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.”
At the regular monthly meeting of the board of trustees of the C.H. Booth Library May 12, trustees emeritus Mary Thomas and Kathy Geckle came to ask the board’s approval of a spring 2015 fundraiser they are proposing. Similar in nature to the highly successful 2007 gala event that raised $32,000 for the library, Ms Thomas and Ms Geckle presented their idea for a “faux fashion show,” featuring town employees, managers, teachers, business owners, police and fire representatives, and other well-known townspeople as models for fashions supplied by Danbury Fair Mall and local clothing stores.
A PowerPoint presentation by the C.H. Booth Director Search Committee brought new library board members up to speed on the process and evolution of the committee since the beginning of the year.
The committee, made up of board members Michael Talluto, Bob Geckle, Colleen Honan, and Pete Stern, along with staff representative Kim Weber, community representatives Joan Petersen and Christine Stowe, as well as Bethel Library Acting Director Lynn Rosato, is currently scheduling interviews with five candidates from 19 resumes received as of May 9.
With an expanded sanitary sewer system planned for Hawleyville, Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members are considering revising the zoning regulations to allow three additional land uses in the M-2A (Industrial) zone there. At a P&Z public hearing earlier this month, the Economic Development Commission (EDC), represented by Elizabeth Stocker, town director of economic and community development, sought to have the P&Z revise its M-2A zoning regulations to allow “distribution centers, warehouses, and/or wholesale businesses” in that zone. The EDC sought to have those land uses allowed in the M-2A regulations as “permitted uses.” On May 1, following extended discussion by the P&Z on the regulatory mechanism through which distribution centers, warehouses, and/or wholesale businesses might be allowed in the M-2A zone, Ms Stocker withdrew the EDC’s application. She later said the EDC would return to the P&Z with a “refined” zoning proposal.
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.