There are details still to iron out, but the overall attitude of the staff and administrators of the C.H. Booth Library is that “It is good to be back.” With minor glitches straightened out, improved technology, and floor plans altered to a more welcoming flow of foot traffic, the C.H. Booth Library is ready to welcome back the public in grand style. Although the library reopened its doors to the public, Saturday, March 8, a Reopening Celebration is scheduled for Saturday, March 22, emphasizing the silver lining that lay behind the devastating flood that shuttered the library for two months. Patrons have been welcomed back since March 8, but by March 22, staff feels that the community can once again enter the doors completely confident that services are 100 percent functional. Behind the scenes, a badly water-damaged infrastructure had created a challenge for staff and the board, with nearly all technology disabled. Newly painted walls and woodwork, new carpet throughout the first and second floor areas, and upgraded utilities, alarms, and computers mean that patrons of C.H. Booth Library will find the library an even more welcoming space to visit. A number of events to celebrate the reopening of the library on March 22.
Richard Zang, chairman of the town’s Water & Sewer Authority (WSA), has written "A History of the Newtown Sewer System — Its Planning, Design, Construction and Operation," which offers a history of the two local municipal sanitary sewer systems. "The state grew impatient waiting for the town to address its septic problems and finally resorted to threats of heavy fines from the attorney general. It took 35 years from the town’s first appropriation for a wastewater study (in 1962), and 28 years from the first state (pollution abatement) order in 1969 for Newtown to begin treating sewage in its own plant in 1997,” Mr Zang writes as part of the introduction. Mr Zang explained that his history of the town sewage treatment systems grew out of a compilation and expansion of the annual reports he had written for WSA members. The offering, which contains a technically detailed text, photos, maps, charts, and diagrams, explains the origins of the two sewer systems. The central sewer system that started operation in 1997 was constructed to resolve longstanding groundwater pollution problems caused by failing septic systems. That system serves the Borough, Sandy Hook Center, Fairfield Hills, and Garner Correctional Institution, among other areas. It discharges wastewater to a sewage treatment plant on Commerce Road.
(AP) Connecticut state lawmakers are considering whether to expand restrictions on pesticide use to include more public places like parks, playgrounds and municipal greens. Legislators say they drafted a bill to shield children from toxic wn pesticides. The General Assembly’s Environment Committee has scheduled a public hearing on the proposal and other bills for 1 pm Monday at the Legislative Office Building.
Kim Killoy, Grant Coordinator for the Newtown Prevention Council has notified The Newtown Bee that she is postponing the Council's Parent Speaker Series event featuring school climate and bullying prevention expert Jo Ann Freiberg. That talk was set for this Wednesday, March 19 at the Middle School at 7 pm. She said that after much discussion and projected low attendance for the event, it was felt that parents would be more inclined to attend a similar activity in the Fall.
Enhance wildlife habitat and share the land are both part the message Bob Eckenrode he will share at an statewide seminar this weekend. The president of Newtown Forest Association will be presenting “Leading By Example: The NFA Working Across Town Borders" at the Connecticut Land Conservation Council seminars in Middletown. Leading by example is something Mr Eckenrode has been doing for a few decades.
What initially sounded like a dire incident last Friday afternoon turned out to be a scam, in which an unknown telephone caller sought to persuade the person called that one of the person’s relatives was being held hostage at gunpoint after an accident, and then demanded ransom from the person receiving the call.
Police Detective Lieutenant Richard Robinson said that police received a report on the matter from the Stop & Shop supermarket in Sand Hill Plaza on Friday, March 7. Police received a telephone call from the store reporting the situation at 2:05 pm. Five police officers responded. Police checked out the situation and determined that it was a ruse to illegally cheat or swindle a person of money, Lt Robinson said. The lieutenant did not disclose whether the caller was successful in obtaining any money from the person called.
Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members are scheduled to discuss the commercial redevelopment of 67 Church Hill Road with the proposed construction of a new gas station/convenience store there. The P&Z meeting, which will include two public hearings that bear on the project, is slated for Thursday, March 20. The one-acre parcel on the western corner of Church Hill Road and Edmond Road currently holds a decaying structure that formerly was a Shell gas station/convenience store. Town officials consider the deteriorated 2,100-square-foot structure to be an eyesore and want it demolished as part of their plans to have the “gateways” into Newtown become more attractive.
After about 90 minutes of deliberation March 13, the Board of Finance unanimously endorsed a 2014-15 townwide budget that will require no property tax or mill rate increase. Once the proposal is received by the Legislative Council March 19, Council members will be considering a spending plan that according to Town Finance Director Robert Tait provides $111,066,204 to cover town and school services, along with the annual cost for debt service on bonding which is carried in the Board of Selectmen's budget. While the finance board's endorsed budget request represents a 0.91% increase above the current year, because of updated revenue projections, the spending plan will actually require 0.02% less in taxation than the current operating budget — and will require a 2014-15 mill rate of 33.31, representing a zero increase.
The Newtown Police officer who has not yet returned to work since the 2012 school massacre because of post-traumatic stress disorder urged Connecticut lawmakers on Tuesday to expand the state’s workers’ compensation law to cover the condition. Thomas Bean, a 38-year-old married father of two, said he’s unable to return to his law enforcement career and faces an uncertain financial future. He told members of the General Assembly’s Public Safety and Security Committee on March 11 that he has experienced depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts since responding to the December 14, 2012, mass shooting, which left 20 first graders and six educators dead. Bean is receiving about half of his base pay through Newtown’s long-term disability insurance plan, but that policy is due to end in June 2015. If he were receiving worker’s compensation benefits for his PTSD, Bean would get more than 66 percent of his net pay, including an average of overtime pay, tax-free. There are two bills moving through the legislature this session that would require worker’s compensation coverage for mental trauma in the wake of intentional violent events such as 12/14.
The Newtown Lions Club Foundation has formally announced it has ceased directly administering benefits to providers and individuals through a fund established following the 12/14 tragedy. Peter McNulty, president of the Newtown Lions Club, said in a release, “Our original plan estimated that we would need to serve about 100 individuals for approximately 10 years. During the past 14 months we have provided benefits to over 250 individuals and expended over $350,000." The demand on the club has become overwhelming, Mr McNulty said. As a result the local Lions Club has sought other means to continue to provide support to the community. By joining forces with others, "we bring all of the organizations' strengths together to provide financial support in the most efficient way." The Lions will continue fundraising for 12/14 relief, including a golf tournament that is scheduled for late June.