The public is invited to enjoy live music and refreshments on Saturday when the Parks & Recreation Department staff and supporters lead a grand opening celebration for the new Dickinson Memorial Playground (FunSpace II). The celebration will take place at 11 am at Dickinson Park. “We are very excited to be moving forward with our playground celebration,” Parks and Recreation Director Amy Mangold said recently. The day will be a celebration of a “creative and fun” play area that has “come to its full fruition due to hundreds of donations” following 12/14. Past renditions of the interactive, natural, and educational play area designed by resident and landscape architect Billie Cohen would have been completed in phases as money became available to the recreation department, but private donations from groups and individuals have made the project’s full scope possible. Saturday will be a “wonderful community celebration with some special speeches, music, refreshments, and lots of excitement,” said Ms Mangold.
Absentee ballots are available for the Republican Primary to be held in Newtown on Tuesday, August 12. Any qualified registered voter may vote by absentee if unable to vote in person due to any number of reasons. Special hours will also be available for those who wish to apply for an absentee ballot on Saturday, August 9.
The Annual Friends of the C.H. Booth Library Book Sale ended Wednesday, July 16, and while the final tally is not yet in, Friends spokesperson Denise Kaiser said that she is optimistic that the numbers generated this year will be comparable to last year’s sale, which generated $108,000. Bills and reimbursement by the book recycling center discoverbooks.com, which takes away the very last of the books for resale or pulp, will determine the final numbers. “If all is perfect,” Ms Kaiser said, both the gross and the net “should be about equal to last year’s sale.” Despite not knowing the exact amount raised, she said that there is no doubt that the Friends will be able to keep its annual donation commitment to the library, and be able to fund another round of the Vision Project at C.H. Booth Library this year.
Town police last week used an electronic display positioned along South Main Street at the Ram Pasture to drive home the message that motorists must make sure that they do not leave children unattended in motor vehicles in the summertime when temperatures inside vehicles can rise to lethal levels. The large black electronic display, which is on loan from the state government, flashed sequential phrases that urged motorists to be aware of the problem. The police public education campaign comes in the wake of a series of recent incidents in the state in which motorists left unattended children in vehicles in which temperatures rose to injurious levels.
A Newtown man, who is a former National Football League player accused of having illegally sold potent prescription painkillers at his home in April and May, on July 15 had his case continued to August 5 in Danbury Superior Court. Gennaro DiNapoli, 39, in June pleaded not guilty to two counts of illegal sale of narcotics. Those charges stem from a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation. DiNapoli, who is represented by attorney Gerald Hecht, is free on $150,000 bail on the drug charges.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr and Health District Director Donna Culbert are both praising a recent unanimous State Board of Education resolution encouraging Connecticut public schools to provide students with training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of automated external defibrillators.
Newtown’s post 12/14 recovery and resiliency efforts are about to accelerate with the hiring of a team of mental health experts and case managers, and the distribution of funds to underwrite outreach and support programs being coordinated through several separate town agencies. First Selectman Pat Llodra wasted no time in recent weeks following the delivery of $7.1 million in federal Department of Justice grants, delivering allocations to Kevin’s Community Center, Newtown’s public health clinic, Newtown Prevention Council, Parent Connection, and Newtown Police Department.
Mrs Llodra said she has also set aside funds from part of the grant designated for school security and facility hardening, and has completed hiring a dedicated recovery team that is being headed by Melissa Glaser, MS/LPC. That team will soon begin its work and interacting with members of the community.
Running Bamboo is a nuisance, according to an ordinance passed by the Borough Board of Burgesses. On July 8, the borough unanimously approved measures regulating bamboo “so that it does not invade or infest properties within the borough." The board is at the forefront of a movement that echoes state legislation enacted last month, and will likely be followed by town officials. Land Use Agency Director George Benson said, “We will look into it [and] will consider an ordinance too. When the borough passes something we often mirror and do the same.” Conservation Commission member Mary Gaudet-Wilson was also happy with the news, saying, “I am very pleased that the borough has taken the initiative to address this problem. Running bamboo can quickly spread and become a serious threat to neighboring property, rights of way, etc. Having some government control will reduce the likelihood of neighbors having to sue neighbors, which is not good for the community. The Board of Burgesses was squarely in favor of the new ordinance and should be commended for their positive action.”
With Board of Finance approval July 14, and anticipated Legislative Council endorsement, top donors including Newtown’s Draper family, as well as town and borough of Newtown officials are poised to complete a critical link to a planned “Memorial Sidewalk” that supporters hope eventually connect Main Street to the new Sandy Hook Elementary School. Following the finance board action, the council is expected to take up and approve a special appropriation July 16 of $193,005 from the Sandy Hook Special Revenue Fund and designated donations made through the Parks and Recreation Department. Newtown-based LRM Landscape Contractors won the bid for the project, and will be ready to begin work this fall.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy on July 17 announced that the application process will begin next week for the next round of the School Security Grant Program. The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection will be sending application packets to eligible public and private schools beginning the week of July 21. The program was originally created as part of the historic 2013 legislation on gun violence prevention, mental health and school safety. Including the July 17 announcement, the state has made $43 million available for school security since 2013.