FIRST UP on GMW is an occasional column that highlights shorter announcements or updates, and helps you get a quick start to the Wilton news of the day. Have a news tip, item or something you know people are chattering about? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Budget Season Starts with Quad-Board Meeting
Wilton’s top officials on four boards are meeting tonight, Wednesday, Dec. 8, to kick off budget planning for FY-2023. Traditionally held between the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance and Board of Education, this year will be a “quad-board” special meeting, adding the members of the Planning and Zoning Commission to the discussion.
The agenda is straightforward: officials will review demographic data and any changes over the last year; hear an update on grant funding and the town’s five-year capital plan; and discuss mill rate projections.
Members of the public can watch the meeting, which begins at 7 p.m., via Zoom. There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the meeting.
Bike Donations Wanted
Once again, Wilton has an opportunity to make a change in the world, and all it takes is a bicycle.
Wheels for Kids is an annual holiday program, spearheaded by a small group of current and former Cannondale Bicycles employees, to collect and refurbish kids bicycles and distribute them to needy children in Danbury through a seasonal event called Santa’s Workshop.
Each year, the group and a handful of volunteers refurbishes between 100-200 donated bicycles. Wilton plays a very important role, and organizers are hoping that Wilton will once again help out.
Wilton resident Dave Cote, a former Cannondale Bicycles employee, helps coordinate the effort. He describes the effort as one that has allowed this group of longtime bike enthusiasts and close friends to help good bikes get to a new home of a child who might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn to love riding a bicycle.
David Campbell, Cote’s friend and former colleague, leads the effort and says it’s part of the holiday spirit of helping your neighbor — with so much more that kids who wouldn’t typically be able to afford a bicycle will benefit from.
“If you can just get kids on bikes. It’s getting to know your neighborhood. I remember getting the green light from my parents to ride my bike to school. Now everyone spends all their life in the back seat. I like that aspect, and the green part of it too,” he says.
He describes a pretty emotional scene where the bicycles are given out. People line up starting at 5-6 a.m., waiting for Santa to arrive at 9 a.m. via a Danbury fire truck. People are admitted to meet Santa and pick out gifts, and one choice is a bike. If a bike is what they choose, they’re brought outside to the refurbished bicycles where volunteers will size and fit the child to a bike, size and fit a new helmet (which is free, and included) and the parent will sign a release.
“I would say 1,000 people show up, and there are tables set up with so many different things. There are also tables with coats, and hats and typical coat drive stuff. It’s a focal point for donation before the holidays. I’ve seen kids in 15-20 degree weather wearing sweatshirt and slippers in the coat line. Those people are not buying bicycles, and if they do, they’re not buying a $29 helmet because that’s half the food budget. Having that kid smile when he gets a bicycle is even more valuable,” Campbell says.
Here’s how you can help: Donate your gently-used kids bikes, 12-24 inch wheeled kids sizes are most needed, but all bikes in good, repairable shape will be accepted. (Cote gently says please don’t donate anything that could be mistaken for a rusty boat anchor, though.)
Drop-off donated bicycles at the Cote family house, at 10 Oak Ledge Ln. at the stone wall by the front steps, anytime between before this Friday, Dec. 10 at 4 p.m.
Don’t worry about dust, dirt, dropped chains, or flat tires — Santa’s elves will repair it all.
Caraluzzi’s Wine & Spirits Opens in Wilton
After several months of planning, approvals, and construction, Caraluzzi’s opened its third liquor store location on Monday, Dec. 6, as part of ongoing plans for expansion of Caraluzzi’s Wine & Spirits retail locations. The site is the former location of Chase Bank at 920 Danbury Rd. in Wilton, located next to Caraluzzi’s Georgetown Market.
HSS/Stamford Health Open Wilton Orthopedic Office
Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), in collaboration with Stamford Health, is expanding its access to more area residents with the opening of a Wilton office. The medical facility, located in the Whitlock Building within the Wilton Crossing complex at 195 Danbury Rd., Suite 200, offers a range of services: spine, sports medicine, physiatry, and adult reconstructive and joint replacement.