BRIDGEPORT – Because of the snow, Bridgeport schools will run on a 90-minute delay this morning. As such, the planned early dismissal for “school improvement” has been cancelled and school will let out at the regular dismissal times, school officials said this morning. So to recap: 90 minute delay, no early dismissal.
Archive for January, 2011
Nine people have submitted letters to the Bridgeport Board of Education, asking to be considered for the seat left vacant by Patrick Crossin, who resigned last month for health reasons. The candidates are: Barbara Pouchet, Betsey Elise Meyer, Brandon M. Clark, Francisco Luis Torres III, Hernan Illingworth, John Marshall Lee, Luz Carraquillo, Russell J. Clark and Thomas A. Mulligan Jr. The board plans a meeting to interview the candidates early next month. By state statute, the slot must be filled by a Democrat, as Crossin was.
The superintendent’s office would not immediately release copies of the applications the candidates submitted for the public board position. They gave only the names, not even their addresses. All submitted letters of intent, some longer than others, and some even included resumes. The superintendent’s office said they are reluctant to release the information saying its possible the candidates didn’t realize their information would be made public. The information is being requested under the Freedom of Information law.
In the meantime, here’s what we know. Several speakers at Monday’s meeting spoke in favor of Pouchet, saying that she was not only knowledgable and interested, but could represent the East side of town, something the board currently lacks. Pouchet comes to almost every board meeting.
Illingworth is president of the District wide Parent Action Committee. He has a daughter in the system and also attends many meetings.
Mulligan, is a local attorney.
The last time the board had an opening, and Board President Barbara Bellinger was elected by the rest of the board, resumes on each candidate was provided.
The Bridgeport Police Department will conduct a roadside sobriety checkpoint starting tonight.
The purpose of this checkpoint is to create a visible police presence and focus on operators under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Anyone who observes a vehicle being operated by a person they suspect is driving while under the influence of alcohol or recklessly, is encouraged to call 911 and report the incident to the police.
Police did not disclose where the checkpoint will be located.
They plan to continue the checkpoint program through September.
Temperatures in the area are expected to plunge into single digits Saturday night and go even lower Sunday night, so area shelters could use some blankets, pillows and other items.
The Bridgeport Rescue Mission’ warehouse at 1069 Connecticut Ave. Unit 2-B will be collecting boots, clothing and over the counter medicine for colds today, Saturday. No torn or ripped clothing or partially used medication, please. And if you drop off cough syrup, it must be alcohol free.
The Rescue Mission will accept donations until 6 p.m., but you probably want to get there by 5 p.m.
Up in Shelton, Spooner House is requesting only blankets and pillows for the weekend. You can drop them off at 30 Todd Road, in Shelton.
An ESPN crew piled into the blacksmith shop at Boothe Memorial Park and Museum in Stratford Thursday to film a Texas-inspired video package for the sports network’s Superbowl pre-game coverage. Footage from the nine-hour shoot will be spliced into five to 10 second clips to be aired on five of the network’s programs in the week before the big game Sunday, Feb. 6. Stratford resident Albert Snow, 76, a volunteer blacksmith at the 1932 shop, will likely appear in the final footage, according to ESPN Senior Creative Director Carol Boyle.
From the office of Mayor Bill Finch:
BRIDGEPORT, CT – The city of Bridgeport has been honored for the second year in a row with a prestigious national community development award for its innovative use of HOME Investment Partnership Program funds in its work with local developer Philip Kuchma on the mixed-use building at 323 Fairfield Avenue, part of the Bijou Square development.
The city was one of 14 recipients of the Gabe Zimmerman Award for Public Service during the National Community Development Association’s Annual Meeting held in Washington, D.C., this week. Mayor Bill Finch and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Alanna Kabel were on hand to receive the award at the luncheon held Friday. The award, formerly called the Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award, is given each year as part of a national competition to identify and recognize exemplary uses of Community Development Block Grant funds which best address the needs of low-income families and neighborhoods.
“We were extremely proud to nominate Phil’s 323 Fairfield Ave. project for this award,” said Mayor Finch. “The Kuchma family has been a part of downtown development for decades, and the work he’s done on this part of the Bijou Square project is nothing short of miraculous considering the economic climate.”
The 323 Fairfield Ave. mixed-use building is the first new construction in downtown Bridgeport in nearly 20 years. Kuchma had begun work on the building in late 2007, just as the nation slipped into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The building stood empty for more than a year as Kuchma struggled to put together financing to complete the construction.
“Phil never lost sight of what he wanted to do, and we wouldn’t allow the project to flounder,” said Finch.
“I’ve spent nearly forty years developing properties in the city of Bridgeport,” said Kuchma, “and I’m extremely appreciative of the assistance I’ve received from the city and other entities to enable this project to move forward to completion. Downtown Bridgeport is an interesting place to live, work, and enjoy restaurants and entertainment, and is improving every month. We plan to continue to grow our investments here and definitely see a bright future.”
The City’s Central Grants and Community Development and Planning and Economic Development departments worked closely with Kuchma to help find ways to put a financing package together. Finally, in late winter 2010, a combination of GE Capital/CHFA, Housing Development Fund and the City’s HOME funds helped put the project back on track.
Today, the mixed-use development at the corner of Fairfield Avenue and Lafayette Boulevard includes a wine shop and a gift boutique, a unisex hair salon is to open soon, and two other leases have been agreed upon. Only two retail spaces remain. Forty percent of the 84 one and two-bedroom units, 11 of which are targeted as affordable rate housing, are rented due to the high demand for market-rate housing, and he expects the rest of the units to be occupied by early spring. Of the 11 affordable rate units, 10 have been leased to date.
State Rep. DebraLee Hovey, R-Monroe, introduced legislation that would give new parents extra time to sign their infant on to their health insurance plans.
Current law requires parents put a new baby on their insurance within 31 days. Hovey is proposing extending that time period to 90 days.
“Unfortunately there are instances when a newborn child or the mother is suffering from medical complications from the birth, and 31 days goes by very quickly,” Hovey said in a press release. “When you are fighting for the health or the life of a child, placing the child on your insurance policy isn’t the top priority.”
If parents miss the deadline, they must go through a “time-consuming, complicated, process” of filing forms, without any gauruntee that they will get coverage, Hovey added.
There will a public hearing for the bill on Tuesday.
From the desk of arts writer Phyllis A.S. Boros
The Barnum Museum announced Friday afternoon that it has been awarded $40,000 from the Fairfield County Community Foundation to be used to partially match a $100,000 Endangered Building Grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.
The Connecticut Commission grant was awarded in the fall of 2010 to assist with an extensive architectural review necessary to determine the full scope of the museum’s structural damage that occurred during the June 24, 2010, tornado in Bridgeport, explained Kathy Maher, the museum’s executive director and curator.
“We are concentrating every effort in 2011 toward the complete restoration of our building in order to preserve the priceless collection,” Maher said in a written statement.
“This funding has helped us accomplish the planning required to begin accurate reconstruction of our historic building, designed by the architectural firm of Longstaff and Hurd. We are anxious to put on our hard hats so that the public will once again have access to the museum,” Maher wrote.
The original museum building at 820 Main St., owned by the city of Bridgeport and managed by a nonprofit foundation, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is being considered for National Historic Landmark designation by the National Parks and Department of Interior.
A few weeks prior to his death on April 7, 1891, Barnum approved plans for the construction of the building, designed to house the city’s history and science societies, as a gift to his adopted city. The building opened on Feb. 18, 1893. The museum pays tribute to the 19th century showman and entertainment entrepreneur and his Victorian times through numerous displays and exhibitions.
According to Maher, the Fairfield County Community Foundation promotes the growth of community and regional philanthropy to improve the quality of life throughout Fairfield County and has awarded more than $123 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. For more information, visit www.fccfoundation.org.
The Barnum Museum is currently closed ”in order to preserve the collection and repair the building structure,” Maher noted.
For updates, Maher suggests visiting www.barnum-museum.org or calling 203-331-1104.