Stand Against Racism protest signs 2020

Parents Invited to Web Events on ‘Institutional Racism’ This Tuesday, Wednesday, June 23, 24

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Two online “community conversations” for parents, together titled “Current State of Affairs: Institutional Racism & Real Talk,” and sponsored by Darien organizations, will take place next week. Each one for parents of children in different age groups. Each conversation will be hosted on Zoom from 6 to 7:30 p.m. ‚ on June 23, 2020 for parents with children ages birth to 10 and on June 24 for parents of children ages 11 and up. — an announcement from the YWCA of Darien-Norwalk

Rashad Randolph will be a guest speaker, along with Lynn S. Sullivan, M.S. Ed., MA of Diversity Benchmark Consulting. The event is hosted by YWCA Darien/Norwalk in partnership with A Better Chance Darien and Council of Darien School parents.

Kevin Grant mug shot 2020

Police: Darien Man, 29, Struggling with Drug Addiction, Forges Checks, Buys Heroin

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Kevin Grant, 29, was arrested April 27 in Norwich on charges of violating the conditions of his release from custody, perhaps because he was in possession of marijuana. Darien police say he went into a rehabilitation program, got out and recently was staying at his former home in Darien. A condition for his staying at home at Shady Lane was that no narcotics were brought in, but on May 26, a complainant told police that when she was cleaning she’d found bags that she suspected had heroin residue in them. Police confirmed that. She also found $750 in forged checks, police said.

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Governor Bans State Police From Using Chokeholds, Mandates Other Changes for State Police

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Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday announced that he has signed an executive order taking several actions to modernize police strategies and programs in Connecticut amid an ongoing national conversation on accountability and transparency in law enforcement strategies. — an announcement from the Governor’s Office

The governor’s order:

Bans the Connecticut State Police from using chokeholds, strangleholds, arm-bar control holds, lateral vascular neck restraints, carotid restraints, chest compressions, or any other tactics that restrict oxygen or blood flow to the head or neck. Requires the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) to review the Connecticut State Police Administrative and Operations Manual and update it to include the following requirements and prohibitions:

Require troopers to de-escalate situations, when possible, before using force;
Require troopers to provide a verbal warning, when possible, before using deadly force;
Require troopers to exhaust all other reasonable alternatives before resorting to deadly force;
Require troopers to intervene to stop another law enforcement officer from using excessive force, and to report any such use to a supervisor in writing;
Prohibit troopers from shooting at or into moving vehicles unless the occupants of the vehicle pose a deadly threat by means other than the vehicle;
Include a use-of-force matrix; and
Require troopers to report all uses of force, including drawing a firearm on another civilian. Requires DESPP to appoint and train community trust liaisons in each Connecticut State Police Troop and instruct them to assist those troops in building relationships with residents and community-based organizations, learning from those residents and organizations about how to better serve their communities, and making it easier for those residents and organizations to communicate with the State Police. Prohibits DESPP from purchasing or otherwise acquiring military and military-style equipment from the federal government until further notice.

Darien Summer School student desk reading

Superintendent Asks Parents for Feedback on eLearning to Help Shape Plans for New School Year

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With one school year over and a second, also with an ongoing pandemic to deal with, Darien schools Superintendent Alan Addley is asking parents for feedback on eLearning, saying it will help with plans for the upcoming school year. That year may have school buildings open in some way, possibly closed or possibly some combination of the two, maybe at the same time, maybe at different times. School district officials just don’t know, and the decision likely won’t be their’s anyway — Addley said the state is likely to issue a mandate to school districts this summer. But whatever the future holds, district officials are trying to prepare for it with plans, even if they’re only contingency plans. Addley briefly described the planning process, both in an email to parents last week and at an earlier Board of Education meeting.

Jim Cameron Jim Cameron 8-2-16

‘I’m Desperate for a Reason To Be Bullish on Mass Transit … I Don’t See Any’: Cameron on Transportation

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When coronavirus hit us this spring, more than just our normal rail commuting patterns were disrupted. One young entrepreneur’s business simply imploded, but now he’s coming back, stronger than before. Joe Colangelo is founder and CEO of Boxcar, the New Jersey-based company that bills itself as the “Airbnb of parking,” matching commuters with empty parking spots near train stations in Stamford, Darien, New Canaan and Stratford. Before COVID-19, his business was red hot. But by early March he knew it was doomed as people stopped commuting and demand for parking evaporated.

Stand here social distancing Metro-North

Metro-North Increases Train Service as More Passengers Return: Here’s What’s Changed

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Effective Monday, June 15, Metro-North Railroad has increased train service on the Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven Lines. The increase in service is due to a steady growth in ridership in response to the Phase 1 reopening in New York state. — an announcement from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The new schedule will provide a 115% increase in peak service from the May 27 schedule, with several trains added in the morning and afternoon peak periods. We will continue to provide hourly service during off-peak periods, on middays, evenings, late nights, weekends and holidays. SEE ALSO: ‘I’m Desperate for a Reason To Be Bullish on Mass Transit … I Don’t See Any’: Cameron on Transportation (June 15)

During this special schedule, off-peak fares will continue to be in effect.

Darien Cops Website Coyote

Coyote Bites Woman in New Canaan Park: Walkers Warned To Be Wary in Waveny

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New Canaan Police are urging Waveny Park visitors to avoid trails and areas of tall grass Thursday after a coyote bit a woman taking a morning walk there with her dog. — an article from NewCanaanite.com. At about 6:30 a.m., a woman was bit in the backside by a coyote near the walled garden east of Waveny House, according to police. Officer Allyson Halm, head of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section, said it’s unclear at this point whether the coyote is sick or was exhibiting “escorting” behavior while denning. “If it’s a den situation, I’m not sure where it is,” Halm said.

Weed Beach Darien Park and Recreation Park & Recreation 03-02-17

Changes in Rules Announced at Darien Parks

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The Darien Parks and Recreation Department has announced various changes related to more reopening of facilities now that the COVID-19 epidemic is spreading slower. Lifeguards will be on duty at both beaches starting July 1. Also, trash cans are being brought back to town parks on Friday. The department also announced that “all trash cans will be reinstated at all parks and beaches tomorrow, June 12, 2020.” In an email, Park & Rec Director Pam Gery said: “[W] had an unfortunate incident of two pictures of garbage left at Weed Beach that turned viral on social media today.

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Police: Man, Woman Caught Stealing Makeup from Darien Drug Store

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A 32-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman were found with $1,800 in stolen makeup, and a police officer saw the man put one item in his sweater on Friday, June 5 at the CVS store downtown, police said. Darien police gave this account of what happened, including accusations not proven in court:

Police were told at 7:49 a.m. that the theft was happening, and officers went to the store at 964 Post Road. That’s where one officer saw the man, Stephen Panagatos of Hauppauge, Long Island, put an item in his sweater. When the pair noticed the officers, Panagatos dropped a bag that had been over his shoulder. He told police that he had intended to put the items back.

Police Darien Police Lock Your Car Every Time

On Two Nights, Different Car Theft Groups in Darien: Teens Found and Charged in One, Car Stolen in Another

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Two Norwalk teenagers admitted they were trying to steal a car in Darien when police caught them on Wednesday, June 3, and on Saturday to Sunday, June 7, a vehicle was stolen and later found in Hartford, police said. On each of the nights, unlocked cars were targeted, and multiple vehicles were entered, Darien police said. Also on each of those nights: Home security cameras showed people creeping around at about 3 a.m. In the stolen-car incident, that didn’t stop a resident at the same address from leaving car unlocked. The cars entered were at locations including streets well off the main roads in town and had one main thing in common — their owners had left them unlocked, and in at least one case, with the key or key fob inside. Here are the details, as provided by Darien police (including accusations not proven in court):
THE 3 CASES TUESDAY TO WEDNESDAY
Teens Charged
At 2:54 a.m., a security camera at a home on Littlebrook Road picked up two males running up the driveway near a parked vehicle.

Town Hall 2015

RTM Sets Budget; Cuts Taxes a Bit More for a $16.33 Mill Rate; Finance Board, GOP Ed Board Members Sharply Criticized

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July’s town tax bills will be a bit lower after the Representative Town Meeting on Monday cut the 2020-2021 budget enough to reduce town taxes from 16.47 per $1,000 of assessed value to $16.33, a reduction of 14 cents. The Board of Finance had proposed a budget with a tax rate of $16.36 (11 cents under the present rate), and the final tax rate is 3 cents less than that. The RTM, with the legal ability to to cut budgets but not to raise them, is the final authority on cutting the budget and setting the mill rate. The RTM voted overwhelmingly to cut various, relatively small items from the Board of Finance’s proposed budget, including financing to: repaint the tennis courts at Weed Beach that are nearest the entrance, remove money from Town Hall maintenance and refurbishing project accounts where money hadn’t been spent, kitchen equipment for the Weed Beach snack concession, and money for a ride-on leaf blower. All the cuts came from the Board of Selectmen’s side of town budget.

Theresa Vogt 02-04-20

Theresa Vogt: Here’s How the New Partisan Behavior on the Board of Ed Can Hurt Darien Education

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During a contentious Representative Town Meeting discussion Monday night, RTM Member Theresa Vogt’s comments criticizing partisanship on the Board of Education was ruled out of order by the moderator, Seth Morton, for bringing partisanship into the RTM and for not being close enough to the topic (the budget). Vogt and others, including David Bayne, who is both an RTM member and the chairman of the Democratic Town Committee, didn’t sway Morton, so Vogt didn’t get to read her entire comment, the end of which addressed actions on the Board of Finance. Others in the meeting made much shorter versions of similar comments. Since it appeared that she had prepared her remarks beforehand, and since her arguments competently address an important topic, Darienite.com was able to ask her for it, and here it is:

Theresa Vogt, District 6.  I am the vice chair of the Education Committee.  My comments tonight are not on the behalf of the Education Committee. I would like to discuss partisan behavior, the lack of transparency, and the behind the scenes communications of certain Board of Ed members, as well as public comments that I found condescending toward the school administration and Darien taxpayers made by the chair of the Board of Finance.

PJ protest march June 7 2020

SIDEBAR: Three Speeches from Sunday’s Black Live’s Matter March

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These were three speeches given before or after at Sunday’s Black Lives Matter march through Darien. You can find quotes from them and other speeches in this related article, but these full texts may add to further understanding the event:

Editor’s note: These statements were recorded, although occasionally [as noted within brackets] some of the words couldn’t be heard. PJ’s Speech
One speaker, identified only as “PJ,”:

I moved here 22 years ago with my family. I’m very proud of my children, very proud of their voice, and I want to add something to their voice. I want to add something to this town that I love, this town that I grew up in, this town I live in, this town that I work in, this town where my friends are, and everything.

Marchers protest march black lives matter June 7 2020

Several Hundred March in ‘Black Lives Matter’ Protest Through Downtown on Sunday

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After a brief rally in the Trader Joe’s parking lot on Sunday afternoon, several hundred people decrying racism and police brutality in recent deaths marched to Darien Police Headquarters in a peaceful demonstration. Starting at 1 p.m. in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s, the 1.6 mile march lasted until about 2:20 p.m.

“How many more lives have to be lost in order for change to go into effect?” one of the organizers, Max Johns, told the crowd of 300 to 400. He was shaking as he spoke. “How many more times must we wake up and see people of color marginalized, beaten, arrested and killed?

One Longtime CT Telecommuter Who Misses the City: Cameron on Transportation

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Joe Connolly has been a telecommuter for 20 years. You probably know him from his award-winning business reports on WCBS Newsradio 880 or his Small Business Breakfasts held annually in Stamford. But you might not realize that Connolly lives not in New York City, but in eastern Connecticut. He’s up and working weekdays by 4:30 a.m., driving first to pick up a print copy of the Wall Street Journal before heading to his office/broadcast studio near his home, where he seldom opens the window blinds. “I’m here to work,” he says, “not for the view.”
In his broadcast booth he has a big painting of the New York City skyline to keep him connected with his radio audience.