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.
A ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest walk has been planned for Sunday in Darien, starting at 1 p.m. at Trader Joe’s, 436 Post Road and ending at the Darien Police Headquarters, 25 Hecker Ave. The Darien Democratic Town Committee reported on its website: “March co-organizer Steven Gomez, 20 , confirmed the details with the DTC:
Quick rundown, there is a parking lot near Trader Joe’s, we will have people park there and around, we will have a few people who want to speak, a moment of silence for George and the other lives lost, then a walk down post road to DPD, and back to get to our cars. A peaceful protest, masks required, gloves if possible, and we just want to spread awareness and pop the bubble which is Darien.
“Steven Gomez, 20 and Barak Mustafa, 19, both Middlesex and Darien High graduates, are co-organizers of the event. It was originally advertised under Gomez’s Instagram account.”
Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson on Friday criticized Darien High School Principal Ellen Dunn for recommending a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the sources of information students and parents could use in learning about racism in light of events surrounding the George Floyd killing. “Now, ironically, the Southern Poverty Law Center is itself a hate group,” Carlson said. “That has been documented extensively. Now their agenda is the school’s agenda. It’s what your kids are learning.”
Governor: Towns to Get Everything They Asked For in Reimbursements for March-to-June Spending Related to COVID-19
The federal funding now made available to the state ($75 million) to reimburse local governments for COVID-19 expenses is nearly twice the amount ($40 million) municipalities recently told the state that they expected to spend through the end of June, according to state officials. “We are reimbursing municipalities for their full cost of their expenses to date,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in an announcement Thursday. The money, from the federal CARES Act, also funds testing for the virus and an even larger amount for school district expenses due to COVID-19 — $111 million in Connecticut. The funds, which must be for additional COVID-19 expenses alone, will be given out in future months as well, according to an announcement from Gov. Ned Lamont’s office. School districts will get a share of $111 million from Connecticut’s portion of the CARES Act funding.
With many high school students concerned about the recent police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and dramatic events sparked by it, Darien High School sent an email Thursday morning to parents with web links to information geared toward students on racism and police violence. SEE ALSO: DHS Principal’s Recommended Source for Reading About Racism Denounced on National Fox News Show (June 6)
DHS Principal Ellen Dunn sent the email. Among the resources it points to are several that her message emphasized, including links to:
— an interview with “a clinical psychologist at the University [of Pennsylvania] studying racial literacy and racial trauma”
— a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, has detailed materials for educators and families on teaching about race, racism, and police violence
— three links to Web pages with information “for educators in how we can proactively help children think about and process these difficult ideas” from the National Association for School Psychologists, which was being used by the school district for guidance in addressing the topics with students.
“As events unfold around the country, the Darien Public School District joins other organizations and individuals in the call to action to address and end systemic racism. […]
“As a District, we are sharing resources with the community that will guide our work moving forward in the race conscious education of our students and support your discussions as families.” […]
“Engaging in difficult conversations is a critical step in fostering acceptance and embracing differences.
A partnership between the state and various philanthropies is trying to help state residents directly hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic but who have fallen through gaps in other relief programs, Gov. Ned Lamont and other officials announced Wednesday. Here’s the announcement from the Governor’s Office (we’ve also included a video of the announcement; for this article, the list of long quotes from various officials has been moved to the bottom):
Gov. Ned Lamont today announced that the State of Connecticut is partnering with philanthropic organizations in an effort to provide emergency assistance to vulnerable residents in the state who are most directly impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency and are otherwise ineligible from receiving assistance through federal pandemic relief programs, including those from within the undocumented community. The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was created at the outbreak of the pandemic to provide emergency assistance to those who have been impacted, excludes relief to any residents who are undocumented and any U.S. citizen who files taxes with an undocumented spouse or partner. This same measure also denies emergency benefits to the U.S. citizen children of these parents. To address this situation, the Lamont administration and its philanthropic partners are taking a several steps to providing assistance.
Darien Police Chief Issues Statement on Fair, Reasonable Law Enforcement in Light of Recent Tensions in the Country
In the wake of national protests against the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other deaths of black men in the hands of police, and a peaceful march through downtown Darien Police Chief Donald Anderson issued a written statement about his department’s attitude and intentions regarding professional policing. “We stand for protecting the rights of all residents and guests of the town of Darien that are guaranteed by both the state of Connecticut and United States Constitutions,” Anderson said in the statement. “Anything less is not acceptable to the administration of this department, nor should it be acceptable to you. ”
He said the department always tries to be professional, even though it sometimes makes mistakes. “I am proud that the Darien Police Department, your Darien Police Department, is made up of highly trained, well-educated and fully engaged professional public safety officers and staff.”
A crowd of between several hundred and a thousand people took part in a march Sunday from downtown Darien to downtown Noroton honoring George Floyd, killed after he was arrested by Minneapolis police. Organized by the Rev. Dale Rosenberger, pastor of the First Congregational Church in Darien, along with clergy from St. Luke’s Parish, apparently including Rev. Susan Wyper and perhaps clergy or volunteers from other churches. The event lasted about an hour and included statements from clergy, as well as the 1.8-mile march west along the Post Road. Darien police blocked off street entrances to the Post Road, along with the Interstate 95 Exit 11 ramps.
The Democratic Town Committee announced Thursday that Michael Burke and Sara Parent have been nominated as candidates for Darien’s Board of Education. — an announcement from the Darien Democratic Town Committee
“Michael brings a wealth of experience and a steady hand, and Sara brings her experience as a highly involved parent and a former educator to the Board of Education,” DTC Chair David Bayne said. “At a time when the COVID-19 crisis is testing the very foundations of how education is being delivered to our children, Michael and Sara represent the kind of thoughtful and innovative leadership that is precisely what Darien needs in order to continue providing unsurpassed educational opportunities to all of our children,” Bayne said. “Together they represent the best that Darien has to offer and our town is particularly fortunate that they have chosen to run for the Board of Education during this unprecedented time.” Michael Burke is seeking his third term on the Board of Education and Sara Parent her first.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson announced several changes on Wednesday for people who want to use services in Town Hall starting on Monday, June 1. For one thing, Town Hall is changing to a four-day-a-week schedule, with Fridays off. For another, the Monday-through-Thursday hours from 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. It’s a trial period for the new schedule and, after a while, if it doesn’t work, the hours may go back to the traditional times. To prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, members of the public can visit Town Hall, but only with an appointment. Meetings will generally be held at “meeting stations” set up in Room 119.
Gov. Ned Lamont is reminding Connecticut residents who need help paying last winter’s home heating bills that there is still time to apply to the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP). An extended application deadline of Monday, June 1, 2020, gives eligible families and individuals — including those impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency — more time to apply for this vital assistance. — an announcement from the Governor’s Office
“Even though we are well into spring, we want to remind everyone that there’s still time to apply for assistance to pay for your home heating bills for the last winter season,” Lamont said. “I want to thank the Department of Social Services and the dedicated staff of Connecticut’s community action agencies and partners for their work on behalf of so many children, families, older and other adults who need assistance.”
“CEAP is an important public-private partnership that safeguards tens of thousands of vulnerable Connecticut households from the cold each year,” Social Services Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford said. “It also helps residents who are behind on their utility heating bills and may be at risk of a shutoff at some point.”
Connecticut residents are welcome to apply, regardless of whether their home is heated through electricity, natural gas, or a deliverable fuel.
For State Senate in District 25, Republicans Endorse Ellie Kousidis, a Norwalk Resident and Stamford Educator
Elisavet “Ellie” Kousidis of Norwalk recently won the Republican caucus nomination for the 25th state Senate district, representing Darien and Norwalk and now held by state Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff. Kousidis has been a teacher and library media specialist Rippowam Middle School, and before that a Westhill High School teacher of social studies and history. Before that, she worked for a software development company. As of 2018, her work in library media included teaching students how to build websites and blogs for classes. In 2018 she was named a Stamford 2018 Supporting Fund for Teachers fellow and recognized with a 2018 Stamford Public Education Foundation award, according to an article in the Stamford Advocate.
You won’t need a new dump sticker until Sept. 1. The town has decided to extend the current dump sticker expiration date from June 30, 2020 to that date to delay sales of new stickers at this stage of the pandemic, the Darien Department of Public Works has announced. Here’s the announcement:
Due to limitations on the sale of dump permits caused by the pandemic, current dump permits that would expire on June 30, 2020 will now remain valid until Sept. 1, 2020.
To the editor,
I’m pleased to announce that I will be running again for state representative in the 141st district — Darien, Norwalk and Rowayton. I am truly honored to have served these past years and look again to bring my legislative experience in Hartford to bear on solving the challenges we now all face right here. We live in very different and challenging times. Many of us have adapted with a compassionate understanding of the many complexities brought on by the coronavirus. While witnessing such widespread negative impact, I see positives, as well, with our citizens genuinely working together like I’ve not seen in many years.
With about 700 Darienites unemployed after losing their jobs in Connecticut on top of an unknown number of town residents who lost jobs in New York state, the Board of Finance decided to cut budget proposals from the Boards of Education and Selectmen, resulting in a slightly lower tax rate. The new mill rate will be no more than $16.36 (for every $1,000 of assessed value), down slightly from the current fiscal year’s $16.47, an 11-cent difference. The Finance Board’s goal was to keep the next town tax levy essentially the same as this one. The Finance Board’s cuts of about half a percent to the schools budget (on top of earlier cuts that the Board of Education agreed to make) came in the face of strong objections from members of not only the Board of Education, but also schools Superintendent Alan Addley and the Council of Darien School Parents. They said further cuts would hurt the educational experience of students.
Gov. Ned Lamont announced Friday that, in coordination with Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, he is ordering Connecticut’s 2020 presidential primary election to be postponed to Tuesday, Aug. 11, due to the ongoing public health crisis caused by COVID-19. — an announcement from the Governor’s Office
This is the second time the governor has rescheduled the presidential preference primary due to the pandemic. It was originally scheduled to be held April 28 and then ordered last month to be rescheduled to June 2. The state is already scheduled to hold primaries for other federal, state, and local offices on Aug.