Within a week of a Facility and Enrollment Study Committee report presentation, the Hawley Elementary School community delivered a sharp response to the idea of closing the school.Parents and other community members gathered in the school’s gymnasium on Monday, June 8, for the first SOS meeting, a campaign endorsed by the school’s PTA, to “Save Our Schools.”The following evening, Tuesday, June 9, school advocates gathered again at Hawley to hear from and share concerns with the school superintendent and members of the Board of Education.The SOS campaign received unanimous support at the group’s Monday launch meeting, which included more than 100 school staff, parents, and Hawley School PTA members. The event introduced the initiative.The idea of seeing Hawley shut down due to declining enrollment has sparked a growing concern.
Newtown’s Republican First Selectman Pat Llodra, and her GOP running mate, Selectman Will Rodgers told The Bee June 10 that they would both be seeking reelection in November. In a prepared statement, Mrs Llodra looked back on the day she first took office as the community’s top elected leader nearly six years ago, following a successful tenure on the Legislative Council. “I knew on that first day that to serve as Newtown’s leader is an honor that must be earned and re-earned every single day,” she said – “earned through hard work, dedication to all tasks, whether small or large, commitment to people over politics, and genuine understanding of how governing is a subtle and careful mixture of leading and listening.”
Police report that three adults from Norwalk, who were traveling on the Lake Lillinonah section of the Housatonic River in a small boat at about 8:30 pm on Monday, June 8, fell into the cold water when their boat capsized. All three people — two men and a woman — made it to shore after the incident, but it was several hours before they were found by first responders and then transported to Danbury Hospital for medical attention, police said. One of the men and the woman were found by a passing patrol officer around 1:35 Wednesday morning. The two had apparently wandered throug the woods for about five hours in seeking help. The second man was found by Newtown Underwater Search And Rescue team members around 2:40 am, about one mile downriver from the boat launch.
In the weeks leading up to this Saturday’s nine-hour Relay for Life, community members and teams that will take the field at Newtown High School’s Blue & Gold Stadium have been busy raising funds and attention about this significant, community-wide celebration of cancer survivors, caregivers, and the many friends, neighbors and family members who have lost the fight. There were raffles, car washes, beer and wine tastings, flocks of pink flamingos, last weekend’s “Power of Purple” arts festival, and dozens of other lead-up activities all aimed at making this year’s Relay for Life a huge success. Now 11 years strong, the local American Cancer Society fund and awareness-raising, non-sporting / non-competitive event has already raised more than $2.5 million. The June 13 relay opens at 3 pm and ends at midnight.
Newtown resident and Friendly Town Chairperson Marie Athans says The Fresh Air Fund is seeking more families to welcome inner city children to a summer vacation through the Fresh Air Fund this summer. With buses from New York City bringing the first group of children to Newtown and area towns as soon as the end of this month, she is still working to pair more children with local families for July and August.
After presenting information, which he said took more than 40 hours to compile with interested Hawley School parents and PTA members, Democratic Selectman and Borough of Newtown Warden James Gaston, Sr said he plans to share a school closing cost/benefit analysis with Borough Burgesses June 9. The local official, who lives on Main Street not far from the school, said he has myriad concerns, and can counter district assertions that potentially closing the elementary school will save taxpayers money, both immediately and in the long run. Mr Gaston, who was former vice-chair of the Board of Finance, said that by his calculations, closing Hawley School will cost each Newtown taxpayer around $40 annually because of a decline in property values. But that is far from the selectman’s only worries.
Motorists traveling in both directions on Interstate 84 in Newtown on the morning of Monday, June 8, encountered extensive travel delays following serious motor vehicle accidents that occurred on both sides of the highway. That traffic congestion spilled over onto local roads during the morning commute, as motorists either sought alternate routes or were directed by state police to detours off the highway.
Owners of electric powered vehicles, including those that may be part of the town’s future municipal fleet, could soon cruise into Fairfield Hills or Edmond Town Hall parking lot and plug-in for a free “top-off.” The Board of Selectmen on June 1 charged several local officials, including Public Works Director Fred Hurley and members of the local Sustainable Energy Commission, to gather data in preparation for filing a grant application to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). That agency announced the first of several rounds of grants that would go to state municipalities to help establish a more robust network of electric vehicle charging stations, particularly focusing on areas lacking those facilities now.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, noted at the Board of Education’s meeting on Tuesday, June 2, that the educators who will be retiring at the end of this school year have spent a total of 354 years working in the district.
Recognizing and celebrating the “careers of master teachers,” Dr Erardi said, is one of his favorite things to do as a superintendent.
“And this evening… I think we will all be in agreement that 354 years of service that will be standing in front of you at some point, is simply amazing,” said Dr Erardi.