2021-10-19@10:13pm–#Bridgeport CT– Don’t go to sleep yet Bridgeport! It’s time for the routine garbage chute fire at 985 Fairfield Avenue.
#Westport, CT– At Westport Police / EMS Headquarters, on October 13, 2021, Mr. Larry Kleinman was
presented with The President’s Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his volunteer
service at Westport Emergency Medical Service.
The award, presented by the Office of the President of the United States and AmeriCorps
(formerly known as the Corporation for National and Community Service), recognizes a lifelong
commitment to building a stronger nation through community service.
“Larry has demonstrated his skills, abilities and compassion in thousands of 911 medical
emergency calls. The community and our organization are extremely fortunate to have an
exceptional and dedicated individual like Larry Kleinman available and ready to respond to
emergencies and provide community education. His logged in volunteer hours vastly exceed the
minimum 4,000 hours required for the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award” said Westport
Volunteer Emergency Medical Service President Mike Burns.
In addition to Mr. Kleinman, thirty-two EMS volunteers are to be awarded the 2020 President’s
Volunteer Service Award (Gold, Silver, Bronze).
WVEMS members span a variety of backgrounds and ages. From 15 years old to 75, and older,
they are real estate brokers, students, lawyers, stay at home parents, programmers, business
owners, financial advisors, retirees, teachers, nurses, etc. in their “other life.”
WVEMS volunteers, along with six town employees, staff Westport EMS ambulances to respond
to approximately 2,400 911 emergency medical calls each year. They provide pre-hospital
emergency medical care, logging in excess of 18,000 volunteer hours each year. Other aspects
of WVEMS’s essential mission in the community are: purchasing ambulances and lifesaving
equipment such as heart monitors; public education by providing CPR and Stop the Bleed classes as well as Emergency Medical Technician and Emergency Medical Responder courses; running a youth corps for high school age volunteers.
For more information on WVEMS, its classes and programs, and to donate online for its annual
fundraising campaign, please visit www.westportems.org
FAIRFIELD – Chief Robert Kalamaras reports that the Fairfield Police Department arrested and charged a man with a hate crime following an incident in which the suspect allegedly accosted a masonry worker and yelled racist language at the man.
JOSEPH R. SORACCO, AGE 61, of FAIRFIELD, was charged with:
* Intimidation Based on Bigotry or Bias, second degree
* Reckless Endangerment, second degree
* Threatening, second degree
* Breach of Peace, second degree
On Saturday, Oct. 16, shortly after 1 p.m., Fairfield Police received a complaint of a man threatening and using racial slurs, apparently over a masonry worker’s truck being parked in such a way that it blocked a section of sidewalk adjacent to a lot where construction work is being done.
Through subsequent investigation, Fairfield Police learned that SORACCO angrily confronted the masonry worker and SORACCO allegedly brandished a knife during the argument and repeatedly used ethnic slurs.
SORACCO was arrested at the scene. Fairfield officers found SORACCO was in possession of multiple knives, and a handgun for which SORACCO had a permit to carry. Officers seized the gun and knives.
Through an in-depth follow-up investigation, Fairfield Police later learned that SORACCO owns several more firearms. The Fairfield Police Detective Bureau applied for and served a search and seizure warrant to remove all accessible firearms owned by SORACCO from his home.
SORACCO has been released on bond, and is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 9:30 a.m. at the GA Courthouse in Bridgeport.
Fairfield Police Crisis Intervention Officers followed up with SORACCO and his family on Sunday to facilitate connections with healthcare resources if needed.
“The Fairfield Police Department takes all matters of threatening and hate crimes very seriously, and urges the public to immediately report any such incidents that they may observe,” Chief Kalamaras said. “Thank you to the bystander who reported this incident, who assisted police by providing critical and timely information during this investigation.”
HARTFORD, CT – Governor Ned Lamont announced that – in accordance with a proclamation issued by President Joe Biden directing flags to be lowered throughout the country as a mark of respect for General Colin Powell – he is directing U.S. and state flags in Connecticut to be flown at half-staff beginning immediately until sunset on the evening of Friday, October 22, 2021.
Accordingly, since no flag should fly higher than the U.S. flag, all other flags, including state, municipal, corporate, or otherwise, should also be lowered during this same duration of time.
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|#Fairfield CT– I am sending out an interim update to clarify some misconceptions about the future of Penfield Pavilion, which I know was all over social media the last few days.|
This week, I met with my administration and our relevant department heads to determine a timeline for when we should stop taking reservations for events at Penfield Pavilion. This is due to the ongoing environmental testing and remediation required by law, and knowing that we will have to do something with the building since it was constructed in 2017 in violation of the regulations of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), under FEMA. In simple terms, the placement of the horizontal grade beams in the foundation of the building are against FEMA regulations and will have to be addressed.
My administration has been in discussions with FEMA since they notified us in late June, to determine which engineering solutions would be in compliance. Once we have an idea of what FEMA will allow, I will present several options to our community during public hearings to get resident’s input regarding the best path forward. Penfield Pavilion has been rebuilt twice and frankly, I want this to be the last time we have to do anything to this building for a very long time.
I join our residents in their frustration that this was allowed to happen under the previous administration. The time and resources diverted for this entire remediation mess is a disservice to our community. The Town Attorney has been looking into what legal recourse we may pursue regarding the pavilion.
Unfortunately, I had to come up with a timeline, based on the information we have been receiving from our Licensed Environmental Professionals (LEPs) and FEMA, on when action plans may be signed off on and when we can begin remediation and construction. We therefore have decided to stop taking reservations at Penfield Pavilion after October 31, 2022. I do want you to know that Jacky Durrell will not be affected and can still accept reservations for events.
As I shared in last week’s newsletter, the Board of Finance (BOF) met to discuss the Town’s $9.3 million surplus, which was largely created from the Town budgeting for a lower tax collection rate than was actually collected. The Town also achieved savings on the expense side, mostly due to lower personnel costs. The BOF voted to transfer $1.3 million of the expense surplus to contractual commitments for the retired Town employee healthcare fund. This left approximately $1.7 million of the $3 million expense surplus that they voted to transfer to the Town’s Fund Balance.
During the meeting, I provided the Board of Finance with an update on the ongoing expected costs related to the fill pile contamination and public corruption that occurred under the former administration. You can watch that portion of the meeting here. While it would have been my preference for the Town to use the remaining approximately $6 million in revenue surplus to reduce the tax burden on our residents, I felt it was important to recommend the remaining surplus be set aside into the Town’s fill pile fund, towards the mounting costs for remediation.
I realize some elected officials may be concerned we don’t have definitive financials on these items yet. The projected contamination costs I presented are estimates based on preliminary evaluations by environmental consultants. Even at the low end of the range of costs, the numbers are high and will far exceed the $6 million in surplus that I am proposing we set aside in the fill pile fund. I feel it would be irresponsible not to recommend that these funds be set aside for this purpose.
My goal is to be proactive as we know these bills will be coming due. We did put $1 million aside from ARPA funds towards the fill pile remediation and we are awaiting another $1 million in state bonding. To date, the Town has spent $2.9 million in testing, remediation and legal fees.
The Board of Selectmen will have a voting item on the agenda for Monday, October 18 to set aside the $6 million in surplus to the fill pile fund, and I will ask the BOF and RTM to do the same.
|I will continue to work on this unfortunate situation and will update you going forward. |
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2021-10-17@6:07AM (Saturday)–#Westport CT–The Westport Fire Department was dispatched to a commercial automatic fire alarm at 246Post Road East 6:07 am. Upon arrival, the Shift Commander reported smoke in one of the storefronts and the assignment was upgraded to a structure fire.
First two arriving companies located the fire and stretched a large hand line to quickly
extinguish the fire. An extensive search and overhaul of the building found no additional
fire and the building was cleared of smoke.
The initial response included 2 engine companies, 1 truck company and the Shift
Commander. The final response included 7 engines, 1 truck, 1 rescue, 5 command and
safety officers with mutual aid from Wilton, Norwalk, Fairfield, Westport Police
Department and Westport EMS.
The Fire Marshal’s Office has ruled the fire to be accidental and no injuries were reported.
The Westport Fire Department would like to remind the public that smoke detectors save
lives and property, candles should never be left unattended, and everyone should have an
exit plan in the event of an emergency.