Thursday, January 31, 2013

You can’t judge a book donation by its container - Library: Bins are diverting materials from our store

As published in the Record Journal, Wednesday January 30, 2013

By Eric Vo
Record-Journal staff
(203) 317-2235

WALLINGFORD – The Wallingford Public Library has noted a decline in donations to its used book store. While other factors may figure in the drop, the co-manager of the store is blaming collection bins outside the town’s high schools.

Peggy Zambrano said that, for the first time since the used book store opened, “we have had weeks where our donations table has been literally empty.”

The bins, which don’t belong to the library and were placed at Lyman Hall and Sheehan High schools by the town, ask residents to donate books, CDs and DVDs.

People can donate the same materials to the library’s used book store, but only what is considered “gently used” is put up for sale, Zambrano said. Everything else goes to an outside company, which pays the library.

Zambrano said people have told her that they’ve been putting books into the bins expecting that they would be delivered to the library.

“There have been at least 10 people who have come to the library asking about the bins, and saying they thought they had to go to the library because they were full,” she said. However, the materials being dropped in the bins went to The Reading Tree, an organization that provided books to nonprofit organizations. However, operations at The Reading Tree ended on Aug. 1 and the donations are now being handled by Discover Books.

Discover Books redistributes some books to those in need, but also resells them through online retailers, such as Amazon and eBay. Most of the books that are donated to the organization are children’s books, which are then given to nonprofits, schools and low income communities, said Clare Maher, head of marketing at Discover Books. If books are not in good enough condition to be resold or redistributed, Maher said the organization makes sure they are properly recycled.

The bins outside the high schools are still branded with The Reading Tree logo. Maher said efforts are being made across the country to rebrand the bins to eliminate any confusion as to where the materials are going.

Zambrano said she spoke with town officials about her concerns.

According to Board of Education member Chet Miller, the collection bins actually are benefiting the town. Miller said the town receives credits for the donated materials collected from the bins because it’s “keeping trash out of landfills.” The credits give the town a greater chance of receiving grants related to disposal and recycling.Miller also said the materials dropped into the collection bins aren’t in good enough condition to re-sell through the library’s used book store.

“I don’t think there is a real correlation to the donations of the books to the library,” he said. “I’ve seen what comes out of the bins. Most of what is going in there is pretty bad shape.”

While she doesn’t necessarily want the town to remove the collection bins, Zombrano said she wants to clarify where donations are going.

“Now a person can decide where they want to donate,” she said. “Whether they choose the bins or the (used book store), the town or the library will benefit.”

Wallingford Special education graduation rate dipped before Menzo was hired

As published in the Record Journal, Thursday January 31, 2013

By Eric Vo
Record-Journal staff
(203) 317-2235
Twitter: @ericvoRJ


Under School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo, the graduation rate of students with disabilities has more than doubled since he was hired after the 2008-09 school year, according to data from the Connecticut Department of Education.

Before Menzo became superintendent, 85.4 percent of students with disabilities graduated in 2008. That number dropped significantly in 2009, when only 35.3 percent of students with disabilities graduated. Despite this, the graduation rate for students with disabilities in 2011 increased to 79.3 percent. Menzo said that because the drop occurred before he was hired, he couldn’t comment on the reason for it.

According to the Department of Education, students who are diagnosed with autism or suffer from an emotional disturbance, intellectual disability, learning disability, health impairments or speech impairments are considered students who have a disability.

The district has done a number of things over the years in an effort to improve its special education program, but Menzo said the three most important factors for the increased graduation rate was due to the special education staff, reviewing the program and services provided to students and a reconfiguration of the entire department.

Last year, the district conducted a “full audit” of the special education program, evaluating the quality of services and how the school district was doing, Menzo said. After the audit, the department was restructured with department heads at each level from preschool to high school.

“The special education review allowed us to restructure the department to provide increased programming for our students,” Menzo said.

During Menzo’s first year as superintendent, the district received stimulus money that was used to hire consultants to help and train special education teachers and staff. Now that the teachers have a “higher level of expertise,” Menzo said the number of consultants has been reduced.

In addition to the examination of the special education department, Board of Education member Michael Votto said there has been more interaction between parents, the Pupil Personnel Services Department and the Parent/Teacher Advisory Council.

“Parents are more actively involved with the PPS office and they’re both sharing the same ideas and working towards the same goals,” Votto said.

He said another factor that affected the graduation rates was due to the district making an effort to bring special education students back to town schools. In some circumstances, special education students may attend a program outside the town because it provides better services for them, Votto said. But the district has made sure to duplicate these same services so students can stay within the district.

“Parents want their kids to go to school in the town that they live in,” he said. “If we were bringing students back in town, we made sure to have the same support systems to give them.”

The support system includes important staff members, such as occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and language workers, social workers and psychologists,Votto said. While it’s evident that the district has made big strides in improving its special education department, Menzo said there aren’t any plans to hold up.

“We plan to increase the graduation percentage with the Wallingford 100 initiative,” he said. “We’re never going to stop. We’re going to always keep pushing forward.”

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dogged pursuit of dog park goes on

As published in the Record Journal, Wednesday January 30, 2013

By Eric Heredia
Record-Journal staff
(203) 317-2243

WALLINGFORD - Mark Semrau walked into Community Lake Park Tuesday with his two basset hounds, Maya and Clancy, on a leash that would constantly get tangled as they walked around the grass, sniffed and made their way to wherever they wanted to do their business.

“If I let them go, I’d be able to catch them real quick” because they stop so frequently, Semrau said. He hopes to be able to unleash them routinely at the park when a dog park is built on a one-acre piece of land that has been cleared near the tennis court and parking lot off the Hall Avenue entrance.

“This is only a proposed site. We’ve looked at several others,” including a five-acre parcel on Garden Road and another on Cheshire Road, he said.

Semrau has organized a dozen volunteers to form the Wallingford Dog Lovers Association. They’ve been meeting regularly to discuss possible fundraising and how to jump through all the necessary hoops to build the park.

Once the plan is approved, they can look to gain nonprofit status and begin fundraising. He has estimated the cost to be $25,000 based on how much it cost to build a dog park in Rocky Hill. He hopes to have approval by the spring.

But John Gawlak, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, doesn’t want to commit to a timeline and has concerns about the site, particularly parking during the weekend when Little League players and parents, trail users and others, combined with dog owners, may overcrowd the lot. Noise may become an issue, so he wants the group to address that as well as whether the fence would fit in aesthetically.

“I want to exhaust all other sites first,” he said. He’s eyeing the site at Garden Road and Quinnipiac Street as an alternative. That spot is also a staging area where the Public Works Department puts brush after storms.

Semrau is also open to hearing from landowners who may donate a parcel for the project.

Gawlak has been working with Semrau since August and the proposal has gone through three revisions as Gawlak has gotten comment from Public Works, the mayor, the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission and animal control.

Semrau has been to 21 parks around the state. He’s impressed with the one in East Haven because it isn’t rectangular like most he’s seen, and he liked another on the Hart Nature Preserve in Rowayton that allows dogs access to Farm Creek.

One of his volunteers made renderings of a squarer model showing an entrance sign, information kiosk, separate sections and entrances for big and small dogs and benches inside the 4-foot chain-link fence. He said his basset hounds could run with bigger and smaller dogs.

Gawlak said the Parks and Recreation Commission would have to approve the plan and send it to the mayor.

Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said he hasn’t heard anything definitive yet, but it’s certainly a possibility.

“A dog park will require volunteers to keep it clean,” he said. “If Public Works ... is going to keep the grass mowed, we’ll need people to keep the park free of dog feces.”

He also said rules should be in place to ensure that dog owners will have a safe and enjoyable visit. “Once the Parks and Recreation Department has a proposal in hand I’ll devote more time to it,” he said.

Semrau said the project is all about catering to responsible dog owners that would keep it clean. He added that dog owners who know their dog is aggressive or may jump over the fence “don’t belong at a dog park.”

The association’s next meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Parks and Recreation Department Building, 6 Fairfield Blvd.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Anti-drug group pushes for support

As published in the Record Journal, Wednesday January 23, 2013

By Jesse Buchanan
Record-Journal staff

WALLINGFORD - Dozens of people attended Tuesday’s council meeting in support of a new group in town that’s fighting drug use following the death of several town residents.

Jennifer Short urged councilors and town officials to support the work of the newly formed Coalition for a Better Wallingford. Her daughter, 20-year-old Taylor Short, died in New Haven in November of an apparent drug overdose.

Jennifer Short said town leaders needed to acknowledge the problem and take action against it.

In December, a 26-year old Wallingford woman and her 13-month old child were found dead with drugs and drug paraphernalia nearby. Authorities determined the child was accidentally smothered.

“We need to press forward,”she said. A friend of Taylor Short and a Wallingford teacher also spoke Tuesday, urging the council to take action.

Council Chairman Robert Parisi and Councilor Craig Fishbein both questioned what type of action they were being asked to take.

Parisi said he wasn’t ignoring the problem but wanted to see proposals for how to tackle drug addiction. Councilors aren’t turning a blind eye to youths, he said, but aren’t experts in the field.

“I’m getting the feeling that I’m an ogre. I love the children,” Parisi said, defending himself. “We’re happy to help, but we need a little guidance.”

Youth and Social Services Director Craig Turner said recommendations would be forthcoming from the coalition.

“The first step is really just to bring awareness of the group’s purpose,” Turner said.

After the council meeting, Jennifer Short said she felt the council was supportive of her goals.

Taylor Short was a 2011 Sheehan High School graduate.

In the weeks following Taylor Short’s death, her mother has researched substance abuse among town youths and recently addressed the Town Council, youth and family service officials, educators and drug abuse experts in the hope of drawing attention to what she sees as a growing problem. She’s also researching drug prevention programs in Southington, Berlin, Madison and Guilford.

The coalition’s next meeting is Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at 5 Brookside Drive.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Taylor Short Fundraiser Saturday Feb 16, 2013 Wallingford Elks, 4PM to 12PM

Taylor Foundation 
The Fundraiser is on Saturday Feb 16, 2013 at the Wallingford Elks from 4PM to 12PM
TICKETS $15 each

The foundation will provide free counseling for kids with drug problems.
EVERYONE is invited and no donation too small! Help us help the kids of our community!!!

Band (Red Zone) and DJ (Local Motion) will be the entertainment

There is a dinner, cash bar, raffles and more.

Any Donations or Raffle Gifts would be greatly appreciated.

Please contact Maria Polito at for tickets. You can also call Maria at 203-213-0469 with any questions.

She is also a point contact person if you have items available for the raffle. If you are sending an email please put “Taylor Short Foundation” in the SUBJECT line.

Please make all checks out to “Taylor Short Foundation”; they can be mailed to the following address:

Taylor Short Foundation
c/o/ Maria Polito
4 Elmwood Road
Wallingford CT 06492

Please specify if your check is a donation or a ticket purchase and in the case of ticket purchase please indicate where to mail the tickets.

PZC approves Gouveia’s Legion plan

As published in the Record Journal, Wednesday January 16, 2013

By Russell Blair
Record-Journal staff
(203) 317-2225

WALLINGFORD -  Plans to renovate a long abandoned building next to Town Hall took another step forward this week.

The Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday night approved Joe Gouveia’s proposal to turn the former American Legion building on South Main Street into two apartments.

“Everything went well,” Gouveia said of the meeting.

The Town Council voted to sell the town-owned building at 41 S. Main St. to Gouveia last year for $75,000. He had originally planned to turn the house into a mixed use building with an office on the first floor and apartments on the second and third floors, but changed the proposal to a wholly residential building.

With his site plan approved, Gouveia said the next step is to formally close on the property and work out some water and sewer issues. After that work to the interior of the 1890s building can begin. The property has been vacant for about 20 years.

“I expect some issues, but nothing that can’t be fixed,” Gouveia said.

Jerry Farrell Jr., a lawyer and former town councilor, is assisting Gouveia with the purchase. He said Gouveia’s plans call for the use of only one parking space in the lot shared with Town Hall. His restoration will also leave intact most of the features of the house, including an ornate staircase and two fireplaces, Farrell said.

The town bought the building at a foreclosure auction in 1994 for $190,000, with the intent of razing it and using the property for Town Hall expansion or additional parking. But after years of litigation, a New Haven Superior Court judge ruled in February 2011 that the house, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, could not be demolished. The town then began trying to sell the property.

Farrell said he was happy to see a buyer close to a deal with the town. Several previous offers have been rejected by the Town Council and the last buyer to have a plan approved backed out several months later.

“It’s sort of been a long running story that hopefully will have a fairy tale ending,” Farrell said.

Gouveia had submitted three previous offers for the building, including a 2011 proposal to buy it for $100,000 and turn it into a wine bar and coffee lounge. But after the council expressed concerns about parking and other issues, he withdrew the offer.

“I think that would have been the best use of the building,” Gouveia said.

Regardless, Gouveia said, he is interested in the property because he has an appreciation of older buildings in the downtown area.
Gouveia has been rehabbing buildings since the 1970s and owns three rental properties downtown, two are fully residential and one is mixed use, with a lawyer’s office in it.

“Old houses are beautiful,” Gouveia said. “They have a lot of style and craft. I love the building. I would have hated to see it come down.”

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

MassDOT’s 21st Century Transportation Plan: Important News for NHHS

On January 14th, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced a plan for the next generation of transportation investment in the Commonwealth.

The plan includes $362.4 million in funding to expand passenger rail service between Boston and Springfield via the inland route and support for a future high-speed rail connection to New York City via Springfield, which are identified as funding priorities.

Read more: The Way Forward: A 21st Century Transportation Plan

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tea and History - Exploring town’s oblique link to ‘Downton Abbey’

As published in the Record Journal Sunday January 13, 2013

By Russell Blair
Record-Journal staff
(203) 317-2225

— The Historic Preservation Trust is hoping to bring a taste of English aristocracy to town next month with an event inspired by the popular television show “Downton Abbey.”

Trust President Jerry Farrell Jr. said the group will sponsor an afternoon tea and a presentation by British author Anne Sebba about Jennie Jerome Churchill, Winston Churchill’s mother and one of the inspirations for the television series about an American heiress who marries an English aristocrat. Jennie Jerome married Lord Randolph Churchill, the son of the Duke of Marlborough, in 1874. She was 20.

Both the tea and the talk are scheduled for Feb. 9 at Zandri’s Stillwood Inn, 1074 S. Colony St.

Farrell said he always found the life of Jennie Jerome Churchill interesting, but grew more fascinated with the story when he learned she had a connection to Wallingford. While she was born and grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., she had cousins in Wallingford — including Moses Y. Beach, publisher of the New York Sun and founder of the Associated Press — so it’s likely she visited here at some point.

“To think that a little bit of Wallingford flowed through Winston Churchill’s veins is great,” Farrell said.

And there’s another connection: Winston Churchill’s great-great-great-great grandfather, Timothy Jerome, lived in Meriden, which then was part of Wallingford. He died in 1751 and lies in Meriden’s old burying ground, at the top of Ann Street.

Sebba has written nine books, including biographies of Mother Teresa; Laura Ashley, a Welsh fashion designer and businesswoman; and Wallis Simpson, a Baltimore divorcée whom King Edward VIII abdicated the British throne to marry. They spent the rest of their lives as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

“I lived in Brooklyn for two years, a stone’s throw from the street where Jennie grew up, and I love treading in the footsteps of my subjects, so I am very excited to discover another part of the world with Churchillian connections,” Sebba said in an email.

Farrell said he recently also learned of a possible Wallingford connection to King Edward. An elderly resident recalled Edward VIII, then Prince of Wales, visiting the town in the early 1930s to purchase a silver comb and mirror set for Simpson, whom he was courting at the time.

Farrell is still checking the veracity of the claim, but he believes it’s possible, given that products produced by Wallace Silversmiths Inc. on Quinnipiac Street were world renowned.

Tickets for the tea are $25 and are available at Wallingford Lamp & Shade, 124 Center St. Sebba’s lecture is free and open to the public. The tea begins at 1 p.m. and runs until 2:30 p.m., when the lecture will begin.

Farrell said funds raised by the tea will go toward improvements to the Nehemiah Royce House, on North Main Street. The trust recently completed about $300,000 of work on the exterior of the building and is continuing with a project to fix the interior and turn the house into a museum.

Anne Sebba, author of “Jennie Churchill: Winston’s American Mother,” will be in Wallingford Feb. 9 for tea and to give a talk on the Churchills at Zandri’s Stillwood Inn, 1074 S. Colony St.

Author Anne Sebba will be in Wallingford on Feb. 9 for tea and a talk about Wallingford’s connection to the Churchills, and thus to TV’s “Downton Abbey.”

Thursday, January 10, 2013


On Saturday, February 9th, the Wallingford Historic Preservation Trust will host "A Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea and Special Illustrated Lecture" at the Stillwood Inn, 1074 South Colony Street, Wallingford, Connecticut to celebrate the airing of Season 3 of "Downton Abbey" (which runs through January and February).
For those unfamiliar with the globally successful television show, Downton Abbey chronicles the fictional inhabitants of a magnificent stately home in the English countryside at a critical time in world history. Lord Grantham has inherited the family estate, but not enough cash to restore or maintain it; thus, he marries-for money at least initially -the beautiful Lady Cora, an American heiress.
Beginning at 1pm and running until 230pm, the Trust will serve Afternoon Tea, in the English style, at the Stillwood Inn. In addition to wonderfully brewed hot tea, other fare will include assorted scones, tea sandwiches, tea cakes, pinwheels, petitfores, elegant pastries, and other sweets. The cost is $25 per person. Tickets for the tea MUST be purchased in advance, by cash or check, in person at Wallingford Lamp and Shade, 124 Center Street, Wallingford 203-269-2177. Wallingford Lamp and Shade is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 930 am to 5pm and Saturdays 930am to 4pm. Seating is limited and those interested in attending are urged to buy their tickets soon, as it is anticipated this event will sell out quickly.
Proceeds from the tea benefit the restoration of the Nehemiah Royce House on North Main Street and the Franklin Johnson Mansion\American Silver Museum on South Main Street, historic properties in Wallingford owned by the Trust.
Following the tea, at 230pm at the Stillwood Inn, a special illustrated presentation will be given by acclaimed British author Anne Sebba on "A Real Life Downton Abbey: The Life and Times of Jennie Jerome Churchill - Dollar Princess, Seductress, Mother".
The lecture is free.
While Lady Cora in Downton Abbey is a fictional creation, she is partly based on Jennie Jerome Churchill (1854-1921), who was often said to have been the first dollar princess. Jennie’s marriage to Lord Randolph Churchill in 1874 encouraged hundreds of ambitious American mothers, hoping an exchange of dollars could buy their daughters a titled, if unhappy, marriage.
From the Gilded Age until 1914, more than one hundred such American heiresses married into the British aristocracy, most of them unhappily, living out the social ambitions of their parents. Just as Jennie’s father Leonard Jerome argued with the Duke of Marlborough about the size of the financial settlement he was prepared to hand over to his future son-in-law, he told his daughter Jennie that, in spite of the haggling, he was thrilled by her imminent marriage. It was 'the greatest match any American has made since the Duchess of Leeds.'
But, as Sebba will show in her illustrated Powerpoint talk, the marriage caused Jennie deep pain and misery. Although rumored to have had 200 lovers, including Bertie, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) , Jennie’s chief solace was her first born son, Winston Churchill (1874-1965), British Prime Minister during World War II, whose American heritage proved critical in the battle to come.
"They say that the Transatlantic Alliance, between Great Britain and the United States, started under Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt,” says Trust president Jerry Farrell, Jr., “but its roots may lie much deeper, in Winston Churchill having an American mother whose family had roots in Wallingford - grandparents and cousins (including Moses Y. Beach) lived in Wallingford.”
“It's an absolute coup to get Anne Sebba here to speak," said Farrell. “Her biography American Jennie: The Remarkable Life of Winston Churchill's Mother, is considered the authoritative work on Jennie Churchill.” Sebba has written nine books including biographies of Mother Teresa, Laura Ashley and, most recently, That Woman, a biography of Wallis Simpson, another American who changed the course of British history. Simpson was the Baltimore divorcee for whom King Edward VIII abdicated the British throne and That Woman was a New York Times bestseller. In addition to her work as an historian and biographer, Sebba has worked as a journalist for the BBC and Reuters and is currently Chair of the British Society of Authors.
The event has been put together by Farrell and board members Jane Smith and Ray Ross. "I have always found Jennie Jerome Churchill to be a fascinating character - I will leave it to Anne Sebba to tell the juicy details of her life," Farrell said. "But to think that a little bit of Wallingford flowed through Winston Churchill's veins is great," Farrell commented. "I have watched Downton Abbey the last two seasons and thought that an event centered on Jennie Jerome Churchill was a way to tell real and actual history to an audience already interested in this kind of story," Farrell said.
Anne Sebba commented: “I lived in Brooklyn for two years, a stone’s throw from the street where Jennie grew up, and I love treading in the footsteps of my subjects so I am very excited to discover another part of the world with Churchillian connections.”
Although Sebba’s presentation at Wallingford will not address Wallis Simpson, Simpson does have a link to the town. During the early 1930's, Edward, then the Prince of Wales, quietly visited Wallingford to purchase a silver comb and mirror set from Wallace Silversmiths as a gift for Wallis. While he was able to purchase the set at the factory on Quinnipiac Street, according to Farrell, it being a Saturday, the company engraver was not working. The Prince was directed to the engraver's home on Academy Street and the set was then engraved for Wallis. "Remember, without Wallis, there would be no Queen Elizabeth, and Charles, Diana, William and Harry would have ended up largely unknown members of the Royal Family, not the objects of international interest they are today," says Farrell. The paperback edition of Sebba's That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor is being launched in early February. Sebba is in the United States February 6-12th visiting some of the historic sites associated with Wallis Simpson. Her research into the Simpson story has resulted in a dramatic re-evaluation of the so-called Abdication Crisis, involving Simpson and Edward VIII.
Attached are two image files provided by Anne Sebba: 1) a photo of Anne Sebba and 2) the bookjacket of Sebba's Jennie Jerome Churchill book.
Jerry Farrell, Jr. can be reached at 203-804-9188.
These events are not associated with the production company or directors of Downton Abbey.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Granucci Video Album

The first video will play – it takes about 30 seconds to get started but it will play.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Wallingford YMCA West Side Branch GRAND OPENING




DVD presentation of an original 16mm film from Wallingford set for viewing (Sunday, Jan. 6, at 2 p.m.)

WALLINGFORD — The Wallingford Public Library, 200 North Main St. invites the public to experience Wallingford in the 1930s on Sunday, Jan. 6, at 2 p.m., in the Community Room. A DVD presentation of an original 16mm film featuring Wallingford residents, local businesses and schools will be introduced by local resident Tarn Granucci. Scenes include Sonia Henie’s visit to Wallingford and Wallingford’s own Keystone Cops, Jones Auto Sales, First National Bank and Trust, Jack’s Texaco and Rose’s Bus Service are some of the businesses featured. Local residents are encouraged to attend and identify friends and family appearing in the film.

For information, call the library at (203) 265-6754 or online at www.wallinford.lioninc. org .

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Haven-Hartford-Springfield (NHHS) Rail Program Cable Installation Update: January, 2013

Cable Installation Update: January, 2013

Amtrak continues the installation of underground signal and communication cables, the first portion of construction for the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield (NHHS) Rail Program. This work is required to upgrade signal and communication systems for the NHHS rail corridor and prepare for subsequent track and infrastructure improvements to re-establish Track 2.

During January, work is scheduled in Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin, Newington, West Hartford and Hartford.  There will be occasional traffic interruptions at the grade crossings in these towns as the cable installation is progressed.  Every effort will be made to limit these disruptions, which should last no longer than fifteen minutes.

Also, during the month of January, day and nighttime lane closures are scheduled in Hartford at Capital Avenue, Asylum Avenue, and Church Street so construction crews can make minor bridge modifications.

Future updates on the status and location of cable installation activities will be provided on the NHHS program website at and by email. To receive email updates, please register on the NHHS program website.

Contact:  Amtrak, Peter Finch,

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Annual Christmas Tree Collection - Begins Monday, January 7

As originally posted on the News / Announcements page of the Town of Wallingford website

Annual Christmas Tree Collection - Begins Monday, January 7

Department of Public Works

The Department of Public Works began the annual Collection of Natural Christmas Trees on Monday, January 7, 2013, in all sections of town. Residents must place thave Christmas trees to be picked up at the curbside Sunday, January 6, 2013. 

Trees must be clean of ornaments, bows, tinsel, etc. No plastic bags or wreaths will be picked up.

This is a one-time pickup. If residents miss the deadline, trees may be taken to the Wallingford Compost Area at no charge.

Wallingford residents may recycle their natural Christmas trees at the Compost Area adjacent to the Wallingford Recycling Center on John Street through January 14, 2013.  All trees must be clean. The Wallingford Compost Area is open Monday, Thursday and Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. until January 14, 2013.  Trees must be brought down by this dateThe Compost Area will be closed from January 16 to March 15.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Some costs on raising a family (well, mine anyway) in Wallingford, CT

I wrapped up my tally of bills for 2012 and compared them with years gone by to see how costs have gone up and / or where we are consuming more.

Here are some of those details for my family of six; obviously there are kinds of other costs to presume but these are the easiest to represent of the ones I tracked.

Property taxes (for my home)    

$5,142.44 - 2012
$5,192.80 - 2011
$4,613.56 - 2010
$4,527.66 - 2009
$4,469.16 - 2008
$4,225.22 - 2007
$3,814.55 - 2006
$3,481.94 - 2005

Wallingford Electric

$2,273.09 for 2012, a total of 18,566 KWH
$2,129.10 for 2011, a total of 16,850 KWH
$2,257.42 for 2010, a total of 16,890 KWH
$2,458.02 for 2009, a total of 20,376 KWH
$2,116.04 for 2008, a total of 18,039 KWH

Cable TV (used to be DISH; 2011 and 2012 it’s been Uverse)

$2,389.05 for 2012 - Uverse
$2,346.23 for 2011 - Uverse
$1,923.59 for 2010 - DISH
$1,985.78 for 2009 - DISH
$2,128.95 for 2008 - DISH

Wallingford Water and Sewer (never kept cubic foot totals; wish I did now)

$908.04 for 2012
$659.58 for 2011
$593.58 for 2010
$309.42 for 2009
$471.46 for 2008

Groceries (out of diapers and into more food; barely noticed the difference until this past year)

$9,095.93 for 2012
$7,078.67 for 2011
$6,329.67 for 2010
$7,569.30 for 2009
$6,307.34 for 2008