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Norwalk looks to economic development tools for Wall-West

Norwalk Chief of Economic and Community Development Jessica Casey explains her recommendations for economic development tools, Thursday in City Hall.

Story corrected at 2:37 p.m. to clarify the earlier Enterprise Zone recipients.

NORWALK, Conn. – Jessica Casey would like to expand Norwalk’s Enterprise Zone. She’s also promoting “TIF,” an idea Mayor Harry Rilling was floating four years ago.

“We’ve been out talking to a lot of people and these programs, really are a response to what we’re hearing on the street, what people need and how they need it,” said Casey, Norwalk Chief of Economic and Community Development, to Common Council Planning Committee members Thursday. Continue reading Norwalk looks to economic development tools for Wall-West

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Rilling signs POCD, aka city-wide master plan

From left, Norwalk Planning and Zoning Director Steven Kleppin, Mayor Harry Rilling and Norwalk Chief of Economic and Community Development Jessica Casey at a Thursday ceremonial signing of the new Plan of Conservation and Development. (Harold Cobin)

Mayor Harry Rilling shows off the new Plan of Conservation and Development. (Harold Cobin)

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk officially has a new 10-year city-wide master plan – Mayor Harry Rilling signed the lengthy document Thursday.

This 2019 Plan of Conservation and Development replaces the 2008 version and is meant to guide Norwalk into the future. A Committee was first formed in July 2016; Stantec was eventually hired to guide the process and the Norwalk Tomorrow program was created.

“I’m very impressed with the final product,” Rilling said during a signing ceremony. “If you compare the previous POCD for the city of Norwalk, was a total of 57 pages and was more of a guide as opposed to an implementer. This one here is about 369 pages long and it becomes our strategic plan. plan that gives us good operational instructions over the next several years. Now, the important thing is that we’re going to have to visit this plan on a regular basis, not put it on the shelf and let it catch dust.”

Video by Harold Cobin at end of story Continue reading Rilling signs POCD, aka city-wide master plan

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Norwalk superintendent search begins with opinions from stakeholders

Norwalk Board of Education member Erica DePalma, center, talks to consultant Judy Ferguson (not shown) Tuesday in City Hall, as a list of desired characteristics for the next superintendent of schools is projected onto the screen at left.

NORWALK, Conn. – A consensus emerged in a recent online survey: Norwalk’s next Superintendent of Schools needs to foster a positive, professional climate of mutual trust and respect among school staff.

Second on the list of priorities was sensitivity to the needs of a diverse student population. Feedback from in-person focus groups mirrored these sentiments, Judy Ferguson of HYA (Hazard, Young, Attea) Associates said Tuesday to the Board of Education. Continue reading Norwalk superintendent search begins with opinions from stakeholders

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LeMieux elected Norwalk Board of Education temporary Chairwoman

Norwalk Board of Education Chairwoman Sarah LeMieux playfully lifts the gavel for the first time, Tuesday in City Hall.

NORWALK, Conn. – Sarah LeMieux took the leadership of the Norwalk Board of Education on Tuesday, presiding as Chairwoman over a serenely serious Board, most of its members seeming to be focused entirely on education.

LeMieux was unanimously elected to serve three months as Chair, replacing Bruce Kimmel, who resigned just six days after becoming Chairman midway through what would have been a four-year term. LeMieux said she is keeping the Committee assignments laid out by Kimmel, except for replacing him in the posts he had taken. Mike Barbis has no Committee assignments. It’s quite a fall for the former Chairman, who led the Facilities Committee for years, shepherding the plan to build new schools in what looked to be a single-handed decision-making role. Continue reading LeMieux elected Norwalk Board of Education temporary Chairwoman

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Norwalk Council members ponder DPW issues, Gardella beach easement

Norwalk Common Council Recreation and Parks Committee Chairwoman Darlene Young (D-District B) asks about Water Street flooding, Tuesday in City Hall. At left is Council member Tom Livingston (D-District E).

NORWALK, Conn. – Tuesday night’s joint meeting of the Common Council Public Works Committee and Recreation, Parks & Cultural Affairs Committee sorted out some issues:

  • ‘Adaptive’ traffic signals for West Avenue
  • Drain Cleaning
  • Gardella Marina/Calf Pasture plan being reviewed

Continue reading Norwalk Council members ponder DPW issues, Gardella beach easement

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Norwalk DTC considers two for Kimmel’s seat as Norwalk BoE prepares to elect new chair

At left, Common Council member Colin Hosten (D-At Large); at right, former Board of Education member Shirley Mosby.

Updated, 2 p.m. Wednesday: More information.

NORWALK, Conn. – The effort to fill the void left by Board of Education member Bruce Kimmel’s resignation last week is in full swing.

The Board is expected to elect a temporary chairperson Tuesday, and at least two candidates – Colin Hosten and Shirley Mosby – have come forward to take his seat, generating controversy two weeks ahead of the Democratic Town Committee’s vote on the opening. Continue reading Norwalk DTC considers two for Kimmel’s seat as Norwalk BoE prepares to elect new chair

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Penn-Williams vows continued NAACP protests

Norwalk Branch NAACP President Brenda Penn-Williams, center right, stands to applaud during the Nov. 19 Board of Education meeting in City Hall.

NORWALK, Conn. — The NAACP plans to keep up the pressure on BoE member Mike Barbis but Tuesday’s protest will be more muted, with signs in the room but not the massive crowd Norwalk saw on Nov. 19.

In two weeks, the effort will again rachet up, Norwalk Branch NAACP President Brenda Penn-Williams said. The Norwalk Federation of Teachers is pleased with the pressure the NAACP is exerting, NFT President Mary Yordon said. Continue reading Penn-Williams vows continued NAACP protests

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Milligan sued anew as Norwalk/RDA seek fees for ‘frivolous’ legal ploy

Real estate broker Jason Milligan is playing with his blocks – he’s made artwork out of the concrete barricade on his Isaacs Street parking lot. (Contributed)

Wall Street area provocateur Jason Milligan used Photoshop to have a little fun with this image showing a tiger-painted block. (Contributed)

NORWALK, Conn. – Embattled real estate developer Jason Milligan is lining up legal roadblocks to go with the concrete ones that are the target of the city’s latest lawsuit against him.

Even as he characterizes the lawsuits – including the one filed Tuesday – as missed opportunities for open discussion, Milligan wants Judge Charles Lee to protect him from being questioned for more than eight hours in the long-running saga of Wall Street Place, aka POKO, and to limit the topics he can be asked about.

The plaintiffs shouldn’t be able to use the deposition as a “fishing expedition” on issues not related to the litigation, Milligan’s attorney, David Rubin states. The plan to stretch out the deposition is designed to “cause annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, and/or undue burden or expense.” Continue reading Milligan sued anew as Norwalk/RDA seek fees for ‘frivolous’ legal ploy

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Time to put egos in check, move Central Norwalk forward

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Editor’s note: Norwalk Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola recently testified in Court that the lawsuit against Jason Milligan was a draft on May 31, 2018. The plan to turn over City parking lots to developer POKO Partners, in the expectation that a mixed-use development would be constructed, was formulated in 2004 and initially approved under Mayor Alex Knopp.

Lawsuits are like war and should be used sparingly and as a last resort. Diplomacy is always better.

In Norwalk, Mayor Rilling and his general Mario Coppola have weaponized the law department. They use lawsuits as a first step to silence, intimidate and to control the narrative. Continue reading Time to put egos in check, move Central Norwalk forward

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Separated by Design: The pain of affordable housing in crime-ridden neighborhoods

(CTMirror.org)

HARTFORD, Conn. — The moon pulls 6-year-old Romeo Lugo to the window at night.

The autistic child loves to gaze up at it, howling like a werewolf as it rises like a luminous pearl over the horizon of city buildings and trees he sees from his second-floor apartment.

But on one particular evening four years ago, his mother, Aida, noticed something else as they stood at the window: a man getting out of a gray car in front of their building and walking toward the nearby barber shop, gun drawn. Continue reading Separated by Design: The pain of affordable housing in crime-ridden neighborhoods

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How to pick the ‘right’ amount to spend on holiday gifts – according to an economist

Jay L. Zagorsky is a Senior Lecturer for the Questrom School of Business at Boston University.

Gift giving is a big deal this time of year.

To find the “perfect” gift, Americans will spend about 15 hours shopping. Women will do about twice as much as men. And they’ll shell out about US$1 trillion on gifts.

While retailers relish the holiday shopping season as a time when consumers open their purses or wallets, for many consumers – especially those who do not like shopping – these days are filled with dread. They mark moments when shoppers clog malls, websites become overloaded and delivery trucks block streets. The entire process generates untold amounts of stress and anxiety. Continue reading How to pick the ‘right’ amount to spend on holiday gifts – according to an economist

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