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Local Headlines Archives for 2013-01

Animal Sanctuary to bear name of girl who wanted to be veterinarian

The Animal Center in Newtown is building The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.  The sanctuary will bear the name of a 6-year old who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month.  The Animal Center is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to animal rescue and welfare.

 

Vice President Harmony Verna says they met with the Hubbard family, who wanted donations in Catherine's name to be sent there because she was a huge animal lover.  The idea of a sanctuary resonated with Jenny and Matt Hubbard, who wanted to know what they could do to help build this for Catherine.

 

Jenny Hubbard says this is the perfect way to remember Catherine now, and in 50 or 75 years because animals are what defined her 6 years on earth.  Hubbard says they felt a need to do something that would be special to Catherine and remember her for what she loved, and that was animals.

 

 

This is a road the Hubbards never thought they would have to go down.

 

"When she grew up she was going to run Catherine's Animal Shelter.  She and her brother made business cards last winter and her title was caretaker."

 

 

When the Center told them how they envisioned the Sanctuary, Hubbard says it was the exact way they wanted to remember their daughter and build her legacy.

 

"Catherine would chase down strangers to pet their dogs, squeal with delight as butterflies landed on her arm and sit for hours watching baby birds in a nest.  We would overhear Catherine whispering to insects and animals to 'tell all your friends that I am kind'.  Whenever a kitten purrs from a loving touch, whenever a dog nuzzles into a child’s hand, whenever a butterfly dances between flowers, Catherine’s smile will be there."

 

Verna says the Sanctuary will be a place where all creatures, great and small, can know the touch of a kind hand and be safe from harm.  The Sanctuary will be a place for children and adults to connect with animals and the natural world.  They want children to be involved in the design process so the Sanctuary will be seen from a 6-year old's eyes.

 

"Animals have an amazing capacity to love and heal the human spirit and we hope Catherine will think it's the most beautiful place on earth."

 

Through The Animal Center, more than $200,000 in donations have come in.  There are other funds in Catherine's name that her family will be sending to the Center as well. 

 

The first step of turning Catherine's dream into a reality is  to have a parcel of land, ideally donated.  The estimate is that within five years the first bus loads of children will be welcomed to the Sanctuary.

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Newtown teachers want big and small security fixes

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The president of the Newtown Federation of Teachers says some of his union members are still frightened after the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and want to make sure both large and small steps are taken to better secure their schools.

Thomas Kuroski said some of the issues may seem small, such as making sure classroom doors can be locked from the inside. But he said after what his 435 teachers have experienced, such issues become large.

Kuroski appeared Friday at a public hearing held by a legislative working group reviewing school safety following the Dec. 14 shooting, which left 20 first graders and six educators dead.

Kuroski said Newtown teachers are experiencing ``a wide range of emotions'' and that there's a sense of sadness throughout the district.

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Newtown residents to join gun control march in DC

WASHINGTON (AP) Residents from Newtown, Conn., are joining a march on Washington for gun control with parents, pastors, survivors of gun violence and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Organizers say they are expecting thousands of participants for the rally on the National Mall. They will gather Saturday at the Capitol Reflecting Pool at 10 a.m. and will march toward the Washington Monument at 11 a.m. A rally is planned on the monument grounds at noon.

Molly Smith, the artistic director of Washington's Arena Stage, organized the march following the Connecticut massacre that killed 20 first graders and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The group One Million Moms for Gun Control, the Washington National Cathedral and two other churches are co-sponsoring the march. District of Columbia and Maryland lawmakers will speak.

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Stephen King writes post-Newtown essay on guns

BANGOR, Maine (AP) Horror writer Stephen King is seeking to provoke a discussion on gun control and gun rights following the school shooting massacre in Newtown, Conn.

The Maine native is a gun owner. He calls for three ``reasonable measures'' to curb gun violence in an essay titled ``Guns,'' released Friday as a Kindle single through Amazon.

King says he wants background checks on all gun sales and bans on high-capacity magazines and military-style weapons like the rifle used in the Newtown shooting, which killed 20 children and six school officials.

King describes a pattern of mass shootings in which anger and frustration give way to political rhetoric before discussions of gun control ``disappear into the legislative swamp.'' He says on his website: ``If this helps provoke constructive debate, I've done my job.''

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Metal detectors ordered for Conn. gun hearing

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Metal detectors are scheduled to make a rare appearance at the Connecticut state Capitol complex.

The chief of the state Capitol Police has decided to require all visitors entering Monday's legislative hearing on gun violence and gun control measures to first pass through a metal detector.

Jim Tracy, executive director of the Joint Committee on Legislative Management, said Friday that Chief Walter Lee decided Monday's hearing ``was more sensitive than others taking place.''

The gun violence prevention working group of the legislature's Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety is holding a public hearing Monday morning at the Legislative Office Building on various proposals and ideas for curbing gun violence in the wake of the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

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Arcade video shooting games pulled after massacres

BOSTON (AP) A national movie theater chain has removed a video shooting game from a lobby after a moviegoer complained in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

National Amusements is based in Norwood, Mass. It removed the game from a complex in Yonkers, N.Y. A company executive said Friday the chain plans to review whether more games should be removed.

Massachusetts transportation officials pulled nine arcade games from four rest areas after a complaint from a family who saw a teenager firing a lifelike toy machine gun on an arcade game in a rest stop 10 days after the Newtown shooting.

Tracey Hyams says she knows violent video games are not the singular cause of mass shootings, but says they have no place in state-owned highway rest stops.

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Newtown man sentenced for filming sexual abuse of children

A Newtown man has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for filming himself sexually abusing children.  36-year old David Csanadi also faces federal charges on producing child pornography.  He will be in court March 8th to answer those charges and will serve any prison time concurrently.

 

He was arrested in April 2011 by Newtown police.  According to court documents, they discovered that the man downloaded child pornography and also filmed girls playing in a local park and getting off school buses. 

 

The incidents took place over four years and the abuse victims were children of Csanadi's friends.

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Sandy Hook Advisory Commission holds first gathering

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, charged with the broad task of reviewing school safety, mental health and gun violence prevention has met for the first time. 

 

Virginia Law Professor Richard Bonnie says victims families will and have become advocates to ensure that something useful comes from their loss.  Virginia Tech Families are still playing a role in the work that is continuing to be done.

 

Former Newtown State Representative Chris Lyddy asked Columbine Commissioner Bill Ritter how long it took to author the final report and getting to that point in the process.  Newtown Middle School teacher Ron Chivinski pulled his questions from the Columbine report.  The report recommended that certain security equipment wouldn't forestall school violence.

 

Ritter says the statement goes on to say that there may be places where it is important to "harden the target", but they didn't want to make it the response.  He feels that is still the appropriate recommendation.  Ritter notes the thought that installing metal detectors alone will make schools safer is still the wrong direction.

 

Danbury State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky told the panel he's prevented from turning over information about the shooter's mental health background.  Sedensky said the case remains under investigation and could take until June before a report is ready from the state police. He acknowledged, however, that no prosecution "appears on the horizon".

 

Sedensky said while Adam Lanza's mental health information is privileged, he did express a willingness to work with the commission.

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Conn. public hearing to be held on school security

A legislative task force on gun violence and children's safety is holding a public hearing this morning at Connecticut's Legislative Office Building.

The school security working group is accepting testimony on school security concerns and ideas for improving school security following the Dec. 14 shooting at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 20 first graders and six educators dead.

 

Wilton State Senator Toni Boucher says one topic will be about infrastructure.  School safety and security and mental health issues within the school community will also be discussed.  Committee members will speak with panel members in the morning.  Starting at 1pm, there will be a public hearing.  Boucher says that will last until the final person has had their voice heard.

 

The associations of Superintendents, teachers and Boards of Education will be panel members in the morning.  The Committee will also hear from first responders, police, school facilities managers and school construction personnel.


The task force's subcommittee on gun violence prevention is holding its public hearing Monday, while the mental health subcommittee will hear from the public on Tuesday.

The full 52-member task force plans to hold a public hearing at Newtown High School on Wednesday evening.

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Newtown school officials seek waiver to testing

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) The school board in the Connecticut town where 20 elementary school students and six educators were killed last month is seeking an unprecedented waiver allowing the district to skip standardized testing for children in grades three through eight.

The Newtown Board of Education voted Wednesday night to seek a federal waiver for the Connecticut Mastery Tests, which are scheduled to be administered in the spring.

 

Board members decided the trauma suffered by students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School warranted the one-time waiver request.

Board Chairwoman Debbie Leidlein says she contacted state education officials to inquire about a possible waiver, based on requests from the teachers' union. She says state officials told her they could forward a waiver request to federal officials.

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Sandy Hook dad to lead March on Washington

A dad from Sandy Hook is participating in a March on Washington For Gun Control tomorrow.  Dave Ackert is organizing Greater Newtown area residents to take part in the event co-sponsored by One Million Moms for Gun Control.  He says that group has invited the Newtown community to lead the march.

 

Ackert says Newtown has an obligation to lead as the world watches Connecticut.  He adds that Newtown has to lead the effort to make positive changes.

 

Ackert has arranged for a bus to travel from the Trumbull/Monroe commuter lot down to DC at 4am Saturday morning.  Interested people can chip in $70-dollars and reserve a spot by contacting vie email: sandyhookdad@gmail.com .

 

More information about the march is located on two websites.  One is the official site of the march.  The other is by CT Moms, who are also organizing a March For Change at the state capital on February 14th.

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Conn. senators propose assault weapons ban

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's two U.S. senators have joined California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other key senators in proposing a retooled federal ban on assault weapons in the wake of the deadly Newtown school shooting.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal says the proposed legislation, unveiled today in Washington, D.C., will more narrowly define what's considered an assault weapon under a resurrected ban and forbid high-capacity magazines.

Blumenthal said this marks ``the most significant'' bill to be proposed since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, although he acknowledged it faces an uphill battle. It's also the first bill Blumenthal and Sen. Chris Murphy have worked on together as senators.

Robert Crook, a state gun rights advocate, said assault weapons bans have not been proven to be effective.

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Ohio taxpayer challenges sending fine to Newtown

CANTON, Ohio (AP) A taxpayer has challenged an Ohio judge's decision that a $5,000 fine paid by a former high school basketball coach who videotaped boys in a locker room shower should go the Connecticut community where a gunman killed 26 people.

The challenge was sent Wednesday to the Stark County prosecutor by Craig Conley, an attorney representing Thomas Marcelli on behalf of county taxpayers. Conley says fines should go to the county under Ohio law.

Judge Frank Forchione (for-SHOH'-nee) had sentenced coach Scott Studer to 15 years in prison and sent his fine to the Newtown school support fund.

The judge says he will review the challenge.

Conley asked John Ferrero, who led the coach's prosecution, to seek an out-of-county prosecutor to handle the fine issue. A message was left for Ferrero.

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Sandy Hook students to have shorter school year

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Students at the Newtown, Conn., elementary school where 20 classmates were shot dead by a gunman last month won't have to make up days they missed after the massacre.

The state Board of Education on Wednesday granted a waiver shortening their school year from the mandatory 180 days to 177 days. The school district originally had planned a 183-day school year.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School was closed after the Dec. 14 shooting, in which the gunman also killed six adults before committing suicide.

The more than 400 students from the school returned to classes Jan. 4 at a former middle school renovated for them in nearby Monroe. They missed just six days of classes because of an already planned holiday break.

The General Assembly had passed legislation allowing for the waiver.

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Conn. gun violence task force launches website

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The Connecticut General Assembly's task force on gun violence and children's safety has set up a new website which allows the public to submit testimony on various ideas being considered in the wake of the Newtown school shooting.

The 52-member task force launched the new site on Tuesday.

Visitors can find information about the task force's membership, the four scheduled public hearings, and the link to submit testimony. The task force is also accepting testimony delivered in person. It will all be made available for public review on this website.

State lawmakers hope to take action on a package of legislative changes before the end of February. The Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School left 20 first graders and six educators dead.

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Work in progress to create Foundation to manage donations

Newtown Selectman Will Rodgers, who chairs the transition team, says donations to the United Way of Western Connecticut Newtown Savings Bank fund have ranged from $150,000 in corporate checks to pennies mailed from children's piggy banks. 

 

It's added up to more than $8.5 million. 

 

Rodgers says once the nonprofit foundation is created to disperse the funds, the United Way and Newtown Savings Bank will work in an advisory capacity.  He notes that it will likely take a few months for the new foundation to be fully operational so that donors can be assured the money is distributed thoughtfully and in the right way.

 

Rodgers called the outpouring of support from around the world--remarkable.

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Ridgefield Concert raises over $50,000 for Newtown

A Concert for Hope and Healing has raised over $50,000 to help Newtown residents.  100% of ticket sales from the two-day event at the Ridgefield Playhouse is going in part to create a memorial park with a carousel.  Other money will be used for ongoing counseling services for Sandy Hook Elementary survivors and for first responders. 

 

The concerts Saturday and Sunday night featured local bands and some well known musicians including Paul Simon.

 

One of the performers was former New York Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams.  He said it was a no-brainer to come help out when he was asked.  Connecticut state Poet Laureate Dick Allen wrote a poem for the occasion and debuted it Saturday night. 

 

Children from Sandy Hook who performed their rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow on Good Morning America sang on Saturday and Sunday nights.

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Guard placed on leave after toy gun incident

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) Bridgeport officials have placed a security guard on paid leave for allegedly waving a toy gun at co-workers in the cafeteria of the city's Health Department.

Authorities told News 12 Connecticut that April Robles pretended to shoot people with the toy gun earlier this month, only two weeks after a gunman killed 20 students, six educators and himself at an elementary school in Newtown.

Robles is the daughter of prominent Bridgeport Democrat Mitch Robles, the South End District leader. A spokeswoman for Mayor Bill Finch says April Robles will be on administrative leave while the alleged incident is under investigation.

April Robles declined to comment.

Mitch Robles told News 12 that his daughter found the toy gun at work and meant no harm.

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North Fla. mom pays for security at child's school

FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. (AP) A north Florida woman is paying an armed deputy to patrol her child's elementary school due to safety concerns following the shooting that killed 20 children in Newtown, Conn.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal (http://bit.ly/11NUhQl) reports Laurie Lauria has given the Flagler County School District enough money to cover the costs of keeping a deputy at Old Kings Elementary School for two months. And Superintendent Janet Valentine says Lauria has agreed to cover the costs through the end of the year.

There are six resource deputies at the county's high school and middle schools. Officials have considered putting deputies at two elementary schools, but say the costs are prohibitive.

Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre says he appreciates Lauria's concern, but asking a parent to pay for security is a ``Band-Aid solution.''

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Blumenthal: Newtown reference may spur gun changes

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal says President Barack Obama's reference in his inauguration speech to the murders of 20 children and six educators in Newtown could spur changes in federal gun law.

Blumenthal told The Associated Press on Monday that the image and symbol of the Dec. 14 shooting deaths in the president's speech will be a ``motivating force'' to pass new laws.

Obama said America's journey is not complete until all children from Detroit to Appalachia to ``the quiet lanes of Newtown'' know they are cared for, cherished and safe from harm.

Blumenthal, a Democrat, said Obama's reference to Newtown is valuable because he has given only two inaugural speeches and every sentence counts.

Obama is proposing a ban on military-style assault weapons, limiting high-capacity ammunition magazines and requiring background checks for all gun buyers.

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Minister tells Newtown: MLK's words `needed now'

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) A former leader of one of the country's most prominent liberal Protestant churches has told residents of Newtown, Conn., weeks after the deadly school shooting there the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words ``are needed now more than ever before.''

The Rev. James A. Forbes Jr. was the first black minister to lead New York's historic Riverside Church. He spoke Sunday night at the Newtown Congregational Church in a service honoring King and the school shooting victims. About 300 people attended.

Forbes says the saddest face he ever saw on King was at the funeral of the four girls slain in Birmingham, Ala. He says he asks now as King did then, ``Lord, what can come out of this that will honor those lost in this tragedy?''

Twenty first-graders and six school officials died in the Newtown shooting.

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State lawmakers meet on school safety issues

A group of state lawmakers met for the first time yesterday to review gun and ammunition laws, mental health services and school security.  Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan is among the legislators promising to come up with a bipartisan package of reforms that address issues raised by the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school.

 

The committee plans to have a website up and running by Tuesday. The public will be able to use the site to submit testimony.

 

The school security subcommittee will hold a public hearing January 25th. Meanwhile, the gun violence subcommittee's public hearing will be January 28th, and the mental health task force's public hearing will be on January 29th.  The full committee will hold a public hearing at Newtown High School on January 30th at 6 pm. 

 

McLachlan says they hope to take action before the end of February.

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Donations to help after Newtown shooting being spent

The United Way of Western Connecticut has set up a $200,000 fund to meet immediate needs in Newtown, separate from the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. 

 

The Fund has a balance of $8.5 million.

 

Newtown Selectman Will Rodgers, who's chairing the transition team to deal with donations to the Fund, says there will be guaranteed public input.  He says that's one recommendation the group received from others affected by similar tragedies.

 

Rodgers says the Foundation will also serve as an umbrella organization for groups or charities that might find themselves overwhelmed what they've undertaken.  He says groups that set out to help but are hearing about tax and regulatory implications would give the money to this Foundation.  The Foundation would then dedicate it right back to them for distribution.

 

United Way CEO Kim Morgan says they set up the other fund to maintain the intent of the original one.  Some of the $200,000 will be used for first responders, teachers and others who lost wages. Some is being used for youth programs and for mental health services for those affected by the tragedy. 

 

The fund has already been used to buy two-way radios for Newtown teachers.

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Companies donate security technology to Newtown

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut company says it has nearly finished installing state-of-the-art security equipment at a school to which students moved after the deadly Newtown elementary school shooting.

Thomas Marino Jr.'s father owns Advanced Security Technologies in Stratford. He says he reached out to manufacturers after the Dec. 14 Newtown massacre to ask whether they'd donate equipment if his father's company contributed the labor to install it at the school in Monroe.

He said Friday he's collected hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of equipment. It's enough to outfit the Monroe school with technology ranging from an intrusion detection system to a panic alarm and equip Newtown's five other schools.

The Newtown Board of Education voted Thursday to accept 30 cameras, the final step at the Monroe school.

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NY paper removes controversial pistol-permit data

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) A suburban New York City newspaper has removed the names and addresses of residents with pistol permits from its website.

Publication of the permit data following last month's school shooting massacre in Newtown, Conn. produced a storm of outrage from gun owners. It also quickly resulted in a new state measure meant to protect permit holders' privacy.

The president and publisher of The Journal News Media Group announced the move Friday. Janet Hasson said the new law does not require removing the data, but ``doing so complies with its spirit.''

The Journal News had published interactive maps on its LoHud.com site pinpointing thousands of permit holders in Westchester and Rockland County. The maps remained online late Friday but could no longer be manipulated to find names and addresses.

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Former AG candidate taken to task over Newtown conspiracy post

Democrats and Republicans are chastizing a woman who once ran for state office over posts she made on Facebook about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

 

Republican Martha Dean, who ran for state Attorney General in 2010 against George Jepson, posted a youtube link on her Facebook page on Monday with the status saying "Newtown setup? what is wrong here...".  The video is about conspiracy theories about the mass shooting. 

 

State Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola Junior says while it's the right of all Americans to express their views, Connecticut and the nation continues to struggle for answers abou the Newtown Tragedy.  He called the posting ill-thought and highly insensitive. 

 

Connecticut Demcoratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo says someone who purported to be qualified to be the attorney for the state of Connecticut should know better. 

 

The posting comes the same month Newtown Representative DebraLee Hovey apologized for comments she posted to Facebook telling former Democratic Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to "stay out of my towns."

 

The mass shooting survivor prepared to visit with victims families in Newtown.

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NY woman pleads not guilty in Sandy Hook scam case

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A New York city woman has pleaded not guilty to a federal charge that she made false statements to the government about an alleged scam linked to the Sandy Hook school massacre.

Nouel Alba made a brief appearance in federal court in Bridgeport on Thursday.

She declined to comment to reporters afterward.

She is accused of collecting money from donors by claiming to be the aunt of one of the children killed at the school in Newtown, Conn., in December.

In an indictment unsealed this week, prosecutors detail Facebook Posts and text messages, including one to a donor in which Alba claimed to have met and cried with President Obama at a prayer service for the victims.

The document does not say how much money Alba allegedly collected. Jury selection is set for March 13.

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Conn. governor to meet with Biden about gun ideas

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy is heading to Washington, D.C., to meet with Vice President Joe Biden about the administration's gun control proposals and to attend President Barack Obama's second inauguration.

Malloy is scheduled to meet with Biden this evening. While he was invited to Obama's announcement this week, Malloy was unable to attend because of prior commitments.

Malloy's spokesman, Andrew Doba, says the governor will likely discuss issues state officials plan to pursue following the deadly school shooting in Newtown that left 20 first graders and six educators dead.

The Democratic governor is also scheduled this weekend to address the U.S. Conference of Mayors on education reform. Doba says gun violence prevention will likely be discussed.

Malloy will return to Connecticut on Tuesday.

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Conn. police update families on shooting probe

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Connecticut state police met this week with the families of the Newtown school shooting victims to update them on the investigation, but details of the briefing aren't being released.

State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said in published reports that Tuesday night's meeting at Edmond Town Hall was the first of many that will be held to answer the families' questions.

Troopers say Adam Lanza killed 20 students, six educators and himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, after fatally shooting his mother at their Newtown home.

Some parents want to know more about Lanza's mental state, but Vance says state law prohibits police from releasing that information.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has said the police report on the shootings may be ready by mid-March.

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Superintendent Robinson testifies on gun violence prevention

The U.S. House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee has heard from four people during their hearing on gun violence prevention.  One member of the panel was Emily Nottingham, the mother of 30-year old Gabe Zimmerman, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' community outreach director who was killed in Tuscon.

 

Newtown Superintendent of Schools Dr Janet Robinson recounted the events of December 14th, saying it was like every other day until 9:30am.  That's when a troubled young man shot out the front window to bypass the buzzer system and changed the lives of so many in such a short time.  She told the panel that the gunman was confronted by three administrators, including Principal Dawn Hochsprung, who were coming out of a conference room December 14th.

 

"I can just picture Dawn's indignation that someone would dare enter her school and put her babies at risk.  It would be so like her to be the protective mother hen and never think of her own safety, but only of course of making him stop right then and there."

 

Robinson called Dawn was a passionate educator who would do anything she could to protect her charges. 

 

She says the gunman then passed the first classroom of 1st graders before killing all but one child in the next room who was clever enough to play dead, not even whimpering.  The next teacher hid as many kids in the bathroom as she could before the gunman took aim at her.

 

"None of the brave women were trained in combat.  They were elementary school educators dedicated to educating their young children.  So their first response when confronted with this terror was to protect their children."

 

She also thanked first responders for arriving within 3 minutes of getting the 911 call, noting that in a town of 60 square miles with mainly country roads, that was an incredible response.

 

"It saved innumerable lives as a shooter carried enough ammunition to have continued throughout the entire school.  And this loving little elementary school was helpless in the face of this assault."

 

Robinson then explained what happened after parents were alerted of a shooting at the school.

 

"The true horror of the assault began to become apparent as parents came running, crying to the (Sandy Hook Fire) station looking for their children.  As we released children to their parents, we began to realize we didn't have enough children."

 

Robinson also read a letter from a 4th grade student, Ava, who called on Congress to ban semi-automatic weapons and high capacity ammunition clips.  A petition the girl posted online called for action and received a lot of support from across the country.  But Robinson says Ava had to take it off the internet because police feared for her safety.

 

"20 beautiful and innocent first graders were lost that day in a senseless act.  They were no match for a troubled person with an AR15."

 

Robinson asked Congress to help her give children their futures.

 

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Newtown delegation, 2 Danbury lawmakers part of task force

All of the members of the Newtown delegation in the State House are members of a bipartisan task force to recommend possible legislation to prevent gun violence, provide mental health care and improve school safety.  State Representative DebraLee Hovey has a background in education and school psychology.

 

The group's first meeting is tomorrow.

 

Hovey says legislative calendar ticks on no matter what is happening in the world.  But she says all of the proposals will have to go before the appropriate committees and will have public hearings.

 

The group could propose a comprehensive bill for a vote by the end of February.

 

Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan and Danbury state Representative Jan Giegler are also members of the bipartisan task force.  McLachlan has set up meetings with educators and law enforcement in Western Connecticut to get their feedback.  From what he's been told so far, McLachlan says there are plans in place now that could work well, but they need funding to be implemented.

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Conn. officials welcome Obama gun control measures

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut officials are welcoming President Barack Obama's sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence following the deadly shooting at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, credited the president on Wednesday with taking ``the critical first step'' in making sure such a tragedy does not happen again. Malloy said the president has offered ``common sense measures'' that ``we should all be able to agree on.''

Malloy vowed to make sure Connecticut, considered to already have some of the toughest gun laws, will be a national leader in preventing gun violence.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal called the president's proposals ``a profoundly historic initiative,'' supporting specifics such as bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Blumenthal said he'll keep pushing for mandatory background checks for ammunition purchases.

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NY woman indicted for lying about fake fundraising for Newtown victim

A Bronx, New York woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury for lying to FBI agents looking into fraudulent fundraising after the shootings in Newtown.  U.S. Attorney David Fein says the indictment charging 37-year old Nouel Alba came Tuesday. 

 

The woman allegedly used her facebook account, phone calls and text messages claiming to be a relative of 6-year old Noah Pozner to ask for donations for a funeral fund.  Alba claimed to have provided photos of her nephew to law enforcement personnel and to have entered the school to identify the boy.  Next of kin and families were not allowed into the school because it was and still is an active crime scene. 

 

Alba said in a text message to one donor that she was at Newtown High School when President Obama was, though not inside claiming it was too hard. 

 

Alba faces up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  She has been free on bond since her arrest on December 27th.

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Gun protest held at Danbury Wal-Mart

Gun control activists gathered at Wal-Mart in Danbury to demand the company stop selling military-style rifles.  Preschool music teacher Nancy Hershatter of Danbury was among about 80 protesters who helped deliver a petition yesterday with 300,000 names.  Newtown High School freshman Trystan Wagner was also among them.

 

Roxanna Green, told reporters the bullets that killed her 9-year old daughter Christina in Arizona while attending an event with then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords were purchased at Walmart.  Another person injured in the Arizona shooting said ammunition is easier to purchase than sudafed or spray paint.

 

Erin Combs of Norwalk considers Walmart a family store and doesn't want to be able to buy a gun along with baby wipes, groceries and clothing.

 

 

The mother of a girl who survived the Virginia Tech massacre, despite being shot twice in the head, says she has a glimpse of some of the pain that families suffer because of gun violence.  Lori Haas has made it her mission to speak on behalf of survivors.  When it comes to gun control legislation, Haas says the time has been "now" for a long time.  Haas came to Newtown on Sunday to show her support to the families of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary.

 

 

The Courage Campaign Director of Online Programs Adam Bink says they want Walmart to follow Dick's Sporting Goods' lead and not sell guns in their stores.  The store's manager accepted the box of signatures and said he would pass it to those higher up. 

 

 

The Danbury Wal-Mart does not sell guns. Organizers say they rallied there because of its proximity to Newtown.

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Newtown families invited to Obama gun control event

WASHINGTON (AP) Families of the victims of last month's shooting attack at a Connecticut elementary school have been invited to the White House today to see President Barack Obama outline an effort aimed at reducing gun violence.

 

The parents of Grace McDonnell were on hand for the announcements.  When President Obama met with the families in Newotwn shortly after the shootings, they presented him with a picture painted by Grace.  Obama hung the picture in his private study and say he thinks of Grace everytime he walks passed it.

Obama's ideas include bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines -- but he would need congressional approval for that. He's also taking steps on his own, including efforts to boost availability of mental health services.

In advance of today's event, the National Rifle Association has released an online video calling Obama an ``elitist hypocrite'' for having armed secret Service agents protect his daughters at school while not committing to installing armed guards in all schools.

 

President Obama is taking 23 executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence that don't require congressional action, including measures to encourage schools to hire police officers, increase research on gun violence and improve efforts to prosecute gun crime.

The executive actions are part of an overarching package assembled by a task force led by Vice President Joe Biden. The measures come a month after the mass shooting in Newtown, Ct., that killed 20 elementary school children.

Obama is directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence and is seeking rules to ensure that law enforcement conducts background checks before returning seized firearms.

He intends to nominate Todd Jones as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Jones is the agency's acting director.

President Obama was joined by children who sent letters expressing concern about gun crimes when he announces proposals Wednesday to reduce gun violence.

Three days after 26 students and teachers were killed by a gunman at their Connecticut elementary school, an 8-year-old from Maryland asked Obama for ``some changes in the laws with guns.''

The boy named Grant wrote, ``It's a free country but I recommend there needs (to) be a limit with guns.''

Eleven-year-old Julia from the District of Columbia asked Obama ``to try very hard to make guns not allowed. Not just for me, but for the whole United States.''

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Parents ask Newtown school board to boost security

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Some parents in Newtown are urging the local Board of Education to consider stationing police at all town schools as the board puts together its budget proposal for 2013-2014.

Three parents called for school resource officers at all Newtown schools at a school board meeting Tuesday night, saying the town should do all it can to prevent another tragedy like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month. A gunman killed 20 first-graders, six educators and himself after fatally shooting his mother at their Newtown home.

Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson's proposed $73 million education budget includes $165,200 for an extra eight security guards. She says safety became officials' top concern after the shootings.

Newtown has a high school, middle school, intermediate school and four elementary schools.

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Newtown mother: Dream visits with son; new purpose

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) After her 6-year-old son Noah was killed in the Connecticut school shooting, Veronique Pozner has had good dreams, like the time her son told her he was having fun. And she has had nightmares that bring her to tears.

Pozner has struggled to cope with the gaping hole left by the loss of her energetic, affectionate son. She has tried to help her other children cope. And she has led her family in pushing the White House for policy changes.

Gunman Adam Lanza shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last month and killed 20 first-graders and six educators. He committed suicide as police arrived. He also killed his mother at their Newtown home.

Pozner says she believes the mother was negligent by taking him to shooting ranges.

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Conn. municipal leaders to unveil gun proposal

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A coalition of Connecticut mayors and first selectmen is the latest group to offer recommendations for reducing gun violence in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Newtown.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities has scheduled a news conference at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Wednesday morning. The group, which represents city and town leaders across the state, plans to offer 13 legislative proposals.

CCM's recommendations come as two tasks forces created by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the General Assembly consider possible legislation for this session that addresses issues raised by the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 20 first graders and six educators dead. Besides gun violence, those groups are also looking at school safety and mental health issues.

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Malloy: Newtown report may be ready mid-March

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Governor Dannel Malloy says he expects the police report on the deadly school shooting in Newtown may be ready by mid-March.

The governor told reporters Tuesday he has broken off briefings from the state police, saying he doesn't need to know much more about the Dec. 14 crime that left 20 first graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School dead, as well as the shooter and his mother.

When asked about the ongoing investigation, Malloy said he believes ``most of the work has been done.''

Malloy said the police report is extremely important to the nation and likened it to the one which followed the Lindbergh baby kidnapping in the 1930s.

Malloy has said the shooter's motive may never be known. On Tuesday, he said his mind hasn't yet changed.

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Counseling assistance, support continues in Newtown

As Newtown continues to heal, town leaders are reminding people where they can find counseling services.  Newtown Health District Director of Health Donna Culbert says Newtown Youth and Families Services on Berkshire Road continues to be the entry point where needs are assessed and appropriate action or referral will take place. 

 

The organization will work to understand the need of the caller or individuals who walk-in and match them with an appropriate response.  The Connecticut Department of Children and Families and the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services are among the many local and regional providers working with NYFS.  Culbert says Connecticut is rich in skilled workforce and resources and she hopes people in need will continue to seek help.

 

Culbert says people can call her officer to be connected to services and assistance.  The Newtown Health District phone number is 203-270-4291.

 

Newtown Public Schools continue to identify immediate needs and address them.  A long-term plan is being developed and refined.  As plans and procedures are put in place, Culbert says they will be communicated to their respective school community.  She is asking that when there is a concern from a parent, that they communicate with their school.

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Parents form Sandy Hook Promise

Some parents of children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month have come together as a group and pledged to turn conversation into action, noting that the time is now for change.  Among them is Nelba Marquez Greene.  She put two children on the bus to school that day, and only one came home.  She says no parent, guardian or caregiver should know that pain.

 

 

Nicole Hockley says the families have met people from similar tragedies in Aurora, Columbine and Virginia Tech to learn ways to help heal.  She said she doesn't want to carry that torch.  She doesn't want there to be a next time.

 

Hockley called it a sad honor to be speaking on the 1 month anniversary of losing her son saying it feels like only yesterday, yet at other times it feels like years have passed.  She said sh was proud to be part of the town and to stand for her son Dylan.

 

Hockley says the Sandy Hook Promise is the start of change.  She notes that there has been a lot of change in just a month with a school lovingly transformed as well as fundraising to help those in most need.

 

 

Jeremy Richman and his wife created the Avielle Foundation in honor of their daughter.  The Foundation is for behavioral and bio-chemical mental health research to identify risk factors and measure success of interventions.  Richman says he wants to bring about change to prevent another similar tragedy in schools, theaters, malls and other places.  He thanked everyone for their unwaivering support during such a dark time.

 

 

David Wheeler says the proper role of parents and parental responsibility will likely to be addressed in coming conversations. He and his wife have rededicated themselves to being the best possible parents to their surviving son.

 

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Town renames Conn. school for slain teacher

STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) Officials of a town near Newtown, Conn., are renaming a local school for a resident killed in the massacre there and hailed as a hero.

HoneySpot Elementary School in Stratford will be named after 27-year-old Victoria Soto who died trying to shield her students from the gunman inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Shooter Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six educators at the school on Dec. 14 before committing suicide. He also killed his mother at their Newtown home.

Mayor John Harkins made the recommendation which was approved Monday night, exactly one month after the shootings.

The mayor also is hoping to build a memorial to Soto, and a petition has been started to rename a local street after her.

Soto graduated from Stratford High School in 2003.

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Gun rights advocates to rally at Conn. Capitol

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A Texas-based gun rights advocate is helping to organize rallies at Connecticut's state Capitol and state capitol buildings across the country to raise concerns about possible new gun legislation that could affect gun owners' rights.

The event, dubbed ``Guns Across America,'' is scheduled to take place at noon on Saturday, Jan. 19.

Organizer Eric Reed the events will be peaceful demonstrations, giving lawful gun owner the opportunity to express their concerns about gun control efforts in the wake of Newtown school shooting.

Reed says ``it's unfair to punish law-abiding American citizens who've never broken any laws for the actions of another individual.''

Gun control supporters are planning a Valentine's Day rally at the Connecticut state Capitol.

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Amid gun debate, weapons trade show opens in Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) A weapons industry group based in the Connecticut town where a gunman killed 20 children, six adults and himself at a school last month is hosting a Las Vegas trade show for tens of thousands of gun and gear manufacturers and enthusiasts.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is focusing its 35th annual SHOT Show beginning today on products and services new to what it calls a $4.1 billion industry. It comes amid a raging national debate over assault weapons.

The show is closed to the public. The organizer limited media attendance after the shooting in Newtown.

President Barack Obama is among those calling for gun control. A National Rifle Association executive says the best response to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

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PBS shows to examine Newtown school shooting

LOS ANGELES (AP) Public television is putting its resources into a week-long examination of the Connecticut school shooting.

PBS announced Monday it will air a series of programs under the umbrella title ``After Newtown.'' The February series will ``continue the public conversation'' on the topics of gun laws, mental illness and school security, PBS said.

Programs including ``PBS NewsHour,'' `'Frontline'' and ``Washington Week with Gwen Ifill'' will be part of the initiative. The science series ``Nova'' will air a documentary on violence and the brain.

A ``Frontline'' report will examine the life of Adam Lanza, who shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Dec. 14 and killed 20 first-graders and six adults before committing suicide.

PBS' ``After Newtown'' initiative airs Feb. 18 to 22 (check local listings for times).

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Conn. governor tells Biden gun control ideas

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has told Vice President Joe Biden that the federal government should reinstate a ban on assault weapons and outlaw high-capacity ammunition magazines in the wake of the Newtown school killings.

In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, Malloy wrote to Biden on Friday that Congress also should require background checks for all firearm purchases, federal firearm licenses and gun show transactions.

Malloy told Biden, a fellow Democrat, that Connecticut has some of the strongest gun control laws in the country, and a new state commission will be making recommendations regarding school safety, mental health services and gun violence prevention.

Biden leads a federal task force on curbing gun violence and is expected to give the panel's recommendations to President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

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Conn. bill would require coverage of PTSD claims

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The co-chairman of a state legislative committee says the panel plans to introduce a bill allowing claims of posttraumatic stress disorder to be covered under Connecticut's workers' compensation laws, in response to the Newtown school shootings.

Democratic Sprague Sen. Cathy Osten says the Labor and Public Employees Committee will introduce the bill in the coming days.

Newtown's Board of Police Commissioners is asking legislators to change the workers' compensation laws to provide appropriate benefits to police officers and others who've suffered physical and emotional injuries ``as a consequence of their heroic efforts'' on the job.

The Newtown police union said some officers who responded to the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School are too traumatized to work and have relied on sick time or donations to covers their salaries.

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Family of Conn. shooting victim proposes reforms

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) The family of the youngest victim in the Connecticut school shooting is recommending laws and suggesting federal funding for school security in a proposal to the White House.

One law proposed by the family of Noah Pozner would require anyone with knowledge of an ``imminent threat of serious physical harm or death'' to notify a law enforcement agency within 24 hours. The family also recommends giving grants to schools to improve security.

Noah's uncle, Alexis Haller, says the proposal dated Sunday was sent to the White House. Vice President Joe Biden is heading a task force on gun violence.

Noah was one of 26 people killed last month in a massacre at a Newtown elementary school. He turned 6 just three weeks before being shot 11 times at close range.

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Vote set to name Conn. school for slain teacher

STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) A proposal to name a school after a teacher killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shootings is set to go before the Stratford town council.

Mayor John Harkins is recommending naming a new elementary school named after Victoria Soto, a 27-year-old Stratford resident who died trying to shield her students from the gunman inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The Town Council is scheduled to vote on the name of the school tonight, exactly one month after the shootings.

The mayor also is hoping to build a memorial to Soto, and a petition has been started to rename a local street after her.

Soto graduated from Stratford High School in 2003.

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Newtown debates future of school where 26 died

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Newtown residents are turning their attention to the fate of the elementary school where a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators last month.

At the first of two public hearings on what to do with Sandy Hook Elementary School, residents were divided about whether children should ever return to the site of the Dec. 14 tragedy.

Some of the 200 people at the meeting yesterday believe the building should be demolished, while others say the school should be renovated and the areas where the killings occurred removed.

Some schools where massacres occurred including Columbine High School in Colorado and Virginia Tech reopened after renovations. Others were torn down.

Sandy Hook students and staff have relocated to another school in a neighboring town.

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Newtown superintendent on Washington, DC panel

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Newtown Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson will travel to Washington, D.C., to discuss gun violence prevention.

Robinson is scheduled to be part of a panel discussion on Wednesday. It's being organized by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro co-chairs.

The hearing is titled ``Gun Violence Prevention: A Call to Action.'' It is expected to focus on what can be done to prevent future gun violence based on the experience of the panelists.

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Conn. police say gun permit requests have surged after Newtown school shootings

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Police in several Connecticut towns say they've seen a large increase in gun permit applications since the Newtown school shootings last month.

Milford Police Chief Keith Mello told the New Haven Register that the number of gun permit applications in his town has doubled since a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He says the department has handed out 44 applications in the past month, compared with 20 in the same period last year.

Police in several other towns including Seymour, Branford and Middletown also are reporting increases in permit applications. Statewide figures weren't immediately available.

Gun dealers around the country say they've seen a spike in gun sales in response to Newtown and renewed talk of a federal ban on assault weapons.

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Patriots host Newtown police officers at game

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The New England Patriots are honoring members of the Newtown, Conn., police department at Sunday's playoff game against the Houston Texans.

Officers wearing Patriots jerseys with the No. 1 and ``Newtown PD'' on their backs lined up with the cheerleaders as the team ran onto the field before the game. They also stood with members of the color guard for the national anthem.

Twenty children and six adults were killed Dec. 14 at the Sandy Hook Elementary school. Patriots owner Bob Kraft owns a factory in the community.

Two children wearing Newtown Police caps went to midfield for the coin toss.

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Danbury sets up school safety task force

A task force is being created in Danbury to review school security.  The group will include the chiefs of fire and police, the Mayor, some parents, and school officials among others.  There are 17 schools in the district that will have to be looked at and evaluated.  Danbury School Finance Director Joseph Martino says the last big security overhaul was in 2006, in response to the shootings at Columbine High School.

 

Martino says security reviews have already started.

 

One of the major pieces of work will be to see what changes should be made at the King Street School.  Concerned parents spoke out at a Board of Education workshop this month that the open floor plan makes their kids sitting ducks if an intruder came in to the building.

 

At the workshop Mayor Mark boughton estimated that it would cost $100,000 a year per police officer if they were to be in the schools each day all day.

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Conn. shooting families balancing grief, advocacy

If and when they choose to speak out, few will have more powerful voices in the national gun-control debate than the families of the Newtown shooting victims.

 

Since their loved ones were killed last month, the families have met with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and many have been in touch with local groups created in response to the tragedy. While one mother wants a say in Washington, people close to other families say the pain is still too raw to enter the realm of advocacy.

 

John Engel, whose cousin's daughter was killied says his family is not looking to make a political statement or looking to change the world.

 

As the families weigh whether and how to get involved, they are feeling their way through a swirl of offers and invitations.

 

White House officials are reaching out through a grass-roots group in Newtown.  The group, Sandy Hook Promise, was formerly known as Newtown United. It said Friday that it has invited victim family members to an event next week to unveil an initiative to prevent similar tragedies.

 

Alexis Haller says the Pozner family has ideas to share and wants to be part of the discussion about the response to the tragedy.  Haller said an assistant to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told him that the White House had been trying to consult with the families but that their efforts were rebuffed by a group purporting to speak for them. A White House spokesman confirmed that but declined to name the group.

 

Newtown first selectman Pat Llodra says the town is planning private gatherings with the families to hear their thoughts on what should be done with the Sandy Hook school building.

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Future of Sandy Hook school building to be discussed

Two community conversations are being held in Newtown to discuss the future of the Sandy Hook school facility.  Town officials say the purpose of these events are to provide an opportunity for the community to share their ideas and in turn, listen to the thoughts of others. 

 

There is no formal agenda for the open discussion, though there will be some brief opening remarks about the role of the state and federal government going forward.   In an email update to residents, town leaders say there will be different views expressed and that every person in the conversation wants to do the right and best thing for the community, for Sandy Hook, for the students and for Newtown families. 

 

Members of the Boards of Selectmen, Education and Finance along with the Legislative Council will be on hand, but as community members not elected officials.  The meeting will be moderated by Fran Pennarola. 

 

The forums are Sunday from 3pm to 4:30pm at Newtown High School and next Friday the 18th from 7pm to 8:30pm.

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Conn. lawmakers forming Sandy Hook group

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut legislative leaders are hoping a group of lawmakers can help guide a bipartisan package of legislation through the General Assembly to address issues related to the mass shooting at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, a Republican from Fairfield, said Thursday there's a ``genuine interest in working together'' on a multi-faceted package of bills dealing with matters such as school safety, gun laws and mental health care.

McKinney said the lawmakers would act as a clearinghouse for numerous proposals being offered and ultimately come up with a bipartisan collection of bills. He said they will keep tabs on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's task force, which has been charged with reviewing state laws and policies in the wake of the December shooting that killed 20 students and six educators.

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Newtown mom wants voice in gun control discussion

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) The family of a boy shot dead in last month's Connecticut school massacre says it has been contacted by the White House regarding its desire to be heard in the discussion over gun control in Washington, D.C.

Veronique Pozner's 6-year-old son, Noah, was among 20 first-graders killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown. She had said she was disappointed and puzzled about why she hadn't received more information about legislative proposals.

Her brother, Alexis Haller, says he asked White House officials if victims' families would be informed of initiatives stemming from the massacre and finally heard back Thursday about consultations between the White House and families.

A White House spokesman says the families will have the chance to share their views before President Barack Obama makes any decisions.

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After Newtown, Greenwich boosts school security

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) Greenwich school officials are beefing up school security following the shooting deaths of 26 children and educators in nearby Newtown last month.

Stricter measures in schools in the wealthy New York suburb are still being reviewed.

The Greenwich Time reports that for the first time local police will carry key cards giving immediate access to all public schools in an emergency.

Schools Superintendent William McKersie says extra visibility of officers close to schools will continue.

But school officials and law enforcement don't want to be too predictable. McKersie says officers will shift to random appearances.

In a recent letter to parents and staff, McKersie said emails from parents and staff call for improved security, with some correspondents urging armed guards.

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Little expected from exam of school gunman's body

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's chief medical examiner says he doubts toxicological tests and genetic analysis of the body of the Newtown school gunman will explain his actions.

According to The Hearst Connecticut Media Group, Dr. Wayne Carver II says an examination of Adam Lanza's brain showed nothing unusual.

He says the testing is a ``fishing expedition.''

Carver says Lanza's brain showed no tumor or gross deformity, though he didn't expect to find a gross deformity.

He says he doesn't expect answers, but will still look.

The toxicology exam could take several weeks. It involves testing body fluids for psychiatric medications or illegal substances.

Lanza fatally shot himself after the Dec. 14 shooting spree.

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Conn., N.Y. govs talk gun violence, Biden to meet with NRA

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's governor is vowing to take action to prevent another tragedy like the Newtown school massacre.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy said in his State of the State address Wednesday that he will do everything in his power to stop further violence. But he did not offer any specific proposals.

Malloy became emotional today as he spoke about the teachers and a therapist who sacrificed their lives to protect students, apologizing after he paused during his State of the State address to gain his composure.

He stressed that ``more guns are not the answer'' and ``freedom is not a handgun on the hip of every teacher.'' He said ``security should not mean a guard posted outside every classroom.''

Both Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra and Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson were on hand for the address.

An advisory panel he set up last week is due to issue recommendations in March on gun control and other issues arising from the shooting rampage nearly a month ago that left 27 people dead.

Malloy, a Democrat, is moving cautiously in a relatively liberal Northeastern state that has a strong gun culture and is home to some of the nation's best-known firearm makers.

Among them is Colt.

 



ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is coming on strong for gun control, giving a fiery speech that pushes the state to the front of the national debate.

Cuomo called Wednesday in his State of the State address for tougher state bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines of ammunition, even as New York's gun control laws are already among the most restrictive in the nation.

In his argument, Cuomo cited the Newtown, Conn., school massacre and the West Webster, N.Y., deadly ambush on two firefighters.

Cuomo said, ``No one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer.'' Then he added, ``End the madness now!''

 



WASHINGTON (AP) The Obama administration is meeting with the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups as officials look for ways to curb violence linked to guns.

Vice President Joe Biden is leading an administration-wide review of gun safety laws, vowing urgent action in the wake of last month's massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.

The meeting with the NRA is one of three Biden has scheduled for Thursday, as he prepares to make recommendations on gun policy by the end of the month. Besides the session with the NRA, Biden and other officials also are sitting down with sportsmen and wildlife interest groups, as well as people from the entertainment industry.

Biden met Wednesday with gun-control advocates and crime victims.

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Newtown schools chief urges continued police guard

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Newtown, Conn.'s schools superintendent is urging an indefinite police presence at the district's schools to allay fears among parents and children about gun violence.

The News Times reports that Superintendent Janet Robinson says children have not ventured outside school for recess because of anxiety.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and six educators were fatally shot by a gunman on Dec. 14, remains closed. Students and staff are using a school in neighboring Monroe.

Parent Amy Roman has asked the Police Commission and Board of Education to continue to provide two police officers at each of the district's six schools. Newtown's Police Department is supplemented by officers from other departments.

School officials say they've received nearly 300 emails, many of them voicing concern about long-term security and a police presence.

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Newtown updates on where donations can be made

Newtown officials have sent out an update on how people looking to help the community can contribute.  In an email update, town officials thanked everyone for the continued outpouring of support for Newtown and the Sandy Hook community. 

 

If people are looking to donate money, they are being asked to either contribute to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund or directly to the town.  Officials have set up two funds where donations to the town will be earmarked.

 

A staff of volunteers continues to organize and catalog goods and services that have been donated.  The group will continue to track the offers of help.  To make this kind of contribution, call 855-364-6600 or email assistnewtown@gmail.com.

 

Donations of artwork, music and poetry are being directed to the towns Cultural Arts Commission.  The group is also coordinating ideas for memorials.  These donations or ideas can be submitted by visiting www.healingnewtown.org.

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Newtown teacher, state Rep. among Sandy Hook Advisory members

The 16 members of Governor Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission have been appointed.  The panel will review and make specific recommendations about public safety, mental health and gun violence prevention. 

 

The group is being chaired by Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson. 

 

Jackson is joined by Newtown Middle School teacher Ron Chivinski, Dr Adrienne Bentman who is director of the Adult Psychiatry Residency Program at Hartford Hospital and Professor Wayne Sandford of the University of New Haven Henry Lee College of Criminal Justice-Forensic Sciences.

 

Outgoing Newtown state Representative Chris Lyddy, who has worked at the Juvenile Risk Reduction Center and as a consultant for Advanced Trauma Solutions, is a commission member. 

 

They will be joined by Hartford Hospital's Chief Psychiatrist, a former Hartford Police Chief who is also a former commissioner of the state Department of Public Safety and by the executive director of the Clifford W. Beers Guidance Clinic.

 

Norwalk Fire Chief Denis McCarthy, UConn Police Chief Barbara O'Connor and State Board of Ed member-former teacher Patricia Keavney Maruca are also members of the panel.

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Giffords' gun control bid finds support in Newtown

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Some people in Newtown are cheering a new initiative from former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband to try to curb gun violence.

 

Selectman Jim Gaston was among the officials who met with Giffords last week when she extended sympathies to relatives of victims from the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary that left 26 people dead.

 

Gaston said Tuesday that Giffords will have support from the vast majority of residents. Frank Monte, a Newtown father who is organizing a bike ride to Washington to call for greater gun control efforts, said he is eager to help Giffords any way he can.

 

Giffords launched a political action committee on gun violence Tuesday, the second anniversary of the Tucson shooting that killed six people and left her critically injured.

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Newtown seeks law change to aid officers, others

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — The Newtown Board of Police Commissioners is seeking a change in state law so officers and others who responded to last month's school shooting are covered by workers compensation.

 

The board passed a resolution Tuesday citing the bravery of police, teachers, first responders and school staff. It says "fairness and compassion dictates" the law be changed to provide appropriate benefits to those who suffered physical and emotional injury "as a consequence of their heroic efforts" on the job.

 

A police union has said some police officers who responded to the shooting were so traumatized they weren't working, but had to use sick time and risked going without a paycheck.

 

The union wants to expand workers' compensation benefits for officers who witness horrific crime scenes.

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Greater Danbury area schools continue to review security protocols

During the Danbury Board of Education School Safety Workshop last week several parents voiced concern with the open floor plan of the King Street School.  Campus Assistant Principal Tina Hislop addressed those in attendance.  She said the crisis team met that morning to figure out where kids could go to be safe if there was an unwanted person in the school.

 

There are work rooms, storage rooms, computer rooms and bathrooms where every class can go to.  Hislop says she feels confident that even though some of the safe zones are bathrooms, they have a door and a lock and will get the job done until there are walls and doors elsewhere.

 

Hislop says she is looking at each classroom having a door to the outside as a positive thing, because if there was an intruder that would be a quick way out.

 

She says the district is asking the school to practice the safe zone drill three times a month.

 

Bethel officials have met to review school safety.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says it would cost at least $500,000 a year to have a police officer in each of the schools.  A school resource officer was already at the High School.  There is a police presence in the schools at drop off and dismissal.  Police are also patrolling the school campus. 

 

He notes that police patrols of the school campus will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

 

Knickerbocker says the town has had strong security procedures and protocols in place for several years.  Those include alarms on doors, doors being closed at all times and the front doors locked once school starts. 

 

There is a video system where visitors have to be recognized and then being buzzed in.  Knickerbocker says the cameras are being upgraded so ID can be seen and read through the system.

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Conn. lawmaker apologizes over remarks, Giffords launches gun control initiative

A Republican state lawmaker has apologized after saying in a Facebook post that shooting victim and former Democratic Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords should "stay out of my towns." Last week Giffords visited Newtown to meet with the families of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. State Representative DebraLee Hovey had said in another post that the visit was political. 

 

In her apology yesterday Hovey said her comments were meant to be protective of the privacy of the famlies and the community.  She went on to say in an emailed statement that her words were in no way intended as an insult to Congresswoman Giffords.  Hovey says the events of December 14th affected us all deeply and like many others she is still working through grief to come to terms with what happened and how as a community to move forward and prevent horrific events like this from happening in the future.

 

Hovey was attending a Women in Government meeting in Florida during Giffords visit.

 

Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, are launching an initiative aimed at curbing gun violence in the wake of the mass killing.

 

They made the announcement today, the second anniversary of the Tucson shooting rampage that killed six and wounded Giffords and 12 others.

 

Kelly says the meeting brought back a lot of memories. He says: ``You hope that this kind of thing doesn't happen again. And you know what? It does happen again.''

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Husband of principal slain in Newtown to retire

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) A veteran teacher whose wife was among six educators and 20 children fatally shot in Newtown last month is set to retire.

 

George Hochsprung, who has been an educator for 40 years, will submit his retirement, effective Feb. 1, to the Danbury Board of Education.

Danbury Deputy Superintendent William Glass described Hochsprung as a ``teacher's teacher.''

He was the husband of Dawn Hochsprung, principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The 70-year-old Hochsprung is credited with developing and leading the gifted and talented program.

For years, he also led a class project making and launching hot air balloons.

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Soccer stars visit Conn. town where kids were shot

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Stars from the soccer world have visited and played with children in the Connecticut town where a gunman killed dozens of people at an elementary school last month.

About 40 current and former players including Landon Donovan, Cobi Jones, Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly played with kids on an indoor field at the nonprofit Newtown Youth Academy. The group also included San Jose Earthquakes player Marcus Tracy, who grew up in Newtown.

About 1,000 children attended Monday's event, which was arranged by Houston Dynamo general manager and Connecticut native Chris Canetti.

Sports stars including New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz and Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman have visited Newtown in the weeks since a gunman killed his mother at home and 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School before killing himself.

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Conn. called on to create School Safety Advocates

The state is being called on to create certified School Safety Advocates.  Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says even if finances weren't an issue, in order to post an officer in every public elementary school in Danbury the city would have to hire 30 additional officers. 

 

He notes that the pressure on training facilities and finding qualified officers will be challenging because it's not just going to be Danbury looking to hire more officers.

 

Boughton says becoming a Police Officer in Connecticut is an intensive and long process that typically takes almost a year for a civilian to become a fully trained certified Police Officer. 

 

The School Safety Advocate would go through a proposed 6-week training academy.  Proposed training would include classes on school security, lock down procedures, first aid and active shooter scenarios.

 

As for arming the advocates, Boughton says that will be a policy decision of the state Legislature.

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Fewer gun-buyers in Conn., Stamford gun show goes on despite protests

WASHINGTON (AP) An Associated Press analysis finds that background checks for gun sales and permits to carry guns surged at the end of 2012.

But people in Connecticut and Colorado, scenes of the deadliest U.S. mass shootings last year, were less enthusiastic about buying new guns than people in most other states. The biggest surges in occurred in the South and West.

The latest FBI figures reflect huge increases across the U.S. in the number of background checks following President Barack Obama's re-election, the school shooting in Connecticut and Obama's promise to support new laws aimed at curbing gun violence.

Nationally, there were nearly twice as many background checks for firearms between November and December than during the same time period in 2011.

Gun buyers and protesters converged in Stamford for the first gun show in Connecticut since the Dec. 14 shooting rampage that killed 20 children and six educators in Newtown.

The Advocate of Stamford reports that many who attended the eighth annual East Coast Fine Arms Show on Saturday said it was about collectible antique weapons, not guns like the one used in the school massacre.

Several gun shows in the area were canceled in the aftermath of the shootings. But Westchester Collectors Inc., of Mahopac Falls, N.Y., decided to go on with the Stamford show as scheduled.

Mayor Michael Pavia says canceling the show would have been more sensitive.

More than 50 protesters holding signs supporting gun control and banning assault rifles gathered across from the hotel where the show was staged.

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Newtown sets up task force to handle donations

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Chris Kelsey is the tax assessor in Newtown, but for the better part of three weeks, his job has been setting up and organizing a warehouse to hold the toys, school supplies and other gifts donated in the wake of the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary school.

Despite the town's pleas to stop sending gifts, Kelsey said trucks have been arriving daily with tokens of support from across the world, some for the families of those killed, others for the children of Sandy Hook, still others for the town.

"A lot of the town's normal business is still on pause," he said. "I have a couple of people still doing assessor's business, and then if they can, open mail a couple hours too. We're all kind of doing what we can to get this done."

A task force has been set up to coordinate the more than 800 volunteers who have been working to sort the gifts, open mail and answer the thousands of emails and phone calls offering assistance.

The volunteers have begun making a dent in the pile of tens of thousands of teddy bears that stretched to the warehouse ceiling. By last week, they had sorted 30,000 of them into small, medium and large sizes, catalogued them and put them in boxes. They are also separating and boxing piles of crayons, pencils, books and much more.

"It's a ton of stuff, and we have an operation just as big for mail as well," Kelsey said.

There are also 26 large moving boxes in the warehouse, each labeled with a victim's name. When a gift comes in specifically addressed to those families, it goes in those boxes. The families have been coming in periodically to empty them.

A toy giveaway was held for all Newtown children before Christmas and some of the remaining toys and stuffed animals have been taken to children's hospitals. The rest will be stored until the town decides where they should go, Kelsey said. He said letters have been sent to each of the victim's families asking for their input. His cellphone is filled with emails from charities across the country.

"Everybody has a hand out," he said. "We're just beginning that process now. The charities suggested by the families will get the top priority."

The work organizing the warehouse is being done by volunteers from Adventist Community Services, a faith-based group that has done similar work after hurricanes and other natural disasters.

"Our thing is warehouses," said the Rev. William Warcholik, a pastor from Rhode Island. "Our specialty is collecting, organizing and distributing donated goods."

The group was paired with Kelsey after contacting the town's volunteer task force. Kevin and Robin Fitzgerald started the group last year to organize neighborhood cleanups following two storms that brought down trees all over town.

"We referred to it as friends with chain saws," Robin Fitzgerald said.

Immediately after the school massacre, which left 26 people dead, people started calling the Fitzgeralds looking for a way to help in the grief-stricken town. Local churches and businesses began getting similar calls.

After meeting with town officials, the Red Cross and other stakeholders, the Fitzgeralds were put in charge of coordinating the volunteer effort.

They started working in their living room with a couple of cellphones and their own laptop computers. Local businessman Peter D'Amico gave them office space. Companies donated computers, Wi-Fi, phones and other equipment and set up a call center. The Newtown Volunteer Task Force now has a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a toll-free telephone number, (855) 364-6600, with eight lines coming in.

"Our mission here is to ease the burden on the town resources, matching people who feel the need to do something with a task that needed to be done," Kevin Fitzgerald said. "This is work FEMA or someone in government would do after a natural disaster, but there is no such thing for this kind of disaster."

The group has been deploying about 800 volunteers to open the town's mail, work at the warehouse and connect potential donations with the correct fund or organization.

Liz Eaton, 70, who lives in the village of Sandy Hook, was sent to the warehouse to help box bears.

"People at church have said they needed some help," she said. "And I just wanted to help out."

Others are tasked with returning every phone call that has come into the town offering help.

"We had someone offer 26 granite benches for any memorial," Robin Fitzgerald said. "That's put into a list of what we call escalated offers, so we mark that down and when they decide on a memorial they will know about that offer."

The town originally expected it would take the task force about two weeks to complete its work. The Fitzgeralds said the task force now expects to be working for about three months, possibly longer.

"What we're telling people on the phone now is that if you are holding a fundraiser in your local community, we appreciate it, but direct those resources to your local community, that's what the families want," Robin Fitzgerald said. "About 99½ percent of the time that works. But the other half says, 'We're coming anyway.' And then we just give them the address of the warehouse or here."

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Driver of car involved in West Redding train crash dies of injuries

The driver of the car that was struck by a train in West Redding last weekend has died from her injuries.  A Yale-New Haven Hospital spokesperson says 19-year old Jausheema Perkins of Danbury succumbed to her injuries yesterday. 

 

21-year old Wayne Balacky of Danbury, a passenger in the car and Perkins boyfriend was pronounced dead at the scene.  Two other passengers were in the car as well and are both at Westchester Medical Center being treated. 

 

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but Metro North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders says the car radio was blaring when the train engineer went to check on the occupants at the ungated crossing.

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NY gun show reps agree to sale, display limits

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) The organizers of a gun show set for Saratoga Springs later this month have agreed not to display or sell military-style, semiautomatic weapons.

Cathy Petronis of New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates tells the Daily Gazette of Schenectady that the group will go along with the request from city officials urging exhibitors not to display semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines'' similar to the ones used in last month's Connecticut school shooting.

On Wednesday, the Saratoga Springs City Council voted unanimously to urge the organization not to display items of the type used in the Newtown tragedy.

The show is scheduled for Jan. 12-13.

Last week, Petronis' husband David had advised exhibitors not to bring the AR-15-type weapons with them or, if they did, to have them under their tables or in boxes.

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Wounded ex-Rep. Giffords meets with Conn. families

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Just days before the second anniversary of a mass shooting that critically injured Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman was in Newtown meeting privately with families of those killed during last month's shooting at an elementary school.

Giffords was accompanied yesterday by her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, and Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Blumenthal said he was deeply impressed by the strength, courage and resolve of the families and the extraordinary caring and generosity of Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly in visiting with them.

Giffords was left partially blind, with a paralyzed right arm and brain injury, when a gunman opened fire at a constituent meet-and-greet outside a Tucson grocery store on January 8th 2011. Arizona's chief federal judge and five others were killed and 13 people, including Giffords, were injured.

She met earlier in the day yesterday with officials including Lt Governor Nancy Wyman and Newtown First Selectwoman Patricia Llodra, who says they talked about the need for changes in gun control laws and greater awareness of mental health issues, including identifying and treating people who have mental health problems.

Llodra said in published reports that they discussed concerns that society has become desensitized to acts of violence, conflict and aggression along with the need for adults to examine their role in allowing societal values to become eroded.

Mark Kelly has become a vocal advocate for gun control. He lashed out at politicians for avoiding a "meaningful debate" about gun laws and called out Arizona Republicans, including the governor, for taking a pro-gun stance in the months after the Arizona shooting.

When the Arizona gunman was sentenced he said as a nation we have repeatedly passed up the opportunity to address the issue. After Columbine, after Virginia Tech, after Tucson and after Aurora, we have done nothing.

He has issued strongly worded statements many times since the shooting rampage in Newtown, including a harsh response to the National Rifle Association's reaction to the shooting. He often begins statements with "Gabby and I" as he makes pointed comments about the direction of the gun debate in America.

 

Blumenthal said he is eager to find allies as he pursues tougher gun control laws.

 

Giffords has appeared in public a few times since the shooting. She came face-to-face with the man who shot her when he was sentenced and attended ceremonies for the anniversary of the shooting.  She received tributes and ovations when she returned to the House in January 2012 to say goodbye as she resigned her seat and she delivered the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic National Convention in September.

 

A recent Pew Research Center report says gun policy accounted for almost 30 percent of discussions examined on blogs and Twitter in the three days after the school massacre. It compares the response to the Newtown rampage with the Arizona shooting, saying that in the three days after that, just 3 percent of social media conversation was about gun laws.

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Wrestling meet renamed for Newtown shooting victim

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) The Kiki Cup, an international Greco-Roman wrestling dual meet, is being renamed the Jack Pinto Cup in memory of the 6-year-old wrestler who was killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

USA Wrestling and Christina ``Kiki'' Kelley, the sponsor of the annual competition, made the announcement Thursday.

Pinto was a first-year member of both the Newton Youth Wrestling Association and USA Wrestling. He was one of 20 children killed along with six educators in the Dec. 14 rampage.

This year's Olympic style wrestling meet, in which four U.S. senior level Greco-Roman teams compete against four international teams, will be held at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs on Jan. 26.

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Danbury Board of Ed hold safety workshop, passionate parents speak up

The Danbury Board of Education held a school safety workshop last night.  There were some heated moments when several parents called for armed guards to be in all schools with one saying the only thing that can stand up against a bushmaster is another bushmaster.  A woman in attendance told the Board that students at King Street School were sitting ducks because of the building's open floor plan.

 

Superintendent of Schools Dr Sal Pascarella, Mayor Mark Boughton and Police Chief Al Baker detailed the actions the district took on December 14th when word of the shooting broke out.  They also discussed what changes or reviews have taken place over the last three weeks.

 

The School District is looking to streamline lockdown procedures and to put new locks on classroom doors.  There are roving police patrols around the schools and each building has a school resource officer or a safety advocate

 

Dr Pascarella says he does not recommend armed guards, but he will consider the proposal.  He notes that he also would never think of having kids going outside the building as part of a lock down, but needs to rethink that too because it saved some lives at Sandy Hook.

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Conn. gov forms commission to explore gun policies

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has formed an advisory commission that will review and recommend changes to state laws and policies in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Malloy announced Thursday he has appointed Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson to chair the panel. An initial report is due to Malloy by March 15, in time for the General Assembly to take action during the next session.

The group plans to examine gun laws, school safety measures, gun violence prevention and mental health services.

Additional members of the commission will be announced later. Malloy said they will include experts in education, mental health, law enforcement and emergency response.

A gunman killed 20 children and six adults at the school on Dec. 14.

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Judge invokes Newtown in machine gun sentencing

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A federal judge has invoked the Newtown grade school massacre while sentencing a Greenwich man for possession of 10 unregistered machine guns.

The Connecticut Post reports that U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven sentenced Thomas Belluci to a year and a day in prison and required mental health treatment.

She said the Dec. 14 killings didn't affect her decision but cited what she called red flags.

Court documents say the 51-year-old Belluci had a nervous breakdown as a teenager and was treated with lithium.

Psychiatric evaluations since his August 2011 arrest for firing a gun from his home indicate he may be on the Asperger's spectrum but did not suggest psychiatric treatment is needed.

His lawyer said Belluci was a gun collector and never used the weapons improperly.

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Conn. city halts gun shows after school shooting

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) The police chief in a Connecticut city has halted permits for gun shows, saying he's concerned any firearms purchased there might one day be used in a mass shooting.

The Republican-American reports that Waterbury Police Superintendent Michael Gugliotti imposed a moratorium the day after the Dec. 14 killings of 20 children and six educators at a grade school in Newtown.

He says he's concerned a gun used in a future mass shooting could be traced to a purchase made at a show in Waterbury.

Westchester Collectors Inc. had planned a firearm and knife show for Jan. 12 and 13. Show organizer Newman Chittenden says canceling the show will not improve security.

He says that vendors will turn away people who have mental health problems and that they use common sense when evaluating whether to sell.

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Conn. lt. gov.'s office: Giffords meeting planned

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) A spokesman says Connecticut's lieutenant governor has been invited to attend a meeting between former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and families of the victims of the deadly Newtown elementary school shooting.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman's spokesman Steve Jensen said last night a visit by Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, is ``planned but not confirmed'' for this afternoon.

He says the plans include Giffords meeting at a private home with families of the 20 children and six school officials killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month. He says Giffords may also make a second appearance.

Phone calls and emails to Giffords' representatives weren't returned.

Giffords was wounded by a gunman in a mass shooting two years ago in Tucson, Ariz. Six people died in that assault.

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Conn. employee allegedly showed gunman's body

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) An employee at Connecticut's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has been placed on administrative leave over an allegation she let her husband view the body of the man who killed 26 people at a school.

A state employee with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press on Thursday that Jean Henry is accused of showing Adam Lanza's body to her husband on Dec. 16, two days after the shooting. The employee spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiry is under way.

Messages were left with Henry.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says he would be ``deeply disappointed'' if the allegation is true.

A University of Connecticut Health Center spokesman confirmed Henry was put on administrative leave Dec. 21. The center handles personnel matters for the medical examiner's lab.

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Putnam County won't give gun info, armed guards at NY paper

Officials in Putnam County, NY, say they'll refuse a newspaper's request to release the names and addresses of residents with pistol permits.

Robert Freeman of the state's Committee on Open Government says the county outside New York City would be violating state law if it withholds public data.

In December, the Journal News published online maps that allow viewers to see the names and addresses of pistol and revolver permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties.

Critics, including New York State Senator Greg Ball of Patterson calls that an invasion of privacy. Some say it could endanger permit holders.  Ball, a Republican, says publishing this information provides criminals with a map of where they can steal firearms from lawful owners for later use in the commission of crimes.  Ball is planning to introduce legislation to keep permit information private except to prosecutors and police.  As an assemblyman he introduced a similar bill, which failed in the state Assembly.

The newspaper stands by the project. It sought the information after the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

 

Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy says innocent people may find they are targets of a criminal element who would use that information to further victimize them. 

 

County Clerk Dennis Sant says some people have called his office who have Orders of Protection and now own a gun to protect themselves from those who have abused them in the past or are retired cops and other law abiding citizens.

 

The newspaper is being protected by armed guards.  Publisher Janet Hasson says the guards have been posted at its White Plains headquarters and in a satellite office in West Nyack since last week.

She told The New York Times, "The safety of my staff is my top priority."

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Sandy Hook students have 1st day back in class

Some Newtown students are returning to classes today at the new Sandy Hook Elementary School, a building in Monroe that used to be a middle school. 

 

Monroe Police Chief John Salvatore was asked if the town is receiving state assistance with costs.  He says their focus right now is returning kids to a sense of normalcy and that finances have not yet been discussed.

 

Monroe Police Lt Keith White declined to comment on how the surviving 1st graders will be in combined classes today.

 

Newtown Superintendent of Schools Dr Janet Robinson was asked if not renaming the school will bring back bad memories.  She says the teachers and faculty made the decision to have the same name,  She notes that Sandy Hook is a part of the Newtown family.

 

Robinson says this week won't be heavy on curriculum, but it's important to get students and staff back into a semi-normal routine.  She says this doesn't look like the old school, it's the same furniture and their belongings, but it's a different building and the teachers were creative in setting up their rooms in very different ways.

 

Robinson says she was touched by the volunteers who helped make Chalk Hill ready as an elementary school.  When she walked through the building last week, Robinson says there were three Monroe teachers with each of the Newtown teachers helping them set up their classrooms.

 

Mental health workers are in each Newtown school and at the new Sandy Hook.

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Sandy Hook kids have open house at new school

MONROE, Conn. (AP) The Newtown schools superintendent says teachers have prepared for a ``normal'' day as students from Sandy Hook Elementary School return to school today for the first time since a gunman killed 20 children and six staff.

Their original school is still being treated as a crime scene, so students are attending classes at a refurbished school in the neighboring town of Monroe.

Newtown Superintendent Janet Robinson says officials will be doing their best to make students feel at ease.

Yesterday, the students and their families attended an open house at their new school, which was formerly the Chalk Hill Middle School but renamed as the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Students received gift boxes and shared joyful reunions with teachers.

 

Parent Vinny Alvarez says he took advantage of an open house at his daughter's new school to thank a teacher who helped protect her class from a rampaging gunman.

Alvarez says the teacher, Courtney Martin, locked her classroom door and kept the children in a corner until it was safe to leave the building.

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Conn. woman seeks to help traumatized Newtown cops

SHELTON, Conn. (AP) A Shelton woman is helping Newtown's police who were traumatized after responding to last month's school shooting.

The Connecticut Post reports that yoga studio owner Linda Antignani is collecting donations through the end of February to buy Walmart gift cards for Newtown police officers to buy food.

Antignani says she decided to get involved after reading media reports that many Newtown police officers who responded to the shooting have been unable to work. Many officers are using sick days and a union representative says some officers could go without a paycheck.

Antignani says she was moved by the plight of those officers.

A liaison for the Newtown police will identify officers in the most need and distribute the gift cards.

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Prayers for Newtown coming from monks in India

Two monks who are members of the Tibetan Buddhist Center for Universal Peace in Redding are currently visiting India, but say their thoughts are with their neighbors in Newtown.  The DNKL spiritual Director and the resident teacher and scholar say they are sending prayers of compassion from the monastery in India where people on the other side of the world are praying for the town. 

 

The monks say they share the sorrow and suffering brought forth by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

 

Tibetan Buddhist Dharma Centers such as DNKL were established by monks from the monastery in India where the pair from Redding are visiting.

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Funds established by Newtown to deal with donations

Two funds have been set up by Newtown officials to accept donations to help survivors of, responders to and others affected by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

 

First Selectman Pat Llodra says people who want to donate to the town can make their check out to the Town of Newtown and send them to the Newtown Municipal Center, 3 Primrose Street, with a specific purpose written in the memo. 

 

One is a special revenue fund which will be used for schools, police, memorials and other public purposes.  The other is a Private purpose trust fund for individuals or private organizations and scholarships.

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Sandy Hook victims honored during Rose Parade

26 roses in the Tournament of Roses Parade Tuesday stood out from all the others.  They were placed in vials on the Donate Life float and each had the name of a child or adult who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14th. 

 

The roses were in the Dedication Garden part of the "One More Day" float for the Donate Life group. 

 

The nonprofit organizations from nationwide work to increase organ, eye and tissue donations.  The garden portion also honors the memories of donors with a vial that contains personal messages of remembrance.

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Open house being held for Sandy Hook students

MONROE, Conn. (AP) An open house is being held at a repurposed school for students who attended Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown.

The open house is set for today at a former middle school building in nearby Monroe. Workers and teachers have been getting the space ready, painting, moving furniture and recreating classroom spaces.

Some families have already visited the school ahead of the start of classes tomorrow. The children have not attended school since a gunman killed 20 of their classmates and six adults in a Dec. 14 rampage.

Counselors say it's important for children to get back to a normal routine and for teachers and parents to offer sensitive reassurances.

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27 balloons released in Times Square on NYE in honor of Newtown

As 2013 was ushered in with a shower of confetti, there was also a somber moment in New York City. 

 

Revelers who packed Times Square in the frigid cold to count down the first ball drop in decades without Dick Clark, paid tribute to the 27 people killed in Newtown on December 14th.  There was a balloon released for each of the 20 children and six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and one for the shooter's mother who was killed at her Newtown home. 

 

A few minutes before the ball dropped, a blue balloon for each of the boys and pink balloons for each of the women and girls were released as the cheering crowd turned quiet for a moment of silence. 

 

Dick Clark, who died in April, was honored with his name printed on one of the crystal panels on the Times Square ball.

 

Photo tweeted by @buddah_is_love

 

 

Photo tweeted by @We_Are_Newtown

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AG: No basis to hold state liable for Newtown

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's attorney general says there appears to be no basis to support a lawyer's request to sue the state for $100 million over the Newtown school shootings on behalf of a 6-year-old survivor.

The Hartford Courant reports George Jepsen said Monday his office knows of ``no facts or legal theory under which the State of Connecticut should be liable for causing the harms inflicted at Sandy Hook Elementary School.''

Lawyer Irving Pinsky last week asked to sue the state, saying his client suffered ``emotional and psychological trauma and injury.'' He says state officials failed to prevent his client from foreseeable harm.

Connecticut has immunity against most lawsuits unless it gives a party permission to sue.

Pinsky says he's doing what's appropriate in the name of school safety.  He has since withdrawn the suit.

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Conn. lawyer withdraws $100M lawsuit over massacre

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut attorney seeking to sue the state for $100 million on behalf of a 6-year-old survivor of the Newtown school massacre has withdrawn the claim at least for now.

The Stamford Advocate reports that Irving Pinsky withdrew the lawsuit but says he might refile. He says he received new evidence on security at Sandy Hook Elementary School and is reviewing it.

Pinsky last week asked to sue the state, saying his client suffered ``emotional and psychological trauma and injury'' during the shooting rampage that killed 20 children and six adults. He says state officials failed to prevent his client from foreseeable harm.

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Sandy Hook students, teachers head back to school

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Classes are starting Thursday at a repurposed school for students who survived a shooting rampage three weeks ago in Newtown, Conn.

Desks have been taken to the new building in nearby Monroe along with backpacks and other belongings left behind in the chaos following the Dec. 14 shooting.

Families have been coming in to see the new school, and an open house is scheduled for Wednesday.

David Connors is the father of 8-year-old triplets who escaped unharmed. He says his children have suffered nightmares and jumped at noises.

Experts say it's important for children to get back to a routine and for teachers and parents to offer sensitive reassurances.

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