Newtown Veterans of Foreign War Post 308 launched its annual Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots program on November 14, when member Dave Silver asked his retirement party guests to bring donations for the annual Christmas campaign. The VFW Post, and more than a dozen other locations in town, will continue receiving Toys For Tots donations until December 19.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy is directing flags in Connecticut to return to full-staff at sunset today, Thursday, November 20. Flags have been flying at half-staff in honor of Judge John T. Downey, who died on Monday.
In two brief sessions November 17, representatives of Newtown’s Municipal Building Strategic Plan Committee, and the Animal Control Advisory Board made interim reports to the Board of Selectmen. First, the Animal Control Board’s Chair Adria Henderson presented her panel’s annual report. She indicated that issues that plagued the newly opened animal control facility a year before had “substantially improved.” Geralyn Hoerauf, a consultant to the Municipal Facilities review panel, told selectmen the first meeting of the group occurred in late September and a follow-up meeting was held October 30. She said there are plans to have the committee meet at least once monthly and the next session would likely include a full discussion of the inventory of town-owned buildings.
Police said this week they are continuing to investigate a threat made against St Rose School midday on November 14, which resulted in the parochial school at 40 Church Hill Road briefly being put into lockdown. It was the second threat made against a local school last week, the first having been a threat made against Newtown High School midday on November 11.
Newtown officials and spokespersons for state agencies involved with supporting both immediate victims and survivors of 12/14 responded to queries by The Newtown Bee following testimony last week by two surviving families to the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission. The 16-member panel appointed last year by Governor Dannel Malloy heard from Dr Jeremy Richman and Jennifer Hensel, parents of 6-year-old victim Avielle Richman, and Nelba Marquez-Greene, the mother of 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene, during a nearly two-hour session at C.H. Booth Library. After reviewing some of the emotional testimony offered on November 14, First Selectman Pat Llodra said there are critical but subtle differences between her outreach to the entire community, and the level of outreach she needs to exercise with the immediate victims of 12/14.
Newtown Action Alliance, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Campaign to Unload announced Wednesday, November 19, comedian Jay Leno’s decision to cancel his appearance at the 2015 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show), an annual event sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the gun industry. Mr Leno’s cancellation came just hours after the three gun violence prevention groups had launched a petition Wednesday morning, calling on him to take this action.
Nearly two dozen Newtown families still need help from the public as Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season approaches. According to Women Involved in Newtown (WIN) member Many Monaco, who contacted The Newtown Bee on November 18, there are 20 families still up for “adoption” through the WIN Thanksgiving Basket program. WIN coordinates with Newtown Social Services throughout the holiday season, seeking individuals, organizations, and school groups to “adopt” each family and provide food, toiletries, and paper goods for Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season.
United Way of Connecticut released, on November 16, a 121-page, statewide report, documenting Connecticut households struggling to afford living expenses that exceed the official federal poverty level of $11,670 for an individual or $23,850 for a family of four. In Newtown, one in five people meet these criteria and live with these daily economic challenges.
After clearing trees and stumps from the footprint of the new Sandy Hook Elementary School, site work to make the new foundation area stable will commence in the coming days according to a Consigli Construction spokesperson. At the same time, the State of Connecticut has scheduled the next installment of an approved $50 million in funding by awarding the latest round of grants requested to cover costs related to the construction project. Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced November 19 that the State Bond Commission approved a $5 million grant to finance ongoing planning and design costs for the new school. “The State of Connecticut joins the people of Newtown in their resolve to move forward despite the most challenging of circumstances,” said Gov Malloy. “This project is a necessary part of the recovery process, and will continue to be a priority even after students are attending classes in their new school.”