RTM Adopts Whopping $111.8 M School-Town Budget

by marcia chambers | May 15, 2017 8:04 am

Marcia Chambers Photo The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) last week adopted a whopping $111.8 million school-town budget, the result of a state financial crisis that drove the legislative body to adopt a town budget increasing the taxpayer’s bill by 5.33 percent. Last year’s school-town budget was $105,891.217. But the process isn’t over.

“We are basically trying to assess the impact on us based on what we know, and we have made provisions to deal with it,” despite enormous uncertainty, Finance Director Jim Finch told the Eagle in an interview last week. The next and final step takes place a week from today, on May 22, when the Board of Finance (BOF) meets at Fire Headquarters to set the mill rate. At this juncture, the mill rate is currently estimated at 28.87 mills, but it could go lower if the BOF acts to do so. Last year’s mill rate came in at 27.41

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Cool Events This Weekend, Here & Beyond

by Sally E. Bahner | May 12, 2017 8:28 am

It’s Mother’s Day weekend. Time to give mom a break from the kitchen and household duties. You can’t go wrong with brunch – there are lots of good places in town. Pet moms count, too, so dad… scoop the litter box or walk that pup! You’ve had a couple weeks notice to excavate all that old paperwork – now’s the time to bring it all to the Stony Creek Brewery and have it shredded securely. Many other events, as well, for pet lovers, music lovers, book worms, Creek buffs, and those would like to contribute to the community!

Saturday, May 13

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Girls’ Tennis Looks For Strong Finish

by Bill O'Brien | May 11, 2017 7:53 am

Bill O'Brien Photo Last year after their first eight tennis matches, the Branford Lady Hornets were looking good and were off to a 6-2 start. This year, after the loss of several key players to graduation, they stand at 1-7 after their first eight matches, but are optimistic about how they will finish. Indeed yesterday they beat Lyman Hall 4-3 in what was the team’s best match so far.

Bill O'Brien Photo “It’s exciting and a lot of fun to watch the players develop their technique and match play skills over the course of the season,” said coach Jim Cole.

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Ongoing Election Reflection: Teens’ Perspectives, Part 2

by Sally E. Bahner | May 10, 2017 8:50 am

Sally E. Bahner Photo The Eagle interviewed five Branford High School seniors, Spencer Mariotti, Jack Nelson, Hilliard Wolfe, Sean Williams, and Mauro Aceves, who shared their thoughts on the 2016 election and concerns moving forward.  Part 2.

Two of the five, Mariotti and Williams, were able to vote in the November election. But three others, who were not eligible to vote –  Wolfe, Nelson and Aceves – were articulate and have formed educated opinions about the outcome and the future.  Unfortunately, although we reached out to the teens in general, no young women were present due to scheduling conflicts. Click here to read Part 1.

All five are senior presidents of the 2017 Model Congress (there are 12 in all), in which students take on various political roles and debate other high school students from all over the country on topics related to democracy. Their advisor is James Petela, a social studies teacher.


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Ongoing Election Reflection: Teens’ Perspectives, Part 1

by Sally E. Bahner | May 9, 2017 7:32 am

This is the first of two parts of an interview with five Branford High School seniors, who shared their thoughts on the 2016 election and moving forward.

Sally E. Bahner Photo A conversation with several Branford High School teens about the 2016 election and events since then yielded some interesting perspectives… and surprises. In particular, there was Sean Williams, who voted for Donald Trump, but quickly experienced voter’s remorse, so much so that he will be interning for Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro this summer.

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RTM Backs Out; Parkside Village Stays Put

by marcia chambers | May 8, 2017 8:17 am

With Permission In the end a new park in Branford Hills will remain a park and Parkside Village, an affordable housing complex on South Montowese Street, will expand at the site it has called home for decades. 

An RTM sub-committee’s decision late last month to abandon the idea of placing a newly constructed Parkside Village at a town-owned Branford Hills park across town in Branford Hills was met with strong applause from residents in each neighborhood. They attended the meeting in the community room at Fire Headquarters. Parkside Village, which is overseen by state law, is not a town entity or a town project.

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Hornets Girls’ Lacrosse Off To A Fast Start of Victories

by Bill O'Brien | May 7, 2017 7:38 am

Bill O'Brien Photo This year’s Branford girls’ lacrosse team is on a mission. They have improved each of the past three years from 8-7-1 in 2014 to 10-8 in 2015 and 15-4 last year. Right now they are off to a 9-2 start with four victories in the past week, including a 13-4 victory over Masuk and a 7-4 win over Joel Barlow High School yesterday. 

Bill O'Brien Photo The game the Eagle covered was last Saturday and pitted the Lady Hornets against the Masuk Panthers of Monroe, members of the South West Conference (SWC).  Here Autumn McHenry, a junior,  fires a shot between several Masuk players for one of her four goals. 

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Cool Events This Weekend, Here & Beyond

by Sally E. Bahner | May 5, 2017 8:07 am

Many opportunities this week to commune with and learn about nature – bird walks, duck talk, tick talk. A heads up for those with kids of all ages: There’s a preschool fair, registration for summer camp, and a deadline for the Rotary scholarship. Lots going on next week in the Creek, too. And finally, several cool events for music lovers and animal lovers are also on the docket. Got a cool event? Email sebahner@snet.net by Wednesday noon.

Branford Preschool Fair for Families

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Land Use Judge Combines Two Branford Land Commission Appeals

by Diana Stricker | May 4, 2017 7:17 am

File Photo A half-acre Branford lot that is prone to coastal flooding is gaining notoriety as its owner takes his failed attempts to develop the property to the Land Use section of Hartford Superior Court.

Arsalan Altaf, through his Pawson Road LLC, is appealing denials by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) regarding a single-family home; and denials by the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission regarding affordable housing on the same lot. Both cases were moved to the Land Use section of Hartford Superior Court, where Judge Marshall K. Berger Jr. recently approved the request by Altaf’s attorney to combine the two cases.

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Faculty, Staff Urge BOE to Keep Walsh Principal

by marcia chambers | May 3, 2017 7:45 am

In an unusual action, an overwhelming number of Walsh Intermediate School teachers and staff made a strong plea via a petition last week to the Board of Education to keep Robin Goeler, the school’s veteran principal, in his post.

In response, Hamlet Hernandez, the Superintendent of Schools, told the Eagle afterwards that Goeler would leave Walsh to become the principal of Mary T. Murphy Elementary School come September as planned.  The petition did not change his mind.  The BOE apparently has no say in the matter since the transfer is within the school district and within Hernandez’s purview, the superintendent said. 

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