Norwalk political notes: Rilling’s cane; Zoom criticism; missing dashboard

Mayor Harry Rilling, left, at Wednesday’s Norwalk Police ceremony in City Hall. (Harold F. Cobin)

NORWALK, Conn. — Some Norwalk political notes for you:

  • Rilling recovering from surgery
  • Meek says Zoom should be second choice
  • Mayor’s Dashboard to return in July
  • ENNA comments on eliminated ‘diversion signal’ plan
  • Yeosock retires

Continue reading Norwalk political notes: Rilling’s cane; Zoom criticism; missing dashboard


Catalytic converter thieves strike East Norwalk, Norwalk Hospital

(User Ballista on en.wikipedia is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.)

NORWALK, Conn. — Eight catalytic converters were reported stolen off cars in Norwalk Wednesday afternoon, police said, with all the thefts occurring in active parking lots.

One of the incidents resulted in a confrontation between a woman walking toward her targeted vehicle and the perpetrators, with them attempting to strike her with their getaway car as they were fleeing the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts on East Avenue, she told police.

“She was not threatened or assaulted according to the report. She reportedly hit the hood of the car with her hand as they were parked behind her car in a fashion to get their attention and they drove off,” Chief James Walsh said in a Friday email.

Continue reading Catalytic converter thieves strike East Norwalk, Norwalk Hospital



Six NPD officers honored in promotion ceremony

Norwalk Police Chief James Walsh addresses the crowd Wednesday in Concert Hall. (Harold F. Cobin)

NORWALK, Conn. — Police officers need to get out of their cars and out from behind their desks to “actively engage in our neighborhoods, to reinvest the community capital of trust in the role of American law enforcement that has been squandered,” Norwalk Police Chief James Walsh said Wednesday.

Walsh and five other officers, as well as the department, were celebrated Wednesday in a City Hall promotion ceremony, where speakers noted recent challenges and changes.

Continue reading Six NPD officers honored in promotion ceremony


Norwalk invests in tree efforts after report found lack of tree canopy

A look down Wilton Avenue, which thanks to efforts of the Norwalk Transportation, Mobility, and Parking department is now treelined. (Kelly Prinz)

NORWALK, Conn. — For Norwalk officials, including Common Council member Lisa Shanahan (D-District E), a recent study was a wakeup call about the work the city needed to do to improve its tree cover. In addition to the regional study that the Western Connecticut Council of Governments (WestCOG) conducted, it also did a specialized report for Norwalk since it had the lowest canopy coverage in Western Connecticut.

“The City’s canopy has a U-like shape, dense along the borders of the City, but sparser in the center of Norwalk, around the harbor, and Long Island Sound. Certain tracts have less than 15% coverage. Much of Norwalk’s tree cover grows in parks and on the edges of the city,” the report found. “The urban core, in particular, lacks canopy cover.” Continue reading Norwalk invests in tree efforts after report found lack of tree canopy


What goes up must come down

(Jerry Downs, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Send signed letters to [email protected], with a suggested headline.

Although helium-filled balloon launches have long been used for celebrations, they lose their innocence when their hazardous remnants litter Long Island Sound, or kill sea turtles, whales and other animals who mistake them as food. Young sea birds suffer, too, when entangled in the curling ribbon attached to balloons, so much so they end up tied to their nests.

State Rep. Irene Haines (whose district includes East Haddam, East Hampton and Salem) aims to protect birds and other wildlife by tightening Connecticut’s state law to prohibit the release of any helium balloons into the air. As the new legislative session unfolds, Rep. Haines has introduced a bill that’s been referred to the Environment Committee to ban the release outdoors of any helium balloons, which Friends of Animals supports. Current law allows the release of up to 10 helium-filled balloons per person within a 24-hour period. Continue reading What goes up must come down


CT school construction program audit done, but questions remain

Gov. Ned Lamont and Michelle Gilman, the commissioner of administrative services. (Mark Pazniokas, CTMirror.org)

State officials released a highly anticipated audit into Connecticut’s school construction office late last week, but it is unlikely to alleviate all of the concerns about the multibillion-dollar construction program, which became the focus of a federal investigation last year.

The 23-page report that was produced by Marcum LLP, an independent auditing firm, included an analysis of more than 111 school construction projects that were undertaken in Connecticut between 2018 and 2021. Continue reading CT school construction program audit done, but questions remain


Meek: ‘This needs to stop’

Common Council member Bryan Meek (R-District D), upper left, holds up his cell phone to illustrate hot spot technology, a reference to City Hall not having internet Jan. 10, during Tuesday’s Common Council meeting in City Hall.

NORWALK, Conn. — The Common Council’s sole Republican member said he will not vote to approve any more City spending until “this City figures out how to conduct public business in public.”

Bryan Meek’s announcement Tuesday came two weeks after he and NancyOnNorwalk arrived at the Council Chambers in City Hall, expecting the meeting that had been noticed via an agenda, only to find the doors locked and no one inside. Turned out, the internet wasn’t functioning in the building and the hybrid meeting had been shifted to online only. Continue reading Meek: ‘This needs to stop’


South Norwalk Neighborhood School is needed

Board of Education member Kara Nelson Baekey. (Contributed)

Norwalk Public Schools is committed to engaging our families, including them in their child’s academic success, and making it easy for them to be an active participant in their school community.

Over the last 40 years, families in South Norwalk were not afforded the same level of accessibility to their child’s school as other families around the district who were fortunate enough to have a neighborhood school near their home. South Norwalk families faced multiple barriers to being an active participant in their child’s learning. Continue reading South Norwalk Neighborhood School is needed


A parade, a dinner and a small business grant program

“When worms(b) and germs(c) compete, who wins(a?)?” Find out at the 15th Annual Darwin Day Dinner. (Contributed)

Announcements of interest.

NORWALK, Conn. — Some Norwalk announcements for you:

  • Saint Patrick’s Day Parade scheduled
  • Darwin Day dinner moves to Westport
  • COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program open for applications

Continue reading A parade, a dinner and a small business grant program


Proposal would encourage housing density near transit stations

Pete Harrison, Director of DesegregateCT, gives a speech about why the Work Live Ride proposal is the key to promoting economic prosperity, racial inclusivity, and environmental sustainability in Connecticut. (Yehyun Kim, CTMirror.org)

A new legislative proposal would encourage increased housing density near transit stations, one of the major pushes for zoning reform in Connecticut this legislative session.

The proposal is based on a land-use policy called transit-oriented communities. It aims to encourage towns to zone for more housing within a half mile of train and bus stations so residents can easily walk there, experts and advocates from the group Desegregate CT said at a press conference Monday. Continue reading Proposal would encourage housing density near transit stations


Oulette tops 2022 salary list

Norwalk Police Officer Russell Oullette oversees an October meeting in the Council chambers, as Jason Milligan, foreground, takes a photo.

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Police patrol officer Russell Ouellette earned twice what Chief Thomas Kulhawik did in 2022. He also out earned Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Alexandra Estrella.

The 2022 City paycheck list, obtained by NancyOnNorwalk through a Freedom of Information Act request, also shows that Lynne Moore made more as a school principal than Deputy Superintendent of Excellence, Equity, and Inclusion Thomas McBryde Jr.

The top 25 breadwinners: Continue reading Oulette tops 2022 salary list


Elena’s Ukrainian Borscht

From left, Margo Marozo, 15; Elena Marozo; and Bob Kunkel Harbor Harvest owner and chef.(Contributed)

There seems to be a new horrific attack in Ukraine every day – this week, it was reported that 40 civilians were killed in an apartment building in Dnipro. Dnipro, a city of more than a million, is in central Ukraine hours north of the battle lines. That may seem far away, but we have a refugee family from Dnipro here in East Norwalk.

Many Norwalkers in every neighborhood have Ukrainian flags of blue and yellow waving. Bob and Marilyn Kunkel, owners of the East Norwalk Harbor Harvest, have found a personal way to “Stand with Ukraine” by encouraging the Ukrainian refugee, Elena Mazoro, to share her culture. Elena with her husband and 15-year-old daughter escaped from the war last March. That was when I met the extraordinary Mazoro family. Continue reading Elena’s Ukrainian Borscht