As the family and friends of Robert Hoagland this week formally marked the first anniversary of his mysterious disappearance from town, police continued to pursue leads on his possible whereabouts in a case that has puzzled both police and the people who knew the Sandy Hook man. On the night of Monday, July 28, a group of Mr Hoagland’s family and friends gathered at the Fairfield Hills Campus. As darkness fell across the verdant lawns, they lit candles within 50 paper lanterns which then slowly rose into the night sky and drifted on a gentle breeze, in honor of Mr Hoagland and in tribute to the family’s friends who have provided moral support after his disappearance, according to Lori Hoagland, Mr Hoagland’s wife. At the same time, another group of family and friends were hosting a similar event in South Carolina, lighting paper bags that had lettering spelling out Mr Hoagland's nickname on a Hilton Head beach.
A wandering peacock chose a beautiful late afternoon to walk into a backyard on Shepard Hill Road Thursday, July 24. The interloper, now named Harley, has made himself at home with Lex Nalley and Neil Unger. When people ask, “We tell them we’ve been adopted by a peacock,” Ms Nalley said. Harley seems content to occupy their back deck and yard.
First Selectman Pat Llodra is seeking residents to fill several opening on local appointed boards and commissions. In some cases the appointments are required to be affiliated with a specific political party, while in other cases unaffiliated voters are encouraged to consider serving.
The Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) has scheduled a public hearing on a proposed 23-lot cluster-style residential subdivision for late August. IWC members decided at a July 28 session to hold the public hearing on The Preserve at Newtown proposal on proposal on Wednesday, August 27. At a July 23 session, when IWC members received engineering drawings for the Preserve project, they initially had tentatively scheduled the hearing for August 13. But Rob Sibley, town deputy director of planning and land use, said that holding the hearing later, on August 27, would provide sufficient time for legally required notices of that hearing to be filed. Two development firms are proposing the construction of the subdivision on a 167-acre tract , with one cluster of homes built along Robin Hill Road #2 and another cluster to be constructed on a new dead-end street extending from Scudder Road to be known as Deer Hill Drive.
Fire officials are expressing a range of concerns about a proposal to shift the town's radio dispatching for emergency 911, police, fire, and ambulance calls from the Newtown Emergency Communications Center at 3 Main Street to the Northwest Connecticut Public Safety Communication Center, Inc, at Route 68 in Prospect, which is about 25 miles away. Rob Manna of Newtown Hook & Ladder, who is chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners, and Bill Halstead, who is the town fire marshal and the Sandy Hook fire chief, recently toured the Prospect center to learn about that organization. In a July 28 letter to First Selectman Pat Llodra, Mr Manna, writing on behalf of the seven-member Board of Fire Commissioners, stated that board members have discussed the proposal to move dispatching to Prospect during their past several meetings.
A teacher who helped save the lives of students at Sandy Hook Elementary School on 12/14 has a book deal. G.P. Putnam's Sons announced Tuesday, July 29, that "Choosing Hope: Moving Forward from Your Life's Darkest Hour" by Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis will be released next spring. Robin Gary Fisher is co-writing it.
Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) members unanimously approved a wetlands/watercourses protection permit for the proposed new Sandy Hook Elementary School at 12 Dickinson Drive during a special meeting on Monday, July 28. The new school would replace the former Sandy Hook School, which the town demolished last year following 12/14. Before the IWC’s approval, IWC member Anne Peters said, “a huge amount of energy and effort has gone into this application.” The applicant of record for the project is the town’s Public Building and Site Commission. In approving the application, IWC members placed nine sets of conditions on their endorsement, which the applicant will need to meet. Among those conditions: erosion and sedimentation controls must be installed before construction starts; any changes to development plans must be approved by the town before such changes occur; and the applicant must hire an environmental management consultant to implement the plans.
Newtown Middle School technology education teacher Don Ramsey caught a photo of a rainbow in Newtown on Monday, July 28. Following an overcast day punctuated with a few showers and a brief downpour, the rainbow came out around 7 pm. This was the view looking east-southeast from 160 South Main Street. Today's weather should be, according to the National Weather Service, more stable, with sun all day and temperatures near 80 degrees. The humidity at 9 am is at 73 percent.