May 4th, 2017

Unique Boutique Opens on Beach Road

by Christopher O'Brien

Accents-Accessories of Distinction celebrated a successful grand opening at its new location in Wolcott located at 30 Beach Road on April 1st. The womens’ fashion store which has been in business since 2000 in Litchfield was recently purchased by resident April Clark in 2015.

Accents carries a variety of jewelry and accessories for men and women that range from the trendy to exclusive one-of a kind pieces. The business prides itself on being the “go-to” source for weddings and proms by offering personal service by its staff. Brides, mothers of the brides, as well as prom-goers will find that perfect piece to compliment any dress or outfit.

Area residents are…  Read More…

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January 2nd, 2017

Your Property Taxes and You – Part 2

by Christopher O'Brien

Part 2 of a 3-part series.

By Roy Balkus

First, I need to correct an error in the first part of the series. To get the approximate fair market value of your home you need to divide the assessed value by .70! Not multiply it. My Editor, an English Major no doubt, got overly zealous in making corrections, ignoring the math guy. Sorry for that.

Editor’s Note: Yeah… I reversed the numbers while editing the first draft. Thanks to modern online editing, you’ll never see my error – it was corrected. But I defer to the math guy from now on! *Bows*

This series of articles was prompted by a lot of comments on Wolcott Chats, a Facebook group. Those comments paraphrased were “my assessment went down, I am going to save money on taxes”. If you are on Facebook and not a member of Wolcott Chats, I urge you to join it.

So, the grand list for any Connecticut city or town is made up of all the taxable property which consists of three components. The first component is real property which includes single family residences, multifamily residences, condos, and commercial/industrial property. The second component is personal property, motor vehicles, trailers, campers etc. and the final component is business equipment. Business equipment is a “complete and accurate description of all personal property used in the conduct of your business”. The link below will give a far better list of what business equipment is taxed. http://wolcottct.org/pages/page_content/secondary_town-departments_assessor_personal-property_personal-property-info.aspx

An increasing grand list is a good thing, a declining grand list is a bad thing. Yes, probably, but not always. Town spending is the real issue, if spending increases by a larger percentage than the grand list does then taxes will generally go up (there are also other sources of income).

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December 1st, 2016

Will Wolcott Break Christmas Caroling Record Saturday?

by Christopher O'Brien

Santa Clause and the Grinch may be on hand Saturday
Volunteers with the Christmas spirit are being asked to show up at Wakelee School on Saturday.
LOTS of vol2014-12-13-16-52-37unteers. 1,823 to be exact.

Two years ago, hundreds of residents made their way singing house to house in the center of town, but fell short of the goal to break the World Record. While they were unsuccessful, the event was a great and fun one for families and friends. This year, the event will be shared in a west side neighborhood.2014-12-13-16-52-26

The current record was set in 2013 by Waukesha, Wisconsin after breaking Westport’ record of 502 carolers in 2012.

Lovers of Christmas, singing, and bringing joy to their neighbors in this community event are invited to register and meet at Wakelee School between 2 and 3 pm. After a pep talk and group photo, carolers will make their way to fifteen houses along a one mile route. All residents (and non residents!) are invited to attend. Just bring a good pair of shoes and your voice. The Senior bus will be provided to assist those who may get tired or need to keep warm.

Registration is required, and funds from the event benefit local music and arts scholarships. If you register, you must also be present at the 2014-12-13-16-07-07event for a headcount in order to break the record.

More information about the event can be found HERE.

Encore Scholarship Christmas Caroling World Record Event Website

November 26th, 2016

Assessment Down, Taxes Up – Taxes 101

by Christopher O'Brien

Part 1, of a 3-part series.

By Roy Balkus

So, you got your new assessment from the Town of Wolcott for your house. Oh, look, the assessed value is down, great that means my taxes will go down!!!! Probably the only time you would be happy to think that your house was not worth as much as it used to be.

But wait, not so fast let’s look at the process of revaluation, the why and the how and how your house fits into the “grand list”. Then you will better understand the process and be in a better position to perhaps know whether they will go up or down. And perhaps become more

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November 23rd, 2016

Thanksgiving Garbage Pickup Unchanged

by Christopher O'Brien

Gaudiosi Hauling announced that garbage pickup will be on the normal days during the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend.

November 9th, 2016

GOP, Trump Enjoys Wide Support

by Christopher O'Brien

As the clocks fell back an hour, colorful hues of leaves during a windy week mirroring the national Presidential race. Yellow, red, and orange falls predominantely against a bold blue and red sign-scape that shows Wolcott’s political colors. We haven’t seen a single sign for Clinton at all in Wolcott, while Trump-Pence signs are literally everywhere.

Tuesday night’s results were clear before the election: The President-elect won Wolcott decisively. In other races, Wolcott also voted for challengers Dan Carter for US Senate and Clay Cope for Congressional Representative. Both of those candidates lost their overall races, however.

More locally, State Senator Joe Markley won election against Southington resident Ryan Rogers. As of 5:30 am, the Secretary of State’s website only had 16 out of the 22 precincts reporting in that race.

State Representative Rob Sampson will also start his third term in Hartford. He was unopposed.

Statewide, Republicans will now be in equal numbers with Democrats in the State Senate. Democrats will control the chamber since Lt. Governor Wyman will cast tie-breaking votes and is a Democrat. However, the tone may change on fiscal issues as some Democratic senators, including Joan Hartley of Waterbury often side with Republicans on those issues.

The Whisper will publish more complete statistics when ballot numbers are tallied and released by the Town Clerk’s office.

November 7th, 2016

US Senate Race

by Christopher O'Brien

This year’s State Senate race should have been very interesting, however most media outlets neglected to cover it.

For our part, we apologize.

What does a US Senator do?

According to the Constitution, each state has two US Senators. Besides being tasked as a jury in the event a federal official is impeached, the US Senate focuses greatly on foreign policy. Each US Senator serves for 6 years with only 1/3 of the body being replaced in each election.

This year, Dick Blumenthal is completing his first term. His Republican challenger is a three term State Representative and former Air Force pilot Dan Carer from Bethel. Libtertarian candidate Richard Lion and Green Party candidate Jeffrey Russell are also running.

There has only been one debate in the race, taken at WFSB 3 a few weeks ago. Readers may want to watch this interesting exchange of issues.

Dan Carter has been relentless in attacking Dick Blumenthal through weekly press releases for months, however state media has only begun covering this race last week. This is very unfortunate because in our view, Blumenthal has avoided important questions on foreign policy, and when he does take a stand, it is of little substance but firmly behind Hillary Clinton.

As such we endorse Dan Carter for the seat – he brings a variety of experience and knowledge that can better serve Connecticut residence than the current officeholder. Blumenthal has balked at commenting on the role of Putin, Kim Jong Il and whether or not the United States should take a stronger role in Syria.

November 7th, 2016

State Legislative Endorsements

by Christopher O'Brien
Live in Connecticut?
Given the tax increases we have had already, and the ones still being proposed, you should think twice about voting for a Democratic legislator.
Let’s recap. Frankly, it started before Malloy when an overwhelming Democratic legislature decided to double our fees at the DMV. Then Malloy – after pledging not to raise taxes, instituted the largest and second largest income-tax increases in state history. The gas tax is still one of the highest in the country, and gee… can you find a job?
We all know friends and neighbors who have left. The rest of us are thinking about it too.
But wait… there’s even more taxes to come. Malloy and Democrats are considering a mileage tax! This would require the state – your Big Brother – to install a GPS device that tracks how far you drive. This may be only one step removed from tracking WHERE you drive. And there are other things that may be taxed as well. At the same time, Legislative Democrats are cutting funding to hospitals, disabled, and the poor, while giving money to Sikorsky just for sticking around, a special deal with Pratt and Whitney and ESPN just to stay here, and paying other businesses to move from one city to another. But even more businesses – from large General Electric moving from Fairfield to Boston, to smaller businesses, and even small businesses going out of business altogether.
On the Public Safety front, Connecticut is becoming a more dangerous place overall. Gov. Malloy and legislative Democrats approved an early release program for criminals who did not finish their sentences, or rehabilitative efforts. By our count, these releases have resulted in at least 3 murders and a rape of a child. Feel-good laws have been passed on gun control and human trafficking, but nothing practical which would prevent actual criminals to be stopped in their tracks, or sexual abuse victims to be assisted until after their perpetrators make their own mistakes to be arrested.
We spent nearly $1 billion on a busway from New Britain to Hartford while freight and railways continue to crumble. Parks are almost not opened at all during the summer, and while Democratic legislators claim to not have raised taxes this past year, they did cut disbursements to local towns- forcing towns to raise THEIR taxes instead.
This shell game has to end.
Thankfully, Wolcott has been well represented by two of the most fiscally conservative legislators in the State. Rob Sampson and Joe Markley not only have called out the unjustices in Hartford, they both have independently broken from their “go along to get-along” Republican Party members at times when it counted too.
We proudly endorse Markley and Sampson to another term – and look forward to more like- minded Republicans to join them in Hartford. Hopefully a critical mass will be elected on Tuesday that includes moderate Democrats that know how to get Connecticut back on track.
November 6th, 2016

Wolcott Voter Guide

by Christopher O'Brien

Wolcott voters will have an opportunity to approve or reject a question on the ballot this Tuesday. A piece of property on Nichols Road is being offered for $325,000. The property is already surrounded by town land at the BAW ball fields and the lower pavilion area of Woodtick Recreation Area.

Voting will take place from 6 am until 8 pm. As long as you are in line at 8 pm, you will be permitted to vote.

Voters are reminded that State Law prohibits any campaigning or visible campaign material – including clothing – inside a polling station or within 75 of the entrance. Try to respect fellow voters’s difficult considerations by refraining from wearing such clothing, even if it contains only a slogan that refers to a candidate. Voter are allowed to bring in notecards or pieces of paper for their voting reference. Photographing your ballot is allowed in Connecticut. Of course all of these rules assume there is no disruptions and moderators have some discretion enforcing them. While issues can usually be worked out at the polling place, others can be referred to the Secretary Of State’s office

Wolcott voters will select which 14 candidates will represent them for national and state offices on Tuesday. As voters move from local elections to President, their options tend to get larger this year. Only one candidate is running for State Representative, while four candidates can be found running for US Senate and electors for President and Vice President. Not listed on the ballot are over 20 write- in candidates for President and 2 for US Senate.

Wolcott’s Sample Ballot can be found HERE: wolcott2016ballot

Are you registered to vote? Be sure to avoid any hassles by checking on the Secretary of State’s voter lookup page. This will also give you your voting location and which party you are affiliated with. District 1 votes at Tyrrell School’s gym, District 2 at Wolcott High School’s gym, and District 3 at Wakelee School’s gym. Park in the back at Wakelee.

Not Registered yet? Connecticut has same-day voter registration. New residents or others who missed the deadline can do this at Town Hall between 6 am and 8 pm. Bring proof of residency and ID with you. You can contact the Registrar’s of Voters (or in their absence, the Town Clerk) at 203-879-8100 for more information.

November 5th, 2016

Saturday Presidential Roundup

by Christopher O'Brien

If you haven’t made up your mind on the Presidential election, you’re not alone.

Through interviews, we’ve found many voters still fraught with the choice of two popular -and also unpopular candidates, and trying to determine if there is an alternative. Each day until the election, we will attempt to provide links on the news of the day for each of the most plausible 5 Presidential candidates. Four are on the ballot in Connecticut, and a write-in candidate has a probability to earn electoral votes.

First, we’ll briefly highlight the event of the day for each campaign. Then, we’ll cover a policy issue for each. Finally, we understand that some folks might weigh their decision between two candidates based upon polling data. We’ll provide the approximately projected Electoral Vote count nationwide.

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