Newtown, by Charter provision, currently has its maximum allowable force of seven appointed, nonsalaried constables on the books. But according to Police Commission Chairman Paul Mangiafico, the local police chief apparently does not know who they are; they are vested with very limited legal responsibilities; and it appears that Charter Commissioner Robert Hall may have been one of the last local court officers to use one to serve civil papers — and that was “15 or 20 years ago.” The matter of weighing whether to keep these appointed by seemingly ceremonial officials in the Newtown Charter came before the commission November 12 as they continued examining revisions to Newtown’s constitutional document. After about 40 minutes of discussion with Mr Mangiafico, it was determined that more information may be needed before charter officials could adequately consider whether constables should be kept or eliminated from the document.
Town finance officials have announced a planned January “refunding” or refinancing of debt on a number of municipal bond offerings which they hope will generate at least $925,000 in interest savings. While those projected savings are based on interest rates and the financial formulary in place today, Town Finance Director Robert Tait told The Newtown Bee that there are no present indicators that interest rates will fluctuate significantly. “We’re not borrowing, but we are swapping one debt for another that is less expensive,” Mt Tait said. “This is not going to show up as revenue, but it will effectively lower our debt service budget, hopefully by about $925,000.”
Help feed families in need through the Thanksgiving Basket Program, now in its 50th year. Women Involved in Newtown (WIN) coordinates a program to feed families throughout the holiday season. WIN seeks individuals and groups to adopt a family this year.
The information being related Friday morning in the CH Booth Library meeting room could very well have represented keynote input for a symposium on handling victims of mass casualty disasters. But it came with tears, hand-holding, fleeting video images of happy, dancing children, and the often gut-wreching testimony of several parents whose first-graders were murdered on 12/14. Governor Dannel Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission held one of its final hearings just over a mile from the site of the 2012 tragedy on November 14. For nearly two hours, many of its members sat listening intently while Dr. Jeremy Richman and Jennifer Hensel, parents of 6-year-old victim Avielle Richman, along with Nelba Marquez-Greene, the mother of 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene detailed ways they believe Connecticut could improve response to incidents like Newtown faced on that fateful December morning 23 months before.
In light of the deteriorated condition of some repaved local roads, whose asphalt surfaces have been degrading much sooner than would normally be expected, the town public works director is expressing caution about spending large sums for extensive road repaving projects while road durability remains in question. Director Fred Hurley said November 12 that both locally and throughout the state, the durability of repaved asphalt roads has become an issue during the past several years, as those roads have physically deteriorated sooner than expected. Mr Hurley suggested a range of reasons why repaved roads do not last as long as they formerly did. The problem has affected municipal roads across the state, as well as state roads, he said.
Volunteers serving the Dodgingtown Fire Company are not only concerned about Newtown residents they are charged with protecting, as taxpayers themselves, they are always looking for ways to pinch pennies. As a result, the fire company, tucked into a mid-1950s-era building on Dodgingtown Road, has just completed the latest phase of energy improvements to help save taxpayer dollars. According to Dodgingtown’s Green Committee Chairman Kirk Blanchard, following the successful and economically advantageous changeover from an oil- to gas-fired boiler, Chief Steve Murphy charged the committee with upgrading electrical lighting fixtures and bulbs to achieve even more energy savings. The result was a successful partnership with Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) and an approved application to the utility’s Small Business Energy Advantage Program.
School Superintendent Joseph Erardi, Jr said in a prepared statement issued at 2:22 pm Friday, November 14 that, “Earlier this afternoon, St. Rose School received a threatening call.”
“That school was placed on a “lock-in closed” status,” he said. The parochial school is located at 40 Church Hill Road.
During such situations, visitors are not allowed on school grounds and all people in the school remain inside the building.
“Newtown Middle School and the Hawley School have been placed on “lock-in open” status because of their proximity to St. Rose,” he added,
“No threat was received at the Middle or Hawley schools. School dismissal will occur at the regular time,” he said.
“All students and staff throughout the district are safe,” he said.
Police said at 3:15 pm on Friday, November 14, that security statuses put in place at three local schools have been lifted following their initial probe into a threat of harm made against St Rose School Friday afternoon.
Police Sergeant Aaron Bahamonde said at 3:15 pm that a “lock-in closed” security status at St Rose School at 40 Church Hill Road has been lifted, as well as “lock-in open” statuses at the nearby Hawley School and Newtown Middle School.
“All schools are back to normal,” he said.
After some discussion, the Public Building & Site Commission, during its special meeting on Wednesday, November 12, approved the Phase 4 documents for the Sandy Hook School construction project.
The approval paves the way for that portion of the project to go out to bid.
“The big news is that we were at the Office of School Facilities at the state this morning for a final review of the Phase 4 construction documents package,” said Diversified Project Management’s Geralyn Hoerauf. “We did receive approval at that meeting.”
In the coming months, town public works crews will be going paperless — at least as far as their work orders and job tracking is concerned. At the same time, if all goes as planned, residents who discover issues like potholes, low hanging branches, or other town concerns will be able to click a button on the municipal website and instantly notify public works supervisors who can then dispatch the closest crew to respond.
These and other money- and time-saving efficiencies will be on tap as a result of an electronic work order system and hardware acquired by the town from a South Windsor-based vendor, according to Newtown’s Director of Technology Al Miles.