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Rilling seeks ‘hard look’ at Norwalk Redevelopment Agency’s role

Norwalk Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Sheehan and Director of Community Development Planning Tami Strauss speak to the Zoning Commission in January.

NORWALK, Conn. — The Norwalk Redevelopment Agency is interested in a strategic planning initiative, an evaluation of its purpose and interaction with the City, after a new executive director is hired, Redevelopment Agency Chairman Felix Serrano announced Tuesday.

Mayor Harry Rilling would prefer the planning initiative be done before the new director is hired, Chief of Staff Laoise King said in a midnight email.

The Agency, meanwhile, unanimously appointed Director of Community Development Planning Tami Straus as acting executive director, effective July 1. She will replace Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Sheehan, who announced last week that he was resigning. Continue reading Rilling seeks ‘hard look’ at Norwalk Redevelopment Agency’s role

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Norwalk BoE firms up $200M budget

Budget books sit in the Common Council chambers in April.

NORWALK, Conn. — The Norwalk Board of Education has formulated $1,788,183 in cuts to its initial proposed budget for the next school year.

The 2019-20 budget represents a nearly $8 million increase over 2018-19, and factors in an expected $1.9 million in surplus money left over at the end of this school year. It increases the full-time employee headcount by 52 positions, adds a fourth specials teacher at six elementary schools and funds an additional credit requirement at the high schools, bringing Norwalk in line with a state mandated 25 credits for graduation. Continue reading Norwalk BoE firms up $200M budget

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Norwalk BoE ponders school construction options

From left, Norwalk Board of Education members Barbara Meyer-Mitchell, Bryan Meek and Mike Barbis.

Updated, 3:30 p.m.: Additional information.

NORWALK, Conn. — It might be necessary to reprioritize Norwalk’s school construction projects, Board of Education members said Monday.

With the new Ely school delayed for a year – the second time – the Board’s Facility Committee stuck with their timing for the order of South Norwalk changes but suggested that maybe a new Cranbury school might become a priority, given the uncertainty of state approvals. Board of Education Chairman Mike Barbis slammed what he called “obstructionism” at the state level by politicians he declined to name. Continue reading Norwalk BoE ponders school construction options

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Roselle hopes for better compensation; gun safety bills lauded but Duff’s African game bill fizzles

Phil Roselle, center, would be eligible for increased compensation under legislation introduced by State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) and passed by the legislature. It awaits a signature from Gov. Ned Lamont. (Contributed)

NORWALK, Conn. – Connecticut’s legislative session has ended. Norwalk-related developments include:

  •  A bill that might allow Norwalk Police Officer Phil Roselle to receive early retirement compensation was passed
  • Gun safety legislation was passed, with bipartisan support from Norwalk representatives
  • Sen. Bob Duff’s attempt to protect African wildlife didn’t get approved

 

Continue reading Roselle hopes for better compensation; gun safety bills lauded but Duff’s African game bill fizzles

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Meek slams Duff’s NHS Marching Bears ads as ‘illegal’

A Bryan Meek Facebook post.

NORWALK, Conn. — State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25)’s use of PAC money to buy ads from several Norwalk nonprofits is “facism defined” and illegal, according to Republican Board of Ed member Bryan Meek.

An ad on the NHS Marching Bears trailer, showing Duff’s photo, “not only violates state election laws, it is also a violation of NPS (Norwalk Public Schools) policy,” Meek, a Board of Education member and campaign treasurer for unaffiliated Mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton, said recently on Facebook. Continue reading Meek slams Duff’s NHS Marching Bears ads as ‘illegal’

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Opinion: Government needs viewpoints from all walks of life

Board of Education member Bryan Meek.

NancyOnNorwalk asked Board of Education member Bryan Meek on Saturday what he thought of Democrat Erica DePalma stepping forward to challenge him for reelection. This is his response.

I don’t know Erica, but I’m familiar with her husband.  Anyone who would consider the sacrifice of time away from family and other interests should be commended for their commitment to civic duty.  Democracy works best when we have as many participants as possible.  My interest in volunteering in this arena of Norwalk politics goes back to 2001 when we had a unilateral government with 25 members of the Democrats and zero Republicans in any major office.  Government works best when it is balanced with viewpoints from all walks of life.  I am currently the only elected (to significant office) Republican in the city who is seeking re-election (Lyons and Hempstead are not) and I look forward to defending my seat and continuing to provide the citizens of Norwalk a voice in their local government that doesn’t necessarily fit with the supermajority that is governing the city right now.   Continue reading Opinion: Government needs viewpoints from all walks of life

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Norwalk political notes: DePalma steps forward, apolitical softball, Wood honored, housing segregation

District D Democrat Erica DePalma, right, announced Saturday that she would like to run against Republican Board of Education member Bryan Meek, left. (Facebook photos)

The election is Nov. 5.

NORWALK, Conn. – Some Norwalk political developments for you:

  • DePalma looks to unseat Meek
  • Softball charity recipient announced
  • Wood named ‘Capitol Caregiver’
  • Himes goes to the dogs
  • Segregated by design?

 

Continue reading Norwalk political notes: DePalma steps forward, apolitical softball, Wood honored, housing segregation

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High taxes, negative migration, and a study in cause and effect

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No one likes being second best, and Connecticut Democrats seem intent on ensuring that we become the number one highest taxed state in the country.

Our friends in Hartford have yet to meet a tax they don’t like. This year alone they’ve proposed new tolls, property tax increases, state car taxes, taxes on heating oil and energy, more payroll taxes, expanded sales taxes, sin taxes – even taxes on cats. I’m surprised that goldfish and hamsters escaped assessment. Democrats are sympathetic to criminals, however, proposing to make prison phone calls free at a cost of $7 million. Perhaps hamsters can make up the difference. Continue reading High taxes, negative migration, and a study in cause and effect

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Opinion: True civility needed amid tribal politics, dogmatic beliefs

In these polarized times, it’s time to take a hard look at civility. We need to forget the idea that civility is only about manners. If manners are all that matter, we’re actually in pretty good shape. Much political lunacy is clothed in politesse and parliamentary grace. And while our President behaves in ways that many of us consider uncivil, it’s also possible to do a lot of damage with soothing tones and refined manners. Continue reading Opinion: True civility needed amid tribal politics, dogmatic beliefs

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Winners and losers: The 2019 legislative session

Hartford skyline. (CTMirror)

The 2019 legislative session ended at midnight Wednesday. As usual, some folks came out of the process happy. Others are already plotting their strategies for next year.

The impact of these decisions will take years to determine. But here’s an early assessment of who came out ahead and who didn’t. Continue reading Winners and losers: The 2019 legislative session

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Opinion: US lags behind most developed nations on LGBTQ+ human rights

Police in Istanbul, Turkey disperse gay pride demonstrators with a water cannon in June 2015. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Editor’s note: The following opinion piece originally appeared on TheConversation.com in 2017.  Ordinarily NoN would prioritize more recent opinions, but we diverge from that policy in light of a Norwalk hate crime committed this week against a banner for Saturday’s Pride in the Park celebration.

 

June is Gay Pride Month, but the sobering reality is that most countries, including the U.S., do not protect sexual minorities.

Our research gives most countries in the world a failing grade in LGBTQ rights, reflecting widespread persecution of sexual minorities. Only one country in 10 actively protects the human rights of sexual minorities.

 

Continue reading Opinion: US lags behind most developed nations on LGBTQ+ human rights

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Pride is about love

A scene from Pride in the Park 2018. This year’s celebration will take place Saturday at Mathews Park in Norwalk. (Bob Welsh)

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The designation of June as LGBTQ+ Pride month sometimes seems like a misnomer to me. True, I know all too well how difficult it is for many in our community to feel proud of who they are. In an age when the U.S. President routinely attacks transgender military service members; when over 20 states still make it entirely legal to fire someone on the sole basis of his/her sexual orientation; when queer youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide than heterosexual youth, having one month to celebrate our humanity hardly seems sufficient. Continue reading Pride is about love

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Norwalk political notes: Running for election

Reggie Stokes and Norwalk Public Library Assistant Director Sherelle Harris, Wednesday in City Hall.

The election is Nov. 5.

NORWALK, Conn. – We are seven weeks away from the July nominating conventions for Norwalk’s political parties, and a slate of candidates is beginning to form. Here’s the latest:

  • Harris looks to rejoin Norwalk BoE
  • McQuaid reports 12 candidates have filed papers
  • Newbie District A Dems look to join Common Council
  • District B Dems endorse McQuaid

Continue reading Norwalk political notes: Running for election

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