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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

12/31/08 A rally and good riddance: Stocks end miserable year with advance


Dow up 108

Nasdaq rises 26.33

Unemployment report offers some comfort


... one. "The tone is less onerous for stocks," said Steven Goldman, chief market strategist, Weeden & Co. in Greenwich, Conn. He said lighter volume and relief that the year is over likely aided the market's .....

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12/31/08 Greenwich Citizen News Links


President Bush leaves his father's hometown following a fund-raising appearance. (GREENWICH CITIZEN file photo )


By PATRICIA McCORMACK


Bushy-tailed, upbeat and confident during a 2004 campaign fund-raiser in Greenwich, President George W. Bush promised to move the nation and the world to a rosier future.


Today, as he prepares to leave office with his ratings in the cellar and the country flirting with a depression, it's evident that President Bush was incapable of delivering on the campaign promises.


The country he promised to lift up during his 32-minute speech at the Hyatt Regency in Old Greenwich has been driven into a ditch: Skyrocketing unemployment, the Wall Street meltdown, the home foreclosure mess, and the auto industry on the ropes.


The old saying, "As GM Goes, So Goes the Country" - if true - portends a far from rosy road ahead for the nation.


Yesteryear - the 2004 speech - the country appeared still on the highway and not slipping and sliding into the proverbial ditch. In fact, the President's reception by the Greenwich turnout was downright friendly. The White House Web site reported that his speech was interrupted some 50 times by either clapping or laughter.


Maxi-laughter erupted when Bush noted the presence of some of his classmates, Yale '68. The President related that they invented the expression "shock and awe."


"They invented 'shock and awe' when they heard that I was President," Bush said.


Bush used God's name twice - "God bless," as he signed off; and as he described freedom in the middle of his speech, as "the Almighty God's gift to every man, woman in the world."


All that aside, the pithy mingled with promises as Bush let go with the nuts and bolts of his stump speech aimed at winning four more years in the White House. At the time, the stuff fired up passions of the party faithful for victory over terrorists and the Democrats......



Dr. John de Csepel, who was raised and educated in Greenwich, is in Uganda volunteering with Mission Doctors Association (MDA). He has undertaken medical ...


By MIKE MADERA


Starting the season with four straight victories, one would expect Greenwich High boys basketball Coach Bill Brehm to be extremely happy. ...


By Anne W. Semmes


The Greenwich Board of Education has selected Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, Ltd. (HYA) to conduct their search for the district's ...


By MIKE MADERA


The Greenwich Academy basketball team has experienced a roller-coaster start to the season. After easily winning their first two games, ...



By Frank Szivos


It was two days before Christmas at the Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink where only a few skaters were stirring, when the Greenwich High boys and ...

12?31/)8 The Raw Greenwich Blog Feed Is Alittle Boring On The Last Day Of The Year


Cos Cob Blogger Iggy Makarevich At High Strangeness
HBCC Report: Sasquatch Hit By Truck - Cache Creek, British Columbia - Well, well now, this one sound interesting. Couple days late... sorry. I must say it was strange to feel the flags start waving immediately due to that awful...

Greenwich Diva
Dean Durrant and Alison Spooner defied the odds and had second set of black and white twin - From News.sky.com Black and white twins Leah and Miya are held by big sisters Hayleigh and Lauren. Picture © Sky News Dean Durrant, 33, and Alison Spooner,...

Rock Star Diary
Happy New Year 2009 - Happy New Year! Love, Baby Madonna Brooklyn's Finest...

John Ferris Robben - T-shirt Philosophy Page At Our Greenwich
Deer in Riverside - [image: Image was shot at a quarter of a second (very slow).] Image was shot at a quarter of a second (very slow).

The New And Improved "For What It's Worth" (Wordpress Edition)
Horse investments tank, Miami Philanthropist George Lindemann Jr. steps in to help. - The price of thoroughbreds drops 40% so Fairfield Greenwich Group’s Jeffrey Tucker will be selling into a falling market. Oh, what will we do, what will ...

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12/31/08 Greenwich Post News Links


Just as she was 25 years ago, Helen Itin-O’Malley will be at the Round Hill Community Church this Sunday when it begins marking its silver anniversary with a series of events reflecting on the past and looking forward. — Ken Borsuk photo




Written by Ken Borsuk, Staff Reporter


Twenty-five years ago the congregants of the Round Hill Community Church celebrated the opening of its new location by marching from the Round Hill Community House into the sanctuary as a bagpiper played and worshipers were welcomed in.


This Sunday, that momentous event will be marked with a special church service at 10 a.m. that will begin a 25th anniversary celebration that will last through the first half of the year. Once again, congregants will be greeted by a bagpiper, and the Rev. Robert Culp will deliver a sermon hearkening back to the one delivered in the first service 25 years ago by then minister Walter Wagoner. One of the congregants who was there 25 years ago, and will be again this Sunday, is Helen Itin-O’Malley, a member of the church’s board of trustees as well as the chairwoman of the 25th Celebration Committee.


“It’s been wonderful to see the new families that have come in over the years and allowed the church to grow,” Ms. O’Malley told the Post Monday. “Those of us who have been here for 25 years remember the original spirit when we started this church. We went through so much to get here and everyone worked extremely hard to make it happen. I’ve seen many families come and see children grow from babies into young adults. It’s a real slice of life, and we have such a wonderful community here.”......




Written by Ken Borsuk, Staff Reporter


Claiming that the Washington state-based firm owes five elementary schools a collective $75,000, the Greenwich PTA Council is seeking action against Count Me In, Inc.


The Bellevue, Wash., company, a subsidiary of Arena Group, Inc., had been used by Parkway, Old Greenwich, North Mianus, Cos Cob and North Street schools to process registration for after-school clubs and activities sponsored by the PTAs.


Julie Faryniarz, president of the PTA Council, told the Post on Monday that the company offered parents the chance to register online for these after-school activities and also pay by credit card, which many parents preferred because it meant not having to send their kids to school with checks and not having to rely on them to remember to make the payment. The service was also used to register PTA members.


The company was then supposed to give the money to the schools running the clubs, while retaining a small processing fee, usually in the neighborhood of $3 per transaction. Ms. Faryniarz said the schools, with the exception of North Street, which started using Count Me In, Inc., this year, had been involved with the company for close to two years without any previous problems, but this year, when the after-school clubs started up again in September, the checks stopped coming


Now the PTA Council wants the schools’ money back and it has officially filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and the office of Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. .....


......Mr. Blumenthal, a Greenwich resident, told the Post on Monday that his office would seek a “full and fair” reimbursement as quickly as possible. He said he had not been able to contact the company either and that if it had indeed filed for bankruptcy, that would be the main obstacle to getting the money back.


“We are investigating right now what happened to this money and how to get these PTAs what they are owed,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “We’re investigating to find out what my office can do to help them recover that money.”......


.....Alison Burns, co-president of the Parkway School PTA, said while no one had found any indication there was “foul play,” none of the parents are sure what happened and are eager for answers. She wondered if the company was simply a “victim of the bad economy.”


“Obviously everyone close to the situation is very upset about it,” Ms. Burns told the Post. “We’ve all been working together with PTA Council to try and recover our money. We’ve left no stone unturned.” ......


....However, no course of action has been set.


“Right now we’re just trying to figure out the best way to proceed,” Ms. Faryniarz said. “Hopefully, we will be able to find an attorney in Washington to do this for us pro bono, but that’s something we’ve only just begun to do. We’re looking at all the options right now to get our money back.”


PLEASE SEE:



BREAKING NEWS




Blumenthal: Count Out Count Me In
WFSB-TV Hartford


GREENWICH, Conn. -- Attorney General Richard Blumenthal issued an urgent warning Tuesday to parents and school groups against making payments to register their children for sports and other programs through Count Me In, a recently bankrupt company.


Count Me In, a Washington state-based company recently forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy, has allegedly failed to transfer tens of thousands of dollars, and possibly more, to several Parent-Teacher Associations in Connecticut and organizations elsewhere, he said.


Blumenthal said he began an investigation after complaints from five PTAs in Greenwich that they were denied $75,000 collected in their name. They and other organizations contracted with CMI to administer registration for sports and other programs, police said.


Let The Record Show:


That Greenwich Roundup Was The First Connecticut News Outlet To Report That CMI was ripping off Greenwich School Parents.


Furthermore, weeks ago we were asking why the Greenwich PTA's had not contacted Blumenthal office and criticized the PTA's for hiding the $75,000 loss and not advising them to call their credit card company immediately reverse the charges.


PLEASE SEE THIS REPORT

FROM 21 DAYS AGO:



The PTA's Are Missing A Lot Of Money
Where Is The Parents $75,0000?


IS DAN KULLY AND HIS SISTER TRYING TO SWEEP THIS THEFT UNDER THE RUG ?????


SHOULDN'T PARENTS HAVE BEEN INFORMED BEFORE DAN KULLY HOPPED ON A PLANE TO WASHINGTON ?????


WHEN WERE GREENWICH PTA LEADERS GOING TO TELL THE PARENTS THAT THEY HAD BEEN RIPPED OFF ?????


SHOULDN'T SOMEONE CALL THE GREENWICH POLICE DEPARTMENT AND REPORT THIS MISSING $75,000 ?????


MAYBE SOMEONE SHOULD BE CALLING THE CONNECTICUT ATTORNEY GENERAL ?????


SHOULDN'T PTA LEADERS BE SENDING OUT A MASS EMAIL TELLING PARENTS TO DISPUTE THE CREDIT CARD CHARGES, SO THAT THEY WONT LOSE THEIR MONEY ?????


WHY HASN"T THE GREENWICH PTA'S PULLED THE PLUG ON THEIR COUNT ME IN WEBSITE, BEFORE MORE PARENTS LOOSE MONEY ?????


WHERE IS THE LEADERSHIP IN THE GREENWICH PTA"S ?????




KIROTV


BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Parents and PTA leaders on Tuesday banged on the door of a Bellevue company that's at the center of a nationwide controversy after a KIRO 7 Eyewitness News story revealed the firm hasn't paid back money it owes to youth sports teams.


Dan Kully was among those looking for answers at the offices of Count Me In, a company that helps thousands of youth sports teams to help collect registration dues and donations.


"Seventy-five thousand dollars really hurts," Kully told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Gary Horcher. "And the last people that anyone should be taking advantage of are kids."


Kully's sister runs a PTA for 15 schools in Greenwich, Conn., that hired Count Me In to supply a Web site and process credit card donations. He said the PTAs discovered Count Me In appeared to be keeping all the parents' money -- $75,000.




LARCENY


Melissa Greco, 28, of Stamford was arrested Dec. 30 and charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit fifth degree larceny, two counts of fifth degree larceny, credit card theft, illegal use of a credit card, receipt of goods from a credit card, third degree identity theft and criminal impersonation. According to police, Greco and Annie Curtis, 26, of Darien conspired to steal $300 in cash and a credit card from an unattended purse in Greenwich Library’s lost and found. They allegedly divided the money and used the credit cards at two local businesses. Curtis was arrested on Dec. 18. Greco was released on a promise to appear and is due in court Jan. 6.


RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT


Danny Alvarado, 36, of Port Chester, N.Y. was arrested Dec. 30 and charged with reckless operation of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle with a weight greater than 9,999 pounds, two counts of operating a vehicle with unsafe tires, unregistered towing and insurance card violation. Police responded to an accident on Halstead Avenue where a car hit a tree. Investigators determined Alvarado was driving a commercial vehicle with defective equipment. He was released on a $250 cash bond and is due in court Jan. 15.


DISORDERLY


A 51-year-old Riverside woman was arrested Dec. 30 and charged with disorderly conduct. Police responded to a reported domestic incident. Police said the woman told officers she had scratched her husband’s neck during an argument. The man received a small cut to the back of his neck. The woman was released on a $1,000 cash bond and is due in court Dec. 31.


POSSESSION


Enrique Goyburu, 21, of Port Chester, N.Y. was arrested possession of less than four ounces of marijuana and intent to sell under one kilogram of marijuana. Police on DUI patrol said they saw a Goyburu driving a car with one headlight out. Officers said when his car was pulled over, Goyburu smelled of burnt marijuana and when he was asked to step out of the car offices saw, in plain view, a plastic bag lying between in the driver’s side seat and the interior driver’s side door. Upon inspection, police found six clear plastic bags containing marijuana inside the plastic bag. Police searched the car and found a plastic zip bag containing 91 small, clear plastic bags in the trunk. Officers believed this was for sale, not use. The total weight of the marijuana was found to be 4.1 grams and police seized $76 in his possession. Goyburu was also cited for not having a license and driving without a headlight. He was released on a $1,000 cash bond and is due in court Jan. 6.


DISORDERLY


A 21-year-old Greenwich man was arrested Dec. 31 and charged with disorderly conduct and second degree criminal mischief. Police responded to a reported fight and determined the man had pushed two women and damaged two of the home’s doors. He was released on a $500 cash bond and is due in court Dec. 31.


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12/31/08 Where Did The Fairfield Greenwich Money Go? Well Walter Noel's Partner Sent A Big Fat Wad Up To The Saratoga New York Area.


Hearst Newspaper Executives Can't Believe That
You Wont Read About This In The Greenwich Time:

Assets Related To Fairfield Greenwich To Be Sold In New York

Someone Had Better Stop This Horse Sale ,
By The "Richest Man On God's Green Earth" !!!!!

Owner of Stonebridge Farm's firm out $7.5B in Madoff investments
SARATOGA — A hedge fund investor who poured millions into Saratoga's equine economy has abruptly stopped all new construction on his huge horse farm and wants to sell his thoroughbreds ......
....Jeffrey Tucker, the founding partner of Fairfield Greenwich Group, bought Stonebridge Farm in Schuylerville in 2004, and has since built New York's first track with a synthetic racing surface and indoor arena on the 188-acre farm.
Tucker, 62, owns and cares for about 50 thoroughbreds on the site, considered one of horse racing's premier training facilities, and recently purchased a 230-acre satellite farm in Gansevoort.

But two weeks ago, his Connecticut-based investment firm said it had lost $7.5 billion — apparently more than anyone — in the Madoff scandal ...
...The losses have caused all construction on Tucker's vast farm to grind to a halt, and the properties' manager says Tucker will soon sell his horses. "It's going to be tough financial times," manager Dennis Brida said in an interview this week. .....
He said that rumors about the farm closing and laying off its 50 employees are false. But Tucker plans to carefully evaluate the farm and make necessary changes, Brida said, including unloading his 20 to 25 horses, some of which ran at Saratoga Race Course, in the coming months.
Tucker, a Manhattan resident, has worked in the finance industry for most of his life. He likes to spend weekends in a home he built on Stonebridge Farm because he loves horses, those who know him say.

Tucker serves on the board of Equine Advocates of Chatham, and has hosted multiple celebrity galas on his farm to raise money for the charity. He is chairman of Empire Racing Associates.

"He's the nicest man walking God's green Earth," said developer Sonny Bonacio, who helped build Stonebridge, but recently was asked to cease work on a barn.
"He asked us to hit the brakes until he figures out what his long-term plan is," Bonacio said. "It's such a shame what happened."
Tucker did not respond to a request for an interview. In a Dec. 16 letter to investors, Fairfield Greenwich Group reported that it had invested approximately $7.5 billion of its $14.1 billion in assets with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.

"We are seeking to gather all facts, work diligently with counsel to determine the appropriate course of action toward recovery, and stand ready to assist the authorities with their investigation," the company statement said.

It was Tucker who introduced the firm to Madoff in 1989, according to The Wall Street Journal. The fund that Fairfield Greenwich set up through Madoff had lost money in only 13 months over 15 years, the newspaper reported......
...... "Everything at Stonebridge is "top shelf," Peck said, and Tucker tried to buy and hire local.

If Tucker cannot sustain the farm as is, there's hope at least one of the properties could be remade into a commercial operation.

"It's in a great location in a really great racing community," Brida said. "It will still thrive."
Comment:

Maybe His Long Term Plan Is To Get The Hell Out Of Dodge, Before The SEC And The FBI Sieze His Assets.


Source: timesunion.com: Local Breaking News - http://timesunion.com/local/BreakingNews.asp


PLEASE ALSO SEE:





















RELATED:


Greenwich Guys Behaving Badly




There Has Been Very Little Published By The Greenwich Time On Walter Noel And The Madoff Scandal And Most Of It Has Been Wire Service Reports:
12/30/2008 - Two Greenwich private schools and a Stamford-based Hebrew school are among the hundreds of nonprofit organizations across the country that were partly funded by foundations invested in Bernard Madoff's allegedly fraudulent fund
12/23/2008 A Web page dedicated to Bernard Madoff was taken down by Facebook Inc., operator of the world's largest social-networking site, after some users posted comments complimenting and jeering his alleged similar results
By Linda Sandler and David Voreacos Bloomberg News

Learn lesson from the Madoff mess
12/21/2008 The almost unfathomable $50 billion Ponzi scheme of Wall Street money manager Bernard L. Madoff, which in all probability has created staggering investment losses for a wide swath of people and

Madoff misled SEC in '06, got off
12/18/2008 - Securities and Exchange Commission investigators discovered in 2006 that Bernard Madoff had misled the agency about how he managed customer money, according to documents, yet the SEC missed an similar results
By Gregory Zuckerman The Wall Street Journal
12/18/2008 - Securities and Exchange Commission investigators discovered in 2006 that Bernard Madoff had misled the agency about how he managed customer money, according to documents, yet the SEC missed an opportunity to uncover an alleged Ponzi scheme.
By Gregory Zuckerman The Wall Street Journal
12/17/2008 - NEW YORK - Disgraced investor Bernard Madoff made an appearance at the federal courthouse in Manhattan to complete paperwork for his bail after a judge set new conditions for release, including a curfew and monitoring bracelet
Wire report The Associated Press
12/20/2008 - NEW YORK - One of the nation's leading educational philanthropies announced that it would close in the coming months, brought down by the alleged financial fraud
orchestrated by Bernard Madoff.
Wire report The Associated Press
12/19/2008 - 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.

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12/31/08 Stamford Advocate Reader Takes Exception With Niel Vidgor's Reporting



Stamford Advocate


To the editor:


In the Sunday Advocate, staff writer Neil Vigdor wrote of the "president's mixed legacy."

Quoting a Greenwich resident, he writes: "Bush has been handicapped by a slew of challenges starting with the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, continuing with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and ending with a crippling recession."


Sept. 11 was going to happen regardless of who was in office. Bin Laden and his terrorist organization were determined to cause havoc in our country. Going after him in Afghanistan was justifiable. The country was behind the president 100 percent. But I'm not so sure if another president would have gone into Iraq.


As Mr. Vigdor wrote, Bush never vetoed a budget. As president, he could have demanded more transparency. He should have said "no" to the bailouts, and still, regulation and transparency were non-existent as the money was being doled out.


Tax cuts during a time of war are not a well-grounded policy. The national debt has doubled. And what of all the earmarks and pork-barrel spending that was allowed to continue during a crisis?


Katrina! Corruption! Lobbyists! Partisanship! No, we can't blame one person for the challenges we have faced, and those we will undoubtedly face, but one person could have made a difference.
Mario Salvatore
Stamford


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12/31/08 When Greenwich Roundup Types, Greenwich Time Managing Editor Jim Zorba Listens



Our Greenwich Time / Stamford Advocate Insider Says:

We Smacked The Greenwich Time So Hard It Was Felt It At The Hearst Newspaper Corporate Headquarters.

tabs firm to pick chief

By Colin Gustafson

Staff Writer
Posted: 12/31/2008 12:36:57 AM EST

The Board of Education has taken the next step in its search for a superintendent of schools by selecting a private firm to identify and vet a roster of top candidates in hopes that a new chief can take office July 1.

After reviewing bids from the five search firms that applied, the board selected Glenview, Ill.-based Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, Ltd. to conduct a nationwide search for the town's next schools superintendent, members said Tuesday.

That firm is the same one that was selected by the town's school board in 1998 to track down a successor for then-outgoing schools superintendent John Whritner, who later became a paid consultant for the search firm.

For the current search, the firm has tapped two consultants with local experience: Deborah Raizes, former president of the Board of Education in Scarsdale, N.Y., and John Chambers, former superintendent of the Byram Hills Central Schools District in Armonk.

"The two of them bring great credentials," said Hank Bangser, chief executive officer of Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates. "They certainly understand public education at the highest-performing levels in the Northeast."

In choosing the firm Dec. 23, Greenwich board members specifically requested that Whritner, who served as superintendent between 1990 and 1997, not be involved in this search so as to avoid potential conflicts, board member Steven Anderson said.

"Some might say it's not fair that he's involved, and others could say he should influence" the search, Anderson said. By not involving Whritner at all, he continued, "nobody can draw a conclusion, positive or negative, period."

PLEASE SEE:



Breaking news

Posted 2:02 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008
By Colleen Flaherty
Staff Writer
Posted: 12/31/2008 12:36:56 AM EST
How will Greenwich, a town hit hard by the recession of 2008, ring in 2009?
Like it always does, with some slight adjustments, say residents, restaurateurs and local businesspeople.
"People are still buying, but they're buying less," Douglas Nevins, general manager of Wine Wise said Tuesday. "What I mean is that instead of buying in the $25-to-$50 (per bottle) range, they're looking in the $10-to-$20 range."

"I think people are just adjusting to the economy and what's going on right now," he said.
And as for the midnight toast?

"We certainly try to promote that you don't exactly have to go for Champagne champagne," said Nevins. "We've got a lot of nice sparklings from Italy, Spain and California."

Like Nevins, Jean-Louis Gerin, longtime owner of Restaurant Jean-Louis on Lewis Street, said he's offering even more value this New Year's Eve than in years past.

"Last year, we charged $95 for the first seating and $120 for the second seating," said Gerin. "This year we are charging $100 for everyone." .......
In Fact Jean-Louis Gerin Is Having So Much Trouble. There Have Been Last Minute Internet Postings Touting The Avaiability Of Seats For Tonights New Year Eve's Event.

PLEASE SEE THE FOLLOWING POSTING FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SNOOTY JEAN-LOUIS GERIN'S PROBLEMS FILLING SEATS FOR HIS NEW YEARS EVE EVENT:


There Will be a church service at my church, Harvest Time Church, followed by a night of family fun to ring in the New Year.

After, the service everyone is moving over to Harvest Time's massive air dome. You have to see this place to believe it.

There will be a pie eating contest, Sloppy Joe's, music and other family fun events.

Versailles' car blast caused by

cigarette

By Debra Friedman
Staff Writer
Posted: 12/31/2008 12:36:32 AM EST

Fire officials in Virginia believe a cigarette is to blame for the deadly vehicle fire that claimed the life of a former Greenwich restaurateur.
Maurice Jean Clos-Versailles, 64, died on Dec. 11 after his GMC Yukon burst into flames in Gordonsville, Va. He was the owner of Versailles Restaurant on Greenwich Avenue and had moved to Virginia in 2006, according to Ablemarle County Fire Marshal's Office.

"As it appears now there was a liquid petroleum gas leak inside the vehicle that ignited by a cigarette," said James Barber, Fire Marshal and Assistant Fire Chief with the Albemarle County Department of Fire Rescue.

"Every indication is that it was just a tragic accident. It does not appear that there was any criminal wrongdoing."

Fire officials did not immediately know what set off the large explosion in Clos-Versailles vehicle, however evidence suggested a vapor explosion and fire inside the SUV, officials said. The cause of death was thermal inhalation burns, the medical examiner determined.

Barber said Clos-Versailles was carrying a liquid petroleum gas tank in the passenger compartment of the Yukon......

Blumenthal lends hand to PTAs

Groups owed $75,000 from Seattle-based company

By Colin Gustafson
Staff Writer
Posted: 12/31/2008 12:36:32 AM EST

The state's attorney general is throwing his support behind five Greenwich parent-teacher associations in their effort to recoup tens of thousands of dollars in overdue fees they say a bankrupt Seattle-area company owes them.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Tuesday that his office is investigating potential violations of consumer protection laws by Bellevue, Wash.-based Count Me In, an online company that assists organizations nationwide collect registration dues and donations.

"Count Me In has no right to retain or redirect money ... that belongs to PTAs and other organizations serving our children," Blumenthal said. "Money that Count Me In should have simply held safely and then forwarded has now vanished without explanation."

In a consumer advisory issued Tuesday, he also urged parents in Connecticut to stop making registration payments to the company, which is currently undergoing Chapter 7 liquidation proceedings in federal bankruptcy court.

Blumenthal's warning comes after members of five local parents-teacher associations, at Parkway, Old Greenwich, North Mianus, Cos Cob and North Street schools, sent his office a letter alleging that Count Me In owed them $75,000 in unreimbursed fees.

The associations had been using the online service for more than two years to process parents' registrations for afterschool programs and association memberships, according to Julia Faryniarz, president of the Greenwich PTA Council......

......Blumenthal said he decided to launch the civil probe last week as a way to help the five associations recoup at least a fraction of their alleged losses to Count Me In. Under federal bankruptcy proceedings, he said, the company could end up having to pay its remaining assets to only a handful of primary creditors, leaving the associations and dozens of other clients with little or no money.

"There's certainly that concern" that the most of the overdue fees could remain unpaid, Faryniarz said. "We are happy to have the power of the attorney general on this, but we have to be realistic about being able to reclaim most of this money."

PLEASE SEE:

BREAKING NEWS
Blumenthal: Count Out Count Me In

WFSB-TV Hartford

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Attorney General Richard Blumenthal issued an urgent warning Tuesday to parents and school groups against making payments to register their children for sports and other programs through Count Me In, a recently bankrupt company.

Count Me In, a Washington state-based company recently forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy, has allegedly failed to transfer tens of thousands of dollars, and possibly more, to several Parent-Teacher Associations in Connecticut and organizations elsewhere, he said.

Blumenthal said he began an investigation after complaints from five PTAs in Greenwich that they were denied $75,000 collected in their name. They and other organizations contracted with CMI to administer registration for sports and other programs, police said.

Let The Record Show:

That Greenwich Roundup Was The First Connecticut News Outlet To Report That CMI was ripping off Greenwich School Parents.

Furthermore, weeks ago we were asking why the Greenwich PTA's had not contacted Blumenthal office and criticized the PTA's for hiding the $75,000 loss and not advising them to call their credit card company immediately reverse the charges.

PLEASE SEE:

The PTA's Are Missing A Lot Of Money
Where Is The Parents $75,0000?
hockey defeats Fairfield, 5-1

By Rob Kelley
Special Correspondent
Posted: 12/31/2008 01:00:00 AM EST

The Greenwich High School boys hockey team was tired. Less than 24 hours after the Cardinals battled New Canaan to a scoreless tie in front of a capacity crowd at the Dorothy Hamill Rink, they returned to the ice to take on visiting Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe in a Tuesday matinee.

By Peter Healy
Staff Writer
Posted: 12/30/2008 02:45:27 AM EST
Jonathan Levine was ready to sell chandeliers, garden lights, paddle fans, swimming pool lights and track lights to homeowners at the height of the real estate boom when he opened Stamford Lighting Fixture Co......
Posted: 12/31/2008 12:35:22 AM EST
Connecticut's year-old compromise law that requires all hospitals in the state to provide emergency contraception to rape victims seemingly will be overridden by an ill-advised last-minute change in federal regulations by the Bush administration.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, despite pleas from at least 13 state attorneys general, including Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal, and several governors has issued a rule to go into effect Jan. 18, only days before President Bush leaves office. The rule adds to protections for health care workers and institutions that refuse to provide certain services, such as issuing the emergency contraceptives, for personal reasons.

In promoting the rule change, the federal government cited the 2007 Connecticut law, but apparently was unaware that the hard-fought compromise, approved with bipartisan support in the state General Assembly, allows hospitals to opt out and hire a contractor to dispense the medications, known as Plan B.

The medications do not terminate a pregnancy but stop ovulation. They can significantly reduce the risk of pregnancy if taken within three days of intercourse.


But here is a crucial fact that the White House needs to take into consideration: None of the state's 30 hospitals chose to hire contractors after Connecticut's law went into effect - including the four hospitals operated here by the Catholic Church.


Church leaders fought the law, and for a time were considering fighting it in ..... BLAH ...... BLAH ..... BLAH ..... BLAH ...... BLAH ...... BLAH ...... BLAH ...... BLAH ...... BLAH ......


Town briefs

Staff Reports
Posted: 12/31/2008 12:36:31 AM EST

Gun show hosted by Westchester group
The fourth annual East Coast Fine Arms Show, sponsored by Westchester Collectors, will be held Friday through Sunday at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich, 1800 E.
PLEASE SEE:
Posted: 12/31/2008 01:00:00 AM EST
To the editor:
While rocket attacks on innocent Israelis must be vigorously denounced, so too must we decry disproportionate retaliation, especially when widespread destruction and loss of innocent life is inflicted. It is unfortunate and certainly not helpful that our government seems to condone such action - just as it did during the 2006 invasion of Lebanon that wreaked widespread and totally fruitless havoc on the country.
You would think that our wise leadership might at some point ask why it is that the Palestinians have resorted to such desperate, and rather ineffective, tactics, knowing that the reprisals will be ever more severe. Could it possibly be that after 41 years of dispossession, subjugation and denial, they no longer care about the consequences? Have they lost all hope of attaining any normalization in their lives or a future for their children?
I hope to God that we Americans have not been a party to such despair. What has been happening in the Middle East for decades and continues to happen today is not in Israel's interest, not in the Palestinian interest and is certainly not in our interest. The United States must assume a role only it can play - that of an active and determined participant promoting a just and enduring peace in the region.
For too long we have been missing in action.

Oliver James Akel
Cos Cob

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12/31/08 2008: A year in review (Greenwich Post)


Written by Ken Borsuk, Staff Reporter


This year, Greenwich voted for change, saw an iconic farm leave town, celebrated the return of a tradition and bickered over Wiffle ball. It was a year of change in many ways, yet some things stayed the same. As we say goodbye to 2008 and look toward 2009, the Post reflects on the top 10 events that dominated Greenwich news this year:


In the voting booth


It was a year of change at the ballot box. Not only did Greenwich elect two new members to its state legislative delegation, but something happened in November that hadn’t happened since Lyndon Johnson was elected president in 1964 — Greenwich turned blue. For the first time in decades, Greenwich voted for a Democrat, favoring United States Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. John McCain for President.


Jim Himes, a former head of the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee and member of the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET), was victorious in his race against incumbent 4th District Congressman Christopher Shays. Mr. Shays once enjoyed the support of both Republicans and Democrats crossing party lines, but Mr. Himes emerged early as a well-funded opponent and defeated the last remaining New England Republican in Congress.....


More delays


No change was bad news for the parents, teachers and students at Hamilton Avenue School. The new school, which is more than two years behind schedule, is still not complete, and an effort to move the students into the building over the holiday break didn’t get far due to concerns about parts used in the boiler system. The project is considered almost finished and with boiler repairs expected to be done in February, a move is expected by the April break at the latest.


The year had already been one of disruption for the school after mold was discovered inside the modular classrooms in March. Parents had been complaining about their children being sick and more susceptible to allergies since going into the modulars, and the discovery of the mold forced the closure of the temporary classrooms and the redistribution of Hamilton Avenue students by grade through spring of 2008. In addition, the Post confirmed the presence of mold in the new building basement after water damage from rainstorms, but the project’s building committee has denied those results......


Wiffle ball battle


This past summer the action on the sports field wasn’t limited to the major leagues as Greenwich found itself caught up in the drama surrounding the construction and use of a “mini-Fenway Park” by Riverside teens playing a pick-up game of Wiffle ball. Surrounded by houses, the field was built on a vacant lot owned by the town but left undeveloped for more than 40 years, and became the focal point of a dispute between the teens, who thought since the property wasn’t being used for anything else, they should be given permission to play there, and the neighbors who claimed the field was a disruption and safety hazard......


Economic downturn


Proving it’s not immune to the economic downturn, Greenwich is facing a tough budget season with revenues down and the Board of Estimate and Taxation looking to keep the mill rate increase in the traditional 2% to 4% range. Mr. Tesei has promised belt-tightening in 2009-10 and he has already called for town departments to reduce their non-salary spending by 10% this fiscal year......


Crimes and time


The town’s police department was kept busy by a number of high profile cases in 2008. Two men were arrested in the 2006 murder of disgraced back country millionaire Andrew Kissel, whose death became the subject of a Lifetime movie this year. Mr. Kissel’s driver, Carlos Trujillo, and Mr. Trujillo’s cousin Leonard Trujillo, were charged in connection with Mr. Kissel’s death. They have pleaded not guilty and trials are expected to begin next year.


A family dispute turned violent on Sept. 4, when police accused Gerardo Lombardi, 75, of shooting and stabbing to death his ex-daughter-in-law Alison McKnight. The two reportedly had been having a dispute over property. Police said they responded to a report of a woman screaming and found Mr. Lombardi with a gun and knife in his hand. Mr. Lombardi was charged with first degree murder and his mental status is being reviewed. This month he was declared unfit to stand trial. He is undergoing a 60-day evaluation at the Whitney Forensic Institute in Hamden......

Salvaging a book store


One of Old Greenwich’s best known businesses got a new lease on life this year when former Greenwich resident Marion Boucher Holmes purchased Just Books, Too from Jenny Lawton after it seemed that the store would have to close. An outpouring of support came once it appeared the store was in danger of closing and Ms. Holmes pledged to keep the store (now known as Just Books) as an integral part of the community.......


Grand tradition


The soapbox derby made its grand return to Greenwich Avenue this year as VivaPop brought the tradition back to benefit the United Way. Miller Motorcars sponsored the race, which featured children racing their homemade carts down Greenwich Avenue, representing local groups such as Greenwich Adult Day Care and the Girl Scouts. There had not been a soapbox derby in Greenwich since 1985. The event kicked off Septemberfest for the United Way.....


School turnover


Greenwich’s schools will be looking for new leadership come the new year. Superintendent of Schools Betty Sternberg announced in October she would not seek a new contract from the Board of Education and would leave June 30. Then, this month Deputy Superintendent Kathy Greider, whom many had pegged as a favorite to succeed Ms. Sternberg, announced her resignation, effective in May, to become superintendent in Farmington. Ms. Greider cited family concerns since the commute in Farmington will be significantly shorter to her home in Berlin than it is to Greenwich......


Arts efforts end


A five-year effort to convert the Havemeyer Building into an arts center with a theater, classrooms and gallery space came to a close this year when the Greenwich Center for the Arts announced it was folding up its tent. While the project enjoyed public support, members of the Representative Town Meeting balked at possibly giving away a town-owned building for a $1 lease during tough economic times and progress could not be made in moving the Board of Education out of the Havemeyer Building. The renovation of the Havemeyer Building would have been privately financed......
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