It may have been one of the shortest budget public hearings the Legislative Council has hosted, but its four participants brought the same degree of passion and advocacy for the school district budget proposal as dozens have in previous years. The four residents, plus Interim Superintendent John Reed, spent a total of about ten minutes Wednesday evening relating their support for the district’s spending plan, and calling for the council to move the budget request to referendum with no further reductions. 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 budget.
One day every year, local parents and people who care about Newtown’s children go back to school to learn about the latest trends, issues and concerns facing families and the community at the Parent Connection’s Parent Empowerment University. This year’s event, presented on march 22 in partnership with Brookfield CARES, was by far the best attended in its history according to Parent Connection Co-Founder Dorrie Carolan. She said she saw more than 220 registered attendees on hand, and at least 100 children tagging along for fun activities.
Police said that several roads will be closed to traffic at and near Fairfield Hills on Saturday, March 29, while the Sandy Hook 5K Road Race is being held in that area. Police will be stationed along the race route to prevent traffic flow there. Traffic will be prohibited from part of the main Fairfield Hills campus, as well as a section of Mile Hill Road South and a portion of Nunnawauk Road.
Police said they conducted special roving patrols for traffic enforcement during the St Patrick’s Day holiday period. Law enforcement grant money subsidized the extra patrols. Lieutenant George Sinko said that police issued no violations for driving under the influence. Other traffic and motor vehicle violations were reported by the local police department, however.
Newtown police working with police from other area towns will conduct an enforcement campaign against distracted driving from March 27 through April 2, according to Lieutenant George Sinko, who oversees the police patrol division. Newtown police will be working with police from Bethel, Brookfield, Redding, and Ridgefield in the seven-day enforcement project. State police, as well as police from Monroe and Danbury, will conduct similar enforcement projects within their respective jurisdictions. The enforcement campaign will include use of unmarked vehicles, spotters, and roving patrols.
Barry Svigals, a principal at Svigals + Partners, says he has derived much inspiration for conceptual designs of the new Sandy Hook Elementary School from the natural environment of its site, as well as from many ideas revealed during meetings he and his team have arranged with parents, school staffers, leaders, and other community members. Mr Svigals and colleagues Jay Brotman and Elena Konefal appeared before Newtown’s Public Building and Site Commission March 25, essentially doing a rerun of a February presentation to the local Board of Education and members of the Public Building & Site Commission showcasing developing schematic concepts of the soon-to-be-built facility.
From prospective tenants to memorial bench locations, Fairfield Hills Authority members this week discussed a grab bag of topics. FHA Chair Thomas Connors first noted the several parties interested in reusing the Plymouth Hall building. “There has been a significant amount of activity,” he said Monday, March 24. While the interest in reusing a campus facility “is a good thing,” he added that there is “nothing on the table” as far as a lease agreement for the space. “But, there are a lot of people looking,” he said. The meeting also covered the possibility of a viability study for the building, continued the discussion of 12/14 memorial benches being placed on the campus, the addition of an online calendar to FHA's website, and the possibility of creating a liasion between FHA and one of the town's newest commissions.
Now that the long, cold winter of 2014 is coming to an end and spring weather is emerging, motorists are driving more. That increase in traffic means that town police are stepping up their motor vehicle enforcement to address the added traffic volume on local roads. The 45-member police department has a specialized traffic enforcement unit that uses a motorcycle and an unmarked white Dodge Charger sedan for traffic enforcement duty. The normal complement of the traffic unit is two people, but it is now staffed with one person because the other member recently was promoted to the rank of sergeant. Police Chief Michael Kehoe said March 18 that he expects to assign another officer to the traffic unit.