Did You Hear … ?

It’s Election Day, and the League of Women Voters of New Canaan created this one-page Web guide for local constituents, including a Voters’ Guide to the Candidates, New Canaan 2015 Sample Ballot, Voting District Map and Absentee Ballot Information. ***

We’re hearing the Gridiron Club made another outstanding choice for this year’s “Fall Guy.” It’s New Canaan’s own Keith Simpson, noted local landscape architect and civic-minded volunteer, who currently serves with the New Canaan Beautification League, Waveny Park Conservancy, Pop Up Park Committee and Plan of Conservation & Development Implementation Committee, among other groups. ***

Police received a report last week of a distressed animal at Whiffle Tree Lane. At about 10:13 a.m. on Oct. 27, the police department’s Animal Control section arrived at the residence to find a small animal caught in an elbow of a gutter.

‘That’s Unfortunate’: P&Z Implores Valley Road Hospital, Neighbor To End Land Use Dispute

Though two major sides in a land use and legal battle dating back two-plus years have worked hard to reach an agreement, a neighbor whose home directly abuts the Valley Road property at the center of the dispute—who also sits on the Planning & Zoning Commission—appears not to be satisfied, following comments made at a public meeting this week. It’s been three years since Silver Hill Hospital purchased the 1998-built Colonial at 225 Valley Road for $2.5 million, tax records show. Months later, the psychiatric hospital applied to P&Z for site plan and special permit approval in order to renovate and use it as a residential medical treatment facility. P&Z in November 2013 denied the application by a 6-3 vote. Three weeks later, the hospital filed a lawsuit claiming P&Z acted “arbitrarily” and “illegally” in doing so.

Lawsuit: Town Denies Silver Hill’s Claims That P&Z Mishandled Hospital’s Applications

The town is denying Silver Hill Hospital’s claims that it acted “arbitrarily” and “illegally” in turning down the psychiatric facility’s applications, filed in 2013, to use a private home contiguous to its campus for a residential program. Silver Hill the prior year had purchased the 1998-built Colonial at 225 Valley Road for $2.5 million, tax records show, and applied to the Planning & Zoning Commission for site plan and special permit approval in order to renovate and use it as a residential medical treatment facility. Following well-attended public hearings at which several neighbors spoke out against the project, P&Z in November 2013 denied the application by a 6-3 vote. Three weeks later, the hospital filed a lawsuit claiming P&Z bent to the will of a biased commissioner, failed to stay neutral and “considered evidence submitted by opponents to the application after the close of the public hearing.”

“The nature of the process and conduct of the hearing by those Commission members voting for denial of the Application constituted a patently unfair proceeding in violation of the Plaintiff’s due process rights,” according to Silver Hill’s complaint (reproduced in full as a PDF at the bottom of this article). The town in a terse answer filed April 8 denied Silver Hill’s allegations.

Three New Canaan Organizations Collaborate on Art Therapy

Silver Hill Hospital has launched an integrated art therapy experience this summer for patients from its Adolescent Transitional Living Program at the Silvermine Arts Center, thanks to a $5,000 grant by the New Canaan Community Foundation. The program, a collaboration between Silver Hill Hospital and the Silvermine Arts Center, enables patients to leave the Silver Hill campus once a week in order to learn new visual artistic skills, as well as enhance preexisting skills, according to those involved in it. “We started prior to the grant working with Silvermine Arts Center, because they are the preeminent arts guild in Fairfield County and they are right up the street from us, and I was struck by the fortuitous colocation of our two facilities,” said Dr. Aaron Krasner, chief of the Adolescent Transitional Living Program. “I was also developing our internal art therapy program at the time, and I thought it was match made in heaven.”

Krasner found the arts to be an important part in his patients’ recoveries, a conclusion grounded in scientific basis and study. Thanks to the NCCF grant, Sunday sessions will see participants work in various media, including hand-built ceramics, printmaking, sculpture and multimedia painting. “Creative expression and what I like to call adjunctive therapeutic activities are very important for adolescents who are engaged in serious psychotherapy and other psychosocial interventions,” Krasner said.

PHOTOS: NCHS Senior Internship Program, through the Lens of Kayleigh Pace

The Senior Internship Program (SIP) is opportunity for NCHS seniors to take what knowledge they’ve gained in four years outside of the classroom and into the real world for the last month of the school year. From May 18 to June 17, 80 seniors are dispersed throughout New Canaan and Fairfield County working in a variety of different fields such as medicine, retail, business, teaching and many others. The four-week program runs throughout the hours of the typical school day in which seniors work between 20 and 25 hours a week. Organized by NCHS College and Career Center Coordinator Susan Carroll, each of the students participating in the unpaid internship program are working at pre-approved worksites in fields that they are interested in partaking in the future. Kayleigh Pace, a senior intern for Jane Beiles Photography, took the pictures above (and Jane took a couple, too) to give a glimpse of what many interns are taking part in at their work sites.