Dawn La Valle, Division of Library Development from the Connecticut State Library, reported to the C.H. Booth Library Board of Trustees, April 8, on the results of focus groups convened to comment on the library’s search for a new director. Ms La Valle and Mary Engels, director of the Middletown Library Service Center for the Connecticut State Library, conducted five different focus groups over the past two weeks, at the request of the new director search committee. Each group, she said, was posed two initial questions to help determine what skills and personal characteristics are considered most important in a new director of the C.H. Booth Library. Additional dialogue was encouraged in the course of the conversations. Input was received from a total of 31 people.
The Newtown Police Union opposes a town proposal that would have municipal emergency radio dispatching for 911, police, fire, and ambulance calls regionalized at a privately owned dispatching center in Prospect. The town has proposed regionalization as a cost savings measure.
The chief law enforcement officer for the Judicial District of Danbury described the state’s criminal justice system to participants at a recent Citizen Police Academy session, explaining the workings of the state’s criminal courts, which annually handle thousands of cases forwarded to them by police. Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III gave a talk, “Criminal Justice After An Arrest: The Prosecutor’s Perspective” to about 20 academy participants.
For more than a decade preceding the Sandy Hook tragedy, Easton resident and GE Capital staffer Elizabeth Rallo engaged herself in the business of producing or analyzing numbers, systems, and data. But those analytical talents translated expertly into the many hands-on skills she brought to bear on behalf of Newtown in the nearly one year she served the community coordinating special projects and facilitating communications among various groups and project managers post-12/14. On April 7, just a few days before the end of her formal period of service in town, Ms Rallo was honored by First Selectman Pat Llodra, the Board of Selectmen, and a number of town department heads and agency representatives who worked beside the GE logistics expert during the past 12 months.
While driving westward on Interstate 84 on the morning of Wednesday, April 9, an unidentified tractor-trailer truck driver looked into his rear-view mirror and noticed that a load of lumber positioned on his flatbed trailer had caught fire, so he stopped the truck about 2,000 feet east of the Tunnel Road overpass. Newtown Hook & Ladder Fire Chief Ray Corbo, who was incident commander, said that the truck driver then smartly disengaged a forklift that was mounted on the full-size trailer and loosened the large load of lumber so that he could remove the burning wood from the trailer.
The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z), in its role as the town’s planning agency, has approved a resubdivision of land at 176 Mt Pleasant Road (Route 6) in Hawleyville. At an April 3 session, P&Z members unanimously approved an application from Toll CT III, Limited Partnership. P&Z members decided that the application is consistent with the town’s resubdivision regulations and also with the terms of BPO (Business Professional Office) zoning. The approval takes effect on April 14.
Discussion during an April 7 Board of Selectmen meeting revealed that the eventual development of a community center being funded by a $15 million gift from General Electric may set up a domino effect of town department relocations. Shortly after a motion was made and unanimously approved to officially accept the GE donation, and a separate motion was approved to appropriate $450,000 for preconstruction and design work, First Selectman Pat Llodra initiated a discussion on strategic planning for municipal facilities. The selectmen also took up and approved a number of transfers, which will now go to the Board of Finance and Legislative Council for consideration.
For 24 hours on March 7, many Newtown nonprofit groups were among those benefiting from an online fundraising initiative. The first Fairfield County Giving Day, promoted by the Fairfield County Community Foundation, raised $745,729 for more than 250 local nonprofits. Newtown’s nonprofits raised more than $25,000. Local recipients included The 12.14 Foundation, The Animal Center Inc, Ben's Bells Newtown, CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation Inc, Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation, Leaps of Faith Water Ski Club, Newtown Forest Association, The Newtown Foundation Inc, Newtown Kindness Inc, and Newtown Youth & Family Services.
Moments after the Legislative Council voted to send the 2014-15 town and school budget requests to referendum, resident and longtime school supporter Kinga Walsh thanked officials for their efforts. She also challenged them to help get it passed, asking council members to work side-by-side with other advocates promoting passage of the spending plan. Several council members have already stepped up, agreeing to produce videos talking about why they voted for the proposal and why they believe taxpayers should as well. Voters will make up their minds on the bifurcated, or split, town and school budgets April 22 when they are called to the Newtown Middle School to cast their votes between 6 am and 8 pm. On April 2, the council endorsed sending a request for $111,066,204 to voters to cover town and school services, along with annual debt service for capital projects, which is carried in the Board of Selectmen budget.
The Board of Education unanimously voted to have “reduction in force” notifications shared with nontenured staff in the district who may or may not have their positions renewed for the 2014-15 school year, during its meeting on Tuesday, April 8. According Assistant Superintendent of Schools Linda Gejda, a state statute requires that school district staff be notified by May 1 if their contract will not be or will potentially not be renewed for the following school year.The list of staff supplied to the school board during the meeting, according to Dr Gejda, included positions that are nonrenewals for budgetary reasons, one-year contract positions, and long-term substitutes. Individuals whose positions are currently being funded by grants will also be notified, according to Dr Gejda, until the district learns whether the grants will be awarded to the district again. For the second meeting in a row, the board also honored Newtown High School athletes.