A new phone system at the Easton Police Department is just what the doctor ordered. The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Thursday to award a $20,000 contract to Provado Technologies LLC of Waterbury. The company will install the ShoreTel voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phone system.
The selectmen's decision, however, goes against the Police Commission's recommendation to hire AT&T to install the phones. AT&T's bid was $2,600 less than Provado's bid.
"I think the pricing is irrelevant," First Selectman Tom Herrmann said. "My only caveat on the pricing is I made some assumptions on AT&T, for the items that they didn't bid, and I'm a little concerned about that."
AT&T's proposal did not include a service package comparable to the other bids. But Chief John Solomon said AT&T was his preferred choice because of the established relationship between the police and the company.
"We've had a great experience with AT&T," Solomon said. "It services our E911 system, it services our lines ... our radio communications system. ... We have any problem, we can call AT&T."
Herrmann then asked the sales representatives – who included Jim White from Provado – whether their companies could detect the difference between a line problem and a broken phone.
"We have software that sends us a signal if anything goes wrong," said Tim Bukowski of Hilltop Technologies, a company that bid $500 less than Provado.
The underdog was DataTel, a company that bid twice, including an estimate of $12,528 for a digital phone system. Officer Mark Pastore said he was unable to find adequate information on the company's system – a VoIP brand called Vertical – and did not have a chance to test the product.
“My general approach is, if necessary, we can look at selective tax increases, preferably on a sunset basis, after we have exhausted opportunities for savings,” Hetherington, whose district includes part of Wilton and New Canaan, said in a statement released by House Republicans.
Malloy’s budget proposal would increase spending by $900 million over the next two years and bring in an additional $1.5 billion from increases in the sales and income taxes, the press release says. There would also be tax increases on gasoline, cigarettes and alcohol plus new taxes on things like haircuts and dog grooming. Hetherington said the taxes are regressive and would fall on those who can least afford to pay them.
The state also faces a $3.5 billion deficit, and the GOP release says the governor’s plan to reduce the workforce by 0.3 percent and close one state building, saving $10 million, “hardly puts a dent” in that figure.
Hetherington also opposes an unearned income tax credit for low-income people. He says there is federal assistance for low-income households.
What do you think of Malloy’s proposed tax increases? How would they most affect you?
Westhill and Stamford each have one top-seeded wrestler for this weekend's Class LL championships at Trumbull High School. Competition starts Friday night, with the finals scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m.
Westhill's Pascal Medor (103) and Stamford's Ben Pierre-Saint (125) are on the top line for their weight classes. Pierre-Saint, who won the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship last week, is listed at 28-0 for seeding purposes. Records do not include last week's championship meets. Pierre-Saint lost in the finals last year at 119 pounds.
Medor, who lost in the 103-pound final at the FCIAC meet to Danbury's Kevin Jack, has the top seed with a 32-1 mark. Jack is seeded fifth.
Other Stamford wrestlers to watch include Joey Battinelli, who is the No. 7 seed at 112. He lost in the finals of the FCIAC meet last week to Greenwich's Johnny D'Elia. At 119, Clifford Magliore, who also fell in the FCIAC finals, is the No. 8 seed. FCIAC champion Bryan Polonia (145) is seeded sixth, and Tyler Kane (160) is seeded eighth.
Westhill's Chris Chapparo (130) is seeded second after a third-place finish at the FCIAC meet. FCIAC champion Nick Jimenez (152) is seeded third, and Marquis Weaver-Hart (285), also an FCIAC champion, is also seeded third.
The top six finishers in each weight class earn medals, and the top four advance to next week's State Open. The first two rounds are Friday, with the quarterfinals scheduled for Saturday morning and the semifinals for Saturday at 2 p.m. The finals will start at 7 p.m.
How do you think Stamford and Westhill wrestlers will do this weekend at the Class LL championships?
When 38-year Westport resident Larry Silver addressed the Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday night, he made a powerful yet simple request: "I'd like you guys to sort of remember us old people."
Silver, a retired photographer and artist who moved to Westport from New York, was the first member of the public to comment on a proposed text amendment that would allow the development of a senior living and health-care facility on the town-owned Baron's South property, 23 acres of land located between Compo Road South and Imperial Avenue.
"I retired about 10 years ago and am not generating the kind of income I generated as a New York photographer. Frankly, I'm starting to run out of money and my options are this: Do I sell my house and leave Westport?" Silver said. "But I like Westport, it's a great town — I raised three kids here."
The text amendment proposes a number of changes to current zoning regulations to allow for the construction of 66 independent living units for seniors and a skilled nursing facility with 84 beds.
The Planning and Zoning Commission in November approved the concept for this project, which was brought forth by First Selectman Gordon Joseloff. "Don't forget, this is a piece of property the taxpayers of Westport purchased about 11 years ago that's been hardly used, except for the Senior Center," Joseloff said. "Our goal here is to use a piece of property, which was bought for municipal purposes, to better the town."
Westport resident Pat Dorbandt also supports the text amendment. A 50-year resident, Dorbandt said such a facility would allow seniors, like herself, to continue living in town.
Parking spaces were reappearing all over Norwalk on Friday as warm temperatures melted the snow. In some cases, the sun was getting some help. On North Avenue, Lefty Petridis used an icebreaker and a snow shovel to clean out the snow from the parking lot of Classic Upholstery, his business.
"You've got to knock it down while it's still nice and soft," Petridis said, adding that he had heard it would be 40 degrees Saturday. (The National Weather Service says it will be mostly sunny Saturday, with a high near 38 degrees. But expect a northwest wind of 24 to 28 miles per hour, with gusts as high as 49 mph.)
Petridis said he is nine years older than his cousin, president of Norwalk Firefighters Union Local 830 who also goes by the name Lefty Petridis. The Classic Upholstery's building has a colorful history: It was built in 1958 as a dance studio, then it was a restaurant and eventually it became a strip joint.
Petridis has an interesting history as well. He came to Norwalk from Greece in 1966, when he was 7 years old. His family crossed the Atlantic on the SS Queen Anna Maria, and he was the only member who didn't get sick on the 12-day trip. Their name was scratched on the cabin wall — another family member had made the trip three years earlier and had the same room.
He's not confident winter is over. "I hope we've seen the last of it," he said, but "March brings crazy things once in a while."
Did you enjoy the warm weather on Friday?
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Greens Farms Academy's girls basketball team lost its regular season finale, 38-34, on Thursday against Hopkins. GFA fell to 14-8 overall and 6-3 in the league.
GFA led by five at halftime largely behind the strength of three 3-pointers by Jenna Pittleman. Hopkins mounted a comeback in the second half, and two clutch 3-pointers by Hopkins helped hold off the Dragons.
GFA secured the No. 3 seed for the FAA playoffs and will open the tournament at home Tuesday against an opponent to be determined.
For complete league coverage, visit Main Street Connect's FAA website.
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