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Rilling holds Norwalk ‘Night Out’ for Indian-Americans

Mayor Harry Rilling addresses members of GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) Monday at the Aladin Indian Bistro on Westport Avenue.

Updated and expanded 6:46 a.m. Tuesday.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling listened to a variety of concerns Monday, ranging from the libraries being too small to the Sikh on West Avenue needing more space to  citizens should be able to compost their own garbage.

Rilling and Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik were at the Aladin Indian Bistro on Westport Avenue to visit with GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) in what Rilling called a continuation of his Mayor’s Night Out series, an effort to “bring City Hall to the community.”

Rilling said he had had similar visits with the Latino community and the Society of Retired Executives.

The Sikh temple at West and Elm had been an early topic.

“They are advising that they are looking to either add on to the building or to perhaps locate to another area, not necessarily outside of Norwalk,” Rilling said.

Many of the people at the event do not live in Norwalk. Rilling said it was a way of informing them about activities in the city, where they may do business. He also tried to recruit volunteers to serve on boards and commissions.

Inni Kaur of Fairfield said knowing that Rilling and Kulhawik were aware of the Sikh temple built a comfort level.

“It’s always nice to have a relationship because you never know. I mean, after the Wisconsin tragedy the police department in Norwalk was fantastic,” she said, referring to a 2012 mass shooting. “We had the vigil at our place of worship and the support which we got from the Norwalk Police Department was fabulous. … After the Wisconsin tragedy we want to have that comfort feeling with the police department. Not to say that anything is going to happen but it is nice for them to know where we are.

Rilling spoke to the interfaith community two weeks ago at the Norwalk United Methodist Church, she said. “He recognized me,” she said.

“I believe there should be more parking space in South Norwalk and at the library,” said Norwalk resident Henna Memon. “The library is too small. … Another issue I would like to bring out is about the waste collection. I believe that probably they should start a different kind of collection for the fruit, the vegetables, which are decomposed. So they can make that into a kind of compost and they can sell that. So it will be a kind of revenue for the city.”

That is done in California, she said.

“Why waste it?” she said. “They can decompose instead of throwing it in the garbage. And also I think they should have more centers for things like hazardous waste products, used light bulbs, used clothes.”

Rilling told her he would look into those things, she said.

Kulhawik said almost everyone asked him about burglaries at Indian homes, which he said have been a trend in Connecticut and New York for a year, year and a half.

There was a recent arrest made with the use of DNA evidence on a burglary that happened 1½ years ago, he said. But it’s a tough problem, he said.

“What we do know about this group is these aren’t kids that are just happenstance,” he said. “This is an organized group. They believe they’re out of New York. They’re been targeting families from New York all the way up to Windsor, Conn. I mean, this whole area. Very professional group of people. Even when some of them get arrested there’s others following them right back so it’s a problem that we are continuing to address. We’re doing it not just on a Fairfield County basis but statewide and even New York as well.”

Original story:

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling listened to a variety of concerns Monday, ranging from “the libraries are too small” to “the Sikh on West Avenue needs more space” to “perhaps the city should compost garbage and sell it.”

Rilling and Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik were at the Aladin Indian Bistro on Westport Avenue to visit with GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) in what Rilling called a continuation of his Mayor’s Night Out series, an effort to “bring City Hall to the community.”

The Sikh at West and Elm had been an early topic.

“They are advising that they are looking to either add on to the building or to perhaps locate to another area, not necessarily outside of Norwalk,” Rilling said.

Rilling said he had had similar visits with the Latino community and the Society of Retired Executives.

This story will be updated.

 

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