NORWALK, Conn. – Here are some items of interest that were seen or heard recently in Norwalk:
Sub sandwich relishes hero status
A school bus trapped on railroad tracks brought a rescuer on the run last week — a man wearing a flowing yellow cape, green tights and yellow boots arrived to help get children out of harm’s way as a Danbury-line Metro-North train approached.
That’s right, a guy dressed as a submarine sandwich was, for a brief few shining moments, a hero.
Shahzad Khan, a 2005 Brien McMahon High School graduate, joined Melissa Acevado and her son Corey, a West Rocks Middle School student, in helping bus driver Victor Monte to get the 40 Silvermine Elementary School children off the bus.
“It was funny I was dressed up as a super hero because I ran right toward the kids when I seen them getting ushered off the bus,” he said. “Because I seen them getting pushed off the bus really fast like there was something wrong and then I noticed the train was coming and the bus was stopped on the tracks so I was like ‘I have to save these kids.’ There was a lot of kids on the bus – I’d say 20 or 30, maybe 40. I thought the train was going to hit the bus so I was trying to see if I could get all the kids out of the bus on time.”
The trained stopped 10 feet from the bus, Norwalk Police say.
Khan, who did not know that submarine sandwiches are known as “heroes” in some areas, said he was standing on the corner of Broad Street and Main Avenue waving at cars from behind the big smiley face that comes with a Subway corporation sub costume, trying to encourage hungry drivers to visit the Subway store owned by his sister, when he looked toward the familiar sound of a train coming.
“I hear the train track gates come down all the time but I looked over and there was a bus there,” Khan said. “Then the gate came down on the tracks which was, you know, shocking. … Once the kids starting coming out the door that’s when I rushed over to help because I knew that they needed to be ushered away from the bus. I tried to cheer them up, too. They seemed pretty cheered up afterwards. They weren’t crying. I was waving at them like a super hero so they were all happy to see me. I’m just glad they’re alright. That was my main concern.”
The bus driver told him the transmission stalled, he said.
“I seen him trying to move the bus but it was jerking, like he was trying to hit the gas but the transmission was slipping,” he said.
Khan’s sister Laila bought the Subway store a month or two ago, he said. He’s only been masquerading as a sub for a week, he said.
A sub that deserves to be toasted.
A seasonal recipe, with no bread, cheese or meat
Jack Chiaramonte was shoveling snow from out in front of his SoNo store last week, talking of a potion perfect for the weather — and no, it wasn’t hot chocolate. Get some Vino Cotto, he said.
“Get a bottle of red wine, throw in some cinnamon sticks and relax,” he said.
More details: add nutmeg, maybe some allspice or ginger, a little honey, a little sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest, orange juice and orange zest, and let it boil a while, he said.
Old Italian recipe, he said. Vino Cotto. Means cooked wine.
“You’ll feel better,” he said.
Driving lessons please?
It’s a real Catch 22, Steve Colarossi said: His teenage daughter can get a social security number but not a driver’s license.
Young Liza and her sister, Kana, were adopted from Kazakhstan. “They both received their social security cards as U.S. citizens because the Social Security Administration recognized that the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 made them automatic citizens,” Colarossi said in an email. “Unfortunately, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles insists that my daughter Liza, who turned 16 and is planning on taking her learners’ permit test, provide proof of her United States citizenship because she is foreign-born. In other words, the Department of Motor Vehicles does not recognize the federal law that conferred automatic U.S. citizenship upon my daughter.”
Colarossi reached out to state Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk).
“Sen. Duff provided very attentive constituent help,” Colarossi said in an email. “Within days of Sen. Duff’s email to me, an administrator in charge of document integrity at DMV called to talk about the quandary. She explained that there is a procedure for DMV to allow for a ‘non-verified’ learners permit and license to be issued. That means that the license would not meet the federal guidelines for proof of identity for things like boarding an airplane but would be sufficient for driving.
“The problem is that, according to DMV, in order to check Liza’s citizenship status (even though Social Security recognizes her U.S. citizenship) she would need to produce evidence of her naturalization or an unexpired immigrant visa number which could be checked in the federal database available to government agencies. Which brings us to the Catch-22 we face — if she didn’t automatically become a citizen in 2000, I would have renewed her ‘immigrant’ status and applied for citizenship (and have the paperwork DMV requires), but where she became a citizen by operation of law, I have no proof of that. So our next mission is to see if the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can’t update their system to acknowledge the citizenship of international adoptees.
“But, fortunately, Sen. Duff was able to help with the initial battle for which we are very appreciative (of course, he declined to give my daughter driving lessons!).”
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will provide a certificate that Liza is a citizen for a “ prohibitive” cost of $550, Colarossi said.
“Such a cost is prohibitive, particularly for those of us who are being confronted at the same time with the expenses of driving classes, increased auto insurance and impending college tuitions,” he said.
Zoning issues and tax revaluations
At Tuesday’s meeting to discuss the tax assessments currently being done, Zoning Commissioner Mike Mushak asked how the requirement for developers to make 10 percent of their units affordable affected their property valuation.
“Some people think that brings down the value of the property for tax purposes and that, in essence, all of Norwalk taxpayers end up subsidizing the affordable housing part of that,” he said. “I was arguing that does not because you are only looking at building, you are sort of looking at bricks and mortar, I thought.”
“We actually are looking at income, too, but also at bricks and mortar.” Assistant Tax Assessor Michael O’Brien answered. “But more so in the case of newer construction, which, of course, has more relevance. But also in terms of some that are older.”
He went on, “We actually have a lot of good data on housing. We can compel and we do compel owners to provide us with income and expense statements for that. And that is used for part of the basis for that. Included in that would be things like the rent. Although those rentals may be subsidized they are market revenues that are coming in. To answer to your question, they may in some cases be valued higher because of the income stream that is being derived from those, especially if there are benefits in terms of the capitalization process or the interest rate on lending loans, that sort of thing. We do look at both bricks and mortar and income production as well.”
A photo was removed from this story in October 2019.