HARTFORD – More than six months after losing their loved ones in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, families say dealing with questions over how to distribute the millions of dollars sent to help Newtown heal is instead causing them more pain.
How much should go to the families of the slain children and educators? To the families of the children who witnessed the massacre but survived and will need to pay for years of therapy? To the slain staff members' families, who may have lost a breadwinner? Or to the Newtown community at large? And who gets to make those decisions?
While First Selectman Pat Llodra announced last week that the majority of post-12/14 events have already been scheduled and/or announced, she also hinted that there were two special events that were still coming while students and families were enjoying summer break.
Get out your markers and poster board, young adults of Newtown. It’s time to make some concert posters: Nickelodeon is bringing Big Time Rush to Newtown for a free concert on Monday, July 22. James, Logan, Carlos and Kendall will be performing for a few thousand residents on the Fairfield Hills campus. The concert will begin at 7 pm, gates will open at 4 pm, and tickets will be available beginning at noon Friday, July 5.
Fairfield County was hit by a tornado on Monday, July 1, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS in New York City confirmed the hit by an EF-0 tornado on Monday with the release of a public information statement Tuesday afternoon. Newtown had been put under a Tornado Warning on Monday around 11:20 am, but the town was not affected by the weather event. The July 1 tornado reportedly touched down in Greenwich and Stamford.
On Thursday, First Selectman Pat Llodra used her blog to announce that while countless offers have been extended to residents in the days, weeks, and months following 12/14, the Town of Newtown has decided that no additional special events will be added to the town’s calendar, for at least July and August. On Monday, July 1, Mrs Llodra spoke about the post, the thinking behind it, and responses that she had heard since making the announcement four days earlier. “My sense is, we need to be done with these major events, and spend some time with a respite. Local events will continue; I don’t have a role or response in what others do,” she said. “But I think in terms of outside activities, and outside groups, I think it’s time to say thank you, and we need to decline any further offers.”
The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Warning for this area until 11:40 am. In addition, the National Weather Service in Upton, N.Y., has issued a Flash Flood Warning for Fairfield Couny, until 12:30 pm. UPDATE: Tornado Warning has expired, but the Flash Flood Warning has been extended to 1:15 pm. Also, due to the weather, Parks & Recreation is closing the day camps at Treadwell and Dickinson parks. Parents are asked to pick up their children as soon as possible.
Over 4,000 tickets have been given to the town by the New York Yankees for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles. Many residents and families who had originally requested tickets are now unable to use tickets, so there have been some returns. Tickets will be available first-come, first-served, on Wednesday, July 3, between 2 and 4 pm only. Ticket-holders are responsible for their own transportation to and from the Bronx for Sunday's game. First pitch will be 1:05 pm.
All town offices will be closed on Thursday, July 4, in honor of Independence Day. It is also a holiday for the USPS, so there is no regular mail delivery/pickup or retail services. Newtown Senior Center, C.H. Booth Library and the offices of The Newtown Bee will also be closed for the holiday.
“Just close your eyes and listen,” said Newtown Forest Association President Robert Eckenrode. He stood on an overgrown old farming road beside a stream; its splashing sounds mingled with birdsong and a gentle breeze. Referring to a 1934 aerial photograph of the 27.6-acre parcel at 196 Hattertown Road that the NFA recently purchased, member Bart Smith observed that the area where he and Mr Eckenrode explored Wednesday morning, probably once meadows, remains unchanged. “It’s mostly untouched,” he said, stepping over a fallen tree and approaching a stonewall up a slight rise. The new acquisition includes two streams, ponds and vernal pools, beautiful rolling woodlands, stone walls, and evidence of historical agricultural. The land is now protected by NFA, and will likely be opened for passive recreation in the future.
During its Annual Meeting on Monday, June 24, the Board of Directors and staff of Newtown Youth & Family Services (NYFS) honored those who have helped the town and the nonprofit mental health clinic and youth service bureau throughout the last year. The board also honored its retiring members for their service to the agency.
A special ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at the home of Lorraine and Mike Hurley, on South Main Street, on Father’s Day Sunday, June 16. For the fourth — and hopefully final — time, family members gathered around the American flag in the front yard to cut a a yellow ribbon. This one had been wrapped around the flag pole since the Hurleys’ son-in-law Lieutenant Colonel Ben Wallen was deployed to Iraq, one year ago. This was Lt Col Wallen’s third deployment to Iraq, and each time, the Hurley family has tied a yellow ribbon about the flagpole until his safe return. Celebrating Lt Col Wallen’s return with the Hurleys on Sunday were sisters-in-law Micaela McMurrough and Maura Kuehling, and her husband Rusty, as well as three grandchildren.