Due to the snowstorm that is expected to bring a few inches of snow to Newtown before it ends early Wednesday, January 22, groups have begun announcing cancellations and postponements of meetings and programs that had been planned for today. Groups that are canceling and postponing events are invited to contact The Newtown Bee. We will update this story, and our social media, as announcements arrive. Call Associate Editor Shannon Hicks at 203-426-3141 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your information.
(AP) A children’s triathlon program inspired by the life a 7-year-old boy who was killed on 12/14 is expanding in Connecticut. The CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation has reached an agreement with the Greater Waterbury YMCA, Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut in Danbury, and the Central Connecticut Coastal YMCA in Trumbull to host the Race4Chase Kid's Tri program. The program honors Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski, who competed in his first triathlon the summer before he was killed.
Board of Education Chair Debbie Leidlein said as long as her colleagues support the idea, she is willing to have a dialogue with Board of Finance members and other town officials regarding budget and enrollment trends that were updated by finance board Vice Chair Joe Kearney this week. During his presentation January 13, Mr Kearney used a graph to illustrate what he described as an “unsustainable” trend of increasing school spending despite declining student enrollment. Plotting data from the last school enrollment study to predict anticipated future student population trends, and an assumed average 2.1 percent annual school budget increase, Mr Kearney believes local taxpayers could be facing a per student expenditure of $20,000 by 2019 unless district spending is dialed back.
A half dozen Newtown officials spent about 90 minutes on a recent visit to Ridgefield January 6, getting a tour and some advice on that town’s experience with operating its relatively new and extremely popular recreation center. The Newtown group was on one of several expected field trips to see a number of rec centers across the state, as the town begins preparing for a new facility here that will incorporate both recreational and senior services. First Selectman Pat Llodra, Parks and Recreation Director Amy Mangold and Assistant Director of Recreation RoseAnn Reggiano, Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Ed Marks, Commission on Aging Chairman Curt Symes and Commissioner Sheila Torres, along with General Electric administrative assistant Anne Alzapiedi were hosted by Ridgefield Parks and Rec Director Paul Roche and Assistant Director of Recreation Robin Matthews on the visit.
As C.H. Booth Library department heads continue to inventory losses at the library from the January 4 flood released by broken sprinkler pipes, remediation is making good progress, said Acting Director Beryl Harrison, Monday, January 20. Work space and tables in the area of the Main Circulation Desk have been removed, and DVDs and books on the second floor are marked for packing and removal to safe areas within the building, in anticipation of further repairs to ceilings and walls, and the removal of all carpeting there.
Nearly three dozen residents from the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Penn., were in Newtown last Friday. The group spent about nine hours in town, offering support from an unfortunate point of view. These were people who were also affected by an act of violence that took the lives of five children while they were at school. The incident has forever put the name of Nickel Mines into a category that Sandy Hook joined 13 months ago, that of communities rocked by gun violence. Invitations had been extended to some of those who were most affected by the events of 12/14, according to Newtown Congregational Church Senior Minister Matthew Crebbin. The day was organized so that the participants had the opportunity for private conversations. It was important for all parties involved to know that the Amish were not coming to tell anyone how they should be responding, or feeling. They were not giving advice, said Rev Crebbin, they were just offering to listen and share their stories.
(AP) An expert told a commission looking into the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre in Connecticut on Friday that there is no data linking autism with increased violent criminal behavior. Documents recently released by the state police show a Yale professor had diagnosed Lanza in 2006 with profound autism spectrum disorder, "with rigidity, isolation, and a lack of comprehension of ordinary social interaction and communications," while also displaying symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is considering whether Connecticut's mental health programs, particularly in the schools, are adequate, among other things.
With a short list of topics to run past the Board of Finance Monday evening, First Selectman Pat Llodra started with the wintry weather. Joking that “we want a mild winter, on Friday through Monday,” she had her eye on the town’s recent snow removal costs. Weekend pay is time and a half on Saturdays, and double time on Sundays. She told the Board of Finance that the town was already experiencing a drain on its budget this winter season. The board on January 13 also covered potential sewer extensions in Hawleyville, including the costs associated with that and how it would affect land with development potential within the Hawleyville district.
A public informational meeting has been scheduled by the State Department of Transportation for Tuesday, February 11, on its plans to replace an antiquated bridge and to alleviate a traffic bottleneck on the section of Sugar Street just west of its signalized intersection with Main Street, South Main Street, and Glover Avenue. The session is scheduled for 7 pm at Newtown Municipal Center. As part of the Sugar Street improvement project, a 14-foot-long Sugar Street bridge, which carries that road over an unnamed stream near Elm Drive, will be widened from its current width of 28 feet to 43 feet. The bridge, which was built in 1929, carries approximately 8,800 vehicles daily. That bridge, which becomes a traffic bottleneck during the morning and evening rush periods, currently has one eastbound lane and one westbound lane. The bridge replacement project will result in two eastbound lanes and one westbound lane on the bridge. One of those two eastbound lanes on the bridge will be a “left-turn-only” lane, thus alleviating the traffic bottleneck there.