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Friday, November 28, 2008

11/28/08 Greenwich Citizen News Links

TOP STORY: Tesei's Second Year Fraught With Fiscal Challenges

On Dec. 1, First Selectman Peter Tesei, 39, will head into the second year of a two-year first term - and it is fraught with fiscal challenges unlike any ever faced in Greenwich government.

Due to the Wall Street fiscal meltdown and chaotic fiscal markets around the world, Tesei, in concert with the RTM and the BET, must steer the Good Ship Greenwich in treacherous and uncharted budgetary seas.

The freshman first selectman, with 18 years as a banker under his belt, acknowledged the dangerous fiscal uncertainties during an interview in his Town Hall office. It focused on challenges ahead and accomplishments during his first year.

Here in question and answer format are highlights of the interview. Questions are in bold face (newspaper lingo for a typeface darker than regular print).

Q. As Greenwich faces into a multi-million dollar hole in its budget in the fiscal year ending June 30, what do you propose as sources of new revenue to patch the hole resulting from the Wall Street meltdown?

A. We have established a committee comprised of Parks and Rec Director Joe Siciliano, Fire Chief Peter Siecienski, Police Chief Dave Ridberg, Town Planner Diane Fox and Town Administrator John Crary to explore areas in which savings may be realized. One item is to use current Town employees for services provided by outside vendors.

Q. Given your experience on the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) and the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), what are the chances the mending of the current budget can be achieved?

A. We can live within the parameters of the current budget if we are willing to find savings in the current through not filling vacant positions, limiting the expenditure of non-salary accounts for the remainder of the fiscal year, limiting the use of overtime and monitoring the usage of part-time and seasonal employees......

Full Story: Greenwich Citizen

Art Imitates Greenwich Real Estate

... Riverside Brownie Troop 501 and other community groups contributed luxury gingerbread homes and familiar Greenwich landmarks to the Junior League's Enchanted Forest on Nov. 22-3. "Riverside Elementary," donated by Brownie Troop 501, won a blue ...

'Enchanted Forest' Delights Local Children

Greenwich resident Sofia Senecal, 3 1/2, watches as a toy train passes through the ginger bread village on display The Junior League of Greenwich offered children a walk in its Enchanted Forest .....

Enchanted Forest Photo College

... for a demo wreath during the wreath-making workshop. (Amy Mortensen/ staff photographer) Marina Zelenz, 5, of Greenwich, enjoys fresh popped popcorn while viewing the "Off to Oz" tree on display. "Off to Oz" was donated by Dorothy Carroll and Tom ...

Plea Hearing Pushed Back in Bicyclist Fatality

... back with autopsy reports, speed calculations and photographic evidence of the tragic accident, requested by his Greenwich defense lawyer, James Pastore. Stamford Superior Court Judge Barbara Brazzel-Massaro acquiesced to State Attorney David ...

Board of Ed Gets Boost on Mullen Day

... Tesei read before the regular board meeting held at Central Middle School, "Anthony J. Mullen came to the Greenwich Public Schools in 2002, a retired NYPD captain, homicide detective eager to teach (underachieving) students. Whereas, The Connecticut ...

A Tale of Two Pastors Scaling the Color Barrier

... to Mahalia," hosted by a full-to-the-brim First Presbyterian Church last Saturday. There's a new spirit of coming together of two traditionally black and white communities in the Town of Greenwich, at a ...

For GHS, Mirachi Made a Difference

Italian exchange student Cristiano Mirachi, a member of the Italian Youth National water polo team, led Greenwich High in goals this season.

Season to Smile About

The turning point came early in familiar waters. Playing at home in the Cardinal Tournament, Greenwich High's water polo team squared off with rival Navy Aquatic Club in the championship game.

GWP Boys, Girls Prove Mettle at Speedo Cup

... Fraser won the Jody Campbell Award for his play and sportsmanship at the Speedo Cup. The Greenwich Water Polo middle school teams experienced a mixture of wins and losses at the annual Speedo Cup Tournament held recently in Ann ...

All That Glitters is All in the Family

... jewelers on the Avenue, Jewels by Viggi promises something different. The upscale jewelry boutique located at 40 Greenwich Avenue opened its doors to the public on Nov. 18 in time for the holiday shopping season. The third generation jewelry ...


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11/28/08 Greenwich Time News Links For Friday

Greenwich High School s Camryn Ferrara let s everyone know who s No. 1 following the Cardinals 27-0 season-ending win over Staples Thursday.

(Keelin Daly/Greenwich Time photo)

Big Red Pride: Greenwich routs Staples to end on high note

Thanksgiving morning seemed surreal this season.

Sure it was Greenwich vs. Staples, only this time there were no TV cameras, there was no league title on the line and - gasp - there were even no state playoff spots at stake.

Instead, it was simply the final football game of the season for these proud, perennial powers, neither of them willing to have it all end without one last fight.

And while both teams walked out of Cardinal Stadium with their heads held high, it was Greenwich which once again left with their arms raised in the air.

Greenwich, which routed the Wreckers in the most lopsided FCIAC Championship of all time last year, notched its second straight shutout against their rivals from Westport with a 27-0 victory before an estimated crowd of 2,500 Thursday morning.

The Cards, who saw their two-year reign as FCIAC and CIAC Class LL champions come to an end this year, treated the regular-season finale like a postseason showcase.
It was their day to shine, and celebrate.

"When I woke up this morning I knew we were going to win," Greenwich senior co-captain Jeff DeVico said. "I kept telling these guys it was our last chance to play together, so let's make the most of it. That's what we did." ......

Library holds lecture on Mozart symphony

The Toscanini Lecture Series continues with Mortimer Frank discussing Mozart Symphony in G-minor, K. 550 at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Greenwich Library meeting room, 101 West Putnam Ave.

A video of a telecast Toscanini performance of the entire score will be featured. The lecture is free.

For more information, call David Waring at 622-7917.


Volunteers invited to join Audubon count

Audubon Greenwich, 613 Riversville Road, is organizing its annual Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 14.

Participants in the free event can join a field counting team or, if they live within a 15-mile radius of the Audubon, can conduct a backyard bird count.

To join a team or get a home-based reporting form, call Brian O'Toole at 869-5272, ext. 221.

For more information, visit http://www.audubon.org/


Center for HOPE offers luminary kits

Luminary kits for the Center for HOPE's annual "Hope Lights Lives" fundraiser are now on sale.
The kits are $25 and benefit the Center for HOPE and The Den for Grieving Kids - Family Centers programs offering bereavement and critical illness support. Each kit contains 12 tea light candles, 12 white paper bags and 12 plastic candle holders.

Kits can be purchased online at www.familycenters.org and at the following retail locations: McArdle's Florist, 48 Arch St., Greenwich; The Gardener's Center and Florist, 1396 Post Road, Darien; Nielsen's Florist and Garden Shop, 1405 Post Road, Darien; Michael Joseph's Catering, 188 Heights Road, Darien; Aux Delices Foods, 25 Old King's Highway North, Darien; Goldenberry, 110 Post Road, Darien; Palmer's Market, 246 Heights Road, Darien; Elm Street Books, 35 Elm St., New Canaan; M Milestones, 120 Main St., New Canaan; Walter Stewart's Market, 229 Elm St., New Canaan; Rowayton Market; Weston Hardware Housewares; Weston's Peter's Market and the Village Market in Wilton.

Neighborhoods in Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Wilton and Weston will light the luminaries to celebrate the holiday season and provide support and hope to people living with an illness or grieving the loss of a loved one at 5 p.m. Dec. 14. Rain date is Dec. 21.
For more information, visit www.familycenters.org or call Gloria Veeder at 869-4848.


JFS hosts singles event for over-50s

Jewish Family Services' support and social network, Not Alone, will host "A Taste of Chanukah" from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Delamar Greenwich Harbor, 500 Steamboat Road.

The event is aimed at mature Jewish singles over 50 years old, but is open to all.
Hanukkah foods and a wine bar will be offered. The cost is $10 per person.

For more information or to RSVP, call Ruth Schaeffer at (914) 262-6297 or e-mail Carole Goldstone at askcag@aol.com.


Youth hockey invites registrations

Greenwich Youth Hockey programs at the Dorothy Hamill Rink are accepting mail-in and walk-in registrations. Programs are available for the following age groups: instructional clinic 6-10; novice youth league 7-10; senior youth league 11-14; and junior hockey league 15-16.

Youth programs run through March 7.

Registration forms and program information are available at the Dorothy Hamill Rink, on the Town of Greenwich Web site, http://www.greenwichct.org/ (Click on "Check out Parks and Recreation," and click on "Ice Skating Rink") or by calling the rink at 531-8560.


Girls Inc. offers scholars program

Girls Inc. of Southwestern Connecticut is accepting applications for The Girls Inc. National Scholars Program.

Multiple scholarships ($2,500 and $15,000) are awarded each year and may be applied to tuition and expenses at any accredited two- or four-year college or university. The private scholarship is open to young women who are in the 11th or 12th grade and who are members of a Girls Inc. affiliate.

For more information, call Jen Kannengeiser, program director, at 536-3322 or e-mail JKannengeiser@girlsincswct.org.


Book club continues for Jewish women

Jewish Family Services of Greenwich's book club for Jewish women, "Book Beat: A Woman's Night Out," continues on Thursday evenings at JFS, 1 Holly Hill Lane.

The remaining dates are Dec. 18, Jan. 29, March 12, April 23 and May 21. Light dessert will be served at 7 p.m. and the book discussion begins at 7:30 p.m. Each session costs $18.

For more information, call the JFS office at 622-1881. MasterCard and Visa are accepted.


YWCA seeks nominations for racial justice scholarships

The YWCA of Greenwich is seeking nominations for its sixth annual Racial Justice Scholarship.
Two $500 scholarships will be given to two high school seniors who live in town and attend a Greenwich school, and who have demonstrated a special effort to encourage people to respect differences, to promote equality and to eliminate all forms of bigotry, bias and racism in their school or community.

Candidates may be nominated by a member of the faculty of any Greenwich high school or by the general public. Nominations are due by Dec. 15.

The award will be presented at 6 p.m. Jan. 15 at the YWCA.

To request an application, call Peter DiLeo at 869-6501, ext.104, or go to www.ywcagreenwich.org. Click "Programs," "YWelcomes" and "Racial Justice Scholarships."4) 262-6297 or e-mail Carole Goldstone at askcag@aol.com.

Whitby School will have to wait at least another two and a half weeks to move ahead with its proposed expansion - welcome news to neighbors who say the school has repeatedly ignored their requests to deal with light, noise and air pollution caused by expansion in 2000.

Following advice from the Planning and Zoning Commission, the school will use the time to consult with those neighbors, as well as Fire Chief/Marshal Joe Benoit regarding fire safety issues.

"Little by little, buildings have been added," Thomas Kupper told the commission at its meeting Tuesday. Kupper has lived behind the school on Merry Lane since it was built more than 40 years ago.

"The scope of this project is way out of scale for this neighborhood," he said.

This summer, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved a preliminary site plan for 10,000 square feet in additions to Whitby's 25-acre campus at 969 Lake Ave., including four new middle school classrooms and a larger gymnasium. The proposed expansion is similar to one undertaken by the school in 2000.

Preliminary approval for the proposed expansion was contingent upon the school's cooperation with neighbors who claimed it had let a perimeter fence fall into disrepair and that lights often stayed on well past 10 p.m., the agreed time they would be turned off......

Abilis hosts
Theo Brown found it hard to pick out his favorite food served at this year's Thanksgiving dinner at Abilis, a nonprofit organization that provides services and support to people with developmental disabilities in Fairfield County.

"I liked the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the turkey," said Brown, as he watched staff members roll out a tray filled with desserts including pumpkin pie Thursday afternoon.

"The food is even better than last year," said Brown, who has been using the services at Abilis for several years and sits on the board to provide input.

"Everyone here is like family," said Brown, 22.

Lolli Ross, the Executive Director of Abilis said this is the fifth year the organization has put the dinner together. The event was for people with developmental disabilities who use Abilis's services that do not have families to go home to on the holiday, Ross said.

"We are very family oriented and this is just a part of the Abilis family tradition" said Ross.
Nearly 40 people attended the dinner, including a mix of people who use Abilis' services, staff members and some family members who volunteered their afternoon to prepare and serve the food.

Dany Acosta, who lives in the Bronx, N.Y. but works at Abilis, said he volunteered to work just because he enjoyed the tradition so much. "I love it and I wanted to spend the day with family. Everyone here is like family to me," .......

People hit the gym before the buffet

The minute the doors opened yesterday morning at the Greenwich Water Club, a group of motivated people filed inside ready to begin their workout in the run up to one of the biggest meals of the year.

"As soon as I opened up at 7 a.m. people just kept coming in," said Pete Orocco, who was manning the front desk at the health club located at 49 River Road.

At 9:30 a.m., a morning yoga class was just letting out and people were recovering from what appeared to be an intense workout session.

"What is a better way to start your day than to have a great workout," said Debra Senecal, of Old Greenwich. "And it means you can eat more," she said.

Carla Catanzaro, the General Manager of the club said the morning yoga class was packed with 25 people and the rest of the gym was filled with dozens more who were working strenuously to combat the pound packed feast coming up later in the day.

"I think there are more people working out today than usual," said Catanzaro. "It's a holiday for wonderful foods and they are here to work it off."

Catanzaro said the club is often busier on holidays like Thanksgiving, particularly in the morning hours.

"We closed last Christmas at 2 p.m. and people asked us if we could stay open later," said Catanzaro.......

Airport changes complaint policy
The phenomenon of a cluttered inbox is soaring to new heights at Westchester County Airport, where one persistent citizen sent the noise abatement office a record 1,400 e-mail complaints in one month alone, according to officials there......

.....As a result, the airport's advisory board recently voted to change the procedure for handling such complaints, limiting the number per household that will be investigated to 50 per month. Additional complaints will only be logged.

With a staff of five full-time employees and a normal caseload of 300 to 400 complaints per month, officials in the noise abatement office said they simply don't have the resources to keep up with the barrage of messages.

Officials would not identify the chief complainant because of a privacy policy, other than to say the person lives in Valhalla, N.Y., which is located along the airport's westerly departure route and is near a helicopter route.

In June 1997, two homeowners in Greenwich, which borders the airport to the east, logged an estimated 1,500 of the 1,902 total complaints for that month between them, prompting the airport to take similar action, according to the noise abatement office. ......

....Erica Purnell, co-chairwoman of the Selectmen's Advisory Committee on Aircraft Noise in Greenwich, said the situation has gotten out of hand and takes away from investigating complaints from other citizens such as herself.

"They're abusing the system," said Purnell, who lives on Bedford Road in northwest Greenwich near the airport and files complaints with the noise abatement office from time to time.
The airport's noise abatement office typically receives complaints through a telephone hot line, though some citizens choose to do so by e-mail.

Each complaint is logged into a computer database, which then tries to match the noise event with a specific flight using archived radar readings. The process, Inserra said, can take anywhere from a minute to a half-hour, depending on the volume of air traffic over a fixed point at a certain time. ....

Police blotter

Jose Marrero, Jr., 28, of 75 Josephine Evaristo Ave., was arrested Wednesday night on an outstanding arrest warrant, police said. He was charged with second-degree failure to appear.

Police were dispatched to Marrero's residence to investigate a past domestic violence incident when the warrant was discovered, police said.

Marrero was additionally charged with disorderly conduct and violation of a protective order, according to the police report.

He was released on a $500 bond and is schedule to appear in state Superior Court in Stamford today.

After terror threat, patrols added at trains
Staff reports A possible terrorist threat to the New York City subway and train systems mean an increased police presence at Connecticut rail lines and stations throughout the holiday weekend, Gov.

101 killed as gunmen rampage in India city
APMUMBAI, India - A trickle of bodies and hostages emerged from a luxury hotel Thursday as Indian commandoes tried to free people trapped by suspected Muslim militants who attacked at least 10 targets in India's financial capital of Mumbai, killing 101 people.

Design destination
The Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich is putting the finishing touches on its annual Antiquarius celebration.

To the editor:

There they go again! The Board of Education is spending taxpayers' dollars soliciting nationwide, via the Internet, a new superintendent of schools ("Goals set in search for schools chief," Greenwich Time news story, Nov. 24).

In these perilous financial times, why is this town board about to embark on hiring a search firm? Don't we have experienced, Grade A educators right here in our school system who can fill the requirements of the job?

Historically, town officials and boards/commissions, have swooned over engaging high-priced outside consulting firms. We were financially unhinged, a ripe target for the pickins'.

Let's push back, get unstuck from repeating past dismal results and first review who has sound credentials for this position within Greenwich's school system before we go hoity-toity, seeking help outside our borders.

This isn't complicated. However, judging past performance, a few board members have been outfoxed by their choices for this position.

Superintendents, newly minted, get paid top dollar plus a menu of benefits. They come with trendy ideas and depart within a relatively short time. The easy money paid to egghead consultants is then gone! This elongated, costly process is nutty, zany! We've lost our way.

This current search method represents a fatiguing reminder of what's wrong with independent government bodies, that draw down the taxpayer's purse and sugarcoat the results.

Anyone have a better idea to regain the public trust?

William J Kalna


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