“Just close your eyes and listen,” said Newtown Forest Association President Robert Eckenrode. He stood on an overgrown old farming road beside a stream; its splashing sounds mingled with birdsong and a gentle breeze. Referring to a 1934 aerial photograph of the 27.6-acre parcel at 196 Hattertown Road that the NFA recently purchased, member Bart Smith observed that the area where he and Mr Eckenrode explored Wednesday morning, probably once meadows, remains unchanged. “It’s mostly untouched,” he said, stepping over a fallen tree and approaching a stonewall up a slight rise. The new acquisition includes two streams, ponds and vernal pools, beautiful rolling woodlands, stone walls, and evidence of historical agricultural. The land is now protected by NFA, and will likely be opened for passive recreation in the future.
During its Annual Meeting on Monday, June 24, the Board of Directors and staff of Newtown Youth & Family Services (NYFS) honored those who have helped the town and the nonprofit mental health clinic and youth service bureau throughout the last year. The board also honored its retiring members for their service to the agency.
A special ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at the home of Lorraine and Mike Hurley, on South Main Street, on Father’s Day Sunday, June 16. For the fourth — and hopefully final — time, family members gathered around the American flag in the front yard to cut a a yellow ribbon. This one had been wrapped around the flag pole since the Hurleys’ son-in-law Lieutenant Colonel Ben Wallen was deployed to Iraq, one year ago. This was Lt Col Wallen’s third deployment to Iraq, and each time, the Hurley family has tied a yellow ribbon about the flagpole until his safe return. Celebrating Lt Col Wallen’s return with the Hurleys on Sunday were sisters-in-law Micaela McMurrough and Maura Kuehling, and her husband Rusty, as well as three grandchildren.
The Board of Selectmen is due to take up several capital and wage related transfers Monday night, July 1 at one of two regular summer meetings planned before September. The two highest profile actions on the agenda are the transfers of $161,579 from the Capital budget line to Contingency. Then a combination of two transfers from contingency will provide wage and benefit bumps totaling $67,477. Negotiated wage and benefit increases for union employees of the Public Works Dept will require a total of $38,670, while 14 workers in various municipal offices will draw their wage and benefit increases from $28,807 proposed for transfer. According to documentation from the town Finance Office, the highest single salary and benefit increase, $4,226, is going to a nonunion staffer in the Public Works Dept.
It takes stamina, experience, and a belief in one’s self and others to turn chaos into transformation.
Standing in front of The Sandy Hook School Building Task Force the evening of April 5, Richard Harwood looked into the eyes of the task force members, most of whom he was meeting for the first time. The founder of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, in Bethesda, Md., tried to assess where those members, the additional members of the technical team, and members of the public in attendance were in the difficult process of determining the future of the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Imagine an Old Sturbridge Village-like complex complete with a farrier/blacksmith shop, general store with a potbelly stove, farm animals, and several horse barn structures for riding lessons and performances … right here in Newtown. George Mason is...
Dozens of people gathered at a special reception, Friday afternoon, June 26, to honor departing C.H. Booth Library director Janet Woycik. Hosted by the library Board of Directors, guests included many who have rubbed shoulders with Ms Woycik over the years, including staff, former staff, and town officials. All were there to celebrate Ms Woycik’s three decades plus of dedication, and to send her off knowing how much she was appreciated.
Shortly after he took his oath of office to represent Newtown in Connecticut's 116th District, Mitch Bolinsky came to The Newtown Bee with a stack of proposals, and to talk about what he hoped to accomplish in his freshman term. He returned to the newspaper a few days after the close of that historic session armed with a different set of documents. As he headed into his first few weeks at the Capital, Rep Bolinsky said he had "come out of the box with 16 or 17 bills. Most were based on constituent requests or issues that were Newtown centric," he said. "Nine wound up tabled, which is pretty typical." But Rep Bolinsky also saw about 35 percent of his proposals move forward, albeit as borrowed elements of larger mental health and privacy legislation. In that respect, Rep Bolinsky admitted, "As a newcomer, that may be unprecedented."
Just north of a 150-year-old schoolhouse in Emporia, Kan., ground was broken earlier this month for the first monument in the United States dedicated to teachers who have died while protecting students. Within its first carving, The Memorial To Fallen Educators will include Rachel D’Avino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Marie Sherlach, and Victoria Soto, the names of the six women gunned down at Sandy Hook School on 12/14. A former Newtown resident and Board of Education member, Dr Gerard Brooker was invited to participate in the groundbreaking event on June 13. He also spoke during the annual Teachers Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony the following evening. Dr Brooker was inducted into the Teachers Hall of Fame in 1988.
First Selectman Pat Llodra’s latest post at OneNewtown.org indicates it is time for all residents to move “into a quiet period of rest, recuperation and healing.” On Thursday, June 27, Mrs Llodra used her blog to announce that while countless offers have been extended to residents in the days, weeks and months following 12/14, the town has decided that no additional special events will be added to the town’s calendar.