Dispensing February’s ‘Standing O’s And Oh, Nos!’
This week we offer the latest installment of an occasional Editorial Ink Drops feature we titled “Standing O’s And Oh, Nos!” — because some issues and individuals in the community deserve this kind of heightened focus, for good or for ill, right at the top of our front page.
Our first “Standing O” of the new year goes out to all Newtown Public School Special Ed professionals, who struggled through the rollout of the new and recently mandated Special Education Data System. The CT-SEDS was developed as a cloud-based environment creating synergy between all Newtown and Connecticut school individualized education programs (IEPs) and the State Department of Education.
An exposé lambasting the SEDS’ hasty, poorly thought-out launch and myriad tech issues was issued by our colleagues at The Hartford Courant this week. But The Newtown Bee was thrilled to learn from Director of Pupil Services Deborah Mailloux-Petersen that thanks to strong support from school leadership and hundreds of hours of extra time devoted by frontline SEDS users, local staff are utilizing the system appropriately. As a result all Newtown public schools are in conformity with state and federal guidelines related to student IEPs.
On behalf of all the residents of Newtown’s mobile home communities, we stand and applaud State Attorney General William Tong and all elected lawmakers backing proposed legislation to ensure mobile home parks in Connecticut remain affordable and well-managed. As the result of many smaller “mom and pop” mobile home parks being gobbled up by corporate operators, many residents are facing incessant rent increases while services and responsiveness to maintenance concerns have concurrently dwindled.
Our Legislature’s Housing Committee should support implementation of House Bill 6589: An Act Concerning Rent Stabilization in Mobile Manufactured Home Parks and Senate Bill 988: An Act Concerning the Purchase of Mobile Manufactured Home Parks. We agree with AG Tong. Mobile home communities remain some of the more affordable housing choices — particularly for low-income seniors — and keeping these unique communities safe, well-maintained, and affordable is vital.
We could not help but exclaim “Oh No!” after learning about the latest Twitter controversy involving neighboring Brookfield first-term First Selectman Tara Carr, who was subject to nationwide attention after her Twitter account was suspended. Reportedly reacting to tweets by several others about President Joe Biden’s lethargic response to a meandering Chinese spy balloon, she replied: “He’s aiding and abetting the enemy. Ready. Aim. Fire. One shot, one kill. That simple…”
It’s a stretch to believe Carr — a retired career Army Lt Colonel — would take to such a global public forum to threaten our POTUS, but the language was sufficient to cross the social network’s line of decorum. Whether all the brouhaha was, as Carr asserted, an election year attempt to smear her remains to be seen. But we appreciate the response from Newtown Legislative Delegation member Martin Foncello, who stated: “I haven’t spoken with Carr since these tweets were brought to my attention — [but] I do think we need to tamp down the temperature of political rhetoric across the board.”
Our final “Standing O” recognizes the dozens and dozens of Newtown students who responded to The Newtown Bee’s “Why I LOVE Newtown” essay project. We have received numerous queries asking when finalists will be announced, and all we can ask is for your patience as we process the many contributions, prep them for review by our judges, and hopefully complete the process and recognize finalists and all our thoughtful contributors by the end of March.