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  • Common Core Debate Heading To State Capitol Complex Wednesday

    Legislators will get to hear feedback on the rollout of the Common Core Curriculum Wednesday during a public hearing at the State Capitol complex. The noon event is the result of a move by Republican minority legislators to force the reluctant leaders of the Education Committee to hold a hearing on the bill that would put implementation of the state’s new academic standards on hold. Two days before the hearing, 52 people have already submitted testimony, most of whom oppose the new standards adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010. The state’s largest teachers union — the Connecticut Education Association — recently called the state’s roll out of the standards “botched” and “mishandled.” The CEA says a survey of its members shows teachers overwhelmingly want a moratorium on implementation of the standards. Supporters meanwhile have scheduled a press conference before the Wednesday hearing.

  • SHOP Taps Newtowner Melissa Lopata As Marketing Coordinator

    Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity (SHOP) has selected Melissa Lopata of Newtown as the marketing coordinator for Sandy Hook Village. Ms Lopata will be introduced at the Sandy Hook Village Action Planning Workshop on Wednesday, March 12. Ms Lopata moved to Newtown in 2011 from Brooklyn and is working as a part-time marketing consultant for Two Coyotes Wilderness School in Newtown. In her new position she will utilize the new Sandy Hook Community Brand Identity Guidelines and tools to create powerful and effective marketing pieces for Sandy Hook Village businesses, and will manage SHOP’s new website and expand the use of social media to help current merchants succeed and to attract new business to the area. She will begin her new post on March 17.

  • State Senate Leader Opposes Privacy Bill As Affront To FOI

    Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr. testifying against a bill that he says would erode the Freedom of Information Act. In testimony delivered in quick succession Monday to two legislative committees, Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, strongly condemned post-Newtown legislation that would restrict public access to 9-1-1 recordings, police photographs and names of witnesses in drug or violent crimes. “If enacted, this would result in an unprecedented denial of previously available information, with no necessary relation to witnesses being threatened or endangered, and no relation to the security of an investigation,” Williams said. “It is a suppression of information for its own sake.”

  • School Board Crafts Budget Statement

    The Board of Education approved a budget statement that was passed on to both the Board of Finance and the public during a special meeting Monday, March 10. On March 4 meeting, the school board voted to have its Communication Subcommittee write a budget statement in anticipation of the Board of Finance’s March 12 meeting. “It has been requested that we put together a statement regarding our decision on the budget ,” said school board Chair Debbie Leidlein on March 4.

  • Applications Due For Elderly & Disabled Homeowners Program

    The Assessor’s Office will be accepting applications for the Elderly and Disabled Homeowners Programs through May 15. Applications are accepted at the Assessor’s Office, at Newtown Municipal Center, 3 Primrose Street, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 am and 4:30 pm. Homeowners who are currently on the program and need to reapply will receive a notice by mail.

  • On The Slopes With Adaptive Skiers

    More than 20 disabled skiers participated in Leaps of Faith (LOF) Adaptive Skiers’ Snow Ski Clinic at Mount Southington in Plantsville on February 25 for a full day of snow ski and snowboarding instruction. “We had a great turnout,” said Zeisler, president of LOF Adaptive Skiers. Ages ranged from 6 to 65 and disabilities included leg amputations, stroke, spinal cord injuries, blind and visual impairments, and others, he said. The majority of skiers were first timers, “and a few were apprehensive about going down the mountain. But everyone ended up skiing downhill multiple times, surprising themselves and making us incredibly proud." All adaptive equipment is provided for the clinics, and no experience is necessary to participate. Clinics are free of charge and are open to children, adults, and veterans with disabilities.

  • Police Dog Saint Now On Patrol Duty

    Saint, the town police department ’s new German shepherd, has started work with K-9 Officer Felicia Figol, resuming the dog-assisted patrols which had ended in the middle of last year, when former police dog Baro was retired from service. Last September, the police acquired Saint, a nearly all-black shepherd who is smaller than Baro. Saint’s full name is Saint Michael. Officer Figol, who handled Baro, will continue in her role by handling Saint, most often on the police shift that runs from 4 pm to midnight. The dog started patrol work about seven weeks ago. Besides the dog’s keen sense of smell, which helps it find missing people or fleeing suspects, its nose helps it detect certain illicit drugs. Saint is trained to detect marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Also, Saint’s sensitive nose is able to detect the residual human scent on an object, such as a handgun, which has been thrown into a field, she said. The dog’s keen sense of smell allows it to track a scent in wet areas, she said. Saint is also trained to apprehend, and capable of making full-mouth bites on command.

  • One-Day Boating & Personal Water Craft Course, Proceeds Benefit Local Charity

    A safe boating course may be the only sign of spring hidden in this month’s frigid forecast. Sandy Hook-based Leaps of Faith (LOF) Adaptive Skiers is hosting a Boating License Course on Saturday, March 22, from 8 am to 4 pm at the Newtown United Methodist Church, 92 Church Hill Road. Completion of the course will qualify registrants for their Connecticut Boating & Personal Water Craft License.

  • Library Open To The Public, Grand Opening To Come

    For the first time since early January, people mingled among the shelves at C. H. Booth Library Saturday, March 8, within an hour of the building’s reopening.The library has been closed since flooding from broken sprinkler pipes caused extensive damage the afternoon of Saturday, January 4. Now, computers are up and running, and other services are available.As Young Adult Librarian Kim Weber shared with The Bee Wednesday, March 5, reconfigured spaces provide a more natural flow, and newly painted walls, woodwork, and new carpeting give the library a fresh look.Multiple people were taking advantage of the library’s computers, like Newtown Middle School eighth grader Michael Arther, who tucked himself away in the Young Adult section. “We’re just so happy to be open,” said Acting Director Beryl Harrison, near the front door of 45 Main Street.

  • Team 26 Departs For DC

    Team 26 members and supporters gathered on the steps of Edmond Town Hall on Saturday, March 8, before embarking on a 400-mile journey— the 2nd Annual Sandy Hook Ride on Washington (SHROW)— to show how diverse communities across the nation have one common goal: make streets safer and put an end to the gun-violence epidemic. The four-day “rolling rally” will include events in Ridgefield and Greenwich, Harlem, N.Y., Doylestown, Penn., Baltimore and College Park, Md., and Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., before ending at the steps of the US Capitol Building.