After requesting developers for the Lexington Villages complex off Church Hill Road return to the Economic Development Commission to further discuss a pending business incentive tax abatement that was hastily approved earlier this month, the Board of Selectmen seemed momentarily taken aback January 29 when developers and economic development officials returned requesting the original three-year, 45 percent abatement be extended to seven years. Following a special meeting one day earlier, Economic and Community Development Director Elizabeth Stocker said the EDC had a much better opportunity to examine and discuss the pending development. Ms Stocker said the commission examined the package of improvements and permanent public benefits that will result from the mixed-use retail/office development, and determined that an extension to the original request was justified.
What will the Fairfield Hills Authority’s role be in the future? This and other topics including building upkeep and prospective tenants to occupy the nearly 80-year-old former state hospital buildings topped the list for conversation at the first authority meeting this year. New to the chairman’s seat, Thomas Connors addressed members on Monday, January 27, saying that he was honored that members put their faith in him and that he hopes to “keep up the excellent stewardship of prior chair” James Bernardi, who headed the authority until December 18, passing the baton to Mr Connors that evening.
A South Carolina company that has installed protective window coverings at the U.S. Capitol and other buildings around the world is apologizing for an email advertisement that used a photo of the shot-out entrance to Sandy Hook School. The Associated Press reported January 31 that Commercial Window Shield of Taylors, SC, sent an email Tuesday to school officials across Connecticut. The email said the window coverings can stop bullets and keep out intruders. The ad upset officials in Newtown and other towns. Some officials contacted the company, which immediately apologized. First Selectman Pat Llodra called the use of the photo "inappropriate," but also seemed to accept the company's apology. "We're hyper-vigilant because of this horrible event, so we're quick to respond, quick to react," Llodra said Friday. "There's no hard feelings here. I bear no ill will. People make mistakes."
Newtown officials and a GE representative working with the first selectman’s office are about a week away from filing for approximately $6 million in grants from the US Department of Justice that the town intends to use to fund several new, nongovernment professionals who will help deliver sustained and targeted mental health and recovery support in the community. In anticipation of receiving the grant, First Selectman Pat Llodra said she is about to send out invitations to individuals, organizations, and agencies from which a seven-member oversight board for the grant implementation would be created.
While continuing its review of the superintendent’s proposed operating budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, the Board of Education took up the topic of security during its workshop meeting on Thursday, January 30.Interim Superintendent of Schools John Reed presented his proposed budget on January 23, and the Board of Education began hearing from advocates for different parts of the budget that night. The superintendent’s proposed operating budget for 2014-15 totals $71,580,034, which reflects a $534,730, or a 0.75 percent, increase over the 2013-14 fiscal year.By January 28, the school board had heard from school principals, Director of Pupil Services Julie Haggard, and Newtown Continuing Education Director Elissa Gellis. On January 30, the board heard about its curriculum and technology budgets, general services and security, the plant operations and maintenance budget, the transportation budget, and employee benefits. Potential security costs in the budget took up the largest portion of the discussion in the January 30 session.
At 18 degrees and sunny, carpenters with Nosal Builders worked steadily Wednesday to get the roof structure in place. Clerk of the Works Brian Feeney said the progress on the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corp’s new ambulance garage is “going really well.” So far, the roughly $4.5 million project that broke ground in mid-2013, is on schedule, he said.
Roofing trusses were going into place this week and that phase of the roof should be completed in a few weeks, Mr Feeney said.
First Selectman Pat Llodra is seeking residents to fill several opening on local appointed boards and commissions. In some cases the appointments are required to be affiliated with a specific political party, while in other cases unaffiliated voters are encouraged to consider serving.
A federal judge in Hartford Thursday dismissed a constitutional challenge to the sweeping gun-control legislation passed in Connecticut after the Sandy Hook School massacre.
Gun owners challenged the law on several fronts, including what the state called "an absolutist" Second Amendment claim that the possession of types of semiautomatic rifles and large-capacity magazines banned under the law was a constitutionally guaranteed right.
"The court concludes that the legislation is constitutional," wrote Senior U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello. "While the act burdens the plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights, it is substantially related to the important governmental interest of public safety and crime control."
Newtown police said that after learning that they held warrants for his arrest, a former resident came to the police station on January 24 and was charged with 186 counts of violation of a protective order. Police said that William A. Bruno, 44, of New Haven came to the police station and was arrested on the charges, after which he was released on $100,000 bail for a January 27 arraignment in Danbury Superior Court. The 186 charges are felonies. One warrant listed one count based on an August 25, 2013, incident, and the other warrant listed 185 counts based on incidents that occurred from June 26 to August 26, 2013.
Fire Marshal Bill Halstead noted this week that during the past year, malfunctioning clothes dryers have caused three structure fires in town. Most recently, on January 2, a malfunctioning clothes dryer caused a house fire on Thunder Ridge Road in Sandy Hook that resulted in approximately $500,000 in property damage. Consequently, Mr Halstead is offering residents some safety tips about clothes dryers. The leading cause of home dryer fires is failure to clean those dryers.