The adoption of a local anti-blight ordinance this past summer has led to questions about how it will be enforced and the process for filing complaints. Taking into consideration aesthetics, property maintenance, health and safety hazards, abandonment, neglect, and other factors, Director of Planning and Land Use George Benson said that determining blight “is not black and white.” A property “has to rise to a pretty high level to be blight,” he said. Abandonment, broken windows, and “obvious neglect” are all considerations for the designation of a property as blighted, which is a last resort, he said. The issue is not always about maintenance and aesthetics. It is about safety, said the town's top land use official. The new ordinance's language also brings a number of departments — building, zoning, police, land use, health, and fire — under one authorized order. “Because we all have different regulations or codes — this gives us one ordinance or action rather than letters from various departments,” he said, and “makes it easier for our enforcement too.”
Three quickly responding Newtown Police officers were able to rescue two occupants from a burning building at 31 The Boulevard, as all five local volunteer fire companies were dispatched to the residence at 1:11 am Sunday morning. Fire Marshal William Halstead said emergency dispatchers were notified by the occupants of fire and smoke in the home, and they were able to evacuate to an enclosed rear porch where they were found by Officers Officers Matt Wood, Steve Borges, and John McDermott, and "carried to safety." Both unidentified victims were initially transported to Danbury Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms, the fire marshal said. One of the victims was subsequently transferred to another medical center for more advanced treatment, he said. An on-scene investigation by fire marshals determined that the fire started when a box of tissues came in contact with a lit candle.
After hosting an exclusive press avail and video session for The Newtown Bee, and a subsequent press conference for local news outlets last Monday afternoon, the same group of top local officials and community leaders are planning to sit for a wider influx of media representatives on December 9. A notice posted on the Newtown municipal website informs members of the community that the press event is being held, and to not be alarmed or concerned if a number of media trucks are visible on the grounds of Fairfield Hills on Monday.
“Love Wins: A Conference Promoting Love, Connection and Community for Every Child and Family” took place Monday, December 2, at the University of Hartford’s Lincoln Theater. The inaugural event of the Ana Grace Project of Klingberg Family Centers celebrated the life of Ana Grace Márquez-Greene, and inspired the nearly 500 people in attendance to explore effective ways to build community and interpersonal connection to prevent violence and promote recovery. Participants in the December 2 symposium represented the fields of medicine, nursing, education, mentoring, early childhood, mental health, foster care, and the faith community, as well as state and local government.
Following a report from C.H. Booth Library Acting Director Beryl Harrison, at the Tuesday evening, December 3, meeting of the Board of Trustees, the next two hours were focused primarily on a line by line dissection of the library budget, which were to be submitted to the town by December 6. Among the topics covered were fire alarm issues, the library's archival information management project, the amount requested for the building's maintenance, the income line item for annual fundraising, and the search for a new permanent library director.
President Barack Obama has ordered flags lowered to honor Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday at his home in South Africa. In a proclamation issued last night, the President has ordered “that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff ... until sunset, December 9, 2013."
An analysis of the Newtown Police Department’s (NPD) response to the 12/14 shootings at Sandy Hook School has found that Newtown police responded rapidly, positioned themselves appropriately, and followed police department policies concerning such a situation.
A four-member committee of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) prepared the report which was requested by Police Chief Michael Kehoe to clarify the sequence of events on that day. The CPCA is a professional association of 104 municipal police chiefs in the state which seeks to improve the quality of law enforcement.
The committee also produced a graphic timeline depicting the events which occurred on 12/14 from 9:35 to 10 am.
The Newtown school system has been informed by the Connecticut State Department of Education that Newtown High School is one of the 15 high schools in the state to achieve the highest classification of Excelling based upon the results of the state Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) test, as announced in a press release on Thursday, December 5. “The very significant scores achieved by tenth graders at Newtown High School in the CAPT exam administered last spring are a tribute to the dedication of the teachers in the lower grades who have contributed to student learning and the very strong job the high school has done with its instructional program,” Interim Superintendent of Schools John Reed said...
Members of Newtown Clergy Association have announced plans for the town’s faith communities to offer services and support for residents in upcoming weeks, as the first anniversary of 12/14 approaches. The town's faith communities are diverse in faith and practice, but are united in common compassion and a commitment to minister faithfully to all residents. “Because any single event on the Anniversary of December 14th would create challenges on multiple levels, we have decided that it would be best to offer a variety of opportunities for our beloved Newtown community to come together: to remember and honor those we have lost, to support all who are grieving, and to steady one another on our journey together. We pray that one or some may provide a way for many of you to come together for comfort, support and encouragement," the group announced on December 4.
It was an odd image, seeing Jeff Capeci seated at an audience microphone during the public comments portion of Wednesday's Legislative Council meeting.But as he was briefly honored by newly elected council Chair Mary Ann Jacob for his years of elected service, the former chairman had nothing but congratulations to offer. "I encourage you to ask the right questions and make the right choices," Mr Capeci said to the slate of officials, including newcomer Anthony Filiato.In recognizing Mr Capeci, Ms Jacob said she admired his fair and balanced decision making, and that she had learned much watching his leadership style. First Selectman Pat Llodra recalled her early days on the council in 2005, when she sat next to Mr Capeci, another newcomer to a council with only two incumbents.