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Wilton Speaks Up; Questions Everything

WILTON, Conn. – Once the rules had been explained, the questions began rolling out at the 10th Annual Speak Up Wilton event on Saturday.

Hosted at Trackside Teen Center by the Wilton League of Women Voters , Wilton Kiwanis Club and the town of Wilton, Speak Up Wilton acts as an arena for questions and answers.

“It’s a very open environment,” Selectman Jim Saxe said. “They’re going to get an answer to their questions because the people who know the answers are here.”

The questions included: Can Wilton teachers to get paid for private tutoring of their students? To whom do I complain about the foreclosed home on my block that’s been wrecked from the two big storms? In the end, few of the topics overlapped.

Perhaps one of the more popular topics was traffic. Several questions posed to Wilton Police Chief Michael Lombardo involved clarifications on certain road signs and the purpose of several of traffic lights and stop signs.

With the range of questions, moderators Catharine Kampson, a former Wilton League of Women Voters president, and Tierney O’Hearn, from Wilton Kiwanis, worked to keep it moving along.

It wasn't just the public asking questions. Some elected officials and organizations posed questions. Selectman Hal Clark said officials wanted to make sure certain information became available to the public.

For example, Selectman Ted Hoffstatter asked Energy Commission Chairman Bruce Hampson what Wilton has been doing to help the town save money. Hampson said the town has been doing a lot, including participating in a statewide energy usage competition with 14 other communities. “Of the 14 (communities), we are No. 3,” Hampson said, with only Westport and Ridgefield ahead of Wilton.

The schools and the library contribute heavily to that savings: The buildings are tied as the most efficient in town.

Another question involved the Deer Committee. Pat Sesto , director of Wilton’s Environmental Affairs, said 110 deer were culled this year and said the committee is looking to do a more effective culling next year beyond recreational hunters.

People also asked what is being done to prevent underage drinking. Lombardo said drinking is illegal, even in private homes, for everyone under the age of 21. Lombardo also fielded a question about teenage driving enforcement. “It’s difficult,” he said. “Because unless you stop them for something else you don’t know.”

The event was more subdued than last year. Lori Kaine , a league member and Speak Up organizer, said last year was more vocal.

The event will be televised on local Channel 79 at a later date.

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