The 100-bed psychiatric hospital bid for development at Fairfield Hills has refocused to sites elsewhere in town. Fairfield Hills Authority Chairman Thomas Connors said recently that he, along with US HealthVest behavioral health facility CEO Richard A. Kresch MD, and other town officials have considered alternative property in Newtown “in the interest of avoiding potential challenges the project might face” by developing a practice on the Fairfield Hills campus. Mr Connors mentioned a property near the Bethel border along Route 6. Dr Kresch has visited the location and seems interested, Mr Connors said.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy has issued a proclamation declaring the week of July 28-July 5, 2015 Social and Emotional Learning Awareness Week. The timing of the proclamation was done to coincide with what would have been the ninth birthday of Jesse Lewis on June 30. Jesse was one of the children killed on 12/14. “This is a JesseLewisChooseLove.org initiative, and we are working towards teaching children to choose love,” said Jesse’s mother, Scarlett Lewis.
As more of Connecticut’s law enforcement agencies are joining Newtown’s Police Department using a nationally recognized risk assessment tool when responding to domestic violence calls, local officers employing their recently implemented “Lethality Assessment” interview are finding that half the local victims and their families are reporting “high danger” threats. Newtown’s Police Department implemented the program in late 2014 under the supervision of Lieutenant Christopher Vanghele, and as of June 1, the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) is being implemented by more than half of Connecticut’s law enforcement agencies. Overseen by Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV), the Lethality Assessment Program is further strengthening partnerships between law enforcement and domestic violence agencies. Officers responding to calls for domestic violence use an evidence-based screening tool to quickly assess those victims at the highest risk for increased or fatal violence.
One sapling pear tree stands amid a patch of tall grass in Fairfield Hills. Others are in an open swath where a new walkway cuts through the field. Another young tree sits within view of a picnic table alongside the Victory Garden. Each tree comes from an original tree that stood near the Twin Towers and survived the 9/11 attack.
Charter Revision Commission Chairman Jeff Capeci will consider it a success if a planned public hearing on the current revision — which includes a proposal to eliminate town meetings — will draw more public response than those poorly attended gatherings where millions of dollars is typically authorized by a handful of residents. While not officially slated yet, Mr Capeci said he expects that hearing will occur ahead of a regular Legislative Council meeting on July 15.
The town has gained federal approval for the Newtown Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan, a planning document which the town will use in preparing to reduce the potential damage caused by natural disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has endorsed the plan, which has been six years in the making, said Rob Sibley, town deputy director of planning and land use. The town and nine other communities in the region have participated in creating such preparedness documents. Mr Sibley, who is also a town deputy director of emergency management, said Newtown’s plan is being submitted for state review. The plan stems from the US Disaster Mitigation Act, which was approved by Congress in 2000. That law creates a national program for “pre-disaster mitigation” or physical measures which can be taken before natural disasters occur to lessen the damage caused by natural disasters. Such measures are intended to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to people and property caused by natural disasters. After a state endorsement is received, the 444-page document would be posted on the town’s website, Mr Sibley said.
Next Tuesday’s “topping off” ceremony, where the final steel construction beam at the new Sandy Hook Elementary School is signed by the entire construction team and hoisted into place, will mark a significant milestone in the critical local building project that one key official involved said is going extremely well. Public Building and Site Commission Chair Robert Mitchell had high praise for everyone including the architects, building contractors, the project management. He also acknowledged the contributions of his own committee whose volunteer members have collectively devoted hundreds of hours to overseeing thousands of details going back to before the original building, scarred by the 12/14 tragedy, was even being considered for demolition and replacement. The topping off activity Tuesday, June 30, Mr Mitchell said, will mark the completion of a key phase of the project’s prolonged development.
Preliminary designs for the new Sandy Hook School building’s playgrounds were presented by representatives of a design firm at the Tuesday, June 23, Public Building & Site Commission meeting. The commission also heard a presentation on the artwork planned for the school during the meeting. A number of meetings were held with a school playground committee, according to William Richter, a principal of Richter & Cegan of Avon, a landscape architecture and urban design firm.