Earlier this winter several Fairfield Authority members and town Grants Coordinator Christal Preszler took a trip to Preston, where a former state facility similar to Fairfield Hills is now in that town’s hands. Unlike Newtown, however, which intends to redevelop its campus as a community and municipal asset, the town of Preston plans for the eventual sale of its property. After meeting with the group overseeing that property, Ms Preszler told the authority on February 23, “We’re hopeful to learn from them regarding contacts, funding, demolition.” With the help of grant writers and other professionals including contract management teams, the Preston group has worked closely with the state to coordinate remediation and demolition efforts for the old hospital buildings, structures, and grounds. The Authority this week also heard from residents who voiced opinions about recent forums concerning housing or rental units at Fairfield Hills, and discussed creating a mission statement to formalize what the authority feels is the best use for the land.
People navigating the twists and turns of the land use review process often found answers to their questions when they found Ann Mazur, who, as the town Land Use Agency’s administrative assistant, kept track of the many developmental details required for submission before construction approvals are granted. Ms Mazur of Sandy Hook, who has worked at the agency since 2001, has been a town staff member in various capacities for almost 25 years. She has also, since 1995, worked for various periods as the night clerk for the Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers, Newtown Forest Association, Commission on Aging, Public Building & Site Commission, Police Commission, Economic Development Commission, Legislative Council, and the Board of Finance.
She will be retiring on March 6.
Following lengthy review, Planning and Zoning Commission members on February 5 unanimously rejected a proposed change to the zoning regulations, which would have allowed privately-owned solid waste facilities for the storage and recycling of scrap tires at properties with M-1 (Industrial) zoning.
Although the C.H. Booth Library Children’s Department remained closed to the public, as of Monday, February 23, Library Director Brenda McKinley had a positive outlook on the imminent reopening of that area, badly affected by water damage last Tuesday, February 17, when frozen sprinkler system pipes burst.
“I would say it’s weeks,” said Ms McKinley, as opposed to the months it took to reopen the library after the January 2014 flood. “J.P. Maguire [remediation company] is moving so quickly.”
New carpet and ceiling tiles are already ordered, she said, and workers from J.P. Maguire were busy disassembling shelving in the Children’s Department, moving furniture out of the way, and packing books not water damaged into boxes.
Residents again have access to a local receptacle designed for the proper disposal of unused, expired, and unwanted prescription drugs at the police station lobby at 3 Main Street. A large gray steel container, which looks like a US mail drop box, had been in place in the police station lobby for years, but was taken out of service recently so that some security improvements could be made.
A “lock-in open” status at Newtown High School has been lifted, according to emails sent to district parents, following an investigation this morning, Monday, February 23.
According to an email sent by Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, to parents following the event around 9:50 am, “At approximately 8:15 am this morning, administrators at [NHS] were made aware of a suspicious note that prompted a lock-in open setting. A lock-in open maintains the teaching and learning environment, allows students, and staff to leave the school, and limits visitors entering the building. Staff and students immediately notified that the lock-in was not a drill, but that normal business within the school would continue.”
Police said midday on Monday, February 23, that they arrested a boy under age 18 on charges of first-degree threatening and first-degree falsely reporting an incident. Police allege he wrote a suspicious note discovered at Newtown High School, which resulted in the school temporarily entering a “lock-in open” security mode.
Police Lieutenant Richard Robinson said both charges are Class D felonies. It was initially unclear whether the boy is a student at the school. Also, it was unclear whether other arrests would be made in the case.
Police did not disclose the boy’s identity because he is under age 18.
The Newtown Police Department will offer its 20th Citizen Police Academy program on law enforcement and the criminal justice system for the general public.
The free program, which will start on April 1, is open to people who are at least age 18.
Patrol Sergeant Matthew Wood will serve as coordinator for the academy sessions, which will be held weekly.
The program provides participating residents and business owners with an overview of local law enforcement. Through classroom sessions and through hands-on instruction, participants will be shown how local law enforcement operates.
After a preliminary, exploratory report trying to quantify costs and potential savings if the Board of Education decided to close a local school, Board of Finance member John Godin reviewed the issue recently, updating information with the district’s own data and some school closing assumptions developed under former Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson.
Statistics on the incidence of property crime that occurred during 2014 compiled by town police indicate that the number of reported burglaries in 2014 more than doubled compared to 2013, and the number of reported thefts decreased. According to those statistics, police received reports of 52 burglaries during 2014, compared to 24 burglaries in 2013, representing an almost 117 percent increase in that crime category. The town police department statistics do not include the various criminal and motor vehicle violations issued by the state police in Newtown. State police enforcement occurs in areas including Interstate 84, state-owned sections of Fairfield Hills, and Garner Correctional Institution.