Chances are, no matter where you travel in Newtown, you have seen or experienced something for which either former state lawmaker Julia Wasserman or Mae Schmidle was responsible. It may be as impossible to encapsulate the good works of these two humble public servants as it is for either of them to recall a fraction of their individual and collective accomplishments. But the many guests and members of the public invited to honor Ms Schmidle and Ms Wasserman at a public reception Sunday, June 28 at Newtown Congregational Church will certainly try. The event, co-sponsored by the Newtown Health District and local Visiting Nurses Association, will occur in the church’s Great Hall from 2 to 4 that afternoon, and will include testimonials and refreshments.
During a routine report to her board June 15, First Selectman Pat Llodra said she wants an ad-hoc panel assessing possible future use or repurposing of several public buildings to be prepared to consider Hawley School, if or when the Board of Education determines that facility will be closed. Mrs Llodra said she is planning to ask theMunicipal Buildings Strategic Plan Advisory Committee (MBSPAC) to be ready to take on the task of analyzing how the town might use or repurpose the Church Hill Road elementary school building. “Hawley School is not in our public building portfolio, and won’t be in it until the Board of Education discontinues use of the facility as a school,” the first selectman said. The selectmen this week also heard from Newtown Cultural Arts Commission Chairman Laura Lerman, who updated the board on NCAC's search for the first Newtown Poet Laureate.
First Selectman Pat Llodra is standing with a growing number of community leaders and others imploring parents to include one significant question among the many that present when kids visit or stay over at friends homes: "Is there an unlocked gun in your house?"
School Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi, Jr said June 17 he is feeling no political pressure as Town Democrats and Borough Burgesses lined up to oppose closing any Newtown schools at this time even in the face of dwindling enrollment. That news brought strong responses from Legislative Council Chair Mary Ann Jacob, and calls from a Democratic Board of Education member and First Selectman Pat Llodra to resist turning the issue of possibly closing the Hawley Elementary School into a “political football,” as pols gear up for November’s local elections. Ironically, it was former Democratic First Selectman and Board of Education Chairman Herb Rosenthal who said he made the motion at a recent Democratic Town Committee meeting, to oppose the closing of any local school for the time being.
Middle Gate Elementary School music teacher Tina Jones has been selected by the district as the 2015-16 Newtown Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year. A music educator at Middle Gate for the past eight years, Mrs Jones is a master teacher and one who is held in high regard by students, peers, and the Newtown community.
The Water & Sewer Authority has given preliminary approval for municipal sanitary sewer service to The River Walk at Sandy Hook Village, a 74-unit condominium complex proposed for Washington Avenue in Sandy Hook Center. WSA members granted the preliminary sewer approval to local builder/developer Michael Burton at a June 11 meeting, following their review of technical information on the project at several WSA sessions. The site is in the Aquifer Protection District, an overlay zone where environmental safeguards are in place to protect the underlying Pootatuck Aquifer. The project had already gained a wetlands/watercourses protection permit from the Inland Wetlands Commission. It still requires a special permit from the Planning & Zoning Commission.
The 2015 Relay For Life event drew survivors, caregivers, and supporters to the Newtown High School Blue & Gold Stadium on Saturday, June 13. Relay For Life is the world’s largest fundraising event to end cancer, and by walking laps around the track and participating in the event, local supporters did their part to raise money for the cause. Just after 6 pm on Saturday, survivors and caregivers walked as a group toward the stadium seating for the opening remarks.
The rain held off and brief moments of sun shone on the next round of Newtown High School graduates on Tuesday, June 16, as they waited to enter Western Connecticut State University's O'Neill Center in Danbury. When welcoming all in attendance for the event Newtown High School Principal Lorrie Rodrigue singled out "most importantly ... the outstanding students in Newtown High School's graduating Class of 2015." Everyone surrounding her for the event, Dr Rodgrigue said, "played a role in getting our seniors to this milestone, a sentimental finale to their high school career, but a new chapter in what will certainly be a lifelong memoir." Dr Rodrigue spoke about motivation's many forms, and told the students that their drive and determination was "tangibly evident" in countless touchdowns and field goals, home runs, swim meets, concerts, curtain calls, essays choices, and on in the brushstrokes across canvases. The students in the Class of 2015, Dr Rodrigue said, were "steadfast" in their inspiration to succeed.