The 26th and final playground built in memory of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims has opened in Connecticut. Volunteers and relatives of SHES Principal Dawn Hochsprung gathered in Watertown on Sunday to dedicate the playground in her honor.
About 120 motorcyclists, some with passengers onboard, enjoyed a ride through the countryside on a sunny Sunday, September 28, both enjoying the early fall weather and raising money for the Newtown Hook & Ladder Volunteer Fire Company’s firehouse construction project. It was the fifth time that riders had participated in the annual Fire House Motorcycle Ride. The event started from and returned to at The One-Eyed Pig, a bar/restaurant at Ricky’s Plaza at 71 South Main Street, where the day continued with a pig roast lunch, entertainment, refreshments, and a raffle.
Stepping back for a better view of the new Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Association (NVAA) garage at Fairfield Hills, Board of Trustees President Robert Grossman, MD, watched contractors finish floors in the entryway. “Title that the finishing touches,” he said. Construction on the new, privately funded, $4.5 million project with a six-bay garage, staff quarters, conference and classrooms, and more, is finished. Although Dr Grossman and NVAA Treasurer Bruce Herring were still waiting Wednesday, October 1, for the certificate of occupancy, grand opening ceremonies have been set for Saturday and Sunday, October 18 and 19, at the new site for NVAA’s headquarters: 6 Washington Square. The driveway for the new location is off Wasserman Way, opposite Reed Intermediate School. Town officials and staff from Danbury Hospital, Masonicare, and Maplewood are invited to the facility on Saturday, October 18, from 2 to 4 pm. The following day will host a pair of receptions: first responders are invited to visit from 2 to 4 pm, and the public is invited for 4 to 6 pm, for walk-throughs and barbecue celebration.
Newtown Veterinary Specialists (NVS) has donated specially designed pet oxygen masks to Fairfield County fire companies to help firefighters save the lives of cats and dogs rescued from burning buildings. Pet oxygen masks were donated to Wilton Fire Department in May, and more recently to Hawleyville Fire Company, Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company, and Newtown Hook & Ladder. Each fire company received a set of three masks in sizes small, medium, and large specially made to fit the faces of animals, from large breed dogs to small cats.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy has proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the State of Connecticut. And on October 1, Newtown Police Lieutenant Christopher Vanghele told The Newtown Bee he was days away from starting a “train the trainer” program so the local department can implement a Lethality Assessment Program (LAP). The program has been implemented among a growing number of local police agencies since it was introduced through the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) in 2012. That same day, Gov Malloy announced the Connecticut State Police will be adopting LAP to keep victims of domestic violence safe by counseling and advocacy and support services.
On September 30, Town Attorney David Grogins went before the Charter Revision Commission requesting the panel simplify what he called the currently mandated and “elaborate procedure to acquire or dispose of town-owned property.” He suggested commissioners consider language in other town charters that is effective but much less complicated. Mr Grogins said the idea of such a complex process may have been more justified at the local level before the state initiated a recent law requiring all municipalities to conduct a “widely advertised public hearing to protect from [the] secret disposition” of town and city properties in so-called “sweetheart deals." The town attorney suggested Newtown charter commissioners begin by looking at Ridgefield’s process for handling town land sales.
The Legislative Council recently acted on a request to initiate a phased rate hike for users of the Fairfield Hills water system, and moved the matter to its Ordinance Committee to research and set a date for a public hearing. According to a memo and presentation by Public Works Director Fred Hurley, the Water & Sewer Authority (WSA) at its July 10 meeting passed a resolution to request that the Legislative Council consider and approve an eight percent rate hike for the users of the Fairfield Hills water system, for each of the next three years. The request came before the panel because the ordinance changing the Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) to the WSA retained the authority to set water usage rates with the council. This would be the first rate hike in more than six years, Mr Hurley said.
At least five law enforcement agencies are investigating a telephoned bomb threat to Sandy Hook Elementary School at 375 Fan Hill Road, which was received on the morning of Wednesday, October 1. The incident amounts to “a terroristic act” heavily punishable by federal criminal law, according to a spokesman for Monroe Police Department. Monroe Police Lieutenant Brian McCauley said October 2 that Monroe police are being aided by Newtown police, state police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the US Attorney’s Office for Connecticut in the probe into the threat received at the school at about 9:39 am on October 1.
Following a day that brought back fears for many in the community, Superintendent of Schools Joseph Erardi, Jr, held an evening meeting at Newtown High School for local residents on Wednesday, October 1. Dr Erardi was joined by school administrators, members of the Board of Education, and Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe. Dr Erardi told those assembled that there would be enhanced security at the school for some time, but reiterated it is “100 percent safe to attend school tomorrow on time at Sandy Hook.”