Why N.i.c.e. isn’t.

Is it a coincidence that Newtown Schools’ “N.I.C.E.” is the same acronym that C.S. Lewis used for the evil, perfidious social programming institution in the last book of his space trilogy?

Lewis’s book, That Hideous Strength, isn’t on many bookshelves nowadays. The Anglo-Christian author is better-known for his nonfiction Mere Christianity, his satirical novel, The Screwtape Letters and, most of all, The Chronicles of Narnia. He’s a writer who sails effortlessly across the page, capable of rendering complex ideas in crystalline prose as cogent and irresistibly logical  as it is often amusing.

I won’t ruin That Hideous Strength for you by providing a plot summary, which you can find easily enough. Consider reading the book instead. Written in the pivotal year of 1945, it may surprise you how accurately Lewis identified the dark abysses into which an already fallen world can descend.

Lewis’s N.I.C.E. Lewis demonstrated in his space trilogy how a world where human life (and animal life) is cheap enough to be an experimental subject – and where emotion is considered a mere chemical reaction – rapidly becomes a playground for wickedness. His fictional N.I.C.E. (which stands for the National Institute for Coordinated Experiments) is the result, an organization with agendas similar to those of current alphabet soup organizations, technocrats, monopolist corporations and the U.N. combined.

It blackmails, bribes and murders. It misrepresents itself as having humanitarian goals. It takes over academia and uses human pride, weakness and shame to control careers. It appropriates land for nefarious uses. It puppeteers the gifted and discards the vulnerable. It incites riots in order to impose a police state. It tortures and it mutilates, then lies about its victims. It destroys the social fabric, breaks the social contract and imposes in its place technocratic hegemony. Why? Because it wants to control everything.

Welcome to our world. Lewis knew what was coming, and as a decent person, a gifted writer and a Christian, felt it was his duty to tell.

George Orwell liked his work a lot but felt Lewis’s  insertion of the supernatural in his plots (i.e., God) weakened them. Cinderella likes George Orwell a lot, but disagrees with him here, since God is the only Being that can possibly get us out of the messes that Orwell and Lewis wrote about.

And leaving God out, or using Him as a front for other agendas, is what got us into this mess to begin with. Just my opinion.

Newtown’s N.I.C.E. Back to Sandy Hook Elementary school and Newtown schools in general, where another agenda has found its playground. This N.I.C.E. stands for Newtown International Center for Education, which, of course, sounds very nice. Let’s take a closer look.

It’s almost immediately apparent that “international” in this case means mostly China. The photography here, on the main page of the N.I.C.E. website, suggests this. The language here confirms it:

“The NICE program is recognized by the State of Connecticut and The Connecticut Association of Schools as a model program for aspiring districts in the region. In addition, the NICE program is recognized in the United States as one of the “Top 50 of 100” Chinese cultural programs as a Hanban-Asia Society Confucius Classrooms Program as well as one of two programs selected to partner with Japan Society as a Japan Society Partner Alliance School.”

In fact, Newtown High School’s Global China Initiative, we are told here, was chosen as a national school model in December 2010.

Yes, there is a European component to N.I.C.E., namely Spain and France, but the Asian focus is undeniable. Cinderella has nothing against Asians; they are people with desires, proclivities, strengths and human failings shared by any racial group. It’s the political objectives of countries like China and, truth be told, the shadow-government-run U.S.,  that are a matter for concern.

N.I.C.E. is good for global business. We learn on the same page that N.I.C.E. is funded by grants as well as corporate and private donations. Some of the corporate donors (see here) are GE, PepsiCo, IBM, Dell Computers, all global entities that stand to benefit greatly from the treasonous Trans-Pacific Partnership. You can understand their interest and delight in N.I.C.E.

From the N.I.C.E. FAQ:

“Businesses are seeking student interns and future employees that demonstrate broad understandings of culture; diversity; language skills; communication skills; and real-world experience from countries that impact the global economy. Businesses are interested in helping us provide student learning opportunities.”

Global businesses need global-minded students. And N.I.C.E. will make sure they get them!

Don’t mistake my skepticism for xenophobia or cultural backwardness. Cinderella has studied several languages and thinks the world would be a much better place if we were all polyglots and world travelers. But not for the sake of global monopolies. For the sake of each other.

The usual suspects. N.I.C.E. has other interesting affiliations, including Yale and Columbia, but most interesting of all is the NWO-pushing Council on Foreign Relations, we also learn here. Why this should be a matter for concern is obvious to most readers of this blog, but for a good summary, please go here.

While it’s generally acknowledged that CFR is a major force for global governance, including a global monetary system, it’s also apparent to some that, under the Obama administration (loaded with CFR members), CFR favors U.S. imperialistic hegemony that dominates China economically and Russia militarily. So CFR isn’t about promoting China so much as using it. It’s a subtle, dissembling global bully, no doubt with many globalist scenarios that could work to the benefit of its shadowy upper echelon.

The point is, it isn’t American. It perpetuates a British-styled (and likely British-controlled) U.S. aristocracy puppeteered by foreign banks and interests. And God only knows what else.

Get ’em early. Promoting a one-world view is a N.I.C.E. objective, there can be no doubt. What better way to accomplish and direct that than by planting the idea in the minds of the young?

When people like Cinderella object to N.I.C.E. – or express confusion over its objectives – N.I.C.E. is more than happy to disabuse of us of our silly, meddling, paranoid notions. From the N.I.C.E. FAQ:

“When there is opportunity, the NICE team and student ambassadors work to clarify misinformation. It is not that people do not see the value in student education. Those voices you may recognize as not being supportive, may not clearly understand the benefits and projects of the NICE Program or understand how education is changing in the world. We see this as a teachable opportunity for our student ambassadors, aiming to not only inform those voices but to educate them with empathy and understanding, a necessity for global citizenry.”

On the contrary, Cinderella well understands how “education is changing the world”!  And we also understand what the term “global citizenry” really means.

 So why China? Why, indeed. The N.I.C.E. FAQ tells us “it all started with China”:

“It all started with China – The Connecticut State Department of Education is partnered with the Ministry of Education in the Shandong Province. The Connecticut Department of Education and our governor’s office see our country’s relationship with China as a relevant educational experience to the future of our students. Each year, the CTDOE send school district representatives to Shandong to partner with sister schools. This is how Newtown got its start in 2008.”

I didn’t know that Connecticut had “partnered” with China in its educational mission. (And there’s much more in the FAQ about the Conn-China connection than I can get into here.) I shudder to think that this might explain why a likely Chinese source is enthusiastically but falsely promoting a Connecticut school that no longer exists. See this post. And this dubious website.

What does Chinese culture have to offer that no other country on the planet currently offers on such a scale? Well, many, many things that C.S. Lewis wouldn’t have liked and Cinderella doesn’t like either. Such as:

  • Slavishly obedient workers.
  • A political system that demonstrates how exploitative monopoly capitalism and communism can be very compatible bedfellows.
  • Censorship of the Internet and just about every other form of expression.
  • Making religious free expression a crime.
  • State-enforced birth control and family “planning,” including “post-birth abortions.”
  • Experimentation involving human-animal hybrids.
  • A questionable set of business ethics.

And there is much, much more. Yet, Newtown N.I.C.E.-ers are prostrating themselves before all things China as if it were a religious idol:

  • In 2012, we are told, online collaboration with Shanghai was piloted at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
  • Trips were taken to China in 2012 by Newtown’s Superintendent of Schools (Janet Robinson) and First Selectman (Pat Llodra).
  • Sandy Hook Elementary had planned a staff visit to China in 2013 to “formalize their relationship.”
  • See Tony Mead’s article, “Sandy Hook and the New World Order,” here for more on the Newtown-China connection.

 Beyond China. The N.I.C.E. FAQ tells us that N.I.C.E. is reaching beyond China to European nations like France and Spain – nations currently writhing under the Invasion of 2015. I wonder if N.I.C.E. female students who venture to Europe will be told to wear head scarves or lengthen their skirts while out in public.

The N.I.C.E.-an Creed. On the subject of immigration, this idea that we must dissolve “evil” national borders is simply one more piece of the propaganda palaver that’s serving the globalist monopolies and banks, not humanitarian causes and world peace. Europe in recent months is a very good example of what happens when borders become gelatinous and the honored guests behave like denizens out of hell. It becomes a hellhole.

Perhaps N.I.C.E. will provide an introduction to an Islamized western culture before a similar socially engineered phenomenon establishes itself here in the U.S. But I hope not.

NICE Butterfly

The N.I.C.E. butterfly effect. N.I.C.E.’s mascot is a charming aqua butterfly. My understanding is that it symbolizes globalization, open borders and the “butterfly effect.” If a butterfly in China flaps its wings, then eventually it has an effect on the totality, from there to here. And so it has been at Newtown. For instance, Newtown and China experienced a reported massacre of schoolchildren on exactly the same day. The butterfly effect certainly works its magic in sobering ways from Newtown to China, and vice versa.

Getting back to C.S. Lewis. That Lewis and Newtown used the same acronym for their social programming entities may be mere coincidence. But I find it interesting, and leave it to my readers to ponder. Coincidence is God’s way of pointing.  Or as Einstein put it:

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

I think Lewis would agree.



From a dear reader who wishes to remain anonymous come these astute comments (bf is mine):

“It’s an interesting and thought-provoking article.  There is nothing wrong with foreign language and exchange programs, but I agree there is a lot of opportunity for mischief in how they might be run, and I am certainly inclined to be wary of the CFR having its talons in anything, and am sure that national governments and corporate sponsors also have their own agendas for such programs beyond creating good will and producing citizens who will be able to conduct international business and diplomacy.  The linked article on CFR was quite interesting.  They certainly seem interested in some types of “internationalist” agendas, like forming more transnational units like the EU, and consolidating whatever power they can, but very different from those who like the idea of world government on some fuzzy “idealistic” grounds.  I suspect that people in that world are drawn into an internal tug of war between their quasi-national identities (Western corporations and banks against their Asian and other rivals in that sphere) and their shared interests with their plutocratic counterparts in consolidating their control over their respective populations.

“I think Lewis’s core ideas — that human nature is fallen, and in ways that make consolidation of wealth and power a dangerous thing, that the purpose of this life lies not in this life but in preparation for eternal life, that the purpose of government is to do only as much as is needed to provide the conditions for ordinary people to live ordinary lives and enjoy simple human pleasures — would make him deeply suspicious of them, but I’m not aware of him addressing the particular dangers of corporatism in the way he addressed those of paternalistic statism, nor of the possibility of them forming an unholy alliance.  (Though that may be more along the lines of what happened in Fascist countries.)  I tend to think that one of the things government needs to take on, in order to provide the conditions for independence and decent private lives of its citizens, is the undue influence of extreme corporate and private wealth, though not on the Communist model of nationalizing industry and commerce.    The return of a Dickensian world is just as much a threat as an Orwellian or Huxleyan world.  Unfortunately, we are living in a world that is a bit of both, and have to be careful that, in trying to prevent one, we do not fly into the arms of the other.”






When “mum” was the word: July 19, 2012.

Cinderella was going through an old trunkful of Sandy Hook Elementary school memorabilia and came across this scrap. Mr. Halbig’s recent appearance in a hearing room in Connecticut reminded her, so in we went, rummaging until we found it.

It’s all about an email exchange on July 19, 2012  between Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, the former headmistress of Sandy Hook Elementary school, and the school janitor, Kevin Anzellotti. Many of you know about it.

But for the sake of new SH event skeptics, go here to Memory Hole blog for a quick jog.

You’ll find this tete-a-tete:

On the morning of July 19 Hochsprung emails Anzellotti:

“How does this look? [Apparently referring to an attached pdf excluded from the document disclosure.] NOT set in stone! I have to notify teachers after we meet next Thursday, then we can get moving. Of course, they will need to come in and pack… This is going to be really hard!”

That afternoon Anzellotti responds:

“I got it and it is what it is it’sbad [sic] for us but I would not what to [sic] be in your shoes as your telling them but all still have jobs I guess that’s a good thing mums the word [sic]”


We have Mr. Halbig to thank for his diligence in wading through 200+ emails to find this snippet. Unfortunately, the link to the original doc has been broken, but here is what it looked like:

Email with Janitor

I find it helps to review old mail. Cinderella does this after a breakup to discover exactly where things began to fall apart. Of course, in Sandy Hook Elementary School’s case, I think things were beginning to crumble long before this email!

What do you think?

Halbig’s latest hearing pinpoints dash cams and police reports.

Watch the latest Sandy Hook Elementary school FOIA hearing that took place February 18th in Hartford, Connecticut thanks to Wolfgang Halbig.

Between Connecticut state police and Newtown police, Mr. Halbig has been given the royal runaround in his request for signed, sworn narrative police reports – and several police dash cam videos.

Withheld from the people who paid for them. The state police are withholding the sworn, signed police reports, claiming they’re exempt from FOIA because the Newtown police involved were considered “witnesses.” The dash cam videos are likewise being withheld as FOIA-exempt evidence.

But Mr. Halbig’s attorney, Kay Wilson, made the argument that the dash cams are public documents, based on an established ruling.

The hearing officer, an attorney, asked to be briefed on this argument within two weeks. This is very good news.

One big disclosure of the day is that the sworn, signed incident reports by at least three Newtown police officers are in the possession of the state police. Whether they will ever be released – or held forever as exempt – remains to be seen.

Eye strain and aggravation. So far, all Mr. Halbig has received from Newtown and the state police – besides a runaround – have been heavily redacted dash cam videos, two almost fully redacted police reports and, most telling, “interviews” of police (typed and submitted on thumb drives) that he had to wade through hundreds of online pages to find. Even Cinderella’s eyes would have dried up and blown away by now.

Mr. Halbig deserves your help. He isn’t going away. He has stood firm all along, accumulating legal expenses to enforce Freedom of Information Act rights. No one should have to hire a lawyer to ensure that the FOIA is correctly adhered to by government agencies.  To lend him your support, please go here.

For a detailed account of the hearing by SH investigator Tony Mead, go here.


A brief history of missing roofs, windows, systems and time.

In a castle long ago, Cinderella had an old roof that needed new shingles.

She hired a carpenter to install the shingles, but aloft and unobserved, he cut a hole through the roof. It sprang a leak that damaged the ceiling, and soon the walls streamed with water that came through the hole that the carpenter had cut in the roof that needed re-shingling.

The carpenter said, “I’ll fix that roof, but first, looks like you need a new ceiling and brand new walls.”

But while fixing the ceiling, he shattered a window with the ladder he’d brought, and on his way out, he damaged a door and tore out a cornice, which fell on a mirror and cracked it.

And the roof was never re-shingled. (Cinderella has had a car like this, too.) What began with a secret hole ended in bills, legal parries and, ultimately, an abandoned castle.

The never-ending, shape-shifting repair budget. The old Sandy Hook Elementary school was a lot like Cinderella’s castle. Needs were acknowledged; at one time, needs may have been met. But after all the many things that were said and projected and analyzed, nothing much in recent history seems to have been accomplished.

In sum: Too many change orders. Not enough change. Or, at least, not the kind we were expecting.

Good intentions were stated. But in place of actual activity was a kind of talking, planning, analysis and budgeting ritual. Meantime, decades-old roofs, windows, HVAC and phone systems, shelves, wall tile, floors and paving aged and moldered and rotted and sagged and became obsolete.

No wonder, then, that the school appeared as it did in December 2012. Tacky and pocked, with nearly every corridor and hinge in need of serious attention. Non-ADA compliant, out of money and out of time. Click here to see it through the unforgiving eye of a forensic camera.

To a discerning eye, the school looks decades past its prime – likely shuttered well before 12-14-12. Many, including Cinderella, have seen merit in this conjecture.

Empty of schoolchildren, the Sandy Hook Elementary school would have made the perfect setting for a lone shooter FEMA drill. Or a data storage facility. Or something.

But … what?

The building: A remembrance of things past. Some high and low points in Sandy Hook Elementary’s building repair history deserve a careful review. A few of the items below were once substantiated in the Newtown Bee, but recently the Bee has removed or reset (“memory-holed”) the articles. See my article on “memory holes” here. Note that the items for 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2013 were well-documented in the Fellowship of the Minds blog here.

1956: The original Sandy Hook Elementary school was built on Dickinson Drive in Newtown, CT.

1957-1963: Cinderella found much about Elvis and the Beatles, but nothing about Sandy Hook Elementary. That is a project for another day.

1964: An addition was built onto the original school.

1965-1991: Fishing for news about the Sandy Hook Elementary school building during these three decades is a project Cinderella hopes to undertake at some future time. For now, here’s a 1970 article about a new $7000 well that had to be dug for the school due to a silt problem. (Reed Intermediate would have silt problems of its own decades later. History repeats.)

well at sandy hook school, top

1992 or 1993: Yet another Sandy Hook Elementary addition was built. (Cinderella found conflicting information on the year.)

2000: Four portable classrooms were added. In the Sandy Hook Elementary school  2010 handbook, this is the last of three additions mentioned.

2002: Consulting Engineering Services recommended to Newtown schools that Sandy Hook Elementary be “worked on in 2010 over a nine-month period” to upgrade and renovate its heating and ventilation system. Newtown Bee  memory-holed the link to the original article, but here is the quote Cinderella found in her old files:

“Sandy Hook School was also built in three sections — 1956, 1964, and 1993. It is being recommended by CES to be worked on in 2010 over a nine-month period. It is estimated to cost $4.5 million for heating and ventilation and $400,000 for air conditioning. The design of the school, the shape of a square, poses problems for efficient ventilation. It has hot air heat and heat coil in the ductwork, according to Mr Posca. The ventilation system is noisy in the library, which also does not have air conditioning and becomes quite warm. The school’s computer lab is in the library.”

Cinderella could find nothing to indicate this work was ever actually begun or completed.

2003: Newtown was toying with the possibility of “landbanking” acreage in the southeastern portion of town to use for a new elementary school. The reason: Sandy Hook Elementary school had an enrollment level that was 30% higher than the other elementary schools. ( See p. 10 here.) Note what’s in the southeastern part of Newtown: Fairfield Hills. (Also note the funny captioning typo on p. 9 here! Hawley Elementary is captioned as “Sandy Hook Elementary School.”)

There is no mention of the possible $4-5 million investment in Sandy Hook Elementary’s HVAC system, discussed in the previous year. It was apparently supplanted by the “landbanking” idea.

2004: Newtown Board of Education was told “there were serious problems with the Sandy Hook elementary school roof.” (Note that the link to the original report in Newtown Bee has been memory-holed.)

2005-2007: Cinderella looks forward to a time when she can fish and find Sandy Hook building history for these years.

2008:  Newtown Schools Superintendent John Reed made statements about asbestos in various Newtown public schools. Cinderella found his remarks from the now memory-holed  Newtown Bee article in her files:

“The asbestos levels in Newtown schools pose no threat to the health or safety of those using the schools, according to Superintendent John Reed. The areas in the schools where there is evidence of asbestos — the ceiling above the high school pool, areas of the upstairs floor of the Middle School A wing and the girls’ and boys’ locker rooms, are also considered acceptable and safe.”

But despite this breezy analysis, in Sandy Hook Elementary school’s case, the presence of asbestos would be confirmed in 2013, when the decision was made to raze the school due to serious hazmat issues. (See 2013 below.)

2008-2009: Cinderella could find no evidence of Sandy Hook building improvements during 2008 or 2009 where pertinent reports, if any exist, might be expected to appear here or here.

It was during 2008 that Sandy Hook Elementary’s website URL showed signs of inactivity according to the Wayback Machine. It attracted strong Wayback Machine interest from 2001-2007,  then got no Wayback attention  for a long time: four years, from early 2008 through 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. (Go here and look at item 5, then see the Wayback results here.) Then the Wayback Machine started noticing it again in 2013.

2010: Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung began her short term as principal of Sandy Hook Elementary school. She and others produced a handbook for parents and students. The front cover of the handbook features an old sketch of the school, with the address “Dickinson Drive” beneath it. There is no mention in this handbook of the $4.5 million upgrade recommended in 2002. Nor is there any mention of a roof repair. And, of course, the word “asbestos” doesn’t appear. However, see page 16, top, for info on the emergency phone system:

“EMERGENCY PHONE SYSTEM An automated notification system has been designed to alert parents to an emergency (unexpected) school closing. If an emergency situation occurs and Sandy Hook students are to be returned home at a time earlier than usual, the automated system will be implemented and parents / emergency contacts notified.” Interesting.

In June 2010, Newtown Schools allotted a modest expenditure ($25,000) for Sandy Hook Elementary’s building and site improvements in the approved budget. (See page 86, here.) Curiously, the items included HVAC for the computer room ($10,000), but zero for the classrooms, as the chart below shows:

2010 Sandy Hook building cost

Why would the computer room and portables merit more attention than, say, the Sandy Hook Elementary roof? Or the scruffy hallways, rotting wood and water-stained ceilings?

The total Newtown Schools building expenditure for 2010 (all schools) was $242,000. (See page 86, here.)

2011: In May 2011, a budget was passed that allotted Sandy Hook Elementary school a grand total of $0 for building maintenance during the 2011-2012 year. Yes, you read that correctly: Zilch. You can read about it in detail in Cinderella’s article here.

However, the budget also included a 5-year capital plan, during which Sandy Hook Elementary was to receive $369,500 – eventually, in installments, for building improvements. The biggest item? A $100k cafeteria roof. Not a new roof for the whole school, but a “cafetorium roof.” Take a look at the diagram below (upper right, with my added red arrow) to see how very small that roof would have been if the work had ever actually been done (to my knowledge, it wasn’t):

Sandy Hook Floor PLan, 2011

On pages 72-74 of the same document, you can read about the abysmal condition of many of the items slated for repair at Sandy Hook Elementary and other Newtown schools.

2012. In March this  appears, truly one of the oddest documents to emerge in this timeline. Dated March 6, 2012, it’s an ad hoc committee’s recommendation for closing down a school in Newtown, based on 2009 declining enrollment projections by a “Dr. Chung.”

Around and around the committee went, entertaining various “consolidation” and closing scenarios. Closing Sandy Hook Elementary was one option, but it was rejected, along with two other schools that weren’t ADA-compliant. The logic seems to have been that an ADA-compliant school is a better choice for a shutdown – because it could more easily be reopened if enrollments were to go up again.

Head O’Meadow school emerges as the favored school for a shutdown. But in the end, it’s rejected in favor of closing Reed Intermediate. The reason seems to be that closing Reed would reap the biggest cost savings: $3 million per year.

The committee also recommended that the Board begin the process of a shutdown once elementary enrollments drop to 1,500.

And yet. In the same month (March 2012), this little item appears: The Sandy Hook Connection. You can read about it in my post, “One School, One Reed,” here. Cute, whimsical, blithe, it announces that a Sandy Hook event (a sock hop) is to be held at Reed Intermediate. Why?

In August 2012, Sharon Epple, Reed Intermediate’s principal, leaves for greener pastures. Why? Was she convinced that Reed would be closing?

Then, on October 16, 2012: The Board of Education holds a public meeting at 3 Primrose Street. (See it here.) It reminds Cinderella of the famous tea party – in Lewis Carroll’s  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 


(Image above used with permission)

Suddenly a $600,000 expenditure is being discussed to replace the Sandy Hook school’s windows — slated for 2016. (See page 53, here.) Yet, nothing is mentioned about replacing the cafeteria roof, an item earmarked for future funding in the 2011 budget. It’s almost as if the Newtown Board had taken off in a tardis and landed in a different region of the multiverse. Or, like the Mad Hatter, it became stuck in time. Newtime.

(In the 2011-2012 budget nothing was mentioned – at all – about the Sandy Hook windows. Nothing.)

If the vintage 1956 windows are as bad as they say (see p. 53 here), why wait until 2016 to repair them? And why were they never mentioned in the 2011-12 budget? All of a sudden, they are the focus, for $600,000, nearly twice the amount Sandy Hook was to have received over a 5-year period in the 2011-12 budget. Why?

The closing of Head O’ Meadow school and, possibly, Reed Intermediate is also discussed. (See pp 56-57 here.) And this provokes confusion and distress among the poor parents who attended, beginning on page 56. Here are a few of their remarks:

  • If we close a school, where will those funds be used?
  • Will the process be made public?
  • We had a $1.3M surplus, and none came to education.
  • There is no proof it is necessary to close a school. Besides the loss of flexibility of space and large class sizes, we would lose talented staff.
  • All schools should be ADA-compliant.
  • Parents should be involved in the decision.

On December 10, 2012: At a Newtown Board of Finance meeting, the Newtown Schools superintendent Janet Robinson leads a discussion about decreasing enrollment in Newtown’s elementary schools and the possibility of a school closing. (Click here.) But there’s no specific mention of Sandy Hook Elementary school’s physical plant.

Then December 14, 2012 happened, changing everything forever.

2013:  On Oct. 5, 2013, nearly 10 months after the 12-14-12 event, Newtown passed a referendum to demolish and rebuild Sandy Hook Elementary with a $49.25 million grant from the state of Connecticut. The reason for the demolition:  “asbestos abatement.” (Note that the link to the original report in Newtown Bee has been memory-holed.)

Then, on Dec. 2, 2013, Newtown’s Public Building and Site Commission Chairman Robert Mitchell justified the approved demolition with a report, saying that “had the town decided to reoccupy the school on Dickinson Drive, it would have faced a daunting and possibly insurmountable challenge regarding the presence of hazardous materials.” The school was found to be contaminated by asbestos as well as PCBs. (Note that all of the links above to original reports in Newtown Bee have been memory-holed.)


Well after 2008 – when asbestos became an issue in Newtown schools – Sandy Hook Elementary was still being discussed and treated as an active school facility.

It had a school handbook with a calendar, bus regulations and an alleged emergency phone system. Its physical plant was still in the budget – though just barely. In the March 2012 ad hoc committee recommendation, it was considered and rejected for mothballing precisely because it wasn’t ADA-compliant. Because if it ever had to be reopened, it would be harder to upgrade than, say, Head O’Meadow Elementary or Reed Intermediate.

If Sandy Hook Elementary was still a functioning school complex in 2012, then it was operating without a known school website URL. It was operating despite problems with ventilation, roofing, asbestos and PCBs, not to mention severely worn-out finishes. And it was operating in defiance of the ADA. As one Newtown parent put it, “All schools should be ADA-compliant.”

If it was still a functioning school in 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary wasn’t providing a healthy environment for children. Given Newtown’s financial and other difficulties, which Cinderella explored here, perhaps we can understand the ever-shifting budget. The confused and confusing decisions. The refusal to follow through on recommended repairs. The endlessly revolving planning game. What we cannot understand is why small children should be forced to pay the price.

If it was still a functioning school, Sandy Hook Elementary was on the verge of costing Newtown taxpapers quite a lot of cabbage: $600,000 worth of windows, perhaps in addition to the $369,500 approved in 2011 for the 5-year capital plan. (Of course, other schools would be costing even more.) Was Sandy Hook Elementary the actual school selected for shutdown? Because everyone knows it did shut down – on 12-14-12 – while all of the other Newtown schools have remained open.

If, on the other hand, Sandy Hook Elementary was an empty, aging hulk in 2012, where were the 454 children being educated instead? Cinderella has speculated on this subject here and here. She hasn’t yet exhausted all the possibilities.

And one more If. If Sandy Hook wasn’t used for teaching K-4 schoolchildren around the time of the 12-14-12 event, then just what was it being used for? Was it merely a dingy and drafty cave? If so, why spend anything on it at all?

Remember, there was a $0 building improvement budget for the school in 2011-2012.

But not so in 2010-2011. The last known improvements were:

  • Painting and repairing the portables ($10k)
  • Repairing the skyshades ($5k), and
  • Adding HVAC to the computer room ($10k)

Is this significant? If so, what does it tell us?


This post has been written to aid others in their exploration of these questions. Cinderella has her own theories, but cannot prove them at this time. Therefore, she leaves the answers to the patient, probing and capable minds of her readers. ~ C.










Datto: Helping Hillary and Newtown High School, too.

Ginger-haired, cherub-faced Austin McChord had quite a lot of explaining to do back in October 2015.

McChord is the CEO and founder of Datto, Inc., a multi-million-dollar data storage company based in Norwalk, Connecticut,  which has its hardware operations on Pepper Street in Monroe, Connecticut.

Monroe is also where the temporary Sandy Hook Elementary school has been operating, housed in the former Chalk Hill Elementary at 375 Fan Hill Road.

Hillary’s backer-upper. Datto had the dubious honor of helping Hillary Clinton back up her email while she was serving the Obama administration as secretary of state. For that reason, Datto found itself under the rapt eye of the U.S. Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last fall.

Committee chairman Sen. Ron Johnson wanted to know if Datto was authorized to store classified information and whether it had “turned over any information, materials, or equipment to the FBI or any other law enforcement entity.”

Datto cooperated with the investigation. Read about that here.

It’s doubtful that Mr. McChord would be of any interest to Cinderella at all, because she has never been partial either to red-haired nerds or to Hillary. (Cinderella adores nerds, just not red-haired ones.)

However, Mr. McChord made an interesting donation to Newtown High School shortly after the 12-14-12 incident. A week from the day, in fact.

Newtown Public School’s timely benefactor. An alumnus of Newtown High School himself, Mr. McChord signed a check for $50,000 made out to Newtown High School, dated 12-21-12. (Interesting numerical juxtaposition.)

He accompanied his check with an email in which he offered his services to Newtown High School’s tech club as an adviser. He also offered the services of two of his Datto colleagues. He wrote, “…we have access to deep resources,” which could be shared with the high school’s tech club.

You can find the documents here in the Newtown Board of Education’s public record of its meeting dated 1-08-13. The check is on page 8. The email is on page 9. On page 7 is the ostensible acceptance of both the check and the proffered advisory services.

No sympathy. The email, dated 12-21-12 like the check, is reasonably grammatically correct and business-like. Oddly, however, it doesn’t offer condolences of any sort for the 12-14-12 tragic Sandy Hook Elementary incident. Could it be that Mr. McChord simply forgot to insert his sincere sympathy? Could it be that such expressions are simply not part of his repertoire? Or is there some other perfectly reasonable explanation.

You can read more about Mr. McChord and his colleagues at Datto here. And you can read about Mr. McChord’s wild and wacky predilections, such as liquid nitrogen finger-bowls, here!

For a fascinating video that features Datto and other interesting associations, click here.

So what are we to make of all these overlapping geographical, chronological, political and philanthropic facts? Are they mere juxtapositions?

As always, Cinderella leaves these questions to the astute and capable minds of her dear readers.

History: Bad news and big dues for Newtown.

Cinderella decided to take a look at the Newtown Board of Education budget for the 2011-2012 school year. The budget, approved on 5-17-11, was for $67,971,427, with an increase of 1.16%.

Mind-numbing and eye-straining though it was, Cinderella’s search turned up anomalies characteristic of the Sandy Hook saga.

There are strange divergences, with numbers bouncing all over the place so that the two budget documents still available for perusal would almost seem to be for two totally different towns.

What follows is a sampling of line-item weirdness from the 2011-12 school year. It isn’t possible to point out all of the oddities in these documents, so I’ve chosen to focus on only a few.

As always, if a dear reader can offer a better explanation or analysis, please share. Cinderella wholly supports free, open-source information – and isn’t afraid to admit her silly mistakes!

Bad News: “The Superintendent’s Estimate of Expenditures for 2011-2012.” Click hereThis is likely the January 2011 version of the budget that was passed in May 2011, but it isn’t dated, so we don’t know exactly when it was entered into the public record.

The initial ask was for a 5.76% increase. That is breathtaking. But this document doesn’t actually cough up the exact figure. Ultimately, the ask gets scaled back to a 1.16% increase.

So for the purpose of simplicity, let’s just focus on building and maintenance issues and ignore staffing and other matters that came up the same year. (If anyone would like to delve into other issues, please have at it – all hands on deck.)

Bad News lists the following long-term school maintenance costs on page 39:

Bad News - Long-term Maintenance

Sandy Hook is slated for $197,500 of expenditures for maintenance in 2011-12, but only $24,500 (“status quo”) was being spent on Sandy Hook’s maintenance needs presumably at the time of the report.

Note that Hawley can anticipate receiving $98,500 in 2011-12 in this version.

And the system-wide total for 2011-12 long-term maintenance items is: $815,500. (The term “system-wide” here seems to be a sum, not a reference to grounds or shared buildings.)

Bad News just gets badder and less specific. On page 38, it lists a goal of $2.5 million in maintenance and restoration projects for schools over a  five-year period, without itemizing costs.

How did the Superintendent arrive at this number? It must have been a guesstimate.

Big Dues: “Newtown Schools Board of Education Approved Budget for the 2011-2012 School Year.” Click here.  This is the BOE budget that was passed in May 2011.

See page 47 for a very different building maintenance chart from the one in the previous budget proposal. The numbers, in fact, except for Reed, might be for an entirely different school district:Building and Maintenance chart from BOE 2011-2012Sandy Hook Elementary gets naught for 2011-12. Zero, as in $0! (How can you not do any maintenance at all on an elderly school? Unless, of course, it isn’t being used.) The other elementary schools are likewise shunned, except for Hawley, which collects a respectable $31,000. Not as good as Bad News, but something.

However, the “total” for 2011-2012 is only $96,500, delaying or deleting quite a bit of the maintenance pain that Bad News proposed ($815,500) for 2011-12.

But Big Dues also includes a five-year capital plan for all Newtown schools. See page 74 for the total cost for all Newtown schools: $3,237,500. 

That’s a significant jump from the $2.5 million estimate in Bad News.

Over five years, the 2011-12 building & maintenance breakdown for all schools in Newtown is given below. Cinderella has also included the costliest items in most cases, just for the sake of seeing. You never know – some of this info might be helpful down the road.

  • Sandy Hook: $369,500 — biggest item: $100k cafeteria roof
  • Hawley: $426,000 — biggest items: boiler and generator, ea. $150k
  • Middle Gate School: $576,000 — biggest item: $200k boiler
  • Head O’ Meadow: $145,000 — several $20k items, such as gym floor striping
  • Reed Intermediate: $194,500 —biggest item: $75k wall system on stage
  • Middle School: $575,500 —biggest item: $110k front parking lot paving
  • High School: $716,000 —biggest item: $380k parking lot paving
  • Buildings & Grounds (System-wide): $235,000 —biggest item: $150k phone system

Sad buildings. Pages 72-74 of Big Dues also tell us about the sorry state many of Newtown’s schools were in, especially Hawley, Sandy Hook and the Middle School.

Many of the items needing repair are “worn,” “badly worn,” “badly deteriorated,” “damaged/ADA,” “damaged beyond repair,” “inefficient,” “end of warranty,” “poor condition,” while others are health and security/safety issues and even described as  “past life expectancy.”

Sandy Hook’s biggest ticket item is its “cafeterium [sic] roof” – $100,000. There’s no mention of its heating and ventilation system, subjects of BOE discussions in 2002, when a $4.5 million repair was discussed, but, to Cinderella’s knowledge, never completed. (See the Fellowship of the Minds (FOTM) article here. Note that the links have been memory-holed since the article was written on Sept. 9, 2015. )

The same FOTM article points out that in 2004, the Newtown Board of Education was told that Sandy Hook Elementary’s roof had “serious problems.”  And in 2008, problems with asbestos in Newtown public schools were being discussed.

Yet, years later, in Big Dues, the focus has narrowed to Sandy Hook’s cafeteria roof, book shelves, some cabinets and doors, etc. No mention of many other things this photo album reveals in the all-too-familiar drab, faded Sandy Hook colors – hanging wires, a raddled parking lot, water damage, possible leaks, plywood patchwork, dismally worn and neglected finishes.

Consider: this is a public school not far from relatively new (2009) swanky town offices that are across the street from a luxurious sports complex.

Cinderella isn’t a town planner or an accountant or even a journalist. She’s just a house cleaner and ballroom dancer!  She knows that budgeting is often a rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul affair.

But it seems very strange that a public school system in Connecticut’s richest county would keep its elementary school buildings in such frowzy fettle.

And then, just to add insult to injury, it releases budgetary figures that dart and zig-zag from one extreme to another like drunken bees. (And speaking of Bees, keep reading.)

Whoosh! But, of course, the money flow picked up immediately after the 12-14-12 event: Over $19 million through various sources. Click here for an itemized list, which doesn’t count the $50M from the state for the new Sandy Hook school, repeat lottery winnings or subsequent charity windfalls.

Speaking strictly economically, the 12-14-12 Sandy Hook event was one of the best things that ever happened to Newtown taxpayers – and tax collectors.

It sounds crass because it is. And Cinderella can find much stronger words for it.

Let’s put the budget issues aside for a moment and devote some attention to Reed Intermediate school, which has swallowed up quite a portion of the Newtown taxpayers’ dollars (and likely various insurance proceeds) over the years.

Reed: Two recipes for disaster. The most expensive trouble occurred between 2001 and 2008, but other kinds of trouble loomed over Reed well into 2012.

  1. Silt, mold and oil spill soup. The long, legal perils that arrived even before the $22,123,000 Reed Intermediate school opened in January 2003 are worthy of a tabloid. Newtown Bee did its best.  In 2002, the DEP arrived after Haynes Construction, the contractor with the lowest bid, allowed silt to pour into a neighboring waterway. Then, after the school opened, an air handling system failed and flooded an interior area with 1,000 gallons of water, causing a serious mold problem that resulted in itchy rashes. Then a 4,000-gal.  fuel oil leak befouled the neighboring brook and necessitated a $1.2M cleanup. You can read about the legal ramifications and settlement here. No wonder the Reed school, from an aerial perspective, resembles the eye of Horus. In its early days, it seems to have been a sad and sorry money hole.
  2. Denniston stew.  Donna Denniston was Reed’s principal for 6-7 years, from 2003-2009. She had the misfortune of being married to a white-collar criminal, Garrett Denniston, who operated a fraudulent investment scheme from 2005-2012. You can find the entire FBI report on Garrett L. Denniston’s financial shenanigans here. Even the Newtown Bee ran a story on the “Former Newtowner” here,*  (“Former Newtowner Pleads Guilty in Elaborate Fraud Scheme,” 2-22-2013)  in which his name is linked to Donna Denniston. Such associations could not have been good for Mrs. Denniston or for Reed School or, for that matter, Newtown.

*Since Cinderella began writing this post, Newtown Bee saw fit to take their article on the Denniston scandal down. Click on the link anyway, so you can witness the memory hole.

Two cents from the taxpayers. At first, Newtown’s 2011-12 budget didn’t pass the April referendum because only 21.5% of the residents voted, a stunning show of apathy or perhaps something even worse.

In fact, it was the worst voter turnout since 2002 – the same year that the $4.5 million repair to Sandy Hook was being discussed. The same year that the DEP was investigating the silt being dumped into the brook near Reed school by Haynes Construction.

Not to be defeated, two Newtown legislative council members conducted an informal survey to find out why, in 2011, voters were still staying home – and what they thought about the proposed budget.

You can find the taxpayers’ responses here. Some wanted more spent (particularly on schools); others wanted less; still others approved.

Of those who wanted less, it’s clear they were cracking under the weight of Newtown’s taxes during a very bad year for the housing market and the economy in general.  So many interesting comments. Here’s a particularly revealing one:

“Ms Robinson and the Mr. Hart have not solved one real problem but have hired consultants to do their jobs, been found responsible for a FOI violation, and have an accounting system that has been determined to be in violation of state law by our auditor. I have no faith in their plans.”

As said, you can find all of the taxpayers’ responses here.

Let’s imagine. To conclude this dreary ramble, let’s engage in one of Cinderella’s favorite pastimes: A purely hypothetical, possibly silly, ultimately funny, just-for-fun thought experiment. This is an exercise solely in imagination, what we dancers call “improvisation.” Ready? Here we go:

You’re a town with money woes in 2011. You have schools that need refurbishing and you don’t exactly have a sterling track record in your choice of building contractors. You’ve made people on both sides of the taxation issue mad at you. Quite apart from that, your reputation has been sullied by bad people being associated with other choices you have made. A while ago, you bought a big, scary-looking mental hospital from the state of Connecticut with karma-laden buildings that you can’t find buyers for. Except, of course, for local taxpayers, who helped pay for your new offices there. An altruistic entrepreneur built a sports complex there, too, which boosts the tax base, but it isn’t enough. You already have one high-security prison in town and, much as you like the $1 million+ annual offset on taxes, you don’t want another state pen. You have to do something fast or more tax slaves and businesses are going to pull up stakes and move out. Your birth rate is quickly approaching zero per year. So what’ll it be? How will you rally the cooks and salvage the porridge? Let’s see …


“What’s past is prologue.”-Antonio, II. i. 288 from The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Memory holes: Newspaper gives articles the Hook.

Why is the Newtown Bee removing article links related to Sandy Hook citizen investigations?

Cinderella noticed several memory holes yesterday in relation to two issues reported on by bloggers:

  1. The shabby condition of Sandy Hook Elementary, which suggests it was closed as a school long before 12-14-12. The photos of the school remain intact here.
  2. Garrett L. Denniston’s investment fraud activities committed between 2005-2012. Denniston’s wife served as principal of Reed Intermediate school from 2003-2009. The FBI report on Denniston remains intact here.
Three missing links. Go here to witness three memory holes in Fellowship of the Mind’s article, “Sandy Hook hoax: 6 signs that school was closed before massacre.”
The relevant paragraph is below, so you can easily test the three links:

“As examples, in 2002, Consulting Engineering Services recommended to the school district that SHES be “worked on in 2010 over a nine-month period” to upgrade and renovate its heating and ventilation system at a cost of $4.5 million.Two years later, in 2004, the Newtown Board of Education was told “there were serious problems with the Sandy Hook elementary school roof.” Four years later, in 2008, there was yet more bad news: SHES was contaminated with asbestos. (Remember that 2008 date.)”

 All of the links above now connect to a page on weather in 2016 and other unrelated items.

Another disappearance. A link in one of Cinderella’s articles, “Oh, little Starr of Newtown,” has likewise gone missing. It’s the second link in the following paragraph:

“You can find the entire FBI report on Garrett L. Denniston’s financial shenanigans here, which reveals that Denniston ran a fraudulent investment scheme, from 2005-2012. Even the Newtown Bee ran a story on the “Former Newtowner” here, in which his name is linked to Donna Denniston.”

Click on it to witness the 404 Page/Post Not Found message.

Remember “Nineteen-Eighty-Four.” Cinderella recommends George Orwell’s masterpiece to her dear readers. Click here. Last we checked, it’s even available on Amazon, unlike Nobody Died at Sandy Hook.  So in case you don’t know what a memory hole is, or have forgotten, you can read the entire novel and find out.

To summarize, a memory hole is a little chute leading to a big incinerator used to censor information by the fictional Ministry of Truth’s hirelings.

You should also check out Memory Hole Blog, an excellent resource for Sandy Hook Researchers, complete with a timeline.

Happy reading.