Economy, COVID dominate state House debate in Greenwich

GREENWICH — With a crowded slate of six candidates — who all practiced social distancing — the three races for the state House of Representatives in Greenwich were all combined into one debate Thursday night.

The League of Women Voters of Greenwich hosted the debate at Town Hall and streamed it via Zoom.

The match-ups saw Republican Kimberly Fiorello and Democrat Kathleen Stowe face off in the 149th District, which includes part of Stamford; incumbent Democrat Stephen Meskers and Republican challenger Joe Kelly in the 150th District; and incumbent Republican Harry Arora and Democratic challenger Hector Arzeno in the 151st District.

Under the format, the six candidates were part of the same debate. Issues like the economy, transportation and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic dominated as they were asked the same questions.

All had time for reply but the format did not allow for much back and forth dialogue between the opponents. But on the topic of small business in the state, the candidates were in big agreement.

Stowe, vice chair of the Greenwich Board of Education, said she could speak personally about the opportunity for Connecticut as New Yorkers relocate here during the pandemic. She said the goal should be to persuade the new residents to stay — and to get businesses to move to Connecticut, too. Stowe, who has a background in investment banking and private equity, runs a financial technology company with her father. She said they were planning on leaving New York and possibly relocating their business to Connecticut.

“Once people see how wonderful Connecticut is they’ll want to stay here,” she said. “Businesses always come and they stay where they’re welcomed. … As a state, we should be recruiting companies just like mine. We have the key ingredients, but we need to enhance it with an economic development effort and streamlining bureaucracy and red tape. And we need to expand our state venture capital effort.”

Fiorello, a member of Greenwich’s Representative Town Meeting, said not enough is done to grow businesses in the state and said that Connecticut is one of the most business-unfriendly states in the country due to laws and taxes.

“This needs to change and the change really comes from not doing more of the same,” Fiorello said. “I pledge to be a voice for the small businesses.”

Doing that, Fiorello said, would convince renters in Connecticut to become home buyers.

Kelly, who is also a member of the Board of Education, said that in the more than 20 years he has owned small businesses in Connecticut, the state has never reached out to him about how it could help.

“I pay my taxes, I pay my fees,” he said. “I think last month I employed about 35 or 40 people. Basically, I got no help from the state at all. I love Connecticut. I love Greenwich. I want to stay here. I could take my businesses anywhere, but I love it here. We have to change that it’s not comfortable for

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Crews make quick work of 1st-alarm house fire in Greenwich Township

In less than 30 minutes Wednesday evening crews had a Greenwich Township house fire under control, officials said.

Fire crews were called a little before 5 p.m. for a smoke investigation at 101 Washington St. The house sits off of the intersection of Main Street and Washington and Greenwich streets.

The Stewartsville Volunteer Fire Company chief found light smoke at the home, called for the first alarm and a three-man crew forced their way inside.

Crews make quick work of 1st-alarm house fire in Greenwich Township

Fire crews called Sept. 30, 2020, for a house fire at 101 Washington St. in Greenwich Township, had the blaze under control in less than 30 minutes.Rich Maxwell | contributor

The fire was located on the second floor, and was under control in about 25 minutes, the fire company said in a Facebook post.

Stewartsville was assisted by Harmony, Franklin and Phillipsburg fire departments, and the Warren County Prosecutors Office, Warren County fire marshal and Greenwich Township police were also at the scene.

The fire’s cause and origin is being investigated by the county fire marshal.

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Sarah Cassi may be reached at [email protected].

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Plant, weed and water: Garden Club beautifies the gateways to Old Greenwich

Old Greenwich

The Garden Club of Old Greenwich, which is now in its 96th year, has been busy at work throughout 2020.

The club spent the spring and summer working on projects, including planting brightly colored flower beds along both sides of Sound Beach Avenue and putting in flower pots and containers along Sound Beach Avenue and Arcadia Road down to the Post Office and along the fire house.

This team effort involved all 65 active club members who have “made beautifying the village a priority,” the Garden Club said in a statement. The work also includes weekly trips for watering, weeding and deadheading plants in the village gardens and at Greenwich Point.

Garden Club members also contributed their own plants from their gardens to help with the beautification efforts.

“They worked to beautify the ports of entry into Old Greenwich by planting beautiful flower pots at the train station and by completely refurbishing the Gateway Garden at the corner of the Post Road and Sound Beach Avenue,” the club said. “Members also weeded, watered and maintained the butterfly garden at Greenwich Point, an important Monarch butterfly waystation.”

Efforts went beyond just beautification. Club members sewed and distributed hundreds of face masks for front-line workers during coronavirus pandemic. The club has also worked closely with Girl Scouts to plan and maintain a “secret garden” at Old Greenwich School.

Coming up, the club will sell bulbs for resident to plant and enjoy. To place an order, visit

Old Greenwich

A public meeting has been scheduled to discuss replacing the Wesskum Wood Road bridge that goes over Binney Park Brook.

According to the Department of Public Works, the preliminary design of the bridge

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Inside a Light-Filled Town House in New York’s Historic Greenwich Village

From the street, this elegant 19th-century brick house looks like many of its neighbors in New York’s historic Greenwich Village. But when you open the front door, you realize that the soaring, light-filled space you’ve entered is very much of the present. That was precisely what the house’s owners sought when they hired New York architect Lee Skolnick and the San Francisco–based AD100 designer Steven Volpe to transform what had been a traditional interior into something much more modern.

<div class="caption"> A table and chairs from <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Munder Skiles" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Munder Skiles</a> sit on the garden terrace. </div> <cite class="credit">Thomas Loof</cite>
Thomas Loof

The owners told both Skolnick and Volpe that they wanted “an urban oasis, a place of quiet and repose.” Moreover, they, like Skolnick (whose monograph Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership: Public/Private will be published next month), wanted the house to open to views of neighboring gardens, a particularly pleasant feature of the area. Having designed houses for both artists and collectors, the architect responded with a design that he calls “a vertical loft” and “a light machine.” 

<div class="caption"> The rear garden features limestone retaining walls and flooring. Table and chairs by <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Munder Skiles" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Munder Skiles</a>. </div> <cite class="credit">Thomas Loof</cite>
The rear garden features limestone retaining walls and flooring. Table and chairs by Munder Skiles.

Thomas Loof

<div class="caption"> A pair of chaise longues by <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Richard Schultz" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Richard Schultz</a> for <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Knoll" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Knoll</a> on the penthouse terrace. </div> <cite class="credit">Thomas Loof</cite>
Thomas Loof

Skolnick, whose team included Paul Alter, a partner in the firm, and Joern Truemper, the project architect, likens the individual floors—two of which end in mezzanines—to “trays” that are surrounded by light, which comes down from the top of the stairway of the five-story house to the first floor. The all-glass rear façade also illuminates the lower level, with its open kitchen and formal dining area looking directly into a tree-lined courtyard.

<div class="caption"> In the main bedroom, a <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Holland & Sherry" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Holland & Sherry</a> fabric covers the upholstered bed. Custom cover of a <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Scalamandré" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Scalamandré</a> wool and silk damask; bench by Bruno Romeda; cyanotype by <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Meghann Riepenhoff" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Meghann Riepenhoff</a>. </div> <cite class="credit">Thomas Loof</cite>
Thomas Loof

Volpe is known for sophisticated interiors that mix cutting-edge 20th-century and antique pieces with understated chic. Fittingly, he and Ralph Dennis, his firm’s design director, orchestrated a deft blend of furnishings by icons like Jean-Michel Frank, Eyre de Lanux, and Madeleine Castaing, pieces by noted contemporary designers like Pierre Charpin, Martin Szekely, and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and custom upholstery and cabinetry. Responding to the owners’ wish for “open spaces, lots of light, and an emphasis on tones of white and sumptuous textures,” Volpe explains, “We tried to create rooms that are modern, but not cold.”

<div class="caption"> In the dining room of the Greenwich Village town house, a custom light fixture by <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec</a> hangs above a table designed by <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Studio Volpe" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Studio Volpe</a> and vintage chairs by Tobia and Afra Scarpa. </div> <cite class="credit">Thomas Loof </cite>
In the dining room of the Greenwich Village town house, a custom light fixture by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec hangs above a table designed by Studio Volpe and vintage chairs by Tobia and Afra Scarpa.

Thomas Loof

The two-story living room is the house’s centerpiece; extending from front to back, it ends in a mezzanine that overlooks the kitchen-dining area and out to the rear garden. In this space, with its oak floors and walls of white hand-­troweled plaster, Volpe and Dennis used pale, neutral, and luxurious fabrics, some of them custom-made by the Brooklyn-based weaver Tara Chapas. Since the front door opens directly into the space, it is partly obscured by a screen, of Murano glass and metal, which Volpe commissioned from the artist Ritsue Mishima. On the wall opposite the screen, a mirror by Line Vautrin hangs above a marble console by Charpin. A corner of the room with

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