CT’s vanishing shoreline: Towns trying to beat the odds

An existing beach berm in Fairfield. (CTMirror.org)

Rebecca French is blunt when she’s asked about hurricanes and Connecticut’s preparedness for them.

“Have we figured out as a state, as a region, individually figured out how to not have damage from those storms? No!” she said.

French ought to know.

Until recently, she was with the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) – a joint government and University of Connecticut research and funding clearinghouse formed in the aftermath of Irene and Sandy. French now directs the implementation of two federal grant programs that are providing a small amount of money to Connecticut for climate resiliency projects, chiefly in Bridgeport. Continue reading CT’s vanishing shoreline: Towns trying to beat the odds


Ballet star and Soviet defector finds welcoming home, rising talent in Norwalk

Valentina Kozlova, former dancer with the Bolshoi and New York City Ballets, opened a Dance Conservatory on Westport Avenue in Norwalk in September.

Before Valentina Kozlova brought her Manhattan ballet company to Norwalk, there were other dance corps in Fairfield County. But none could boast a commitment to the regal style of classical dance from nearly six decades of training with the Bolshoi and New York City ballets.

The Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory occupies an airy, spacious, and bright studio with high ceilings and no columns to obstruct the dancers – essential for a ballet school, and not easy to find. Forced out of the Theater District when her building was sold, Kozlova searched for comparable space from the Battery to White Plains before a friend told her to look in Norwalk.

“I need community, and I feel that [the] Norwalk community will welcome me,” said Kozlova, 61. Mayor Harry Rilling cut the ribbon for the conservatory’s grand opening at 509 Westport Avenue in September. Continue reading Ballet star and Soviet defector finds welcoming home, rising talent in Norwalk


Rilling seeks to reassure Norwalkers: Your tax bill won’t go up just because your assessment did

(Tax Illustration by Flickr user Donkey Hotey.)

NORWALK, Conn. – It looks like most Norwalk residential and property values are going up in the revaluation now being finalized, a press release from the City said Friday.

This does not necessarily mean that your tax bill will go up by a corresponding amount, the release stressed.

Connecticut municipalities are mandated by law to revalue their taxpayers’ properties every five years. Tyler Technologies Inc. is assisting the Norwalk tax assessors office in this go round. Continue reading Rilling seeks to reassure Norwalkers: Your tax bill won’t go up just because your assessment did


CT’s vanishing shoreline: one storm away from disaster

A flooded area of Branford during tropical storm Irene in 2011. (CTMirror.org)

As the 2018 hurricane season nears its official end, Connecticut can count itself lucky.


The state has not been hit with a hurricane or tropical storm since the successive storms of Irene and Sandy in 2011 and 2012 swamped the coasts, illuminating their vulnerabilities to the effects of climate change not only from storms, but also nuisance flooding from sea-level rise.

Yes, lucky again – because a general consensus is that if either of those storms were to hit now, they would be just as damaging.

Despite the elevation of hundreds of shoreline homes, scattered improvements in drainage systems and other small infrastructure components, extensive tree trimming around utility lines, and many assessments, there have been only a few modest statewide changes to boost shoreline resiliency – a concept that may prove to be no better than a temporary fix. Continue reading CT’s vanishing shoreline: one storm away from disaster


Enjoy some cheer, pick your tree Sunday 12-6 p.m.


Tasty refreshments, a bonfire, and lots of holiday cheer await you at the second annual Ripka’s Giving Trees event Sunday 12-6 p.m. at Calf Pasture Beach.

Come enjoy a fun-filled, festive day picking out your tree with friends and family.  Everyone is welcome.

The event will include donated refreshments such as cider, hot chocolate, fresh hot dogs and s’mores.  Plus a bonfire to keep everyone warm.

Proceeds from your Christmas tree and wreath purchases will support the NHS Marching Bears, Toys for Tots, and the Parent Teacher Associations (“PTA”) at Nathan Hale Middle School and Marvin Elementary.

Where: Ripka’s Beach Café, 99 Calf Pasture Beach Rd, Norwalk, CT 06855

When: Sunday, 12-6 p.m.

More info: https://ripkasgivingtrees.com/


NancyOnNorwalk is a media sponsor of this event.


Support the Norwalk Marching Bears, Toys for Tots, and Nathan Hale and Marvin PTAs by purchasing a tree or wreath at Calf Pasture Beach Sunday 12-6 p.m.



Residents, business sound off on proposed noise regulations

Norwalk Common Council member Chris Yerinides (D-District A), left, and Ordinance Committee Chairwoman Eloisa Melendez (D-District A), right, listen to Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik, Wednesday in City Hall.

Updated, 8:08 a.m.: Copy edits, revised headline

NORWALK, Conn. – Criticisms and suggestions mixed with resounding support Wednesday as Common Council members continued a long-standing effort to rework Norwalk’s noise ordinance.

Village Creek residents lauded the changes drafted by a New Jersey consultant, and suggested adding a requirement for white noise devices on trucks; Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik said enforcement would be much easier with the proposed clear guidelines, and SoNo business owners pleaded that they want to get along and be good citizens.

During the lengthy meeting Eric Zwerling, president of The Noise Consultancy, sought to explain via telephone the changes he’d drafted for Norwalk’s noise ordinance after an April visit to hold meetings, take sound measurements and tour with City officials and interested residents Vernon Howard and Diane Lauricella.   Zwerling returned in mid-July when the bars were in full swing and measured again.

Continue reading Residents, business sound off on proposed noise regulations


ConnDOT reviews Walk Bridge ’60 percent design,’ takes flak for aesthetics

Connecticut Department of Transportation Engineer Domenic LaRosa explains the schedule for the Walk Bridge replacement, Wednesday in SoNo.

Updated, 3:22 p.m.: PDFs and photo, added. 7:43 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – Connecticut Department of Transportation officials gave the public an update on plans to rebuild the aged railroad bridge over the Norwalk River in two sessions Wednesday at ConnDOT’s Walk Bridge Welcome Center on Marshall Street.  Members of the public expressed remorse over losing the old bridge’s iconic look, and skepticism regarding the cost.

Connecticut will bear 60 percent of the $1.2 billion program, which includes other Norwalk railroad projects, although Gov. Dannel Malloy said early on that the Federal Transit Authority would pay 66 percent of replacing the bridge itself. The news inspired John Flynn to question if the bridge would be completed on schedule, given the state’s financial condition. Continue reading ConnDOT reviews Walk Bridge ’60 percent design,’ takes flak for aesthetics


Norwalk political notes: Recovering lost funds, pressuring Citibank

The Tyvek-wrapped Wall Street Place, visible from the “Leonard Street municipal lot,” in June.

Updated, 7:26 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. –  A few Norwalk political notes for you:

  • Rilling: Norwalk will recoup most of payment to scammers
  • Statement on Wall Street Place will be mid-December earliest
  • Citibank’s bill is growing

Continue reading Norwalk political notes: Recovering lost funds, pressuring Citibank


Norwalk begins to curb the ‘summer slide’

In the 1970s, social scientists started to notice that students from lower socioeconomic circumstances lost ground academically over the summer. In contrast, students from more well-to-do families usually gained ground over those two months. This loss, now referred to as the “summer slide,” is a critical contributor to the achievement gap. Last year, the Norwalk Board of Education funded an expansion of its summer school program in order to minimize or even prevent the slide.

At its November meeting, the board’s Curriculum and Instruction Committee analyzed the effectiveness of the expansion by comparing last year’s end-of-year student assessments with this year’s beginning-of-the year assessments. The committee also compared data from the district’s own summer program with that of the Springboard Collaborative, which ran a different type of program at Kendall and Jefferson schools. (The data is from students in grades three through five.) Continue reading Norwalk begins to curb the ‘summer slide’


Norwalk Council roundup: New leader, new lawyer, and fraud settlement approval

Common Council member Tom Livingston (D-District E), left, laughs at a joke early in Tuesday’s Council meeting; Council member John Kydes (D-District C), right, later prepares to hand over a “Council President” plaque to Livingston.

Updated, 2:25 p.m.: Comment from Tom Livingston; 7:31 a.m.: Copy edits, revised headline

NORWALK, Conn. – Here’s the news from Tuesday’s Common Council meeting:

  • Livingston to lead Council for year
  • A legal staff transition
  • Hempstead calls legal settlement in fraud case ‘fair’

Continue reading Norwalk Council roundup: New leader, new lawyer, and fraud settlement approval


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Norwalk wired $900K to scammers; may settle reimbursement lawsuit

The Norwalk Common Council on Tuesday will consider settling a lawsuit filed against The Hanover Insurance Group, which denied Norwalk’s claim stemming from a nearly $900,000 loss to online scammers in 2016.

Updated, 8:11 a.m.: Copy edits; 7:42 a.m.: New headline, copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s finance department in October 2016 transferred nearly $900,000 to “an unknown criminal third party” which perpetrated a scam against the city, according to legal documents available online.

The City’s insurance carrier refused to cover the loss, the City sued, and the Common Council is set to discuss settlement of the case Tuesday.

C.H. Nickerson Construction, Inc. was doing construction work for Norwalk in 2016 and the City was contractually obligated to wire installment payments to the company, the City’s lawsuit states. Continue reading Norwalk wired $900K to scammers; may settle reimbursement lawsuit