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Thursday, November 6, 2008

11/06/08 Notice How The Greenwich Time Stories Are Becomming Hyper Regional: Is It The Election Or A Coming Fairfield County Newspaper Consolidation?

Anthony Mullin, Connecticut Teacher of the Year, celebrates with his Arch Street students at Greenwich Library Thursday.

(Bob Luckey Jr./Staff photo)

GREENWICH - It couldn't have happened to a better guy than "Tony." That's what dozens of ARCH School students were saying about their teacher, Anthony Mullen, a former New York City police officer who was named Connecticut's 2009 Teacher of the Year during a ceremony Thursday at the town's central library.

Mullen, who has worked for seven years at the town's alternative high school for special-needs students, is the first educator in Greenwich to receive the honor since the state began naming its top teachers in 1952.

"He's just a character - funny, caring, intelligent," said ARCH student Tyler Gordon, 18. "He's probably one of the best guys I've met, because he likes to connect with everybody in the class."

Gordon was among nearly two dozen ARCH students who erupted in applause and cheers of "Yeah, Tony!" at the Cole Auditorium, as State Education Commissioner Mark McQuillan bestowed the honor on Mullen.

CHICAGO - Barack Obama planned his first public appearance since his presidential victory for Friday - a meeting with economic advisers to discuss the nation's financial woes that Americans listed as their top concern on Election Day.

Obama plans to talk to the news media Friday afternoon following the meeting, aides said. He and his wife, Michelle, will visit the White House on Monday at President Bush's invitation, aides said.

Obama's schedule Thursday includes meetings with top U.S. intelligence officials preparing him to be commander in chief and transition team leaders tasked with building his entire administration in 10 short weeks.

Obama advisers said he was selecting the leaders of the new government with a sense of care over speed, with no plans to announce Cabinet positions this week.

The president-elect asked Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel to be White House chief of staff, but Emanuel said he was weighing the demands of the job on his family. No announcement on the chief of staff position was expected Thursday, said an Obama adviser.

Himes basks in the afterglow of victory

It's good to be Jim Himes. Barack Obama stumps for you in a radio ad. You knock off Christopher Shays, the 21-year Republican U. S. House incumbent, in convincing fashion.
And now you get to go apartment-hunting in Washington, D.C.

"If Barack lets me use the basement, that'll be great. But I'm probably going to need an apartment," Himes said in light moment Wednesday in his Valley Road home in Cos Cob.
For Himes, 42, a married father of two who previously had never run for office outside of the tax board in his hometown, the enormity of his victory over New England's last Republican House member slowly began to sink in Wednesday.

"It's enormously exciting to be part of public life right here and right now," Himes said while he sat next to his wife, Mary, on the couch in their den overlooking Mianus Pond while their two daughters, Linley, 6, and Emma, 9, played nearby.

WASHINGTON - President Bush said Thursday he'll talk key issues with President-elect Barack Obama next week as his administration works for a seamless transition of authority to his Democratic successor.

"This peaceful transfer of power is one of the hallmarks of a true democracy," Bush told hundreds of Executive Mansion and White House employees who gathered on the South Lawn of the White House on a gray morning less than 48 hours after Obama claimed the presidency.

Said Bush: "Ensuring this transition is as smooth as possible is a priority for the rest of my presidency."

High marks for town students on AP exams

The town's public high school made one of its strongest showings ever on Advanced Placement exams this year, with the highest number of students ever earning scholarly distinctions for their scores.

The more than 2,700-student Greenwich High School had 210 students who earned the College Board's designation of AP Scholar, given to test-takers who earn a score of 3 or more on a 5-point scale on three or more AP exams throughout their high school careers.

That tally marks an increase from the 208 students who received the designation in 2007 and the 170 students who received it in 2006, according to figures provided by GHS Headmaster Al Capasso.....

....."What makes this unique is that it's not a good score on one individual test, but a cumulative recognition of superior performance" over many years, said GHS Headmaster Al Capasso.....


Two Additional Students Getting AP Scholar Recognition "Is One Of (Greenwich High Schools) Strongest Showings Ever on Advanced Placement Exams". Perhaps Cub Reporter Colin "The BOE Has Once Again Made Me Look Like An Ass" Gustafson Should Go Back And Look At Test Results Before Failed Greenwich High School Headmaster Alan Cappaso Took Over.
Once Again This Is An Example Of Greenwich High School Headmaster Alan Capasso Cherry Picking Statistics And Manipulating Numbers In Order To Misrepresent The True Decline That Is Happening At Greenwich High School.
Yes, It Is True That Two Additional Students scored at least 3 on a 5-point scale on three of the AP exams that are taken repeatedly during their stay at GHS.
What Good Ole Al Capasso Fails To Tell Greenwich Taxpayers Is That The Greenwich High School Total Population And Thus His Entire Statistical Sample Also Increased At Rate That Was Exponentially More Than Two.
According To The College Board, Roughly 18 Percent Of The More Than 1.6 Million High School Students At More Than 16,000 Secondary Schools Worldwide Who Took The Most Recent Exams In May Scored Well Enough To Merit Recognition As An AP Scholar.
At Greenwich High School About 7 Percents Of The Entire Student Body Of 2,700 Greenwich High School Scored Well Enough To Reach The AP Scholar Level.

The Percentages Are Even Lower For The AP Scholar with Distinction Award And The National AP Scholar Award.
This Clearly Demonstrates The Old Saying That

"Figures Lie And Liars Figure"

Many Of These High School Kids Are Having Trouble Reading As The State Of Conneticut Is Citing The High School For Not Making Adequate Progress.
Greenwich Time Cub Reporter Colin "The BOE Has Once Again Made Me Look Like An Ass" Gustafson Should Independently Compare Apples To Apples When Given A Press Release With A Prefabricated Quote From Failed GHS Headmaster Al Capasso.
Cub Reporter Colin "The BOE Has Once Again Made Me Look Like An Ass" Gustafson Still Fails To Provide Background Information To His Stories Or To Interview The Numerous Parents, Taxpayers, Teachers And School Critics That Strongly Disagree The Failed Administration At Greenwich High School.

The Facts Are The Facts

Greenwich High School Has Greatly Declined Under The Failed Leadership Of Al Capasso And The Unaccountable Board Of Education Has Rewarded Capasso's Failure Every Single Year With A Hefty Pay Increase.

Senate future on the line: Lieberman meets with Reid today

When U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman won re-election in 2006 as a third-party candidate, he was at first welcomed back to the Senate by a slim Democratic majority that needed his vote.

Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called Lieberman to congratulate him on his victory over party nominee Ned Lamont.

Reid also offered Lieberman, who beat Lamont as a self-described "independent Democrat," chairmanship of the Government Services and Homeland Security Committee.

But the tone will be different this week, when Lieberman, who was born and raised in Stamford, meets Reid to discuss his political future. Reid may not be welcoming after Lieberman broke party ranks and supported Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

A Reid spokesman said the private discussion may occur today.....

....Lieberman's office later in the day sent out an e-mail announcing that his Homeland Security Committee secured more than $25 million in grants for Connecticut in fiscal year 2009.

Lieberman's rabbi, Daniel Cohen of Stamford, said he does not want to see his friend punished by Democrats. Lieberman's role as an independent is "extremely valuable," Cohen said.

"He always seems to be in the middle of things," Cohen said. "God likes him to be engaged."
But Bishop Theodore Brooks, a longtime Lieberman supporter from New Haven, said he fears repercussions.

"He has an awful lot to give. But the windows and doors are closing to the ability to do that," Brooks said. "In his heart of hearts he is a good man. Whatever loyalty was there to push him over the edge for McCain, I don't know if it was worth it."

Unaffiliated voters turn the tide in Greenwich
Unaffiliated voters, a group often overshadowed by the two political machines in town, are being credited for helping to deliver a victory for Barack Obama in Greenwich - the first by a Democratic presidential candidate locally since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

Obama carried 18 of the 21 voting districts overall in Greenwich, the boyhood home of former President George H.W. Bush and a GOP bastion for generations.

The Illinois senator captured 16,233 votes to 13,937 for Republican John McCain, losing only two districts in the backcountry and tying in a small section of District 2/Harbor.
That's more votes for Obama in Greenwich than President George W. Bush received in 2000 and 2004.

Going into Tuesday's historic election, unaffiliated voters totaled 12,672 and accounted for about 36 percent of the overall electorate in town, which included 9,081 registered Democrats and 13,604 Republicans.

"I think it's pretty unmistakable that unaffiliated voters are breaking more and more to Democrats in Greenwich every year," said Frank Farricker, a Democratic Town Committee member.....

....Riverside, for example, a GOP stronghold and the neighborhood where Raben lives, went to Obama.....

...."I think Chris would have been successful (Tuesday) night if it hadn't been for Barack Obama," said Edward Dadakis, a Republican Town Committee member.

Shays' loss to Himes Tuesday is viewed by many political observers as the death of the Rockefeller Republicans, the group of GOP moderates named after the former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller known for being fiscally conservative and more liberal on social issues.

"The problem is we have really gotten rid of most of the moderates on the Republican side," Dadakis said. "I think a conservative approach to financial matters and national security are our strong suits, and I think we always need to be a big umbrella on social issues."

David Roberson, the Democratic Town Committee chairman, said the town's GOP has some soul-searching to do after Tuesday's election.

"If I were Greenwich Republicans, I would be looking at a divorce from the national party," Roberson said

Potential Obama appointments draw keen speculation

WASHINGTON - While President-elect Barack Obama enjoyed a few days with his family after a hard-fought election, speculation swirled in the nation's capital around potential administration appointees.

Obama pivoted quickly to begin filling out his team on Wednesday, selecting hard-charging Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff while aides stepped up the pace of transition work that had been cloaked in pre-election secrecy.
Several Democrats confirmed that Emanuel had been offered the job. While it was not clear he had accepted, a rejection would amount to an unlikely public snub of the president-elect within hours of an Electoral College landslide.

Obama has promised to hold a news conference later in the week.

Selectmen approves tax plan for seniors

Delivering on a promise made during his first selectman campaign, Peter Tesei and his fellow selectmen unanimously approved an expanded senior property tax credit program Wednesday, raising both the maximum income level to qualify and the maximum credit.

For the first time, disabled residents under 65 are also eligible for relief.
"We've actually changed the title," said Selectman Lin Lavery Wednesday. "It's going to be called Seniors and Citizens with Disabilities Tax Relief."

Introduced in 2000, the senior tax credit program currently awards up to $1,700 in property tax credits to seniors making $39,000 or less annually. The new program raises the maximum credit to $1,900 and the maximum annual income eligibility to $60,000. The changes would go into effect July 1, 2010, if approved by the Board of Estimate and Taxation and Representative Town Meeting.

Selectmen also capped what the town will award in credits at $1 million.

"I don't want to be in the position of setting false expectations, particularly in these economic times when we have a finite number of resources," Tesei said Wednesday, "but we've taken the first step toward fulfilling the commitment to enhance the program that I ran on."

The town's current cap for the program is 1 percent of total annual property tax levied - $2.5 million last year. Because of the program's narrow eligibility qualifications, however, the town only awarded $588,000 in credits that year.

Can Palin resurrect the GOP? Does she want to?

WASILLA, Alaska - Is Sarah Palin the answer for defeated Republicans?
After a historic rebuke at the polls, the Republican Party is staggering into an uncertain tomorrow with the White House and Congress in Democratic hands, no certain leader in sight and its membership divided over what it means to be a Republican.

Ever since her selection as John McCain's running mate in late August, Palin, the 44-year-old Alaska governor, was the star of the GOP ticket, though views of her vary wildly across the political spectrum. With the Republican brand corroded and the hunt on for the next Ronald Reagan, Palin could be one of many people competing to influence Republican ideas in the post-Bush era, maybe even as the party's leader.

Greenwich man found guilty in shoplifting case

STAMFORD - In state Superior Court on Wednesday, a jury convicted a Greenwich man of shoplifting from two downtown stores two years ago, and he pleaded guilty to being a persistent larceny offender.

On Aug. 23, 2006, Stephenson took clothing from a Macy's in the Stamford Town Center Mall, then got into a scuffle with security guards who confronted him on Broad Street, Deputy Assistant State's Attorney David Applegate has said.

Police also found glasses frames worth nearly $600 from a LensCrafters store in a shopping bag Stephenson carried, Applegate has said.

The persistent larceny offender charge adds up to five years to his possible sentence. Third-degree robbery is a Class D felony with a maximum prison sentence of five years. The larceny charges are misdemeanors punishable by up to six months in prison.

Stephenson was convicted of fifth-degree larceny in 2004 and sixth-degree larceny in 2003.
He represented himself during a jury trial on the earlier charge. He was sentenced to serve 45 days of a 90-day sentence, 200 hours of community service and undergo a psychological evaluation for kleptomania.

Changing times: The first 24 hours of the Obama Era

After a history-making Election Day, the impact of Barack Obama's victory started to sink in for voters. The following is a timeline of events in Stamford, beginning with community organizers on Tuesday wrapping up their campaign to get out the vote on the West Side and ending Wednesday evening at a service at Union Baptist Church on Newfield Avenue.


8 p.m. It's approaching cleanup time for Democratic organizers at the Shining Star Lodge on Mission Street. For the past two decades, the dimly lit room that sits above the smoky bar of the Elks Club has served as a hotbed of grassroots organizing on the West Side.
Tuesday saw veteran organizers anxiously thumbing through results throughout the day from local polling districts.....

....9 p.m. Downstairs, about 25 people trickled into the Elks Club lounge to watch the results on a large-screen television. The mood was quiet among the predominantly older working-class crowd. On a table were several unopened plastic boxes of doughnuts and cookies, the only hint of a possible celebration to come.

William Wheeler, arriving straight from work, burst into the room with news he heard on the radio: Obama had won Pennsylvania. "Now we need to get Virginia," he said, grabbing a beer. "But Pennsylvania was a key state." Wheeler, 43, slumped in his chair. It was still too early to tell, he said. "We've had surprises in the past."

10 p.m. Downtown on Bedford Street, the place to be was Egane & Clive's, a trendy new Asian restaurant. About 70 people arrived for what they hoped would be an official Obama victory party. As many of them sipped wine and nibbled on sushi, they kept an eye on one of the two flat screen televisions as well as a giant projection screen.

Cafero blames national tide for state GOP losses

Brian Lockhart
Staff Writer
Article Launched: 11/06/2008 02:58:35 AM EST

When state Rep. Lawrence Cafero was chosen in 2006 to lead the GOP in the House of Representatives, he sought to improve the party's image so more "fiscally conservative, socially liberal, common-sense" Republicans would make gains in the General Assembly.

But Cafero, R-Norwalk, saw Democrats expand their majority Tuesday night. House Republicans' "Fightin' 44" fell to 37, and the Senate's GOP minority shrank from 13 to 12.

Though Cafero, first elected in 1993, had a solid victory, he was unable to convince Norwalk residents to back other GOP legislative candidates - newcomers Steve Papadakos, Ellen Wink and Susan Bruschi.

But Cafero he anticipates he will be renamed minority leader today.
"I've gotten the commitment of everybody that I will be (named)," he said.

Stocks plunge anew as recession worries resurface

NEW YORK - A case of postelection nerves sent Wall Street plunging Wednesday as investors absorbing a stream of bad economic news wondered how a Barack Obama presidency will help the country weather a possibly severe recession.

Emanuel accepts job as White House chief


WASHINGTON - Democratic officials say Barack Obama's fellow Chicagoan Rahm Emanuel has agreed to be White House chief of staff.

Cards advance in Class L field hockey tournament

A heartbreaking one-goal loss to rival Wilton in last week's FCIAC semifinals didn't cause the Greenwich High School field hockey team to lose its motivation.

Local firm gets animated with sponges

Greenwich resident Michael Metter wants to give a new purpose to SpongeBob SquarePants and other kid-friendly Nickelodeon characters.

Greenwich Time Editorial: Don't waste this moment in history

Seven years ago, the first major historical event of the new century shattered American life as we knew it.

But in the aftermath, an angrily divided nation had a rare opportunity to put its differences behind it and come together as one. We squandered that chance, and the politics of divide and conquer that had already taken root only grew.

Now, another great historical event has occurred. The nation is even more bitterly divided than it was in 2001. But we have another chance to put those divisions behind us.

Four days ago, we endorsed Barack Obama's opponent, John McCain, to be our next president. But in the endorsement we also said that, should he win, Mr. Obama would stand as a beacon to that which is best in all of us.

It's time for all Americans to let what Abraham Lincoln called the better angels of our nature reach out to that beacon and overcome petty differences, once and for all.

When Mr. Obama earned the Democratic nomination back in June, we noted the historical circle forming between Washington D.C. and Springfield, Ill. - that the man who ended slavery and the one who could be the first black president started their road to the nation's capital in the same place. That circle has now closed.

Lincoln, in 1861 had no illusions as to what awaited him: "É a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington."

Barack Obama in 2008 has no illusions about the enormity of the job before him either. We are mired in war. Our moral standing.

Active winter at The Griff

While some of you are vacationing in the sun this winter, stretched out on the warm sands of one of Florida's many scenic beaches or lining up a putt on one of its postage stamp-sized greens, things will be hopping at the town-owned Griffith E Harris Golf Course on King Street.

No, it's not any golf activity at "The Griff," which will be a frozen tundra very shortly, but the start up of a major construction project at the 43-year-old municipal golf course. Bids will be opened on Nov. 20 to select a contractor to handle the demolition of the current administration building and pro shop and the construction of a $1.56 million structure to be called "The Griffith E. Harris Golf Center."

Before any taxpayers get all upset about the cost of golf course improvements at this time, what with the economic disaster we are all facing these days, this expenditure will not be on the shoulders of tax-paying property owners. The Griff golfers pay for all golfing privileges at the course as golf fees and tournament rates cover the cost of the operations and maintenance, thanks to the institution of the revolving fund established years ago at the club.

About $110,000 of the necessary funds for the new structure came from private donations, and the remainder will be provided by an interest-free loan from the town. The Griff will pay back the loan at the rate of $150,000 each year for the next 10 years, as has been done for other capital expenditures at the course.

I had an opportunity.....

Making election day history of my own

I voted Tuesday. What is so special about that? I am a 42-year-old white woman who has voted for the first time.

I was born in Nicosia, Cyprus and lived there and in Jerusalem, Israel, for the first 13 years of my life. While living in those two countries I experienced war, bombings, civil unrest, and shooting so loud that it just became mainstream in our lives.

I hid under beds, with blackened windows on the "green line," listening to tanks roll past the front door as the fighter planes flew over our house.

My father worked in the peace-keeping force for the United Nations. He and my mother were born, lived and educated in Ireland, so I grew up with an Irish passport and as an Irish citizen by default.

My father was transferred to the United States, and we settled in Greenwich when I was 13. He and my mother wanted to raise their family in a safe country where their children could grow up and be educated without fear of our house or school being bombed or our lives being disrupted by fear of war and politics.

We became legal aliens. That meant that we could work, pay taxes and receive a Social Security card. The two things we were unable to do were be called for jury duty and vote.

I graduated from college, and began working at The Advocate, where I met and married my husband, and had two children. My father continued to work in war-torn countries: Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Mozambique, as I lived my quiet life in Stamford raising my children.

Question was appropriate

To the editor:

My husband and I are both white registered voters who cast our ballots at New Lebanon School.

The answer was no. For voting purposes we were District 4A. The question was asked to direct us the correct scanner. The poll workers did a great job. There was a large turnout and there was a problem with one of the scanners. Everyone remained polite and helpful and did their best to make sure all voters were accommodated in a timely manner.

Susan McCabe

More Letters To The Greenwich Time Editor:

Not slighted
Bad judgment in printing letter

Please send your comments, community events, news tips, press releases, photos and videos to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

11/06/08 Reader Comments And Disgust Aimed At The Greenwich YMCA Administration.

Rebecca Fretty Is Making Sure That

There Will Be No Wheelchair Basketball Games At

The Greenwich YMCA

To Rebecca Fretty,

apparently "headless and brain dead"

Head of the Greenwich YMCA

Ms Fretty:

Obviously you don't belong running any town facility if you ignore the LAWS REGARDING HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBILITY. Not only are you violating a mandated code, you can/will be sued.

There is no loophole to crawl through on this one. This was set in stone a long time ago....and YOU ARE THE REASON, Ms. Fretty. People tend to forget about those with disabilities. That is until they personally become disabled. So, every building must abide by the regulations..ALL BUILDINGS..the tall, short, the ones with and without windows....those with steeples, and those with people. Even those building which hold criminals. Yes. Its true.

You can put in a temporary ramp or go to court and lose your occupancy certification. That means, Ms. Fretty, no one will be able to use the YMCA. Not even you or equally clueless board. Zippo. No one will be allowed use the Greenwich YMCA.

Additionally, maybe I should clue you into what the YMCA stands for. Do you know? The operative word is CHRISTIAN. You obviously missed the class on the behavior of Christians. Yours is selfish and rude.

Do you consider your "little" idea about sending wheelchair bound people over to Rye and Darien the SOLUTION? Are you going to personally drive these people? Or maybe give them a gentle little push down a hill and aim them in that direction? What the hell is wrong with you? How are they supposed to get there?

Are you so completely clueless, that you think the Town of Greenwich will not act on the behalf of their residents? Think again. You are violating building and zoning codes as well.

One removable ramp. A few cones to add handicapped car parking. It is really a very simple solution. And you really have no choice.....except, perhaps, you might start looking for a new job !!!!!!!!!!!!

Just ME.


Dear Just Me,

I Could Not Have Summed Up The Situation At The YMCA Better Than You Just Did.

You Are 100% Right.

Rebecca Fretty And The YMCA Board Of Directors Are Completely Clueless.

It Is Quite Possible That The Residents Of This Town Will Not Be So Generous To The Greenwich YMCA Next Time They Have Their Hand Sticking Out For Donations.

I Think There Are Quite A Few Residents With Handicapped Stickers In Their Car Windows Who Donated To The YMCA's Capital Campaign Just Because The New Building Would Be Accessible By The Town's Crippled Citizens.

Why Is It That All Of The Other YMCA's In The Area Have Provided Access And Programs For The Handicapped, While The Greenwich YMCA Has Turned A Blind Eye To The Infirm.

Maybe, The YMCA Can Be So Insensitive, Because The Town Building Department Has Failed To Properly Do It's Job At The Putnam Avenue Building. The Building Department's Temporary Certificate Of Occupancy Should Have Had A Date Certain Completion Time For Handicap Access.

Long Ago The Greenwich YWCA Provided Handicap Access. So Why Can't The YMCA Do The Same.

The Wheel Chair Bound Of Greenwich Have Access To The Building Department In Town Hall , But They Don't Have Access To The Taxpayer Assisted Greenwich YMCA.

Shame On Rebecca Fretty And The Greenwich YMCA.

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