crowded Newtown Center Wednesday found attendees packing the building’s Council Chamber, where the meeting took place. Many residents stood, while others remained in the hallway unable to find a seat or even standing room inside. After calling the meeting to order, First Selectman and moderator Pat Llodra asked for a motion. Resident Christine Wilford moved to appropriate the sum, seconded by Kathy (Fetchick) Hamilton. When the 150-plus residents in the room soon voted on the motion it passed unanimously.
Nancy K. Crevier, Shannon Hicks & John Voket
• News •
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Along with answering questions like “Do you have hash browns or home fries?” the counter help at Sandy Hook Deli & Catering have become adept at answering “How can I see Sandy Hook School?” or “Where is the Sandy Hook memorial?” The answers, said Deli cashier Zandra Thompson, are “There is no reason to go there” and “There is no memorial.” Employees continue to see people from as far away as Georgia or the Carolinas. The lazy summer days bring in three to four people a week seeking to explore the scene of the 12/14 tragedy; higher numbers of people visit Sandy Hook Center on weekends. Most visitors are looking for a memorial and wish to pay their respects to those killed that Friday morning. A few have less than honorable reasons to visit. Access to Dickinson Drive, which leads to Sandy Hook Elementary School, has been limited to officials since the shootings. On January 4, 2013, Public Works employees placed huge cement blocks across the driveway to increase security at the crime scene. Those barriers remain in place, along with surveillance equipment and numerous signs warning that trespassers will be prosecuted.
President Obama likes it, as do top congressional leaders, but Connecticut’s Democratic senators -– Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy -– say they can’t sign on to a deal that would reverse a sharp rate hike in a popular student loan. “It’s hard for me to get my head wrapped around the idea that the federal government is going to continue to make millions of dollars in profit from the student loan program,” Murphy said. Blumenthal is even more critical.
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced his “Television Consumer Freedom Act” back in May, but Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut became the bill’s first Democratic co-sponsor Tuesday. The legislation would give Americans more control over what they watch on television by allowing them to buy individual television channels, instead of having to purchase the packages of channels offered by their cable providers.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the new headquarters of Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps will be on Monday evening, July 29, at 6 pm. The event will be held at Fairfield Hills campus at the garage’s new location, across from Reed Intermediate School. The new building’s design has taken into consideration the need for increased integration with other Newtown-based health and wellness organizations, with a second floor devoted to education. Features of the building will include individual crew-member bunk rooms, office space for the executive board and the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Association Inc, three double-long garage bays, and technologically advanced electronic and security systems.
During a sobriety checkpoint held on South Main Street on the night of Friday, July 19, and early morning hours of Saturday, July 20, police charged three motorists with driving under the influence, according to Newtown Police Sergeant John Cole. Police set up the eight-hour checkpoint on the section of South Main Street just south of its intersection with Borough Lane, using a large commercial parking lot there as a location for investigations. Police estimate that about 550 drivers passed through the checkpoint. All motorists driving in both directions on the road were stopped and briefly interviewed by police to determine whether they were driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
John McKinney, Newtown's state senator and the Republican Senate Minority Leader, announced he is running for governor in 2014, saying he hopes to restore fiscal prosperity to Connecticut. The eight-term Fairfield lawmaker announced his candidacy Tuesday morning. ‘‘Over the coming weeks, we'll work to build support and a statewide organization to help put Connecticut back on the right track,’’ Sen McKinney said. He criticized Democratic Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s approach to rebuilding the state’s economy, saying the first-term governor ‘‘by almost every measure’’ has taken Connecticut’s economy in the wrong direction.
Newtown Republican Town Committee Secretary Carey Schierloh released the names of residents seeking local office or reelection following an RTC caucus at Edmond Town Hall on Monday, July 22. First Selectman Pat Llodra won her renomination handily, as did her running mate, Selectman Will Rodgers. The GOP Board of Finance nominees were incumbents John Kortze, Joe Kearney, Harry Waterbury, and John Godin, who previously chaired two recent Charter Revision Commissions. Republicans hope to fill a two-year opening on the Board of Education with newcomer David Freedman, while candidates for the four-year openings include incumbent Chair Debbie Leidlein, Keith Alexander, and former Legislative Council Education Committee chair Kathy (Fetchick) Hamilton.
Newtown's Democratic Town Committee announced its choices for November 's ballot following a caucus July 23 at Edmond Town Hall. The DTC is not planning to recruit a candidate to oppose Republican First Selectman Pat Llodra. Former First Selectman Herb Rosenthal, the DTC's candidates committee chair and an incumbent candidate for ZBA alternate, said after a challenging recruitment period, nearly two dozen "good people" stepped up to serve. "We were fortunate that most incumbents said they would run again," Mr Rosenthal said. "It was hard to find people to run this year, so we needed these good people."