Good Morning Wilton Thu, 22 Aug 2019 19:26:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Good Morning Wilton 32 32 94035148 Saturday’s ‘Back the Track’ 5K Fundraiser Part of Marathon Effort to Fix Wilton’s Running Track Thu, 22 Aug 2019 10:51:40 +0000 Fixing the problems with the Wilton High School stadium track is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. Now one leg of that marathon will take place this Saturday, Aug. 24, at a “Back the Track” 5K and Kids’ Fun Run fundraiser to help raise some of the money needed to perform much needed fixes.

After years of patches and stretching out maintenance for the track, officials are trying to find the most cost effective way to complete a much-needed overhaul of the running surface. “We’re fortunate the track we have lasted as long as it did,” Kevin Foley, founder and coach of the middle school Wilton Running Club and the Wilton-based high school Connecticut Elite Track and Field Club, told GOOD Morning Wilton in 2018.

The town completed some fixes to the all weather track at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium last spring, including replacement of a large section of asphalt near the concession stand and repairs to the running surface in 16 other sections of the track. Those repairs cost $17,300. Replacement of the track will be considered next year at the May, 2020 Annual Town Meeting.

(Town officials say the recently replaced asphalt portion will not have to be redone if the track is ultimately replaced.)

In 2013, the replacement of the track was put into the Town’s long term capital plan with the expectation that the track’s upper asphalt layer had a remaining life of 12 to 15 years and thus the Town would only need to replace the running surface. Cracking in the track since 2013 indicated that more extensive work was required. The asphalt layer is comprised of a base layer, a binder layer, and a top layer, and the Town will not know whether the top or all layers will need to be replaced until work is begun. In doing recent repairs, the top asphalt was removed and the base was intact.

Town officials are encouraged after testing and analysis by two engineering firms in 2018 indicated that the subsurface below the asphalt was acceptable and could be built upon. The current estimate for the asphalt replacement of all three layers and a new running surface is $800,000 to $1,000,000.

The Wilton Running Club, the Wilton Track Association and concerned members of the Wilton Community created a non-profit organization they called Back the Track to help raise a portion of the funds needed for track repairs. The group’s goal is to raise $200,000.

The Back the Track website says that the group has worked with a leading track and field design company called the Paige Design Group, “…to develop a design for a track facility that is sustainable and renewable for the next 25-30 years at a minimal maintenance cost to the town.”

Saturday’s 5K and Kids’ Fun Run is billed as a “great preseason sport warm up for athletes and family fun event for all ages.”

It takes place, naturally, at the Wilton Track. The cost to participate in the 5K is $35, and it starts at 9 a.m.; kids 12-and-under can run in the fun run (beginning at 8:45 a.m.) for $10. For more information visit the sign-up page online.

]]> 0 86446 Middlebrook School Adds Statistics & Probability Class, to Increase Math Instruction Thu, 22 Aug 2019 10:05:51 +0000 Returning Middlebrook School 7th and 8th grade students found a surprise on their schedules this week. A new quarterly class has been added to boost the hours of math instruction Wilton middle schoolers will receive. When school starts next Tuesday, Aug. 27, they’ll begin taking a course in Statistics and Probability for one quarter of the year, in addition to their daily math instruction.

Middlebrook principal Lauren Feltz wrote an email to families explaining what the new class was and why it has been added to the curriculum this year.

“Those of you who follow the Wilton Board of Education closely know that there is a desire to increase math instructional time at Middlebrook School. Indeed, [superintendent] Dr. Kevin Smith is facilitating a study group of Middlebrook staff to explore ways to increase math-focused time. Adding this Statistics and Probability course is not a solution to that problem, but it will make sure that students get direct instruction on this content. The course will embed skill building in real-world application and project-based learning.”

Over the last few years, Wilton Public Schools administrators, faculty, families and Board of Education members have been engaged in discussion about students’ math performance across the district. Officials have explored the idea that the rollout of curriculum changes from Chicago Math to Singapore Math several years ago may have left some students with knowledge gaps as they progressed in math instruction.

The new Middlebrook class is being added as a part of the school’s STRIDE program, where some classes run on a quarterly schedule. The other courses taught this way include Family and Consumer Science (FCS), Introduction to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (ISTEM), and Health.

Feltz explained that while 6th grade students have traditionally taken a fourth quarterly class in Digital Citizenship, 7th and 8th graders had until now filled out their fourth quarter schedules with a tutorial. Now, Statistics and Probability will take the place of that tutorial.

The class will be taught by Darren Gunn, a long-time Middlebrook teacher who has previously taught English Language Arts, but is also dual certified in Mathematics. “Mr. Gunn is a highly skilled teacher who has a deep understanding of this content and is eager to help students explore meaningful, often fun, applications of data and statistics,” wrote Feltz in her email.

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Officials Excited About Cider Mill Renovations for Start of School Year 2019-2020 [PHOTOS] Thu, 22 Aug 2019 09:25:32 +0000 Judging by the excitement of the administrators at Cider Mill School, the building maintenance projects completed in the facility over the summer was a “bright” thing to do. When students and their families return today to walk through and meet their teachers before the start of school next week, that’s likely going to be their reaction as well–things look much brighter at Wilton’s school for students in grade 3-5.

Walking through the doors of the school, anyone familiar with Cider Mill will immediately see the work that was done over the summer–the carpeting that covered the majority of the floors throughout the entire building was pulled up and white floor tiles were installed in its place; almost all the walls received a fresh coat of paint (somewhere between white and very, very light blue-grey); and brand new ceiling tiles and LED lighting were installed throughout the school. Officials have said it’s as if they’ve got a new school, without the significant costs associated with a full scale renovation like what was necessary at Miller-Driscoll School a few years ago.

Pops of bright colors identified with the four ‘houses’ that make up the sections of the school–green for Kent, yellow for Belden Hill, red for Cannondale and blue for Nod Hill–add eye-catching accents on railings, columns or alcoves. And new, modular soft furniture (also custom colored for each house) has been assembled in common areas to make cozy, kid-friendly tech areas that can be used as alternative teaching spaces or collaboration areas.

Altogether the effect is a lighter, brighter, more energized environment, one that principal Jen Falcone says really enhances the student-focused philosophy and mission.

“I’m really excited for the kids to come back and just feel a new vibe in the building,” Falcone says. “The biggest thing is our theme for the year–Be Here, Be You, Belong. To make it really student-centered and inclusive–really celebrating everybody’s individuality and that this is their place. This is their home for the hours that they’re here.”

The new furniture in the common areas echoes the flexible seating many classroom teachers have adopted, with soft-sided geometric shapes that can be used for seating or desks and moved into different arrangements around on a whim. In addition, the school is recognizing that kids this age have a lot of energy to burn, so they make sure to program in movement breaks and free play during the day.

“As we’re totally focused on the academic piece, we’re also trying to keep the whole student wellbeing in mind, really supporting them and understanding that that makes the student learning go,” Falcone adds.

The faculty helped get the school ready for the cosmetic changes starting last spring, taking part in a Marie Kondo classroom challenge clean-up. “We got a dumpster, we had an in-school tag sales where we put things out, and we donated to schools in Bridgeport,” says Falcone, noting that the big clean uncovered lots of even obsolete items that just needed to go–including a couple old-style overhead projectors.

There are also more outside areas being put to use. The inner courtyards (above), once overgrown with thorny bushes, have been cleaned up and replanted. Seating areas will allow teachers and students to use those spaces as alternative classrooms as well.

There’s also a sizable flower and vegetable garden planted by the PTA last year that is flourishing on the building’s south side.

“The food that’s been harvested from here, some of it has been herbs and flowers, but they also planted vegetables that have been going up to Comstock to the food pantry,” says Cider Mill assistant principal Catherine O’Keefe.

But the pièce de résistance of the summer renovation has to be the school’s Library Learning Commons (LLC). The space has been rethought to incorporate all the hallmarks of 21st century learning–STEM, collaboration, student-directed learning and flexible areas.

O’Keefe points to the decorative painted walls, the soft stools that look like logs and even a pattern in the carpet that makes the floor look like a huge tree trunk with the center seating area as the branches and leaves.

“The theme behind all of this was to bring the outside in. So you’ll see both the trees and the woodlands and all of that when you go through this space.”

The old floor to ceiling bookshelves have been replaced by shorter shelves that now don’t block the light and are a more kid-friendly height. Plus, like every bit of furniture in the LLC, the shelves are on wheels and easy to move around, which makes the entire space very customizable for bringing in large groups of people or holding all sorts of different activities and events. There’s also comfortable seating that’s inviting to kids to curl up on and read.

Also in the LLC is the maker space and primary STEM area, under the direction of former 5th grade teacher turned LLC/Stem specialist Jason Greasley. The former computer lab room has been transformed into a room-sized maker space with communal tables ideal for project work. This lets the kids come to a dedicated space where they can really get hands-on rather than have Greasley toting materials from classroom to classroom around the school.

“There’ll be all kinds of things going on in this room. The maker space is any hands-on, creative outlet for our kids. So if they want to paper mâché; if they want to origami; or we’ve got projects like a robotics–we’re building our own robots instead of using robots. Coding will be the next level to it–you build your robot, you code it; 3-D printers. That’s what that room’s about,” Greasley explains. “Giving the kids options to be creative in how they show what they’re learning and that they get to direct it, that they get to figure out teamwork and do it all.”

Plus, he says, “They can take all those skills they are learning in the classroom and they choose how to apply it, which is really cool to watch.”

Falcone said the work done by the custodians in getting the school in shape and cleaned up for this year was extraordinary. “They have gone above and beyond to get this place ready. I mean, if you had seen this place just last week…”

The other major cosmetic change people will see is immediately noticeable even before stepping foot in the school. The Cider Mill parking lot has been entirely repaved and re-striped, all of which was included in this fiscal year’s road restoration and paving bonding.

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Wilton YMCA will have Delayed Opening Friday Wed, 21 Aug 2019 22:52:52 +0000 Due to a power shutdown the Wilton Family YMCA will not open until at least 12 noon on Friday, Aug. 23. Before coming in, guests are asked to check the YMCA website for updates.

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Stadium Advertising Openings Available for Interested Sponsors Wed, 21 Aug 2019 10:37:43 +0000 To the Editor:

Wilton is fortunate to have excellent academic, athletic and recreational programs and facilities for town residents and visitors. The Wilton Athletic and Recreation Foundation (WARF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, was created to help offset the Town’s future expense in updating and replacing our turf athletic facilities through the placement of sponsorship banners at both Veteran’s Memorial Stadium and Lilly Field.

If you are a business interested in placing a sponsorship banner at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium and Lilly Field, please send an email and we will send you the details. Sponsorship packages start at $1,000 per year, which includes the production and placement of the banners.

Thank you,

David Cote
JR Sherman
Dave Clune
The Wilton Athletic & Recreation Foundation (WARF)

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Miller-Driscoll to Explore Multi-Age Educational Opportunities, Recess Changes and More in 2019-2020 Wed, 21 Aug 2019 10:24:40 +0000 The 2019-2020 school year is just about to get underway and with it will come some exciting new opportunities for Wilton’s youngest learners. Miller-Driscoll Elementary School, which is the scholastic home of Wilton’s public school students in kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade (as well as pre-K), will be piloting a new, multi-age educational component with the start of this year.

Historically, Miller-Driscoll has followed a traditional grade-level approach, with the different grades kept relatively separate. The new, multi-age approach involves bringing the students from classrooms in the three different grade levels together to incorporate shared learning opportunities across the age groups.

The idea grew out of a workshop that some of Wilton’s educators attended last year as part of the district’s participation in the Tri-State Consortium assessment program for high-performing districts. Based on the work of researchers Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Marie Alcock, who wrote Bold Moves for Schools, Miller-Driscoll administrators are building both learning and play-based opportunities for students in the three grades to participate in together.

“We’re going to do some things around building community, and looking for some different connections that we can make with the kids across grade levels. It’s in its infancy, but we’re very excited and the teachers doing it are so excited,” explains Miller-Driscoll principal Kathy Coon.

The school dipped a toe in the multi-age waters last year, exploring some activities on a very limited scale. As examples, Coon describes games the different age groups played together while waiting in their bus rooms at the end of the school day, multi-age recess periods and reading buddies.

“It was a way to have them get to know each other and look at ways that we can provide leadership opportunities even for our–I hate to call them older kids because they’re only 2nd grade–but our older kids that looked out for some of the younger kids,” she explains.

This year, the program will expand in two ‘cores’–the groups of classrooms around which the school is organized. Teachers were given the opportunity to volunteer in the program, and Coon says it was something more teachers wanted to do than could be accommodated in the pilot this year.

“One core will have two kindergarten classes, two first grade classes and two second grade classes; the other core will have three first and three second grade classrooms. We’re going to start there with opportunities to do some different things. So whether they’re teaming up to do some science and social studies. [Superintendent] Dr. Kevin Smith got us some furniture for each of our core areas throughout the whole school, so we’re going to do some things around that, like some core meetings to build community.”

Right off the bat, the approach will require some reorganization of classrooms, with the 12 participating classes relocating to multi-age cores. That means other teachers and classrooms not in the pilot will also switch locations this year. But Coon says there will be lots of benefits to students and teachers from trying the multi-age experience.

“First off it offers a ton of flexibility. Whether a kid needs a change of scenery, whether they need some support behaviorally, whether they need some support academically, all of those things I think we’ll be much better able to accommodate in a multi-age core,” she explains. “I also feel like a lot of the things that our students have already done–like first graders have already done all the science units in kindergarten, so how great for our first graders to be able to go down and talk to kindergarteners about when they built their ‘save the snowman structure,’ for example.”

The approach will also allow teachers to collaborate more with one another. “We’ve done a lot of training and professional development with grade level teams and there still will be an emphasis on grade level teams. But really examining the whole idea of vertical alignment and what was taught in kindergarten and then how do we build on that in first grade and how do we build on that and second and then what does that look like when the kids go on to Cider Mill,” says Coon.

Bold Moves in Play and Recess

The school is also looking at how it can make the learning environment stronger by restructuring how play and recess is built into the day. M-D students used to get a 25-minute lunch paired before or after with a 25-minute recess, supplemented with a 10-15 minute second ‘extra’ recess with teachers.

Now, while the lunch period will stay as 25 minutes, the kids will see distinct changes in their before and after breaks.

One period will be a 15-minute purposeful play time period supervised by cafeteria aides. The other will be a 30-minute recess overseen by classroom teachers–longer than in previous years, and extending the role teachers play in the process.

“We value play here. We studied play a lot and how to facilitate it and how to learn about your kids then how to teach your kids through play. So we’re making the change to have the classroom teachers out there for a 30-minute long recess, so that they can help to facilitate those skills that the kids learn through play. We’re really excited about that,” says Coon.

Purposeful play gives the students a variety of specific play options, including free play, ‘rough and tumble’ play, and organized play, all driven by things the kids themselves reported that they liked.

“Last year we did a survey with the kids, and so we added things like big Duplo blocks and big waffle blocks for building; we brought out some tables that had paper and board games and art materials, because we found that there are some kids where that big gross motor play–joining together and playing football or even climbing on the playground equipment–can be really intimidating for some kids and they prefer quiet play. We’re going to do a balance between those two things,” says Coon.

Longer recess grew out of a professional development session last year with Morgan Lecter Saxby, an expert in how children play. She talked about play cycles after the M-D teachers revealed that some students would come in from recess and still have trouble settling back in to learning.

“She said, ‘Well, some kids haven’t made it through their, their play cycle. There’s this whole routine that they go through.’ So we’re hoping that if we add on even a little bit of time, then we hope that they’ll be more available to come in and learn.”

Having the teachers be part of a longer recess is geared to giving them the ability to observe their students in all areas, and better understand how each of the kids operate.

“We also noticed last year the kids who were probably most successful at recess were the kids who had a plan before they got out there–they would return to what they were doing the day before. They were always the kids who played soccer or always played with the building blocks or whatever, versus some of the kids who didn’t have a plan and it took them a while to figure out what they wanted to do and then start playing–by the time they would, it was time to come in. So we’re hoping that with teachers observing that, then they can see, ‘Okay, maybe we need to have a conversation before we go out about what’s everybody’s plan, what does everybody want to do?’ Or if things go really well at recess time, say, ‘Wow. That went really well. What did we do that made it all work?’ Or if things didn’t go so well, ‘What do we need to do for our classroom community to make sure recess works for everybody?’


Mindfulness will also enter into the Miller-Driscoll lexicon even more this year, with both teachers and students.

The school’s mental health staff has taught lessons in the classroom around mindfulness in the past. This year educators will build on that on the heels of the district’s adoption last year of the concept of RULER, a social and emotional learning system developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence focused on positive emotional climates and developing skills in both students and the adults. RULER is an acronym that stands for “recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing and regulating emotions.”

“This year we’re going to start rolling some of those tools with the kids related to mindfulness–how do you want to feel in your classroom environment, what are you going to do to help people feel that way? A lot of our staff have had quite a bit of training in zones of regulation, which is all about knowing how is your body doing, how is your body feeling? The mood right now to match the tasks that you need to complete–if it doesn’t match, what might be some strategies, so if you’re all revved up but you’re being asked to sit quietly and do some writing, what are some strategies we can use to calm your body and your mind a little bit? And vice versa–if you’re kind of down, but we’re asking you to do a more active thing, then what do you do to get your body moving? All of those things are all related and incorporate that mindfulness piece,” Coon explains.

Mindfulness also has a physical presence in the school, thanks to a former student who has now moved on to Cider Mill, who wanted to introduce a place for students to better access mindfulness. She wrote a grant request to the PTA to create a ‘calming corner’ for students and also led the teachers in some activities they can do with their students.

“It’s a small room that has some sensory activities and choices in there–it has this really cute little chair that you can sit in and kind of pull a little cover over you so you literally feel like you’re in an egg. It’s just another option for kids who might need to take a quiet moment. She also did a professional development with the teachers where they made glitter mindfulness bottles–you shake them and just take a quiet moment and watch the glitter fall to the bottom, and they all made peace rocks. So the teachers [learned] to do those kinds of things in classes with their kids,” Coon describes.

Miller-Driscoll Post Office

One other new feature parents and students will find this year at M-D is a new Post Office. First grade teacher Scott Dempsey created an idea for an after school student club centered around mail.

“Over the summer he built a beautiful mailbox that we now have in our foyer and there’ll be mailboxes outside of each teacher’s classroom. Parents will be able to send letters in, kids will be able to write letters to other students or to teachers. That’s something extra that he’s doing, above and beyond.”

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Back to School For New Teachers Wed, 21 Aug 2019 06:46:02 +0000 Tuesday, Aug. 20 was the first day of school for Wilton Public Schools‘ 25 newly hired teachers. The district’s director of human resources Maria Coleman  welcomed the group and shared that the newly hired teachers in the room represented, “…the top 5% of our applicant pool of 550 applicants.”

She also pointed out that among the group of new educators were some very impressive talents.

“Sitting among you is a valedictorian from Wilton High School, a Fulbright scholar and a professional musician whose music was featured at the Sochi Olympics. You are the best of the best and you should feel very proud to be here. We hope Wilton will become your forever home,” Coleman said.

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith spoke next and encouraged all new staff to search for the twitter hashtag #WiltonWayCT, the running twitter feed of district-related posts.

“I challenge and invite you to visit it and post to it, it will make your day.” In an annual tradition, Smith asked his own children to give advice for the new teachers. Smith’s five children range in ages from 3rd grade to a high school freshman. Their wise words were:

  • We know how hard your jobs as teachers are.
  • Get to know your students.
  • Be creative.
  • Play lots of games, smile and give out lots of candy.

Chris Finkelstein, chair of the Board of Education spoke next, telling them, “As you begin your work, you are joining a community that enthusiastically embraces its teachers and supports it schools. Wilton teachers develop strong relationships with families. In our family, we frequently exchange stories about teachers who mean a lot to us. Our community shows support through schools in many ways–investing in them, supporting them on the football field, attending music and drama performances. This is an exciting time to be starting your tenure, teachers are the center of everything.”

Chuck Smith, assistant superintendent of instruction and Andrea Leonardi, assistant superintendent of special services, also addressed the new teachers, reinforcing the theme of fostering relationships, increasing student engagement and helping students to take risks to meet their goals.

“Success is when students come in smiling, telling you stories and relating something you taught them to something that happened to them in the world outside of the classroom,” Leonardi said.

The meeting ended with Superintendent Smith presenting each new hire with a Class of ’19 Wilton shirt. New teachers then returned to their own building to continue their orientation day.

Wilton’s New Hires by School/Area

Wilton High School

11 New High School Teachers

Wilton High School administrators with the high school’s newest teachers:

Denise Arnauckas, Special Education
Cathryn Duemmler, Science
Anna Fernandez, PE
Jody Harkins, Special Education
Matthew Kelly, German
Megan Kounnas, Art
Kathryn Lynch, Science
Sara Roberge, English
Sara Scully, Family and Consumer Science
Catherine Spadaro, Special Education
Monark Trivedi, Math


Middlebrook New Hires

William McLachlan, English
Julie Toich, English

Pictured with Middlebrook principal Lauren Feltz and dean Damian Wheelan.

Cider Mill

Cider Mill New Hires


Erin Crowley, 5th Grade Teacher
Catherine O’Keefe, CM assistant principal
Lauren Catalano, CM assistant principal
Sara Ando, Teacher of Hearing Impaired
Ethan Bourque, School Counselor
Olivia Barbieri, 5th Grade Teacher
Beth Bakst, Music
Jen Falcone, principal

Miller Driscoll

Miller Driscoll New Teachers

Iain Tait, Music
Megan Garcia, 
Special Education
Heather McGuinness, LLC
Lindsay Arcuri,
 2nd Grade Teacher
Danielle Cummings, Reading Interventionist

Special Services

Alison Hourani, Genesis School Psychologist


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Waiter, What’s That Excavator Doing in My Norwalk River? Tue, 20 Aug 2019 08:28:55 +0000 What’s that excavator doing in the Norwalk River?

That’s a question some Wilton residents may be asking right now as they pass through Wilton Center. A glance over at the Norwalk River as it winds through town near Schenck’s Island reveals some heavy duty machinery at work moving large boulders and digging into the river banks and river bed.

The Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited, in partnership with the Town of Wilton, Wilton Land Conservation Trust, and Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT-DEEP) is working on a habitat enhancement project along a half-mile stretch of the Norwalk River at Schenck’s Island Open Space this month.

The project goal is to enhance the conditions of the location by creating a narrower and deeper river channel, improving the variety of habitats for fish and insects. The heavy equipment is being used to excavate the stream bed, build channel features and place boulders, all of which will improve the stream bed stability. Large trees and their root balls are being installed into the riverbank to prevent future erosion and increase bank stabilization.

Trout Unlimited began planning and fundraising for this project over two years ago. They have retained Troutscapes River Restoration out of Bozeman, MT to design the project plans and execute the construction work. According to Trout Unlimited’s conservation chair Jeff Yates, this company has a proven track record of completing successful river enhancement projects across the United States.

Trout Unlimited secured permits for the work not only through the town’s Inland Wetlands Commission but also with CT DEEP and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

According to Yates, there’s a limited time window to complete the work, as the group doesn’t want to impact spawning and the fish life cycles. Changes last year to a section upriver–a dam removal–changed the portion of the river closer to Merwin Meadows, making it now a sea run fishery, and keeping that window very narrow.

The project includes building 20 different deeper pools in the river, while also creating other shallow areas by narrowing the river path, providing an improved habitat for spawning and rearing. Deeper pools allow fish to survive the heat of the summer in deeper, while shallow riffles allow better spawning.

Yates explains that these areas have changed and disappeared over centuries–historical development when trees were cut down 300 years ago with the regional move to agriculture; then later industrial changes, as sewage and pollution were introduced into the waterway; even later residential impact, from parking lots and other man-made factors; and more recently climate change, as frequent, heavier rains have altered the ecosystem. All of those factors have combined to create more flashy river system–as heavy rains fall in quick bursts, the rain runs off all of the developed spaces and flash floods the rivers. This contributes to significant erosion, widening the stream channel and depositing sand on the river bottom which instead should be clean gravel and cobblestone with more gaps.

“This is what we’re trying to restore, at least a half-mile of a good mix of features that aquatic life needs,” Yates explains. “At the end of the day, while we’re focused on trout, these changes benefit all fish and it also includes improving the life of the aquatic insects, the bottom of the food chain,” he says.

Something else that was done this year in the river to help restore it was that about 80 adult lampreys were reintroduced to the river between Cannondale and Dana Dams. Environmental experts hope that the lampreys will spawn, and the young will migrate to the Sound–and return next summer to the place they were born to repeat the cycle–for the first time in 200 years.

The behavior is connected to trout health as well–Yates explains that the lampreys bring nutrients from the ocean back into the fresh water, as well as stir up the gravel in the river bed, which help the trout not have to work so hard to spawn. “There are all these little connections,” he says.

People can see the lamprey–they grow to about two- to three feet long, and look like eels with a much thicker body. They may be more visible in the area of the Wilton Family YMCA and on the NRVT and are most active when they’re spawning in the early morning and late evening hours.

Completing the work is expensive–in the range of $100,000 per project, with three other half-mile sections planned after the stretch along Schenck’s Island is completed. Trout Unlimited welcomes donations via its website, and volunteers–contact Yates for more information.

The work is scheduled to begin during the last few weeks of August and is expected to last approximately 10 days. Portions of Schenck’s Island will be closed to the public during the work, but the trails away from the work zone will remain open for public use.

Town and Trout Unlimited officials are excited about what the changes will do to improve the resource, as the  Norwalk River continues to take a prominent role in Wilton’s present and future. Yates reminds everyone that the objective of the 10-14 days of construction followed by careful, thoughtful planting, is to build a half mile of “excellent habitat that models what the river should look like.”

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Reminder: It’s Sales Tax-Free Week Aug. 18-24 Tue, 20 Aug 2019 06:50:47 +0000 Just in time for back-to-school clothes shopping, Connecticut’s 19th Annual Sales Tax Free Week, during which retail purchases of most clothing and footwear items priced under $100 are exempt from the 6.35% sales and use tax, is going on right now, through Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019.

The one-week sales and use tax holiday applies to individual items, regardless of how many items are sold to a customer on the same invoice. That means even if a total bill is above $100, the exemption applies to each item that qualifies.

Connecticut shoppers almost didn’t get to benefit from the sales tax exemption this year–Gov. Ned Lamont had proposed an initial budget eliminating the sales tax holiday, but the final budget eventually passed by lawmakers still kept the exemption, and even added some new items to the list of goods that qualify.

The CT Department of Revenue Services has published an online list of examples of clothing and footwear that are exempt when sold for less than $100–as well as some interesting ones that are not exempt.

Golf shirts, aprons, sneakers, socks and undergarments are exempt; lobster bibs, riding pants, handbags and jewelry are not tax-free this week.

Even with items that aren’t exempt, Connecticut shoppers are still expected to benefit from approximately $4.9 million in sales and use tax savings during the state’s annual sales tax holiday–and it couldn’t come at a better time.

“Having this tax-free holiday helps working families stretch their dollar a little bit more during the busy back-to-school season while giving businesses an extra boost to their bottom line,” Lamont said in a press release. “I also encourage residents during this busy shopping week to consider locally-owned retailers and supporting Connecticut’s small business community.”

Connecticut retailers traditionally offer additional clothing and footwear discounts during Sales Tax Free Week, resulting in even more savings. Tax is calculated on the final sales price of an item, after all reductions and coupons are applied. Items that cost $100 or more are subject to sales and use tax for the entire price of that item.

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Wilton RTC Searches for Volunteers for Town Boards & Commissions Tue, 20 Aug 2019 04:06:46 +0000 To the Editor:

The Wilton Republican Town Committee wishes to advise that there are immediate and/or upcoming openings for Republican and unaffiliated Wilton residents who are interested and wish to serve on the:

  • Building Inspectors Board of Appeals:  2
  • Council of Ethics:  1
  • Economic Development Commission:  2
  • Historic Districts and Properties Commission:  1
  • Water Pollution Control Authority:  1

We anticipate that there will be additional openings in the future on other appointed boards and commissions because from time to time volunteers may move or resign.

If you wish to serve your town as a volunteer, please email your resume or biography along with a cover note stating the reason for your interest.

Peter Wrampe and Chuck Wessendorf
Co-Chairs Candidate Research & Development, Wilton RTC

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Aug. 9-15, 2019 Wilton Real Estate Week: 9 Homes Sold Mon, 19 Aug 2019 09:49:43 +0000 Each week the Wilton town clerk’s office releases data for the prior week’s real estate transactions. For the days between Aug. 9-15, 2019, the following land transfers were recorded (including address, sale price and photo where available):

Important:  Please note this report contains limited information. For details, please read the document on file in the Wilton Town Clerk’s office.

  • Amy Genkins sold 224 Nod Hill Rd. to Douglas and Shereece Davison, Trustees for $885,000.

  • David and Lisa Lamason sold 24 Berch Ct. to Michael Betler and Anupama Kurra for $687,000.

  • Jonathan and Donna Conway sold 808 Ridgefield Rd. to Thomas and Margaret Rizzacasa for $639,000.

  • Regina Corrigan Personal Residence Trust sold 15 Carriage Rd. to Jeffrey and Laura Ateca Runge for $980,000.

  • Lawrence and Patricia Cooper sold 72 Washington Post Dr. to Michael and Kelley Aksman for $710.000.

  • Eileen Madden Armstrong sold 3 Forge Rd. North to Jeffrey and Alexandra Cron for $720,000.

  • Serena Facchera sold 25 Sunset Hill Rd. to John Ezzo for $620,000.

  • Anne Smith sold 9 Coachmans Pl. to Eugene and Antonia Meken for $1,000,000.

  • Janienne Hackett sold 56 Glen View to Elzbieta Jarzabek for $372,000.

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GOOD Morning Wilton Turns 6 Years Old Today Mon, 19 Aug 2019 09:25:39 +0000 Happy 6th Birthday to us!

GOOD Morning Wilton is turning 6-years-old today. Like many parents marking the birthday of a child, it feels like I blinked and the six years since Aug. 19, 2013 flew by in an instant.

The idea to create a hyperlocal news website wasn’t new when I started GMW. In fact, I had been a freelance writer and columnist contributing to one of the original hyperlocal sites,, for more than three years when I felt that Patch was no longer providing Wilton with quality news and sense of online community that the town deserved. With my laptop, cell phone camera and a bit of chutzpah, I said, “I can do it better.”

My first article defined GOOD Morning Wilton in a way that still rings true today:

Wilton, CT is a great place to live. Young families, rich history, beautiful landscapes—there is so much that is GOOD here.

The town deserves a really GOOD source of news.

So today we’re launching GOOD Morning Wilton, with just you in mind.

The kind of news you want to read, with the kind of information you need to know. News that’s reported, written and told by writers who live here and care a great deal about your town—about our town.

There’s no police blotter, there’s no news that doesn’t involve Wilton or the people who live here. And most importantly, it’s a news source about the community that respects what the word ‘community’ means. This isn’t the place to cut down your neighbors, and it’s not a place for mean-spirited comments or commentary.

GMW is a place to connect with people who live and work here and who make Wilton an amazing town. It is a place to engage in Wilton in the way you need to—supporting businesses here, learning more about what’s happening in your children’s schools, helping organizations and neighbors in need. Most of all, it is a place to help make Wilton even greater.

GOOD Morning Wilton is the news you want, the news you need and the news we all deserve.

In the six years since starting, I’ve clicked ‘publish’ on 6,638 stories–this one makes 6,639. I’ve sent out 1,523 email newsletters. Close to 1 million different people have visited the website–in fact, GOOD Morning Wilton has notched 5.6 million page views over 2.7 million visits to the website.

But it’s not just all numbers and stats. GMW has played a role in some really good events. There was the time that our article about a Wilton school bus driver whose apartment was destroyed in a fire helped generate enough donations to raise first, last and a third month’s rent on a new apartment. We’ve also been told countless times about how a story we’ve published has put an organization over its fundraising goal, or helped sell out tickets to an event. And readers have sent emails of thanks for telling them about what’s going on in their community, letting us know the difference GMW is making in their lives.

In the six years since starting GMW has sponsored many non-profit organizations; live-blogged town meetings and live-streamed election news and debates; filed dozens of live reports on location; and most recently started a podcast. We’ve worked with student interns to help pass on what we’ve learned in the news business. And often we’ve been the first news media to bring readers breaking news stories, including our reporting on Aquarion’s failed efforts to take water from the Norwalk River or the recent arrest in a case of money that disappeared from the high school football booster organization, to name just two such instances.

It’s my turn to say thank you–thank you to readers who open up those email newsletters, visit the website and click on stories every day. Thank you to people who have become GMW members, whose financial support helps make sure GMW can continue to bring readers independent, local news in an era where that’s more at risk every day. Thank you to advertisers who help us keep the lights on and the website live. Thank you to writers who have helped populate the GMW pages with compelling and well-written stories. Thank you to colleagues and community members who trust GMW with bring their news to the public. And most of all, thank you to my family for understanding the crazy hours and just how important it is that Wilton has a trusted source of news from one of its own.

We ended our first article by asking readers to consider saying, “Good Morning” every morning with us. It’s something we hope you’ll keep doing for the next six years, and beyond.


Heather Borden Herve
GOOD Morning Wilton Editor & Founder

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