Did You Hear … ?

The gallery for this week’s “Did You Hear … ?” features interior photos from rental units at the newly built mixed-use building at 16 Cross St. in New Canaan, “The Crossing.”

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The Town Council on Wednesday night voted 12-0 in favor of an operating budget of $148,136,106 for fiscal year 2018. The overall figure and amount allocated to the Board of Education ($87,618,405) are the same as had been approved by the Board of Finance. The schools are seeing an approximately 1.6 percent year-over-year increase, while the overall operating budget is going up 2.6 percent.

New Canaan Playhouse was built in 1923.

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The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday officially dissolved the New Canaan Playhouse Committee. The volunteer group had been charged with exploring opportunities for third parties interested in purchasing or leasing, preserving, renovating and operating the beloved 1923-built theater as an entertainment venue. A request for proposals went out in September, but the current tenant, Bow Tie Cinemas, has a lease that runs through 2022 with an option to extend to 2027. Bow Tie officials now are looking at possibly investing in a restoration of the town-owned building, whose capital needs are well-documented and extensive. Committee members included Neil Budnick, John Engel, Steve Karl, Beth Jones and Joe Paladino.

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Originally thought to have been a burglary attempt, the incident on Bittersweet Lane Tuesday involving workmen seeking entry into a home now appears to be an honest mistake, according to police. Late Tuesday, the man who had approached the home to get inside and do work there contacted police to say that he had performed annual service work on the property in the past but, after visiting, realized the people who used to live there—his clients—had moved.

 

Daniel Clarke

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The school district has announced that Daniel Clarke will serve as the new director of facilities, succeeding the recently retired Bob Willoughby in the role. He has worked for more than 10 years as director of facilities for Weston Public Schools. Before that, he served as director of facilities management at Greenwich Hospital and, prior to that, at Danbury Hospital.

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The selectmen on Tuesday voted 3-0 to appoint New Canaan’s Krista Neilson as an alternate on the Planning & Zoning Commission, replacing Bill Redman. Neilson was “very enthusiastic” and appears to be a “good fit,” Selectman Beth Jones said after speaking to the new commissioner in the morning. Selectman Nick Williams said Neilson hold a master’s degree in planning and had done extensive work in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Jones said: “Anybody willing to jump onto P&Z at this point deserves a halo.”

Colin Coogan of New Canaan and his family at Grand Canyon

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Another New Canaanite making a sacrifice for the greater good is Colin Coogan, a 41-year-old resident who will take part in a Grand Canyon hike to benefit multiple myeloma research on May 4, and to honor his mother who was diagnosed with the incurable blood cancer in 2007. His effort, along with those of his fellow hikers, will be done to support myeloma patients like his mother. The event is co-sponsored by the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, CURE Magazine and Takeda Oncology.

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The town on March 22 issued a permit to demolish the 1956-built Cape-style home at 36 Parting Brook Road, purchased two years ago for $690,000. It’s a 2-acre lot in the 2-acre zone.

Jim David-Volunteer, Ursula Sowinski – CT Red Cross staff, Stacey Hafen – former New Canaan Chapter Executive Director, Nancy Cross- volunteer, Eloise Killeffer-volunteer, Dorcas Hills- volunteer, Pat Agate –volunteer and Molly DePatie- volunteer.

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Last month, the American Red Cross celebrated “March is Red Cross Month” and New Canaanites showed their strong support at a recent blood drive at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

The next blood drive to be held at Saint Mark’s is scheduled for May 16th. Visit the organization’s website here or call 1-800-RedCross to schedule an appointment.

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One dozen hearty Service League of Boys members volunteered on a rainy Saturday, March 25th to help clean up one of the New Canaan Land Trust’s smaller properties, located at the corner of Carter Street and Buttery Road.

Front: Gabe Kavookjian. Back, L-R: David Woodman, Nancy Scranton, Dr. Haik Kavookjian, Anne Newton, Brad Newton, Charlie Woodman, Mateo De la Vega, Tim Scranton, Ryan Lytle and Richard Harkey. Not shown: Chip Newton (photographer)

The team was instrumental in clearing dead wood, removing invasive vines and picking up accumulated trash. The boys from New Canaan High School’s SLOBs Club worked together to improve the property, and had fun in the process. The group was led that day by the Land Trust’s chief property steward, Dr. Haik Kavookjian.

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Here’s a shout-out to town resident Steve Orteig, a member of the New Canaan Beautification League, who has volunteered to take care of the traffic triangle at Ponus Ridge and Davenport Ridge Road. Those who know the triangle also know that it includes a large granite memorial stone that honors Chief Ponus, sachem of the Rippowams during the 17th Century—a “tomb” dedicated in 1897.

Steve Orteig cares for the moment to the sachem of the Rippowams, the monolith at Ponus Ridge and Davenport Ridge Roads—a traffic triangle for which the New Canaanite cares as a volunteer with the New Canaan Beautification League. Credit: Faith Kerchoff

Orteig uses “Wet & Forget Outdoor Spray”—a  gentle solution that does not contain harsh chemicals such as bleach and ammonia, which would be bad for the stone and the environment. This solution works with rain, gradually over time, and already there has been noticeable improvement.

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A new resident in New Canaan, Pedro Rabinovitch, drew laughter during the March 29 Town Council meeting when he took to the podium during a budget hearing to say that he and his wife chose to move to town from London because of New Canaan Public Schools. Rabinovitch said his two kids had turned 3 and 7 years old the day before. “That took a lot” to arrange, he said.

Kevin Kaster

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Finally, congratulations to New Canaan native Kevin Kaster on marking the 40th anniversary of the company he founded after purchasing an orange pickup truck and moving household goods for his neighbors here in town.

Based now in Stamford, Kaster Moving has into a local and international moving business with two storage facilities, a fleet of more than 30 moving vehicles, corporate clientele, various relocation companies and a staff of more than 40 full-time employees.

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