CNI News - Press Coverage

This page chronicles the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative and Washington Village in the news.


The Hour Insider logoOpinion: Norwalk EnVision Center opens the door to opportunity
By Ben Carson, Thursday, October 1, 2020

HUD logoEnVision Centers were created with a simple goal in mind: to empower people to reach their highest potentials. Today, HUD is proud to make this vision a reality for your community with the opening of the Norwalk EnVision Center.

HUD's designation of an EnVision Center at this beautiful new site confirms and strengthens our partnership with the Norwalk community to improve its residents' lives. EnVision Centers take a holistic approach, going beyond brick and mortar investments by investing in what matters most - people.

EnVision Centers were conceived from the belief that HUD's true measure of success is not how many individuals we can bring on to our assistance programs, but how many we can lift up and off of government assistance and set on the path to self-sufficiency. EnVision Centers aim to empower Americans to stand on their own.

PDF Read more: Norwalk EnVision Center opens the door to opportunity
world wide web icon Visit the website for the article and photos: CT Insider Norwalk

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The Hour Insider logoNorwalk's Ryan Park court mural nears completion
By Erin Kayata, Sep. 25, 2020

Artist Jahmane West
Jamane works on mural
Photo: Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media
Norwalk Artist Jahmane West works on the mural painted on the surface Ryan Park basketball court Friday, September 25, 2020, in Norwalk, Conn. The mural was part of a roughly $1.1 million effort to rehabilitate the park as part of the federal Choice Neighborhood Initiative grant.

NORWALK - There was no squeaking of rubber on rubber or thudding bounce of balls on the basketball court at Ryan Park this week.

The sounds of play were replaced by Jahmane, a South Norwalk native and artist, creating a work of art on his home court.

Jahmane's work is part of a $1.1 million effort to rehabilitate the park while paying homage to the community's roots. The project is part of the federal Choice Neighborhood Initiative grant which aims to improve housing and intergenerational mobility and build community in distressed neighborhoods. It's the first of five public art pieces being installed in the park.

Jahmane's work was chosen out of several local artists who submitted proposals for the space. He already has a mural there called "Mind Power," which is a wall constructed out of wood he painted.

PDF Read more: Norwalk's Ryan Park court mural nears completion
world wide web icon Visit the website for the article and photos: CT Insider Norwalk

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The Hour Insider logoNorwalk police debut 'roving' community outreach van
By Pat Tomlinson, Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Norwalk police debut 'roving' community outreach van image
Photo: Contributed Photo / Norwalk Police Department
Norwalk police debuted their new Community Engagement Van on Friday.

NORWALK - There's a new community policing headquarters in town, and it sits on four wheels.

Last week, the Norwalk Police Department unveiled its Community Engagement Van, a new mobile outpost that officials say will help community police officers connect with the neighborhoods they are sworn to protect. The sleek, black van will serve as a more inviting alternative to a traditional police cruiser, said Community Police Services Sgt. Sofia Gulino.

"Its purpose isn't response to crime, but rather as a proactive outreach and engagement van," Gulino said. "It allows us to engage the community, to have conversations and to make it a little easier for people to come and approach us."

It was purchased with $80,000 from a Choice Neighborhood Initiative grant obtained by the housing and redevelopment authorities.

PDF Read more: Norwalk police debut 'roving' community outreach van
world wide web icon Visit the website for the article and photos: CT Insider Norwalk

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The Hour Insider logoSandy Hook foundation provides alternative to canceled triathlon camp
By Rob Ryser, Monday, June 15, 2020

Race4Chase image
Steven and Rebecca Kowalski, Chase's parents and sisters Erin, left, and Brittany at the 21st Annual Sprint for Monroe, the Kid's Fun Run was renamed "Linda's Story Time Race4Chase Kid's Fun Run" this year to honor Chase Kowalski, one of the victims in the Sandy Hook tragedy.

NEWTOWN - A triathlon summer camp organized in the name of a slain Sandy Hook Elementary School first-grader has found a way around the coronavirus crisis by offering a modified program for kids who want to swim, bike and run.

"In certain areas, we know there are people who are desperate for summer camps," said Kevin Grimes, executive director of the Chase Michael-Anthony Kowalski Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation, which runs the triathlon camp in conjunction with 28 YMCAs in Connecticut and three other states. "On top of that, kids want to come back to compete because they had such a great experience the year before - some kids learned how to swim and bike at these camps."

PDF Read more: Race4Chase alternative to triathelon
world wide web icon Visit the website for the article and photos: CT Insider Norwalk

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The Hour Insider logoNorwalk 'warm lines' help assist elderly during coronavirus crisis
By Erin Kayata - Monday, April 13, 2020

NORWALK - In the time of social distancing, people are supposed to remain 6 feet apart and avoid spending too much time together.

But that doesn't mean they should be socially isolated.

Loneliness, isolation and an inability to access essentials are especially likely for the elderly right now as they are one of the populations most at risk when it comes to COVID-19. The novel coronavirus is spreading through the area with more than 700 Norwalk cases as of Monday morning.

To assist the elderly, the city established "warm lines" that are run by the Norwalk Senior Services Coordinating Council and the Senior Center.

PDF Read more: Norwalk 'warm lines' help assist elderly
world wide web icon Visit the website for the article and photos: CT Insider Norwalk

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The Hour Insider logoPreparing children to learn begins with Norwalk Home Visiting program
Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Photo: Family Children's Agency Parent Educator for the Parents as Teachers program 
in Norwalk, CT.
Family Children's Agency Parent Educator for the Parents as Teachers program
in Norwalk, CT. Photo: Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media

NORWALK - Four-year old Lesly Marcelino threw herself into the arms of Jennifer Giraldo, a parent educator from Family and Children's Agency. The hug was so tight, Lesly's big pink bow almost fell off her head. When Lesly pulled herself away, Giraldo was smothered with hugs from 9-year old Emily and the girls' mother, Rocio. Giraldo's monthly visit to the Marcelino family had begun.

The Marcelinos are among 175 Norwalk families who participate in the Home Visiting program. Every month, more often if the family's need is greater, a parent educator goes to the home, plays with the child and mom, talks with the mother about parenting issues, and connects the families with other services.

The goals of the program are simple, said Mary Kate Locke, director of Child and Family Development at FCA. "To promote early childhood development, help parents understand they are their child's first and best teacher, and recognize that the early years are really hard when raising young children," she explained. "All parents, no matter who and where, need support."

PDF Read more: Children's Agency Home Visiting program
world wide web icon Visit the website for the article and photos: CT Insider Norwalk

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The Hour Insider logoYMCA has a new home in South Norwalk
By Erin Kayata, Thursday, January 30, 2020

A view of the South Norwalk Community Center in South Norwalk, Conn
A view of the South Norwalk Community Center in South Norwalk, Conn.,
Thursday Oct. 17, 2019. The Norwalk YMCA will be moving into this building
now that funds and a lease were approved by the Common Council on Jan. 28, 2020.
Photo: Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

NORWALK — The YMCA will have a home in Norwalk once more.

The Riverbrook Regional YMCA has used public school buildings and the Wilton YMCA to offer programming since its West Avenue headquarters closed in 2012. But now, the organization is moving to new headquarters in South Norwalk after the Common Council approved funds and a lease for the property at 98 South Main St.

Bob McDowell, CEO of the Riverbrook Regional YMCA, said as soon as the lease is finalized, the organization can begin fundraising, putting out RFPs for capital improvement projects and programming. The lease is expected to be finalized within the next several months, with a potential for programming to begin as soon as mid-April.

"This is an outstanding result for this building," said District E Common Council member Tom Livingston. "We think it'll be a great addition to the city and South Norwalk. The Y is returning and providing a lot of important services to the community."

PDF Read more: YMCA new home in South Norwalk
world wide web icon Visit the website for the article and photos: CT Insider Norwalk

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The Hour Insider logoNorwalk says final farewell to popular community police officer
By Pat Tomlinson - Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Family, friends and fellow officers mourn the loss of beloved Norwalk police officer Cesar Ramirez Tuesday, January 28, 2020, at St. John's Cemetery in Norwalk, Conn. 
Photo: Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media
Family, friends and fellow officers mourn the loss of beloved Norwalk police officer Cesar Ramirez Tuesday, January 28, 2020, at St. John's Cemetery in Norwalk, Conn.
Photo: Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media

NORWALK - Family, friends and coworkers said their final goodbyes Tuesday to Officer Cesar Ramirez, a 32-year police veteran.

The hundreds gathered at St. Matthew's Church came not only to mourn the death Ramirez, 71, who died last week, but to celebrate his life.

Cesar Ramirez Jr., Ramirez's second-oldest son, said you only needed to gaze across the packed church pews to get a sense of how much the Norwalk community cherished his father.

"These past few weeks, many people have pointed out how proud my father was of me. And I realize that despite the fact that I always told my father how much I loved him, I never told my father how proud I was of him," Cesar Jr. said. "Today, I - we - say how proud we are of you, dad."

PDF Read more: Norwalk final farewell to Ramirez
world wide web icon Visit the website for the article and photos: CT Insider Norwalk

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Nancy on Norwalk logoCesar Ramirez, 71, has passed away
By Nancy Chapman, January 21, 2020

The Norwalk Police Honor Guard fires off a volley
The Norwalk Police Honor Guard fires off a volley, Tuesday at St. Johns Cemetery.

NORWALK, Conn. - Beloved Norwalk Police Officer Cesar Ramirez was laid to rest Tuesday in St. John's Cemetery after a funeral at St. Matthews Church.

"It was an amazing show of love from this community, with a motorcycle escort of about 40 motorcycles from various police departments around the state, probably 500 or 600 people from the community," Mayor Harry Rilling said at Tuesday evening's Common Council meeting.

Ramirez, 71, was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, in early December. He was honored by Norwalk Police on Dec. 13, in a warm, poignant send-off, in which Rilling gave him a key to the city. He died Jan. 21.

PDF Read more: Cesar Ramirez funeral photos
world wide web icon Visit the website for the article and photos: Nancy on Norwalk

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The Hour Insider logo'Sad day in Norwalk':
Popular community police officer dies at 71

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

NORWALK - Cesar Ramirez, a 32-year city police veteran recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, died on Tuesday.

The 71-year-old's death comes just one month after he signed off from Norwalk Police Department for the final time and was sent off by a full honor guard and police escort.

"Needless to say that we are all heartbroken over his loss," Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik said Tuesday. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time."

PDF Read more: Sad day in Norwalk, police officer dies at 71
world wide web icon Visit the website for the article: CT Insider Norwalk

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Nancy on Norwalk logoSome Norwalk photos: Cesar Ramirez funeral
By Nancy Chapman, January 29, 2020

Cesar Ramirez ribbon cutting for Soundview Landing Oct 2018
Norwalk Housing Authority Board Chairman Cesar Ramirez in October 2018,
at a ribbon cutting for Soundview Landing. (Harold F. Cobin)

NORWALK, Conn. - Cesar Ramirez has died. Ramirez was a Norwalk Police Officer for 32 years and served on the Norwalk Housing Authority since 1992. He was NHA chairman.

Norwalk Police Tweeted the news at 2:53 p.m. Monday:

"It is with great sadness that the Norwalk Police Department announces the passing of Officer Cesar Ramirez after a courageous battle with cancer. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers."

"Cesar Ramirez was a really special person and Norwalk Police Officer. This is a great loss for our Norwalk Police family. It was my honor to know him well," Mayor Harry Rilling said Tuesday afternoon in a statement.

PDF Read more: Cesar Ramirez has passed away
world wide web icon Visit the website for the article: Nancy on Norwalk

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