The Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation at Western Connecticut State University has postponed its annual conference, originally scheduled for Friday and Saturday, October 2-3, because of a family emergency experienced by one of the speakers. Organizers say they regret having to postpone the conference. It will be held in the spring, however.
Following a public hearing on a proposal to greatly expand the Rand-Whitney Container factory at 32 Schoolhouse Hill Road, P&Z members on September 17 conditionally approved the project for the 18.7-acre site. P&Z members agreed that the plans to increase the factory’s size from 127,500 square feet to 308,000 square feet meet the standards and criteria for site development plan approval. Also, the project meets the terms of the M-1 (Industrial) zoning regulations and conforms with the 2014 Town Plan of Conservation and Development, P&Z members decided. P&Z members approved the zoning aspects of the project on the condition that the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) approves the environmental protection aspects of the proposal.
Newtown taxpayers and residents are encouraged to submit questions they may have about local financial practices, capital spending, bonding, town pensions, the looming “Cadillac Tax,” taxation or any other issues that involve the consultation or directive of the Board Finance. Continuing an annual tradition, The Newtown Bee is hosting its 2015 Candidates Forum, October 20, from 7 to 9 pm, in the Edmond Town Hall Theatre. This year, the forum will introduce local Democratic and Republican Board of Finance candidates. Forum host and Bee Editor Curtiss Clark said that while the newspaper’s previous local pre-election forums have focused on top of ticket races, the 2015 First Selectman and Board of Selectmen races this November are all uncontested.
The Newtown PTAs and PTSA are scheduled to host an informational forum of Board of Education candidates running for election in November. The event is set for Wednesday, October 14, from 7 to 8 pm, in the Lecture Hall at Newtown High School. The forum participants will be Republican Andrew Clure, Republican David Freedman, and Democrat Rebekah Harriman-Stites. A brief statement will be read on behalf of candidate Democrat John Vouros, who is unable to attend.
The Newtown Education Foundation (NEF) has scheduled an open public forum for Monday, October 5, from 7 pm to 8 pm at Reed Intermediate School for the entire community.
According to a press release from the NEF, work is continuing to form the foundation, and the next step is community engagement.
The NEF was co-founded by Kristen Bonacci, Casey Ragan, and Aaron Carlson. According to the release, work and efforts on the foundation have included research, a meeting with Newtown educators and Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi Jr, a meeting with community members, which was held to gauge community interest, and generating ideas from within the district and community.
Tuesday evening, September 15, found a small gathering of VFW Post 308 members with Col Robert Morris Jr (Ret) as he donated four 20-inch statues representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Each statue carries a flag for its respective branch of the service. They now stand in the Newtown VFW, part of a display that honors POWs and those still missing in action.
Townspeople would love to see an expanded Farmer’s Market at Fairfield Hills, said Jim Shortt, whose farmstand is one of the anchors there. Other markets in the state offer more variety and cater to the desires of today’s shopper, he said, with selections of jams, jellies, baked goods, wines, oils, prepared foods, and sandwiches. But why Newtown’s market offers such a limited selection is complicated, both town officials and local farmers agree.
“Suicide represents an opportunity lost.” That concept is what helped drive Newtown’s Prevention Council co-chair and the local school district’s Recovery Project Director Judy Blanchard, MS, CPP to support transforming what was once a blip on the district’s health class agenda, into a comprehensive aspect of today’s curriculum for all seventh grade studetns, as well as high school freshmen and juniors. And she hopes, much like information about proper nutrition, exercise, smoking and substance abuse being shared and taught in local schools, that students will take their knowledge home — and possibly apply it toward preventing a suicide long before it has the potential to happen. The program she is referring to, is called “Signs Of Suicide” or SOS. Before SOS, health teachers were being approached occasionally by students with their own suicidal thoughts, or those fearing for a friend or family member. The first year of implementation across the entire middle and high school student body turned up a number of potential issues that was somewhat staggering.
For every bottle of prescription drugs local police collect during a special Drug Take-Back promotion on September 26, and all the drugs collected year-round through a local secure dispensing site at Police Headquarters, Newtown’s drinking water potentially becomes a little bit safer. It’s no secret that many unused prescriptions fall into the hands of individuals using them for recreational purposes, or to supplement an addiction. But local experts on the issue also know that tons of other drugs are dumped into garbage receptacles and end up in local landfills, or worse, are flushed down the toilet. That’s why the Pootatuck Watershed Association, which helps preserve and safeguard Newtown’s sole source aquifer supplying many local homes with drinking water, is stepping up an awareness campaign about the environmental hazards of improper prescription drug disposal.
A proposal to convert a South Main Street site from its R-1 (residential) zoning designation to a South Main Village Design District (SMVDD) zoning designation, with the goal of constructing a 19,097-square-foot store and adjacent outdoor sales area there, has drawn stiff opposition from some nearby property owners.