Daily Archives: March 6, 2012

I thought caves were fireproof?

Trying to invent snow

Cos Cob firemen will give away smoke detectors to residents Wednesday.


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Another drug death, this one marked with a bang

Man kills girlfriend when his homemade cannon explodes.

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A man was arrested Tuesday after a homemade cannon blasted his mobile home and killed his girlfriend in a remote mountain community east of San Diego, authorities said.

Richard Fox, 39, shot the cannon after loading it with fireworks powder, said San Diego County sheriff’s Sgt. David Martinez.

His 38-year-old girlfriend was found dead from shrapnel wounds when authorities arrived at the home.

Preliminary evidence suggested Fox was under the influence of alcohol, Martinez said.



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From a reader, sign found in the Byram River

House underwater

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A feeble wind

The windmill solution to our energy woes is dead, but all isn’t lost because shale gas is doing what the wind can’t. Wonder why, then, Obummer and his crowd are trying to stop shale mining and force-feed us windmills? Couldn’t be because they want to shut down the economy so …?

If wind power was going to work, it would have done so by now. The people of Britain see this quite clearly, though politicians are often wilfully deaf. The good news though is that if you look closely, you can see David Cameron’s government coming to its senses about the whole fiasco. The biggest investors in offshore wind — Mitsubishi, Gamesa and Siemens — are starting to worry that the government’s heart is not in wind energy any more. Vestas, which has plans for a factory in Kent, wants reassurance from the Prime Minister that there is the political will to put up turbines before it builds its factory.

America is having far better luck. Carbon emissions in the United States fell by 7 per cent in 2009, according to a Harvard study. But the study concluded that this owes less to the recession that year than the falling price of natural gas — caused by the shale gas revolution. (Burning gas emits less than half as much carbon dioxide as coal for the same energy output.) The gas price has fallen even further since, making coal seem increasingly pricey by comparison. All over America, from Utah to West Virginia, coal mines are being closed and coal plants idled or cancelled. (The US Energy Information Administration calculates that every $4 spent on shale purchases the same energy as $25 spent on oil: at this rate, more and more vehicles will switch to gas.)

So even if you accept the most alarming predictions of climate change, those turbines that have ruined your favourite view are doing nothing to help. The shale gas revolution has not only shamed the wind industry by showing how to decarbonise for real, but has blown away its last feeble argument — that diminishing supplies of fossil fuels will cause their prices to rise so high that wind eventually becomes competitive even without a subsidy. Even if oil stays dear, cheap gas is now likely to last many decades.


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The markets dead, the lady Realtors have disappeared. Where’d they go?

See ya, Sotheby's!

Probably North Dakota, where strippers are earning $3,000 a night, God bless ’em.


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The very rich still seem to have money – maybe you should raise your price?

Although only 5 houses in the $7-$8 range sold last year and only 2 of those in the past six months, the numbers are significantly higher for houss priced above $8 million. In that range, 13 sold last year with 7 of those sales coming in the past six months. Here are those 7 (I’m too lazy to track down the histories of all 13).

Address                  Orig. Price      Sale Price    DOM

32 Twin Lakes       $14.995          $6.600         1,093

9 Woodside            $10.250          $7.730            233   (2008 sales price, $10.950)

50 Carriglia            $11.950           $8.500           452

460 North               $11.950           $7.987         1,057   (2004 sales price $8.650, $3.0 renov)

1109 Lake                $12.950           $9.250           599    (2007 sale price $10.3)

11 Skyridge              $13.900         $13.000          129

65 Upper Cross      $28.000        $16.000          1,279

No way to make money, but what the heck, they’re out of their houses

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They’re smart not to linger

138 Cat Rock Road has just taken a whack out of its price, knocking it from $4.195 to $3.750 today. I said when I first saw this house a few weeks ago that I thought it was great – beautifully constructed to an interesting design that appealed to me, if not to everyone. But I wondered how it would do with the sale last May of the house next door for $2.3 million. A short sale, conceded, and a different house, but still, $2.3 and $4.2 is quite a distance. Now that distance has been shortened.


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Realtor listing language – it’s a wonder to behold

Racing towards Cherry Lane

22 Cherry Tree Lane down at the end of Indian Head is a great looking house and I’m glad to see it returned to the market, marked down to $5.495 from its first asking price last June of $6.995. Better. But I was struck by its description of the property which (because I don’t know how to grab a screen shot) you should Google a bird’s-eye view to most enjoy:

“Watch the sailboats in [did they sink? Ed] LI Sound from your front porch in wonderful Harbor Point”.

Now no one likes Harbor Point more than I and I’ll vouch that you can certainly espy sailboats from some vantage points in that association, but not here: 22 Cherry’s front porch faces the street, the other side of which borders a swamp/tidal pond. You might see an intrepid lad sailing his model yacht, I suppose, and if you were to climb on the roof, stretch your neck and peer west you might catch a glimpse of a real sailboat out at sea, but watching them sail by while you’re sitting in a rocker on this home’s front porch? Don’t count on it.


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What are the prospects for selling that $7-$8 million house? Pretty dim.

Having looked at the 29 houses priced between $7 and $8 million that are currently for sale, let’s look at the five in that price range that actually did sell last year. How’d they do?

Address                   Original Price   Sale Price            DOM

396 Round Hill            $11.500          $7.000             1,365

84 Butternut                 $  7.950          $6.300                406

124 Chimney Cor.       $  8.500          $6.950                 244

36 N. Stanwich             $10.300          $6.600             1,038

17 Wynwood                 $  9.995           $6.500                 712


That’s a total of $48,245,000 in asking prices and $33,350,000 in sales, or 69% of the ask and 753 Days on Market.


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Just because I’m bored

I looked up the histories of the 29 houses currently for sale in the $7-$8 million range. More time consuming than you might think because of the clever ways the GMLS rcords things like original asking price and days on market (DOM) but here they are:

Address                          Orig. Price           Current Price                 DOM

7 Little Cove                        $7.695                           $6.995                  664

487 North                             $6.995                          $6.995                  218

12 Taconic                            $6.999                           $6.999                   08

85 Butternut                      $10.500                           $7.195                  751

38 Cedarwood                    $7.750                             $7.250                 106

17 Woodside                        $7.295                              $7.295                 174

29 Pecksland                       $5.275                               $7.300               539

36 Dawn Harbor                $7.350                               $7.350                  15

 8  North Baldwin              $7.900                               $7.390                141

29 Beechcroft                      $7.950                               $7.400                363

14 Hycliff                               $7.400                               $7.400                127

11 Winding                            $9.975                                $7.450             1,052

504 North                              $11.795                               $7.495              1,161

  78 Doubling                         $7.495                                $7.495                   50

 55 Burying Hill                      $8.750                              $7.495                 261

Address                     Original Price         Current Price              DOM

186 Lake                     $7.500                           $7.500                       144

  1 Farwell                 $12.650                           $7.500                   1,469

25 West Way               $7.695                         $7.695                         173

170 Old Mill                 $7.795                          $7.995                          01

548 Stanwich              $7.900                         $7.900                         08

449 Round Hill           $7.950                         $7.950                        375

 26 Broad                       $9.250                         $7.950                       487

 78 Mayo                        $9.375                          $7.975                         613

 10 Lighthouse             $9.950                         $7.995                      1,107

  47 Round Hill             $8.995                         $7.995                         531

   27 Midwood              $12.750                         $7.995                         738

  2 Walsh LN                 $10.300                       $7.995                          343

 822 North                      $8.450                        $7.995                          267

141 Taconic                    $9.995                         $7.995                          139


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Better than owning a Volt!

170 Old Mill

Broker open house Tuesday is upon us once again and as has been the case recently, there’s no need to waste gas to see the handful of houses being shown. In the Back Country there are three repeats, one 2006 house coming back on and that’s it – 4 houses, total. Below the Merritt, there are just six single family houses to see, all repeats, and with the exception of a Belle Haven house @ $8.995 million, the highest price asked is $2.995 (one of those), one asking $1.995 (down from $3.2), one at $1.295, a $799,000 and bringing up the rear, $534,000. Phooey.

The new listing in Back Country, 170 Old Mill, is of some interest if only because it’s coming on asking $7.8 million after selling new in 2006 for $8.850 million. It now joins the other 28 houses asking between $7 – $8 million, for a total of (drum roll) …29! Five houses in the $7-$8 range (asking, not getting) sold in all of last year, with just two finding buyers in the past six months. I keep asking what’s going to happen to this part of our inventory and so far, can’t see an answer. The houses are just sitting on the market gathering dust and presumably something’s got to happen, either they’ll be withdrawn or some owners will chop their price. Depending on what percentage of owners decide to throw in the towel and move their property down a few notches, those houses below them are going to get hammered.

Or everyone will just decide to stay home. Hey, it’s Greenwich, and real estate values always go up, right?

Look out below!


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Who is Lee Whitnum?

Some Demmerkrat from Greenwich who’s running for Senate, apparently, and enough of a nut job, according to our current (Demmerkrat) Governor, to justify a restraining order against her. Hey, I’ve never heard of her – don’t much follow the Demmerkrats except when they’re digging in my pocket, but she’s got quite a history, according to Wikipedia. This should be fun – I hope she wins the senatorial election, just so we can balance out Feinstein and the other kooks.

Here are some biographical notes as culled from Wikipedia:

Was dorking John Kerry back in 1990 and was his main squeeze until he dumped her in favor of the very wealthy ketchup lady and thereby gained access to enough cash to run for president (while “he still has the hat”, he did not win the election itself, you may recall).

Has sued our town, the same one she lives in, and Peter Tesei for allowing a Bar Mitzvah to be celebrated in Town Hall.

No fan of  AIPAC, the Israeli lobby here in the United States, she said of Dannel Malloy, our dyslexic Governor, “you have to be able to read to learn about AIPAC’s unchecked power – it is not discussed on television” (now that’s funny!) .

Darling of the Occupy Wall Street movement, naturally.

Like I said, this should provide some grand entertainment in the upcoming political circus. You go, girl!


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Grade plane explained or, why you can’t save that older house that just sold on Valley Road

By Mike Finkbeiner, surveyor, and Aris Crist, architect

Destined for the dustbin of history, thanks to our P & Z


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