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Food could hold the key to fixing the state’s waste disposal problems

Tyler Skrzypiec empties a filled food waste basket for a resident customer. Blue Earth Compost was started in 2013 in West Hartford with a goal to recycle food waste into soil that can fertilize plants, as opposed to throwing away in a landfill or incinerator. (Cloe Poisson, CTMirror.org)

Food waste is a fact of life. Also a fact is that it’s smelly, wet and heavy. It makes a mess out of the rest of the trash and is generally nasty.

Getting food waste out of the trash may also provide the key to how Connecticut repairs the dated, expensive, fragmented and environmentally fraught waste systems in the state. But the question is whether it makes more sense to get the food out of the waste stream first or whether other parts of the system get fixed first so the food part follows.

It’s a chicken-egg problem, and which comes first isn’t clear. What is clear, officials say, is that food waste cannot be ignored any longer. Continue reading Food could hold the key to fixing the state’s waste disposal problems

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Vaccine clinics canceled across CT, Norwalk pauses J&J usage

Jimmey Shuler gets a COVID-19 vaccination in early March at Brien McMahon High School. (Harold F. Cobin)

Connecticut’s public health department on Tuesday urged medical providers to halt use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine across the state, following recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.

Norwalk has paused its use of the J&J vaccine, on advice of federal and state officials. “Norwalk Health Department vaccine clinics this week, including tomorrow at Bow Tie Cinemas, will continue uninterrupted, as the Moderna vaccine will be administered,” the City said in a statement.

The federal agencies encouraged states to pause use of the vaccine after six cases of rare blood clotting were reported among women who received the shot. The women were between the ages of 18 and 48; symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination. Continue reading Vaccine clinics canceled across CT, Norwalk pauses J&J usage

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Norwalk defends lights at proposed BMHS softball field

Zoning Commission Chairman Lou Schulman questions the lighting plan for the Brien MccMahon High School softball field, shown in a photo rendering by Stantec.

NORWALK, Conn. — Somehow, the discussion stemming from years of parental public pleading for an state-of-the-art girls softball field at Brien McMahon High School did not reach the people who would be most affected by the sought-after changes, the people who live across the street.

The Norwalk Zoning Commission has therefore delayed its decision on the proposed field and its 60-foot-tall light poles. Zoners have kept their public hearing open, suggesting that the City show the neighbors other fields, to support the claim that new technology keeps light from spreading to surrounding properties. They also said they wanted to hear from the Board of Education. Continue reading Norwalk defends lights at proposed BMHS softball field

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You can fight anti-AAPI violence

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New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) strongly condemns recent anti-AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) violence. The recent shooting of eight people – six of them women of Asian descent – in Atlanta has made this urgent declaration necessary. The racial and misogynist aspects of this crime cannot be ignored. Quakers cannot be silent in the face of anti-AAPI violence or allow anti-Asian bias to permeate our society. Continue reading You can fight anti-AAPI violence

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Norwalk Council moving East Avenue project forward

East Avenue at Fitch Street. (File photo)

NORWALK, Conn. — The State will probably begin work to bury utility lines on East Avenue this fall, Norwalk Principal Engineer Vanessa Valadares.

The Common Council is set to vote Tuesday on moving ahead with the work, which is connected to the Walk Bridge reconstruction. It’s going to cost the City $7.5 million, but there’s a twist: for the first time, the State is allowing Norwalk to make payments over three years, rather than pay the bill up front. Continue reading Norwalk Council moving East Avenue project forward

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Baseball stadiums are filling up – but an analysis of the NFL’s 2020 season holds a warning about COVID-19 case spikes

The Texas Rangers packed the stands for their home opener on April 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

Baseball season is here, and thousands of cheering fans are back in the ballparks after a year of empty seats. Most teams, still cautious of the COVID-19 risk, are keeping their stadiums to less than 30% capacity for now. Only the Texas Rangers packed the ballpark for its home opener on April 5, 2021, a move President Joe Biden criticized as not being responsible.

Many of these attendance decisions are being made with minimal data about the heightened risk that players and fans face of getting COVID-19 at stadiums or arenas and spreading it the community.

There is one large-scale experiment that can offer some insight: the National Football League’s 2020 season. Continue reading Baseball stadiums are filling up – but an analysis of the NFL’s 2020 season holds a warning about COVID-19 case spikes

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There’s a surprising ending to all the 2020 election conflicts over absentee ballot deadlines

One billboard outside Bloomington, Minnesota: A sign warns voters about a recent federal court ruling about absentee ballot deadlines. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

 

One of the most heavily contested voting-policy issues in the 2020 election, in both the courts and the political arena, was the deadline for returning absentee ballots.

Going into the election, the policy in a majority of states was that ballots had to be received by election night to be valid. Lawsuits seeking an extension of these deadlines were brought around the country for two reasons: First, because of the pandemic, the fall election would see a massive surge in absentee ballots; and second, there were concerns about the competence and integrity of the U.S. Postal Service, particularly after President Trump appointed a major GOP donor as the new postmaster general. Continue reading There’s a surprising ending to all the 2020 election conflicts over absentee ballot deadlines

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Today’s global economy runs on standardized shipping containers, as the Ever Given fiasco illustrates

Beachgoers near Cairo watch a massive container ship sail to the Red Sea. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

 

Take a look around you.

Perhaps you’re snacking on a banana, sipping some coffee or sitting in front of your computer and taking a break from work to read this article. Most likely, those goods – as well as your smartphone, refrigerator and virtually every other object in your home – were once loaded onto a large container in another country and traveled thousands of miles via ships crossing the ocean before ultimately arriving at your doorstep.

Today, an estimated 90% of the world’s goods are transported by sea, with 60% of that – including virtually all your imported fruits, gadgets and appliances – packed in large steel containers. The rest is mainly commodities like oil or grains that are poured directly into the hull. In total, about US$14 trillion of the world’s goods spend some time inside a big metal box. Continue reading Today’s global economy runs on standardized shipping containers, as the Ever Given fiasco illustrates

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Norwalk Public Schools gives update on end-of-year activities, new survey, strategic plan

Richard Lemons, executive director for the Connecticut Center for School Change, gives an update on the effort to create a new strategic operating plan for Norwalk Public Schools, Tuesday at the Board of Education meeting.

NORWALK, Conn. — The dates for high school graduations and middle school promotion ceremonies are set, but the exact number of people who will be allowed at each are still up in the air, Norwalk Public Schools Superintendent Alexandra Estrella said at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.

The ceremonies will be most likely outdoors, she said. Continue reading Norwalk Public Schools gives update on end-of-year activities, new survey, strategic plan

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Chick-Fil-A looks to ‘interim solution’ for Connecticut Avenue traffic tie ups

The line at Chick-fil-A on a Wednesday in early March.

NORWALK, Conn. — Chick-fil-A owners have produced a plan to alleviate the traffic jams their Connecticut Avenue restaurant is causing.

“With some geometric improvements at the entrance to the drive-through and with some curb improvements near the rear of the site, you’re allowed to have double drive-through lane, you know, a lot earlier in on site, that just provides a lot more space for queuing,” Ethan Schukoske, a traffic engineer, told the Zoning Commission on Thursday. Continue reading Chick-Fil-A looks to ‘interim solution’ for Connecticut Avenue traffic tie ups

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BMHS softball field would destroy school’s balance with Highland Avenue community

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I am writing to make  the Norwalk community aware of the major renovation planned for the Brien McMahon softball field at 288 Highland Ave.

Parks and Recreation intends to cover the natural grass with artificial turf, and surround the field with five 60 foot tall light towers, similar to the ones on the fields in the back of the school. Three towers will be positioned directly facing Highland from the school side, and there will be two towers on the Highland side directly across and towering over our homes. Continue reading BMHS softball field would destroy school’s balance with Highland Avenue community

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