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Once Around the City: Mayor’s Night Out is April 29

NORWALK, Conn. – When Mayor Harry Rilling and his band of department heads and other city officials had to cut their last Mayor’s Night Out gathering short, Rilling pledged to return to South Norwalk within the month to continue what had been a productive, and earnest, meeting at Columbus Magnet School.

True to his word, the mayor will hold his next community gathering from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Rilling’s old stomping ground – the Norwalk Police Station. Rilling was Norwalk’s chief of police for 17 years before retiring and later running for mayor.

Department Heads and elected officials will be available to listen to Norwalk residents’ comments and input on city services. Parking is on South Main Street and the entrance to the building is on the Monroe Street side.

Garbage time: No news is good news

Garbage and recycling collection services will follow the normal schedule today, Friday, April 18 (Good Friday). The transfer station and yard debris site will also be open.

NEON socked with $20K court judgment

Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now (NEON) has been ordered to pay $20,167 into a pension fund, according to court documents.

The payment affects some 100 former NEON employees who worked with the agency’s early childhood programs, including kitchen workers.

To see the complaint and the court order click on these links: NEON complaint   NEON order

Lockwood-Mathews to launch Young Writers’ Competition

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum will hold a Young Writers’ Competition among students from area schools to encourage creative thinking and writing and introduce mid-to-late 19th century history and the arts to tomorrow’s museum audiences.

New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry (No. 1 internationally) and his wife, Elizabeth, are the creators of the History Matters foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Berry will work with LMMM’s educators and judge the finalists in a contest that will culminate in the Oct. 18 awards presentation at the Museum’s Opening Night Gala, with cash and other prizes.

“This is a great way to introduce students to this magnificent National Historic Landmark,” said Patsy Brescia, LMMM Chairman of the Board of Trustees, in an emailed statement. “A writing competition is a creative and educational way for students to explore the Museum’s great history and architecture, while honing their writing skills.”

LMMM educators dressed in period costume will meet with teachers and students in the classrooms, and introduce the Mansion in a PowerPoint presentation followed by a visit to the museum, where students can draw ideas and inspiration for their story, according to a press release.

Competition requirements include a mystery story with the Mansion as the backdrop, taking place between 1868 and 1900, which needs to be between 500 and 800 words for third grade students and 2,500 or less for eighth-graders. The museum will also explore the possibility of adapting the award-winning stories into a performance featured at the museum in the near future.

For more information on the competition and the Education Program, go to the museum’s website or call Joy Romeo LMMM Volunteer Coordinator at 203-838-9799, ext. 119 or email [email protected]. Limited availability based on a first come, first serve basis.

Lest we forget there’s an election in November…

The Jim Himes PR machine was in high gear Thursday, cranking out four press releases over the course of the day. One contained his public appearance schedule for the coming week (nothing in Norwalk, groupies). Here’s what the other three said, in a nutshell – well, three nutshells:

On Affordable Care Act enrollment: “I am extremely pleased that over 200,000 individuals and families in Connecticut have been able to find affordable health plans through Access Health CT, the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange. More than doubling its initial enrollment goal, Access Health CT is rightly being recognized by other states as a model for helping families find the plan that’s right for them. My constituents in Southwest Connecticut continue to reap the benefits of health care reform – receiving hundreds of thousands of free preventive services, seeing prescription drug costs decrease, and keeping children on their insurance plans until age 26. With the first open enrollment period concluding successfully, I look forward to working with my colleagues in Connecticut and in Congress to make the Affordable Care Act even more beneficial to Connecticut families with each passing year.”

On legislation to curb horse-related deaths: Himes announced legislation to require all equestrian helmets manufactured and sold in the United States to meet certain safety standards. The Christen O’Donnell Equestrian Helmet Act – named after a 12-year-old Darien girl who died after being thrown from her horse wearing a hard hat that looked like a helmet but did not in fact meet proper safety standards – will help ensure riders are not misled by unapproved hats that pose as helmets but do not actually protect from head injuries.

“As a parent of two young girls, nothing would cause me greater pain than seeing my daughter hurt or worse from an injury that could have been prevented with proper protective gear. Unfortunately, many horse riders unknowingly purchase ineffective head gear for themselves or their children thinking it is a real helmet. I am pleased to introduce this bill to help prevent tragedies like Christen’s from ever happening again.”

On Norwalk Champion for Change Jessica Bailey: Himes congratulated Jessica Bailey of Norwalk on being recognized by President Barack Obama as one of 10 “Champions for Change” for their efforts to promote and expand the deployment of solar energy in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. Bailey is the director of Commercial and Industrial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) at the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), Connecticut’s “green bank.”

“Congratulations to Jessica Bailey on being named a Champion for Change for her dedication to expanding the use of solar energy in Connecticut,” said Himes. “The success of Connecticut’s Green Bank in making our state more carbon neutral is a testament to the positive impact public-private partnerships can have, and I am pleased that Bailey’s work at CEFIA is gaining national recognition.”

Bridge Safety & Evaluation lane closures

Tuesday, April 22: In Greenwich, the left lane on I-95 North between Exit 2 and the New York state line will be closed between 9 a.m. and noon. The right lane on I-95 South between exits 2 and the New York state line will be closed between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Wednesday, April 23: In Westport, the right lane of the Merritt Parkway North between exits 41 and 42 will be closed from 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.; the southbound lanes between exits 41 and 44 will be closed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Wednesday, April 23: In Fairfield, there will be alternating left and right lane closures on U.S. 1 South between Grasmere Avenue and Home Street.

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