After promising a decision by Friday afternoon on whether to try a holiday break move into the new Hamilton Avenue School, the school district is instead extending the deadline through Monday to try and make it work.
The project did not get the temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) from the building department by Friday after concerns flared up around the school boiler. Superintendent of Schools Betty Sternberg and building committee chairman Frank Mazza decided late today to postpone the decision until next Monday in a last ditch attempt to get the new school ready for students before classes resume following the break on Jan. 5.
At issue, is the refusal of the boiler manufacturer to issue a letter attesting to the building’s safety even though the wrong kind of pipe had been used in the system. Because the boilers had the wrong kind of pipe the possibility existed, once the pipes wore down over time, that carbon monoxide could get into the building air
The mistake was not thought to present any immediate danger but the building committee had to meet five requirements for the town’s building department to sign off on the TCO. The committee needed to get test results proving there was no danger, the approval of the town’s fire marshal, a letter from the project’s engineer agreeing to a safe status for the school, a letter from the manufacturer stating that it was safe and carbon monoxide detectors installed.
Four of those conditions were met by Friday, but the manufacturer would not issue the letter despite assurances the building will be safe until the proper pipe is installed, which will likely happen in February. Mr. Mazza spoke to the Post today, saying the manufacturer was concerned about potential liability and without the letter, the building department did not want to grant the TCO.
The committee is now exploring the idea of setting up a temporary boiler out by the school’s loading dock and using that until the repairs are made. The cost and timing of such an idea are unknown at this time, according to Mr. Mazza, but they will be evaluated over the weekend and a decision is expected on Monday.
After receiving a recommendation from Dan Warzoha, the town’s director of emergency management, the Board of Selectmen unanimously declared a snow emergency Friday morning. All vehicles parking in designated, marked zones for snow plowing must be moved within 24 hours so roads can be cleared off.
Snow is falling this afternoon and expected to last through 11 p.m. Another storm is expected this weekend. The Greenwich Red Cross is reminding people to take precautions when driving in inclement weather. According to the National Weather Service, about 70% of winter deaths related to ice and snow occur in the car.
Congressman-elect Jim Himes today announced that he has endorsed his opponent in the November election, Congressman Christopher Shays, for appointment as Director of the Peace Corps in the Obama Administration. Mr. Himes led the rest of the Connecticut delegation in the House of Representatives in writing to President-elect Barack Obama.
YWCA Board of Directors, Leadership Council and donors recently attended a party to thank them for their support of the YWCA. The party was donated by Archimedes Builders, IFI Auction Company, Il Songo Resturant, Supreme Wines and Burke Catering. Mark Blechman of IFI Auction Company, YWCA President and CEO Adrianne Singer and Tal Etshtein of Archimedes Builders were among the attendees.
Western Middle School students will travel to the Stamford Town Center on Monday, Dec. 22 to perform for holiday shoppers at 11:00 a.m.
The hour-long performance will feature the school's jazz band, chamber orchestra, and sixth, seventh and eighth grade choruses, directed by Maria Davis, Karen Anderson and Mercy Vaillancourt. This is the fifth year that the Western Middle School's music department will perform holiday music at the Stamford Town Center.
A 14-year-old Greenwich boy was charged Dec. 15 with second degree assault, third degree assault and breach of peace. He had allegedly assaulted two children at the Arch Street Teen Center on Dec. 6. He was referred to the juvenile court for further action.
A 14-year-old Greenwich boy was charged Dec. 15 with threatening and breach of peace. The boy allegedly assaulted and threatened another student at Central Middle School on Dec. 5. He was referred to the juvenile court for further action.
BREACH OF PEACE
Emmanuel Garcia, 19, of 7 Chestnut St. was arrested Dec. 17 and charged with second degree breach of peace. He was arrested by warrant connected to an incident on Aug. 17. Garcia was being held in lieu of a $500 cash bond and is due in court Dec. 24.
So Walter Noel and his wife employ a Brazilian gardener for a few years until he injures his back, is operated on for a herniated disc and applies for workman’s compensation. They contest the claim (and appeal the first ruling against them) on the ground that the poor sucker was an illegal alien - who knew?
They had to pay anyway.
Reached at her home for comment, Monica Noel was contrite, if still combative:
“Okay, we paid him, alright? We had to cut one of the nanny’s pay to do it, but we gave him the money - sheesh!
“But you know,” she continued, “he was lifting friggin’ boxes - he should have been careful. He shoulda used - what’s that word, Honey?”
“Due diligence?” Walt suggested.
“That’s it! If the dummy had exercised a little due diligence, nobody woulda’ gotten hurt.”
Greenwich High School has joined the private schools in closing for the day. Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich Academy and Brunswick School school announced last night that they would be closed today due to pending snow. Forecasters are predicting about six inches to a foot of snow today for areas north and west of New York City. Snow is expected to begin in Greenwich at about 11 a.m. and get heavier in the afternoon. A winter storm warning is in place from noon until 5 p.m. For more information, click on the schools to reach their Web sites or visit Weather.com.
In advance of Friday's predicted snow, public and private schools throughout the area have announced they will be closed: - Darien public schools - King Low-Heywood School - New Canaan public schools - Norwalk public schools - Stamford public schools - Westport public schools - Wilton public schools
The custodians of Fairfield's municipal pension system failed to heed repeated warnings against taking such a large position in a high-risk investment pool now tied to the alleged mastermind of a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, the town's pension consultant said Thursday.
In a briefing to members of the Retirement Board of Greenwich, which uses the same advisory firm, Douglas Moseley, of Cambridge, Mass.-based New England Pension Consultants, said that Fairfield had been counseled not to invest so heavily in the MAXAM Absolute Return Fund.
Around 14 percent of the assets in Fairfield's $286 million pension fund......
.....Fairfield First Selectman Ken Flatto, who is a member of the municipal pension board, denied that his town had ignored red flags.
"We do recall discussions about diversification. Beyond that, there was never a recommendation that you have to get out of any investment manager," Flatto said.....
....Although Greenwich did not entrust any of the assets of its pension fund to Madoff, members of the town's Retirement and finance boards grilled Moseley for about a half-hour Thursday about the advice his firm gave to Fairfield.....
....We never performed due diligence on Madoff," Moseley said.
That answer apparently didn't sit well with some at the meeting, attended by four members (one-third) of the Board of Estimate and Taxation.
"They essentially were supposed to provide oversight and you were supposed to vet oversight," said Robert Stone, the BET vice chairman.
At one point during the intensive questioning, Moseley was asked how much insurance coverage his firm had for errors and omissions related to financial losses, and he said it is $5 million.....
.....While Greenwich has seen its $253 million municipal pension fund lose more than $100 million since last year because of poor performance, Moseley said the town does not have any of the same kind of holdings as Fairfield in its portfolio.
Moseley also pointed out that all investment options chosen by the town were recommended by NEPC, with the exception of Gilbert Global Equity Partners, a private investment fund to which the Retirement Board committed $10 million.
NEPC has been advising the Retirement Board on its investments for about five years, earning around $90,000 annually under a contract with the town that officials said they are shortly going to put out for competitive bid.
Michael Pagliaro, the Retirement Board chairman, said the decision had nothing to do with the situation in Fairfield and that the town was simply opening the contract up to competition......
The Greenwich Web Master Could Not Get It Up Last Night But He Was Finally Able To Get It Up The Next Morning
Members of the Greenwich Retirement Board pressed their pension consultant Thursday to explain how they let another client, the town of Fairfield, invest $42 million in a high-risk pool under the management of Bernard Madoff
Douglas Moseley, a partner with Cambridge, Mass.-based New England Pension Consultants, the advisory firm used by the two towns, said that Fairfield failed to heed warnings not to invest so heavily in the MAXAM Absolute Return Fund......
Why Is A Greenwich Reporter's News Story Released At Hearst Newspaper's Flagship Web Site Four Hours Before It Is Released At The Greenwich Time?
Could It Be That The Greenwich Time, The Stamford Advocate And Norwalk Advocate Will Be Folded Into The Connecticut Post?
The Rumor Is That The Greenwich Time Subscribers Will Eventually Converted To CT Post Subscribers.
While The Greenwich Citizen And The Other Brooks Newspapers Will Become Local Wrappers To Deliver Grocery And Drug Store Circulars To Non-Subscriber Households.
============================================================= Thank you to cour Greenwich Time / Stamford Advocate insider for the early link CT Post News Links for stories written by Greenwich Time reporters. Why do Greenwich Time website readers have to wait four, five or more hours for the same story to be posted?
How does a country ravaged by ethnic hatred and genocide rebuild?
Rwanda's answer is forgiveness, which the Greenwich High School community witnessed Thursday in the form of dance and song.
Students and staff were visited by the Mizero Children, a group of Rwandan orphans ages 11 to 18 who are spreading the message of hope - "mizero" in their native language - and forgiveness around the world.
"Rwanda has 1 million orphans," said Rwandan musician Jean-Paul Samputu, who founded Mizero in 2004 to train and empower children orphaned in the country's 1994 genocide. "These children have found a weapon which can stop future genocide. They have found the message of forgiveness. Love your neighbor, dance with your neighbor, and he will love you."
Continuing, he said, "These children are ambassadors. You cannot help all the children, but you can help some who will help the rest."
The Mizero foundation supports some 100 children in Rwanda. Thirteen traveled to the United States to perform Friday at the United Nations in New York, stopping first in Greenwich to dance for students at Greenwich High School...... Town braces for storm
The town spent Thursday gearing up for the first major snowstorm of the year, prepping plow trucks and sanders to clear the roadways for what is forecast to be a messy evening commute.
The Board of Education approved a $127 million budget for the 2009-10 year that members said preserved important education programs while still cutting costs in the face of tough economic times.
.....In a partial reprieve to Hamilton Avenue School families, the board voted to continue funding for three of the school's four magnet programs that had been eyed for reductions.
Board members revised the budget Thursday to eliminate the school's ice-skating program, which Superintendent of Schools Betty Sternberg had recommended retaining, while adding funds for its early-grade Spanish instruction program. Sternberg had proposed cutting the language program.
As an educational program, the language program "is the first thing I would want to stay in the budget," said member Steven Anderson.
Two other magnet programs previously considered for reductions - the Suzuki music and swimming physical education programs - also remained in the final budget, as earlier recommended by the superintendent.
The board's decision to spare all but one of the school's programs drew applause from more than a dozen Hamilton Avenue School parents and staff who have repeatedly urged the board to retain the offerings to ensure that the school would remain viable as a magnet program.
.....and more than $40,200 to move Glenville School supplies out of storage once the school is fully rebuilt......
..... The board also voted 5-3 against a proposed adjustment to the budget that would have allocated $11,000 for performance pay for members of the superintendent's cabinet.
The budget next heads to First Selectman Peter Tesei before being reviewed by the Board of Estimate and Taxation. The spending plan's final stop will be the Representative Town Meeting, which will vote on a combined town budget in May.
Congratulations To The Hardworking Activist Parents At Hamilton Avenue School Who Fought Hard For Their Small Children's Magnet Programs.
When The HAS Parents Went To The Greenwich Time In An Effort To Save Their Magnet School Programs Greenwich Time Cub Reporter Colin Gustafson Ignored Them, So They Brought Their Cause To Greenwich Roundup's 1000 Plus Daily Readers.
Greenwich Roundup Is The Lean And Mean Truth Telling Machine That Afflicts The Comfortable And Comforts The Afflicted Of Greenwich.
Some critics of government complain about "activist" state attorneys general, saying that they meddle in legal areas far outside their sphere of responsibility. But truth be told, it appears that our attorney general and others often have had to attack national problems that the federal government has been unable or unwilling to tackle - such as hazardous toys that have been imported to the United States.
In a settlement announced this week, Connecticut and 38 other states will collect a total of $12 million from Mattel Inc. over toys with lead paint and small parts that were choking dangers. The company also agreed to lower the acceptable level of lead in toys to that of a new federal standard to take effect next year.
The legal action went back to 2007, when Mattel and its Fisher Price unit had to recall more that 21 million toys made in China. As it turned out, the toys were but one of a series of products from China that jeopardized safety. Americans have been sold tainted toothpaste, contaminated animal feed, unhealthful fish products and defective tires shipped from that country.
Some of the settlement money is to be used for legal costs, while at least one state has announced it plans to use funds to foster public awareness about the dangers of lead paint.
Public education certainly is important, as is paying for states' legal expenses. But so is the fact Mattel suffered a penalty beyond a public-relations black eye for allowing children potentially to
.....BLAH ...... BLAH ...... BLAH ........ WE SHOW OUR LOVE OF STATE POLITICIANS EVERYDAY..... BLAH ....... BLAH ...... BLAH ..... THEY ARE DOING A GREAT JOB ..... BLAH ....... BLAH ...... BLAH ..... THIS SORT OF REMINDS ONE OF SAM ZELL'S TRIBUNE COMPANY RECEIVING A FBI SUBPOENA AS PART OF CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST GOV. Rod Blagojevich INVOLVING HAVING EDITORIAL POLICY EXCHANGED FOR A SPECIAL DEAL ON THE WHITE SOX ....... BLAH ....... BLAH ....... BLAH ...... PLEASE LOOK FOR TOMORROW'S LOCAL AND HARD HITTING GRENWICH TIME EDITORIAL PRAISING STATE POLITICIANS AND BUREAUCRATS ...... BLAH ..... BLAH ...... BLAH ......
A precursor to the financial Armageddon that has drained the wealth of so many was the moral bankruptcy that we declared along the way.
Whether it be the governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich; the chief executive officer of Lehman, Dick Fuld; or the latest villain, Bernard Madoff, our society's obsession with financial gain, at no matter whose expense, is just a symptom of a larger problem - a society with no moral compass. We, as a people, have lost the capacity to feel any shame.
We are no longer deterred from destructive behavior by the fear of any repercussions. If any of the people mentioned had any real regard for decency, they would not be so brazen in defending their behavior.
There was a time when turning to the nanny state for help, such as welfare, would be abhorrent.
Of course, families were closer in general, and if someone faced a hardship, relatives or even friends would be there to help. In the self-serving society of today, that is far less likely.
Leading up to the financial collapse, we have accepted the disappearance of God in our schools.
We have not only accepted, but many have glorified, acknowledgment of abnormal, decadent behavior as "courageous." Identifying homosexuality as the perversity that it is makes you a "homophobe." The mere suggestion by someone to teach abstinence makes that person an out-of-touch radical.
Those who would marginalize the advocates of higher moral standards as religious zealots are the very people responsible for the precipice upon which we are standing.
The Democratic Party, with its ties to Hollywood, MoveOn.org and the like, has unabashedly embraced the decline for years. The Republican Party has sadly caved in, barely paying lip service to those concerned with such issues. The party as it now stands has become solely concerned with materialism and pocketbook issues.
If we are to make any headway in turning things around, we must, as individuals, family by family, take them on at the local level. Until we do, we should expect nothing different than the headlines we're reading today.
An investment fund with ties to Bernard Madoff is emerging as a central player in helping the financier raise billions of dollars world-wide, extending the reach of an alleged Ponzi scheme.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, as part of an investigation into Mr. Madoff's activities, determined in 2006 that the fund, Fairfield Greenwich Group, hadn't properly disclosed that Mr. Madoff oversaw its investment decisions, according to an SEC document, though the agency found no evidence of fraud.
Since then, Fairfield Greenwich has in marketing documents touted its close relationship with Mr. Madoff -- and in the process raised about $1.7 billion from investors in the U.S. and Europe. This marketing effort ultimately broadened the scope of Mr. Madoff's alleged fraud far from his bases in New York and Florida......
.....Fairfield Greenwich -- run by financier Walter Noel Jr., his four sons-in-law and a former SEC official -- had a total of about $7.5 billion with Mr. Madoff through its flagship Fairfield Sentry fund when Mr. Madoff's business imploded. For fees it collected from clients, Fairfield handed that money to Mr. Madoff to manage.
Mr. Noel and his wife, Monica, said they had done nothing wrong but couldn't elaborate because of the pending regulatory investigation into Mr. Madoff's activities.....
.....Mr. Noel founded Fairfield Greenwich in 1983. The Sentry fund, which drew investors from scores of countries and smaller funds, required a $100,000 minimum investment and was billed as a way to tap Mr. Madoff's trading expertise using "algorithmic technology" while Fairfield stood close watch, conducting "systematic investment compliance," according to a 2008 Sentry document.
In 2006, the SEC, warned by a tipster that Mr. Madoff might be running a Ponzi scheme, interviewed Mr. Madoff and reviewed documents. The SEC also took the testimony of Jeffrey Tucker, a former SEC official and a Fairfield executive who oversaw the firm's day-to-day operations......
....Hoping to capitalize on its success in recent years, Fairfield Greenwich tried to sell a stake in the firm. Several private-investment firms conducted due diligence on the firm. But when they asked to look more closely at Mr. Madoff's business, they were told that Mr. Madoff wouldn't allow prospective investors to view his books, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Fairfield charged clients larger fees than most similar firms do, including a 20% share of profits on investments, about double the norm for firms that farm out clients' money to a variety of fund managers. Mr. Madoff didn't charge additional fees but instead said he charged a commission on trades he allegedly executed. This is an unusual arrangement that raised suspicions among rival money managers, some of whom doubted that could generate sufficient fee income.
....For years, Fairfield has sparked resentment among rival money managers. Mr. Madoff's funds posted gains during periods of market stress in 2002 and this year as other funds lost ground.
Over the past few years, Fairfield was successful selling in Europe, thanks to the ability of Mr. Noel's sons-in-law to tap wealthy individuals and banks there. Andres Piedrahita, who married Mr. Noel's eldest daughter, was particularly skilled at weaving a social network in Madrid and London, those who know the fund say........
......Still, banks on two continents offered investors souped-up versions of the Fairfield Sentry fund, designed for funds-of-funds clients and wealthy private-bank clients clamoring for consistent investment returns and access to Mr. Madoff. These products were backed by loans from banks including Banco Bilbao VizcayaArgentaria SA and Nomura Holdings Inc., according to documents. reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. These banks loaned money designed to amplify the gains of the Sentry funds. Nomura on Monday said its exposure to Mr. Madoff was about 27.5 billion yen, or about $304 million. A Nomura spokesman Thursday declined to comment further.