(orig. pub. Feb. 24, 2020)
[Chugging your way from the mendacious mendicants of Sandy Hook Promise!–ed.]
July 26, 2019 came with the announcement that Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) received a grant in the amount of $700,000. The money is to be paid over three years by the National Collaborative for Gun Violence Research to evaluate the effectiveness of Start With Hello and Say Something violence prevention programs in Los Angeles Unified School District, the third largest public school district in the nation.
On September 24, 2019, it was announced that Los Angeles Kings had partnered with Sandy Hook Promise to teach violence prevention in Los Angeles schools. This partnership awarded SHP with a pledge of $360,000 over the next three years. In return, SHP will deliver the Know The Signs (KTS) program to more than 65,000 youth and adults in Los Angeles. The two windfalls beg the question: Is SHP setting up a west coast branch? This brings us to September 27, 2019 when Newtown’s first selectman got an early Christmas present. The town was awarded more than two million dollars in storm clean-up relief by FEMA. In May 2018 a very strange (unusual for the region) tornado swept through the western part of Connecticut and parts of southeastern NY state. FEMA gave Newtown a substantial amount compared to dozens of other towns with more severe damage. Wonder why. Fast forward to October 3, 2019 when we learn that SHP and others have partnered with the University of Michigan School of Public Health. In this case the goal is to “house a $6 million multidisciplinary, multi-institutional national research and training center on school safety that will provide schools with training and technical assistance to prevent school violence.” Funding for this enterprise is provided by US taxpayers through the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the U.S. Department of Justice. A week later, on October 10, 2019, headlines in Connecticut screamed more good news: Motorola just gifted SHP $50,000 for school violence prevention. Some of these windfalls ought to pay for SHP’s latest PSA, “Back-to-School Essentials”, where they feature everything students need to survive the new school year. Should we expect that school violence will be a thing of the past in about three years? A rhetorical question.
Sandy Hook Promise, with Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden in the lead, isn’t the only gravy guzzler in the news from Newtown as of late. The constant reminders of a school shooting we are told killed “26 people, including 20 children and six adult staff members” are still a financial bonanza for the local healing industry. An open house was held on September 23rd at The Resiliency Center of Newtown. On the menu were “Light refreshments, complimentary massages, reiki sessions, and an opportunity for visitors to learn about several upcoming programs being hosted for young people and adults. The Resiliency Center offers trauma-informed, therapeutic services focused on long-term individual and community healing for children and adults impacted by the tragedy at Sandy Hook School on 12/14.” While the community is slow at healing, the town prospers. In May 2019 Newtown celebrated the grand opening of a new fifteen million dollar community center and the adjoining new three million dollar senior center. Both centers are conveniently located on the grounds of the former Fairfield Hills Hospital that operated from 1929 till 1995 as a psychiatric hospital. The new Human Services Department combines social services, senior services and wellness related to the recovery effort from the Sandy Hook shootings. At the grand opening, its director had this to say: “A lot of people have worked hard to get us to this point.” Indeed.
The town is also working hard in preparation for the new police headquarters. It was reported in early February 2019 that a $1.6 million deal was reached to purchase twelve acres on South Main Street. The real estate deal includes a 22,000-square-foot building that will be remodeled and expanded, and a residential lot on Pecks Lane that will serve as a buffer. If plans stay on schedule, the Newtown Police Department could be in its new headquarters by 2021. The real estate deal is part of a larger $14.8 million police headquarters referendum approved by voters in November 2018. The new police headquarters will also enjoy an upgrade in communications. On October 11, 2019 Newtown announced a 7.5 million dollar plan to upgrade its dispatching and communications equipment. The upgrade coincides with the new multimillion dollar police station anticipated to be ready by 2021.
* * * * *
Update, 3/27/20: Anne has been noting that the onslaught of stories about Sandy Hook beggars has ceased now that Coronavirus has taken center stage. Could this be the End of the Whiner Empire?
One can only hope.