New Canaan YMCA

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New Canaan Promotes ‘Tech-Free Family Time’ through ’30 Days of Family’

Town and local nonprofit officials are urging New Canaan families this month to unplug their mobile devices and spend more time communicating directly with each other. The Department of Human Services-led “30 Days of Family” initiative this year has taken up “tech-free family time” as its motto. Unplugging forces family members to talk to each other “with their voices and spend quality time making eye contact and practicing listening skills,” according to Jacqueline D’Louhy, the department’s coordinator of youth and family services. “Think about how much teens ‘talk’ to each other electronically,” D’Louhy said. “Sometimes they’ll be sitting in the same room but never utter a word to one another. Continue Reading →

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P&Z Denies Grace Farms’ Bid To Host Other Organizations’ Sports Programs

Saying it would be a slap in the faces of concerned neighbors and citing the awkward timing of the request, officials on Monday night turned down Grace Farms’ bid to host other organizations’ multiple youth and adult sports activities in its own gymnasium over the next six months. Grace Farms already had applied to amend its operating permit in order to allow for wide-ranging activities that have been taking place on its Lukes Wood Road campus, and OK’ing the use of its gym by other organizations—in this case, the New Canaan YMCA and St. Luke’s School—would be very bad timing because that application is pending, according to members of the Planning & Zoning Commission. Though P&Z may, under Grace Farms’ current permit, make special allowances for such a use, “if there was ever a time you would not want to do it, it is now, while we are considering altering a special permit for Grace Farms,” P&Z commissioner Jack Flinn said during the group’s special meeting, held at Town Hall. (more…) Continue Reading →

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‘A Big Loss’: Town Planner Steve Kleppin To Leave New Canaan for Norwalk Job

Steve Kleppin recalled that when took the helm as town planner 11 years ago in New Canaan’s Land Use Department, after spending six months as assistant town planner, the agency’s perception in the community was poor. Some on staff at the time had faced criticism from the public and many relationships between the two had gone sour, he said. Yet “through the people that were here and the other people that came on board, we changed that, as a group,” Kleppin recalled Thursday, hours before the town announced that he had taken the role of town planner in neighboring Norwalk. “It’s a well-run area. Even though people might not always like the outcome or the decisions that are made, they’re treated appropriately, treated well and the decisions are thought-out.”

A steady, soft-spoken figure who is highly respected among colleagues, building professionals and property owners in New Canaan—often delivering unwanted news that touches on the largest single investment that residents will ever make—Kleppin will work his last day here on Oct. Continue Reading →

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Faces of New Canaan: Amer Salloum

In this installment of “Faces of New Canaan,” we interview a town resident known for nearly two decades to scores of locals through the New Canaan YMCA as well as his own business. Amer Salloum, a licensed massage therapist, lives on Millport Avenue with his wife and three kids, and has been a New Canaanite for some 11 years. Given that Salloum’s story of hard work, opportunity and optimism—from non-English-speaking and, for a time, homeless, to family, profession and community—captures perhaps what many of us associate with this nation at its best, we feel it’s fitting to headline our Independence Day newsletter with this profile. We met Salloum in a recent afternoon at Kaahve coffee chop on Main Street. What follows is a transcription of our exchange. Continue Reading →

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New Canaan YMCA Eyes Waveny for April 2017 Gala; Parks Officials Flag Impact on Lawn

The town’s decision regarding the New Canaan YMCA’s bid to host a gala at Waveny House next spring will depend, largely, on minimizing the number of days that large canopy tents are standing on the lawn out back, officials said last week. A local organization held a big party there in 2001 and the seven tents needed for check-in, cocktails, dining and food service stayed up for about one week, “so we ended up with seven big yellow squares on the lawn at Waveny,” according to Recreation Director Steve Benko. “It’s feasible,” Benko said at the Park & Recreation Commission’s regular meeting Wednesday, held at Lapham Community Center. “It can work.”

Led by Y member and gala co-chair Kelly DeFrancesco, the South Avenue organization told Park & Rec that the event would mark the end of its five-year capital campaign and renovation and expansion project. Calling Waveny the “perfect” venue for the late-April 2017 gala, DeFrancesco said the evening would include 350 to 400 guests and feature a cocktail hour on the terrace, weather-permitting, a seated dinner, live auction and DJ and dancing. Continue Reading →

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