Now that she’s been vaccinated against COVID-19 virus, Rose La Viola has started doing her own shopping again. She drives herself—always accompanied and at times of light traffic—doesn’t own a walker or cane, and prefers to take the stairs up and down from her quarters at Schoolhouse Apartments on South Avenue, shunning the elevator. She’s one of the senior living facility’s most active, social residents, an avid ballroom dancer who participates in multiple activities, according to Administrator Tatiana DeJesus. “She loved Tai Chi,” DeJesus recalled. And on Friday, she turns 100—a milestone that those close to La Viola are preparing to celebrate even as they admit the number itself belies her vitality.
Officials this week approved a $32,780 contract for a Darien-based company to do masonry repairs to the town-owned Schoolhouse Apartments building on South Avenue. The funds will come from the senior living facility itself, through HUD, according to Bill Oestmann, superintendent of buildings with the New Canaan Department of Public Works. “[Schoolhouse officials] had went out and got some quotes to do repairs on the buildings and sidewalks and they were confused because the numbers were so crazy—all the quotes were something different—so explained to them at that time that these policies had been implemented there, that the town owns all that property, we are liable for all that stuff, so we will mange the project, they are going to give us all the funds through HUD,” Oestmann said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “They had no problem with that.”
He added: “And at the end of the day, the town owns the building and so we want the work done properly so it will last.”
The 1931-built Schoolhouse Apartments originally had been constructed as New Canaan’s first junior high school, and it was built in a style—brick, with a cupola—that complemented the original New Canaan High School (now the New Canaan Police Department), which opened in 1927 (the same year Karl Chevrolet was founded). Oestmann said DPW officials met with contractors and after the project went out to bid it garnered estimates that varied widely—some $20,000 between them.
A New Canaan nonprofit organization, carpenter and handyman are earning high praise this weekend after orchestrating what’s being called the “miraculous” rescue of a cat that was stuck in a wall for five days. Lady, a black-and-white domestic short-haired cat, went missing at about 11 a.m. Monday and was finally freed around 7 p.m. Friday from the very narrow wall space between a closet and bathroom at Schoolhouse Apartments, according to the South Avenue senior housing complex’s manager, Tatiana DeJesus. The young feline’s ordeal started soon after she apparently leapt onto an upper cabinet and then through a drop ceiling at the apartment of the resident who was fostering and seeking to adopt her, DeJesus said. “One of my residents came to me almost crying,” DeJesus recalled. Staff members looked hard for the animal but couldn’t find her for days until DeJesus spotted an area in the back that looked out of reach.