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  • Police Again Offer Citizen Police Academy

    The Newtown Police Department will again sponsor its Citizen Police Academy, a free educational program intended to inform residents about law enforcement issues and, more broadly, about the criminal justice system. The annual program was not offered in 2013, in the aftermath of the December 2012 shooting incident at Sandy Hook School, but is now resuming. This year’s session marks the 18th time that the police department has offered the program. Patrol Sergeant David Kullgren is the program coordinator.

  • Organizers Hope ‘Shell Shocked’ Screening, Panel Discussion Promotes ‘Bridge Building’

    Organizers of a documentary screening and panel discussion set for Monday, January 20, at 7:30 pm, at The Ridgefield Playhouse hope the event will inspire increased collaboration between urban communities that witness gun violence on almost an hourly basis, and communities like Newtown, whose experience with gun violence on December 14, 2012, continues to attract global attention. Newtown residents are invited to join Shell Shocked producer John Richie of New Orleans, Attorney Monte Frank of Newtown, the Reverend Sam Saylor of Hartford, and the Reverend Henry Brown of Hartford in a screening of the documentary, followed by a CNN segment featuring Mr Frank and Rev Saylor. A subsequent panel discussion on gun violence in America aims to illustrate how urban and suburban communities are joining forces to create a movement to reduce the gun violence epidemic.

  • Foley Courts Gun Owners Without Promising Sandy Hook Repeal

    MIDDLETOWN – Republican gubernatorial contender Tom Foley told the state’s largest gun group Tuesday night that he would block further gun-control legislation if elected, but he has no plans to seek repeal of the sweeping changes to the state’s gun laws approved last year in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. “I will promise you this, if I am governor, any further attempts at restrictions on law-abiding residents by our legislature will stop at the governor’s office,” Foley told members of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, who packed the Elks Lodge for their monthly meeting.

  • Volunteer Fire, Emergency Medical Response Companies Not Required To Provide Health Insurance Under Obamacare

    Volunteer fire departments and emergency medical responder companies will not be required to provide health insurance for their members or face a penalty under the Affordable Care Act, the US Department of Treasury announced on January 10. The announcement was made after close scrutiny by the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service into IRS codes and proposed regulations, following comments received from firefighters and officials across the country in recent months. Leaders of volunteer companies had expressed concern about the financial impact of having volunteers fall under new regulations announced with the unveiling of Obamacare. The IRS also heard from at least five members of Congress with constituents in Connecticut.

  • NHS Principal Dumais Named Superintendent For Amity Regional School District

    Newtown High School Principal Charles Dumais was chosen unanimously by the Amity Regional School District #5 as that district’s new superintendent of schools at a meeting of that district’s Board of Education Monday, January 13. Just after the news started to spread, Mr Dumais posted an announcement called “Transition” to his blog about the appointment.Mr Dumais started his tenure in Newtown in January 2008. The Newtown Public School District also shared a press release on Tuesday, January 14, from Superintendent of Schools John Reed. "We are grateful for the many contributions Mr Dumais has brought to Newtown High School and for the profound leadership he has provided to staff, students, and families," Dr Reed wrote in the release. "I hope you will join me in expressing gratitude to [Mr Dumais] and wish him well when he assumes his new position." The release also explains that Mr Dumais will assume his new responsibilities for the Amity Regional School District #5 on March 1.

  • Connecticut Plans To Launch Open Data Portal

    Every time an inmate enters or leaves a correction facility in Connecticut, a database is updated so the state has an accurate count of its incarcerated population. And each day, those numbers are used to produce a chart on the state’s website. It’s one of the few state “datasets” that is updated daily for the public. But it takes persistence to find the chart because it’s buried on the website of the state’s Office of Policy and Management (OPM), and it exists nowhere else, including on other government websites with state criminal justice data. Also, the feature to download the raw data is broken. These types of problems are common even in the best government data, which can be hidden in various corners of the Internet, and is often in formats that range from user unfriendly to unusable. In short, data is difficult to gather and analyze. Following the example of 39 states and 43 cities and counties, Connecticut is planning to launch an online data portal in February or March. The project is being run out of the governor’s office, with OPM doing much of the planning.

  • Demonstrators Protest NSSF’s Firearms Trade Show

    Several dozen demonstrators who favor strengthened gun control conducted a news conference on Monday morning, January 13, across the street from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) on Mile Hill Road to endorse tighter gun controls, a cause energized by the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook School, in which 20 first-graders and six school staff members were killed. The news conference, which was sponsored by the Newtown Action Alliance, also attracted a few supporters of the NSSF, which is a Newtown-based lobby group for the firearms industry. The alliance is a group that seeks to reduce gun violence through stronger gun control laws and cultural change.

  • Optimism Colors Remediation Progress At C.H. Booth Library

    Following flooding on January 4 at C.H. Booth Library from sprinkler pipes that froze and burst, sending a deluge of damaging water through the first and second floor sections of the 1998 addition to the historic building, cleanup continued on Monday, January 13. Much of the initial remediation work by professional property damage specialists J.P. Maguire was finished, said C.H. Booth Library Acting Director Beryl Harrison. Electricians and technical support people have worked methodically to return power and connectivity to the Main Street building, evaluation and recovery continues, and employees are hoping to get a timeline for restoration some time this week.

  • FFH Authority Elects New Chair, Reflects On 2013

    The final Fairfield Hills Authority meeting of 2013 indicated changes to come for 2014. In reflecting on the previous 12 months, FHA Chair James Bernardi said he felt "the campus is achieving goals slowly but surely." Donations and grants have made certain projects possible, other groups are looking to move onto the campus permanently, and demolition work for one building is moving ahead, he pointed out. In addition, the role of chairman has passed from Mr Bernardi to authority member Thomas Connors.

  • Church Members Explain Reasons For Planned Land Sale To Hook & Ladder

    Representatives of Trinity Episcopal Church, which plans to sell land to the Newtown Hook & Ladder volunteer firefighting organization for construction of a new firehouse, have explained church members’ thinking in terms of their recent decision to sell the land. Several months ago, the fire company approached the church about a land purchase for firehouse construction. The church owns eight acres at 36 Main Street, of which the fire company would buy three acres which have vehicle access from the south side of Church Hill Road. In a statement issued last week, Rick Haylon and Bart Geissinger, the wardens for Trinity Episcopal Church, explained church members’ views in deciding to sell land to the fire company for a new firehouse.