The Town of Newtown and the Newtown Public School District have partnered to offer a series of informational meetings for the public to answer questions about the referendum scheduled for Saturday, October 5. The referendum is to authorize the town government to spend money which has been granted by the State of Connecticut. First Selectman Pat Llodra and Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr John Reed have each arranged for extended office hours during the next few weeks. In addition, three meetings with both officials have been scheduled, where they will answer questions from the public.
A bittersweet ceremony Thursday afternoon bid farewell to K-9 officer Baro, and welcomed Saint Michael, a nearly all black German shepherd, to the Newtown Police Department. Chief Michael Kehoe started the afternoon ceremony at Newtown Municipal Center by asking for a moment of silence to remember Baro, who retired earlier this year then died of cancer in late June. The afternoon, Officer Matthew Hayes later said, marked "the dawn of a new era" for the department. Police Officer & K-9 Handler Felicia Figol addressed a crowd that included town officials, residents, police department members, AKC club members and a host of K-9 units and handlers from surrounding towns, before Town Clerk Debbie Aurelia Halstead swore the new K-9 into service.
With the October 5 referendum on the town accepting state financial assistance to demolish the Sandy Hook School building and to design and build a new facility, the Board of Education took up a few related topics during its meeting on September 17.
“As we discussed at a couple of other meetings,” Business Director Ronald Bienkowski told the school board Tuesday evening, “we are interested in retrieving useful items from Sandy Hook School before it is demolished.”
The state Labor Department threw some cold water Thursday on Connecticut’s optimistic job outlook. The department not only reported a 6,000-job decline in August, but scaled back the 11,500-job gain it announced in July by more than 16 percent. Despite the job losses, Connecticut’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in August at 8.1 percent. That’s because the number of people actively seeking employment also fell last month.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced today that Connecticut is taking another step forward toward achieving a cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy future for residents and businesses with the selection of two projects that will generate large amounts of electricity from clean energy sources, helping to achieve renewable energy goals at lower costs to ratepayers. The governor said the cost of power from the two projects — a solar installation slated for land in Sprague and Lisbon, and a wind energy farm in Maine — will average under eight cents per kilowatt hour (k/Wh), a price close to matching the cost of power generated from conventional fossil fuel plants and some of the lowest costs ever obtained for solar and wind power in the region.
Two members of a panel charged with overseeing the town's new animal control facility spent most of their presentation to the Board of Selectmen September 16 detailing design and construction issues that are affecting the facility's operation nearly a year after it officially opened. Adria Henderson and Robin Olson, who lead the seven member Animal Control Advisory Board, appeared to present their annual report which is required as part of the board's charge. In introducing the pair, First Selectman Pat Llodra said the panel was appointed to be both a support system and “policy bridge” between the animal control center and the town. The group is also charged with developing and maintaining policies and best practices, the first selectman said. Ms Henderson and Ms Olson had both good news and bad news for the selectmen this week.
The trial of former Newtown resident John Heath, 70, who is accused of murdering his wife Elizabeth, 32, in 1984, is scheduled to start on Wednesday, September 25, in state Superior Court in Danbury. The starting date of the trial is subject to delay, if circumstances warrant. The state alleges that Mr Heath of Bridgewater murdered his wife in April 1984, and then hid her body, which was wrapped in bedding, in a container located beneath the floor of a barn near the home where they then lived at 89 Poverty Hollow Road in Newtown. Ms Heath’s remains were discovered in April 2010 when the Poverty Hollow Road property’s current owners were renovating the barn and uncovered her skeleton. Newtown police arrested Mr Heath on a warrant in April 2012, after which he pleaded not guilty to the murder charge. Since his arrest, Mr Heath has been held on $1 million bail on the murder charge at the Bridgeport Correctional Center.
A head-on collision involving a tractor-trailer truck and a compact station wagon early on the morning of Thursday, September 19, closed down a section of Berkshire Road near the Newtown-Monroe border for more than three hours. Police said motorist Joseph Sullo, 23, of Oxford was driving a 1998 Ford Escort station wagon eastward on Berkshire Road, near its intersection with Great Quarter Road, at about 4:47 am, when the Ford crossed over into the westbound lane and collided head-on with a westbound tractor-trailer truck driven by Stanley Swintlicki, 64, of Shelton. Police, firefighters, ambulance corps members and an on-call paramedic all responded to the scene.
He joked that he has been walking since he was a year old, but Stamford resident Al Forte’s most recent journey began August 31, at Old North Church in Boston, and will end at Ground Zero in New York City near the end of September.
Both a welcoming and a farewell, Newtown Police Department had a ceremony scheduled for Thursday, September 19, to pay tribute to the late K-9 officer Baro. The ceremony’s second purpose was to officially welcome and introduce to the community the department’s new K-9 officer, a 2-year-old German shepherd named St Michael. More than 30 K-9 units from around the state were expected to participate in the ceremony, as were Newtown K-9 Handler Officer Felicia Figol, Officer Matthew Hayes, and the Newtown Honor Guard.