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Brick By Brick, Builder Remembers Growth Of Newtown’s Queen Street Area

There was a time when the center of Newtown was mostly farmland and empty lots. Trees shaded grassy plots and tourist homes populated Church Hill Road. Grocery shopping meant a trip to Danbury or Southbury. Traffic passed leisurely up Queen Street, with no full-service banks or restaurants to lure drivers away from the route. At the age of 95, George William Wheeler can be forgiven if precise dates and places are not easily retrieved. But in his reminisces with The Newtown Bee, and through the stories shared with his children, Linda Wheeler, Darleen Wheeler, and Bryant Wheeler, he is able to recreate a scene of bygone days in Newtown and the role he played in, literally and figuratively, shaping the more modern town center of today. [read more]

Wetlands Agency Approves Sandy Hook School Project

Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) members unanimously approved a wetlands/watercourses protection permit for the proposed new Sandy Hook Elementary School at 12 Dickinson Drive during a special meeting on Monday, July 28. The new school would replace the former Sandy Hook School, which the town demolished last year following 12/14. Before the IWC’s approval, IWC member Anne Peters said, “a huge amount of energy and effort has gone into this application.” The applicant of record for the project is the town’s Public Building and Site Commission. In approving the application, IWC members placed nine sets of conditions on their endorsement, which the applicant will need to meet. Among those conditions: erosion and sedimentation controls must be installed before construction starts; any changes to development plans must be approved by the town before such changes occur; and the applicant must hire an environmental management consultant to implement the plans.

NCAC Notes: Grant Deadline Extended, Artists’ Talk & Collage Workshop Scheduled

The Newtown Cultural Arts Commission (NCAC) announced July 29 that the deadline for submissions for its 2014 grant has been extended to September 1. The collage exhibit, “Celebration of Your Life,” currently on view at Newtown Municipal Center and featuring works by Virginia Zimmerman, Sheila Mullen, Meegan Foley and Stefanie Lagana, will conclude Friday, August 8, with an informal talk by the artists. The following afternoon, Ms Zimmerman will lead a workshop on a simple form of printing using found objects, which are arranged into a collage form. The artists will be hosting an informal talk that afternoon from 5 to 7 pm.

FunSpace II Dedicated, But Still Closed

While the formal dedication of FunSpace II, the new playground at Dickinson Park, was held over the weekend, Newtown Parks & Recreation is reminding residents that the playground is still closed. “We need this week to finish the safety surfacing and borders,” the department announced via email Tuesday morning. The chance that the playground would be dedicated, but remain closed, on Saturday was a caveat the department had issued when it announced the date of its dedication earlier this month.

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