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Once Around the City: Metro-North bridging the gap

Bridgeplates are in place in East Norwalk while the inbound local track is shut down for three months for construction.
Bridgeplates are in place in East Norwalk while the inbound local track is shut down for three months for construction.

NORWALK, Conn. – Three New Haven Line stations – East Norwalk, Westport and Green’s Farms – currently are equipped with “bridgeplates” that span the inbound local track, which is currently out of service.

Track 3, which is adjacent to the inbound (New York City-bound) platform, was taken out of service on March 3 for three months, according to a Metro-North spokesperson. This will allow Metro-North track and structures workers to replace bridge timbers and running rails (track) on the “Walk” and “Saga” bridges, which carry the New Haven line’s four tracks over the Norwalk River and the Saugatuck River, respectively.

Customers walk across these metal structures to reach westbound trains that stop on the inside track. The “bridgeplates” are the width of the train car doors and there is one bridgeplate for each door.

Customers using bridgeplates are instructed not to wait on the bridgeplates but rather stand on the platform and step onto the bridgeplate only after the train has come to a complete stop.

When this track is completed, the crews, about 10 people for each bridge, will start work on Track 2, the outbound express track. No bridgeplates will be needed for that work. But in August when work shifts to Track 4, the outbound/New Haven-bound track, bridgeplates once again will be installed. (This work has already been completed on Track 1, the inside, express track.)

Republican slate takes office

Retired 26-year Norwalk Police veteran Peter Torrano was unanimously elected Thursday night to head the Republican Town Committee, replacing outgoing chairman Art Scialabba, who chose to step down after a decade at the helm.

Torrano led a slate of candidates, first reported here March 9, who breezed into office without opposition. The other officers voted in Thursday night are:

• Peter Nolin, vice chairman

• Fred Wilms, corresponding secretary

• Sarah Mann, recording secretary

• Brian Smith, treasurer

Alternative farming at Jefferson

Norwalk Grows has partnered with GreenUp to install the Norwalk Public School District’s first hydroponic garden at Jefferson Science Magnet Elementary School. Superintendent Manny Rivera will participate in a ribbon-cutting celebration at 10:30 a.m. Friday (March 14) to formally celebrate.

Jefferson Magnet School Principal John Reynolds, Lisa Lenskold, director of Norwalk Grows, Norwalk Children’s Foundation Executive Director Anthony Allison, Phil Steinberg of GreenUp, and Ruthann Walsh, director of corporate citizenship for Pepperidge Farm will take part in the ceremony.

The two 2-foot by 4-foot hydroponic growing systems and edible garden wall were funded by Norwalk Grows and Norwalk Children’s Foundation and built by GreenUp in Stamford to instruct students in alternative farming methods and healthy living.

Jefferson Magnet School is at 75 VanBuren Ave.

All that jazz

The 22nd annual Norwalk High School Jazz Festival will take place from 4 to 10 p.m. today (Friday, March 14) in the Norwalk High School Auditorium.

The festival is a juried competition that attracts music groups from across the state and features the Norwalk High School Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble. Visiting high schools jazz bands will compete for first-, second- and third-place awards.

Tickets are $7 for adults $5 for students and senior citizens.

NCC honored for Veterans Affairs initiative

Norwalk Community College (NCC) has become one of the first academic institutions in the state to implement the Veterans Administration’s Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership (VITAL) program on campus for students who are veterans.

State Senators Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) and Carlo Leone (D-Stamford) paid a visit to the campus of on Wednesday, to recognize NCC’s efforts. The legislators presented a citation to Norwalk Community College on Wednesday, lauding the institution’s participation in the VITAL program. It read in part:

“In recognition of Norwalk Community College’s commitment to Veterans’ academic achievement through the Veterans Integration To Academic Leadership (VITAL) initiative. Through this partnership, the College provided a Veteran advisor, more space for Veteran students, outreach through their Office of Student Disabilities to meet the special learning needs of some Veterans, and a space for staff to meet with Veterans. Norwalk Community College, particularly through the leadership of College President Dr. David Levinson and Dean of Students Dr. Robert Baer, is an inspiration to the Veteran community”

VITAL aims to help veterans succeed in college by informing them of VA benefits, programs and resources. Its mission is to provide world-class healthcare and improve the overall mental health of student veterans, while supporting their successful integration into college and university campuses through seamless access to VA healthcare services and on-campus clinical counseling.

“Higher education has never been more important for a successful career, and our military veterans certainly deserve nothing less,” Duff said. “I am very proud to have an academic institution like NCC right here in Norwalk, leading the way on welcoming veterans to campus and providing them will all of the benefits they have earned through their service.”

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