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Once Around the City: Mall talk, CEA for Perone, plus art, health and those pesky phone books

NORWALK, Conn. – The Coalition of Norwalk Neighborhood Associations (CNNA) is planning a mall outing for its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, June 23, at Norwalk City Hall Room 101.

There will be no shopping involved. Rather, representatives of General Growth Properties, Inc. (GGP) will present drawings and an overview of the proposed 700,000-square-foot mall development for the property commonly known as 95/7. A question-and-answer session will follow. Individual neighborhood association meetings will also be planned with the developer and will be announced in upcoming CNNA communications.

Member associations are encouraged to attend, and all Norwalk residents are always welcomed.

For more information, visit the CNNA website.

 

Connecticut Education Association backs Perone

State Rep. Chris Perone (D-137) apparently brought home a really good report card from Hartford.

Perone, facing a primary election challenge from party-endorsed David Watts, has received the endorsement of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) and was designated as a “CEA Friend of Education.”

The 160-year-old CEA represents 43,000 members in Connecticut. On its website it describes itself as “a grassroots organization that is a strong and effective champion for teachers and public schools. CEA lobbies for pro-education legislation at the state and federal levels, advances and protects the rights of teachers at the bargaining table, and works with state policymakers to continue to elevate the teaching profession and promote public education.” CEA is a state affiliate of the National Education Association.

“You have consistently proven yourself to be an advocate for children, teachers, and public education,” CEA President Sheila Cohen said in the emailed endorsement statement. “Most recently, throughout the 2014 legislative session, you steadfastly held to your commitment and ensured that our members’ voices were heard. Your constituents are fortunate to have you working for them in the General Assembly.”

“I am honored to have the endorsement of the CEA,” Perone said in the email. “Connecticut’s teachers work hard to make sure our students get the skills and education they need.”

 

And speaking of Perone…

The five-term rep, House chairman of the Commerce Committee, cheered the news that Gov. Dannel Malloy had signed the bill creating a Connecticut Port Authority. The governor held a ceremonial signing earlier this week.

“This wraps up a year-long process,” said Perone of the bill that began in his committee. “I was pleased to see the Governor sign this important law that will spur economic development, especially in Southern Connecticut. The Port Authority will tap un-tapped potential in Connecticut’s deep-water ports. They were pretty much just sitting idle, and not reaching any sort of potential. I look forward to the success of the Port Authority, and to Connecticut becoming competitive with our neighboring states.”

The new quasi-public Port Authority, which is scheduled to be fully operational Oct. 1, 2015, will perform a number of functions regarding coordination and development of the state’s coastal ports in Bridgeport, New Haven and New London, according to a Perone press release. This would include marketing ports to domestic and foreign shippers, seeking private investments, connecting to rail service, and pursuing state and federal funding for dredging and other infrastructure improvements to increase shipping and cargo capacity.

For those keeping track of insider Norwalk political baseball, Perone, who lists Mary and Mike Geake as his campaign treasurers, has engaged Kevin Coughlin to run his re-election bid. That would be the same Kevin Coughlin who ran Harry Rilling’s successful campaign to unseat four-term Mayor Richard Moccia last November. Perone was edged for the Democratic Party nomination by Common Councilman David Watts (D-District A) in May.

 

Accreditation for Norwalk Health Department

The Norwalk Health Department has earned national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB).

The national accreditation program works to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of the nation’s local, state, Tribal, and territorial public health departments. The Norwalk Health Department is the first local health department in New England and is one of only 44 other departments across the country to be accredited and recognized by PHAB as a high-performing health department.

“The PHAB program sets a high standard for the operation of a health department,” said Director of Health Tim Callahan of the Norwalk Health Department. “With the support of the mayor and Board of Health and the hard work of all of the members of our staff, we demonstrated compliance with all of the 97 measures. I am thankful for the effort and thrilled with the outcome. We are also proud that Norwalk is the first health department in Connecticut to achieve this distinction.”

“I am pleased that Norwalk Health Department has achieved recognition for meeting national standards that promote continuous quality improvement,” said Mayor Harry W. Rilling. “With accreditation, the Health Department is demonstrating increased accountability and credibility to the public, funders, elected officials and partner organizations with which we work.”

The national accreditation program is jointly supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,

It was created collaboratively over a 10-year period by hundreds of public health practitioners working at the national, Tribal, state, and local levels. Since the program’s launch in September 2011, nearly 130 health departments have applied to PHAB for accreditation, and hundreds of public health practitioners from across the nation have been trained to serve as volunteer peer site visitors for the program.

According to the organization’s fee schedule, a city the size of Norwalk pays $20,670 for five years, with payments spread over the period, for membership and eligibility for accreditation.

 

Mayor’s artworks unite Norwalk’s past and present

Jeffrey Price, owner of the Artists’ Market, and Aleksander Rotner, vice president of the Norwalk Camera Club, have donated two framed scenes of Norwalk past and present to adorn Mayor Harry Rilling’s City Hall office. They contributed their work through the Norwalk Arts Commission as a way of setting the standard for public art in Norwalk, according to a city press release.

Rilling used the art as a teaching tool when he welcomed a visiting third-grade class to his office, asking students to find the differences between then and now in the historic scene and pointing out the problematic railroad bridge in another.

“These pieces capture the beauty of our city and as well as its history. They are a perfect addition to the office of the Mayor of Norwalk. I am most pleased and grateful to our local artists, Jeff Price and Aleksander Rotner,for the execution of this vision of Norwalk.”

 

Norwalk 2.0 gets a $50K bump

Norwalk 2.0 will be getting a $50,000 Arts Catalyze Placemaking (ACP) ~ Arts Leadership grant awarded by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA).

The grant was announced in a Saturday e-mail by Norwalk’s Democratic state legislative contingent.

“We are grateful for the support that the DECD Office of the Arts has given us over the years, and with this new grant we continue our work to revitalize our downtown through the arts,” said Jackie Lightfield of Norwalk 2.0. “As an economic driver, this investment will help us build a community arts center that will support arts events, exhibits and performances throughout Norwalk,”

“Norwalk 2.0 has consistently demonstrated an ability to engage our community and bring people downtown,” Sen. Bob Duff said. “Arts is an economic driver. The state in partnership with community organizations, like Norwalk 2.0, are proving that over and over again.”

“Norwalk 2.0 is fast becoming one of the art pillars of Norwalk. They are working hard to show off Norwalk’s arts and cultural areas and bring new venues to life,” said Rep. Chris Perone (D-137).

“This will be a real shot in the arm for the City of Norwalk and Norwalk 2.0,” said Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140). “I’m proud the state, through our budget appropriations, helps to fund these grants and the difference they will make in our state.

The ACP ~ Arts Leadership program awards one-year grants ranging from $1,500 to $50,000 for the planning and/or implementation of arts-based creative placemaking projects. This category requires partnerships, develops community engagement and positions the arts in a leadership role.  This program is funded by the state appropriation to DECD/COA, and funds received by DECD/COA from the National Endowment for the Arts. The total amount of grants was $967,466.

 

To Just Say No to the Yellow Pages…

Residents who wish to limit or stop delivery of Yellow Pages directories should visit www.YellowPagesOptOut.com and submit their requests as soon as possible to ensure receipt in advance of future delivery cycles. The site is effective and free – and information provided through the site will not be shared with anyone other than directory publishers for the purpose of updating distribution lists. When consumers use this site to customize their household delivery, it ensures that distributors are delivering only those directories that will be welcome in homes and businesses while also reducing the environmental impact of unwanted phone books.

The issue of unwanted phone books was discussed at the General Assembly this year during the course of the 2014 legislative session, according to a press release from state Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk), but no action was taken.

“Phone books are extremely useful tools, and have been connecting local residents to businesses and to each other for decades,” Duff said. “Yet many people now prefer to use the Internet for this purpose, and, for them, a printed phone book is unnecessary and unwanted. I am glad that Yellow Pages has set up a website where those who wish may opt out of delivery. Everyone who wants a phone book will still receive one, and those who don’t may opt out. Everybody wins,” said Duff.

Connecticut residents can also opt-out of phone book delivery by phone by calling hibü (the publisher of Yellowbook directories) at (877) 613-1095 and YP at (866) 329-7118.

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