Plans for a community center, which would begin with a Phase I senior and aquatic center construction, are cause for concern to former Commission on Aging chairman Ross Carley. Plans to accept a GE Foundation gift of $15 million — $10 million of which is for the design and construction of Phase I — is slated for a vote at the April 28 annual town budget referendum. Phase II and III are intended to build a connector to the NYA Sports & Fitness Center in Fairfield Hills, where the new senior and aquatic center will stand. Phases II and III could also include building additional space on the site, or purchasing the NYA facility.The remaining $5 million of Phase I is intended for use over five years to help toward operating expenses.
Police report that a four-vehicle accident occurred about 4 pm on March 11 at the four-way intersection of Berkshire Road (Route 34), Bennetts Bridge Road, and Grays Plain Road in Sandy Hook. The collision resulted in three people being transported to the hospital for medical evaluation. Also, the incident created extensive travel delays during the evening rush period. The driver of one vehicle involved in the accident needed to be extricated from the wreckage by Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company. The accident caused travel delays on the heavily used Berkshire Road during the evening rush. Firefighters were on the scene for nearly 90 minutes before clearing from the accident scene; police remained on the scene for an additional 30 minutes before the final vehicle was towed away.
The United Way of Western Connecticut hosted second annual Hometown Heroes Benefit Dinner at the Ethan Allen Hotel on Saturday, March 7. The event honored local businesses and community individuals who distinguish themselves through philanthropy and volunteer volunteerism, and make a difference in the lives of others. Among this year’s 14 Hometown Hero honorees was Newtown resident Robert Geckle.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr., offered an overview of the proposed 2015-16 budget during an evening Community Forum on Tuesday, March 10. Board of Education Chair Keith Alexander also spoke at the event, and time was set aside for parents to ask questions. The superintendent first presented his proposed budget during a school board meeting on January 6, and the Board of Education adopted its planned 2015-16 budget at a meeting on February 5. As of March 4, Dr Erardi explained changes to the district’s self-funded medical account further decreased the budget proposal to $71,915,679, or a 0.8 percent increase over the 2014-15 spending plan. Once the Board of Finance completes its inspection of the budget, it will be passed along to the Legislative Council for review before it goes to referendum on April 28.
For the third consecutive year, a group of 26 hearty cyclists will pedal their way from Edmond Town Hall to the US Capital in Washington, DC, to support a number of what the team describes as “common sense legislation to reduce the epidemic of gun violence that plagues our nation.” The group — dubbed Team 26, representing those killed on 12/14 — and their support team, is the brainchild of Sandy Hook resident and world-class competitive cyclist Monte Frank. Mr Frank is kicking off this third ride on the morning of March 28 along with fellow Newtowner Bill Muzzio. Team 26 consists of professional and top amateur and masters cyclists from the Northeast. The riders invite all Newtown residents to join together sending off the team March 28 with an 8 am rally that will also welcome US Senator Richard Blumenthal and US Representative Elizabeth Esty.
Newtown’s park lights have been upgraded to new LED fixtures thanks to a $10,000 grant earned through Energize Connecticut’s Clean Energy Communities program, administered by Eversource. A total of 31 light post fixtures have been replaced with new high efficiency LEDs.
Pootatuck Watershed Association, a private environmental protection group, is seeking new members to participate in its programs intended to preserve local environmental quality. The group wants to recruit volunteers to aid in an ongoing water quality sampling program, which it jointly conducts with several other organizations. PWA also is seeking people to participate in its new “citizen watchdog” program, in which volunteers are encouraged to report suspicious or troubling events such as “fish kills” or evidence of contamination in a watercourse, according to a PWA statement.
Boxes of books wait to be replaced on shelves in the Children’s Department of C.H. Booth Library. Damage repair from the February 17 flood is nearly complete. Only minor repairs remain to be completed, and library staff hopes to reopen the Children's Department by midweek. Library patrons will notice gaps in the collection, due to the loss of nearly 10,000 books during the February flooding of that department.