Besides leaving 10 inches of snow on the ground by Friday evening, Connecticut’s first winter storm of 2014 also should test the state’s new effort to control flying ice on its highways. According to a new law that took effect last week, truck drivers could be fined up to $1,250 if accumulated ice dislodges and causes damage to a person or to another vehicle. What became known as the “flying ice” or “ice missile” law is the product of more than a decade of legislative debate over how to handle large sheets of frozen material that unexpectedly crash into the windshields of unlucky motorists each winter.
The state Supreme Court will hear arguments on Thursday on whether police in Connecticut can withhold arrest reports from the public and just issue press releases instead, while prosecutions are pending. Journalists are calling the case critical for reporters being able to get arrest reports quickly, and for the public’s right to know how their police departments operate.
The US Department of Education is awarding an additional $1.9 million to Newtown Public School District to help with ongoing recovery efforts following 12/14. The grant is being made through the Department’s Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) program, which awards Immediate Services and Extended Services grants to school districts, colleges and universities that have experienced a significant traumatic event and need resources to respond, recover, and re-establish safe environments for students. Newtown received its first Project SERV award, a $1.3 million grant, in May 2013. The second grant will continue to support the school district as it restores a safe and healthy environment for teaching and learning in its schools.
On Monday morning, department heads at the C.H. Booth Library got to work sorting through materials on the first and second floor 1998 addition, where water damage from burst pipes Saturday afternoon, January 4, was evident in sodden carpeting throughout the affected areas, trash bags filled with water-logged paper supplies and ruined equipment, ceiling tiles on the floors, and the pervasive smell of dampened plaster.
Workers from J.P. MaGuire Associates returned to the C.H. Booth Library on Main Street in Newtown, early Sunday morning, January 5, to continue damage control from flooding that occurred at the library Saturday afternoon, when pipes located above the second floor office of the director froze and burst. "We're doing mitigation of water damage," explained Brian Molloy, project manager for the property damage company owned by Jim MaGuire, as workers pulled down soaked ceiling tiles and dry wall. Dropped ceiling tiles in the director's office, the tech area, and the circulation department fell under the onslaught of water when the pipes broke, said Acting Library Director Beryl Harrison. Water soaked the main floor carpet and spread through the fiction department, as far back as the Young Adult Department on the second floor.
As 2014 opened, members of Newtown Hook & Ladder Company were looking forward hopefully, as their plans for a new firehouse in the borough finally were starting to take shape. The project will enable the fire company to own its facility rather than to continue as a tenant of the Town of Newtown. The group, which has served as a local firefighting organization since 1883, for more than 25 years has sought new quarters that would suitably provide shelter and storage for its equipment. Multiple proposals for a new Hook & Ladder firehouse at multiple places have failed to materialize over the years for various reasons. Hook & Ladder currently occupies a municipally owned structure at 45 Main Street, behind Edmond Town Hall. It is hoping to join the ranks of the town's other four fire companies, each of whom own their firehouses.
With the arrival of winter weather, town police are reminding local residents and commercial snow removal personnel of multiple laws that pertain to snow and ice control. Among the seasonal reminders: one town ordinance prohibits the parking of vehicles on town roads between sunset and sunrise from November 15 through March 15; another requires that residents to clear snow, ice, and debris from sidewalks along any streets adjacent to their homes; and a third makes it illegal for property owners and snow removal companies to deposit snow and/or ice on roadways.
Comptroller Kevin Lembo says the state of Connecticut is on track to end this fiscal year with a $273.3 million budget surplus. In a letter to Governor Dannel P. Malloy, released on Thursday, Mr Lembo said the largest portion of the excess revenue stems from the state’s recent tax amnesty program, which allowed people to pay off their back state taxes. However, Lembo said there are also positive trends developing in all overall state revenue.