News Briefs: Special permit for development sought, Marpe issues statement on Fla. school shooting

Special permit for development sought

WESTPORT — When one Planning and Zoning Commission saga ends, another opens. On Feb. 8, Mel Barr spoke before the commission on behalf of the owners of 793 Post Road East, DMC Westport LLC, who requested the P&Z grant them a special permit and site plan approval for a mixed-use development with retail, office and residential uses on the 2.4-acre property.

The commission recommended the developers review the project’s designs with the town’s Architectural Review Board before returning to again present the project before the commission in March.

Rwandan refugees

to speak at museum

FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Museum, 370 Beach Road, will host a “Museum After Dark” event on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. Daniel Trust (Ndamwizeye) and Evelyn Mukasonga, siblings and refugees from Rwanda, will share their experiences amid the brutal massacre of the Tutsi people in the 1990s and reflect on establishing new roots in Connecticut. Fairfield University professor Jocelyn Boryczka will moderate the conversation. Trust is an international speaker, social entrepreneur and youth advocate.

Mukasonga manages African Family Synergy in Bridgeport. Free. For information, go to Fairfieldhistory.org.

Marpe issues statement on Fla. school shooting

WESTPORT — First Selectman Jim Marpe issued a statement Thursday in response to the shooting in Parkland, Fla.

“On behalf of all Westport, CT residents, I would like to offer my heartfelt prayers and condolences to the residents of Parkland, FL. Today’s senseless mass shooting at the Stoneman Douglas High School has devastated dozens of families. It has also vaporized the dreams, hopes, and futures of so many promising teenagers who were lost today. All Westporters are terribly saddened and heartbroken over today’s tragic events,” Marpe wrote.

The teen gunman accused of opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle at his former high school in Parkland has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, officials said Thursday.

Authorities said the suspect, identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, concealed himself in the crowd fleeing Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School following the massacre on Wednesday afternoon. He was arrested in nearby Coral Springs.

Fourteen others were wounded, five with life-threatening injuries, hospital officials said.

“Unfortunately, gun violence such as this can happen anywhere, as the 2012 Sandy Hook school tragedy constantly reminds us. Parkland, FL has a population size similar to Westport, and was recently named one of Florida’s safest cities,” Marpe said. “In Westport, our police department continues to take proactive measures, in coordination with the Westport Public Schools, to protect the safety and security of our students and staff. Our police officers and school staff regularly receive training to prepare for, and respond to, similar crises. But that is not enough. Congress must pass legislation that protects our youth and all citizens with reasonable and common sense gun regulations consistent with Second Amendment rights. There is absolutely no excuse for our national leaders to ignore this problem again.”