State Department of Transportation (DOT) workers last week took subsurface core samples at Sugar Street, at its intersection with Elm Drive, for geological information on the soil there to be used in the design of a new, wider Sugar Street bridge. The new span will replace the existing Sugar Street bridge which becomes a traffic bottleneck during commuter rush periods. As the DOT workers ran a drilling rig to take the core samples, a police officer stood by, directing eastbound traffic on Sugar Street to a detour that sent motorists southward on Elm Drive and then eastward on Hawley Road to reach South Main Street. DOT engineer Louis Bacho, the bridge project manager, said May 21 the core samples will show what lies beneath the surface for aid in designing the concrete abutments for the planned new bridge.
About a decade ago, Connecticut started getting serious about reclaiming and reusing former and abandoned, environmentally tainted industrial sites known as brownfields. Around that same time, Newtown’s Director of Economic and Community Development Elizabeth Stocker began began compiling an informal list of local brownfield sites. Once she realized there were grant and other assistance programs offering funds and services to assess these contaminated former industrial sites, she also began applying for help in the hopes of eventually returning some or all of these local parcels to some degree of productive use. Pursuing that goal would not only provide financial benefits to the community and its taxpayers by returning these unused or abandoned properties to the tax rolls, but would also help to mitigate the types of public health issues that arise around these sites like contaminated water tables. Today, Ms Stocker’s office is administering more than a half-million dollars
In the final hours of the 2014 state legislative session, lawmakers overwhelmingly supported a proposal that mandates all Connecticut police agencies adopt a policy on the use of Tasers. These handheld devices resemble firearms, and shoot barbed darts that contact combative suspects allowing police officers to subdue them using jolts of electricity instead of other, more potentially dangerous means. The devices can also be used as a “stun gun” delivering a painful sting to suspects who may not be adhering to verbal commands from responding officers. Police Chief Michael Kehoe said that Newtown was among the first communities in the region to acquire Taser technology, and as a result, also became one of the first towns in Connecticut to not only develop a Taser policy, but a substantial training regiment and a series of post-incident reporting and analysis.
“It’s an important tradition for us to come here,” said Richard Gottmeier, prior to the start of the Monday, May 26 ceremony at the VFW Post 308 honoring veterans who have died in service to the country. Mr Gottmeier served 28 years in the Army and Army Reserves, he said, is a member of the VFW, and comes from a family tradition of serving the country since the Revolutionary War. “We pay our respects today to those who didn’t get to come home. They are the true heroes,” he said.
The Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority (HRRA) conducted a spring regional household hazardous waste collection project on Saturday, May 17, at the town public works garage at Turkey Hill Road. HRRA Director Cheryl Reedy said last week that regional regional residents drove 720 vehicles to the collection project to dispose of their waste. That participation represents a 46 percent increase from the 493 vehicles that were driven to the event last year, she said By far, the greatest percentage of users — 389 vehicles or 54 percent — were Newtown residents. The other regional participating towns were Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Redding, and Ridgefield.
In observance of Memorial Day, all United States and state flags should be lowered today. Per a proclamation from President Barack Obama, flags should be lowered from sunrise until noon today. Following tradition, President Obama and Governor Dannel P. Malloy have both issued proclamations to honor those who have served and those who continue to serve in the United States Armed Forces.
As Newtown Federation of Teachers President Tom Kuroski said at the Tuesday, May 20, Board of Education meeting, members of the teachers’ union were there to deliver what Mr Kuroski called a “State of the Union.”Mr Kuroski said he has taught for his entire career, 29 years, in Newtown.“We have assembled a cross-section of teachers from each school who have volunteered to provide you with a perspective of what has been happening in our district over the past few years,” Mr Kuroski said.Mary Connolly, a language arts teacher at Newtown Middle School, was the first to speak following Mr Kuroski. “In 2009, Newtown teachers were furloughed five days,” said Ms Connolly. “This means we lost five days of pay and five days of professional development. The following school year the teachers’ work year was reduced from 189 days to 187 days by the Board of Education.” While student days were not changed, Ms Connolly said teachers lost professional development days
Flags were placed around the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Main Street on Friday, May 23, by members of Newtown Woman’s Club to honor past and present veterans. This is the fifth year that the club has placed flags around the monument. Residents were able to purchase flags for $5. The funds helped to benefit veterans at Rocky Hill Veterans Home & Hospital and West Haven Veterans Hospital.
The Newtown Republican and Democratic Town Committees both met May 22 and each unanimously endorsed their candidates for Newtown's 106 District. At a Republican caucus at Newtown's Edmond Town Hall State Rep. Mitch Bolinsky received the party's unequivocal endorsement for a second term. The 106 District includes most of Newtown and Sandy Hook. At the same time, local Democrats met and voiced unified support for Matt Cole, a 26-year-old who served as a key intern for former 106 Rep Chris Lyddy.