For more than an hour July 20, members of Newtown’s Municipal Buildings Strategic Plan Advisory Committee heard preliminary observations from consultant Ken Best of DRA, Inc detailing a series of findings about three key town-owned buildings the panel is evaluating for best use potential, repurposing, sale, or even possible demolition. Mr Best explained that along with his draft conditions assessments summary, he also produced priority ratings for addressing certain deficiencies in the buildings, as well as a ten-year budgeting plan to accomplish necessary or suggested renovations. Mr Best's initial report covered the Multi-Purpose Building, Town Hall South, and the current Hook & Ladder headquarters behind Edmond Town Hall.
Even after a 2015 session he said was sprinkled with “little victories,” then a special session, and then another veto override session, Newtown’s State Representative Mitch Bolinsky emerged from his latest legislative foray somewhat frustrated and feeling so much more good could have been done — from a statewide perspective, as well as for his local constituents. “It was not a productive session,” Rep Bolinsky said about midpoint through his annual legislative look back interview with The Newtown Bee. “Voters sent us here to do the people’s business and it all comes grinding to a halt over political ideology.” Reflecting on those “little victories,” Rep Bolinsky said the Newtown delegation was successful in shepherding some “good legislation.”
Bronco, a 4-year-old pitbull, was joined by owners Trina and Chris Cain in one of the comfortable dog beds at Your Healthy Pet on July 21. That morning, the Cains were met by Town Clerk Debbie Aurelia Halstead, standing at right, who formally presented Bronco and his “parents” with the Newtown #1 dog tag, an honor presented to one lucky dog each year after the June 30 deadline to obtain or renew dog licenses by town residents.
“I feel like we’re chasing our tails,” said Community Center Commission member John Boccuzzi, Jr, after almost three hours in a meeting Tuesday evening. He wondered about the goals and direction of the group. Most of the meeting was spent discussing details for costs of mailing informative postcards, filling out a timeline for coming months’ activities, and breaking briefly into subcommittees. The panel concluded the session with more questions about their charge and few answers.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Commissioner Andres Ayala, Jr. on July 22 announced that major customer service improvements, including the addition of new online services, will require DMV to close its offices — except for licensing services — from Tuesday, August 11, through Saturday, August 15. The department’s offices will reopen for all transactions on Tuesday, August 18. These improvements come as the DMV undertakes a major upgrade of its complex and outdated computer systems, which will modernize how residents interact and receive services from the agency. With the coming upgrades, Connecticut residents will be able to complete many functions that previously required an in-person visit over the internet.
People are still talking about an incident at a June 29 Senior Babe Ruth baseball game between Newtown and Norwalk that ended abruptly when the Norwalk coach pulled his team from the field. Speculation continues on social media over what exactly transpired and whether or not the issue would be handled appropriately. Newtown Babe Ruth Baseball President Andy Via and Norwalk Coach Jim Coonan, along with Newtown Coach Greg Horne Jr, agree Newtown’s team displayed poor sportsmanship; it has since been dealt with by Via, and the end result was that a Newtown player was ultimately kicked off the team. Via and Coonan also agree that there are some inaccuracies circulating as parents and others in the community speculate about the causes of the incident.
As both Congress and the federal government struggle to develop a strategy for the “Internet of Things,” and responding to the increasing use of connected devices, including automobiles, US Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, have introduced legislation that would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish federal standards to secure vehicles and protect the privacy of drivers. The proposed Security and Privacy in Your Car (SPY Car) Act also establishes a rating system — or “cyber dashboard” — that informs consumers about how well the vehicle protects drivers’ security and privacy beyond those minimum standards.
Since 1997, The Newtown Junior Women’s Club has annually donated back-to-school backpacks filled with school supplies through their Backpack Program to fulfill the needs of children in Newtown. Newtown Social Services works in coordination with NJWC to inform the club about quantities and supplies needed. This year the club expects to fill approximately 92 backpacks with required supplies.