Following lengthy discussion at a September 1 session, Police Commission members, serving as the local traffic authority, rejected a request from Newtown High School officials to allow limited staff access to the school in the morning via a gated emergency accessway extending from Oakview Road. NHS Principal Lorrie Rodrigue and NHS Director of Security Mark Pompano presented the proposal to Police Commission members at a heavily attended meeting. Many of those in the audience were Oakview Road area residents who expressed strong opposition to allowing limited school staff access via the emergency service road. Although the high school campus at 12 Berkshire Road covers more than 37 acres, unlike other high schools in the area, the campus has only one access point for vehicles, which extends from the west side of Berkshire Road. The campus also has a gated accessway extending from Oakview Road, but it is designed to provide emergency vehicles with alternate way to enter and exit the campus, if needed.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, responded to the state’s release of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) exam results on August 28, by calling the results “baseline data.”
The superintendent said on Monday that the new exam has no correlation with the Connecticut Mastery Test and the Connecticut Academic Performance test, which were administered in previous years.
“The SBAC test is a different assessment. It just is,” said Dr Erardi.
After reviewing the results, Dr Erardi said Newtown’s schools are “competitive with performance,” which he said indicated to him, “The district continues in a very positive way to rebuild and to recover.”
The lineup for Monday’s 54th Newtown Labor Day Parade has been provided by the Newtown Labor Day Parade Committee. The theme of this year’s parade is “Celebrating the Fine Art of Newtown,” and longtime resident and artist Ruth Newquist will serve as grand marshal.
The 54th Newtown Labor Day Parade will start at 10 am on Monday, September 7. Staging the parade will require that all roads leading to the center of town be closed to traffic from approximately 9:40 am to approximately 1:15 pm, police said. As a result, town police have announced a number of roadblock locations for the roads leading to the town center.
Sirens and flashing emergency vehicle lights were the first hint that more than 2,000 motorcycles were about to raise a long rumble past bystanders Sunday, August 30, for the 15th Annual CT United Ride. The ride, which started after 9/11, is both a tribute and fundraiser for family emergency relief funds for state police and firefighters and two local United Way agencies. Newtown Hook & Ladder Co. #1 and Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company had used their ladder trucks to suspend a large American flag over South Main Street, near Amaral Motors. Firefighters were also stationed outside the firehouses in Botsford and Dodgingtown, both of which were again passed during the 60-mile ride through ten towns.
After several months of meetings, the Community Center Commission is “still being very cautious and not voicing too much of an opinion” about specific ideas for the facility’s use, said Commission Co-Chair Andy Clure. The group is awaiting feedback from the public, for which there are several upcoming opportunities, including a survey, and open forums, he said.
A local builder/developer is proposing a new set of zoning regulations for “elderly housing,” which would allow detached single-family houses on relatively small lots in a subdivision, with each lot having its own water well and septic system. Kim Danziger of Danziger Homes, Inc., presented his regulatory proposal for elderly housing to the Planning and Zoning Commission at an August 20 public hearing. Mr Danziger told P&Z members that having such zoning rules in place would serve to improve the local housing stock. Elderly housing, also known as age-restricted housing, refers to housing designated for people at least 55 years old. P&Z members will continue the public hearing on the zoning proposal at their September 3 meeting.
In an apparent signal to state towns and cities to step up efforts to find greater efficiencies through regionalizing programs and services to residents, the Office of Policy and management announced late Friday, August 21, that Newtown will be losing about $70,000 in state grants this fiscal year from a PILOT or "Payment In Lieu Of Taxes" program. PILOT grant helps offset property tax losses from state owned operations like the Governor's Horse Guard and the Garner Correctional Facility.