Sheila Torres, vice chairman of the Commission on Aging, and Marilyn Place, director of senior services in Newtown, announced Wednesday, April 8, that thanks to a Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging grant received in December, Newtown Senior Center will be able to host three new programs for residents ages 60 and older. Beginning the first Monday in May, senior citizens can participate in “Stretch and Meditation” on Mondays, and “Sunrise Exercise” and/or qi gong (for strength and balance) on Tuesdays. “These new programs are intended to attract people who may never have taken part in organized exercise classes,” said Ms Torres. The classes can serve as a means of introducing seniors to a healthier lifestyle and encourage socialization. “As a commission,” Ms Torres said, “we are trying to expand outreach to the senior community in Newtown.”
Tim McGraw has announced that on Friday, July 17, at XFINITY Theatre in Hartford, he will hold a concert to benefit Sandy Hook Promise. One-hundred percent of the net proceeds of this event will support Sandy Hook Promise, founded in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 12/14, with a mission of protecting children from gun violence. Featured performers will include current tourmates Billy Currington and Chase Bryant, along with special guests to be announced later. Public sales for “Tim McGraw: A Concert for Sandy Hook Promise” begin Friday, April 17, at 10 am.
US Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on April 13 introduced The Jesse Lewis Empowering Educators Act to provide teachers powerful tools and training to support students’ social and emotional learning. The bill is named in honor of Jesse Lewis, who at six years old was among the children killed on 12/14. US Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) is a co-sponsor. Specifically, the bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act so that existing professional development funding could be used to train teachers in concepts related to social and emotional learning.
Land acquisitions and lot line revisions shared the Board of Selectmen agenda with a request aimed at improving water quality on Lake Zoar, as the officials convened for a regular meeting April 6. Public Works Director Fred Hurley appeared before selectmen with a memo from the Lake Zoar Authority requesting priority scheduling of street sweeping and storm basin cleaning in five waterfront communities. Mr Hurley said after consulting with Health Director Donna Culbert, he decided to bring the authority’s request to selectmen. Later in the meeting, Deputy Land Use Director Rob Sibley came before selectmen requesting the town acquire two small parcels of land being gifted to the community by residents, as well as recommending lot line revisions to four other small parcels.
After making an announcement to employees, trustees, and corporators at a recent gathering, Newtown Savings Bank President and CEO John Trentacosta told The Newtown Bee this week the bank will close and relocate its Main Street retail branch to a new building at 30-32 Church Hill Road. Mr Trentacosta said he expects the new building will be completed and ready for outfitting as a bank branch by late fall, with expected occupancy by spring 2016. The bank currently owns a parcel of land in front of the former Lexington Gardens and plans to construct a new building on this site. The bank’s headquarters and executive offices will remain at the 39 Main Street, which will be able to accommodate more back office operations and staff as a result of the branch relocation.
In response to a couple’s recent suggestion, the Police Commission, in its role as the local traffic authority, is asking the state Department of Transportation to study and consider increasing the speed limit on the eastern section of Wasserman Way from its current 30-mph posting. Police Commission members discussed the topic at an April 7 meeting. Recently, Deborra and Charles Zukowski of Cornfield Ridge Road suggested increasing the speed limit on the eastern section of Wasserman Way to encourage more motorists to use that street as a bypass road for the town center, and thus alleviate some traffic pressure on Main Street.
The Police Commission, in its role as the local traffic authority, is pursuing having the state Department of Transportation install a traffic signal at the hazardous four-way intersection of Route 34 (Berkshire Road), Bennetts Bridge Road, and Gray’s Plain Road in Sandy Hook. At an April 7 session, commission members agreed to pursue installing such a safety feature there after being presented with an Internet petition signed by about 430 people who want a traffic signal installed. The petition signers want a conventional four-way red-yellow-green traffic signal installed at the intersection to improve travel safety.
The Borough Zoning Commission (BZC) is seeking additional information from the Aquarion Water Company on its proposal to build an above-ground water pumping station at 12 Church Hill Road, the address where the Newtown Hook & Ladder Volunteer Fire Company is now doing stormwater drainage work for the construction of a new firehouse. BZC members opened a public hearing on the pumphouse application on April 8. The volunteer fire company plans to construct an approximately 16,000-square-foot firehouse at the 3.16-acre site on the south side of Church Hill Road. The facility would replace the antiquated town-owned firehouse at 45 Main Street that is now used by the fire company. Aquarion wants to construct an 1,100-square-foot pumphouse adjacent to the planned firehouse.
Work crews will soon be seen on and around Silver Bridge in Sandy Hook, as the state Department of Transportation begins a multimillion-dollar project to renovate and rehabilitate the decaying truss-style span that carries Glen Road over the Lake Zoar section of the Housatonic River, linking Sandy Hook to Southbury. DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick said April 7 that the bridge project technically has begun, although no workers were spotted at the bridge that day. Soon, signs will be posted at the bridge and along Glen Road and River Road in Southbury, warning motorists that a bridge renovation project is underway.
In the wake of 12/14, victims' parents including Dr. Jeremy Richman and Nelba Marquez-Greene heard state politicians including Governor Dannel Malloy talk about their commitment to supporting front line mental health support and research that many hoped would help prevent another tragedy like the one that struck Sandy Hook Elementary School. Today, those parents tell The Newtown Bee that proposed cuts in Governor Dannel Malloy's current and projected state budgets could siphon nearly $160 million from a variety of programs supporting families and individuals with developmental and mental health disabilities, as well as possibly jeopardizing millions more in matching grants for in-state brain health research.