After requesting developers for the Lexington Villages complex off Church Hill Road return to the Economic Development Commission to further discuss a pending business incentive tax abatement that was hastily approved earlier this month, the Board of Selectmen seemed momentarily taken aback January 29 when developers and economic development officials returned requesting the original three-year, 45 percent abatement be extended to seven years. Following a special meeting one day earlier, Economic and Community Development Director Elizabeth Stocker said the EDC had a much better opportunity to examine and discuss the pending development. Ms Stocker said the commission examined the package of improvements and permanent public benefits that will result from the mixed-use retail/office development, and determined that an extension to the original request was justified.
Printed bound versions of the 2014 Town Plan of Conservation and Development and the 2013 Fairfield Hills Master Plan are now available at the town Land Use Agency office at Newtown Municipal Center at 3 Primrose Street. The published volumes are the product of lengthy planning projects by the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) and by the ad hoc Fairfield Hills Master Plan Amendment Work Group, respectively. The documents are intended to serve as general guides for the future development and conservation of the town, and the town-owned section of Fairfield Hills. The price of the documents is $25 for the 171-page town plan, and $10 for the 34-page Fairfield Hills plan. Both documents are also available for public review on the town’s website on the Internet.
Newtown officials and a GE representative working with the first selectman’s office are about a week away from filing for approximately $6 million in grants from the US Department of Justice that the town intends to use to fund several new, nongovernment professionals who will help deliver sustained and targeted mental health and recovery support in the community. In anticipation of receiving the grant, First Selectman Pat Llodra said she is about to send out invitations to individuals, organizations, and agencies from which a seven-member oversight board for the grant implementation would be created.
What will the Fairfield Hills Authority’s role be in the future? This and other topics including building upkeep and prospective tenants to occupy the nearly 80-year-old former state hospital buildings topped the list for conversation at the first authority meeting this year. New to the chairman’s seat, Thomas Connors addressed members on Monday, January 27, saying that he was honored that members put their faith in him and that he hopes to “keep up the excellent stewardship of prior chair” James Bernardi, who headed the authority until December 18, passing the baton to Mr Connors that evening.
A South Carolina company that has installed protective window coverings at the U.S. Capitol and other buildings around the world is apologizing for an email advertisement that used a photo of the shot-out entrance to Sandy Hook School. The Associated Press reported January 31 that Commercial Window Shield of Taylors, SC, sent an email Tuesday to school officials across Connecticut. The email said the window coverings can stop bullets and keep out intruders. The ad upset officials in Newtown and other towns. Some officials contacted the company, which immediately apologized. First Selectman Pat Llodra called the use of the photo "inappropriate," but also seemed to accept the company's apology. "We're hyper-vigilant because of this horrible event, so we're quick to respond, quick to react," Llodra said Friday. "There's no hard feelings here. I bear no ill will. People make mistakes."
Newtown police said that after learning that they held warrants for his arrest, a former resident came to the police station on January 24 and was charged with 186 counts of violation of a protective order. Police said that William A. Bruno, 44, of New Haven came to the police station and was arrested on the charges, after which he was released on $100,000 bail for a January 27 arraignment in Danbury Superior Court. The 186 charges are felonies. One warrant listed one count based on an August 25, 2013, incident, and the other warrant listed 185 counts based on incidents that occurred from June 26 to August 26, 2013.
Fire Marshal Bill Halstead noted this week that during the past year, malfunctioning clothes dryers have caused three structure fires in town. Most recently, on January 2, a malfunctioning clothes dryer caused a house fire on Thunder Ridge Road in Sandy Hook that resulted in approximately $500,000 in property damage. Consequently, Mr Halstead is offering residents some safety tips about clothes dryers. The leading cause of home dryer fires is failure to clean those dryers.
A Nashville, Tenn., television station has reported that Robbie Bruce, the co-founder of an organization created in the wake of 12/14, to raise funds for those affected by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, will cooperate fully with authorities who are investigating claims that he misappropriated $73,000. WKRN-TV Nashville said Mr Bruce released a statement on January 17, through his attorney, Jonathan Framer. The statement said: “We will cooperate fully with the inquiries made by the state of Tennessee and look forward to the opportunity to do so. For the immediate future all of our communications will be with the appropriate state agencies.”
Jeffrey Silver, 36, who has been a town police officer for nearly 15 years, has been promoted to the rank of sergeant, in which capacity he will oversee the activities of patrol shifts at the police department. Police Commission members on January 28 unanimously selected Mr Silver for the post, according to Police Commission Chairman Paul Mangiafico. Since 2006, Sgt Silver has specialized in commercial truck inspections for the police department. For the past three years, Sgt Silver has worked as a member of the of the police patrol division’s traffic services unit. He also has worked as a training officer at the police department, providing instruction to other officers on the use of force, including rifles, pistols, and tasers. The sergeant is also a child safety seat technician who works to aid the public in properly installing such devices. He also instructs other police officers in the use of intoximeters in DUI cases.
While continuing its review of the superintendent’s proposed operating budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, the Board of Education took up the topic of security during its workshop meeting on Thursday, January 30.Interim Superintendent of Schools John Reed presented his proposed budget on January 23, and the Board of Education began hearing from advocates for different parts of the budget that night. The superintendent’s proposed operating budget for 2014-15 totals $71,580,034, which reflects a $534,730, or a 0.75 percent, increase over the 2013-14 fiscal year.By January 28, the school board had heard from school principals, Director of Pupil Services Julie Haggard, and Newtown Continuing Education Director Elissa Gellis. On January 30, the board heard about its curriculum and technology budgets, general services and security, the plant operations and maintenance budget, the transportation budget, and employee benefits. Potential security costs in the budget took up the largest portion of the discussion in the January 30 session.