During its second meeting in as many weeks, the Newtown Charter Revision Commission met October 7 at Newtown Senior Center to continue laying out plans to enhance the effectiveness, integrity, and user-friendliness of the community’s constitutional document. Members picked up where they left off last week reviewing a new draft of Section 7-90 related to the acquisition and disposition of town-owned land. Robert Hall, a former town attorney who handles land use litigation and who volunteered last week to begin drafting a new version of that charter chapter, reported this week that he decided instead to start with a fresh slate rather than try to recast existing language. The group also reviewed and discussed charter charge items categorized under “Board Composition,” along with some suggested changes to the rules of the commission.
An intense storm that passed through the state early on the morning of Tuesday, October 8, resulted in more than ten calls to local volunteer fire companies for utility lines and trees having fallen due to high winds, translating into more than 150 local electric outages at the height of power failures. Volunteer firefighters responded to 11 calls for service, but no injuries were reported due to the weather.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy is directing State of Connecticut flags to half-staff in honor of the Hartford firefighter who died Tuesday night while fighting a house fire in the city. Flags will remain at half-staff until services are held, the date of which has not been determined. According to the Associated Press, the firefighter — whose name has not yet been publicly released — died and three others were injured in a house fire.
Monroe College, a national leader in urban and international education, announced that its School of Criminal Justice will host a symposium titled, “Keeping Safe and Alert: Responding to Active Shooter Incidents,” which will be held at the college Bronx campus on October 16. Leading the discussion will be several distinguished public figures who have the experience and expertise to provide valuable knowledge and insights on the issue at hand, including Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe.
Police have arrested a Danbury woman on multiple charges in connection with a serious nighttime motor vehicle accident on Berkshire Road near the Monroe town line in June, in which that woman and two passengers in her vehicle were injured when it tumbled down a ravine along the roadway. Police said that after learning that they held a warrant for her arrest, Carissa Ashley Russo, 24, of Danbury went to the police station on the night of October 3 and was charged with two counts of second-degree assault with a motor vehicle. The assault charges are felonies.
Newtown’s registrars of voters, the head of the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC), and the secretary of the state have all released information pertinent to the upcoming November 4 elections. Democratic Registrar LeReine Frampton told The Newtown Bee this week that her office has permanently deactivated Edmond Town Hall as a polling location. She explained that while the building is compliant with Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) criteria for a public gathering place, it is not in compliance with the stricter ADA standards for a polling place. District 3-2 voters will now report to Reed Intermediate School, where they will cast ballots alongside voters from the Second District. Separate stations will be set up for each district within the school's cafetorium.
With the help of a hydraulic lift, members of Sound Solar Systems LLC fitted solar panels in place on the Parks & Recreation Department garage on Trades Lane Tuesday morning. The new solar system will cover “virtually the entire roof,” front and back, said Public Works Director Fred Hurley. Via a renewable energy program through the state and utility companies, and at no cost to the town, the municipal building is being fitted with solar panels.
Similar solar installs already include a system at Newtown Middle School, which is less visible to the public; and another system at Reed Intermediate School, which faces south, toward Wasserman Way. Another smaller install will take place at The Brian J. Silverlieb Animal Care and Control Center, just down hill from Reed and the Parks & Rec garage.
An acute psychiatric hospital at Fairfield Hills would treat bipolar disorder and people suffering from psychosis. “Those are patients we treat,” said Richard Kresch, MD, and CEO of HealthVest. He spoke with The Newtown Bee this week, after making a preliminary proposal to the Fairfield Hills Authority a week earlier. Dr Kresch spoke with the authority’s members about his idea for a roughly 100–125 bed, 70,000-square-foot behavioral health care hospital. This week he said the type of hospital he is considering for Newtown treats patients “in acute crisis — those suicidal or unable to care for themselves,” or where “there is an emergency component.” HealthVest is “an innovative behavioral healthcare firm that has redefined the psychiatric hospital space,” according to the website USHealthVest.com, which offers details about the Greenwich-based for-profit that has facilities operating in several states. “We have developed a number of new hospitals before — start-ups in areas in need, and we do this with our own funding,” Dr Kresch said this week. The hospitals are taxpayers, and could employ up to 200 staff.