May 24th, 2020

Phase 1: Restrictions Ease for Outdoor Dining

by Christopher O'Brien

Apprehension hung in the air like the string of light bulbs Nick Santopietro hung over a newly installed outdoor dining area at Vito’s Pizzeria on Meriden Road Tuesday evening. His restaurant joined others as part of the State’s Phase 1 reopening plan as state officials eased restrictions to control the spread of the coronavirus.

“Businesses have faced some challenges and it would be good to have them at full capacity as well as all of their employees back to work as long as everyone is safe,” the town’s Economic Development Coordinator, Patrick McKinney tells the Whisper.


“We’ve been suffering for 9 weeks. Business is down 85%”


New distancing rules and changes to existing spaces brought a transformation in a community where only two restaurants previously had outdoor patios. “We communicated with town leaders, zoning, Fire Marshall and building inspectors that we needed to work together to have this happen,” said Chesprocott Health Director Maura Esposito. “We essentially had a week”, said economic Development Coordinator, Patrick McKinney. 

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May 24th, 2020

Somber Memorial Day Planned

by Christopher O'Brien

Reflection from a distance will take on a new sense of remembrance this Memorial Day in Wolcott.

A First Responders parade of emergency vehicles will traverse through Wolcott streets on Monday beginning at 11 am. Residents are invited to enjoy the parade while social distancing says a message on the town’s website. A map showing the route was released by the town this past week. After the parade, a memorial wreath laying ceremony and gun salute will be held, but closed to the public.

“In honor of the veterans we all lost, there will be a short ceremony. Even while we can’t all gather together, at least we can be proud we did someting in their honor this year,” says Mayor Thomas G. Dunn.

 

Memorial-Day-parade-route

November 8th, 2017

Row C, Republicans Sweep Town Races

by Christopher O'Brien

By Chris O’Brien

Wolcott has a new Town Clerk as Karen Mowad won her first election by only 66 votes over Republican Denise Lagasse and Democrat Julie Santarsiero. Mowad is one of two newly elected town officials to win as petitioning candidates, along with Deborah Golden who won a seat on the Town Council.

Three out of Wolcott’s top four municipal officials

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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.