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 chatting about? Email us at

Wilton Police Promote Two Officers

The Wilton Police Department promoted two officers last week. Sgt. Steven Rangel was promoted to lieutenant, and Ofc. Robert Smaldone was promoted to sergeant.

The Wilton Police Department typically holds swearing in ceremonies for promotions and invites family members of the officers as well as police commissioners and other town officials and guests.

However, due to COVID protocols, Rangel and Smaldone were sworn in by Town Clerk Lori Kaback, in the Town’s records vault.

Please congratulate Steven Rangel (left) for his promotion to LT and Robert Smaldone ( right) for his promotion to SGT. Being sworn-in in the Town Clerk’s vault is not what they envisioned on their big day, but we will make it up to them with a proper ceremony in the near future

— WiltonPoliceCT (@WiltonPoliceCT) January 12, 2022

Wilton Encore Club Raises $4,500 for Wilton Social Services

During the Wilton Encore Club‘s annual Holiday Luncheon held at Bernard’s, the group presented a check for $4,500 to Sarah Heath of Wilton Social Services. The monies were raised from the Club’s annual Fall Luncheon and Fashion Show, which was held in October.

Wilton Encore Club is a social organization for women from Wilton and the surrounding areas. Visit the club’s website for more information on the group’s activities.

WHS Student (and GMW’s Book Reviewer) Gayathri Kaimal Wins 3rd Place in Congressional App Contest

Congratulations to Wilton High School junior Gayathri Kaimal, who won third place in the Congressional App Challenge sponsored by Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4) in his district.

Himes announced the winners last week.

The Congressional App Challenge is designed to engage students’ creativity and encourage participation in computer science and coding. Middle and high school students nationwide compete within their congressional districts by creating and exhibiting their software application for mobile, tablet, or computer devices.

The app Kaimal created is is called BookBud — a logical choice for Kaimal who says she loves to read (and who contributes book reviews to GOOD Morning Wilton).

“It motivates people to read by providing an extra layer of encouragement,” Kaimal explains, who says it functions in a similar way to fitness apps that inspire and remind users to exercise regularly through peer encouragement. “BookBud incentivizes people to read as much as they can.”

The app uses another powerful motivator by showing readers their progress; they’ll be able to track how many books they’ve read, and use it to continue trying to achieve their reading goals. BookBud also allows users to create reading groups (appropriately called “book clubs” in the app) where users can see what friends and family are reading, share recommendations, motivate kids to read, and discuss their favorite books.

The winners this year are Victoria Caruso and Amanda Smith from Darien High School (First Place), Steven Yu, Paul Evans, Malcolm Krolick and Serena Evans from Hackley School (Second Place) and Gayathri Kaima from Wilton High School (Third Place).

For Himes’ district, winners were selected by a panel of judges, including Jon Winkel, CEO of The Stamford Partnership; David DeRemer, president of Very Good Ventures App Development; and Albert Lardizabal, COO of DocHub. Eleven students participated in the Fourth District’s challenge.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of computer science and STEM skills in our 21st century workforce,” Himes said. “That’s why I’m so pleased to see CT students rolling up their sleeves and participating in the Congressional App Challenge.”

Kaimal said the app will be available for users soon, “after adding a few more features,” she told GMW.