NORWALK, Conn. — Some Norwalk political notes for you:
- Tong decries ‘punishing’ Eversource price hike
- Valadares becomes first female Norwalk DPW director
- Former NPL leader Siegel honored in Massachusetts
- Tree canopy efforts highlighted
Electric bills to increase
Eversource will double its standard supply rate Jan. 1, from 12.05 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to 24.2 cents per kWh, resulting in an $84 per month increase for the average user, a news release said Thursday.
Attorney General William Tong released a statement:
“This is a massive increase that will be unaffordable for many Connecticut families and businesses. We pay far too much for our energy in Connecticut as it is, and these winter rates are nothing short of punishing. My office has intervened on behalf of consumers at each and every rate case before the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission because we know how much the cost of energy impacts family budgets. We have next to no ability to challenge these supply rates, which is frustrating. Our supply rates always fluctuate between winter and summer, but this is not normal. We are seeing a huge global spike in gas costs due to the war in Ukraine and Russian manipulation of gas supplies. Both as a country and a state, we need to take a hard look at our energy sources and reduce our reliance on sources like natural gas that produce these wild, unaffordable surges in rates.”
Vanessa Valaderes officially became Chief of Operations and Public Works at the Nov. 8 Common Council meeting, replacing Anthony Carr.
“She is always on top of things. She’s really respected by the people with whom we’re dealing. And it was certainly for me, not a question from the very beginning of that I would nominate her to be the new chief of operations,” Mayor Harry Rilling said.
Accolades followed. Council member Barbara Smyth (D-At Large) said Valadares has worked well with other Chiefs and brought everyone together as department interim director and took efficiency study recommendations to heart, moving the ideas forward. Council member Tom Livingston (D-District E) said Valadares “will always tell you the truth, no matter what it is, and work with you which extent she can see.”
Council member Darlene Young (D-District B) said it was amazing that Valadares is the first woman to fill the position, remarking that it took savvy to move forward in a male-dominated field.
“She is absolutely the first woman to lead the public works and as chief of operations,” Rilling said. “One thing we’re very proud of, if you look throughout the department heads, the Chiefs, the Council, we have become a women-led city. And we are on the right track to move this city forward, like never before.”
Valadares has been with the Norwalk Department of Public Works for more than 12 years, beginning as a junior engineer in 2010. She hails from Brazil.
“I will continue my commitment to delivering the best service to our residents, and strive to improve efficiency in all areas while focusing on new ways the city can enhance its operations and sustainability efforts,” she said. “As the leader of this department I will continue to embrace transparency, collaboration and new ideas, my door will always be open.”
Siegel’s military service recognized
Former East Norwalk Library Association Executive Director Stan Siegel served as a Veterans Day Parade Grand Marshall last week in Easton, Mass.
Siegel, 90, moved to Easton in 2016 after his wife Linda died to live with his son, according to Easton’s master of ceremonies. Siegel served in the Korean War and was later tasked with providing security services during nuclear detonation testing in the South Pacific.
He volunteers for the Easton Veterans Service Office, helping veterans preserve their memories, it was said.
Siegel recounted the history of Veterans Day and said, “Millions of Americans have fought and died on battlefields here and abroad to defend our freedoms and way of life. Today, our troops continue to make the ultimate sacrifices. And even as we lose troops, more Americans step forward to say ‘I’m ready to serve.’”
Siegel’s Norwalk experiences also included serving on the Norwalk Public Library Board of Trustees. NPL Director Sherelle Harris said she’s stayed in touch with him.
“I wanted to support him after the loss of his wife, Linda, and his transitioning to another city/state. The love his sons have for him is incredible and I’m sure that made the transition of leaving life as he knew it,” Harris wrote. “I am happy that his service to our country was recognized in such a significant way.”
‘Preserving Norwalk’s trees’
Norwalk Tomorrow has debuted a webpage devoted to trees, offering a link to the City’s tree ordinance and explaining efforts to nurture urban forestry in balance with growth and preservation.
“Allocating roadside space to street trees and landscaping helps improve the aesthetics of the streetscape, provides a buffer between the roadway and sidewalk to improve pedestrian comfort, and can facilitate stormwater management through bioretention features such as planters and swales,” Norwalk Tomorrow states.
Tree plantings increased from 56 in the fall of 2020 to 171 in the spring of 2022, the page states.
“Tree canopy is important and serves communities in a number of ways, this can include environmental benefits to adding calmness and beautification,” said Norwalk Senior Planner Michelle Andrzejewski in an email.
The new page is here.
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