Newtown officials and a GE representative working with the first selectman’s office are about a week away from filing for approximately $6 million in grants from the US Department of Justice that the town intends to use to fund several new, nongovernment professionals who will help deliver sustained and targeted mental health and recovery support in the community. In anticipation of receiving the grant, First Selectman Pat Llodra said she is about to send out invitations to individuals, organizations, and agencies from which a seven-member oversight board for the grant implementation would be created.
While continuing its review of the superintendent’s proposed operating budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, the Board of Education took up the topic of security during its workshop meeting on Thursday, January 30.Interim Superintendent of Schools John Reed presented his proposed budget on January 23, and the Board of Education began hearing from advocates for different parts of the budget that night. The superintendent’s proposed operating budget for 2014-15 totals $71,580,034, which reflects a $534,730, or a 0.75 percent, increase over the 2013-14 fiscal year.By January 28, the school board had heard from school principals, Director of Pupil Services Julie Haggard, and Newtown Continuing Education Director Elissa Gellis. On January 30, the board heard about its curriculum and technology budgets, general services and security, the plant operations and maintenance budget, the transportation budget, and employee benefits. Potential security costs in the budget took up the largest portion of the discussion in the January 30 session.
At 18 degrees and sunny, carpenters with Nosal Builders worked steadily Wednesday to get the roof structure in place. Clerk of the Works Brian Feeney said the progress on the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corp’s new ambulance garage is “going really well.” So far, the roughly $4.5 million project that broke ground in mid-2013, is on schedule, he said.
Roofing trusses were going into place this week and that phase of the roof should be completed in a few weeks, Mr Feeney said.
First Selectman Pat Llodra is seeking residents to fill several opening on local appointed boards and commissions. In some cases the appointments are required to be affiliated with a specific political party, while in other cases unaffiliated voters are encouraged to consider serving.
A federal judge in Hartford Thursday dismissed a constitutional challenge to the sweeping gun-control legislation passed in Connecticut after the Sandy Hook School massacre.
Gun owners challenged the law on several fronts, including what the state called "an absolutist" Second Amendment claim that the possession of types of semiautomatic rifles and large-capacity magazines banned under the law was a constitutionally guaranteed right.
"The court concludes that the legislation is constitutional," wrote Senior U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello. "While the act burdens the plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights, it is substantially related to the important governmental interest of public safety and crime control."
Newtown police said that after learning that they held warrants for his arrest, a former resident came to the police station on January 24 and was charged with 186 counts of violation of a protective order. Police said that William A. Bruno, 44, of New Haven came to the police station and was arrested on the charges, after which he was released on $100,000 bail for a January 27 arraignment in Danbury Superior Court. The 186 charges are felonies. One warrant listed one count based on an August 25, 2013, incident, and the other warrant listed 185 counts based on incidents that occurred from June 26 to August 26, 2013.
Fire Marshal Bill Halstead noted this week that during the past year, malfunctioning clothes dryers have caused three structure fires in town. Most recently, on January 2, a malfunctioning clothes dryer caused a house fire on Thunder Ridge Road in Sandy Hook that resulted in approximately $500,000 in property damage. Consequently, Mr Halstead is offering residents some safety tips about clothes dryers. The leading cause of home dryer fires is failure to clean those dryers.
A Nashville, Tenn., television station has reported that Robbie Bruce, the co-founder of an organization created in the wake of 12/14, to raise funds for those affected by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, will cooperate fully with authorities who are investigating claims that he misappropriated $73,000. WKRN-TV Nashville said Mr Bruce released a statement on January 17, through his attorney, Jonathan Framer. The statement said: “We will cooperate fully with the inquiries made by the state of Tennessee and look forward to the opportunity to do so. For the immediate future all of our communications will be with the appropriate state agencies.”
Jeffrey Silver, 36, who has been a town police officer for nearly 15 years, has been promoted to the rank of sergeant, in which capacity he will oversee the activities of patrol shifts at the police department. Police Commission members on January 28 unanimously selected Mr Silver for the post, according to Police Commission Chairman Paul Mangiafico. Since 2006, Sgt Silver has specialized in commercial truck inspections for the police department. For the past three years, Sgt Silver has worked as a member of the of the police patrol division’s traffic services unit. He also has worked as a training officer at the police department, providing instruction to other officers on the use of force, including rifles, pistols, and tasers. The sergeant is also a child safety seat technician who works to aid the public in properly installing such devices. He also instructs other police officers in the use of intoximeters in DUI cases.
Newtown Middle School eighth graders were recognized during the Regional Hospice and Home Care Annual Meeting in Danbury earlier this month. Paul L. Sirois, newly appointed executive director of the Regional Hospice Foundation, was pleased to recognize the seven Newtown Middle School students who make up the Kids In Deed Organization (KIDOs) with youth service awards for remarkable fundraising efforts. The students have pledged to raise $50,000 to pay for the playground equipment that will be placed outside the wing that houses Healing Hearts Center for Grieving Children and Families. As of November KIDOs had raised nearly $28,000.