• Growing Pains At The Farmers’ Market

    Townspeople would love to see an expanded Farmer’s Market at Fairfield Hills, said Jim Shortt, whose farmstand is one of the anchors there. Other markets in the state offer more variety and cater to the desires of today’s shopper, he said, with selections of jams, jellies, baked goods, wines, oils, prepared foods, and sandwiches. But why Newtown’s market offers such a limited selection is complicated, both town officials and local farmers agree.

  • Officials Believe In-School Suicide Awareness Curriculum Hits Home

    “Suicide represents an opportunity lost.” That concept is what helped drive Newtown’s Prevention Council co-chair and the local school district’s Recovery Project Director Judy Blanchard, MS, CPP to support transforming what was once a blip on the district’s health class agenda, into a comprehensive aspect of today’s curriculum for all seventh grade studetns, as well as high school freshmen and juniors. And she hopes, much like information about proper nutrition, exercise, smoking and substance abuse being shared and taught in local schools, that students will take their knowledge home — and possibly apply it toward preventing a suicide long before it has the potential to happen. The program she is referring to, is called “Signs Of Suicide” or SOS. Before SOS, health teachers were being approached occasionally by students with their own suicidal thoughts, or those fearing for a friend or family member. The first year of implementation across the entire middle and high school student body turned up a number of potential issues that was somewhat staggering.

  • Healthier Water: A Critical Collateral Benefit Of Drug Take-Back Day

    For every bottle of prescription drugs local police collect during a special Drug Take-Back promotion on September 26, and all the drugs collected year-round through a local secure dispensing site at Police Headquarters, Newtown’s drinking water potentially becomes a little bit safer. It’s no secret that many unused prescriptions fall into the hands of individuals using them for recreational purposes, or to supplement an addiction. But local experts on the issue also know that tons of other drugs are dumped into garbage receptacles and end up in local landfills, or worse, are flushed down the toilet. That’s why the Pootatuck Watershed Association, which helps preserve and safeguard Newtown’s sole source aquifer supplying many local homes with drinking water, is stepping up an awareness campaign about the environmental hazards of improper prescription drug disposal.

  • Tractor Supply Store Zoning Proposal Draws Opposition

    A proposal to convert a South Main Street site from its R-1 (residential) zoning designation to a South Main Village Design District (SMVDD) zoning designation, with the goal of constructing a 19,097-square-foot store and adjacent outdoor sales area there, has drawn stiff opposition from some nearby property owners.

  • Charter Revision Panel Slates Final Hearing For September 30

    After reviewing all but one high-profile proposed revision to Newtown’s constitutional document during a special meeting September 22, the Charter Revision Commission has set a 7 pm public hearing for September 30 to receive any final input from the public before members hope to send an initial draft back for review by the Legislative Council. With a mid-October statutory deadline looming to complete and endorse a revision draft, Commission Chairman Jeff Capeci said the group is hoping to complete the draft recommendation and to pass all proposed revisions back to the Legislative Council through the town clerk next week.

  • P&Z Considers Revised Exit 10 Design District Proposal

    Planning and Zoning Commission members are continuing their review of an engineering firm’s proposal to create new land use regulations for a “design district” near the Exit 10 interchange of Interstate 84. Creating such an “overlay zone” would add flexibility to the commercial/industrial zoning regulations for an area that currently has B-2 (Business) and M-4 (Industrial) zoning.

  • Danbury Caregiver Guilty In Local Theft Case

    A caregiver from Danbury who was arrested by Newtown police after an investigation into alleged thefts from a Sandy Hook client was sentenced September 16 to 15 years in jail, suspended after six years, and five additional years of probation. Wanda Nunez turned herself in on April 15, 2013, after learning that police held a warrant for her arrest. Nunez, then 27, was charged with one count of first-degree larceny in connection with her allegedly having stolen approximately $100,000 worth of valuable items while she worked as a hired caregiver for an elderly Sandy Hook woman, police said.

  • Latest GOP ‘White Paper’ Talks About Balancing Spending

    Keying in on a subject that has a potential to divide certain groups in any community, local Republicans have released the next in a series of white papers focusing in on balancing future spending. The GOP in recent local election years has made a practice of developing informational position reports, the latest release focuses on why past and future spending plans are multifaceted and encompass all Newtown residents — not just one issue or one demographic. According to the local GOP, ensuring the town is adequately funding education in order to facilitate student success, “is the best way to create bright future opportunities for them. At the same time we need to ensure the money we spend is where it most benefits them specifically: exceptional teachers and staff, services to increase their success, and a safe and secure learning environment.”

  • Hunger Action Month Food Drive

    Through September 29, Newtown Savings Bank is conducting a Hunger Action Month Food Drive at its two Newtown locations. All are invited to visit the main branch at 39 Main Street or the office within Sand Hill Plaza, at 228 South Main Street, with donations for the Salvation Army Food Pantry at Newtown's Department of Social Services.

  • Prevention Council Hears Drug And Alcohol Survey Results, Approaching End Of Grant Timeline

    During its first meeting of the 2015-16 school year, the Newtown Prevention Council heard a presentation by a representative from Quantitative Services on drug and alcohol surveys that had been administered to students and parents between March and May. Dr Archie Swindell said he compared Newtown’s data with trends nationally and in the state. The survey results were presented in two parts: one for youth, and one for parents. According to the youth survey report, “The 2015 Newtown youth survey is a continuation of a series of efforts to ascertain the prevalence of the use of substances by community youth, and perceptions and behaviors which may be related to use.” Also during the September 17 meeting, Prevention Council Co-Chair Judy Blanchard announced that September is the final month of the council's ten years of working with the Drug-Free Communities grant.