HARTFORD — Jury selection, which had been slated to start on July 14 in the federal prosecution of 11 men indicted as an alleged drug trafficking ring, has been rescheduled to October 13.
Among those 11 men are Steven Santucci, 38, of Waterbury, a former Newtown police sergeant, and Jason Chickos, 46, of Bridgeport, who formerly worked as a Newtown emergency communications dispatcher. Both Mr Santucci and Mr Chickos resigned from their jobs following their arrests in late April.
The two men are each charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute anabolic steroids. That offense carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.
The indictment also charges Mr Santucci with six separate counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of anabolic steroids. That offense carries the same penalties.
Representatives for a local church were scheduled to meet with town land use officials on July 9 at a “pre-application meeting” to discuss aspects of the church’s major mixed-use proposal to construct a new church, a large multifamily housing complex, and some commercial space on acreage in Hawleyville. The site is located west of Hawleyville Road (Route 25) and south of the Exit 9 off-ramp for eastbound Interstate 84. George Benson, town director of planning, said July 7 that representatives of Grace Family Church, formerly known as Grace Christian Fellowship, were scheduled to meet with land use officials to discuss the project. On June 24, the church had submitted two development applications for the church-owned site, but those plans only described the construction of a church. Those plans were submitted for review by the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) and by the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z).
In a collaborative partnership, Newtown Youth & Family Services (NYFS) and Newtown Prevention Council (NPC) have been awarded a grant from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for the Connecticut Strategic Prevention Framework Coalitions (CSC) Initiative to mobilize community coalitions and implement strategies to address substance abuse.
NYFS and NPC will be funded over the next five years to expand the State of Connecticut’s prevention infrastructure. The goals of the CSC Initiative are to prevent the start and reducing the progression of substance abuse and to promote positive mental health at the community level, according to a release about the grant.
The town will use its capital nonrecurring fund to purchase five heavy vehicles for the Parks and Recreation and Highway Departments, and will structure an internal leaseback arrangement that will save taxpayers in excess of $35,000 that would have gone to cover interest payments, according to Finance Director Robert Tait. On Wednesday, July 1, the Legislative Council approved the plan to replace the heavily used trucks, one of which has amassed 275,000 miles and another that was acquired in 1989 — the same year Public Works Director Fred Hurley arrived on the job. Since then, that near-antique dump truck has racked up 189,000 miles on its odometer.
The Board of Education voted to increase the superintendent of schools’ contracted salary by three percent and to extend his contract by one year at its special meeting on Wednesday, June 24. The decision came among a series of votes on agenda items before the board heard from the public regarding the possibility of closing Hawley Elementary School due to declining enrollment for the 2016-17 year. The board later voted not to close a school for the 2016-17 school year and to continue its discussion about the best use of district facilities. This week Board of Education Chair Keith Alexander said he believes his board did the “right thing” when it decided to study the possibility of closing a school over the summer months, and it also did the right thing when it decided to not close a school for the 2016-17 school year.
In mid-April LRM Construction crews began digging out a ten-foot-wide path at Fairfield Hills where a new paved walkway would go. Today, the project is complete, with fresh pavement finished off the gravel-lined path, cutting through fields of wildflowers, groves of shrubs near single-family residences once used by state hospital workers, and through newer construction on the campus. More of the Fairfield Hills varied scenery — a community garden, meadows, playing fields, wooded areas, and large brick buildings both old and new — is now within arm’s reach where the trail meanders. It winds along Mile Hill South behind the white, single-family homes, past the Victory Garden, and toward Wasserman Way. From there a sweeping curve heads toward the new Newtown Volunteer Ambulance garage, passes in front of it, then cuts toward the campus center where it ends at the the intersection of Keating Farms Avenue and DG Beers Boulevard, a few yards away from the main entrance across from Reed Intermediate School.
Dozens of residents packed the Municipal Center council chambers July 6, roundly endorsing a proposal to bond $1 million to supplement already budgeted town road improvement and resurfacing projects.
The same group also enthusiastically approved $3.6 million for a major renovation of the Newtown High School auditorium that will create a fully code compliant, handicapped accessible, state of the art public gathering and performance space.
The public action approved $4.6 million in spending in just a few minutes, with only one resident speaking to each of the two motions. Ahead of the first vote on the auditorium project, Marjorie Cramer asked officials to clarify whether renovations would be ongoing while the summer musical was in rehearsal.
Board of Education Chairman Keith Alexander was on hand to respond that there would be no ongoing work during the summer musical session.
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. Inquiries should be made through the Office of the First Selectman, 3 Primrose Street, or call 203-270-4201.