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Rilling reinstates mask mandate

A graphic from the State’s Thursday COVID-19 update.

NORWALK, Conn. — The Omicron variant is prompting an unhappy holiday gift for your stockings: Norwalk’s mask mandate has been reinstated.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, everyone is required to wear face coverings when inside public places, regardless of vaccination status, in an executive order issued by Mayor Harry Rilling.

“This order is temporary and is being issued in response to the voluminous and rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in the community and the contagious nature of the Omicron variant that continues to rapidly spread. The mandate will be continually evaluated and reviewed in consultation with the Norwalk Health Department and will remain in effect until transmission rates decrease,” a City news release said. Continue reading Rilling reinstates mask mandate

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Norwalk Council members tackle outdoor dining nuances in attempt to help small businesses

Washington Street, June 2020.

NORWALK, Conn. — Outdoor dining can remain a thing in Norwalk even after the COVID-inspired permissions expire in March, under an ordinance being considered by the Common Council.

Details are difficult to navigate, Ordinance Committee members said Tuesday.

“We don’t want outdoor bars in the city of Norwalk,” said Norwalk Chief of Economic and Community Development Jessica Vonashek, after explaining that the Norwalk Police Department “feels really strongly that food and beverage should really go together, regardless of what the timing of the day is and what the situation is.” Continue reading Norwalk Council members tackle outdoor dining nuances in attempt to help small businesses

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Sorry, but…

Woe is me.

You know how I learn about computers? I contact Dell and watch while some technician fixes mine, sometimes correcting something stupid I’ve done.

So when my mother couldn’t get her new mouse to work recently, I installed Logitech Options because I am so smart, and I tried to connect her mouse. When that didn’t work, I tried connecting her mouse to my computer, thinking I’d get her unifying receiver to recognize the mouse and then plug the receiver back into her machine. Maybe the newly established connection would function, like a muscle memory. Continue reading Sorry, but…

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Why spending $2 trillion on child care, health care and fighting climate change won’t make inflation any worse than it already is

You get the metaphor. (Edwin Remsberg/The Image Bank via Getty Images)

One of the main concerns raised by critics of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan is that it will drive up inflation, which is already running at the fastest pace in four decades.

The Senate is currently considering a roughly US$2 trillion bill passed by the House that would spend money on health care, education, fighting climate change and much else over the next decade. But Republicans and a handful of Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia argue the risk that more spending could push inflation even higher is too great.

As an economist, I believe these concerns are likely overblown. Here’s why. Continue reading Why spending $2 trillion on child care, health care and fighting climate change won’t make inflation any worse than it already is

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Norwalk photos: Christmas-loving tax collector

At left, a Christmas tree in the Norwalk Tax Collector’s Office. At right, the tree in the City Hall lobby. (Contributed)

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Tax Collector Lisa Biagiarelli loves Christmas – she came to City Hall over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend just to decorate a tree, she said.

This year, Biagiarelli and her office staff received flowers from a Common Council member. The note was addressed to the “tax gang’ and it said, “Thank you for all that you do for our city. Your work is appreciated.” Continue reading Norwalk photos: Christmas-loving tax collector

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Manchin killed Build Back Better over inflation concerns – an economist explains why the $2 trillion bill would be unlikely to drive up prices

Manchin withdrew his support for Build Back Better. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

One of Sen. Joe Manchin’s main concerns in deciding to pull his support for President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan is that it would drive up inflation, which is currently rising at the fastest pace in four decades.

On Dec. 19, 2021, the West Virginia Democrat said in an interview that he couldn’t support the bill in its current form because of the impact he says it would have on increasing consumer prices and the national debt. The decision effectively killed one of Biden’s top economic priorities. Continue reading Manchin killed Build Back Better over inflation concerns – an economist explains why the $2 trillion bill would be unlikely to drive up prices

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Norwalk BoE eyes security as $500,000 expense in developing capital budget request

The Norwalk Board of Education Finance Committee meets Wednesday on Zoom.

NORWALK, Conn. — Security cameras, door surveillance mechanisms and mobile metal detectors are on the Norwalk Board of Education’s radar screen as members prepare to send their capital budget requests to the City.

A last minute $500,000 addition to the proposed 2022-23 capital budget would be a placeholder for security concerns as the newly formed Safety and Security Task Force begins developing recommendations, that would be finalized before the beginning of the next school year.

The proposed $3.4 million budget request also seeks to continue putting air conditioning in schools with a $500,000 allocation and replace student computers with $1.4 million. Continue reading Norwalk BoE eyes security as $500,000 expense in developing capital budget request

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Norwalk CFO Hamilton presses City to keep it up, invest in school buildings

Norwalk Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Thomas Hamilton speaks to the Board of Education, Tuesday in City Hall.

NORWALK, Conn. — Everyone knows Norwalk’s school buildings have been neglected, Norwalk Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Thomas Hamilton said.

To that end, NPS is kicking off “a discussion” with the city by presenting a plan to spend $54 million on renovating West Rocks Middle School in three years and $52 million on Nathan Hale Middle School two years after that, said Hamilton, who is retiring. Major investments would follow every two years, in that same magnitude.

This segment of the 2022-23 NPS capital budget request is something both parties would agree might be done in the future, but it wouldn’t be a firm commitment on the City’s part. It’s long-range “out planning.” Continue reading Norwalk CFO Hamilton presses City to keep it up, invest in school buildings

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NPS presents safety committee; vocal mom disapproves

Norwalk Police Deputy Chief James Walsh is on the Norwalk Public Schools Safety and Security Task Force.

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Public Schools has announced the members of its Districtwide Safety and Security Task Force.

Norwalk Board of Education Chairman Colin Hosten revealed the task force recently when a parent complained of fights in the schools. Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Alexandra Estrella formed the task force in November and it first met Dec. 1, NPS said. Continue reading NPS presents safety committee; vocal mom disapproves

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How Christmas became an American holiday tradition, with a Santa Claus, gifts and a tree

The pagan tradition of celebrating the winter solstice with bonfires on Dec. 21 inspired the early Christian celebrations of Christmas. (Gpointstudio/ Image Source via Getty Images)

Each season, the celebration of Christmas has religious leaders and conservatives publicly complaining about the commercialization of the holiday and the growing lack of Christian sentiment. Many people seem to believe that there was once a way to celebrate the birth of Christ in a more spiritual way.

Such perceptions about Christmas celebrations have, however, little basis in history. As a scholar of transnational and global history, I have studied the emergence of Christmas celebrations in German towns around 1800 and the global spread of this holiday ritual. Continue reading How Christmas became an American holiday tradition, with a Santa Claus, gifts and a tree

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Council roundup: ‘Expedited’ and long awaited work; COVID-inspired help for businesses; P&Z merger

The detour near the intersection of Rowayton Avenue and Woodchuck Lane. (File photo)

NORWALK, Conn. — Here’s a round up from Tuesday’s busy Common Council meeting:

  • A shortcut to expedite Rowayton Avenue bridge repair
  • ‘One of the first’ uses of ARP funds: a business loan program
  • Dreamy Hollow flooding project given a go
  • P&Z appointments confirmed, while two complain of ‘not enough information’

Continue reading Council roundup: ‘Expedited’ and long awaited work; COVID-inspired help for businesses; P&Z merger

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Norwalk photos: The SoNo Collection

The SoNo Collection, just after 5 p.m. Dec. 8.

NORWALK, Conn. – Brookfield Properties’s new mall in Norwalk, The SoNo Collection, “is having a fantastic holiday season, with traffic and sales comparable to 2019,” Retail Senior Marketing Manager JP Geoghegan said Thursday.

Planning and Zoning Director Steven Kleppin recently gave a similar report to Common Council members. He’d been told by SoNo Collection Senior General Manager Matt Seebeck that the mall had a “a very busy holiday weekend, better than 2019,” Kleppin said Dec. 3. Continue reading Norwalk photos: The SoNo Collection

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