Daily Archives: October 27, 2010

I’m so honored! I can’t believe WordPress consigned these encouraging messages to the spam foler.

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Etc. and so forth – I must have half a dozen Internet fans out there, all willing to sell me services. Cool.

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I tip my hat to his lawyer

Jury tells judge that they’re deadlocked.

Katehis is charged with stabbing Weber more than 50 times in the March 2009 slaying.

Katehis told investigators he grabbed the knife and stabbed Weber accidentally.

“Accidentally” stabbed someone more than fifty times and his lawyer emerged from the scrum with a deadlocked jury? Genius, pure genius.

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Drinking in the ‘burbs

By Teri Buhl

Should Fairfield County Parents take more Action to Stop Underage Drinking?

By Teri Buhl

Early this year Greenwich Magazine named Fairfield County the number ONE underage drinking capital in America. Surprised? New Canaan, CT was named the number two city in the state for underage high school drinking. It’s an issue often gossiped about at dinner parties after a teenager gets alcohol poisoning or a friend’s daughter get taken advantage of by a boy – but a subject often investigated in the local media. The State even passed a law a few years ago giving local cops the right charge Parents who know underage drinking is going on in their home, allow their kids to host drinking parties, or supply alcohol for a party and then leave, with fines from a misdemeanor to a felony. Yet few families in the towns of Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan (who I’ve been polling) have ever been charged since the law took effect.

Over a year ago I started to get complaints about a few Wall Streeters I’ve covered in my finance reporting, allowing their kids to host drinking parties. I started to track the cases where local high school students were boasting about their drinking on their Facebook or MySpace pages and their parents were visible witnesses. I was even able to document a few case where parents filed police reports about missing property during one of these parties, but the local cops did not pursue or charge the parent with allowing the party to happen in the first place . An outgoing Patch editor let me know they’ve also been getting the similar complaints and watched the cops in their town refuse to enforce the law even though they had clear evidence of its violation. It’s an investigation that’s sensitive and I’m often surprised at parents who will complain about this issue but get a shy look on their face when I ask them to go on the record to talk about another parent or their neighbors’ involvement in underage drinking.

I grew up in a zero tolerance home in Southern California and came up with all kinds of creative ways to hide my partying for my eagle eye mother. I can’t imagine what could have happen if there were not strict boundaries set for me. But even then we didn’t have laws telling my parents they couldn’t let me drink at home and have friends over so they could monitor it.  In New Canaan, they’ve recently raised private funds to host 8-week classes for parents on why they shouldn’t allow underage drinking and how they can effect change in their community to get other parents to stop it.

But I have to wonder if the State has gone too far in setting up laws that tell parents how to parent on issue like teen drinking.  I’m still working on this story and would love to hear from parents who read this blog if you have stories about other adults turning a blind eye to underage drinking or if you think the current laws that can charge adults for their kids’ actions are just unnecessary. All conversations will be kept confidential unless you choose to speak out. You can reach me at: teribuhl@gmail.com

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Is this that weird-looking woman who pitches insurance?

Pinups for vets

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How do you factor in distress sales?

But my agent said ...

A week or so ago, I discussed this new listing on Cedarwood. And I had this to say about it:

How about this new listing on Cedarwood? Asking $6.8 million, assessed at $3.8. You can go either way on this one; 34 Cedarwood sold for $7.375 in ’08, which would place this 2001  construction in the running, but 26, built in ’06, sold as a short sale this past April for $4.5. It too is assessed for $3.8. So, do you use the distress price as the bar or the 2008 sale? Me, I’d say go with the $4.5 benchmark, but that’s just me.

I was fortunate last night to run into  noted local appraiser Jeff Jackson and I asked him how he’d handle the  discrepancy between a 2008 free-will sale at $7.375 and a sale on the same street that was forced to sell at $4.5 to avoid foreclosure. As best I understood Jeff, and I am certainly not speaking for him, one sale does not set value. But, Jackson pointed out, if you look around town, there are enough recent distress sales of houses similar to this one  to suggest that you should trend towards the lower, not the higher prices. In other words, you can compare this Cedarwood property to others of its quality and find similar houses in the $5s, not the high $6’s.

Again, that’s my interpretation of a three-minute conversation with Jeff. He himself was offering no opinion. But it’s just common sense: if you can buy a comparable house at $4.5, why would you pay more?

I originally posted on this Cedarwood home not to trash its pricing level, but solely to raise the issue of the affect distress sales have on existing listings. We’ll have to see what happens. My opinion is that existing home sellers have seen a dilution of value and will see that process continue for quite some time. If you have to / want to sell your house before 2012, I’d do so now. Otherwise, wait.

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I wish they wouldn’t do this

The press is full of praise for NYC cop Feris Jones shooting an armed robber, praise she well deserves. She remained cool under fire, shot her man and protected civilians and, yesterday, received an (almost) on-the-spot promotion to detective. I think that’s great, but I’m sorry to see repeated references to her “shooting the gun from his hand”. That was almost certainly not her intention. The robber was holding his revolver in two hands, directly in front of him. As I understand basic pistol training, you’re taught that, if you must fire your weapon, you aim for the body mass and leave the fancy shooting stuff to Hollywood. I’m pretty confident that now-detective Jones was going for the body mass and struck the hands which were extended in front of that mass.

Why is this important? Because a large percentage of the population complains when an armed perpetrator is killed. “Why couldn’t they have shot him in the legs? Hit him in the hand?” go the questions, accompanied by allegations of police brutality. That’s not reality,  but the press is feeding that illusion.

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