The father of the gunman in the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings has agreed to help a Connecticut commission obtain his son’s school and medical records, which members hope can shed more light on the tragedy. Peter Lanza met for an hour Thursday, January 23, with Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, chairman of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, which is investigating the events of 12/14. The commission held its latest meeting on January 24.
While some animals may bask in a bitter winter day, others would tell their owners how cold they are, if they could. Canine Advocates of Newtown President Virginia Jess agrees that some dogs may love the cold, “but not all,” she said. She has noticed her own dog’s discomfort. Of her 40-pound sheltie-collie mix, she said, “I know that when we walk our dog in the snow, she would pick up her feet and I would wipe them off, the salt gets in there.” She also warns, “Animals can get frostbite, too." Ms Jess keeps a towel with her as she walks the dog. “You need something to keep the snow out from between their paws and to keep out the salt and sand.” She has also purchased products that can help protect dog’s paws, which she recommends. Your Healthy Pet owner Mary Kay Novak also had recommendations.
Interim Superintendent of Schools John Reed shared an overview of his proposed operating budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year during the school board’s Thursday, January 23 meeting. After reviewing both increases and decreases, which include certified and noncertified positions, proposed in the budget, Dr Reed said the total change from the current 2013-14 $71,045,304 budget, is an increase of $534,730, reflecting a 0.75 percent change. The superintendent’s proposed operating budget for 2014-15 totals $71,580,034. Dr Reed thanked everyone who attended Thursday’s meeting for taking the time to attend the budget presentation.After outlining the Board of Education’s 2014-15 budget goals, Dr Reed shared how each of those goals would effect the budget. “When you have the opportunity to try to summarize a budget for people, I find the first time through, I try to keep it simple and not overwhelming in detail,” Dr Reed said.
The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is scheduled to meet today at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, where they will receive presentations from several experts regarding issues related to behavioral health and crisis counseling services.
A $2.2 million budget request for the Parks and Recreation Department represents a 1.1 percent increase for the 2014-15 fiscal year. Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Ed Marks, who has spoken with First Selectman Pat Llodra as town budget discussions begin, said this week he believes “she is pleased with what we have submitted so far,” but is prepared to reduce the 1.1 percent as the funding request goes before town boards prior to a referendum.
On January 1, Town Clerk Debbie Aurelia Halstead became Newtown's first Veterans Contact Specialist. The state mandated position is charged with being a single point of contact and referral for any or all veterans issues at the local level. Ms Aurelia Halstead was the appointee to that position serving Veterans living in Newtown. She was recently informed of a new and successful job program specifically for younger veterans who have been most challenged in finding permanent full-time employment. The WorkPlace is looking to identify 20 individuals between late February and early March to participate. The program, "Platform to Employment," has been successful in seven cities across the country, and in Connecticut in obtaining jobs for those completing program, the agency states.
A new website has been launched to provide the public with updates on building the new Sandy Hook School, according to a brief release from First Selectman Pat Llodra. The website will provide project updates, a look into the design process, and a photo feed of the project under construction. The Svigals +Partners design and construction team will be making periodic presentations to the Board of Education and the Public Building & Site Commission, and those dates will be posted online as well. Meeting minutes and presentation materials will also be posted as they become available.
First Selectman Pat Llodra, in coordination with Newtown’s Health District and local emergency management officials, announced that residents who may require a place to warm up over the course of the coming days can do so at two locations in town. Mrs Llodra said the Newtown Municipal Center main meeting room will be accessible as a warming center for residents until 9:30 pm every evening until further notice — including over the weekend. In addition, residents are invited to another warming center at the Senior Services office at 14 Riverside Road in Sandy Hook between the hours of 8 am and 4:30 pm weekdays only.
The opening session of the Board of Selectmen’s 2013-14 budget deliberations were as much an analysis of municipal spending over the past seven years as it was a review of anticipated spending for the upcoming fiscal cycle.
And for the seventh consecutive year, it appears funding for local road improvements will come up short — further building a deficit officials fear could trigger future bonding to cover the mounting costs, possibly as soon as next year.
Selectmen headed out of the gate during their January 22 budget session requesting a budget increase of 0.3 percent, or a increase of $117,014 from the current approved budget of $39,024,523.
First Selectman Pat Llodra and Newtown Prevention Council Co-Chair Judy Blanchard outlined a possible new role for the council to play in town during its meeting on Thursday, January 16. The meeting was moved to Newtown High School’s library from C.H. Booth Library, which is still closed for remediation work after a January 4 flood caused by broken sprinkler pipes. According to the first selectman, the Newtown Prevention Council will be included in an application for a Department of Justice grant the town is set to complete in the next week.