In 1991, garden designer and author Paige Dickey wrote a colorful chronicle, "Duck Hill Journal," about her family's move to the country and the carefully conceived garden she created on three North Salem, NY acres. Now she visits New Canaan Library on March 6 to talk about her new garden memoir, “Embroidered Ground: Revisiting the Garden" in which she reviews the 30 year history of her garden. A theme of her account is how she and her husband, now in their 70s, are re-conceiving its carefully planned spaces to accomodate a new stage in their lives. They are rearranging, pulling up and out and re-thinking many plantings to lessen the physical work required to maintain. “I have a fraction of the vigor I once had, with bones that now creak and muscles that scream in protest,” she writes.
An author of seven books, Dickey helped found the Garden Conservancy's Open Gardens Days, in which private gardens open to visitors. She is a frequent lecturer and has contributed to many magazines, including House & Garden, House Beautiful and Elle Decor.
A primer for baby boomers, "Embroidered Ground" offers many ideas to help gardeners replace and re-think so they, too, can adapt their garden to their own more limited physical strength and energy. To make the change, Dickey believes it's important to consider the big picture. As she told the NY Times, “We need an overall plan: more green architecture and less plants.” If that dictum strikes a chord, or you just admire this very talented gardener-writer, be sure to hear Paige Dickey's fruitful talk at New Canaan Library. The event is free and begins at 3:30 p.m. For more information, visit the Library's website.
Brian Clarke welcomed two prospective buyers to a Water Street condominium where he was hosting an open house Sunday. He was pleased. Neither was from the building itself -- they had responded to his advertising and stopped in to look. Their timing was good, he said.
"If you're in the market you can't get a better buy than right now," he said. "Interest rates are historically low. ... It's a little bit harder to get a mortgage now, but overall, if you can afford it, do it."
The national decline in housing prices is hitting Norwalk. The median sales price took a sharp drop at the end of 2010, falling 10.3 percent from the previous quarter. Compared with the same period a year ago, it was down 23.2 percent, Trulia.com reports.
These comparisons zig-zag from month to month and don't measure the value of individual homes, but they show a trend. Norwalk saw its healthiest market in mid-2006 and again in mid-2008, just before the financial collapse. After that, prices dribbled down. Over the past five years, home values have depreciated by more than 21 percent.
Trulia reports that the number of homes sold in Norwalk plunged by 27 percent, compared with a year ago at this time. "Sales overall from last year were up," said Clarke, an agent in the Wilton office of William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty.
Jeff Gagliardo agreed. "It's been going very well," he said. "Winter has not had an effect, I would say. I geared up at the beginning of the year and it has paid off."
Gagliardo was hosting an open house at 1 Deerwood Manor. The home is priced at $365,000, above the local median price of $327,500. Gagliardo said he had two visitors to the open house, and that there are offers on the home.
Detective Mark Solomon, a 16-year veteran of the Greenwich Police Department, is being honored for his work in investigating financial crimes within the state. Solomon received the 2010 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award from the Connecticut chapter of the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators.
Solomon spent nine of 16 years assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division. He was assigned to the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force in December 2008. The state financial crimes task force, with investigators from every branch of law enforcement, investigates financial crimes within Connecticut, specifically those that significantly impact the community and the economy, are perpetrated by organized groups, or are committed within multiple towns.
Most recently, the task force investigated a multistate ATM “skimming” scheme that resulted in more than $200,000 in losses to financial institutions. David B. Fein, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, announced Friday that Dragos Osanu, 30, of Romania, was sentenced to 46 months in prison for leading the scheme.
Fein lauded the Greenwich Police Department and Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force, among others, for their work in apprehending Osanu. “Many individuals and financial institutions have been victimized, but without this coordinated law enforcement effort, the damage would have been much worse,” Fein said in a statement.
While with the task force, Solomon coordinated and lectured at intelligence-sharing conferences and initiated an email network that allows dissemination of financial crime information to officers and investigators. He investigated financial crimes that exceeded $2 million in losses to residents and the financial community.
Linda Keegan didn’t pull any punches: “I hate toll booths.” Connecticut’s legislature is considering whether to bring back tolls on the state’s highways to bring in new revenue. But many around Fairfield, Linda included, are strongly opposed to the idea of adding more reasons to stop along Connecticut’s crowded highways.
“[Toll booths] would slow things down to a crawl, and make people even more miserable,” Linda says.
The General Assembly’s Transportation Committee held a public hearing Friday for a group of proposed bills that would bring tolls back to Connecticut’s highways. The most severe, Senate Bill 31, would give the transportation commissioner permission to begin charging tolls anywhere on any of the state’s highways.
The committee is also considering a bill that would charge commercial trucks through EZ-Pass stations around the state. Another would place booths only at Connecticut’s borders. And House Bill 6200 proposes charging drivers only on new highways or extensions, solely to recoup the cost to build them.
Connecticut stopped charging tolls on Interstate 95 in 1985. The General Assembly abolished tolls throughout the entire state three years later. One reason was the federal government’s prohibition on charging tolls on roads built with federal money. But U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, told the Hartford Courant on Friday that it has become easier to get waivers with the bad economy. "Given what's going on with the finances of the states, there might be an opportunity here," Larson said.
Douglas from Fairfield said he understands that the state has to do something to raise more money, and toll roads could be an answer. But he’s worried that giving people a reason to stay off the highway would put more stress and congestion onto other routes, such as the Post Road, especially in high-traffic areas such as Fairfield County.
Fashion will march to the aid of America’s troops at an evening of spring fashion and French style April 6 in Greenwich. The “April in Paris” event benefits Greenwich-based Stand for the Troops, an educational foundation that tries to ensure that frontline troops -- those “at the tip of the spear” -- have the best available leadership, training and equipment.
“April in Paris” will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Saks Fifth Avenue, 205 Greenwich Ave. It will include complimentary makeovers and a special fashion show, as well as live and silent auctions, all with a decidedly French flair.
Tickets are $50 and all proceeds from ticket sales, the live and silent auction and a portion of Saks sales that evening will support the foundation’s mission as a voice and advocate for America’s frontline troops. To attend call or order by
Founded by the late Col. David Hackworth of Greenwich, the foundation maintains an investigative news site to educate military and political leaders and the media on critical issues affecting the troops.
Be part of the conversation, what equipment do you think troops are in need of?
Parents and residents should be asking the Greenwich Board of Education many questions about the proposed International Baccalaureate program:
• IB supporters say IB is not curriculum. If it isn't curriculum, why does IB have its own tests? You don't test students on "frameworks" or "ways of teaching." You test students on curriculum knowledge. Therefore, our current testing should be sufficient.
• IB supporters say IB teacher training focuses on HOW students should learn, not WHAT they learn. What exactly is the teacher training for a science course such as chemistry?
• Why would Greenwich need any IB teacher training? We have already been spending three times as much on mandated teacher training than is required by the state of Connecticut? Is Greenwich incapable of raising teaching standards on its own?
• What has your research shown about the many schools that have stopped using IB? What were their reasons? And what about districts that reviewed IB and rejected it, such as Scarsdale, N.Y.?
• For middle and high schools currently using IB in Connecticut, how has IB affected their CMT and SAT scores?
• It seems you are relying on positive anecdotal comments from parents at the International School at Dundee for support of IB. Why would you use comments from parents of students ages 5 to 10 when we are analyzing IB for students ages 11 to 18?
• Will you release the details of the Theory of Knowledge course curriculum and teaching methods? This course is the most controversial around the United States.
• "IBO At A Glance", an IB marketing document, says that IBO is "providing challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment." Then it says, "IBO is accessible for students in any school – public and private – and with any special education needs." In fact, IB is in a Florida school, which the state graded as an "F" school. Which is it?
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The Mianus River turned Rio Grande for a night at Greenwich Adult Day Care's “Rollin’ on the River” event, which raised more than $80,000 to support the day care’s River House.
Attendees turned out in southwestern attire for the Jan. 22 event, ate Texan and Mexican cuisine, took part in Jose Cuervo-sponsored margarita and tequila tastings, played blackjack at the casino tables and bid on auction items such as a night with “The Late Show” or a vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Proceeds from the night’s event will help ensure Greenwich Adult Day Care, a leader in senior care for 34 years, will continue to be a permanent part of the community.
Greenwich Adult Day Care has been a leader in senior care for more than 30 years, offering customized daytime social and recreational programs that are essential for seniors. For more information on its River House, call 9.
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Winter’s not over, as Monday’s weather proved. About two inches of snow broke up the two-week streak of warmer weather Monday morning. Homeowners all over Fairfield joined Ruane Street’s Raymond Hanic in cleaning up the results. But Hanic, for one, wasn’t complaining.
“It’s good, healthy exercise,” he says. “You get fresh air, you’re keeping your limbs going … you’re doing something positive.”
To the delight of most others around town, Hanic and the rest of Fairfield might not have a chance to shovel for a while. Forecasts predict sunny skies until Friday, which will see rain, but no snow. The next snowfall is expected to be Sunday, and even then only a few showers with little accumulation.
Do you like shoveling as much as Raymond? Or were you disappointed to see the sunny streak end? Sound off in the comments below.
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