Officials Recommend Training in More Proactive Approach to Handling Violent Incidents in Schools

Officials who help shape school safety policy in New Canaan are recommending training for all district staff in a new way of preparing students for violent incidents. 

Members of the district’s Crisis Advisory Board, or ‘CAB,’ told the Board of Education last week that the powerful experiential training they’ve undergone in a more proactive approach to handling situations such as shootings should lead to new “lockdown” procedures at all public schools. In traditional lockdown drills, children go into a classroom and teachers all follow the same procedures, South School Principal and CAB member Joanne Rocco told the Board of Ed at its regular meeting Dec. 3. Those steps include “locking the door, pulling down the shades, turning off the lights and students would all go into one corner of the room where they weren’t visible and would just wait,” Rocco said. “So that was the traditional lockdown,” she said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School.

‘The Bottom Fell Out’: New Canaan Sees Steep Increase in Cost of Recyclables Disposal

Saying a dramatic turn in the recyclables market is hitting the town, officials last week approved a $197,000 one-year contract with a Stamford company to haul and dispose of glass, plastic, paper and other materials discarded at the Transfer Station. The hauling of recyclables has “changed considerably in the last couple of years” due in part to a problem with glass that breaks in the single-stream system, so that where towns such as New Canaan “used to make a little bit of money,” they’re “now getting charged a lot of money to get rid of it,” according to Don Smith, assistant superintendent of solid waste with the Department of Public Works. “China is no longer taking it,” Smith told members of the Board of Selectmen at their Dec. 4 meeting, held at Town Hall. “They are just trying to find markets to get rid of it, and a lot of people don’t want it.”

The changing market is increasing New Canaan’s recycling costs by about five times, officials said.

‘I Love the Community’: Meet Heather Washington, the New Owner of Mackenzie’s

Heather Washington had no idea what to expect on the spring day she walked into Mackenzie’s for the first time. Mom to a toddler and a newborn, she and her husband had instructed their commercial real estate broker to find a laundromat, not a candy, party goods and specialty gift shop. Her husband, Sieh Washington, after serving in the U.S. Marines went to work in corporate America for several years when the Middletown couple decided to try opening their own business, “and laundromats are known as good business opportunities,” Heather Washington recalled on a recent afternoon. And in fact, they did buy a laundry business—in Manchester, about 30 minutes from home—at which time the Washingtons phoned their broker to say “we were no longer interested in buying laundromat,” she recalled. “And he [the broker] was like, I have another opportunity for you,” she said.

‘Mead Park Brick Barn’: Preservationists Ask for Demolition Sign’s Removal; Selectmen Divided

The municipal body that by Town Charter would need to approve contracts related to the demolition of a widely discussed building at the northern edge of Mead Park remains divided about whether or not to support a nonprofit organization’s efforts to restore it. During their regular meeting last week, members of the Board of Selectmen heard from two members of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance. The organization is requesting that the ‘Notice of Demolition’ sign be removed from the  ‘Mead Park Brick Barn,’ to be allowed to spruce up the abandoned Richmond Hill Road (with some outdoor cleanup and a wreath) and to get feedback on a proposed lease agreement. 

Yet at the close of the Dec. 4 meeting, when Selectman Kit Devereaux asked for information on where the town stands with respect to the NCPA, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said that the organization cannot make a request of the selectmen through a meeting’s public comment period. Selectman Nick Williams called the NCPA’s offer “generous.”

“I don’t think it has any bearing on demo or not demoing,” Williams said at the meeting, held in Town Hall.