Welcome to the West Norwalk Association!
Incorporated in 1947, Located in West Norwalk, CT
A Letter from the Co-Presidents
Dear West Norwalk Residents,
As we complete our second term as Co-Presidents, we would like to welcome new neighbors and send a warm greeting to current residents. Our year as Co-Vice Presidents and two years as Co-Presidents have been filled with challenges and opportunities as we try to follow the mission of the West Norwalk Association.
Founded in 1947, when this was primarily a farming area, the mission was to foster and preserve the rural nature of the neighborhood. Although still primarily a residential area, some of our roads with heavy traffic, the successful Community College, and three houses of worship have changed our landscape. Dolce, a former Seminary, has become a successful business. The Dolce walking trails are open to all West Norwalk residents.
Our Board members are all volunteers who give their time and money because of their desire for a strong West Norwalk Association. The Board is made up of people of all ages, professions, small business owners, and retirees. Won’t you consider joining us?
Although a nonpolitical organization, we provide information to our residents about crucial issues through meetings, email blasts, letters to the Editor, and our website. Our role is to listen to both sides on an issue, then provide both points of view so that our residents make their own informed decision. We send a representative to Oak Hills meetings, CNNA and appropriate Zoning Commission meetings to learn about issues facing our community. On occasion, we do surveys to assess the residents’ point of view and we publish the results in The Hour and/or on our website, www.westnorwalk.org.
However, the Association does get involved with a number of civic projects. Here are some of the activities where the WNA spends time and money.
Spring: Cleanups: Our signature spring cleanup involves neighborhood volunteers, teenagers fulfilling community service requirements, and this past year volunteers from the Congregational Church/Nursery School on Richards Avenue. All volunteers were provided with new garden gloves, tongs, and garbage bags, coffee, and donuts. We picked up trash from the Norwalk Land Trust, The Meeting House Chapel, Fox Run School, and many streets. On a beautiful day in May, we collected over 60 bags of trash.
Spring/Summer: Adopt-a-Spots, Scholarships, First Family Fun Day:
We are responsible for maintaining three adopt-a-spots in West Norwalk. We also planted a Kousa Dogwood tree at the corner of Richards and Scribner and a rare Copper Beach tree at Fox Run.
Through the City of Norwalk Tree Advisory Committee, Gay was instrumental in removing diseased or fallen trees and planting 25 new Maple and Oak trees along the boundaries of Fox Run School. In June, we had the honor of presenting two scholarships to Brien McMahon graduates who live in West Norwalk, Sarah Van der Els and Steven Galyas.
We made a donation to Principal Jim Martinez at Fox Run School. We use the library at Fox Run for our Board meetings, participate in Reading Reading Day, and have done some tutoring and mentoring of students.
Fall: Annual Meeting: On Thursday, October 16, the WNA will host our Annual Meeting from 7-9 PM in the cafeteria of Fox Run School.
Winter: The Holiday Party: On Friday, December 12, the WNA will host the party from 6-9 pm at Dolce.
All West Norwalk residents and their families are invited to attend and celebrate the holiday season with their neighbors. As in past years, we will offer a selection of appetizers and desserts as well as a cash bar. As of last year, we have had to require a charge of $10.00 per person so that we can continue at this venue. Children 10 and under will be admitted free.
The Association received many requests for information, complaints about signs, blight ordinances, and comments about the driving range and the mosque proposal. We try to get answers in a timely manner and reply to questions personally.
Some other accomplishments over the last 2-3 years
1. Made changes to the website and wrote many articles to keep neighbors up to date; used email blasts to promote activities;
2. Updated the Bylaws;
3. Hosted the Mayor’s Night Out;
4. Contacted people on both sides of controversial issues and posted their comments/letters/articles on our website, and letters in The Hour;
5. Established a robust Facebook page;
6. Added Food Drives to the Annual Meeting and Holiday Party;
7. Sent many personal thank you letters to residents;
8. Welcomed groups who wanted to share their concerns or argue some sort of action be made by the Association;
9. Made and delivered more than 40 Welcome Baskets.
As we write our final letter as Co-Presidents for this Newsletter, we believe that the organization has accomplished a great deal. We were impacted by local crises which took much of our time and energy and we had to deal with the sudden resignation of two presidents. However, we will leave future presidents with written directions to help them. We leave the Association with many great memories and heartfelt thanks for those who supported and appreciated our efforts.
Linda Forcellina and Gay Mac Leod
The West Norwalk Association is receiving calls about the recent and frequent sightings of coyotes, especially in regard to the lockdown of Ponus Ridge School. Our Board was provided information from a veterinarian and Director of Wildlife Crisis Center in Wilton . He works with and is licensed by the CT Department of Environmental Protection and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He has given us important information which may alleviate the fears of people who have stereotypes and misinformation on coyotes in general.
Briefly, coyotes are wild dogs, intelligent and social. They are out during daylight because they are adapting to the suburban habitat and are curious. They primarily eat mice, and single coyotes have rarely attacked people, because it is easier to hunt a small mouse than a person. Coyotes will fix their eyes or stare at people from a distance, again they are curious. It does not mean they will attack, but you should keep your distance. The wooded habitat of the coyotes is being destroyed, so they are probably here to stay and should be welcomed for their contribution to the ecosystem.
Because the residents feel frightened, we have an informative, but harmless method to keep the coyotes from becoming too social and close to humans. This method is easy. It is called hazing. A person simply has to loudly clap hands, jump up and down, make a loud noise and face the coyote. You do not need to run away. More details can be found on the Humane Society Website.
Hopefully, our research and articles will calm the residents’ fears by giving them pertinent information. This is wildlife trying to adapt to suburban habitat and we will certainly see more of them as time goes by and should learn to live with them.
Co- Presidents of WNA – Linda Forcellina and Gay Mac Leod
WNA Annual Meeting
Thursday, October 16
Please join us at Fox Run to meet and ask questions of the local candidates for state representative and state senate as well as US Congress.
We also have invited Douglas Adams of General Growth Properties who will present information about the proposed Mall on the former site of 95/7.
This rendering provided to The Hour by GGP and RTKL show a birds eye view of a proposed
regional shopping center for Norwalk's 95/7 vacant plot of land.
Date: October 16 (Thursday)
Time: 7-9 PM
Location: Fox Run Cafeteria
What a Beautiful Day!
With nearly perfect weather, the West Norwalk Association hosted our first Family Fun Day on Saturday, July 12, at Fox Run School. The WNA hosted this celebration of summertime with the considerable help of not only Board members but also their spouses, children, grandchildren and many volunteers. From a Bouncy House and Slide, to face painting, games and prizes, balloons, removable tattoos, a fire truck that provided opportunity for kids to spray with the hose, and our special guests, the volunteers who train and work with the K-9 Rescue Dogs, families had lots to do. An added attraction was the water rockets that were made with children by Boy Scouts. Then add hot dogs and chips, water, popcorn, and cotton candy.
Pictured above are Co-Presidents, Gay Mac Leod and Linda Forcellina, with some of our young neighborhood volunteers who supervised all the games, the Van der Els family and a friend. The Alves family also volunteered to be in charge of the busy activity in the Bouncy House. We are also thankful for volunteers from the Congregational Church Nursery School who showed their artistry in face painting. A special opportunity for all parents was the ability to register their children in a national security base through the efforts of New York Life Insurance.
Feedback from families who attended was most positive and the Board members had a great time too, whether cooking hot dogs or supervising other activities. We all worked together as a team and enjoyed the day with our neighbors.
The West Norwalk Association serves our neighborhood in so many ways and this Family Fun Day will hopefully be an annual event that brings together young families in our neighborhood for a day of fun.
Two Outstanding Brien McMahon Seniors Receive West Norwalk Association Scholarships
For the third year, The West Norwalk Association presented a scholarship to two fine scholars who also made considerable contributions to their school community and the city. We had six West Norwalk seniors apply and were extremely pleased with the caliber of students graduating from our neighborhood high school.
Sara Florie van der Els, who lives on Betmarlea Road, is a scholar athlete. She played on the McMahon varsity La Cross, Cross Country, Track and Field and tennis teamsand won the FCIAC Scholar Athlete Award for 2014. In addition to this, Sara was President of the National Honor Society and earned High Honors for all 4 years in high school. As part of her duties for the Honor Society, she was in charge of organizing scheduling for the tutoring program for freshman students and was a tutor herself. As an active member of the Senators Community Foundation, Sara took part in many activities to help prevent child abuse and animal cruelty. In this organization, she performed in a Cabaret Night and stood on the streets of South Norwalk with signs and flyers to raise awareness of human trafficking and abuse. Clearly, Sara will be a fine addition to Quinnupiac University where she will major in liberal arts.
Our second recipient, Stephen Joseph Galyas, lives on Priscilla Road and will be attending Fairfield University where he will major in Computer Science. While maintaining a grade point average of over 4.0, he has also contributed to his school and church communities. He was Vice President of Tri-Music Honor Society, Secretary of the Key Club, a volunteer tutor at Brookside Elementary School, helped teachers and students with technology questions, and aided both the McMahon Orchestra and Drama Departments with sound and set up for their productions. He volunteered hundreds of hours a year in helping the teachers prepare for concerts and the annual drama production. In addition, he was a member of the All-City Orchestra for 4 years, won the Columbia Book Award in 2013, was a member of the National Society for High School Scholars, and earned High Honors for all four high school years.
The Board of Directors of the WNA is proud to recognize these outstanding graduates of the class of 2014.
Keeping West Norwalk Beautiful
In gorgeous weather, on Saturday, May 3, 60 people volunteered to clean trash from our neighborhood. The West Norwalk Clean Up Day was again a success this year as we collected about 70 (Yes,70!) bags of trash. As usual, we passed out free garden gloves for volunteers to keep, along with free trash bags, coffee, donuts, and water. In addition, we loaned clippers and directed people where to collect the trash, including the particularly dirty areas.
Reverend Holly Adams and members of her Congregational Church helped too. She checked in her volunteers and presented each one with a T Shirt promoting their nursery school. Our new WNA banner was hung with pride and all agreed that it was easy to read from the road.
We had a few young people from buildOn work with us as well and they cleaned up the landtrust site. All in all, our annual Clean Up Day was a great success and we appreciated the many very positive responses we received from the community.
Curbside Garbage Collection Survey
Currently, only houses connected to the city’s sanitary sewer get their trash collected Through the city’s program, while the entire city is serviced for Recycling.
Over the years, a few efforts have been made to change this…but they have failed, largely due to a lack of real opinions and information.
Now you can have your say through the power of the internet and let your voice be heard. Go to www.5thDistrict.info and complete the short survey All information is to be kept confidential and will only be used for aggregation of opinions
Chairman, Public Works Committee
Councilman, District E
In looking back on 2013, we, as your Board of Directors, believe that we had a successful year. The Annual Meeting in September included many local politicians, delicious snacks, and a standing Room Only crowd on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in the beautiful Oak Hills Restaurant. Just a few weeks ago, we hosted our annual Holiday Party in the restaurant at Dolce. Those who attended raved about the food and the festive atmosphere that Dolce always provides. Many people commented on the quality of the food and the location of the restaurant as well as the opportunity to talk with new and old neighbors.
In spring, we held a successful cleanup day. Fox Run, the Meeting House, Norwalk Land Trust and local streets were included in the areas cleaned up by Board members, neighbors, and many student volunteers.
For the second year, we presented a scholarship to two graduating seniors from Brien McMahon. One of our co-presidents attended the Awards Assembly to present the check and met these delightful and successful young people. We also made a financial donation to Fox Run School which was used to purchase paper and other basic school supplies. You will also see an article about the McMahon Band Parents Can and Bottle Drive on this website. Please try to save and contribute your cans and bottles for their monthly collection on the first Saturday of the month at Fox Run School.
We sent welcome letters to many new residents and invited them to both the Annual Meeting and Holiday Party. Many did attend and we have more young families joining our association.
You can see 6 new different types of Oak trees planted at Fox Run School along Fillow Street and 6 more will be planted in the spring to replace those that were lost because of storms. Gay Mac Leod was instrumental in getting those trees purchased, working with the Norwalk Parks Department, the Tree Advisory Committee and Department of Public Works. Some of our Board members kept them watered during the severe fall drought. The association, in helping to keep our area green, has purchased a rare and majestic Copper Beech tree which was planted recently and will be a landmark and gateway to our area. The majestic tree will grow to over 100 feet and be a beautiful addition to the Fox Run school grounds as the years go by.
Of course, all of us enjoy the adopt-a-spots maintained by Candide Valadares and many have seen Anthony Carrano mowing and cleaning up trash near the Dogwood tree we planted at the corner of Richards and Scribner.
Board members regularly represent us at Oak Hills Authority meetings and CNNA meetings to keep us informed. Our Facebook page is very robust with thoughts, comments, events and we welcome more neighbors to join. We share different opinions on controversial issues on our website so that West Norwalk neighbors can read differing opinions and make up their own minds about what stand they would like to take. Moreover, we send out and publish the results of surveys occasionally when the community’s position is needed.
Of course, you can look forward to our annual Newsletter which will be sent to all 1300 West Norwalk families in the early fall.
As 2014 begins, we will be hosting the Mayor’s Night Out on February 6 at Fox Run School at 7:00-8:00pm in the cafeteria to give all West Norwalk residents the opportunity to ask questions of Mayor Rilling. The mayor will be bringing his department heads to help address any questions. We look forward to seeing West Norwalk residents at this meeting.
Save Your Cans and Bottles to Support
the Marching Senators!
Over 100 students at Brien McMahon participate in the band program. In addition to four rehearsals a week, band members perform at home football games and a number of competitions throughout the year. In order for this program to be successful, a number of special instructors are required and transportation costs must be paid. Each year, a budget is created to determine the total costs for the season and then each student is assessed a fee for participation in the program.
Events like the can and bottle drive allow students and their families to work and earn an hourly rate that is then deducted from their account.
Please help these dedicated students and their families by saving your cans and bottles and delivering them to Fox Run School on the first Saturday of the month between the hours of 9:00 and 1:00 pm. This is a great opportunity for all of us in West Norwalk to make an easy and significant contribution to our neighborhood high school. Please also share this news with your neighbors who may not know of the importance of our participation in this monthly drive.
Annual Meeting a Great Success
On a beautiful autumn day, Sunday September 15, the WNA held its Annual Meeting at the Restaurant on the Green at Oak Hills from 3:30- to 6:00 pm.
Residents had the opportunity to pay their 2013 dues, contribute to a food drive for the Norwalk Pantry, and meet more than a dozen candidates for this year’s municipal election. In addition, the two mayoral candidates, Richard Moccia and Harry Rilling, spoke of their goals for Norwalk and how they would achieve them to an audience that filled the room.
Gay Mac Leod, Co-President, presented a list of the many good deeds accomplished by the Association during the last year and invited every family to attend the Holiday Party on Thursday, December 5 at Dolce. After she introduced the Board members, Linda Forcellina, Co-President, reported on the financial situation of the Association and asked for more volunteers to serve on the Board.
Light refreshments and dessert were served as residents and their families visited with new and old neighbors for the rest of the afternoon.
All in all, many reported that they particularly enjoyed the venue, meeting the candidates, and spending time with each other during this annual event hosted by the WNA.
Gay Mac Leod and Linda Forcellina
West Norwalk 2013 Autumn Newsletter
Join us! First Monday of Each Month
Location: The Fox Run School Library during the school year
Time: The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30pm and will be over by 9:00pm.
The public and all residents are invited to attend all meetings, present concerns, comments and any proposals for the betterment of the community. If you wish to make a presentation it is advised to contact the President and have your item added to the Agenda.
A Letter from the Co-Presidents
On behalf of the West Norwalk Association, we would like to welcome you to our beautiful rural neighborhood. The purpose of the West Norwalk Association is to foster and preserve the residential character and quality of life in the West Norwalk community. In order to do so, the association has developed and maintains 3 adopt-a-spots to beautify the area, makes a financial donation to Fox Run Elementary School, and this year presented a scholarship to 2 students graduating from BMHS. Furthermore, the organization has planted trees on school property, sponsors an annual spring cleanup day, delivers welcome baskets to people moving into the neighborhood, and offers our services to neighbors in need of help. In addition, we respond to neighbors concerns and work with community leaders to try to solve issues and problems our neighbors might have.
We invite you to join us at our monthly Board of Directors meeting which is usually held in the Fox Run School library at 7:30 pm the first Monday of each month. There, neighbors have the opportunity to offer their input and raise issues for the board to consider.
Also, please check our website often and become a friend on Facebook. You can contact us online with any ideas, questions, or concerns you may have.
We hope that you will attend our Annual Meeting on September 23rd at Sons of Italy and our Holiday Party on December 6th at the Dolce center. This will give you an opportunity to learn more about our community in a social atmosphere.
Here is a membership form. While all residents of West Norwalk are automatically members, we are a totally nonprofit volunteer organization. All of our dues and donations go towards helping West Norwalk. The association depends upon active membership dues to help serve the community through our school donations, scholarships and beautification programs. We hope that you will join us in our efforts.
Linda Forcellina and Gay Mac Leod
Co- Presidents of the West Norwalk Association
Support the local businesses that support the West Norwalk Association so we can support you and your family.