Besides welcoming nearly a dozen first-timers to the line of march, Newtown's annual Labor Day Parade had everything the near record crowd of attendees expected.Clowns and cows, fire trucks and a funk band, joined sports teams, community organizations, Newtown's five fire companies, ambulance corps, and Underwater Search & Rescue team, pipers, jugglers, gymnasts and martial arts experts as the spectacle moved slowly down Main Street from the War memorial, making its turn onto Glover Avenue and finally wrapping up in front of the judges reviewing stand on Queen Street. Check out a photo montage of images from all of The Newtown Bee photographers who were on duty throughout Labor Day's parade route this week in the newspaper's print edition and on line.
A quarter century ago - long before her career as a Newtown Police Officer, Maryhelen McCarthy was jolted by a message from her mother that her youngest brother had committed suicide. That was the morning of March 15, 1990. Rushing home, she pushed past police and emergency workers to witness the tragedy herself. “There was no note… no closure,” Ms McCarthy told The Newtown Bee this week as she stood beside a banner hung at Fairfield Hills reminding residents that September is National Suicide Prevention Month. The banner’s notice is reinforced by the news that last year, more than one person each day here in Connecticut took their own life.
While the immediate victims of 12/14 — 26 families, two injured teachers, and 12 witness/survivor children — will continue to be served on an “as-needed” basis within current limitations, the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation (NSHCF) will initiate a cap in payouts that help other individuals cover out-of-pocket costs for mental health and other alternative posttraumatic treatments. “We’re really proud that we’ve been able to support nearly every reasonable request that came in — a lot more than we thought we might when we started,” she said. On August 27, the foundation completed mailings notifying local families who applied for or are receiving compensation from the fund about changes to the level of financial support going into effect on January 1.
The Board of Finance voted unanimously August 27 to adopt additional criteria to Newtown’s Debt Management Policy, which helps inform and guide officials on the issuance, management, evaluation, and reporting on municipal debt obligations. The amendments to the policy were made by Finance Director Robert Tait following a lengthy review of past and present debt analyses, as well as an attempt to predict future borrowing patterns. The debt policy ensures that Newtown not only exclusively utilizes borrowing and the taxation for debt service or interest on that borrowing for capital projects that cannot be otherwise funded from existing revenue, but creates a system to measure the impact of that debt service and proposed borrowing on a one-year, five-year, ten- and 20-year basis.
Monday morning, Main Street and the Borough will reverberate with the rum-pa-pa-rum of drums, clip-clop of horse hooves, blasts of fire sirens, and so much more will signal Newtown’s end of summer extravaganza is once again underway. The 54th Annual Newtown Labor Day Parade begins at 10 am, Monday, September 7, marching from the top of Main Street to Glover, and on to its final destination, the grand stand of judges set up in front of the Big Y parking lot on Queen Street. It is a day that unites all of Newtown, lining the streets, and spilling out from backyard barbecues and front porch brunches, as residents bid farewell to summer and welcome the busy days of autumn.
All town offices will be closed on Monday, September 7, in honor of Labor Day . Newtown Senior Center, the schools, and C.H. Booth Library also will be closed. The transfer station on Ethan Allen Road will be closed. The offices of The Bee Publishing Company will also be closed on Monday.
Newtown’s Recovery and Resiliency Team (RRT) recently learned that a federal grant sustaining the six-member community support and intake system for those suffering posttraumatic issues following the Sandy Hook tragedy has been extended for an additional three months. RRT Community Outreach Liaison Melissa Glaser, LPC, told The Newtown Bee this week that If new grants or funding streams become available, the RRT may be able to continue its work beyond that date, or may reconfigure its personnel or scope of services to maximize its ability to serve those most in need of assistance beyond March 31. Ms Glaser also shared the results of a one-year survey of 87 families or individuals receiving services from or through the RRT.
For the second meeting in a row, the Board of Education postponed a decision on its five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) on Tuesday, September 1.
A decision is expected during the board’s next scheduled meeting, September 15.
The motion to pass the proposed CIP with additional funds in its fourth year for a boiler at Hawley Elementary School, “for redundancy and to take care of the 1921 building,” as the district’s Facilities Director Gino Faiella explained, was tabled during the meeting. The board directed Mr Faiella to determine the costs for ventilating work that was previously going to be completed with the boiler installation before the September 15 meeting.
During the Board of Education’s meeting on Tuesday, September 1, Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, shared updated enrollment data.
Dr Erardi compared enrollment information from the last day of the 2014-15 school year, June 17, and the first day this school year, Thursday, August 27, with the board.
Using Head O’ Meadow Elementary School as the example, Dr Erardi said it closed the 2014-15 school year with 316 students and it started this school year with 297 students.
Geralyn Hoerauf of Diversified Project Management presented the sixth phase of the new Sandy Hook Elementary School building project before the Board of Education during its meeting on Tuesday, September 1.
“As you might recall, every time we submit a phase to the State of Connecticut, we have to have that phase of construction documents and budget approved first by the Public Building and Site Commission as the building committee then you bring them to the Board of Ed,” said Ms Hoerauf.
The Phase 6 construction documents were unanimously passed by the Public Building and Site Commission during its meeting on August 25.