Local Nonprofits Receive Grant Allocations from Kiwanis Club of New Canaan

Thanks to the Kiwanis Club of New Canaan, 24 local organizations on Friday received a boost to their funding. The international nonprofit, whose mission is “Serving the children of the world,” handed out checks to local organizations that address youth during its annual allocations breakfast. This year, the Kiwanis Club allocated a total of $9,620 which comes almost entirely from fundraising events—mainly the Zerbini Family Circus, which also benefits the New Canaan YMCA and will be held Saturday, June 18. Beth Jones, head of the Kiwanis Allocations Committee, said nonprofits seeking support undergo a multi-step process. “We start by looking at how much money we have to give away,” Jones said during the breakfast, held at the Y. “Once we get all the applications in, we sit down, they usually come to my house for lunch, and we go through all of the applications and eliminate the ones that do not fit our mission of helping children of the world.”

Once the Allocations Committee prioritizes which groups they want to allocate funds to, Jones and the rest of the committee, “presents it to the entire Kiwanis Club, we vote on it, and then we give the final list to the treasurer.”

“It is usually very amicable process,” Jones said.

‘Gateway’ to New Canaan Getting Spruce-Up

New Canaan plans to remove (and replace with new trees) four pines leaning near the edge of South Avenue at the Center School lot (just across Maple from the library) and to grind down tree stumps along the state road between the downtown and Farm Road. The pine trees will be replaced by two dogwoods and a magnolia, Tree Warden Bruce Pauley said during the Board of Selectmen meeting Wednesday. “And I believe the junipers have been removed, so it’s going to be a much nicer gateway to town,” Pauley said at the meeting, held in the Douglas Room at Lapham Community Center. The selectmen approved an $18,915 contract with Almstead Tree and Shrub Care Co for tree pruning and removal at various spots in town. Together with the tree replacement by the former site of Center School’s kindergarten, Pauley said New Canaan will see 12 to 15 tree stumps on both sides of South Avenue ground down.

New Canaan Close to Joining Clean Energy Program C-PACE

New Canaan is close to opting into a program that would allow commercial property owners to access very low-interest financing for energy efficiency upgrades to their buildings. Through the Connecticut Property Assessed Clean Energy program, building owners finance qualified improvements through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bills. Selectman Beth Jones said Tuesday that for-profit businesses as well as nonprofit organizations. “It is virtually a no-interest loan that you pay back, and it’s guaranteed through your property tax but it’s paid back with the savings you get from energy,” Jones said during the Board of Selectmen meeting, held in the training room at the New Canaan Police Department. “They [C-PACE], if they can prove there are energy savings, they will back it with a no-interest loan as part of Connecticut’s effort to have clean energy and to conserve energy, and from looking at it, there is nothing to lose,” she added.

Renovated Town Hall Taking Shape with Steel Skeleton

New Canaan’s renovated Town Hall is starting to take physical shape this week, with the appearance of a steel skeleton behind the original building that will be fully installed by June 20, officials say. Pictured at right, the steel structure will hold the renovated Town Hall’s vault, clerk’s office and other miscellaneous offices, said Joseph Zagarenski of Bridgeport-based firm The McLoud Group, which is overseeing the project as construction manager. “The nuts and bolts of it are that that’s the first bay of three, so you’ll see the next two bays and a complete structure up here at the end of the month,” Zagarenski  said. The approximately $18 million renovation of Town Hall is on schedule and budget, officials have said. (Here are some renderings of the renovated New Canaan Town Hall from White Plains, NY-based KSQ Architects, article continues below.)

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Selectman Beth Jones after board meetings regularly tours the site and receives project updates from Zagarenski and New Canaan Department of Public Works Director Mike Pastore.

VIDEO: New Canaan Honors Dick Reifers with Arbor Day Sycamore at Mead Park

In the last year of his life, New Canaan’s Dick Reifers is remembered by one close friend as planting an endangered tree on his own property, the Metasequoia glyptostroboides or “dawn Redwood”—which interested Reifers after its rediscovery in China about 70 years ago. On Friday, New Canaan friends, relatives and town officials remembered Reifers as an civic-minded, avid gardener and generous member of the community, in honoring him with the Arbor Day planting of a sycamore tree on the banks of Mead Pond. New Canaan Marks Arbor Day 2014

Trees that in recent decades is known for carrying a disease that makes them lose their leaves midsummer instead of in the fall, George Valchar said, sycamores yet often live 140 years or more, and are among the tallest in this area, sometimes reaching 160 feet. “Let’s hope that our young American sycamore will survive the early years and then will grow into a giant 150-feet-tall tree with branches turning white with a little green and a little gray, and that the citizens of 2200 as they walk by will admire the great Dick Reifers American Sycamore,” Valchar said at the pond moments before he and others spread soil over the base of the sycamore to mark the day. The event included a proclamation by First Selectman Rob Mallozzi that was delivered by Selectman Beth Jones.