Joined by State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) Commissioner Patricia Rehmer and state and local law enforcement officials at Capitol Region Mental Health Center, Governor Dannel P. Malloy today unveiled a comprehensive plan to focus significant attention and resources toward improving the mental health system for Connecticut citizens. The budget includes $250,000 for an anti-stigma campaign intended to promote an accepting environment where individuals suffering from mental illnesses will not be ashamed to seek treatment; $5 million, when fully annualized, to improve mental health services for underserved populations; and $2.2 million in new funding to support housing through Rental Assistance Program vouchers and services for 110 individuals with mental illness.
The Newtown Police Union has become the beneficiary of a private fundraising drive initiated by a student majoring in criminal justice at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. In ceremonies held January 20 at the police station, CCSU student David Rohner presented to Daniel McAnaspie, the union’s vice president, a check for $12,500, representing money that Mr Rohner and others had raised by selling a lapel pin that commemorates 12/14 and the Town of Newtown.
With another snow storm in the books, town officials have once again needed to remind residents that for the safety of all concerned there are a number of ordinances and laws in effect concerning timely snow and ice removal from sidewalks, second exits and stairs, and vehicles. Officials are asking that residents and businesses with hydrants, dry hydrants and suppression tank plumbing fixtures consider helping firefighters by clearing those items of snow or accumulated ice. A reminder has also been issued concerning the illegality of shoveling, plowing or otherwise depositing snow or ice into roadways.
The state Department of Transportation (DOT) is in the preliminary design stage of a traffic safety project that will create a conventional four-way signalized intersection of Church Hill Road, Commerce Road, and Edmond Road, a DOT official said this week. In that project, the southern end of Edmond Road would be shifted westward so that Edmond Road becomes part of a four-way intersection with the other two roads. The four roads now comprise a broadly offset intersection with the southern end of Edmond Road lying about 250 feet east of the northern end of Commerce Road. The area has one of the highest accident rates in the ten-town Housatonic Valley Regional Planning Area, resulting in the construction project to simplify traffic flow there.
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.