NORWALK, Conn. – Here are some interesting, cute, funny or illuminating things that were “seen or heard” this week in Norwalk:
Off the record in a public meeting? (Was someone sleeping?)
Councilman Doug Hempstead (R-At Large) was struggling just a bit Monday night in his role of chairman of the finance committee, as council members were to his right and left at a long straight table. At one point, Councilman Carvin Hilliard (D-District B) had wanted to ask a question but Hempstead couldn’t see him.
They had been at it for an hour and a half, listening as Interim Superintendent of Schools Tony Daddona explained the intricacies of the school budget, a real stimulating topic, when Councilwoman Michelle Maggio made a joke, at which only she laughed. But then another member got in a zinger:
Hempstead: I’ve think I’ve got Tom, Jerry, and I don’t know, anyone else have there hand up down there? I can’t see down there. Did Carvin have anything? Carvin?
Hilliard: No, that’s OK.
Maggio: I think he fell asleep. I’m kidding!
(Unnamed council member): She was thinking of somebody else.
(Laughter all around.)
Maggio: That’s not on the record! It was a joke.
(Councilman Fred Bondi (R-At Large), who was photographed while taking a nap at the Jan. 8 council meeting, was not present.)
This course is made for golfing
Keep it an 18-hole golf course, Mike Vitti said at the Oak Hills Park Authority public hearing Wednesday. Like others, he has ideas for making the course solvent: “Anybody walking this course because they want to lose weight, they’ve got to pay $20. Get them off the course, we don’t need them. Because if my ball hits them in the head, I’m going to get sued.”
Bridgeport applications through the roof
Another ditty from Monday’s combined Board of Education/Council meeting:
Councilwoman Sarah Mann (R-At Large): The Center for Global Studies has 141 students that come from out of district. Can we charge them tuition?
Interim Superintendent Tony Daddona: No, we get reimbursed from the state because it’s an inter-district magnet school. That means our teachers are paid from the state, we get reimbursed. The way our magnet school was set up, they would attend our math classes and P.E. classes, and our science classes. There’s a per pupil reimbursement. I don’t know the exact number but if you’re from Norwalk it’s one figure and if you’re from out of district it’s a higher figure. So we have to have a certain – don’t quote me on it, but I think it’s 30 percent of the students have to be from outside of Norwalk. We try to get more students because we get more money for them. …
BOE Member Mike Barbis: About CGS, the state does pay for all these kids from out of town to get transportation to Norwalk. I know, every so often you see something in the paper, ‘Go to the South Norwalk train station, there are all these kids coming from Bridgeport.’ Well, the number of applicants to CGS from Bridgeport is through the roof. They want to get a better education. Those trains are packed with kids, and there are vans from up northeast, from Bethel, Shelton, kids coming to CGS because it’s a very desirable program. All the kids you see at the South Norwalk train station are supposed to be there. They aren’t illegal kids as many people represent and we run two school buses from the South Norwalk train station to CGS.
Hartford gun violence touches Norwalk man
Larry Johnson, speaking at the Gun Safety Legislation Forum Tuesday:
“During the time of the Newtown incident there was a home invasion in Hartford. There was a young man shot three times. That was my son, Larry Jr.
“It’s personal to me now. … What I’m seeing and what I think what our community is seeing is our kids have been raised in our pain. … If I get honest about myself, there was drinking in the house, there was drugging in the house, there was divorce in the house. All these were seeds that were planted in the children’s minds a long time ago.
“What I believe what I see today is the pain. They are living out our pain. It’s not all a head problem, I believe it is a heart problem, too. I really do.
“Nine and a half years ago, I had no idea that I would have to speak about violence from a gun. Bullets from a gun, like words from a mouth, they kill. Being in the crisis center, God gave me a program, Shoot Hoops Not Guns. You know why we put that program together? Because we was trying to bring the young people together so they would learn how to communicate with each other. Because a lot of the violence that comes, a lot of the things that happen with guns, because people don’t know each other.
“It is so real – you know, the home invasion was a big story and then Newtown happened. Then I felt bad, because I said, what about me? I’m a dad, what about me? I’m here in Norwalk, Connecticut, running a program called Shoot Hoops Not Guns, and then in our capital my son gets shot three times.
“What am I supposed to do?
“I also know a tea pot don’t have a brain, it don’t have a heart, it don’t have legs, it don’t have arms. But when it get too hot guess what it does? It whistles.
“It’s a heart thing, too. We have to get real, and we have to stop, and we have to look and say, you know what? I could be a part of what I’m seeing right now. We have to stop saying, because I don’t have a tie on and a suit, that I may not have an answer for some of our problems.”