Members of VFW Post 308, Ladies Auxiliary, and volunteers gathered at the Village Cemetery on Elm Street early Wednesday morning, May 21, before fanning out across 11 local cemeteries to replace flags marking the graves of Newtown veterans. Prior to setting out, they were joined by State Representative Mitch Bolinsky for a brief ceremony honoring Vietnam Army veteran Eric George Blantin.
According to James Rebman, VFW Commander, Warrant Officer Blantin is the last Newtown veteran known to have died in action, November 20, 1969.
Fire officials, who are considering a proposed move of local emergency radio dispatching from Town Hall South to a regional dispatching center in Prospect, about 25 miles away, are seeking answers to questions about what effects, positive and negative, such a change might hold in in terms of Newtown fire protection. Members of the Board of Fire Commissioners brought the subject up during its May 19 meeting, addressing the proposal to shift the dispatching for 911 calls, as well as routine police, fire, and ambulance calls, from the Newtown Emergency Communications Center at 3 Main Street to the Northwest Connecticut Public Safety Communication Center, Inc in Prospect.
State police report they are investigating an assault involving two inmates at Garner Correctional Institution, the state’s high-security prison at 50 Nunnawauk Road. State police responded to the prison at 7:13 am on May 7 investigate the incident, which involved a 51-year-old Bridgeport man and a 73-year-old man from Newington.
Police reported this week that at about 4 pm on Sunday, May 11, a man stole approximately $500 worth of liquor from the Cork-n-Barrel liquor store in Plaza South at 266 South Main Street (Route 25). Police said that based on surveillance photography from the store, a dark-skinned black man in his mid-50s and who was wearing a long coat walked into the store during business hours and then concealed the liquor under his coat. The man left the store without paying for the merchandise, and then left in a black Dodge Journey that was waiting for him.
Police Chief Michael Kehoe said May 16 that Lieutenant George Sinko, 49, who served as a town police officer for nearly 25 years, had submitted his letter of retirement from the police department, effectively resigning from the organization on May 14. Chief Kehoe declined to disclose the contents of the departure letter, which Mr Sinko submitted, saying that the matter would be reviewed by the five-member Police Commission when it next meets on June 3. Asked about the reason for his departure, Mr Sinko said May 20, “It’s been a tough year and a half” in reference to the 12/14 shooting incident and its aftermath. “It’s changed a lot of us,” he said. “It’s just the right time for me [to leave],” he added.
The Board of Education unanimously hired Lorrie Rodrigue of Oxford to fill the position of principal at Newtown High School and Jill Bontatibus Beaudry of Newtown for the assistant principal position at Reed Intermediate School during its meeting on Tuesday, May 20.
Former NHS principal Charles Dumais left the district in February to fill the position of superintendent of Amity Regional School District #5. Former Ridgefield High School principal Jeffrey Jaslow has been serving as interim principal at NHS since then. Dr Rodrigue will assume her position on July 1.
For Dr Rodrigue, it is a move back to Newtown and NHS. She has served as Pomperaug High School principal since 2008, served as principal at Shepaug Valley Middle-High School from 2005 to 2008, as an assistant principal at NHS from 2000 to 2005, as a high school English teacher at NHS from 1998 to 2000, as an English teacher at NMS from 1992 to 1998, and as a junior high language arts teacher from 1990 to 1992 at Broadview Junior High School.
Tom Foley, who lost a historically close election for governor in 2010, was overwhelmingly endorsed Saturday by the Republican State Convention for a second try at defeating Democrat Dannel P. Malloy, but he failed to block two rivals from qualifying for a GOP primary in August. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton was the only other candidate to clear the 15-percent threshold necessary for a primary at the end of the first roll call, but Foley appeared to direct supporters to switch to Senate Minority Leader John P. McKinney of Fairfield. His rationale: He was better positioned to win a three-way primary than a head-to-head race. Boughton had 24 percent before switching began, while McKinney fell short at 13 percent. The other candidates, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti and Joseph Visconti of West Hartford, languished below five percent. Visconti pledged to petition for a spot on the primary ballot, while Lauretti was uncertain about continuing.
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.
The ripple effects of a half-million dollar grant Newtown received May 19 will have immediate and positive implications for property owners waiting to hook up to a new Hawleyville sewer line extension. The new funding stream will also provide added incentive for developers considering new economic development projects in the area, and long-term benefits for local taxpayers who might have to partially underwrite the project if assessments on users fail to cover the installation cost. The $500,000 grant was announced as one of 28 awarded Monday by Governor Dannel P. Malloy under the state’s Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP). The grants target a variety of economic development, community conservation and quality-of-life projects across Connecticut.