The Legislative Council heard from police and land use officials during its last meeting December 3, as the one-year mark passed on implementing local blight and firearms ordinances. Newtown Police Captain Joe Rios and George Benson, director of planning, each spent a few minutes reporting to the council on how the ordinances are working, and responding to whether either or both ordinances need further refining by council members.
The Water & Sewer Authority (WSA) has rejected, without prejudice, a developer’s application for preliminary approval to extend municipal sanitary sewer lines to serve a currently undeveloped 35-acre property near Exit 10 of Interstate 84, where the developer wants to construct a high-density, multifamily housing complex which has an “affordable housing” component. WSA members decided that the applicant had not provided sufficient technical information on which the they could base a preliminary decision on the sewering request.
Geralyn Hoerauf, consultant to Newtown’s Municipal Building Strategic Plan Committee, reviewed the panel’s plans for the coming weeks and months during her monthly reporting to the Board of Selectmen December 15. The committee, consisting of ten residents, has met once since Ms Hoerauf’s last report to selectmen in mid-November. The group is still in the process of defining its scope and mission, but members are orienting themselves to a two-phase plan of attack to accomplish their charge of reporting back to selectmen on possible future uses of municipal-owned facilities, eventually including local schools.
Although the Borough Zoning Commission last week unanimously approved Newtown Hook & Ladder’s proposal to build a firehouse at 12 Church Hill Road without a traffic study having been performed, the Police Commission this week, in its role as the local traffic authority, told the volunteer fire company that it wants a traffic study done before it would review and make a recommendation on the traffic aspects of the firehouse project.
HARTFORD—Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by State Department of Education (SDE) Commissioner Stefan Pryor and Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Commissioner Catherine Smith, today announced the awardees of a new Arts in Education grant program designed to strengthen arts instruction by facilitating partnerships between schools and artists and arts organizations.
Governor Malloy announced the grant program, making a total of $250,000 available with individual awards up to a maximum of $50,000, in August.
Newtown was one of eight communities that will receive a grant through the program.
About 50 people, including residents and town officials, gathered on December 11 at a second forum held to discuss the advisability of allowing housing by special zoning permit at the Fairfield Hills campus. Based on comments made by residents at the session, the public still appears skeptical and unconvinced that permitting rental apartments at Fairfield Hills is a good idea. Residents voiced similar sentiments at a December 6 forum.
The estates of nine of 26 people who were killed and one teacher who was injured in the December 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School are the plaintiffs in a negligence and wrongful death lawsuit lodged against the manufacturer, the distributor, and the seller of the semiautomatic Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, which a 20-year-old gunman used in the murders. Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, PC, of Bridgeport filed the lawsuit December 15 in Bridgeport Superior Court. The court return date for the defendants is February 3. Among those named as defendants are Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC, of North Carolina, which is the manufacturer; Camfour, Inc, of Massachusetts, which is the distributor; and Riverview Sales, Inc, of East Windsor, which is the gun shop where the weapon was purchased; and gun seller David Laguercia.
During a report from Newtown International Center for Education (NICE) Executive Council members, the Board of Education learned of a new strategic plan for the program at its meeting on December 16. NICE Executive Council members Tim DeJulio, Liz Ward-Toller, and Jen Davidson explained goals and objectives for the program along with presenting the strategic plan. “Some of our objectives are to really maintain,” said Mrs Ward-Toller. “… as you can see there are three of us. In the past there have been 20-something members [that] would come to Board of Education meetings.” NICE oversees three sister-school relationships, according to the presentation, with China, France, and Spain. Those relationships, Mrs Ward-Toller said, include having groups of students and chaperones visit each country from Newtown and having visitors come to Newtown from those countries. NICE also has a Japan program, and Mrs Ward-Toller said it could be another sister-school relationship for Newtown.
The chairman of Newtown's Board of Fire Commissioners conducted a brief presentation to the Legislative Council December 3 after representatives posed questions about certain fire department requests in the new Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The CIP is a five-year projection of major projects planned for the community, most of which are underwritten by bonding. Before addressing specific questions, Fire Commission Chairman Rob Manna explained that his panel's responsibilities include ensuring Newtown's five independent volunteer fire companies are trained, equipped and outfitted to national standards related to firefighting.
Anybody who sees and wants to display their own WE ARE NEWTOWN bumper sticker, or to acquire and distribute them as stocking stuffers can visit Sam Mihailoff, the organizer of a campaign to purchase and install 26 engraved memorial benches created in memory of those killed on 12/14. He will be stationed at the Exit 11 commuter lot on December 20, and at Bagel Delight on Christmas morning. The resident and former educator is also trying to find a location for a set of 26 granite benches that have been created to honor the women and children who died two years ago.