Connecticut Democrats poured into their state convention Friday, May 16 pledging that whatever it lacked in drama it would make up for in passion. The more than 1,800 delegates at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford re-nominated Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who vowed to battle energetically for a second term. And Malloy, who has taken some heat over a sluggish economy and ongoing deficit projections for state finances, said that while there is more work to do, he would celebrate a track record filled with successes. Malloy, entered the stage with Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” blaring throughout the hall, touted his efforts to grow jobs, to improve conditions for labor, to reform health care and state finances, and to control gun violence in the wake of the December 2012 shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
Tom Foley, who lost a historically close election for governor in 2010, was overwhelmingly endorsed Saturday by the Republican State Convention for a second try at defeating Democrat Dannel P. Malloy, but he failed to block two rivals from qualifying for a GOP primary in August. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton was the only other candidate to clear the 15-percent threshold necessary for a primary at the end of the first roll call, but Foley appeared to direct supporters to switch to Senate Minority Leader John P. McKinney of Fairfield. His rationale: He was better positioned to win a three-way primary than a head-to-head race. Boughton had 24 percent before switching began, while McKinney fell short at 13 percent. The other candidates, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti and Joseph Visconti of West Hartford, languished below five percent. Visconti pledged to petition for a spot on the primary ballot, while Lauretti was uncertain about continuing.
Police have added to their expanding list of local copper pipe thefts two incidents that occurred at vacant houses near the intersection of Sugar Street, West Street, and Boggs Hill Road.
In one case, the theft of pipes from the basement of a house on Sugar Street punctured a charged water pipe, resulting in the pressurized water spraying out of the leak to flood the basement to a depth of about 30 inches.
Newtown Hook & Ladder volunteer firefighters responded to the house late on the morning of Monday, May 19.
Newtown Youth & Family Services has partnered with The Caroline Previdi Foundation to offer financial support to families whose children may not otherwise be able to participate in select extracurricular activities. The foundation was created in memory of Caroline Previdi, one of the children killed on 12/14. Its goal is to support children in Newtown and surrounding communities with the financial means to participate in activities, including, but not limited to dance camp, art classes, and music lessons.
With deliberations and the authorization by voters of the 2014-15 budget behind them, local officials are focusing intensely on the best way they see for keeping residential taxation in check — growing the Newtown Grand List. That means increasing commercial activity, supporting economic development, and aggressively working to retain or expand businesses already established locally. In recent months, officials have seen an uptick in commercial projects, as evidenced by the number of recommendations for the town’s business incentive plan that have been tendered by the Economic Development Commission. Applications for temporary and partial tax relief have been made or approved recently for the Villages at Lexington Gardens, which broke ground this week, the Summit @ Newtown at 146 South Main Street, another multi-building, mixed-use commercial complex adjacent to LMT Communications at 84 South Main Street, new medical offices at 12 Queen Street, and a mixed professional / office development adjacent to Maplewood at Newtown on Mt Pleasant Road.
The period for retired and certified Connecticut police officers to apply to become one of nine Newtown school security officers (SSOs) is closing at month’s end. Police Chief Michael Kehoe told The Newtown Bee this week that he has already received numerous applications for consideration. Officials including First Selectman Pat Llodra have previously said that a number of qualified retired officers are already working for the school district as unarmed security guards, and most if not all were thinking of applying for the SSO posts. But Chief Kehoe said that all applicants will receive equal consideration on the merits of their experience and one other key attribute. “They really have to like and have a genuine interest in our kids,” Chief Kehoe said of the SSO candidates. “On any given day they could be spending time with students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, so it’s important that they can work in that environment.”
The Water & Sewer Authority (WSA) is compiling a list of Hawleyville property owners interested in connecting their properties to the planned expansion of the Hawleyville sanitary sewer system. WSA members held an informational session on May 8 to to explain the sewer system expansion project, as well as seek commitments for sewer connections from property owners who own land along the planned sewer route. About 25 people attended the meeting. WSA Chairman Richard Zang said that the capital costs of sewer system construction would be covered by payments from the property owners who connect to the expanded system. Such capital costs would be paid off by the property owners at low interest rates during a 20-year period. Sewer users also pay sewer connection fees and sewer usage charges.
Police Commission members this week discussed the many issues stemming from a proposal to move local emergency radio dispatching for 911 police, fire, and ambulance calls from Newtown to a private, nonprofit, nonunionized dispatching center in Prospect, generally expressing skepticism that such a change would be beneficial. Four of the five Police Commission members met with Jeffrey Capeci and Neil Chaudhary, who are serving as an ad hoc study panel for the selectmen on the proposal to move dispatching from the Newtown Emergency Communications Center at Town Hall South at 3 Main Street about 25 miles away to the regional dispatching operation known as to the Northwest Connecticut Public Safety Communication Center, Inc. Police Commission Chairman Paul Mangiafico said he had expected that the panel would make a recommendation to the town on the proposed change at the May 13 session. But commission members’ requests for additional financial information on possible cost advantages of such a change resulted in the need for more study.
Newtown Police Explorers, who are members of Cadet Post #823, received medals on May 4 for their performance in the Connecticut Police Stations Day sponsored by the Northeast Regional Law Enforcement Education Association (NERLEEA). The competitive event was held at the Police Officer Standards and Training Council’s (POST) training academy in Meriden. More than 200 police explorer cadets, ranging in age from 13 to 21, from Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire participated in the police-based events. The Stations Day competitions are based on the knowledge that cadets gain through their training. Subjects of the competitions included: firearms training, driving skills, searches of buildings, DUI enforcement, leadership, suspicious persons, tactical situations, high-risk and low-risk motor vehicle stops, crisis intervention, assaults, search-and-control situations, high-stress scenarios, and domestic violence.