Dr Kevin Becker has more than 25 years of experience working with traumatized individuals and communities. The Massachusetts-based psychologist will be the keynote speaker at the Saturday, May 31, Community Connections “A Day of Shared Experiences,” taking place at Walnut Hill Community Church on Saturday, May 31.
The all-day event is geared toward adults age 18 and older, and will be centered on breakout groups led by various members of other communities affected by violence. Discussion leaders include members of the Nickel Mines Amish community, Columbine High School, and Virginia Tech.
Is deadly violence now the 21st Century response to what once might have resulted in a hair-pulling altercation or a bloody nose? According to the National Vital and Health Statistics, the homicide rate in 1933 was 9.8 deaths per 100,000; the Criminal Justice Information Services Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation posts the 2012 murder rate in the USA as 5.6 per 100,000. A decline in the 1940s and 1950s led to a low 4.7 deaths by homicide per 100,000 in 1960, ticking upward again in 1969 to 7.7 per 100,000. It would appear that many factors contribute to the various ups and downs of homicide rates, from the National Firearms Act of 1934 that regulated and taxed certain firearms such as machine guns to years of social unrest to right-to-carry laws. A CNN chronicle of the 25 worst mass shootings — not mass murders overall — shows that 13 occurred since 2000. Four of the top 25 mass shootings took place in the 1990s, and six in the 1980s.
Memorial Day will be observed with the traditional ceremony at VFW Post 308 on Monday, May 26, at 11 am. All are welcome to attend. The men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces will be remembered by members of the local VFW post.
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.