Following discussion and deliberation a week earlier by the Legislative Council’s Ordinance Committee, Chairman Ryan Knapp recommended July 15 that the full council suspend any plans to modify the town’s relatively new Firearms Ordinance. During the full council meeting this week, First Selectman Pat Llodra explained that concerns were raised to members of the Board of Selectmen after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, reminding them about an individual who brought a handgun and shot an official at a 2010 Panama City, Fla., school board meeting.
An off-duty Newtown police officer was involved in a one-car accident on Main Street South early on the morning of July 11. Southbury police said that Michael McGowan, 42, was driving a 2004 Toyota Camry sedan eastward on Main Street Main Street South when he fell asleep at the wheel.
Criticism about the traffic effects and the size of a 74-unit condominium complex proposed for Washington Avenue in Sandy Hook Center has resulted in the Planning and Zoning Commission seeking more technical information from the applicant on the project. P&Z members held a public hearing on July 9 on the application from developer/builder Michael Burton of Sandy Hook, doing business as River Walk Properties, LLC, for the project known as The River Walk at Sandy Hook Village.
On July 13, the Board of Finance approved spending a $2.6 million state grant to complete a Toddy Hill Road bridge replacement and re-engineering of the intersection at Berkshire Road )Route 34). While that project is expected to ease weekday morning and afternoon gridlock in the area, the Toddy Hill Road work is among the preliminary, peripheral projects tied to a planned reconfiguration of Route 84’s Exit 11 interchange, according to Public Works Director Fred Hurley. During that same meeting, the board briefly discussed an approximate $45,000 net loss resulting from the School District initially reserving more diesel fuel than was required for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Employees of Aquarion Water Company have been working on a water pipe replacement project. In the coming weeks, the workers will be replacing sections of outdated pipe on Queen Street. During the construction, certain sections of Queen Street lying between its intersections with Glover Avenue and Mile Hill Road will be closed to through-traffic with detours provided for motorists.
Town police have received approval for a $23,800 grant from the state, with that money to be used for police overtime pay for speed enforcement and for the acquisition of speed-detection radar equipment. Newtown police made more than 9,400 motor vehicle stops during a recent 12-month study period. Lieutenant Christopher Vanghele said the town received the enforcement grant approval from the state Department of Transportation (DOT) under the “high-risk rural roads speed enforcement program.” The grant allows the police department to spend up to $4,000 for the purchase of a new radar unit for a patrol car. The grant will also cover $19,800 in police overtime to pay officers who will conduct speed patrols to apprehend violators.
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.
Newtown is slated to receive a $150,000 grant for investigation of the 30-acre former Batchelder site at 44 and 46a Swamp Road. The former industrial site is rife with a variety of environmental contaminants caused by past industrial activity and resulting contamination. On July 14, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) will award $7 million to 12 brownfield redevelopment and assessment projects across the state.
A member of the Easton Police Commission has been charged in an ongoing federal steroid and prescription narcotics distribution investigation. In a statement, Deirdre M. Daly, US Attorney for the District of Connecticut, said that Raymond J. Martin, 48, was arrested on July 14. Mr Martin appeared before US Magistrate Judge Sarah A.L. Merriam in New Haven and was released on bond. Mr Martin’s arrest brings to 12 the number of men charged in the drug ring. Among those previously charged are Steven Santucci, a former Newtown police sergeant; and Jason Chickos, who formerly worked as a Newtown emergency communications dispatcher.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court, a former Newtown police sergeant is seeking money damages, charging that she was the victim of a pervasive pattern of sexual harassment by members of the Newtown Police Department. The legal action filed on behalf of Darlene Froehlich, 56, charges that she suffered deprivation of equal treatment under the law, discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation for her comments to police officials about mistreatment.
The lawsuit contends that Ms Froehlich was subjected to a hostile work environment in violation of applicable state and federal law. As a consequence of her situation, she adversely suffered stress, loss of sleep, and hypertension. Ms Froehlich further contends that police officials effectively “terminated her employment by way of forced retirement.”