Katie Banzhaf

Recent Articles

STAR Turns to Karl Chevrolet, Bolt To ‘Stay Ahead of the Curve’

Saying the addition of an electric car will improve their program and save money while helping the environment, officials with a New Canaan nonprofit organization that serves developmentally disabled people recently turned to a venerable local business for assistance. STAR Inc., Lighting the Way received a state grant allowing it to add 10 new vehicles to its fleet, including one hybrid, one electric car and eight additional wheelchair-accessible vans, according to Peter Saverine, the organization’s director of philanthropy. Karl Chevrolet facilitated the purchase of an EV, in the spirit of the Elm Street dealership’s longtime support of local nonprofits. “Karl Chevrolet was super nice and accommodating,” Saverine said. “They even drove over to Norwalk with three car models so we could take them for a spin and determine which was the best for us.”

They ended up with one electric Chevy Bolt EV that will help the organization experiment with leveraging their savings to reduce costs. Continue Reading →

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‘We Are Not Going To Do Anything Irresponsible’: For Now, New Canaan Location of Abilis Tied To Doubtful Viability of The Hub

The head of a nonprofit organization that serves people with developmental disabilities said his agency will only start operating out of The Hub in downtown New Canaan under the board now in charge of the facility if that group somehow achieves financial viability. New Canaan resident Dennis Perry, president and CEO of Greenwich-based Abilis, said his organization’s first priority is to avoid doing “anything that puts the population we serve at risk.”

“I will not open up and find the facility that we are operating in is not financially viable, and then have to shut down,” Perry said when asked about the prospect of operating out of the lower level of The Hub, as per a Memo of Understanding now in place. “The discontinuity that would create for these individuals who do not transition well—we would be irresponsible to do that.”

The comments come as questions surround The Hub’s ability to make money and self-sustain—a challenge that the building’s former operator, the Outback Teen Center, was unable to overcome, ultimately closing for good last summer. Inchoate plans for a catch-all community center appear to have garnered little support. An online campaign seeking to raise $25,000 in support of The Hub has banked just $2,320 in two weeks—with more than a quarter of that from board members themselves—raising questions about the community’s interest in the broad program that’s been proposed for the facility. Continue Reading →

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