A NATURE CENTER AT LACHAT...
is the field on Godfrey Road
now owned by the Town and The Nature Conservancy together that is the
open space view of Weston, CT. Another field on the property is
proposed for parking (on the flat area between natural grade changes)...
JULIANA LACHAT PRESERVE:
Together with other outbuildings
on the 42 acres, the field shown above may welcome
visitors to a future "nature
in Weston. Previous Special Town Meeting votes "yes" (see our report). The
very same Special Town Meeting saw the Revson Field proposal sponsored
by the Town and a neighbor (my interpretation: to ransom or save
a tree) went down to a very, how shall we say this nicely,
mean-spirited but perhaps not wrong, defeat. The Lachat house
pictured here. And what about
trees in general? Is the Legislature going to cut back property
rights in the next session in response to power company requests in the
aftermath of Tropical Storm
Irene? CONSTABLE LANDSCAPE (r)? NOPE: Open space privately held, in Greenwich.
"PLAY BALL" IN WESTON!
A promise made, a promise kept.
of Weston (l.) prior
to any approvals for construction, there was the plan for
clearing. After rehab, Minerva Heady's house remains (next) along
new road winding up the
hill to...fields (August 2009 photo)!
2005: lots of them. For
softball, soccer but not walking your dog (no dogs allowed).
Practice fields for a variety of sports. More softball.
Great play, Wild Things 2009!!! The team website here.
(3rd and 4th rows):
On the left, the Prue Bliss Pavilion, where grilling stations for
cookouts and covered area to have a picnic were fully utilized this
first season (2005). Fields number
two and four used for Women's Softball (parking ample-- fields for
variety of sports in view, too). At right is picture of field
where the Women's Babe Ruth County-wide league held
championships (#3); bottom row shows the slope
down to field number four - which permits an amphitheater-like
viewing area for Parks & Rec Women's
Slow-Pitch Softball League fans!!! Columbus Gym won the title
this year (defeating Peter's Spirits on Field #4). Prue Bliss
WHERE POLITICS MEETS SPORTS:
Wiffleball in Greenwich,
now a tradition? In 2012, will it be indemnification
for use of Town facilities? Guess it was no problem!
GREENWICH WIFFLEBALL FACILITY
STORY: (l to r) Good, Better, Best.
NOTE: "Green Monster" simulation at left
replaced with Yankee Blue at new field! Notice how neat it is,
with a well organized maintenance program. Wiffle ball uses polo
fields for tourney! No polo club in Weston, just Town Park (see above) for soccer and
softball. Liability issues, 21st
Greenwich Wiffle Ball Tournament a hit
David Fierro, Greenwich TIME
Published 6:36 pm, Saturday, July 26, 2014
Pitchers broke out their wickedest Wiffle ball stuff and batters were
swinging for the fences on Saturday, as it was once again time for the
annual Greenwich Townwide Wiffle Ball Tournament at the Greenwich Polo
Club. Games were played on 20 miniature makeshift baseball diamonds at
the tournament, which has become a summer staple in town.
Popular as a backyard sport among friends at a cookout or barbecue,
Wiffle ball becomes a little bit more competitive each summer in town,
thanks to the tournament, which celebrated its seventh anniversary on
Saturday. Sponsored by the Greenwich United Way, the one-day event drew
64 teams from all areas of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey and
approximately 300 players of all ages.
"The tournament just keeps getting bigger and bigger each year," said
Greenwich United Way Youth Services Program Assistant Erin Montague, who
served as the event's chairwoman. "More and more spectators and
community members come out to see it each year. When it first started,
we had about 40 teams and we used to have to beg our families and
friends to compete. Now it just sells itself."
All proceeds raised from the tournament will be used to build Greenwich's first official Wiffle ball field at Byram Park.
"Hopefully, by this fall we will have all the funds for the Wiffle ball
field," said Montague, a Greenwich resident and Greenwich High graduate.
The overall winner of the tournament, which was aided by the efforts of
the Greenwich Police Department, Belpointe Companies, Garden Catering
and Seesmart LED, received $1,600, with the second-place finisher
getting $800 and the third-place squad receiving $400. The event
included an A division, under-18 division, an all-girls class and a
family division. Friends Mark Sunoo, Grant Purpura, Jimmy Doucette, Jake
Beinstein and Phil Giordano garnered the first-place trophy in the
youth (18-under) division, winning three of their four games.
"The toughest game of the tournament for us was the first game, which we
lost," Beinstein said. "Losing that game definitely helped us warm up
and prepared us to win the other three games."
The youth team Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch felt the good vibrations after winning their division.
"Wiffle ball is a lot of fun," said Purpura, a rising freshman at
Fairfield College Preparatory School, who spent plenty of time on the
mound for his team on Saturday. "There is a lot of movement on a Wiffle
ball, which makes it tough to hit, but fun."
Said Doucette: "It was intense out there for the most part. I was freaking out nearly every single game."
Brunswick School graduates Pete Harris, Sam Fraser, Daniel Fraser and
Zachary Brown formed a team called the Killer Bees for the tournament.
They split their four games, after being edged by the Bronx Royals in
their final match-up. The overall winner was decided late Saturday
"It's great to see people in town you haven't seen in a while. That's
why I enjoy being here," said Harris, a rising senior at Bucknell
University. "You see some kids you played youth baseball with, which is
nice. Wiffle ball is usually something you do in the backyard, but this
makes it more competitive. The town does a great job of putting this
Wiffle Ball tourney Saturday
Published 9:59 pm, Friday, July 25, 2014
It's time to get out those banana bats and swing for the fences. Today,
July 26, it's "Play ball!" as the townwide Greenwich Wiffle Ball
Tournament kicks off at the Greenwich Polo Club, Conyers Farm. More than
60 teams made up of four to five players ages 12 and up will do battle
during the all-day event.
Action begins at 8:45 a.m. and continues until only one team is left
standing. The first-place team receives $1,600, second place receives
$800, third place receives $400 and fourth place receives $100.
It is the seventh year of the Greenwich Wiffle Ball Tournament, which
has been sponsored by Greenwich United Way since the nonprofit responded
to a request by Greenwich youth to have a wiffle ball field in
Greenwich. The Greenwich Polo Club has provided the location for this
popular event since the start. According to the JR United Way
organizers, the tournament draws more teams each year, and anticipates
more than 300 players and hundreds of spectators will be on hand for
this year's event. Proceeds go toward maintaining what will -- someday
-- be a permanent site for a Wiffle Ball field.
Pitching in to make the event a success are JR United Way, the Parks and
Rec. Dept. and Police Dept., the Greenwich United Way, local businesses
Hundreds compete for Wiffle ball crown
Christopher Meyer, Greenwich TIME
Updated 09:44 p.m., Saturday, July 21, 2012
Rich Guillod had been on the mound for longer than a professional
pitcher, but had no intention of stopping any time soon.
"I'm not going off. I'll just get a cortisone shot when I get home,"
Guillod, 25, said as he walked back onto the field for the 11th inning
of his team's second-round game.
After all, $1,600 and bragging rights were on the line. Guillod
and his teammates, known as Team Ramrod and all from New Canaan, were
among the hundreds of players fighting for a grand prize of $1,600 in
the fifth annual Greenwich Wiffle Ball Tournament on Saturday.
This year's version of the tournament, at the Greenwich Polo Club,
featured 64 teams, as well as a revamped set of regulations that
included a mercy rule and a home run derby that ran simultaneously with
the tournament games. The new features were added at the request of the
"It's all about what the kids want," said organizer Jenny Byxbee, who
also said tournament officials had worked to follow through on a
request from younger children for more ice cream. "If you keep it
within what the kids care about, people show up. They care so much
about this field and this tournament."
The tourney's winning team was Doom from Massachusetts, comprising
members Adam Trotta, Dallas Mall, Troy Park and Matty Griffin. The
Killer K's from Stamford (Mike Keane, Tim Keane, Scotty Caporizzo and
Christian Hollendonner) took second and $800.
Rather than play each other, two father-son teams split the third-place
pot. The teams were Legarm (Mike, George, Larry and Matt Rzeznik) and
Barefoot Weasles (Max and Scott Barefoot, Chris and Lukas Manthey and
John Foley). Legarm also claimed the family division title.
Hoboken Caught Stealing from New Jersey took the youth division crown.
The adult winner of the home run derby, which included 70 players, was
Chuck Carino of the Red Mongos with 14 homers. Team Thunder Bagels'
Phil Giordano smacked 13 home runs to win the youth division.
While ultra-competitive groups like Team Ramrod drew the largest crowds
over the course of the day, the tournament also featured a number of
more relaxed teams who were simply enjoying a game of Wiffle ball in
the sunshine. Many of these teams consisted of younger players, who
were more interested in the sport than the prize. "Our main
motivation for being here is that six years from now we'll be playing
for the cash prize," said Greenwich resident Andy Karetsky, as he
watched his son Jake, 12, dig into the pitcher's mound. "Every year,
I've wanted to play in this tournament, but he was too young. This
year, (Jake) decided that we would do it father-son."
Even teams dead set on winning the top prize said they appreciated the
opportunity to take a step back and enjoy the game.
"This was really a light-hearted game," said Eric Pelleni, 24, a
third-year participant whose team defeated Karetksy's team through the
mercy rule. "We were kind of at the other guys' throats in the other
game, so this was a nice change of pace. I actually enjoyed that game."
Pelleni and his teammates, all of whom recently graduated from college
and played competitive baseball, were representative of the more
passionate groups at the tournament, some of whom hailed from
neighboring towns like New Canaan and Stamford, or even states like New
York, New Jersey and Maryland.
Philip Giordano, a Greenwich baseball coach who coached both the
Thunder Bagels and the Glenville All-Americans at the tournament, spent
the day observing games across the polo grounds, and said the
competitive fire of some teams likely went beyond just financial gain.
"Some of these guys play this as a hobby, or they travel around to
tournaments and leagues throughout the county," said Giordano, whose
son Philip Jr. was at the time leading the home-run derby. "They're all
done with competitive sports, but this keeps the spirit alive for them."
That was particularly apparent in Team Ramrod's marathon game, which
was replete with spectacular catches, strikeouts and thrown bats.
Guillod, known affectionately as "Goo" by his teammates, pitched 22
innings before teammate Nick Gallo, 16, smashed a walk-off home run to
end the game 1-0.
Greenwich facility users required to sign new liability waiver
Neil Vigdor, Staff Writer
Updated 09:53 p.m., Friday, January 27, 2012
Looking to keep ambulance-chasers at bay, Greenwich is broadening the
scope of indemnification or "hold harmless" language that is included
with special event and park permit applications.
Users of municipally owned facilities and participants in active
recreation programs must agree to hold the town harmless from all
claims, demands, suits, proceedings, liabilities, judgments, awards,
losses and damages arising out of injuries to any people or property,
under the new language. The Board of Selectmen unanimously
approved the revisions to the town's indemnification policy, which was
already on the books, at its most recent meeting at Town Hall.
"You know what? I think gone are the days of signs, `Play at your own
risk,' " Selectman Drew Marzullo said.
The town flirted with including the provisions on beach card
applications but stopped short after park officials raised concerns
about the red tape involved with such an undertaking.
"Do we want every person who applies for a beach pass to sign an
indemnification release?" Aamina Ahmad, an assistant town attorney,
told the selectmen. Parks Director Joseph Siciliano estimated
that his department issued 46,000 beach cards in 2011, a figure that
includes daily passes sold to nonresidents and residents who opted not
to purchase seasonal cards.
"Obviously, an administrative nightmare to try to deal with this,"
Siciliano said of making beachgoers sign a waiver.
Lawyers for the town also acknowledged the potential difficulty of
having beachgoers sign waivers for family members or their guests.
"Courts have not looked very favorably on a person releasing a
municipality from liability for somebody else," Ahmad said.
First Selectman Peter Tesei, the town's chief elected official,
endorsed the new language.
"This is consistent with practices elsewhere," Tesei said.
"I don't see this as having any impediment to people participating, but
it is protecting the town and (its) taxpayers."
Among the questions posed to Ahmad was whether the language insulates
the town from lawsuits if a person injures their leg after stepping in
a hole on a municipal athletic field, for example.
"You're right. Anybody can sue. It's a free country," Ahmad said.
In December 2010, Greenwich successfully defended itself against a
multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought by a town man who was struck in the
face with a softball near a Bruce Park softball field. During
trial, lawyers for Anthony Catalano argued his injuries were a direct
result of the town's negligence in constructing and maintaining a field
that did not have the proper dimensions according to the Amateur
Softball Association's constitution. But lawyers for the town
argued the town was not liable for any damages because there are no
state or federal regulations governing the measurements of the field.
In December 2004, the town of Greenwich and its insurance carriers
agreed to pay more than $6 million to a Greenwich doctor who was
injured in January 2000 while sledding near the Western Greenwich Civic
Center. Nicholas Stroumbakis, a town resident and Greenwich
Hospital urologist, seriously injured his back and right leg when his
sled slammed into a drainage ditch near the base of a sledding hill
near the Western Greenwich Civic Center. He was making one last run
down the hill after an afternoon spent sledding with his son, Michael,
who was 4 years old at the time.
Tesei asked the town's law department Thursday to look into whether the
indemnification language applies to parades held in Greenwich.
"To me, there's exposure there because of people walking on our
streets, not our sidewalks," Tesei said.
votes against Dell'Abate appointment
Neil Vigdor, Staff Writer
Published 11:05 p.m., Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Wary of the circus-like atmosphere that has surrounded "Howard Stern
Show" producer Gary Dell'Abate's candidacy for the town parks board, a
key Representative Town Meeting committee refused to support his
appointment Tuesday night.
The RTM's Parks and Recreation voted 7--5 against Dell'Abate,
expressing grave concerns about airing town business on the shock
jock's satellite radio show. Dell'Abate -- aka Baba Booey -- plays
Stern's sidekick on the show.
The committee decision does not prevent Dell'Abate from continuing the
confirmation process. His appointment to the volunteer board is subject
to confirmation by the full 230-member RTM March 14.
Though they didn't refer to it outright, several committee members
alluded to a recent incident in which a RTM critic of Dell'Abate's
received a plastic bag of feces in her mailbox with an anonymous note
from a Stern fan.
"I think, Gary, you really have to get a handle on your fan club," said
Wilma Nacinovich, who represented District 2/Harbor during the vote.
"It's really out of control."
Dell'Abate, 49, interviewed with the committee for just under an hour,
fielding questions about everything from erosion in the Mianus River
Park to his ability to separate his public service from his on-air
"I would never come in the next morning and say, 'You're not going to
believe what happened last night,'" Dell'Abate said.
"Gary, I really am impressed by your enthusiasm. I have to tell you,
the thing I'm really concerned about is the public/private issue," said
David Detjen, a committee member from District 10/Northwest. "We don't
want to have members of the board who are afraid to speak up."
A resident of Old Greenwich for the past 16 years who is married with
two sons, Dell'Abate was unanimously nominated in January by the
selectmen for the parks board.
Playing an advisory role in town government, the nine-member board has
been a springboard for everything from beach-access policies and
playground projects to park fees and a master inventory of available
playing fields. Terms run for three years.
Dell'Abate is part of the coaching staff of the North Mianus Bulldogs,
of the Greenwich Youth Football League, a position he has held for the
past nine years.
He has also coached baseball for the Old Greenwich-Riverside Community
Center, as well as Cal Ripken and Junior Babe Ruth leagues in town.
The eldest of Dell'Abate's two sons, who are 16 and 13, plays football
at Greenwich High School.
"I've know Gary for probably about 11 years now. He was always willing
to do the simple work," said Gregory Schulte, a committee member from
District 12/Haveymeyer who has coached with Dell'Abate.
About 30 crammed into a small third-floor conference room at Town Hall
to listen to the interview, including Coline Jenkins, a member of the
RTM Appointments Committee who accused Dell'Abate of degrading women on
The great-great-granddaughter of suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
Jenkins was the recipient of the infamous bag of feces in her mailbox.
"I think that bullying on a field is unacceptable as well as bullying
in other public arenas," Jenkins said.
batter, batter, swing: Townwide Wiffle ball tourney Saturday
Neil Vigdor, Staff Writer
Published: 10:11 p.m., Friday, July 16, 2010
The sport of millionaires is deferring to the sandlot game.
A record number of teams are signed up to play in a townwide Wiffle
ball tournament Saturday at the Greenwich Polo Club, the third
installment of the round-robin competition.
The tournament was created in 2008 in response to the public relations
nightmare that enveloped the town when a group of teens was evicted
from a vacant municipal lot in Riverside that they converted into a
Wiffle ball field because of liability concerns and neighbor complaints.
Sixty teams, each consisting of four players, will vie for the $1,600
first-place prize during the event, which gets under way at 8:45 a.m.
"We are completely full," said Ron Young Jr., managing director of
Belray Capital, a Greenwich-based real estate investment and management
firm and a repeat event sponsor. "The majority of the tournament was
signed up two weeks ago. So it's really, really catching some
The tournament's sponsors, which include the Greenwich Police
Department, the United Way of Greenwich, Golden Ticket Events, Garden
Catering and Greenwich Time, are hoping to build a permanent Wiffle
ball field with proceeds from the event and future competitions.
Among the spectators will be First Selectman Peter Tesei.
"The goal is to make some money and design a field," Tesei said.
The tournament entry fee is $100 per team. The second- and third-place
teams will get $800 and $400, respectively. The rain date is Sunday.
While the number of teams keeps growing, Young said getting sponsors
hasn't been as easy.
"So it's going to take us a little longer than expected to build a
Wiffle ball field," Young said.
The location is still up for discussion, with park officials bandying
about as candidates a field behind the International School at Dundee
in Riverside where the teens were relocated during the controversy and
a space behind the Greenwich Civic Center in Old Greenwich.
"I think they're playing wherever they can get some space to play,"
said Joseph Siciliano, the town's parks director.
Young said the town should pick a central location close to public
transportation, throwing out the idea of a small park on William Street
in the historic Fourth Ward.
The teen Wiffle ball players made national and international headlines
two summers ago when they commandeered a vacant half-acre lot on
Riverside Lane, building a miniature version of Boston's Fenway Park,
complete with outfield fences, bleachers, a backstop and the fabled
Green Monster. The vacant lot was valued at $1.25 million.
Bowing to complaints from neighbors about noise and security, the town
evicted the teens from the lot and sent workers with the protection of
a police escort to demolish the field.
Town officials cited liability concerns, the negative precedent of
allowing squatters to use public land and potential damage to
neighboring private properties in their decision to shut down the
Wiffle ball tourney turns summer pastime into serious competition
By Lisa Chamoff, staff writer
Posted: 07/18/2009 09:22:32 PM EDT
Updated: 07/19/2009 12:50:11 AM EDT
GREENWICH -- Vincent Provenzano and his teammates didn't have much of
an opportunity to practice before taking to the field at the Greenwich
Polo Club for Saturday's town-wide Wiffle ball tournament.
But after winning two morning games with his team Bomb Squad,
Provenzano, 18 -- who had helped build the controversial Wiffle ball
field on a vacant town-owned lot in Riverside last year -- was pretty
"We're doing good. We're going to win," said Provenzano, who recently
graduated from Greenwich High School.
"We played a lot last year," said Provenzano, whose team eventually
captured third place. "We haven't played much this year."
There were 40 four-member teams at Conyers Farm battling it out for the
first-place prize of $1,600. That was up from 26 teams last year, when
the tournament was created in response to the teens' eviction from the
half-acre field, where they had created a miniature replica of Boston's
Fenway Park, complete with outfield fences, bleachers and a backstop.
Taking home the top prize Saturday was the Red Mongros, made up of
Brian and Bobby Bailey, Chuck Carino and Chris Bortot. Second place
went to the team of Joe, Larry, George and Mike Rzeznik, who called
themselves Leg Arm.
Ron Young Jr., managing director of Belray Capital, a Greenwich-based
real estate investment and management firm and one of the event's
sponsors, had run Wiffle ball tournaments years ago, and saw an
opportunity to once again
gather locals together for the popular summer pastime.
Despite the laid-back atmosphere, it was a well-run event. Young
shouted orders to the teams from a megaphone and other organizers
traveled the grounds in a golf cart.
Michael Micik, who graduated from Greenwich High School in 2007,
occasionally plays Wiffle ball in his yard on Morningside Drive when
he's not playing baseball.
Micik, 20, who fielded Team Lifestyles with his brother Brendan and a
couple of friends, said conditions at the Greenwich Polo Club were
perfect for Wiffle ball.
"The grass is really nice," said Micik, who attends Springfield College
in Massachusetts. "A lot of times when we play at my house, the grass
is a lot higher."
Last year the tournament -- which took in $10,000 for a permanent
Wiffle ball field that the organizers eventually hope to build in town
-- was held in September, when many teens had gone off to college.
There were many more younger players on this weekend day.
"I think doing it in the summer was a home run," said Jenny Byxbee, the
town's youth services coordinator.
field neighbor may be over the line
By Neil Vigdor,Staff Writer
Article Launched: 09/25/2008 02:54:31 AM EDT
GREENWICH - Town officials said a Riverside homeowner who complained
that a group of teens crossed the line when they commandeered the
municipally-owned lot next to his for an unauthorized Wiffle ball field
is over the line himself - the boundary between the two properties.
A recently completed survey of the property lines between municipal Lot
5A and a residential parcel at 100 Riverside Lane ordered by the town
shows that the homeowner, Thomas Gallagher, is encroaching on the land
that was at the center of a national controversy this summer dubbed as
A mailbox, white picket fence and several bushes belonging to Gallagher
appear to be over the property line, which the town demarcated with a
wooden stake at the edge of Gallagher's driveway.
First Selectman Peter Tesei said Gallagher will be receiving a letter
from town attorneys instructing him to correct the matter.
"I think the intent here is to ensure the integrity of the town's
property," said Tesei, who didn't know how many feet of the town's
property was being encroached upon.
Tom Heagney, a Greenwich lawyer who represents Gallagher, said that his
client likely will have his own survey of the property boundaries done
before taking any action.
"It's always good to have another surveyor confirm what is out in the
field and on the survey," Heagney said.
Gallagher drew the ire of several teens and their parents this summer
when he reported the makeshift field to the town and raised concerns
about noise, traffic, illegal parking and security.
The town demolished the makeshift Wiffle ball field, including a
12-foot-high replica of Fenway Park's Green Monster, because of
liability concerns, the precedent of allowing squatters on municipal
property and complaints from neighbors.
Tesei said parents of one of the teens brought the encroachment matter
to the town's attention.
"It's no secret that it surfaced as a result of the use of the town
lot, but that doesn't mean we can't ignore it," Tesei said.
Amy Siebert, the town's new public works commissioner, said it is not
unusual to find instances of encroachment on town property and that it
is doubtful officials would allow Gallagher to keep a structure or
plantings on the lot.
Town officials dismissed the possibility of Gallagher trying to claim
the land as his through adverse possession or squatter's rights.
"They can't claim that the municipal property is now their property,"
Heagney, the attorney for Gallagher, said his client doesn't perceive
the town's actions as retribution for his opposition to the Wiffle ball
"It's something that we expected the town to proceed with to determine
where the boundaries of the property are. This isn't a surprise to us
at all," Heagney said.
(Wiffle) ball! Local tourney
By Meredith Blake
Article Launched: 09/21/2008 02:43:38 AM EDT
It was a far cry from the makeshift field Pirovenzano and a group of
Greenwich teens created on municipal land in Riverside over the summer.
That field was eventually closed down by the town because of liability
"It's fantastic out here," said Pirovenzano. "It's perfect for
The tournament, organized by the Greenwich Police Department, Junior
United Way and Belray Capital, was the culmination of more than five
weeks of work.
"It's really fun out here today. The field is so perfect. It's a big
step up," said Justin Currytto, 17. "The field we created is nothing
like this, but we put a lot of work into it. It was our place to go."
Thirty-two four-player teams, each of which ponied up $100 to enter,
set out to win the daylong, double-elimination tournament to raise
money for the creation of a Wiffle ball field in Greenwich.
People young and old stepped up to the plate, making use of 100 Wiffle
balls and 20 bats. Some teams wore matching T-shirts, with the name of
the team on them.
"It's such a nice event for the kids," said Old Greenwich resident
Michael D'Angelo, 42, who was out playing with a team.
Ten fields were set up on the polo fields, demarcated by white
tape. More than 100 people attended the event to cheer on the
teams, which included groups from throughout Fairfield County and New
York. Ron Young Jr., managing director of Belray Capital, a
Greenwich-based real estate investment and management firm, said he got
involved with the tournament because from 1995 to 2000, he organized
the town Wiffle ball tournament at Western Middle School.
On Saturday, he played with his brother and some friends. He struck out
the side while pitching one inning.
"I think today has been a success. It's a beautiful day, and I think
everybody had a good time," Young said.
Players and spectators were provided with hot dogs, sandwich wedges and
drinks donated for the game.
"I think this event is really good for us," said Scott Atkinson, 13.
When the Riverside field was shut down, he was disappointed and
"I was pretty sad. I felt like all our hard work was being put down in
five minutes," he said. "But seeing all the community support has made
And that was police Officer Richard Stook's hope when he came up with
the idea for the tournament. "We wanted to generate something positive
from the situation," he said.
Police teamed up with the Junior United Way and Belray Capital to make
the tournament happen.
"It all just came together perfectly," Stook said.
Organizers had five weeks to find sponsors, which included Greenwich
Time, the Silver Shield Association police union, Pepsi and the
Greenwich Oldtimers Athletic Association.
They raised about $20,000 and hope to raise even more.
Stook, who umpired at the tournament, said Wiffle ball is a great game
for all ages.
"It more than met my expectations," said Jenny Byxbee, Greenwich Youth
Services coordinator for the Junior United Way. "We made a small start
and a big start in bringing the community together."
The winning team - Belray Capital - walked away with $1,600. The Giants
took second with $800 and the $400 third-place prize went to the Silver
Wiffle ball players' dreams fulfilled
By Neil Vigdor, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 09/20/2008 01:00:00 AM EDT
Even the teenagers in Greenwich have an eye for prime real estate.
A group of high schoolers banished from playing Wiffle ball on a $1.25
million municipal-owned lot is taking over the Greenwich Polo Club
today - this time with the necessary approvals - for a town-wide
tournament, supplanting the wine-and-cheese, divot-stomping crowd.
The Greenwich Polo Club is located in Conyers Farm, a gated enclave off
North Street in the backcountry with its own security force and where
homes sell from $7 million to $15 million, according to the local
"I've driven by and said, 'Oh, I want to go in there, but I never
actually have been. The field is so huge,' " said Tim Bellantoni, 16, a
Greenwich High School senior who dreamed up the idea of the tournament.
About 25 four-player teams are expected to compete in the day-long
tournament, which costs $100 per team to enter. Play is slated to begin
at 9 a.m. and the rain date is Sunday. Admission for adult spectators
is $10 per person and $5 for children under 12. The winning team in the
double-elimination tournament will walk away with $1,600. The prizes
for second and third place are $800 and $400, respectively.
Teams can still register for the tournament before play begins.
"When you think about it, (polo) is such a high-end sport, and it's us
playing on the field. It's something different," said GHS junior Brett
Atkinson, 16, who was still lining up players Friday for his Riverside
Tim, Brett and several of their friends made national and international
headlines this summer when they commandeered a vacant half-acre lot on
Riverside Lane for a Wiffle ball field, erecting outfield fences and
attracting curiosity-seekers from as far as New Jersey.
But the town demolished the makeshift Wiffle ball field, including a
12-foot-high replica of Fenway Park's Green Monster wall built by the
teens because of liability concerns, the precedent of allowing
squatters on municipal property and complaints from neighbors.
then, there has been a void.
"Whenever I'm home and have nothing better to do, I just pitch at the
side of the house," said Tim, whose team in today's tournament is
called the Fantastic Four.
Tim organized today's tournament with help from the United Way of
Greenwich, local police and members of the business community.
Organizers spent several hours Friday dividing the massive polo field,
which measures 300 yards long by 160 yards wide, into 10 smaller fields
for Wiffle ball.
"It's going to look like a flea on a dog with only 10 fields," said
Keith Hirsch, a police neighborhood resource officer for the western
part of town.
Hirsch and fellow neighborhood resource officer Rich Stook have been
helping to organize the tournament, from soliciting sponsors to setting
up the base paths to umpiring some of today's games.
"Hey guys, that's got to be a 90-degree angle," Stook told the other
organizers as they put down the foul lines on one of the fields.
Proceeds from today's tournament, which will also feature a home run
derby, will go to staging future tournaments, said organizers, who have
their eyes on a loftier goal.
"In the end, the goal is to build a permanent field," said Ron Young
Jr., managing director of Belray Capital, a Greenwich-based real estate
investment and management firm and a tournament sponsor.
Young estimated that organizers had raised $22,000 in donations from a
myriad of sponsors, which include Greenwich Time, the Silver Shield
Association police union, Pepsi and the Greenwich Oldtimers Athletic
Association. This is not the first time Greenwich will be hosting
From 1995 to 2000, Young organized an annual Wiffle ball tournament at
Western Middle School that he said drew as many as 300 people,
including Hirsch, the neighborhood resource officer. In addition
money, food and beverages were donated for today's event by Pepsi and
several local eateries. A number of adults are expected to play
today's tournament, including Young, who said he would donate any
winnings back to the cause if his team prevails.
Some adults couldn't help but let the kid in them show Friday while the
fields were being set up, including Sgt. Michael Reynolds, head of the
police department's Neighborhood Resource Section.
"All right, game on," said Reynolds, who took two big swings and missed
the Wiffle ball before making contact, bearing the brunt of jokes from
the other officers.
ball field opens
By Neil Vigdor, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 07/26/2008 01:00:00 AM EDT
Welcome to the House that Lawyers Built.
Exactly one week after they were kicked out of a municipally-owned lot
in Riverside in a tearful farewell, a group of jaded teens christened a
new Wiffle ball field yesterday that the town created for them behind
the International School at Dundee.
"It's better than nothing, I guess," Brett Atkinson, 16, said as he
roamed his new environs.
Behind him in the outfield, workers from the parks department hammered
stakes into the ground and put up blue mesh safety fencing, making good
on the town's promise to find the teens a new home.
"We just wanted to get it to the point where you guys could play this
weekend," Joseph Siciliano, the town's parks director, told the teens.
Brett hit the last home run at the old ball yard on Riverside Lane,
which the town, on the advice of its legal counsel, ordered shut down
because of liability concerns and complaints from neighbors who hired
their own lawyer to oppose the field. The half-acre lot chosen by the
teens was set aside as a drainage area when the surrounding subdivision
was built in the late 1940s.
"At the old field, it was either a single or a home run," Brett said
The scene yesterday at Dundee School, within a bike ride of the
previous field, was a sharp contrast from the previous Friday, when a
demolition crew knocked down outfield fences erected by the teens while
they watched, including a 12-foot high replica of Fenway Park's Green
Siciliano presented the teens with several Wiffle balls and bats that
he said he had searched high and low for Thursday night at a sporting
"(The salesman) said there's a run on those bats," Siciliano said,
alluding to the national attention the teens' story has received.
Siciliano then reminisced with the teens about playing a variation of
Wiffle ball while growing up in Chickahominy.
"We'd cut a broom handle for a bat," Siciliano said.
If the old field was a band box, the new one is a pitcher's park, with
dead center field 110-feet from home plate, 10 feet deeper than its
predecessor. It's 90 feet down the lines.
The teens got to choose the dimensions, as well as the color of mesh
safety fences. They settled on blue, a departure from the green plywood
walls of their former field of dreams. Siciliano said the town spent
about $700 on the fencing.
"It's good, but the other field was cool," said Jackie Calagna, 15,
who, a week earlier, was in tears when the old ball yard was being
The lot commandeered by the teens was fraught with liability issues,
according to town officials, who said an exposed storm drain could lead
to an injury and a lawsuit. If the storm drain gets backed up, town
officials said it could cause flooding and property damage to
neighboring homes that also could trigger a lawsuit.
Several neighboring homeowners complained to the town that the field
created noise, parking, traffic and security problems for the
"They're just neighborhood kids. This is just a very constructive
approach of giving them a place to be," Siciliano said.
Town officials chose Dundee School because there were already base
paths, a backstop for softball, ample parking and portable toilets for
the teens to use. In addition to installing the fencing, which is
collapsible in case somebody runs into it, the town brought over some
small bleachers to the field.
"They asked to put their (American) flags up, which is fine," Siciliano
said. "The only thing we asked is that they don't do any advertising."
Tim Bellantoni, 17, hit the first home run, a shot to left field, at
the new field yesterday. He said he is organizing a town-wide Wiffle
ball tournament for late August at the Conyers Farm "polo grounds" and
hopes to field 60 teams of four people, with each squad paying a $100
The teens will be allowed to use the new field until school goes back
in session at the end of August, when the town will look for another
facility for them to use.
"There's got to be a corner of the world where we can send them to,"
Siciliano said, quipping. "You guys are getting a dome for the winter.
We budgeted for it."
The new field is not without its amenities, however. The teens no
longer have to be their own grounds crew.
"When do they come and cut this?" Brett asked Siciliano about the
Parks workers usually visit each of the fields in town once a week,
"If it gets high, give us a call," he said.
shuts Wiffle ball field over
By Neil Vigdor, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 07/17/2008 01:00:00 AM EDT
First Selectman Peter Tesei yesterday ordered a Wiffle ball field built
by teens on town land in Riverside to be shut down because of liability
In a closed-door meeting, Tesei notified the teens of the decision
about the field, built without authorization on a flood-prone lot and
opposed by several neighbors. The field is to be shut down tomorrow.
The decision came as a crushing blow to the teens, who spent three
weeks clearing the lot of dense thicket and erecting plywood fences in
the outfield, including a replica of Fenway Park's Green Monster,
bleachers, foul poles and a back-stop.
"They're knocking the wall down," Brett Atkinson, 16, said. "We're all
sad about it."
Tesei said it was difficult being the bearer of bad news to the teens.
"I would put it as the least pleasant day of my administration. I can
certainly relate to the youths," Tesei said. "It was like a wake for
Tesei said allowing the teens to stay at the lot, which they did not
have permission to use, would set a negative precedent for the town.
Set aside as buffer area for stormwater to drain, he said the property
presents a variety of liability issues. It has an exposed drain pipe
that could result in injury of one of the teens, Tesei said, adding
that damage to neighboring properties is also a concern.
"If there is flooding and it impacts the residents, they're going to
hold us responsible," Tesei said.
Tesei, the town's chief elected official, offered to let the teens use
a field at the International School at Dundee for the remainder of the
summer for Wiffle ball. That was of little consolation to some of the
"I didn't really like it," Brett said.
The teens' supporters, who have grown exponentially since the
controversy erupted two weeks ago, were outraged.
"What a damn shame," said Riverside resident Fran Fox, whose nieces and
nephews play at the field. "Why can't the kids sign waivers or have
their parents sign waivers that they won't hold the town responsible if
they get hurt?"
Fox said she was disappointed in her town and said the decision sends a
"They sit around and talk about these fat American children. Here,
these kids, instead of sitting inside playing Nintendo, are outside
Fox said the lot has been used by children of the neighborhood going
back several generations when the subdivision was built for returning
World War II veterans.
"I hope that they protest this," she said of the teens.
Tesei's decision to shut down the field occurred four days after he met
with several neighbors and listened to their concerns about parking,
traffic, noise, security and how the teens never got permission to
develop the lot. The homeowners provided Tesei photos of flooding on
the lot, litter and building materials that were removed from a nearby
home under construction and found at the lot.
The field is accessed by a narrow grass pathway between residential
properties at 96 and 100 Riverside Lane. Homeowners reached by
Greenwich Time said they were relieved that the town was finally taking
steps to mitigate the problem, but declined further comment.
Sam Romeo, who is chairman of the East Sector of the Community and
Police Partnership, an alliance of residents and law enforcement, said
the property should be designated as a pocket park for the teens to
"It's just one more black eye for the town," Romeo said of the
decision. "I think the whole aspect of being a kid has changed. It's
not easy being a kid in this town and any town with all the rules."
Tesei said he didn't know what time the walls will be taken down at the
Don't count on the teens to be there when it happens, however.
"We're not even going to go that day," Brett said. "Nobody wants to see
them knock our field down."
Why is this important to
the region? Because it is in the flight path of airport - more
on this issue here.
Sacred Heart convent purchases 110
Lisa Chamoff, Staff Writer, Greenwich TIME
Published 11:06 p.m., Monday, November 21, 2011
The sloping grounds off King Street have been home to Convent of the
Sacred Heart for more than 65 years.
Recently, the independent Catholic girls' school achieved a
long-awaited milestone when it acquired the deed for the 110 acres on
which the campus is located from the Society of the Sacred Heart, which
opened the school in 1945.
Along with the deed, the school also acquired 60 additional acres,
beyond the 50 it already controls, for $9 million.
Head of School Pamela Juan Hayes said the purchase achieves a
long-range goal for Sacred Heart, and came a time that was mutually
beneficial for the school and the society, which has been focusing on
caring for its elderly nuns.
"This was always the plan, that at some point in history we would
reverse the ownership to the school," Hayes said. "With increased costs
in their health and elder care, it was right for us and them."
The school has been talking about acquiring the land for about 18
years, said Paula Tennyson, chairwoman of the school's board of
trustees. The school put money aside for the initial $4 million
payment, and will pay the remainder to the society over the next seven
The acquisition is unique for the school, which is part of a 22-school
network of Sacred Heart schools in the U.S. and a global network of
educational institutions in 41 countries.
It was back in the 1970s that the Society of the Sacred Heart began
transferring the operation of schools to individual boards, said
Tennyson, who grew up in Westchester County, N.Y., and whose daughter
graduated from a Sacred Heart school in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Tennyson served on that school's board, and has also served on the
board for the Sacred Heart network of schools.
Acquiring the land furthers the school's independence, Tennyson said,
and will allow Convent of the Sacred Heart to embark on expansion
projects without the time necessary to receive approval from the
society, though the relationship has always worked well.
"Owning it ourselves, your destiny is in your own hands," Tennyson said.
Over the years, the school has made improvements to its media center,
and recently undertook a major landscaping project in front of the
historic mansion that houses administrative offices, classrooms, a
chapel, an art gallery and dining rooms. The school is in the process
of connecting to the town water system.
For Hayes, a 1964 Sacred Heart graduate who became the school's first
lay leader in 2009 after teaching English and drama, the purchase has a
more personal meaning.
"This school has been a home for me and thousands of girls throughout
the years," Hayes said. "It's wonderful to think this will continue in
Moving a Historic Home
David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
After being raised over a church’s side porch,
Alexander Hamilton’s country home was perched on Convent Avenue. Its
journey to St. Nicholas Park on Saturday should take three to six hours.
No matter that Alexander Hamilton’s country home, the Grange,
is 206 years old. Until now, it had been in a perfectly contemporary
Manhattan real estate bind: not enough space.
What to do? Move, of course.
So on Saturday, the two-story, 298-ton wood-frame house will
be rolled conspicuously — and slowly — from its cramped site on Convent
Avenue to an appropriately verdant new location a block away in St.
Nicholas Park, facing West 141st Street. That is as close as it can get
these days to the rural setting for which it was originally designed.
Once new foundations are completed, a yearlong, $8.4 million
restoration and reconstruction will undo decades of unsympathetic
alterations to the house, known formally as the Hamilton Grange
Stephen Spaulding, chief of the architectural preservation
division in the National Park Service’s Northeast region, said the
500-foot move on Saturday should take three to six hours.
But in a sense, the journey has taken almost half a century.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy authorized the Interior Department
to assume ownership of the house on the condition that it be moved to a
As redevelopment sagas go, the story of the Grange ranks
among the most protracted. For want of money and almost any concerted
political will to get the deed done, at least until recent years, the
Grange languished in near-obscurity as other historical landmarks
gained a higher profile.
Visitors have found the Grange jammed between a six-story
apartment house and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, its formal front
facade abutting the church and all but invisible. Nor is this even its
original location. Until 1889, when it was moved for the first time,
the house was on 143rd Street, west of Convent Avenue.
Lost in the intervening years was any public sense that the
founding father on the $10 bill, the nation’s first treasury secretary,
had lived in Harlem; that a creator of the federal government passed
his last two years in a refined country estate designed by John McComb
Jr., an architect of City Hall, from which he departed in 1804 for the
duel with Aaron Burr that cost him his life.
Now, in the house he left behind, Hamilton is again coming to
life. To their joy, National Park Service officials have discovered
that the front stairway, though much modified over time, is essentially
the one built for Hamilton, complete with original risers, treads,
balusters, ornamental scrollwork and support structure. It will be
rebuilt in its original form.
“Alexander Hamilton ran up those very treads!” said Steve
Laise, chief of cultural resources of Manhattan sites for the National
Park Service, which owns and runs the Grange. “It just puts you in such
close proximity with the past. For those of us who really wish we were
living back then anyway, it’s probably more of a stimulus to our
imagination than we really ought to have.”
Lovely exterior details are also evident for the first time
in more than a century, including a triple-hung sash window. Smaller
windows on either side have an alternating star-and-circle tracery.
“That kind of pattern is well rooted in 18th-century Anglo-American
design practice,” said Seth Joseph Weine, a fellow of the Institute of
Classical Architecture and Classical America.
Last week, the Grange was raised up and over a loggia, or
side porch, at St. Luke’s and now sits on steel beams atop nine dollies
in the middle of Convent Avenue. On Saturday, it will be rolled down
the avenue; turned east onto 141st Street; rolled down a hillside with
a 6 percent grade, past Steinman Hall of City College; turned south at
Hamilton Terrace; then rolled into the park.
Windows, especially those at the corners, will be among the
most vulnerable areas. To reduce any chance that the structure will
shift out of shape, it is being bound tightly with wire rope and tied
diagonally to the beams on which it is now supported. The chimneys are
also to be braced.
Twice during the move, the house will be inspected. Windows
will be tested to ensure that they are operable, meaning that no undue
pressure is being exerted against the frames. Existing plaster cracks,
already documented, will be checked to make certain they are not
widening. If problems do arise, Mr. Spaulding said the house can be
releveled by adjusting the blocking between the steel beams and the
frame of the structure.
For now, he does not anticipate any need to halt the move
As for that 6 percent slope on 141st Street, Mr. Spaulding
said the contractor “is very confident that the grade is not going to
be a problem.”
“He’s moved houses down grades like that before,” he added.
The move itself is being done by Wolfe House and Building Movers of
Bernville, Pa. The general contractor is Integrated Construction
Enterprises of Belleville, N.J.
Each of the nine dollies has its own propulsion and braking
system, Mr. Spaulding said, powered electrically and hydraulically. “If
there’s any failure of the systems,” he said, “the brakes lock up.”
There are four brakes on each dolly, for a total of 36 brakes.
Mr. Spaulding and his colleagues will breathe easier on
Saturday night, but given the reconstruction and restoration ahead,
they will not have much chance to relax. “Our goal for reopening the
house would be the fall of next year,” he said. “There’s a lot more
work to do.”
a cell tower - this is
the equipment noted below measuring CO2 emissions.
solution' found in more trees
By Richard Black, BBC science correspondent
Planting trees in the Amazon to
curb global warming is unlikely to work.
and US scientists have
found the rainforest emits more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide
it absorbs when conditions are very wet. Their report, published
in the journal Science, comes just three days before the latest United
Nations negotiations on climate change take
place in Milan. The researchers
say previous studies have almost certainly over-estimated how much CO2
the Amazon can take in.
study by Scott Saleska, from
Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is pertinent because
idea of using forests to curb global warming forms a central plank of
Kyoto Protocol. The treaty allows countries to plant new trees
conserve old forests rather then cut the amount of greenhouse gases
this latest research undertaken
over three years in the Amazon provides graphic new evidence that the
between trees and carbon dioxide is a complex one. Saleska's
of old-growth Amazonian rainforest shows clearly that drought or other
disturbances that kill trees can lead to higher levels of carbon
release. These increases in carbon loss occur during wet seasons
when the dead wood breaks down, not during the dry season as has been
environmentalists believe that
politicians have run ahead of scientific understanding in giving
such prominence in the Kyoto Protocol.
They argue tree planting has been
seized on not because it is good science, but because it is politically
Town lab battles ticking
Dinan, Greenwich TIME, Sunday, May 9, 2004
was sitting at his desk in the Greenwich Department of Health's
on a recent morning when a woman burst through the door, clutching a
plastic bag with a white paper towel curled inside.
Henrietta Kassaris, 69, of Glenville, as she passed the bag to Serafin.
"I found it on my belly." Serafin, 49, the lab's director for four
squinted at a black dot on the corner of the towel.
a female deer tick," he said, removing the 4-millimeter insect with
and transferring it to a smaller bag. "It's the one that carries Lyme
But this tick doesn't look engorged. If they stay on three or four days
to feed, they swell up with blood. The longer they
are on, the
more likely they are to pass on the bacteria that causes Lyme disease."
"I was out yesterday working in the garden," she said. Before she left,
Kassaris agreed to have the lab test her tick for Borrelia burgdorferi,
the bacteria that, when transmitted through the bite of infected ticks,
causes Lyme disease.
endemic to southwestern Connecticut, Lyme symptoms may include blurry
loss of reflexes, dementia, forgetfulness, depression and almost 100
symptoms. A 2002 Connecticut Department of Public Health study
4,631 Lyme disease cases in the state. Twenty-eight
those cases came from Fairfield County. Lyme disease activists say the
actual number of Lyme cases could be 10 times greater because the blood
tests used to diagnose the disease are not totally accurate.
The lab, in
the basement of Town Hall, is the only town-operated public health lab
in the state that does the test. Serafin, bacteriologist Yvette Ghannam
and chemist Ken Roper have already tested 118 ticks this spring, and
another 66 to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New
The town's lab charges $41 to residents and $50 to nonresidents to
the test. For a $7 handling fee, people can send ticks to the state
which tests for free. The state returns results in about a month,
said, while the town lab's results are ready within a week. Both
labs do the same test and are equally accurate, Serafin said.
About 40 percent
of the ticks brought to the lab test positive for the bacteria that
Lyme disease, and the first week of May marks an important time for
Serafin said. "The ticks around now are last year's adults that
find a blood meal last fall," he said, as he dropped Kassaris' tick
a counter. "Eggs laid last August hatched into larvae, and now they're
coming to the next stage, when they're called nymphs."
only three times in their two-year lives: as larvae, as nymphs, and
as adults. At 1 millimeter long, nymphs are difficult to find, which
them particularly dangerous, Serafin said. Most ticks the lab
are adults, and Serafin and his co-workers follow a careful procedure
test them for Borrelia burgdorferi.
After a tick
is identified as the type that carries the Lyme disease bacteria, it is
dropped into a tube, mashed up, heated, and put into a centrifuge,
said. A gift of Time For Lyme Inc. -- a Greenwich-based Lyme disease
that raises money for advocacy, research and education --
is a device that extracts DNA from blood by spinning rapidly.
solids from liquids and also extracts hemoglobin," Serafin said. The
can interfere with the process by producing a false negative, he
The lab's weekly tests begin on Thursday, when a tray full of ticks'
is carried in labeled tubes to an environmentally protected area called
a biological safety cabinet, to set up the specimens for a polymerase
reaction, or PCR.
amplifies the DNA of the Lyme disease bacteria to a detectable level,"
Serafin said. "It allows us to see the DNA we want to test
That happens through a process that starts with denaturation, where the
ticks' blood is heated up so that strands of DNA undo themselves.
"primer" DNA strands pinpoint the target DNA -- in this case, the
that causes Lyme disease -- duplicate strands of target DNA are
The process is repeated hundreds of times from Thursday afternoon
Friday morning, when the bacteria's DNA has been copied and reproduced
so many times that it can be detected by a process called "gel
All DNA is
electrically charged and has a specific size and shape. In gel
these two properties are used to separate DNAs in a gel pad with an
field. Using a pipette to remove a drop of blood from each tube,
places each DNA sample on a gel pad and leaves it for an hour, as
current streams through it.
current pushes the DNA we want to test for through the gel," Serafin
"After an hour, we take the gel pad and place it under an ultraviolet
a light box that reads dye-stained DNA.
"The gel contains
a DNA stain that glows orange when it's under the ultraviolet light,"
said, "so all the DNA molecules will absorb it, and it makes a pattern.
It's actually very beautiful." It's even more beautiful if
tells clients that their results are negative when they call him on
delighted with the news. "I felt fantastic," she said.
For more information
about tick-testing or prevention, look for brochures outside the health
department's offices on the third floor of Town Hall. If you find a
call the laboratory at 622-7843/7846, or just come by with your tick,
or alive. The lab is in the ground level of Town Hall.