Tag Archives: Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development

Roundup: WTF; Reopening; Historic Homes; More


How you gonna keep ’em away from the farm?

Wakeman Farm Town announces a slew of interesting events.

A “Rockin’ Lawn Party” (Wednesday, August 5, 6 p.m.) includes live music and a customized picnic box by Terrain Cafe. Tickets ($80 for 2; ages 21+ only) include a donation to WTF. BYOB (blankets — or chairs — and beverages). Click here to order.

An outdoor movie — “The Pollinators” — is set for Friday, August 7 (gates open at 7:30 p.m., film at 8:30). The filmmakers will be on hand, and WTF hopes to sell honey from their hives. The ticket price of $15 includes fresh popcorn from Sport Hill Farm; wood-fired pizza is available to order. Click here to order.

Noted chef and caterer Alison Milwe Grace celebrates summer’s bounty with a 4-course farm feast on Tuesday, August 25. The $90 ticket includes a WTF donation. Click here to order.

To learn more about WTF — including an online workshop on CBD (Monday, August 3), click here.


Tomorrow’s ReOpen Westport Advisory Team meeting welcomes a special guest.

David Lehman — commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development — joins the discussion, and answers questions from the community.

The Thursday, July 30 virtual event begins at 11 a.m. The meeting will be live streamed on www.westportct.gov, and broadcast on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020. Residents may email questions prior to the meeting  (reopenteam@westportct.gov).

Lehman will provide an update on modified rules for business sectors, and the decision to delay Phase 3 of reopening.


Your house may be old. It can also be famous.

The Westport Historic District Commission  is seeking nominations for its annual Westport Preservation Awards. Properties should show:

  • Rehabilitation and Adaptive Re-use: making a property compatible for new use by preserving features that convey historic, cultural, or architectural values.
  • Restoration: returning a property to its form at a particular period of time.
  • Reconstruction: new construction depicting the original form, features and details of the non-surviving historic structure.
  • Special recognition of individuals or organizations that advance the cause of historic preservation.

A structure must be at least 50 years old, and fit at least one of these criteria:

  • designed by a significant architect
  • the property is associated with a significant event or person;
  • the structure is indicative of a significant architectural style or period.

Nominations can be made by private residents, not-for-profits, commercial firms, and government institutions and officials. Please include photos and a brief narrative describing why the property or person deserves an award. Nominations should be emailed to rwmailbox@aol.com, by August 14.

A 2018 Preservation Award winner, at 75 Kings Highway North.


Next up in the Westport Library’s Camp Explore program: science TV host Emily Calandrelli.

The “Bill Nye Saves the World” and “Xploration Outer Space” star will be online this Monday (August 3, 4 p.m.).

Calandrelli makes science-related topics easily understandable, for audiences ranging from from Google, Pixar, MIT and CERN to colleges and schools around the country. Her topics include science communication, space exploration and women in STEM.

Click here to register for the Camp Explore event.


And finally … one of the best in our parade of classic summer songs.

COVID-19 Roundup: Business Advice; Stop & Shop Special Hours For Seniors; Restaurant, Parks & Rec News

State Senator Will Haskell says:

Person-to-Person
Many families in our area are struggling with the economic repercussions of temporary unemployment. Person-to-Person (P2P) serves residents of Fairfield County who are affected by the outbreak. No proof of income is required for those who are seeking food assistance.

Free shelf-stable groceries including produce, protein and dairy are available to employees furloughed due to COVID-19 and residents with incomes below 235 percent of federal poverty guidelines. Call 203-655-0048 to make an appointment. Locations in Darien, Norwalk and Stamford supply food to the public with varying hours.

P2P is also supplying emergency financial assistance for those who need help with rent, security deposits, utilities and small emergency expenses. Call 203-655-0048 for more information.

If you’re not struggling to put food on the table, consider helping others by donating food, toiletries, paper goods, diapers or gift cards. These supplies can be dropped off at 1864 Post Road in Darien or 76 South Main Street in Norwalk from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and after hours by appointment. For more details, call 203-621-0703.

Finally, you can donate to a virtual food drive at www.p2phelps.org. Person-to-Person can purchase more than $3 worth of food with every dollar donated.

Unemployment and Layoffs
Unfortunately, an increasing number of businesses will be laying off staff and reducing hours. The financial repercussions of this health crisis could be tremendous. The Connecticut Department of Labor asks that you follow these steps if you are a worker or business owner who needs to file for unemployment:

If you are a worker: Visit www.filectui.com to file for unemployment as soon as possible. It is important to file as soon as you become unemployed. If you need help completing your application, email dol.webhelp@ct.gov.

If you contract COVID-19 and need to take time off work or are fired, you may file for unemployment benefits. You may also file for unemployment benefits if you are required to self-quarantine, your employer closes during this outbreak or a family member becomes ill. The outcome will depend on a case-by-case basis.

If your employer only permits you to work part-time instead of full-time or you work multiple jobs and your full-time employer closes, you may be eligible for partial unemployment.

If your employer retaliates against you for filing unemployment, you may file a complaint under the Connecticut Unemployment Compensation Act.

The Department of Labor is also suspending federal work search programs requiring unemployment recipients to meet one-on-one for assistance and is suspending work search requirements for unemployment benefits. Furloughed employees are eligible for at least six weeks of benefits.

If you are an employer: If one of your employees is sick with COVID-19, you can require them to stay home, though you should issue them an Unemployment Separation Package.

If you must close your business due to illness or quarantine, direct your employees to www.filectui.com.

The Department of Labor offers a SharedWork program for employers seeing business slow down. This is an alternative to a layoff, allowing employers to reduce full-time employees’ wages by up to 60 percent while workers collect partial unemployment. All employers with at least two full-time or permanent part-time employees can participate. A reduction of work must be between 10 and 60 percent of activities.

More details, including information about paid sick leave, wages and hours, and family medical leave, can be found at this link.

Small Businesses
Small businesses are the cornerstone of Connecticut’s economy, employing roughly 700,00 residents. That’s why Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development announced that the 800 small business owners who owe loan payments to the state’s Small Business Express program can defer payment for three months.

Yesterday Governor Lamont submitted a request to the U.S. Small Business Administration, asking the federal agency to issue a declaration that will enable Connecticut’s small business owners to receive economic injury disaster loans. Once these loans become available, I will spread the word on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Starting Thursday, Stop & Shop will offer seniors-only shopping from 6 a.m. to 7:30. Only customers 60 and over — the most vulnerable group for acquiring the virus — will be allowed in the store then.

The decision was made, the chain says, to “practice effective social distancing.”

In addition, starting today, all Stop & Shop stores will now close at 8 p.m. That will give employees more time to unload inventory and stock shelves.

(Hat tip: Paula Lacy)


Nathaniel Brogadir of Delivery.com is offering local restaurant owners no fees for 30 days. Owners should email nbrogadir@delivery.com for details.


Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department has closed its office until further notice.

All programs and program registration is postponed indefinitely.

Beach emblem sales are postponed until April 1. They can be ordered online then. If assistance is needed, call 203-341-5090.

Westport’s Parks & Rec Department in Longshore is closed until further notice. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

 

Lights! Camera! Action!

The website of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development includes — among other things — a page aimed at film, TV and digital media.

The tagline boasts: “With attractive locations and top-tier production capabilities, the Nutmeg State is ready for its close-up.”

There’s information on tax incentives, resources — and locations.

“From postcard-perfect New England to a retro-modern utopia, Connecticut gives your production the authenticity audiences want,” the site promises. (I’m not sure what a “retro-modern utopia” is, but I’m sure I’ve seen it somewhere.)

Sure enough, a photo gallery shows off our small state’s many attractions: waterfalls, autumn woods, beaches, ballparks, the Capitol, Long Island Sound, covered bridges, charming downtowns, Mystic.

A screenshot of some of the locations available in Connecticut.

A helpful search function allows users to filter by town.

But when you click on “Westport,” all you see is a measly 19 possible locations.

There’s Hummock Island, Wheeler House, Sherwood Island, the Saugatuck River, Main Street, an office building, and a few homes.

It’s pretty lame. It could be any Connecticut town — or many.

The Westport location results.

C’mon, Westport. We can do better!

If you’d like your house or business — or your favorite Westport attraction — to have a star turn on TV, in the movies or “digital media,” click here.

And if you wangle a nice user’s fee out of it, don’t forget where you got the idea!

(Hat tip: Sandra Long)

Get Your Historic Home Preservation Tax Credits Here!

One of the constant themes on “06880” — not as popular as entitled drivers and parkers, but then what is? — is real estate.

Specifically: tearing down an old home, or preserving it.

There are valid arguments on both sides of the (picket) fence. But here’s something homeowners considering both options may not know:

Connecticut has a statewide Historic Preservation Office.

And a Historic Homes Rehabilitation Tax Credit program.

Normally, you’d have to dig to find that information. But on Saturday, May 20 (10 a.m. to 12 noon, Westport Historical Society), an architectural preservationist for the state will present a workshop on that important topic.

Alyssa Lozupone — whose office is part of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development — will discuss the application process. She’ll describe financial calculations, plus standards for work (including such now-that-I-think-of it questions like “Can I power wash the exterior?”).

Marc Lotti — a former member of Westport’s Historic District Commission — will be there too. He’ll discuss his very successful use of the program to restore his Kings Highway North home.

Marc Lotti’s historically preserved home.

Preservation can be more costly than other alternatives. But ours is one of the few states that offers tax credits for saving historic structures.

Of course, to take advantage you first have to know about them.

Now you do.

(Click here for more information on the May 20 event.)