Tag Archives: Sal Gilbertie


Alert “06880” reader Sal Gilbertie had time — p-l-e-n-t-y of time — to write to “06880” today. At 1:02 p.m., he sent this report:

I have been at the Norwalk DMV for about 2 hours now. If the current speed of customer flow is maintained, I’m guessing I have another 2 hours before my business will be complete.

Just snapped this picture, which represents some of the problem. I am directly in front of service windows 1-6, of 22 total service windows. Window 1 on the right did not fit into the picture, and window 6 on the left is obscured by the pole. Trust me: All are empty.

DMV - Norwalk - February 24, 2016

To be fair, this was taken at 12:31 p.m., quite possibly the tail end of some sort of lunch break (unannounced, if it occurred at all). However, at no time since I have been here have more than 11 of the 22 windows been staffed with DMV personnel at any time.

Everyone in the entire place is very friendly, pleasant and patient (staff and customers).

But everyone (all of the staff and customers with whom I have spoken) agrees that the place is clearly understaffed.

The general consensus is that DMV is a “pay-for-play” kind of place. The 2 questions most people seem to ask are:

  • “Why doesn’t DMV raise its fees so it can hire more people?”
  • “When the DMV does make changes, why don’t they adequately plan for an ever-increasing level of service requirements, since there will never be fewer people or fewer cars?”

CT DMVIn a state like Connecticut — with an economy like ours — there are probably lots of well qualified people who would welcome a chance to have a job in DMV.

Lots of people are wasting lots of time here. Kind of takes some of the mystery out of why productivity and the economy are growing so slowly, doesn’t it?

How hard can this be to fix?

POSTSCRIPT: Sal emailed again, at 1:39 p.m.:

I just finished. My business was completed efficiently and pleasantly, albeit with plenty of time lost.

SPECIAL “0688o” PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: AAA offers many DMV services — including driver’s license renewals. They’re no longer in Westport — but there are offices just over the Norwalk line, and in Fairfield. Click here for details.

Bridgeport Fire: What You Need To Know

“06880” reader Sal Gilbertie lives about a mile from the Bridgeport condominium that burned to the ground 4 days ago, leaving 120 people homeless. Last night, he wrote:

I wanted to thank “06880” for your coverage of the New Year’s Eve fire and update you on the amazing work done by people like Elaine Marino, whose efforts are clearly needed, and much valued and appreciated.

I took some pictures today. There is total devastation. The complete loss suffered by residents is illustrated graphically.

Nothing is left of the condominium on Charles Street, Bridgeport. (Photo/Sal Gilbertie)

Nothing is left of the condominium on Charles Street, Bridgeport. (Photo/Sal Gilbertie)

The warehouse staging area at 837 Seaview was a beehive of activity today. City workers, firemen and volunteers sorted donations, still arriving by the truckload.

I spoke with both Mayor Joe Ganim and Gina Malheiro, deputy chief administrative officer of Bridgeport. Both were deeply grateful for the assistance offered by the entire Bridgeport area. Both also seemed energized by what is now their 4th day of work on behalf of the displaced residents.

The donation center was a hub of activity. To see what is still needed, read below. (Photo/Sal Gilbertie)

The donation center was filling up. To see what is still needed, read below. (Photo/Sal Gilbertie)

After those conversations, and others with city employees I do not know, I can give you the following update:

The displaced residents are all housed — some already in permanent locations, others in hotels until Bridgeport city agencies can place them.

On Monday, the families will be assisted by the city in replacing lost vital documents so they can begin rebuilding their lives. The families will then be brought to 837 Seaview to “shop” amongst the donated items.

Another view, after the Bridgeport condominium fire. (Photo/Sal Gilbertie)

Another view, after the Bridgeport condominium fire. (Photo/Sal Gilbertie)

When asked what is needed most now, the most emphatic answer was “money.”

Those wishing to make donations can act in one of 3 vital ways:

  • Donate to the Red Cross specifically for “Bridgeport Fire.” I was told the monies would go toward offsetting the assistance already given to the families immediately after the fire. As funds accumulate, they will also be distributed to each family displaced by the fire. American Red Cross, 158 Brooklawn Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604; phone: 800-319-9935.
  • Check with the city Facebook page as to very specific needs identified by city officials: https://www.facebook.com/BridgeportCT
  • Some sort of “Adopt a Family” program is being formed, to be coordinated by the city. Anyone interested should contact Bridgeport Social Services directly (click here, or call 203-576-7416).

Thanks, Sal — and thanks too to Elaine Marino, and the many “06880” readers who have stepped up to help.

Wakeman Town Farm And Gilbertie’s Celebrate Strong Roots

90 years ago, Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens planted roots on Sylvan Lane.

Today they stretch all across town.

A few years ago, the Westport Farmers’ Market needed a winter home. Sal Gilbertie — the herb garden founder’s grandson — stepped up to the plate.

Sal Gilbertie

When Wakeman Town Farm needed to brighten its grounds for a Harvest Dinner fundraiser, Sal showed up with a truckload of over 100 fall mums. He dropped them in the yard without a word.

To show its appreciation — and demonstrate the importance of strong local roots — WTF is partnering with Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens for a 1-day Christmas tree and greenery sale. It’s next Saturday (December 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at Wakeman Town Farm, 134 Cross Highway.

Sal will sell Fraser firs and undecorated wreaths, plus balsam wreaths festooned with pine, cedar, herbs and assorted natural decorations.

At 5 p.m. there’s the 1st-ever Wakeman Town Farm Christmas tree lighting, featuring hot chocolate and a bonfire.

True to its goal of supporting local farmers, growers and businesses — as well as its educational mission — WTF passes along this info:

Christmas tree farms stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide refuge for wildlife, while also creating scenic green belts. For every real Christmas tree harvested, 3 seedlings are planted in its place. That, in turn, reduces global greenhouse gas effects.

Meaning — just like at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens — strong roots continue to grow.