Police Commission Chairman Paul Mangiafico told commission members this week he expects that the panel will not receive a formal traffic report on the Newtown Hook & Ladder Volunteer Fire Company’s plans to build a new firehouse at 12 Church Hill Road, although the commission has urged that such a report be submitted for its review. The chairman said February 3 he considers the failure to submit such a report a mistake which has serious implications, noting that the commission in the past has received for review traffic studies for various other development projects. Without the benefit of a traffic study, the Police Commission is at a loss to formally review the traffic implications of the firehouse project, Mr Mangiafico said.
Police Commission members are reviewing traffic data that indicates that during a six-year period, representing calendar years 2009 through 2014 inclusive, there were 94 reported traffic accidents in the area of the five-legged flagpole intersection, where Main Street, Church Hill Road, and West Street meet. Of those 94 incidents, 17 accidents produced injuries, and 18 accidents involved vehicles colliding with the 100-foot-tall flagpole itself, which is not shielded by barriers. Two of the vehicular accidents involved pedestrians. Among those six calendar years, the number of accidents in a given year ranged from a low of 11 accidents during 2014 to a high of 24 accidents during 2013.
After the warm weather returns, the town plans to start installing a series of informational signs on local roads intended to promote bicycling safety. The signs graphically depict a bicyclist and an auto moving side-by-side on the road, indicating that Connecticut law requires there to be a minimum three-foot separation distance between motor vehicles and bicycles when the motor vehicles are passing bicycles. Fred Hurley, town director of public works, said he expects the town to start posting the signs after warm weather returns to the area.
A good measure of the crime deterrence of police on patrol stems from their high visibility both in their vehicles and on foot. During the past few years, town police have phased in some changes in their marked patrol vehicles, moving from large, dark blue sedans to smaller black and white sedans, and now to black and white SUVs that are specially designed for police patrols. During the coming year, town police will be phasing in changes to their uniform, which will retain some elements from the past and also incorporate improvements in apparel technology. Town police are now making the transition to more practical uniforms, when considering the physical aspects of patrol work. New features of the updated uniforms include an eight-pointed police hat that is more typical among municipal police departments, black cargo-style pants with multiple pockets for storage, a fabric badge on the shirt above the officer's left flap pocket, and the officer's surname embroidered onto the shirt in large letting above the right flap pocket.
In the hope of attracting more local input, an online survey to help the Distribution Committee of the Sandy Hook School Support Fund assess ongoing needs of those affected by 12/14 has been extended to February 13. The fund is among those administered by The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation. According to foundation Executive Director Jennifer D. Barahona, LCSW, this input is necessary in order to make well informed funding recommendations. “We conducted a similar survey this time last year and the results of that were used by our committee to fund several initiatives including becoming the primary funder in the community of out-of-pocket costs for mental health and wellness services associated with the tragedy,” Ms Barahona said.
Freshman Republican J.P. Sredzinski, whose 112th District overlaps several southern Newtown neighborhoods, told voters during his campaign last fall that he was committed to strengthening Connecticut’s economy, supporting first responders, and addressing “affordability in our state. Experts put Connecticut’s economy at or near the bottom of the nation when compared to other states and it’s clear we all need our fiscal environment to change,” he said as the newly seated incumbent. “Our economy is hurting, and Connecticut’s resources are strained. Our state is currently operating at significant deficit levels, which makes proposing new programs that require new spending very difficult to pass or support this session.
Astute local viewers of Sunday’s Super Bowl may have noticed a familiar flash of green when NBC zoomed in on New England Patriots Running Back Shane Vereen at the end of the game: the Super Bowl Champion was wearing a green and white Angels of Sandy Hook bracelet on his right wrist. The bracelet was viewed again when Vereen reached out to touch The Vince Lombardi Trophy as it was walked to a dais by former Super Bowl champion Kurt Warner.