The Ladies Auxiliary of Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Co., has for years been called upon to offer aid to the members of its host company during emergencies. This week the group has stepped forward to help others affected by a fire. The women have begun collecting items for the families who were displaced following a major fire in Shelton during the overnight of January 5–6. They are hoping that by offering a central donation point, Newtown residents will be able to offer aid to others as well. “Some of them only have the shirts on their backs to stay warm,” said Ladies Auxiliary member Sharon Doherty. “The world stepped up to help Newtown last year. This is our chance to pay it forward.”
Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s calculated decision to make a public show of challenging unionized teachers two years ago still dogs the first-term Democratic governor as he prepares for a 2014 re-election he cannot win without support from organized labor. Gov Malloy, who walked a picket line on the summer day he won the Democratic primary in 2010 and forcefully defended workers during a recent lockout at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, gets stellar reviews for many policies from key union leaders. But the same leaders say that Malloy still has significant work remaining to salve wounds opened by his sharp rhetoric during concession talks in his first year and, even more so, as he framed his call for teacher tenure reform in his second year as an act of political courage.
Besides leaving 10 inches of snow on the ground by Friday evening, Connecticut’s first winter storm of 2014 also should test the state’s new effort to control flying ice on its highways. According to a new law that took effect last week, truck drivers could be fined up to $1,250 if accumulated ice dislodges and causes damage to a person or to another vehicle. What became known as the “flying ice” or “ice missile” law is the product of more than a decade of legislative debate over how to handle large sheets of frozen material that unexpectedly crash into the windshields of unlucky motorists each winter.
The state Supreme Court will hear arguments on Thursday on whether police in Connecticut can withhold arrest reports from the public and just issue press releases instead, while prosecutions are pending. Journalists are calling the case critical for reporters being able to get arrest reports quickly, and for the public’s right to know how their police departments operate.
The US Department of Education is awarding an additional $1.9 million to Newtown Public School District to help with ongoing recovery efforts following 12/14. The grant is being made through the Department’s Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) program, which awards Immediate Services and Extended Services grants to school districts, colleges and universities that have experienced a significant traumatic event and need resources to respond, recover, and re-establish safe environments for students. Newtown received its first Project SERV award, a $1.3 million grant, in May 2013. The second grant will continue to support the school district as it restores a safe and healthy environment for teaching and learning in its schools.
On Monday morning, department heads at the C.H. Booth Library got to work sorting through materials on the first and second floor 1998 addition, where water damage from burst pipes Saturday afternoon, January 4, was evident in sodden carpeting throughout the affected areas, trash bags filled with water-logged paper supplies and ruined equipment, ceiling tiles on the floors, and the pervasive smell of dampened plaster.
Workers from J.P. MaGuire Associates returned to the C.H. Booth Library on Main Street in Newtown, early Sunday morning, January 5, to continue damage control from flooding that occurred at the library Saturday afternoon, when pipes located above the second floor office of the director froze and burst. "We're doing mitigation of water damage," explained Brian Molloy, project manager for the property damage company owned by Jim MaGuire, as workers pulled down soaked ceiling tiles and dry wall. Dropped ceiling tiles in the director's office, the tech area, and the circulation department fell under the onslaught of water when the pipes broke, said Acting Library Director Beryl Harrison. Water soaked the main floor carpet and spread through the fiction department, as far back as the Young Adult Department on the second floor.
Comptroller Kevin Lembo says the state of Connecticut is on track to end this fiscal year with a $273.3 million budget surplus. In a letter to Governor Dannel P. Malloy, released on Thursday, Mr Lembo said the largest portion of the excess revenue stems from the state’s recent tax amnesty program, which allowed people to pay off their back state taxes. However, Lembo said there are also positive trends developing in all overall state revenue.
As 2014 opened, members of Newtown Hook & Ladder Company were looking forward hopefully, as their plans for a new firehouse in the borough finally were starting to take shape. The project will enable the fire company to own its facility rather than to continue as a tenant of the Town of Newtown. The group, which has served as a local firefighting organization since 1883, for more than 25 years has sought new quarters that would suitably provide shelter and storage for its equipment. Multiple proposals for a new Hook & Ladder firehouse at multiple places have failed to materialize over the years for various reasons. Hook & Ladder currently occupies a municipally owned structure at 45 Main Street, behind Edmond Town Hall. It is hoping to join the ranks of the town's other four fire companies, each of whom own their firehouses.