The Westchester Fairfield Hebrew Academy has changed its name to Carmel Academy after receiving $10 million in grants from the Conduit Foundation. The name change was announced to staff and students at an assembly Monday.
"It has been a professional and personal privilege to lead this dynamic school, which seamlessly integrates excellence in education and Jewish values," said Nora Anderson, Carmel Academy's head of school. "Over the past five years, the students body has grown from 85 to over 200. This gift will help the school continue to grow and thrive."
David Messer, a Greenwich resident and president of the Conduit Foundation, has played an active role in the school's community for the past seven years. Conduit Executive Director Betsy Brill said the investment was made to spur other donations and aid the school.
The Carmel Mountains on the northern coast of Israel inspired the school's new name, Anderson said. "Our connection to these mountains epitomizes the depth of our bond with Jewish history and sacred texts," she said. "The imagery of the Carmel Mountains symbolizes our most important core values."
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Monique Govil has a quick ritual she performs before she goes over the Yankee Doodle Bridge. She prays. "After paying all the taxes that we already are, we shouldn't have to pray every time we go over a bridge here in Fairfield County," said Govil, co-owner of A Taste of Holland in South Norwalk.
Standing in her store, surrounded by an assortment of Dutch treats such as licorice and clove-cheese, the mild-mannered woman sounds a bit like a revolutionary. "The common people who work for a living, live paycheck to paycheck like we are, they have to stand up," she said. "The people on the top fill their own pockets. As soon as they empty out their pockets they can touch mine, not before that."
Govil and her husband talked about Gov. Dannel Malloy's proposal to raise taxes before she went to work Tuesday. "I'm afraid it's necessary," Govil said of the hikes. "It's a necessary evil. But I believe to keep things in balance there should also be overall savings. They have to cut out the extra pork that's in Hartford."
Govil said her daughter goes to UConn-Storrs, so she and her husband travel on Interstate 84, where "there is four to five lanes, pretty much in no man's land." Politicians spend money in the Hartford vicinity because that's where they are, she said. "They are forgetting their tax base is in Fairfield County, and basically they don't take care of the infrastructure here," she said. "That goes for the roads as well, the bridges."
Debra Ponzek of Aux Delices partnered with Patriot National Bank to hold a food drive to benefit Neighbor to Neighbor. The Greenwich food pantry provides 300,000 meals a year, an increase of 55 percent in the past two years.
"We are so pleased that we were able to help with this food drive by collecting donations at Aux Delices," said Ponzek. "We have always been strong supporters of Neighbor to Neighbor and the excellent work they do providing food and clothes for those of need in the community."
Nonperishable food donations will collected through Friday at Aux Delices in Greenwich and Riverside as well as at branches of Patriot National Bank. The items that are needed most include pasta, 100 percent juice, sauce, jelly, soup, canned fruit, rice and cereal.
"As a community-based business ourselves, we are always happy to team up with and help others in the Greenwich community, said Ponzek. "It's something that's personally very important to us."
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Kara Williams hadn't heard that Gov. Dannel Malloy is proposing tax hikes. "Oh, no, not cool," the single mother of 3-year-old twin boys said as she pumped gas at the Global gas station on Cross Street in Norwalk.
Malloy proposed hikes include a 3 cents a gallon rise on the gasoline tax, which is already fourth highest in the nation at 41.9 cents a gallon, according to the Tax Foundation. Williams said that would hit her hard. Other people filling up at the station were unhappy about the proposed hikes as well.
"Seeing as how I'm a senior living on a fixed income, it affects me tremendously," said Barbara Durso of Norwalk. "I don't make enough now to pay my rent so it's going to have a major impact."
Malloy is also proposing to raise the tax on cigarettes by 40 cents a pack, according to the Hartford Courant. "I think it's outrageous," said Durso, who is "a smoker and a driver."
Malloy is also proposing a new surcharge on some luxury articles, including high-end cars. That would affect Dick King of Wilton, who was gassing up a Lexus. "It'll be another $300 for him, or $400," he said. Still, King is behind Malloy. "I'm not happy about it," he said. "Something's got to be done to reduce the deficit so I'll be supporting him."
But Jim Byington, a retired Norwalk Police officer, disagreed. "I think it stinks," Byington said. "We elected him in office to get him to reduce some of the things we have a problem with, not to add on to the problems we already have."
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