R E D C R O S S
" B E R E A D Y " V I D E O H
E R E
Blowing east from California or up from the Gulf or maybe
East Coast of Florida, storms eventually get to Weston, usually
around...the opening of the school year!
And so the winter begins...early.
Since the Governor has ordered
I-95 closed by 1pm Monday, the shift is on! "Power Outage" tho' Weston had only 2
outages at this time...
Hartford to be declared disaster areas
Ana Radelat, CT MIRROR
November 3, 2012
Norwalk -- Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Saturday he thinks the Obama
administration will declare most of Connecticut, with the exception of
Hartford County, a major disaster area, opening the door to a variety
The governor was in Norwalk and Bridgeport Saturday with Lieut. Gov.
Nancy Wyman, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District,
and U.S. Small Business Administrator Karen Mills to visit
storm-wrecked businesses. Malloy toured areas of the state hit by
Hurricane Sandy Thursday with Department of Homeland Security Secretary
He said Saturday he felt confident she would expand the areas the
federal government has already declared major disasters areas -- the
four coastal counties of New London, New Haven, Fairfield and Middlesex
-- to all counties except Hartford County.
"And we may be close on Hartford County as well," Malloy said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is under the umbrella of
Napolitano's HHS, makes recommendations for disaster area declarations
based on monetary damages. Mills urged businesses and homeowners
who suffered losses, even if those losses are insured, to apply for
low-interest loans from her agency. When an insurer pays a claim,
the borrower could pay down the loan, Mills said.
Businesses can borrow up to $2 million in disaster loans from the SBA,
and individuals can borrow up to $200,000. Borrowers do not have
to have collateral, but they must apply for federal flood
insurance. FEMA, which opened disaster recovery centers in
Bridgeport and Greenwich, announced it will open three additional ones,
in New Haven, Old Saybrook and Groton, where those eligible for federal
aid can apply in person.
FEMA also said 2,400 people have registered for federal help in
Connecticut, and $368,000 in aid money has been approved.
In New Jersey, more than 49,000 have registered; more than $31 million
has been spent. In New York, more than 69,000 people have registered
for federal help, at a cost of about $75 million.
Sandy a deadly behemoth expected to deliver sheets of rain, high wind,
snow...examples above, of downed wires, children at play, and a big
New Haven Register
By The Associated Press
Sunday, October 28, 2012
SHIP BOTTOM, N.J. — Forget distinctions like tropical storm or
hurricane. Don't get fixated on a particular track. Wherever it hits,
the behemoth storm plodding up the East Coast will afflict a third of
the country with sheets of rain, high winds and heavy snow, say
officials who warned millions in coastal areas to get out of the way.
"We're looking at impact of greater than 50 to 60 million people," said
Louis Uccellini, head of environmental prediction for the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
As Hurricane Sandy trekked north from the Caribbean — where it left
nearly five dozen dead — to meet two other powerful winter storms,
experts said it didn't matter how strong the storm was when it hit
land: The rare hybrid storm that follows will cause havoc over 800
miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.
Governors from North Carolina, where steady rains were whipped by
gusting winds Saturday night, to Connecticut declared states of
emergency. Delaware ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal
communities by 8 p.m. Sunday.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was criticized for not interrupting
a vacation in Florida while a snowstorm pummeled the state in 2010,
broke off campaigning for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney
in North Carolina on Friday to return home.
"I can be as cynical as anyone," said Christie, who declared a state of
emergency Saturday. "But when the storm comes, if it's as bad as
they're predicting, you're going to wish you weren't as cynical as you
otherwise might have been."
Eighty-five-year-old former sailor Ray Leonard agreed. And he knows to
Leonard and two crewmates in his 32-foot sailboat, Satori, rode out
1991's infamous "perfect storm,"
made famous by the Sebastian Junger
best-selling book of the same name, before being plucked from the
Atlantic off Martha's Vineyard, Mass., by a Coast Guard helicopter.
"Don't be rash," Leonard said Saturday from his home in Fort Myers,
Fla. "Because if this does hit, you're going to lose all those little
things you've spent the last 20 years feeling good about."
Sandy weakened briefly to a tropical storm Saturday but was soon back
up to Category 1 strength, packing 75 mph winds. It was about 260 miles
(420 kilometers) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and moving
northeast at 13 mph as of 5 a.m. Sunday, according to the National
Hurricane Center in Miami.
The storm was expected to continue moving parallel to the Southeast
coast most of the day and approach the coast of the mid-Atlantic states
by Monday night, before reaching southern New England later in the week.
It was so big, however, and the convergence of the three storms so
rare, that "we just can't pinpoint who is going to get the worst of
it," said Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center in
Officials are particularly worried about the possibility of subway
flooding in New York City, said Uccellini, of NOAA.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the Metropolitan Transportation
Authority to prepare to shut the city's subways, buses and suburban
trains. The city closed the subways before Hurricane Irene last year,
and a Columbia University study predicted that an Irene surge just 1
foot higher would have paralyzed lower Manhattan.
Up and down the Eastern Seaboard and far inland, officials urged
residents and businesses to prepare in ways big and small...
Federal Forecasters: 9 To
15 Storms This Hurricane Season
By MATTHEW STURDEVANT, firstname.lastname@example.org
1:34 PM EDT, May 24, 2012
This year's hurricane season is forecast to be a bit quieter than the
usual summer of the past three decades, according to the nation's two
leading forecast centers.
The season will bring between nine and 15 named storms with winds of 39
mph or greater, according to a forecast released Thursday by the
National Hurricane Center, a division of the National Oceanic and
The hurricane center said there is a 70 percent chance of nine to 15
named storms, of which four to eight will be hurricanes with winds of
74 mph or great, and one to three will be major hurricanes with winds
of 111 mph or more.
That's below the average of the period from 1981-to-2010 of 12 named
storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
"NOAA's outlook predicts a less active season compared to recent
years," said NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco. "But regardless of the
outlook, it's vital for anyone living or vacationing in hurricane-prone
locations to be prepared. We have a stark reminder this year with the
20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew."
Andrew was a Category 5 hurricane that his South Florida on Aug. 24,
The National Hurricane Center's prediction is similar that of the
nation's other closely-watched hurricane forecasting center at Colorado
In mid-April, the Colorado forecasters said the season would have 10
named storms, four of which would be hurricanes and two of which would
be major hurricanes.
Tropical Storm Irene crashed through Connecticut in August 2011, which
caused flooding, toppled trees and power lines and resulted in
electricity outages that lasted longer than a week for some residents.
Before Irene, the last tropical storm to make landfall in the state was
Floyd in 1999. The last hurricane to hit Connecticut was Bob in 1991.
In May 2011, the National Hurricane Center forecast last year's season
to have 12 to 18 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes and three to six
In April 2011, the Colorado State forecasters forecast the season would
bring 16 named storms, 9 hurricanes and five major hurricanes in the
The 2011 season delivered 19 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major
There is safety from
externalities and safety from internal bickering - just a thought.
Police Commission questions
chain of command, hiring plan
Written by Patricia Gay
Thursday, 16 February 2012 00:00
Who does the Chief of Police in Weston take direction from?
That was the topic of discussion at a recent meeting of the Weston
Commissioner Jess DiPasquale questioned the chain of command in light
of criticism directed at Police Chief John Troxell over his acquisition
of two military surplus Humvees.
Chief Troxell traveled to Fort Drum in upstate New York in early
January with three Weston Police Officers and acquired the Humvees with
approval from some members of the Weston Police Commission, but without
first notifying First Selectman Gayle Weinstein.
After returning to Weston with the Humvees, Commission Chairman Rick
Phillips and Ms. Weinstein criticized the chief in a series of emails,
with Mr. Phillips claiming the chief had violated the "chain of
command" for not notifying Ms. Weinstein first.
In response, Chief Troxell sent an email to Mr. Phillips saying he
"took offense" to the accusation that he had violated the chain of
command and requested a meeting with the commission to review his
contract with legal counsel.
However, before that meeting could take place, the chief announced his
retirement on Jan. 24.
At the commission meeting on Feb. 7, Chief Troxell stated, as he has
since his retirement announcement, that there was "no one single issue"
leading to his decision to leave, rather his enthusiasm for the job had
been "chipped away... A chief needs to know when to go. I feel it's
time to retire," he said.
"For you to say you lost your enthusiasm is unfortunate," Mr.
Mr. DiPasquale noted that Chief Troxell had approval from the
commission to acquire the Humvees. He said Connecticut General Statute
7-276 gives the Police Commission control over the general management
and supervision of the police department and its equipment, therefore
Chief Troxell behaved responsibly in the manner in which he acquired
He also said it would have been nice if Ms. Weinstein had been informed
about the acquisition, but it wasn't a necessary requirement because
Ms. Weinstein, as first selectman, is an ex-officio member of the
commission and does not have a vote.
The commissioners discussed how the chain of command is expressed in
the chief's contract. It says the chief shall serve under the direct
supervision of the commission.
However, it also states that the chief will "inform the first selectman
of significant matters concerning the department and town."
"It's not clear from the contract what a significant matter is," Mr.
Chief Troxell said the language in the contract was ambiguous and was
something that should be reviewed with the next chief.
"My attorney said once you hire a chief, you delegate authority to the
chief and it's your duty to oversee the chief," Chief Troxell said to
The commissioners agreed the contract language should be reviewed.
The commission then discussed how it will go about hiring a new chief.
Although they previously handled the entire process themselves —
writing the job description, advertising the job, reviewing
resumés, and conducting interviews, this time they agreed to use
They formed a subcommittee of Rick Phillips, Beth Gralnick and Jeff
Eglash, to vet consulting firms to help with the new hire. The
subcommittee will report back at the March meeting with potential firms.
Because Chief Troxell's last day of work is currently scheduled for
July 24, he offered to train an officer in the department to act as
interim chief, in case the commission had not hired a new chief by that
Mr. Eglash said appointing an interim from the department would not be
a good idea because if the interim was also applying for the chief's
job it would look like favoritism. Others agreed, and a decision was
made not to appoint an interim chief.
The commissioners said they hoped officers within the department would
apply for the chief's job...
CL&P vows to share more data with towns
Ken Dixon, Staff Writer
Updated 11:31 p.m., Wednesday, November 30, 2011
HARTFORD -- Connecticut Light & Power will share some of its
sensitive infrastructure data with towns and cities in an attempt to
develop regional preparation for natural disasters.
And a co-chairman of the governor's Two Storm Panel put the onus on
following up on the effort with the chairman of the Connecticut
Geospatial Information Systems Council, including the possibility of
requesting permission from state regulators.
"I'm happy to fulfill any level of cooperation," said Tyler Kleykamp,
an employee of the state Office of Policy and Management who leads the
"Do we hold you accountable?" asked Joseph McGee, the storm panel's
co-chairman, suggesting a 60-day window to develop a cooperative
arrangement on items including the logging of utility poles and
"If that's your choice," Kleykamp replied. "Whatever the actual data is
you're bouncing this against, the better. That may require some
disclosure of certain information from utilities. We don't know exactly
what that may be or how much detail you might need, but it would
likely, in order to be most effective, require some degree of
He said obstacles to sharing information such as distribution networks
include security threats and sensitive business data. "You can still
share information about that data," he said. "So in an emergency or in
an event that you need to get access to that data, you know what's
Kenneth Bowes, vice president for energy delivery at CL&P,
announced intentions to cooperate with towns and cities in developing
geospatial systems that can be shared when large-scale power outages
Joseph McGee said that he wants CL&P and United Illuminating to
become members of the Geospatial Information Systems Council, even if
the issue has to first be referred to state utility regulators. The
group shares demographic and infrastructure data throughout the state.
"At the end of the day there's a lot of work that's going to have to be
achieved here," McGee said to Bowes. "The opportunity here for
collaboration, I think, has real benefits to the state of Connecticut
in a storm. My assumption is that if we share data, so that the data
you're requesting comes from the town is put on your system, it will
speed up damage assessment significantly."
"That is accurate, yes," Bowes replied.
"We're trying to find who's accountable," McGee said. "The utility is
taking a major step here, they're moving away from a previous
more-difficult position to a more-collaborative position in the sharing
McGee said the opportunity for sharing information among state
agencies, towns and cities that have already invested in local
geospatial mapping and utilities is very timely and important.
"Just sitting here, does that make any sense that we're spending this
kind of money for a system that doesn't talk to one another?" McGee
said. "I mean, it's kind of embarrassing, to be candid. This is a big
deal and would make a big change in how we do damage assessment in this
Meghan McGaffin, who heads geospatial information for the city of
Milford, said that while Tropical Storm Irene at the end of August was
downgraded from hurricane status, its flooding and power outages in the
city of 50,000 were the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane.
"Either Irene faked us out or this model was incorrect for our
circumstances," said McGaffin, noting that the city extensively maps a
variety of information to share with emergency responders and law
enforcement. "It was better than knowing nothing."
report recommends tree assessment for future storms
By Judy Benson Day Staff Writer
Article published Dec 1, 2011
Of the estimated 1.1 million trees that line Connecticut's
streets and highways, as many as 620,000 are large enough to pose
potential hazards to utility lines and roadways during future storms.
Of those 620,000, more than half are maple trees that, because
of their growing habits, tend to have structural defects such as hollow
cavities and split trunks with weak forks that are most vulnerable in
high winds and heavy snows.
Pre-emptively removing all the large maples growing along state
and municipal roadways would cost $185 million or more. Given the
expense, state and municipal tree caretakers should instead consider
evaluating the condition of all maples and other trees near power lines
that have trunks one foot or wider in diameter - the size determined to
be most susceptible to storm damage.
Those are some of the findings of a preliminary analysis of the
state's urban forests done by Jeffrey Ward, chief scientist in the
forestry and horticulture department at the Connecticut Agricultural
It is the first report to quantify the risk posed statewide from
large street trees as the state seeks ways to prevent the kind of
prolonged power outages and extensive damage that resulted from trees
felled during Tropical Storm Irene in August and the Oct. 29 nor'easter.
Completed this week, Ward's report was done at the request of
the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection as part of the
post-storm analysis and response. The report has been sent to Gov.
Dannel P. Malloy's Two Storm Panel, which met Wednesday.
"Maples are fabulous shade trees because they're very fast
growing," Ward said, explaining why maples became the dominant
Connecticut street tree. "But because they grow so fast, they don't
have the defenses. What grows fast dies fast."
For his analysis, Ward extrapolated tree data from 11 cities and
towns that had conducted recent tree inventories to estimate the
potential risk statewide of tree damage during extreme weather events.
Among the towns were two in southeastern Connecticut: Colchester and
Essex. In Colchester, there are 218 large-diameter trees of the 232
along town roadways, the report said. Essex has 1,371 large-diameter
trees of the 1,415 along its roads.
To minimize future outages, Ward recommended that the state
Department of Transportation and municipalities plant only varieties of
trees with mature heights not exceeding 30 feet and keep trees no
closer than eight feet from power lines.
He recommended against removing all street trees, calling this a
"drastic solution" that would "inexorably alter the sense of place
characteristic of Connecticut's towns and cities. The resulting
cityscapes would be devoid of nature except for patches of grass and
scattered flower beds."
Instead, planting smaller trees "would preserve the benefits of
... an urban tree canopy including reducing personal stress, cleaning
air, reducing heating costs, reducing storm water runoff and
sequestering carbon dioxide," he wrote.
Chris Donnelly, urban forestry coordinator for DEEP, said Ward's
report will help guide the Two Storm Panel as it develops
recommendations about how the state can minimize its risk of future
storm damage and outages.
Ward's findings will also be shared with state and municipal
officials who make decisions about which trees to plant along roadways,
Which tree to plant? Some small
trees recommended for planting near or under utility lines:
• American arborvitae
• Autumn higan cherry
• Upright Japanese flowering cherry
• Weeping higan cherry
• Donald Wyman crabapple
• Indian magic crabapple
• Japanese crabapple
• Flowering dogwood
• Kousa dogwood
• Fringe tree
• Golden-rain tree
• Crimson cloud hawthorn
• Lavalle hawthorn
• Winterking hawthorn
• American hornbeam
• Japanese tree lilac
• Japanese maple
• Paperbark maple
• Chanticleer flowering pear
• Purple-leaved cherry plum
• Eastern redbud
• Eastern redcedar
• Japanese stewartia
"Trees and Shrubs for Your Community," 1999, Western
Massachusetts Electric, The Northeast Utilities System
Hearing a High Wire
Act for CL&P
By James Lomuscio
Thursday, October 13, 2011
A small but vocal group of Westport and Weston residents took
Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) officials to task at a review
session in the Town Hall auditorium tonight over what they said was a
poor response to power outages in the wake of Hurricane Irene.
Complaints from the seven residents who spoke ranged from CL&P’s
inadequate communication with residents to idle repair trucks waiting
for orders to some residents being without power for eight days.
“I am shocked and incensed at the lack of people who are not here,”
said Sue Harris of Weston. “And I am furious at CL&P.
“We never saw a CL&P truck for days and days and days,” she added.
“Nothing was happening.”
Harris said she had to shower at the Westport Weston Family Y since she
had no water at home because all Weston residents are on wells. She was
concerned that had heard from neighbors that CL&P’s response time
was slow because the utility was worried about paying overtime.
Listening was a panel comprised of First Selectman Gordon Joseloff,
state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, state Sen. Toni Boucher, Fire Chief
Andrew Kingsbury, Police Chief Dale Call and Deputy Chief Foti Koskinas.
Nearby and taking it all in were Todd M. Blosser, director of
CL&P’s southern division, and Chris Swan, CL&P division manager
for the Stamford-Norwalk area. Blosser waited for all of the public to
finish talking before he responded.
“Can we do a better job next time?” he asked. “Apparently we have to.”
Jason Kannon, another Weston resident, noted that he was without power
for eight days.
“That was really, really pathetic,” said Kannon. “Ninety-nine percent
of the town was out and you sent two trucks.
“I have an estimate for a generator that’s $10,000, and I’m going to
give it to you and I hope you pay it,” he added.
Westporter Rozanne Gates, who lives on North Avenue and who had asked
Joseloff for the hearing, expressed similar outrage, calling the amount
of time Cannon waited “unconscionable.”
“What responsibility does CL&P have to its customers to reimburse
them for the loss of food in their refrigerators?” Gates asked.
She also called power outages “a national security problem,” and
stressed that CL&P should begin burying power lines to avoid
outages caused by falling trees and branches..
“Your lack of willingness to address this problem is a threat to every
one of us,” she said.
Westporter Allen Bomes, who serves on the Representative Town Meeting,
agreed that it is time for the utility to put wires underground.
“I know it’s expensive,” he said, adding that the cost would probably
balance out with the costs incurred by repairs, tree trimming, overtime
and people being without power.
Westporter Leo Cirino was the only member of the public who spoke in
CL&P’s defense, saying, “I love the grid, and I love what CL&P
is doing for us.”
“CL&P didn’t make those trees grow,” he said. “We let them grow.
Their (CL&P’s) responsibility only comes in when the limb touches a
wire. These lines were put in 75 years ago when it was all clear cut.
“We’ve gone overboard,” he added about people not wanting to have their
trees trimmed by the utility company.
Westporter Jim Graves agreed that “tree maintenance” should be a
priority for homeowners. He also pointed out what he called a flaw in
state regulations that the utility company has to get permission from a
homeowners to cut their trees. Boucher and Steinberg both agreed
that prohibition should be revisited on the state level.
Local officials also came to CL&P’s defense, saying that the
response to Hurricane Irene’s aftermath was a marked improvement over
the company’s slow response time to the March 2010 storm
“From my perspective, CL&P did a tremendous job compared to the
March 2010 storm,” said Public Works Director Stephen Edwards. “We had
to wait 36 hours for one crew to arrive with the March storm, and this
time we had two crews arrive immediately.”
“Compared to March 2010, we learned a lot of lessons,” said Call. “This
storm was better for us to deal with because we had a lot of
Blosser admitted it was “not easy to sit here and learn all the issues
you have.” Regarding insufficient communication with municipalities and
residents, he pointed out, “the problem is that so many communication
avenues are dependent on electricity.”
As far as burying power lines, Blosser said it would be cost
prohibitive, “four times as much as going overhead, $3.6 million per
“And just because you go underground does not mean you will not have
power outages,” he added, noting that power restoration could take
Blosser also stressed that in other parts of the country where trees
are cleared away from power lines, there are no eight-day outages.
“In many cases the root cause for our power outages are trees,” he
said. “The other ideas won’t be as important if we manage our trees
At the meeting close, Joseloff stressed that residents should always be
prepared for long periods without electricity, from stocking up on
three weeks worth of nonperishable food and dry milk, to installing a
generator. Regarding how the utility and local officials respond
to such emergencies, Steinberg said, “We can always to better.”
“Everybody here is dedicated to that proposition,” he said, noting that
no one knows what the next storm will bring.
Posted 10/13 at 10:17 PM
the 6th Day...and the seventh, etc. CL&P still couldn't
Fired State Employees To Get Their Jobs
Back In Food Stamp Probe
The Hartford Courant
By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, email@example.com
8:36 PM EDT, June 13, 2012
— In a major victory for union members, many state
employees who were fired in a high-profile food stamp fraud case will
get their jobs back, officials said Wednesday.
So far, 40 workers have been reinstated, and more are expected in the
coming weeks, officials said. The workers will receive unpaid
suspensions ranging from 15 to 60 working days, but they will not lose
their benefits or seniority.
The workers were fired soon after Gov.Dannel P. Malloyannounced on a
Sunday afternoon in December that state employees had falsified their
income and improperly received emergency benefits. Those benefits were
sought in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, which caused power
outages across the state late last summer.
A written decision given to one state employee this week showed that
the independent arbitrator, Susan R. Meredith, ruled the employee "made
a mistake and did not commit fraud.''
Meredith wrote: "The discipline imposed was too severe. The dismissal
is hereby reduced to a thirty (30) working day suspension without back
Most of the workers will return to their jobs on June 29 — but they
will not receive back pay for their suspensions.
A top union official, AFSCME Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano,
announced the settlements Wednesday afternoon.
Rich Rochlin, an attorney for some of the fired workers, said that at
least 56 of his 60 clients "will get their jobs back or are in the
process of getting their jobs back.''
"I've been saying since December that there were flaws in the system
and these workers were being railroaded,'' Rochlin said. "The
arbitrator's decision is a complete vindication of everything I've been
saying and contradicts everything Malloy and his staff have been saying
For the past three months, the Malloy administration had not released
updated figures on the number of fired workers. But after the
statements by Luciano and Rochlin on Wednesday, a Malloy spokesman said
that 103 state employees had been fired, resigned or retired as a
result of the food stamp case. Of those, 40 have been reinstated, and
63 cases are pending, according to the administration.
Luciano said the arbitrator made the findings on Tuesday and Wednesday
under an agreement of expedited arbitration.
"Most of the cases resulted in a finding by the arbitrator that the
individual made mistakes in the application and did not commit
intentional fraud,'' Luciano said in a written statement. "Those
individuals have made, or have committed to make, full restitution to
the state for the amount they received from the program. The arbitrator
imposed disciplinary suspensions ranging from 15 to 60 working days.
"While some state employees may have engaged in fraud regarding the
D-SNAP program and have been dismissed or resigned from state service,
these employees were found to have made errors that the arbitrator
found warranted discipline, but not dismissal. They exercised their due
process rights, paid back the money received, were adequately
disciplined and will be reinstated to their state positions,'' Luciano
Luciano continued: "We made it clear from the time the allegations
broke that any individuals who knowingly deceived taxpayers to receive
a D-SNAP benefit must be held accountable. We also made it clear that
people are innocent until proven guilty and that everyone is entitled
to due process and union representation. The arbitrator's awards in
these cases are an appropriate solution for the individual Council 4
union members and the state."
After the employees were fired, the union filed grievances. After the
grievances were denied, the cases eventually went to an independent
arbitrator. The arbitrator then heard numerous cases on Tuesday and
Wednesday at the state Office of Labor Relations in Hartford.
The question was whether the state had just cause to fire the workers.
In a copy of one of the rulings, the arbitrator wrote that the state
"did not discipline the grievant for just cause.''
Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba said: "The governor made it clear from the
beginning that anyone involved in the D-SNAP investigation would be
entitled to due process. Today's announcement is proof of that.
"We continue to believe that there is no room in state government for
anyone who would look to defraud taxpayers. As a result of the D-SNAP
investigation, those that committed some of the most egregious
violations have not had their cases heard yet, and are still not
employed by the state. The Governor's message was clear – public
service is a privilege and any abuse of the privilege will not be
"The governor has instructed the Office of Labor Relations to review
each of the arbitration decisions recently issued, and to explore with
the Office of the Attorney General whether there are sufficient legal
grounds on which to appeal these decisions to the Superior Court. That
process will be undertaken in the coming weeks.''
The employees were fired because, the Malloy administration says, they
falsified their financial information when applying for emergency
benefits under the federal Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program, known as D-SNAP. The program began following Tropical Storm
Irene, which ravaged the state and knocked out electrical power to
hundreds of thousands in late August. The emergency money was designed
not only to replace lost food, but could also to cover storm-related
expenses such as property repairs and temporary housing costs. Actual
food stamps are no longer issued, and recipients instead received debit
After saying for months that about 800 state employees had applied for
benefits, Malloy announced in early April that an additional 250 state
employees had filled out applications. In all, 1,053 state employees y
sought to receive emergency benefits.
Overall, 128 state employees had been referred to their supervisors as
of two months ago for potential disciplinary hearings. Of the more than
1,000 state employees, 685 had been cleared of any wrongdoing,
according to a previous count by the Malloy administration.
The vast majority of state employees who applied "were honest" about
their incomes and liquid assets in bank accounts, Malloy said
The Malloy administration has repeatedly declined to release the names
of any state employees who have been fired, citing a three-page
memorandum by the attorney general's office regarding confidentiality
of food-stamp recipients.
Arbitrator reinstates 40 state
employees in Irene fraud
Mark Pazniokas, CT MIRROR
June 13, 2012
A state arbitrator has reinstated 40 of the 103 state employees who
resigned, retired or were fired after being implicated in the improper
receipt of disaster relief after Tropical Storm Irene.
The reinstated employees must make restitution and serve suspensions
ranging from 15 to 60 days, according to an announcement Wednesday by
AFSCME Council 4. The employees obtained aid under the Disaster
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or D-SNAP.
"While some state employees may have engaged in fraud regarding the
D-SNAP program and have been dismissed or resigned from state service,
these employees were found to have made errors that the arbitrator
found warranted discipline, but not dismissal," said Sal Luciano,
executive director of Council 4.
"They exercised their due process rights, paid back the money received,
were adequately disciplined and will be reinstated to their state
positions," he said.
Andrew Doba, a spokesman for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, said the governor
always has said that employees accused of improperly obtaining aid
would be entitled to due process.
"Today's announcement is proof of that," Doba said. "We continue to
believe that there is no room in state government for anyone who would
look to defraud taxpayers. As a result of the D-SNAP investigation,
those that committed some of the most egregious violations have not had
their cases heard yet, and are still not employed by the state. The
governor's message was clear -- public service is a privilege and any
abuse of the privilege will not be tolerated."
The administration will review each arbitration decision and determine
with the attorney general's office if there are legal grounds to appeal.
Calling a press conference on a Sunday in early December, Malloy
personally announced details of what has been the administration's only
case of significant agency fraud. His initial disclosure was that 800
state employees had obtained disaster aid, with an unspecified number
suspected of fraud.
Eligible households were to receive food aid ranging from $200 for a
single adult to $1,202 for a family of eight.
By March, the scope of the inquiry expanded with another 240 recipients
of disaster aid having been identified as state employees, bringing to
1,053 the number of state employees to benefit from the emergency aid
program. There were 23,000 total applicants.
The administration determined that month that the majority of employees
were entitled to the aid, with 685 cleared of wrongdoing and 128
referred for administrative review. Eventually, 103 left state service,
with 78 dismissals and 25 resignations or retirements.
Doba was uncertain Wednesday evening if all 40 reinstated employees had
been fired, or if some were workers who resigned or retired and then
sought a return to their jobs.
officials ponder cost of Tropical Storm Irene clean-up
Written by Kimberly Donnelly
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 11:53
A police car drives under a fallen tree leaning on power lines on Old
Easton Turnpike. —Alison Wachstein photo
Cleaning up the mess Tropical Storm Irene left behind in Weston has not
been easy — nor is it going to be cheap, town officials say.
“Sometimes money can’t be the priority,” said Weston First Selectman
Gayle Weinstein last Thursday, when the majority of town residents were
on Day 5 with no electric power. “Right now the health and safety of
our residents is my number one priority.”
Tropical Storm Irene hit Connecticut on Sunday, Aug. 28, and 99% of the
Connecticut Light and Power (CL&P) customers in town were left in
the dark. Because nearly every Weston house uses a private well with an
electric pump, most were left without water, too.
The storm produced what was likely a microburst or tornado, which
caused hundreds of branches and trees to fall on property, utility
lines, and into roads. Ms. Weinstein said of Weston’s 287 roads, nearly
70 presented a hazard.
The town spent nearly a week cleaning up and providing residents with
food, water, bathing facilities, and a place to recharge cell phones
and laptops. Police and social services went door to door and made
phone calls to make sure seniors and those with special needs were
While, necessary, all of that costs money.
The good news for Weston is it will not have to bear the burden of the
costs on its own. President Barack Obama issued a disaster declaration
for the Connecticut, enabling the state, municipalities, businesses,
and individuals to apply for assistance through the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA).
“As a federal disaster area, Connecticut will get substantial
reimbursement for these additional storm response expenses,” said Tom
Landry, Weston town administrator.
While no solid cost figures were yet available earlier this week, Mr.
Landry estimated the reimbursement would run about 70%. “So I think the
final net number to Weston will be manageable,” he said.
Some things the town was able to offer Weston residents during the
storm did not cost anything up front, Mr. Landry said. Bottled water
and self-heating ready-made meals (Meals Ready to Eat or MREs) were
provided to the town for no charge by FEMA.
Other items, though, have come out of the town coffers.
Aside from the MREs, there were food expenses for employees,
volunteers, and residents who visited the comfort station set up at
Weston Middle School Monday through Sunday.
Mr. Landry said water was trucked in for the Ravenwood water system,
the only area in town that does not have individual wells. “The wells
do not have generator backup, but the distribution and treatment system
does. Even without power, they ... continued to have water,” he said.
The town also incurred the expense of running generators elsewhere.
While the schools and the town hall complex (which includes the
library) all had power restored after just one day, the Department of
Public Works and the transfer station cell tower were using gas-powered
generators for five or six days.
“Like anything we do, the biggest expense is manpower,” Mr. Landry
said. “Police have been working double and triple shifts. DPW has
worked many extra hours and some of them were here Saturday night
before the storm hit so they would be in town and ready to go right
afterwards. Friday was a holiday for them but we called them in.
Dispatchers doubled up because of the call volume, and John Ojarovsky
[Communications Center manager] practically lived here for three days.”
School personnel also put in a huge amount of time and effort, Mr.
Landry said. “Dan Clarke [school facilities manager] slept at the
school for, I think, two nights. His guys were out Sunday afternoon
starting the cleanup,” he said. And the custodial staff at the middle
school kept the building up and running in order to provide the town a
In addition, some town hall employees cut vacations short to be in town
when the storm hit. In the days that followed, they worked extra hours
to cover phones and keep the building open late and on weekends for
those who needed a place to “power up” or connect to the Internet.
“So I am sure there are many overtime hours to account for,” Mr. Landry
There were countless others who spent their days and nights helping the
town get back on its feet, Mr. Landry said.
“I slept in town Saturday night” before the storm, Mr. Landry said. “We
convened the emergency center at the [Norfield] fire station both
Saturday and Sunday at 4. Gayle was there, the superintendent was
there, the chairman of the school board was there, and many, many
others, too,” including firefighters, ambulance crews, and police
officers, many of whom spent nights manning the fire stations.
“A lot of those folks are not paid, but the dedication by them and all
of our responding employees has been very impressive,” Mr. Landry said.
“I have heard from many residents who are incredibly frustrated,
frazzled and angry. I know why they feel that way, but honestly, their
beef is with CL&P not with us. Our folks did a great job, and I am
proud of their efforts,” he said.
First Selectman Weinstein said while the storm will definitely put the
town over budget, “we did what we had to do to keep the town safe.”
And it could have been much worse, Ms. Weinstein said. FEMA
reimbursement will be key, she said, plus the number of volunteers that
stepped up significantly mitigated costs — and, she said, it brought
the town together.
There were reports of people throwing neighborhood barbecues, having
pool parties, and organizing games for kids. Scores of people e-mailed
the first selectman as soon as their power was restored to offer water,
showers, refrigeration, etc., she said. Many said they wanted to give
back because they were grateful for the assistance the town offered.
“The number of volunteers I’ve been able to meet is just incredible,”
Ms. Weinstein said. “For every cranky person, there were at least two
that would come forward and say what can I do to help.”
Westonites seeking federal assistance
must register with FEMA
Monday, 05 September 2011 13:26
After receiving notification of the federal assistance available to
cities and towns, businesses, individuals, and non-profits, Gov. Dannel
P. Malloy announced that residents who suffered damage as a result of
Tropical Storm Irene must register with FEMA — by phone or online — to
access that aid.
"This declaration will bring much-needed financial assistance to
residents that were impacted by Hurricane Irene," said Mr. Malloy. "But
it is critical to note that you must register with FEMA to begin the
process of accessing possible federal assistance."
It is important to note that residents who have already provided damage
information to their towns, FEMA, state officials or 2-1-1 must still
register with FEMA at this juncture.
To register by phone, call: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The TTY line for
people with speech or hearing disabilities is 1-800-462-7585. The line
is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days per week.
To register online, applications may be completed at
If residents have disaster assistance questions, they may call the FEMA
Helpline at 1-800-621-3362.
Wifi available in Town Hall (Commission Room above) and Library.
FORUM News Alerts Labor Day weekend, for
Sept. 3 & 4 & 5, 2011
MONDAY, 1:45pm - 24% outage
in Weston - 9 homes.
MONDAY, 12 noon - 0.26% out
in Weston (10 homes)
MONDAY, 8:45am - 0.29% out in
Weston (11 homes)
SUNDAY, 9pm - 2% out in
Weston and Wilton, 3% in New Canaan.
SUNDAY, 5:30PM - 5% out in
Weston, Wilton and New Canaan.
SUNDAY, 3:30PM - 7% out in
Weston, Wilton and New Canaan 6% - all other towns in SWR under 1%.
SUNDAY, 8 AM — CL&P
91% of Weston has power this morning, leaving 378 customers still in
Connecticut Emergency Operations Center is keeping an eye on yet
another storm developing in the Atlantic that has the potential to
impact the U.S. East Coast in about six days: Hurricane Katia. Tropical
Storm Lee has touched down in Louisiana.
10:45AM — A total of 35 line crews are scheduled to be working to
restore power in Weston today...how
are the Region's towns doing
at 2:30am, Sunday? OUTAGES:
Weston at 10%, Westport 1%, Wilton 7%, Stamford 0.37%, Norwalk 0.91%, New Canaan 6%, Greenwich 1%, Darien
0.52%. Overall, at 2:30am
Sunday, CL&P customers outage: 2%. Read the press release of CL&P
many businesses are there in Weston? CT declared a disaster area by Feds.
calls from CODE
RED and First Selectperson Thursday and Friday evenings;
10% without power
in town Sunday at 2:30am.
here to see the map of Connecticut by how CL&P is organizing
best way or maybe not? (As reported from the Valley on CT
NEWSJUNKIE - Sen. Blumenthal's visit.)
ARRIVED - WE SAW TWO BIG YELLOW TRUCKS ON GEORGETOWN
ROAD AND THEN THERE
DOZEN MORE AT TOWN HALL FROM ASPLUND, THE TREE SERVICE GETTING READY TO
FAN OUT!!! This report from "About Town" at 9:30am Thursday...
school until next Tuesday, September 6
- Latest school info HERE
for outages in "plain text" - at the moment (Sunday @9pm
is not number one in the Region! Only 2% outage!
Oh! We said
reports no longer particularly helpful to Weston, but that's
since the way to best communicate with Hartford seems to be to follow
Irene aftermath: CL&P says Weston
outages are not transformer
Written by Patricia Gay
Saturday, 03 September 2011 09:32
Saturday 8:45 AM — As 40% of Weston homes still languish this
morning without power, a spokesperson from Connecticut Light &
Power Company cleared up a rumor that one of the major problems was
related to a transformer malfunction.
“I looked into that issue, and that’s not the case,” said Debbie
Beauchamp, who is a Weston resident as well as a spokesperson for
She said there are problems in Weston with downed power and high
voltage lines. “The damage is so bad in some areas that everything has
to be re-built and that takes time,” she said.
Although there are still 1,532 homes in Weston without power this
morning, that number is much lower than yesterday when more than 70% of
the town was dark. CL&P is now reporting less than 100,000 outages
“The goal every day is to make steady progress in restoring power. Over
800,000 customers were restored by yesterday — 88% had their power
back. The goal is to have 92% of our customers back by Saturday night
with full complete restoration by Wednesday midnight,” Ms. Beauchamp
Tropical Storm Irene, which arrived in Connecticut as a downgraded
hurricane, struck Connecticut very hard. Ms. Beauchamp called the storm
damage from CL&P’s perspective as “unprecedented.”
“Normally, there are 194 line crews and 121 tree crews working in the
state. Due to the severity of this storm, we have 1,045 line crews and
539 tree crews on the job, a total of 1,584 crews. Doing the math,
that’s the equivalent of five CL&Ps,” she said.
She said additional crews came from across North America, and 60 new
crews arrived on the scene yesterday. “It’s historic, the number
of crews that are here,” Ms. Beauchamp said.
Residents, town and state officials have expressed frustration with
CL&P for what they perceive to be too slow a restoration
process. Ms. Beauchamp said the company listens to all the
complaints it receives, and understands their frustration. She
also said public input has helped CL&P prioritize the areas in most
need of help.
“It helped us know where critical places were. Hospitals, nursing homes
and local community centers were prioritized because they affected the
most residents in the community. The most important thing to us is that
the work is done as quickly as possible to help the most people in
need,” she said.
Some residents without power have complained that they have gotten
conflicting information about power restoration. People have been able
to check on their power outage status and expected date and time of
restoration through CL&P’s Web site and by phone. But some say the
information they were given was inaccurate or conflicted with what
CL&P was reporting in the media.
Ms. Beauchamp said in many cases power was restored ahead of CL&P’s
original estimate because as issues were resolved in one area, crews
could work on other areas sooner than originally planned. “Power
restoration estimates were made by field crews after they personally
inspected the damage. They developed repair estimates based on a
location inspection. If they can beat the estimate, they will,” she
Throughout this ordeal, Ms. Beauchamp said she would like people to
keep one thing in mind. “Many of those CL&P crews are your
neighbors. They are working as safely and quickly as possible to
restore your power. This is a time of neighbors working for neighbors,”
STORY OF TROPICAL STORM IRENE RESPONSE...IN WESTON
Updated Storm Information - What is
Open and Where to go for Services
Date Posted: 8-31-11 (changes to policies in bold italic)
Check the town website: www.westonct.gov
Comfort Station – Middle
Entrance: Hours :
Monday – 8 am – 8 pm; Tuesday –
Friday – 6:30 am – 7 pm
Showers and Bathroom facilities – please bring your own towel and
The showers are not private. You can bring a bathing suit
if that is more
comfortable for you.
Charging Station for
Spigot for potable
water – bring
your own containers to fill. Bottled water and
self-heating meals are available at the comfort station.
You are entitled
to take 3 bottles of water per family member per day.
VOLUNTEER FOR A
PLEASE CALL JUDY DEVITO AT 203-222-2656
Internet – The Library
power for computers and wifi now on Tuesday. We have already had
such service (computers and
wifi available) in the Commission Room at Town Hall;
remain open until 9 pm this evening. Internet and outlet access to charge cell
phones are available
Transfer Station –
regular business hours
Senior Center- open
Thursday 10-2. Internet and outlet access to charge cell phones are
Food and Supplies - Weston
Center has power and all stores are open.
Pharmacy has agreed to store medicine in their refrigerator. Plan on
keeping a daily supply at home in a cooler with ice packs.
School openings- Please check
the school website after 4pm to see if school will be open the
following day. www.westonk12-ct.org
Power- CL&P is reporting 41% restoration of power. We believe this
to be somewhat accurate. CL & P has told us that they will try to
give us restoration estimates for the rest of the Town by the end of
the day. CL&P Info line is 1-800-286-2000
LATEST NEWSAS OF YESTERDAY FROM TOWN HALL
- "70 roads"
having trees down is a HUGE number and "50 of them have wires
exposed." It must be really hard to figure out how to get from
the proverbial here to there...see Emergency Management update below.
FROM THE TOWN PLAN OF 1987:
Do you know how many town roads (not including lots and lots of private
ones) there are all together? Well, there were 85 miles of roads
in town then. The State controlled 13, the Town @68 miles and 18
miles were private roads.
TROPICAL STORM IRENE (WE WERE NOT OUT
OF POWER FOR IRENE)
Legend (immediately below) - play by play
DOWNGRADED TO TROPICAL STORM BY THE TIME IT GOT TO CONNECTICUT.
comparison...New Orleans had HURRICANE KATRINA IN
2005 - A CATEGORY
WESTON "COMFORT STATION" - NOT A
SHELTER - ESTABLISHED AT THE MIDDLE
SCHOOL (BRING YOUR OWN
TOWELS, SOAP): What a week this was!
- Sunday August
a m., 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 10pm (we'll call this DAY ONE); after First
Selectwoman declares state of emergency in order to get additional
resources. See emergency
Station" up Monday the 29th, DAY TWO;
August 30, DAY THREE: back
down to 82%.(nothing much had happened on Monday, DAY TWO...by
CL&P, who was now in charge of restoring power)
Sept. 2: showing Weston improving to only 43% w/o
power. (DAYS FOUR THRU SIX);
Sept. 3 DAY SEVEN: when we went from red into pink...to
ochre! Then 7%...
- Sunday, Sept.
2%. DAY EIGHT...but
wait! Just checked
at 10:15pm and it was 0.47% - lower than Wilton and New Canaan!
- Labor Day
(DAY NINE) dawns with 11
still w/o power (0.27%). NOTE: New Canaan the worst off now
(see graphic above, bottom, second from right).
- First day of
school in Weston, Sept. 6 and only one house w/o power at 3pm -
but briefly early this morning...it was ZERO!!! Wilton has worst
outages here at the end of the ordeal.
Upstate Farmers Find That a Fertile Flood Plain Is a Two-Edged Sword
By LISA W. FODERARO
August 30, 2011
Like many other growers in the Hudson Valley, John Gill’s grandfather
established his farm along the banks of a creek — in his case, the
lower Esopus in Hurley, N.Y. — because the land was so fertile, with
topsoil penetrating 10 to 30 feet into the earth.
The fertility is due to a flood plain. But the geological blessing of
such a plain can change, in a matter of hours, into calamity, as Mr.
Gill saw this week on the family farm, established in 1937, which sits
at the base of the Catskill Mountains. More than a third of his 1,500
acres of sweet corn and other vegetables, which usually end up in the
produce aisle of the ShopRite chain and on the menu at Blue Hill, among
other places, was destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene.
“I had some fields under 10 feet of water,” he said. “You couldn’t see
From the Hudson Valley to areas farther north, along the Mohawk River
and Schoharie Creek, New York growers, many of whose farms have been in
the family for generations, were dealt a devastating blow by the storm,
which dumped heavy rain on the region. Some farmers, who were without
power and hobbled by disabled equipment, were not even able to assess
the full extent of the damage.
State and local officials said the storm destroyed dozens of farms and
crippled many others by killing livestock, submerging crops, washing
away barns and buckling nearby roads. The onslaught came at the worst
possible time, with farmers in the midst of harvesting a year’s worth
of labor. In some spots, orange orbs were eerily visible underwater
during flyovers by state officials — a vestige of the season’s pumpkin
“Clearly, it’s not good,” said Darrel J. Aubertine, the commissioner of
the state’s Department of Agriculture and Markets. “I’ve been involved
in agriculture my entire life, and there have been times when the
weather has wreaked havoc on livestock and farms, but I don’t think I
have ever seen anything on this scale here in New York.”
Representatives of farmers’ markets in New York City said that shoppers
would feel the effects throughout the fall. “There will be farmers
they’ve known for years who might not be bringing product,” said
Michael Hurwitz, director of the greenmarket program at GrowNYC, a
On Mr. Gill’s farm, in Ulster County, workers began picking corn in
late July, so about two-thirds of his crop had already been harvested
when the storm hit. Still, he estimated his crop losses at more than $1
million, adding that he does not have sufficient crop insurance because
it is too expensive. “I’m going to be very intimate with my banker this
winter,” he said.
At Davenport Farms, in nearby Stone Ridge, the cantaloupes were
submerged, while the corn crop had been blown down by strong winds.
Even though the owner, Bruce Davenport, may be able to salvage some of
his corn, he now worries about plant disease.
“It moves around in the water and can infect a huge area,” said Mr.
Davenport, whose ancestor Isaiah Davenport founded the farm in 1840.
In the Schoharie and Mohawk Valleys, where dairy farms dot the
landscape, there were reports of cows being swept downstream in some
places. State officials said there were clearly livestock losses, but
were reluctant to provide an estimate. “We’re still in the first stage
of the assessment,” Mr. Aubertine said.
Other farmers whose cows survived were unable to get feed or milk truck
pickups, because of washed-out roads. Cows must be milked at least
twice a day, and most farms have limited storage capacity, so access to
milk trucks is critical.
“There were some farmers yesterday who ended up having to dump the
milk, which represents a loss of income at a time when they are facing
catastrophe, ” said Dean E. Norton, president of the New York Farm
Bureau, which represents 30,000 farm families in the state.
In Greene County, farther north, the Lawrence family surveyed ruined
fields of corn and alfalfa in Ashland that they lease to a nearby dairy
farmer. During the storm, the Schoharie Creek, which runs through the
farm, overflowed its banks, turning the land into a “raging lake” some
300 yards across, Nancy Lawrence said.
“I’ve seen everything go by: cars, people’s decks, coolers, people’s
belongings,” said her son, Doug Lawrence, 45, who had removed five
wagonloads of garbage from the fields. “In all my life, I’ve never seen
it so high.”
Not far away, Don Tompkins counted himself lucky. In 1970, a barn fire
on the family farm killed all 80 of his family’s cows. No longer in the
dairy business, he came across as a bit nonchalant Tuesday while
staring out at his 445-acre hay field, strewn with storm debris.
Still, he marveled at the power of the normally slow-moving Schoharie
Creek, which had transplanted items from the next town. “I am finding
debris that I can identify as having come from Windham,” he said,
noting an Adirondack chair from Chicken Run, a restaurant, and
two-by-fours from a lumber yard there in his field. “The good news is
we’ve got enough lumber to build an outhouse.”
In Hurley, Mr. Gill was both philosophical and practical in assessing
the aftermath of the storm. “It’s one of those things,” he said. “You
put your boots back on and deal with it.”
Noah Rosenberg contributed reporting
from Ashland, N.Y.
Utility executives: Another week before all
power is restored
Mark Pazniokas, CT MIRROR
August 30, 2011
Leaders of the state's two major electric utilities say they have more
than quadrupled their work forces to confront Connecticut's worst power
outage, flying in crews from the west coast Tuesday on chartered
flights. But full restoration of power is still a week away. At
insistence of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the top executives of Connecticut
Light & Power and United Illuminating joined him at a late
afternoon briefing at the State Armory, delivering on the governor's
promise to improve communication about their power restoration efforts.
"I'm not sure we've had the chief executive officers of the two largest
utilities at this kind of press conference before, but we did it today,
and they all understand that communication is paramount," Malloy said.
From the Carolinas to Quebec, governors and others are demanding that
their utilities compete harder for emergency crews to cope with the
aftermath of Hurricane Irene, which arrived in the state Sunday as a
strong tropical storm, leaving more than half the state without
electricity. Richard Serino, the second-in-command of the Federal
Emergency Management Administration, also joined Malloy, part of an
effort by the Obama Administration to raise the visibility of its
response to the disaster.
Call it the Katrina effect: a reaction to the widespread perception
that local, state and federal officials were slow to respond to the
hurricane that devastated New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast.
Officials are intent on letting the public know what they are doing. In
Connecticut on Tuesday, that meant a detailed update on power
restoration and details about emergency deliveries of food and water to
three dozen towns. Serino told reporters that supplies
at Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee, Mass., were delivered here
three hours after the storm ended. He will tell a similar story in New
Jersey on Wednesday.
Other top officials of the Obama Administration, including Homeland
Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Craig
Fugate, are making visits to disaster areas up and down the eastern
seaboard. Malloy said 92,160 liter bottles of water and 21,300
were delivered to a staging area at Rentschler Field in East Hartford,
and the supplies were then transferred to 37 towns. On Wednesday, 12
tractor trailers carrying water and 15 with food will arrive at
The UConn football game Thursday night at Rentschler is expected to be
postponed until Saturday. But the main topic was electricity, and
featured guests at the governor's briefing were Jeffrey D. Butler, the
president and chief operating officer of CL&P, and James P.
Torgenson, the president and chief executive officer of United
"Our No. 1 concern and the No. 1 concern of our citizens is electric
power," Malloy said.
In addition to the emergency crews rounded up by the utilities, FEMA is
sending 500 tree and line crews to New England.
"We are working to get every asset possible to the state to address the
power situation," Malloy said. "I want you to know that we take this
Butler and Torgenson each spoke carefully, insisting they were making
progress, yet conceding that repairs will test the public's patience.
"I am very happy to talk today about the good progress we are making in
terms of restoration, but at the same time, I recognize we have a lot
of work yet to be done," Butler said.
"We all understand how difficult this has been for our customers,"
As of 4 p.m., service had been restored to 461,000 customers of
CL&P. At the peak of the storm, outages affected nearly 700,000
customers. By Wednesday morning, Butler promised, fewer than 300,000
will be without power. But full restoration along the battered
coastline will take until a week from Wednesday.
United Illuminating, whose service area stretches from Greater New
Haven to Greater Bridgeport, had 158,000 outages at the peak. Torgensen
said by midnight Tuesday 65,000 would still be out. The
said their efforts were prioritized, focusing first on hospitals,
public-safety and communication facilities, then town centers, so
residents in blacked out areas at least could have access to grocery
stores, gasoline stations, pharmacies and restaurants.
"Our goal is over the next 48 hours is to get those town centers all
reopened," Butler said.
Dan Esty, the commissioner of energy and environmental protection, said
the utilities' storm plans were thrown into disarray by the scope of
the storm. Fifty crews on their way from Quebec returned home
storm caused outages in Canada.
"They were literally on the road," he said.
Others from New Hampshire had to delay their expected arrival until
later this week. UI had to recruit crews from Wisconsin and
CL&P arranged to have workers from Seattle and Vancouver fly in
Tuesday aboard charted jets. CL&P, which normally has 200
two-person line crews available, had about 900 line and tree crews in
the field Tuesday, with their ranks to reach 1,200 by the weekend. UI
normally has 60 crews, including 45 line crews. On Tuesday, it had 240
in the field.
"It would be fair to say that there has never been this many people
working on a power issue in the state of Connecticut's history," Malloy
said. "We're working with these folks, as well as federal authorities,
to make sure they understand the problems we're having. And I think
we're having a response."
Both utilities are promising to try to provide better and more current
information about the projected timetables for restoration of
services. In an age of instant information, Butler acknowledged,
customers expect to be able to go online and find information about
outages in their neighborhoods. More of that information was to be
posted online Tuesday night. Torgenson said UI is now in a
keep local officials better apprised of its crews whereabouts.
Malloy, utilities say more out-of-state
help needed to restore power
Keith M. Phaneuf, CT MIRROR
August 29, 2011
As municipal leaders across
Connecticut complained Monday afternoon that utility restoration work
from Tropical Storm Irene is proceeding too slowly, Gov. Dannel
Malloy pressed federal authorities to help direct more out-of-state
repair crews here. Representatives
of both major
utility companies insisted they have mobilized as much out-of-state
assistance as possible to date, though more is expected later this week.
"I certainly understand their
frustrations," Malloy--who spent 90 minutes on a conference call with
more than 200 city and town officials--said while recounting that
conversation during an early evening briefing with Capitol reporters at
the state armory.
Though municipal leaders also asked
for assistance distributing emergency water and food supplies, the
overwhelmingly concern was their inability to clear roads quickly when
downed power lines are involved, Malloy said. That's because municipal
crews cannot work on those obstructions without a complementary utility
team to safely shut off the electricity. Meanwhile, both Connecticut Light
& Power Co. President Jeff Butler and United Illuminating's vice
president of transmission business, John Prete, both said they have
begun to use out-of-state crews to complement their own teams--and
would hire more if they are made available.
"We're still looking across the
nation to bring other crews in," Butler said. As of the 5 p.m.
briefing, CL&P, which serves most of Connecticut, had about 800
crews in the field working 16-hour shifts, and hoped to have another
100 from out-of-state on the job within the next 24 hours, he said,
adding that about 575,000 of the utility's 672,000 customers remained
UI, which serves the state's
southwestern corner, still had 105,000 of its 155,000 customers without
power as of 5 p.m., but had about 200 crews -- including local teams
and others from Kansas and Indiana -- in the field, Prete said. Both companies' websites were overwhelmed
with traffic and inaccessible at times. Malloy did not rule out the
possibility that the utilities' repair response time was being hampered
from crew reductions driven over the years by profit margins. "I
suspect that is the case," the governor said.
Butler, when pressed, did concede
that CL&P has less maintenance staff than it did when it responded
to Hurricane Gloria in 1985. And though he didn't have specific
numbers, Butler also said he believes that is true of most companies in
the industry across the country.
Both the Connecticut utility leaders
and the governor also said they believe more out-of-state assistance
could be available here if the federal government were to relax rules
regarding the maintenance crews utility companies must keep on hand to
response to local emergencies. Malloy, who already has appealed to
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napalitano, said he has
requested conversations with -- and hopes to press his case before --
both Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Dept. of Energy Secretary Steven
"I want to have a discussion with
them about finding ways to send more manpower our way," the governor
said, adding that in the meantime he would guarantee that utility
officials would remain periodically accessible to the media throughout
the clean-up. "That's my personal assurance," he said. "They'll answer
Also Monday, Malloy announced that
the state Department of Economic and Community Development would offer
loans and loan guarantees of up to $200,000 to assist businesses harmed
by Tropical Storm Irene.
Emergency funding would be made
available to cover storm-related damage to business machine, equipment
and other property. The
department also will be providing grants to help businesses obtain
temporary assistance. Further
information can be obtained through the department's website at
www.DECD.org, or by calling 860-270-8215.
CL&P liaison plan found wanting in
the aftermath of Irene
By Patricia Daddona Day Staff Writer
Article published Sep 9, 2011
After Tropical Storm Irene blew through the region Aug. 28, it
took Connecticut Light & Power three days to get its community
liaison to Ledyard.
Helpful and a hard worker, that CL&P employee nonetheless was
unfamiliar with the rural town of 16,000 and couldn't get timely and
accurate information from company management any more readily than town
officials could, said Ledyard Mayor Frederic B. Allyn Jr.
Ledyard was one of numerous eastern Connecticut towns that completely
lost power for many days after the storm.
"We had some wonderful crews here," Allyn said. "If we could have had
early on a knowledgeable CL&P person with authority who could drive
around with our public works crews telling us which trees we could cut
and which we couldn't (because of live wires) … we could have started
on restoration. We lost valuable time."
Local officials from North Stonington to East Lyme criticized the
company's emergency response plan. In advance of the storm,
tree-trimming should have been more aggressive, and mutual-aid
provisions for out-of-state utility crews should have been better
managed, they said.
And throughout, the officials noted, communications between CL&P
management and their own community liaisons was not as effective as it
needed to be to expedite the restoration of power to electric customers.
"Having a liaison is a good idea," said Robert Congdon, Preston first
selectman and chairman of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of
Governments. "I don't think many of them knew how to access meaningful
information. They brought lawyers ... out to basically baby-sit the
first selectmen and mayors."
These points likely will be raised during hearings planned by the
General Assembly on the storm responses by CL&P and United
After 78,000 statewide outages in the March 13-14 rainstorms of 2010, a
state investigation commissioned by then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell found the
CL&P and UI responses "adequate" but detailed many areas of
improvement similar to those that town officials are now citing.
Among the problems cited then: slow response time, weaknesses in
communication, failure to follow company emergency plans, overly
optimistic predictions of how soon power would be restored and
insufficient training for some staff in the field responding to calls.
In East Lyme, the CL&P community liaison lived in town and was
extremely knowledgeable, but that familiarity wasn't enough, First
Selectman Paul Formica said.
"He was phenomenal," Formica said. "But he was just sending information
up into what amounted to cyberspace and nothing came back down. In my
view, (CL&P) did not make towns' emergency management teams
partners in this event to the extent they could have — to the extent
they should have."
CL&P, with headquarters in Berlin, is Connecticut's largest
utility, serving 1.2 million customers across the state. It
acknowledged the weakness in communication, though it refused to
respond to specific questions about its staffing, service to towns and
customers during the storm.
Spokesman Mitch Gross said the company's internal review has begun, and
the utility will participate fully in upcoming legislative hearings.
"Communication with the town officials and customers must be better,"
Gross said. "It will be better. We are certainly willing to listen,
exchange ideas. We are flexible."
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, who held one of two conference
calls with CL&P and town chief executives on the Wednesday after
the storm, said that call helped CL&P officials realize they needed
to split the eastern region into two areas to make restoration more
Eastern Connecticut, the hardest hit region in the state, took so long
to have power restored precisely because it was the hardest hit by
downed power lines and trees, while service in Hartford and Litchfield
counties was easier to restore, Gross said.
"We're in the process of putting together the facts," Gross said. "We
anticipate having numerous conversations with state and municipal
officials. Yes, there is room for improvement. That's why these reviews
afterwards were so important.
"We have to look at what worked, what did not work. We're committed to
Courtney said CL&P should have anticipated the more
extensive damage in the sprawling 2nd District. "Clearly the regional
structure was just too unwieldy at the outset," he said. "You hate to
sound like a Monday-morning quarterback, but the fact is the weather
reports said the high winds were going to be in the east. So high winds
mean trees down and power out. Why would you keep that region staffed
at the same level as other regions?"
Gross declined to comment on Courtney's observation.
CL&P President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Butler was not
available to comment but will be appearing in public advertisements to
impress on the public the company's commitment to improve, Gross said.
Courtney also said it should have been "automatic" for CL&P to turn
to municipal utilities like Groton Utilities for help locally after
Groton Utilities had finished restoring power in its own territory, a
suggestion made in the conference call that CL&P eventually
Town officials noted that municipal utilities were quicker in getting
power restored than CL&P.
"I've listened to CL&P say what a great job they've done, and I
don't disagree that their crews worked hard," added Congdon, "but it's
not like we don't have something to compare CL&P's performance to.
Just here in southeastern Connecticut, we have Jewett City Light &
Power, Bozrah, Norwich and Groton Utilities — all of which had 100
percent restoration by Tuesday night."
Stonington, which has about 18,000 residents, had success with
its community liaison from CL&P, First Selectman Ed Haberek said.
He credited town emergency response and public works crews with working
closely with that worker to prioritize cleanup and power restoration.
As calls came in, they mapped out 82 incidents in order to address
every downed power line and damaged transformer, he said.
Neighboring North Stonington did not have a similar experience. First
Selectman Nick Mullane said mutual-aid utility crews, such as those
from Florida or Colorado, should have been called in much earlier to
accelerate cleanup since they had to travel in their trucks to get here.
CL&P has said the storm's wide swath across the entire Northeast
prevented Canadian and other crews from helping Connecticut earlier as
Cops: Conn. man threatens
utility crew with
Published 08:55 a.m., Tuesday, September 6, 2011
BROOKLYN -- A Connecticut man is accused of pointing a gun at a utility
crew who had come to his home to check for power outages in the wake of
Tropical Storm Irene.
State police say 30-year-old Kyle Wojcik grabbed his gun Monday and
ordered the two men off his property. The crew is employed by Camp Bell
Utility Co. of Michigan.
They were in Connecticut working with Connecticut Light & Power as
part of the effort to restore electricity to 830,000 utility customers
who lost power in the tropical storm.
Wojcik is charged with reckless endangerment, threatening and
disorderly conduct. He was scheduled to be arraigned in Danielson
Superior Court on Tuesday.
A phone call to Wojcik's home Tuesday morning went unanswered.
Sterling Residents Tell Malloy They Feel
by Christine Stuart | Sep 4, 2011 3:48pm (Updated 9:28 p.m.)
Many have been without power now for seven days and while they’re doing
their best to cope with the situation many feel forgotten by
Connecticut Light & Power. Dozens of residents came to
Town Hall Sunday to tell Gov. Dannel P. Malloy about what they’ve
experienced since Tropical Storm Irene hit the state a week ago.
Malloy, the first governor to visit the town since Ella Grasso in 1978,
said he’s unhappy with the utility company’s response too.
“Listen, I’m unhappy as you should be unhappy with the response of the
utility companies,” Malloy told the crowd. “It’s been slow and hard. I
certainly understand that. What I‘m committed to is making sure that we
learn from this experience.”
The town of Sterling with a little more than 3,000 people had been
completely without power until Friday.
“Friday was the first time we saw a utility truck come to town,” Lee
Shippee said. “We had no 911 service for at least 36 hours after the
Shippee still has no power, but her friend June Bonner got hers back
yesterday. The two have been making due by showering at Plainfield High
School and using pond and pool water to flush the toilets. First
Selectman Russell Gray said he wasn’t making excuses for Connecticut
Light & Power, but Sterling just happens to be at the end of the
electrical grid and it took a little longer than it should have to get
About 26 trucks rolled into town on Friday, almost five days after the
storm hit. One man said he was trapped until Wednesday because of
downed wires at the end of his street.
Sterling Emergency Management Director Carl Kvist said they let
Connecticut Light & Power know about that problem on Sunday, but
the road wasn’t cleared until Wednesday. He said the town cleared up
all the debris and tree branches it could and had most of the streets
cleared by Monday, but was not allowed to clear certain areas where
wires were down. Malloy said he asked the state to give him an
assessment of how wooded the state was back in 1938, 1955, and 1985,
the last time hurricane’s hit the state.
He said the state is twice as wooded as it was in 1955 and three times
as wooded as it was in 1938. He said the state is going to have to
decide how many trees it actually wants next to roadways and how many
trees it actually wants next to power lines. Kvist also said they
trouble getting the meals and water provided by the Federal Emergency
Management Agency and distributed by the National Guard into town. They
finally were able to get a shipment of food, water, and ice which will
be distributed until 4 p.m. at the fire house on Main Street.
But even when the food did arrive, Christine Orsini, who lives in a
very rural area of town said she didn’t know about it because the
transistor radio doesn’t pick up the local AM stations. She said the
town should have been able to communicate better with residents to let
them know when supplies arrived.
“We had no power, no water. Thank God we have great neighbors and a lot
of alcohol,” Orsini joked.
Many residents said they had to travel to Johnston, Rhode Island to
find ice and many have tried to be as optimistic as they can about the
situation, but after seven days without power even that is getting
difficult. As for rumors Connecticut Light & Power will be
on the estimated cost of damage unto customers, Malloy said that’s just
a rumor and state officials will be monitoring that situation very
closely. On Saturday Connecticut Light & Power announced
Utilities Foundation will be making a $1 million donation to the Red
Cross to help with the clean up and will be waiving late fees on
But for residents like Darlene Gannon that’s not good enough.
“I think we’re looking for an apology from CL&P,” Gannon said. “And
not in the form of where they’re going to donate $1 million to the Red
Cross and we don’t have to pay a late fee. I think they need to
acknowledge that they missed us.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, who was in Sterling with Malloy, said after
some conference calls with local officials from eastern Connecticut,
CL&P realized it had to split the eastern district into two pieces
because of its large geographic area and the number of lines that were
down. Courtney said on Wednesday they realized just having one
in charge of the entire area was impossible.
“We’re the ‘Quiet Corner’, but sometimes it feels like we’re the
forgotten corner,” one woman told Malloy.
Sunday was Malloy’s second visit to eastern Connecticut. He reminded
residents that the entire state was impacted by the storm. Rep.
Flexer, D-Killingly, said it means a lot to the residents to see a
governor here in this part of the state. She said he spoke honestly
with folks and they really appreciate it. She said as of Friday
morning Sterling was the only town in Connecticut with absolutely no
power, so it goes without saying they felt neglected.
On Saturday President Barack Obama issued an emergency declaration for
five of the state’s eight counties, which will allow homeowners
impacted by the storm to recover uninsured losses. The declaration for
the remaining three counties of Hartford, Tolland, and Windham was
issued on Sunday. The declaration covers all eight counties including
Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven and New London Counties.
Malloy said people may qualify for reimbursements for the amount of
money they paid to run generators to the amount of food that was
spoiled after the power went out. The declaration will allow
individuals, as well as local governments, to tap into federal funds
for storm remediation.
“By the end of the day today, FEMA teams will have been to all 169
cities and towns in the state, and we will continue to press for public
assistance in the remaining three counties in the state,“ Malloy said.
“This storm was unprecedented in terms of the amount and scope of
damage, and I’m pleased the President has agreed and made available
these federal funds and services.”
“I am gratified that President Obama and our federal partners recognize
just how damaging this storm was to Connecticut residents, our
infrastructure, and our economy,” Malloy said Sunday following
declaration for the remaining three counties.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will tour parts of
East Haven Monday with Malloy.
in Griswold at 8% at this time - Weston outages now 10% or 381 homes.
Total out in CL&P service area around the state at this time -
Progress, but some towns back in dark
By Sasha Goldstein and Chuck Potter Day Staff Writers
Article published Sep 4, 2011
After a day of progress in restoring power across the
region, many residents in Griswold, Lisbon and Voluntown saw their
lights go out again Saturday night. Griswold First Selectman
Philip Anthony Jr. said Saturday night that Connecticut Light &
Power was unable to provide an estimate of when power would be restored.
"CL&P called me because they know I would be calling them," Anthony
said at about 8:30 p.m. "They said they don't know what the problem is,
but they called crews back in to work on it."
A CL&P spokesman acknowledged the outage but couldn't provide
further details. Anthony said he was told by a CL&P lineman
that the problem could be with a grid that begins in Danielson and
flows south to Sprague. Anthony said even Jewett City, which is served
by a municipal power company, was without power. Anthony had been
handing out food and water at the firehouse much of the day. He was
heading home for a shower when he learned of the setback.
"I pulled in, my garage door opener didn't work," he said.
"I speak on behalf of residents of Griswold and Jewett City and I'm
confident that I speak for all residents and businesses of all of the
towns affected by this latest problem: The system has to be revised. We
pay enough to have upgraded systems.
"I know it was a big storm, but their reaction and performance leaves
much to be desired. To have recovered so much only to lose it, to have
it shut it down again, ... This is Connecticut, not Appalachia. This is
Earlier in the day, Anthony had said that CL&P "has made good
progress" with seven crews working in town. He said he had maintained
hourly contact with an CL&P liaison, who was stationed at the
Griswold Fire Department on Saturday. Officials in many local
towns, including North Stonington and Montville, had heard from their
CL&P liaisons on Saturday that power should be restored to 99
percent of homes by late tonight, a week after Irene hit the region.
Montville Mayor Joseph Jaskiewicz said there were spots "here and
there" that needed power but that a large majority had been
restored. In Ledyard, outages went from 54 percent of customers
Saturday morning to 24 percent by afternoon. Ten power crews and four
tree crews are working in town, according to Mayor Fred Allyn.
"We're getting there," he said.
Katie Blint, a CL&P spokeswoman, said Saturday that the company is
aiming to have 99 percent of its statewide customers with power
restored by midnight on Monday. Blint said 1,730 crews, six times
more than usual, are working throughout the state, and in a 24-hour
span from Friday to Saturday afternoon they had restored power to
30,000 customers. She estimated 60,000 homes statewide remained in the
dark at 4 p.m. Saturday.
"We hope to be 100 percent restored by Wednesday at midnight, which is
playing out pretty much how we planned for it," Blint said. "We knew it
would be a week-long restoration effort and we had secured 800 crews
before the storm hit."
Late Friday night, the White House announced that President Obama will
make federal aid available to the state and local governments for
recovery efforts. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will visit Montville,
Griswold and Sterling today, where he will meet with town officials and
residents to discuss power outage and other issues the towns have
experienced resulting from Irene. In North Stonington, which was
100 percent in the dark midweek, 15 crews were making progress
Saturday, according to emergency management coordinator Marc Tate. At 5
p.m. Saturday, 80 percent of CL&P customers had power.
"These guys are getting along at a good clip, but there are still lots
of frustrated people," Tate said.
Katie Skaar, of Mystic, is among the frustrated. She said the power at
her home on Crest Drive in the Faircrest neighborhood came on for "half
a second" Thursday night before she heard a loud explosion and again
lost power. She said she hasn't seen another truck since the "huge
letdown," even though she has called the CL&P customer service line
twice. She said she's been told power will be restored by 11 tonight, a
week after the lights first went out.
"I felt like they flipped the switch and said, 'it's on' and then
didn't realize a transformer blew," Skaar said. "The whole street is
out and the entire rest of the neighborhood has power. It's so
Groton's director of emergency communication, Joe Sastre, said that
about 10 percent of Groton's CL&P customers were still in the dark
at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday He said six line crews and three tree crews
were continuing to reduce that number.
"We're doing pretty good. They returned about 1,400 people to service
today," he said on a cell phone call as restoration teams were working
in the Judson Avenue neighborhood.
"They're going down the sides streets. That's a really good thing. So I
think we're getting close," he said.
Sastre said if people start seeing their neighbors on the same street
getting power and they don't, they should call CL&P to make sure
their house is on the outage list. He said the company is starting to
use some service crews to connect individual homes or groups of two or
three houses. Also, he cautioned residents to check the brackets
that secure the wires to the house. If the bracket is torn from the
house CL&P cannot reconnect the service.
Sastre said the town has stopped providing showers at the senior center
as only two or three people per day were using them.
was reported as having 100% outage at one point, and it took until
Thursday until we got below the 81% outage level...
Irene's Aftermath: Town by Town
Anne M. Amato, Staff Writer
Published 06:35 p.m., Saturday, September 3, 2011
Every local community felt the brunt of Tropical Storm Irene, some more
than others. In some towns, large percentages of residents were left
without power, cable and phone service. Flooding damaged homes along
the shore and forced residents to evacuate. There were no injuries
reported in our area. All that's left now is the cleanup.
How did your community fare during and after the storm? Here is a
town-by-town wrap up.
The city fared well with no flooding and no major damage to homes or
businesses. There was a relatively small number of residents who lost
power -- just about 20 percent -- due to the high winds and branches
hitting power lines. There was no mandatory evacuation, but three
people did spend the night at the city's emergency shelter during the
height of the storm. The city closed the flood control gate at West
Main Street after the water rose on the Naugatuck River. The Ansonia
Flood Control system was put in place following the devastating floods
of 1955. City officials are still compiling the dollar amount of damage
caused by the storm and is urging residents to report any damage to
their property. The cleanup is ongoing and residents who want to get
rid of storm-related debris should put the materials at curbside
starting Sept. 6. Public Works crews will pick up the debris regularly
through Sept. 20.
Power outages were a major issue following the storm with 35,289 of the
city's 56,500 households serviced by UI in the dark. Getting people
back on line was the main goal. There was also extensive damage to the
eastern side of Seaside Park, which will be closed off indefinitely.
The western beach at Seaside, which is accessible through South Avenue,
and Beardsley Park are open to the public. By week's end, the city had
cleared all downed trees from roadways. The city was also informed by
FEMA officials that the county had reached its threshold for federal
aid and that FEMA officers would not be coming to the city for
preliminary damage assessment.
Power outages and flooding were the two main issues residents grappled
as a result of the storm. About 785 of the 6,238 households serviced by
UI were initially without power. Flooding was the worst at McConney
Grove, a low-lying area on the banks of the Housatonic River. There
were no injuries reported and damage to homes was minimal. City
departments are in the process of compiling damage and cost estimates
resulting from the storm. Residents can put debris, including branches
and shrubs, in front of their homes for pick up by public works. The
city has a grinder that will turn the debris into mulch.
There were a number of trees and wires down that created extensive
power outages throughout the town. Residents here are among the last in
the area to get power restored; initially, 2,203 of the 2,913 homes
were in the dark. A number of roads were also blocked by downed trees,
but most have been reopened. A total estimate of damage is still being
tallied. FEMA representatives toured a number of homes last week as
part of its damage assessment. The town will continue to offer showers
at Helen Keller Middle School from 3 to 7 p.m. and that offer could
possibly continue into next week. That decision will be made later
Sunday. Water and ready-to-eat meals are still being offered at the
police department, where there is also city water available. Residents
should bring their own buckets to fill.
Officials said the storm was the worst the town has experienced with 75
percent -- or 16,000 households -- initially without power. Numerous
trees were downed and a number of utility poles damaged which slowed
power restoration efforts. Five homes on Fairfield Beach Road suffered
structural damage and two collapsed into Long Island Sound. Cleanup
efforts are ongoing.
There are several thousand structures in the city with some damage,
several hundred with major damage and several dozen that sustained
catastrophic damage and might have to be demolished.
The hardest hit areas were Bayview and Point beaches, Broadway and East
Broadway. At the peak, 13,306 homes were without power. Five Public
Damage Assessment Teams began evaluating structural damage to homes
Wednesday. The teams will be documenting the damage and recording
information that will be used to assist FEMA in determining whether the
city qualifies for disaster assistance. Cleanup of debris is ongoing.
The town had one of the highest rates of outages in Fairfield County,
at 93 percent, after the storm hit. Route 25 also had been blocked off
in several places for hours. With many residents dependent on
electricity to operate their wells and septic systems, power outages
also left them without water. The town offered showers at Masuk High
School and Wolfe Park. As of Saturday, 26 percent of the 7,905
Connecticut Power & Light customers in town still were without
The biggest problem was the lack of power to nearly all of the
households -- 97 percent were initially without power -- following the
storm. The storm knocked out power to wells, leaving many residents
without water. By week's end, only about 100 single family dwellings
were still in the dark and the goal was to have everyone back on line
no later than Sunday. There was damage reported to two homes when trees
fell on them.
The Housatonic River overflowed its banks, flooding some areas. At the
height of the storm, high tension wires fell onto Jacks Hill Road and
burned through several feet of pavement, rupturing an underground,
8-inch gas main, and igniting a fire. Two homes nearby were evacuated.
The town is still tallying damage estimates. Recovery includes clearing
away any debris still left behind. Public works and CL&P crews have
already removed the bulk of downed trees on roadways.
Following the storm, 87 percent of the town was without power. That
created a hardship for the many since about a third of the homeowners
have wells and need power to operate them. Another problem was
flooding, especially on a section along the Naugatuck River on Derby
Avenue where residents were evacuated. The river rose to a level that
was only surpassed by the 1955 flood. There is no dollar estimate of
However, homes fared well with no reports of any significant damage.
One house did have a tree fall onto it. A tree also fell onto a 1955
Cadillac, most likely totaling it. The town is now dealing with cleanup
efforts and the town's transfer station will be open longer hours next
week for residents bringing tree limbs and branches there. Public works
crews will put them through the town's tub grinder, which was stolen
last year, but later returned.
The biggest problem was getting through city streets following the
storm, due to the number of trees that were down.
On Thursday city officials made the decision to request help from the
Connecticut National Guard and 15 troops were deployed to the city.
Using chain saws and heavy equipment, they were able to open up about
13 blocked roads by 6:30 p.m. That allowed utility crews to begin the
task of getting power restored. About 51 percent of homes were in the
dark following the storm. UI has estimated about 98 percent of homes
would be on line by Sunday night.
The area hardest hit by flooding were homes in the Maples, a low-lying
area on the Housatonic River.
The city is still offering food, water and ready-to-eat meals at Echo
Hose Ambulance. The city's Emergency Operations Center will also remain
open for residents needing assistance.
The storm completely washed out Beach Drive in the town's Lordship
section. Two cottages there were lost. There were 9,000 homes initially
without power. There was a voluntary evacuation on the shore line and
south end of town and about 300 people left their homes, with 52
staying at the town's emergency shelter. There are no initial damage
estimates. Cleanup of debris in the town is nearly complete.
The town's transfer station will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday for
residents who want to dispose of excess brush, etc. from the storm. For
residents still without power, bottled water, ice, potable water and a
charging station are available at the Oronoque Fire Station, 200
Oronoque Lane, Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Residents should bring their
own containers for the potable water and a proper ID.
Stratford parks and beaches are open. The parking lot at Long Beach
remains closed due to storm damage.
About 58 percent of the town was initially without power with most
residents and buildings back on line by Friday.
Five homes sustained structural damage -- three had roofs torn off them
and one home was deemed inhabitable after a tree fell into the dining
room and onto the garage.
There was basement flooding reported in about a dozen homes which were
pumped out by the fire department. No injuries were reported and the
town is still compiling a dollar amount of damage. Most debris has
already been cleared away.
is Sunday before Labor Day and 10% of Weston still out
About a week without power, Greenwich residents irate over being left
in the dark
Neil Vigdor, Staff Writer
Updated 10:25 p.m., Saturday, September 3, 2011
After nearly a week with no power in some pockets of Greenwich, from
Greenbriar Lane in the Round Hill section to Lake Drive in Riverside,
residents lit into the restoration efforts of Connecticut Light &
Power Co. on Saturday.
"It's like living in a Third World country," said Laura Cunningham, a
resident of Greenbriar Lane, a small dead-end street in the midcountry.
Greenberg was one of just under 1,000 CL&P customers, about 3
percent of the total served by the utility in town, still waiting as of
late Saturday afternoon for power to be restored in the aftermath of
Tropical Storm Irene. When she called customer service on
morning, she said she got an automated message that CL&P hoped to
restore power to the 11 homes on her street by nightfall, "hoped" being
the operative word.
"In a worst-case scenario, they're saying it should be by Wednesday,"
The goal of CL&P was to have power restored to 99 percent of its
27,900 customers in Greenwich by 11 p.m. Saturday, said Martin Murray,
a spokesman for the utility.
"We're trying to pass along only honest information, not promising any
more than we can deliver," Murray said. "We edge toward being
conservative. We're obviously shooting to beat any target or time
CL&P stopped short of setting a goal for 100 percent restoration by
Saturday night, explaining that some customers in unique circumstances
could require additional utility work on their individual properties.
"There may be some challenges with those last few remaining customers,"
Murray said. "We want to make sure that no one slips through any
On Lake Drive, where a sagging power line nearly touched the pavement
on the horseshoe-shaped street near the Riverside train station,
Allyson Kates questioned the progress of those restoration efforts.
"Nobody cares. This is a wire laying down," said Kates, who took a
photo of a child on a scooter near the wire. "This is just beyond
While he could not confirm whether it was a live wire, Daniel Warzoha,
the town's emergency management director, urged residents to exercise
the utmost caution around downed or drooping lines.
"Wires that are down, you should treat them, whether it's power or
cable or phone, as potentially being energized," Warzoha said. "There's
nothing to say that two blocks down someone might have a generator
that's hooked up illegally and is backfeeding out onto the wires in the
street. That exact situation has caused fatalities to linemen and
emergency services workers, so we're very cognizant of that stuff."
A sawhorse and yellow caution tape could be seen next to the sagging
wire. Public safety officials characterized the remaining outages
scattered throughout town and said that there were 36 line crews and 15
tree crews working for CL&P in Greenwich to get 100 percent
restoration by Monday night.
"They know what they got to do," Warzoha said. "They know what
equipment they need to bring to the site. It's just getting the work
accomplished. They've sent surveyors and bird dogs out to every one of
Kates, who recently moved to Lake Drive and is still unpacking,
complained that most of the surrounding streets in her neighborhood
"I had to borrow (a generator) from my handyman," Kates said.
Some of those still without power were unforgiving of CL&P.
"They clearly were not close to ready to deal with it," said Jim
Johnston, who also lives on Greenbriar Lane. "This is from a tropical
storm. What if we got a Category 4 hurricane? We just have to assume
that the state would just stop functioning completely."
Johnston called on the state to foster competition in the utility
sector, one that he termed as a monopoly.
"From a consumer's standpoint, we are absolutely at the mercy of this
company," Johnston said.
Fellow homeowners on Greenbiar Lane wondered if their street, where a
pair of branches rested on sagging power line, had been forgotten.
"I have been up and down Round Hill Road for the last six days and I
have never seen a CL&P truck on Round Hill Road," Cunningham said.
"I think cul-de-sacs or dead-end streets really get the short end of
CL&P confirmed that it was aware of the outage on Greenbriar
Cunningham also took issue with the level of communication by CL&P,
saying she received the same "canned" message every time she called
customer service until receiving more specific information on Saturday.
"To me, that's just unacceptable," Cunningham said.
CL&P processed 945,000 calls since last Saturday -- the equivalent
of two months, according to its tallies.
"If they want to talk to a real person, the average wait time is 27
seconds," Murray said.
In her 45 years of living on Greenbriar Lane, Gale Hartch couldn't
recall an outage this long.
"We are kind of surprised that it's taken so long, but we understand
that the hurricane was so wide," Hartch said. "I'm disappointed."
Hartch had 3½ feet of water in her basement that she said had to
pumped out midweek by a plumber because her sump pump wasn't
The fire department sent a pumper truck from Cos Cob to Hartch's home
Saturday after the water level rose again.
"They came today and pumped us out," Hartch said. "So it's become a
really serious problem."
Hartch thanked the firefighters and the town highway worker who called
the pumper truck for their assistance.
"They were so helpful and cheerful," Hartch said.
Remember the underground power line issue?
was that fairy tale?
Irene: Long Wait, Then
Lights Out, A Narrative; State Remains Windblown, Wet And A Mess
By Jim Shea With A Video Recap
September 4, 2011
Saturday dawns gray but not foreboding. An early mist turns to showers
and then a steadier rain. The morning is crowded as people scurry from
store to store searching for increasingly elusive essentials. By
mid-morning it is apparent that D-size batteries could be a new gold
Four days earlier, Irene hadn't even been front-page news. People were
still talking about the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that had rattled the
region. Although it was the most powerful quake to hit the state in
more than 100 years, it caused little damage. An earthquake and a
hurricane in the same week? Never happen, right?
On Thursday, residents are being warned to prepare for heavy rains and
power outages. Meteorologists are still not sure of Irene's direct
path, but Fox CT's Joe Furey relays one piece of alarming information.
A high pressure system will prevent the storm from being blown away
from shore. Whatever else it turns out to be, this will not be a
No one is talking about anything but the hurricane Friday morning. The
earthquake is history. The time to take Irene seriously has arrived.
Along with his counterparts in New Jersey and New York, Gov. Dannel P.
Malloy signs a declaration of emergency and orders state parks and
campgrounds closed. The citizenry is advised to prepare for what is
CL&P cancels vacations and makes arrangements with subsidiaries in
nearby states for line crews.
Local authorities order evacuations in low-lying areas. Move-in plans
at colleges are delayed. Public school starting dates are pushed back.
Farmers pick crops early. Shore vacations are cut short. Boats are
taken out of the water. Cancellations pile up. Supermarkets struggle to
keep shelves stocked. Lines form in stores where people await the
arrival of generators.
Power outages caused by falling trees are going to be the big story,
predicts the Northeast National Hurricane Center. They will be right
on, and then some.
Computer models are also getting specific. At this point, it looks as
if the storm will pass directly over New York and into western
Connecticut. It will coincide with a new moon, meaning the
higher-than-normal tides combined with the storm surge will cause
In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg orders the subway system shut down.
Along the shore, people take in lawn furniture, check sump pumps, fuel
generators, eye tall trees, stare at hand-delivered evacuation notices
and try to decide.
The safety conscious board up their waterfront homes; the sorry will
wish they had.
Inland, the preparation drill is the same as at the shore, with rain
being more worrisome that wind. As anyone who lives near flowing water
can attest, torrential rain can quickly turn the gentlest of trickles
into the deadliest of torrents.
Irene calls ahead. She will be late.
When people go to bed Saturday night, there is rain, but still no wind.
Is this thing coming or not?
By dawn on Sunday, that question has been answered. Shoreline counties
are under a hurricane warning, the first since Gloria in 1985. A four-
to eight-foot surge is forecast. Flooding is imminent. Inland, a
tropical storm warning has been issued. Heavy rain is coming.
When Irene greets the Connecticut coast, she no longer has the
sustained winds to qualify as a Category 1 hurricane. The new tropical
storm designation is a distinction lost on those who are face to face
with its fury.
The rain is hard and horizontal and stings like BBs. Wind and surge
whip the normally placid Long Island Sound into a frenetic sea of white
caps. Gusts blow the foamy tops off of waves immersing the air in a
salty brine. Air is breathed as well as tasted.
In places where resistance to the advancing water is met, huge plumes
of spray fly into the air. Sea walls become back splashes.
Up and down the Connecticut coastline communities are pounded by the
relentless wind, waves and surge. No shoreline community escapes
But nowhere is the destruction on a par with that sustained on Cosey
Beach in East Haven, where 25 houses are destroyed, including four
swept out to sea, and dozens more are damaged.
Among them is the home of WTNH meteorologist Dr. Mel Goldstein, who had
announced his retirement only five days earlier. Goldstein had been
evacuated Saturday night and was unharmed. His famed "weather deck,"
however, is a casualty.
Longtime Cosey Beach residents sing the same refrain: In all their
years, in more than a half century in some cases, they have never seen
anything like this.
On the bright side, no lives are lost here or anywhere else along the
shoreline. Inland is another story.
Rainfall totals across the state range from 3 inches, to 8.5 inches in
Winsted, to 10 inches in Washington and other places in Litchfield
Streams, brooks and rivers including the Connecticut, Farmington,
Housatonic and Pomperaug — which was approaching an all time high when
the gauge stopped recording — exceed flood stage.
In Bristol, the Pequabuck River, legendary for its penchant to suddenly
rage, takes a life.
Shane Seaver and Ray Clyma set out in a canoe to survey the flood
damage when their craft is suddenly sucked into the river's swift flow
and capsizes. Clyma is rescued; Seaver's body is recovered later that
night in Plainville.
Seaver's death brings the storm-related toll to two. Early Sunday
morning, an elderly Prospect woman died when a downed wire set fire to
her home. In its march up the seaboard from Florida to Maine, 46 deaths
are attributed to Irene.
The reason Irene causes so much havoc inland is attributed to the sheer
size of the storm, more than 500 miles wide, and its track, which had
turned inland as it passed New York City. Usually when a hurricane
moves over land it loses power, but Irene is so huge that it continues
gathering moisture off the ocean.
When the storm passes over the mountains of upstate New York and
Vermont, the geography serves to wring even more moisture from the
clouds. In these areas, the rain is not only torrential but it lasts up
to eight hours.
The flooding is so severe in Vermont, and so many roads are washed out,
that the state is reduced to a series of geographically isolated
islands. In many places there is no way in or out, and supplies have to
be delivered by helicopter.
Record flooding also takes place in Northern New Jersey. In New York
City, flooding is minor.
Late Sunday, the winds shift from southeast to northwest, and in final
gust, Irene exits.
In her Connecticut wake, two are dead, 132 homes have been totally
destroyed, 35 communities have declared emergencies, 2,000 people are
in shelters, scores of homes and roads are flooded, and 830,130 are
And so Irene takes its place in local weather lore: not the biggest,
not the smallest, not one to forget.
Fairfield County snubbed by feds for homeland security funding
Neil Vigdor, Staff Writer
Updated 09:54 p.m., Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Despite being home to the Times Square car bomber and scores of Sept.
11 victims, Fairfield County emerged as a loser in the latest round of
homeland security funding, a snub that is being blasted by regional
The region recently learned it will no longer qualify for the Urban
Areas Security Initiative grant program, which public safety officials
say amounts to a $5 million hit spread over 2011 and 2012.
Cities and towns in the region planned to use the funds -- administered
by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security -- to complete work on a
radio and computer network that will allow law enforcement officers,
firefighters and other first responders at the local and state level to
communicate over the same network.
To date, $10 million has been committed by the feds toward building the
backbone of the network in the region, which comprises Greenwich,
Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport, Darien, New Canaan, Wilton, Easton,
Weston, Westport, Fairfield, Monroe, Trumbull and Stratford.
"I think that, in general, Washington has a hard time understanding
Connecticut," Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said. "Look at what we've had
to deal with. We've got Faisal Shahzad."
This month marks the one-year anniversary of the failed Times Square
car-bombing by Shahzad, a Pakistani-American with known terrorist ties
who was living in Bridgeport and was sentenced to life in prison with
Finch's criticism also coincides with last week's raid of an alleged
bomb-making workshop run out of the Bridgeport condo of Nicholas
Lahines, a former Greenwich resident who was arrested by federal agents.
A U.S. Department of Homeland Security representative said the agency
is having to re-prioritize where funding is most needed because of
"In 2011, Congress cut DHS state and local preparedness grants by $780
million compared to the 2010 (fiscal year) enacted level, nearly a
quarter of DHS grant funding," said spokesman Chris Ortman. "The
highest-risk cities in our country continue to face the most
significant threats, and, consistent with recommendations from the 9/11
Commission, the (fiscal year) 2011 homeland security grants focus the
limited resources that were appropriated to mitigating and responding
to these evolving threats."
Steve Davis, a Maryland-based emergency management consultant who
specializes in the urban grants, said Bridgeport and Hartford were
among 31 cities removed from the list of recipients for the upcoming
The top 10 most populous cities were kept whole, according to Davis,
who said the medium-sized cities remaining on the list got cut by 30
"The hand-writing is on the wall for it to be even more severe than it
was this year," Davis said of future funding for the grant program.
Between the Urban Areas Security Initiative grant program and the State
Homeland Security grant program, the feds say Connecticut has $54.6
million available from the years 2006 to 2010 it can draw down.
The state is also expected to receive another $12 million in non-Urban
Areas Security Initiative funding in the upcoming 2011 fiscal year,
which starts Oct. 1.
That is of little consolation to public safety officials who say they
were counting on the grants to finish work on the communications
"It could be the ultimate game-changer in homeland security and
emergency management in the state of Connecticut, and not for the
better either," said Daniel Warzoha, Greenwich emergency management
Warzoha is chairman of the emergency planning team for Region 1 of the
state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the
area encompassing the 14 cities and towns of lower Fairfield County.
The former Greenwich fire chief questioned the motives behind the cuts,
which he said reeks of pandering to the largest cities rich in
"This is politics 101, appealing to the person who needs to get
re-elected to the White House in 2012," Warzoha said.
The uproar over the cuts is quickly becoming a political football, with
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy co-signing a protest letter Monday with nine
other fellow Democratic governors to leaders of the
Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee.
"With the ten-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks
approaching, we write to express our alarm over potentially drastic
cuts to state and local homeland security grants..." the governors
wrote. "We urge you to reverse this course and restore the critical
funds that enable state and local governments to protect our homeland
and keep our communities safe."
In Stamford, where Malloy served as mayor from 1995 to 2009, city
officials said they were blind-sided by the cuts.
"Here's the thing that bothers me: we are the second biggest commuter
station outside of Grand Central," said Chris Munger, a retired FBI
agent who is the city's emergency management consultant. "If anything
happens in the city, we're going to get the brunt of it."
Munger warned the cuts will severely hamper efforts to improve
communications between the municipalities in the region.
"We have the communication system in Stamford, but it's not good to us
if the rest of the county doesn't have it," Munger said of the 700 MHz
Public safety officials said they will look to alternative sources of
funding to complete the communications network, a vulnerability exposed
by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"One of the biggest problems on 9/11 was communication," said Davis,
the emergency management consultant from Maryland. "Since then,
communication has been a priority. It's to make sure police and
firefighters and others can talk during the incident."
The state's homeland security agency reported it is busy developing a
contingency plan in the wake of the cuts.
"We are presently still analyzing the full impact of these cuts and
will be meeting with all of our local, state and federal partners to
discuss how to effectively manage these cuts moving forward," said
Scott DeVico, an agency spokesman. "The full impact of some of these
cuts are not immediate because most of these grants run on a three-year
grant cycle, but there will be potential impacts as we move forward."
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., who represents most of Fairfield County
and a sliver of New Haven County, said in a statement the cuts point to
a much deeper problem.
"These reductions in critical homeland security and emergency
preparedness highlight the impact of our nation's deteriorating fiscal
situation on investment at every level of government," Himes said.
"After seeing our local law enforcement officials help to capture the
Times Square bomber last year, it's hard to imagine their work is not
essential to protecting us from terrorism.
"If we are going to continue to fund the investments in public safety,
education, infrastructure, and economic development we know are
important, we need a comprehensive budget plan that reforms the tax
code and entitlements while cutting waste throughout government."
Finch plans to send a letter of appeal to Homeland Security Secretary
"We can do more with less, but we can't do more with nothing," Finch
said. "It doesn't seem logical to me since we've got so much invested
in it. It looks to me like the end (of the project) is in sight."
The role cities and towns play in keeping the nation safe, Finch said,
shouldn't be discounted.
"These aren't local concerns," Finch said. "These are national concerns
that local towns have to deal with."
Internet runs out of addresses as devices grow
By PETER SVENSSON, AP Technology Writer
Tue Feb 1, 5:11 pm ET
NEW YORK – The spread of Internet use in Asia and the proliferation of
Internet-connected phones worldwide are causing the Internet to run out
of numerical addresses, which act as "phone numbers" to ensure that
surfers reach websites and e-mails find their destination.
The top-level authority that governs such addresses will distribute the
last batches on Thursday, two people with knowledge of the situation
told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because
a formal announcement wasn't planned until Thursday.
That doesn't mean consumers will suddenly find websites unreachable,
though. And if everything goes according to plan, Internet users won't
"It will just be 'business as usual' if everyone gets their job done,"
said John Curran, CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, or
ARIN, one of five regional groups that dole out such addresses. ARIN
covers the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, the top-level administrator of
the system, has called a press conference in Miami on Thursday. One
person said its last five "blocks" of Internet Protocol, or IP,
addresses will be distributed then. These blocks, each with 16.8
million addresses, will be distributed to the regional registries. That
means the regional groups will have IP addresses to distribute further
to Internet service providers, websites and others before running out.
Curran expects to deplete his allotment in six to nine months.
The current Internet address system, Internet Protocol version 4, has
been in place since the 1980s. It allows for a theoretical maximum of
4.3 billion addresses in use, far beyond what was thought necessary for
what was then mainly a network for academic use.
Engineers have known for years that the pool of these IP addresses
would one day run out. Websites and service providers have been
experimenting with a new technology that allows for many more addresses
— an infinite number, for all practical purposes. But many have been
slow to do so because of a lack of immediate benefits. The exhaustion
of IP addresses at the top level puts pressure on them to move more
The new system is called Internet Protocol version 6, or IPv6. Curran
said only about 2 percent of websites support it. However, many of
those are the most-visited sites on the Internet, including Google and
Facebook. He expects smaller sites to scramble for IPv6 addresses now.
As Internet service providers run out of IPv4 addresses, they'll have
to give subscribers IPv6 addresses. The challenge lies in connecting
them to websites that have only IPv4 addresses. In essence, IPv4 and
IPv6 are different "languages." Several "translation" technologies are
available, but they haven't been tested on a large scale, Curran said.
That could lead to problems reaching some websites, or slow surfing.
"We're estimating how these boxes will work, but we haven't seen one
deployed with tens of thousands of customers on it yet," Curran said.
The "end game" — the distribution of the last five blocks — was
triggered by the distribution of two of the last seven blocks on
Tuesday. They went to the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre, the
regional registry for East Asia (including India), Australia and the
HURRICANE UPDATE: Weston
residents to 'shelter in place'
Written by Kimberly Donnelly
Friday, 26 August 2011 14:36
FRIDAY, 2 PM — Weston’s emergency management team met this afternoon to
make plans for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, expected to hit
Connecticut around 10 a.m. Sunday as a Category 1 hurricane.
“The town is as prepared as it can possibly be,” said First Selectman
According to reports from the Connecticut Department of Emergency
Services at about noon on Friday, the first effects of Irene are
expected to be felt in southwestern Connecticut Saturday afternoon with
light rain, which forecasts indicate will become heavy by
midnight. Heavy rain is expected to continue from midnight
Saturday through the passage of the center of Irene Sunday morning,
especially in Western Connecticut, according to state emergency
Tropical storm-force winds (39-73 m.p.h.) are also expected to arrive
around midnight Saturday, followed by hurricane-force winds (74 m.p.h.
or more) just after daybreak Sunday. The track of the storm could
still change, emergency officials said.
Shelter in place
Weston officials are strongly urging townspeople to stay put once the
“Our biggest concern, what we need people to understand is no one can
be out on the road with winds as high as they are expected to be,”
First Selectman Weinstein said.
That includes emergency vehicles, she said. Most fire trucks,
ambulances, and other emergency vehicles are not capable of being on
the road and withstanding the heavy winds likely to accompany the storm.
“People need to shelter in place and be aware that we may not be
able to send emergency vehicles to assist you,” she said.
Ms. Weinstein said she is confident the town’s coordination efforts
will make responding to the effects of Hurricane Irene easier.
She met Friday afternoon with Joe Micelli, the town’s acting emergency
management director; Matt Brodacki, acting deputy emergency management
director; Joe Lametta, highway department director; David Gay, road
crew foreman; Tom Landry, town administrator; Jo-Ann Keating, director
of finance and operations for the school district; and Tom Scarice,
assistant superintendent, as well as members of the school custodial
“The good part is we are all on the same page, and everyone knows what
is expected of their department and other departments. I see us working
in concert with one another,” Ms. Weinstein said. The team plans
to meet again Saturday at 4 p.m. The town will be setting up an
emergency operations center. There are contingency plans in place to
open emergency shelters only if necessary, Ms. Weinstein said — the
location will only be announced if a centralized shelter becomes
“We want people to shelter in place in their homes,” Ms. Weinstein said.
The first selectman urged Westonites to prepare now for the likelihood
of losing electrical power, phone service, and water for several days.
Aside from stocking emergency kits, non-perishable food, and drinking
water, she reminded residents to fully charge cell phones and have a
land line available. The town will issue alerts if it can using
its CodeRed messaging system and posting information online; this can
be accessed using smartphones and Blackberry devices.
However, even with fully charged phones, cell towers that provide
service are likely to be effected.
Ms. Weinstein cautioned residents to only use 9-1-1 for emergency
purposes. “It’s not an information number,” she said. For information,
check instead, if possible, the town Web site, as well as the CL&P
Web site or telephone hotline, 800-286-2000.
US forecasters see busy
Article published Aug 4, 2011
Miami (AP) — Exceptionally high ocean temperatures and
atmospheric conditions that support hurricane development will keep the
Atlantic and Caribbean on track for an above-average storm season, U.S.
forecasters said Thursday.
The National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration slightly upgraded its May outlook, calling
for 14 to 19 named tropical storms, up from a range of 14 to 18.
That includes the five tropical storms that have formed since the
six-month hurricane season started June 1. It ends Nov. 30 and the peak
period for hurricanes runs from August through October.
"We expect considerable activity," said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal
hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center in Washington.
"There is absolutely no reason that people should be complacent," Bell
said. "Now is the time people really need to make sure they have their
hurricane preparedness plans in place."
Tropical storms get named when their top winds reach 39 mph or higher.
NOAA now expects seven to 10 named storms to strengthen into hurricanes
with top winds of 74 mph or higher, and three to five of those
hurricanes could become major storms with winds blowing 111 mph or more.
In May, forecasters called for six to 10 hurricanes this season. The
seasonal average is 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major
Key climate factors predicted in May continue to boost forecasters'
expectations for an above-average season, Bell said.
"The atmosphere and Atlantic Ocean are primed for high hurricane
activity during August through October," Bell said. "Storms through
October will form more frequently and become more intense than we've
seen so far this season."
Atmospheric and marine conditions indicate a high-activity era that
began in 1995 continues, and ocean temperatures are the third warmest
on record, he said.
The La Nina weather phenomenon also may redevelop this fall, Bell said.
La Nina is an unusual cooling of the Pacific waters near the equator.
It cuts wind shear over the Caribbean Sea and tropical Atlantic, which
gives tropical storms a chance to develop and strengthen before being
Forecasters say La Nina helped make the 2010 season one of the busiest
on record with 19 named storms, including 12 hurricanes. The opposite
El Nino phenomenon, which warms Pacific waters near the equator and
increases wind shear over the Atlantic, helps suppress storm
"The numbers in May reflected the possibility that El Nino could
develop. El Nino has not developed," Bell said.
Five tropical storms have developed so far this season.
The Mexican government reported 22 deaths after Tropical Storm Arlene
came ashore June 30 with heavy rains that caused flooding and
mudslides. Last week, Tropical Storm Don fizzled to a tropical
depression just before crossing the Texas coastline.
On Thursday, officials urged Florida residents to monitor the progress
of Tropical Storm Emily as it drenched the Caribbean island shared by
Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The storm was likely to cross eastern Cuba on Friday and might touch
Florida on Saturday, though the projected track would keep its center
offshore, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
The last hurricane to make landfall in the United States was Ike in
2008. Though not considered a major hurricane, Ike caused $10 billion
in damage in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, making it the
third-costliest storm after Hurricanes Katrina in 2005 and Andrew in
1992, according to the hurricane center.
The last major hurricane to strike the U.S. was Category 3 Hurricane
Wilma, which made landfall in Florida in 2005.
"We've been quite lucky in recent years, but that's no reason to be
complacent," said Steve Woodward, the Federal Emergency Management
Agency's deputy assistant administrator for response. "As spring and
summer have taught us, with tornadoes and flooding and the heat wave,
disasters can strike practically anytime and anywhere."
2010...how many can we expect this year?
Tropical Storm Tomas approaches Haiti, Jamaica
By JONATHAN M. KATZ, Associated Press
4 Nov. 2010
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haiti urged hundreds of thousands of homeless
quake survivors to flee tents and tarps for sturdier shelter Thursday
as Tropical Storm Tomas closed in with rains that threaten to unleash
devastating floods. Many stayed put — either to protect their few
possessions for lack of anywhere to go.
The storm was expected to brush Jamaica's eastern provinces and then
regain hurricane strength before passing near the western coast of
Haiti early Friday morning with heavy rains, according to the U.S.
National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Haiti's government urged evacuation of the emergency camps set up after
the Jan. 12 earthquake.
As the skies darkened over Port-au-Prince and roof-tarps started
flapping in the wind Thursday morning, a policeman at the
Corail-Cesselesse camp shouted through a megaphone: "The hurricane is
not a joke! ... You need to get out of here!"
Survivors of the devastating earthquake have fought forced evictions,
weathered storms, organized themselves into security committees, and
rallied for better services and aid. Now they are being told to leave —
and few have anywhere to go.
The government says more than 1,000 shelters are available, but that
can refer to any building expected to stand up to high winds. The U.N.
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said there is a
need to identify safe potential storm shelters.
Painfully slow reconstruction from the quake, prior storms and the
recent commitment of government resources to fight a growing cholera
epidemic have left people with few options as overtaxed aid workers
struggle to help.
"We are using radio stations to announce to people that if they don't
have a place to go, but they have friends and families, they should
move into a place that is secure," said civil protection official Nadia
Lochard, who oversees the department that includes the capital,
Fear and confusion have swept through many of the camps. Tensions
boiled over into scuffles Wednesday at the Corail camp when managers
tried to explain a planned voluntary evacuation of nearly 8,000 people
from ShelterBox tents once promised to be hurricane-resistant.
The tentative plan there, as at several other camps, is to move some
people to schools, churches, and other structures such as abandoned
prisons. But most of the homeless are being told to seek out friends or
family who can take them in.
As news of Tomas' predicted arrival slowly filtered through
Port-au-Prince via windup radios and megaphone announcements, unease
set in among people who already lost homes and loved ones in the quake
and saw their tents ripped apart in lesser storms this year.
"The tension is elevated. People are really concerned about their
belongings. They're posing a lot of legitimate questions," said Bryant
Castro, a American Refugee Committee staffer at Corail-Cesselesse.
Concerns are even greater in the western reaches of Haiti's southern
peninsula, where heavy flooding is predicted.
Disaster officials have extended a red alert, their highest storm
warning, to all regions of the country, as the storm is expected to
wind its way up the west coast of the island of Hispaniola, which Haiti
shares with the Dominican Republic, through storm-vulnerable Gonaives
and Haiti's second-largest city, Cap-Haitien, sometime Friday.
By midday Thursday, Tomas had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (kph).
It was centered 295 miles (475 kilometers) west-southwest of
Port-au-Prince and moving north at 8 mph (13 kph).
Tomas killed at least 14 people when it hit the eastern Caribbean
island of St. Lucia as a hurricane on Saturday.
A hurricane warning was in effect for Haiti, the southeastern Bahamas,
the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Cuban province of Guantanamo. A
tropical storm warning was issued for Jamaica.
In Kingston, Jamaica, the Office of Disaster Preparedness said people
in eastern provinces should evacuate low-lying areas. Schools were
closed in Kingston, the capital, and surrounding parishes.
Jamaica is still struggling to recover from floods unleashed by
Tropical Storm Nicole in late September that killed at least 13 people
and caused an estimated $125 million in damage.
People who are still using boats to move about in the island's rural
western regions also will be moved to shelters, said Ronald Jackson, of
the emergency management office.
Storm Nicole forms, may skirt Florida
By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press Writer
29 September 2010
HAVANA – Newly formed Tropical Storm Nicole soaked central and eastern
Cuba on Wednesday, washing out some roads but sparing the crumbling
buildings of the capital as the system pushed northeast toward the
Bahamas. At least one death was recorded due to flooding in Jamaica.
The storm had sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) and it was not
expected to grow much further as it passes over the ocean east of
Florida on a track that could carry it over parts of the Bahamas by
evening, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.
It said the sprawling system could still cause heavy rains and spawn
tornadoes in Florida, however.
By late Wednesday morning, the storm was centered about 120 miles (195
kilometers) east-southeast of Havana and 260 miles (420 kilometers)
southwest of Nassau in the Bahamas. It was advancing toward the
northeast at 9 mph (15 kph)
Cuba's chief meteorologist, Jose Rubiera, said the storm rolled across
a swath of the west-central island overnight and its center was moving
north of the island. Bands behind its core were continuing to bring
heavy rains, however.
Rubiera said wind associated with the storm was not a threat, but that
provinces from Matanzas east all the way to Guantanamo would continue
to face downpours throughout the day.
"The important factor remains the rain," Rubiera said.
State-controlled television showed images of rain flooding roads and
highways, especially around the eastern city of Santiago, but there
were no reports of damage. Far to the west in Havana, it wasn't even
raining and there was no flooding.
Communist Cuba has a well-trained civil defense force praised for its
fast response to natural disasters, one that often uses mandatory
evacuations to move people to safety in many parts of the island.
Authorities often order thousands of evacuations ahead of even moderate
storms — but there were no such orders reported for the depression.
Jamaica's Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management on
Wednesday reported collapsed bridges, flooded roads and mudslides and
it said that a boy was washed away before dawn when a house next to a
paved gully collapsed in St. Andrew parish. Emergency workers were
trying to recover his body from rust-colored waters.
Across the Caribbean country, several bridges collapsed overnight under
the force of the flooded rivers and creeks. Schools and some businesses
were closed as emergency officials braced for more rain through Friday.
In the capital of Kingston, underpasses flooded as the torrents
overwhelmed storm water drains. Some motorists were stuck when their
cars stalled in knee-deep waters. Most traffic lights were out and
roads were littered with debris.
Police in Westmoreland parish's capital of Savanna-la-Mar said the
community was hit by a waterspout overnight that ripped the roofs off a
couple of buildings and sent four people to a local hospital with
The depression was also felt Tuesday south of Cuba in Jamaica and the
Cayman Islands, where meteorologists said more than four inches (10
centimeters) of rain fell in just 12 hours, causing flooding. Public
schools closed and government workers from low-lying areas were allowed
to leave early.
Chief Grand Cayman Meteorologist John Tibbetts said 5- to 7-foot (1.5-
to 2-meter) waves were forecast through Wednesday night and warned
boaters to remain ashore.
Igor takes aim at Bermuda
18 September 2010
HAMILTON (Reuters) – Hurricane Igor churned across the Atlantic Ocean
toward Bermuda on Saturday packing powerful winds and heavy rains as
island residents stocked up on supplies and worked to secure their
The Category 2 storm was located about 440 miles south of the tiny
British overseas territory at 11 a.m.. The U.S. National Hurricane
Center said Igor was on a path to reach Bermuda late on Sunday, but
warned tropical storm weather was expected later Saturday.
"Igor is expected to remain a dangerous hurricane as it approaches
Bermuda," the Miami-based hurricane center said. A hurricane
warning was in effect for Bermuda, a wealthy hub for the global
insurance industry and one of the world's most isolated yet densely
populated islands. Most stores and restaurants in the capital of
Hamilton were boarded up and many residents stocked up on gas,
batteries, food and candles.
"The shutters are up, I've put tape across the windows and I've got a
lot of buckets ready," said Eddie DeSilva, a 64-year-old cleaner.
Bermuda's buildings are some of the best-constructed in the world,
weather forecasters and analysts say, which could help mitigate any
potential storm damage. Igor had sustained winds of 110 mph, with
hurricane-force winds extending out for 105 miles, the hurricane center
Karl nears Mexican Gulf coast
17 September 2010
VERACRUZ, Mexico – Hurricane Karl smashed into Mexico's Gulf Coast on
Friday, creating havoc in the major port city of Veracruz and forcing
the country to shut down its only nuclear power plant and its central
Gulf Coast oil platforms...
Storm Hermine gaining strength in Gulf
6 September 2010
MIAMI – Tropical Storm Hermine is getting a little stronger in the Gulf
of Mexico as it heads toward the coasts of Texas and Mexico.
A tropical storm warning was issued early Monday for the southern Texas
coast. A tropical storm warning was already in effect for the coast of
Mexico from Tampico to the mouth of the Rio Grande.
Hermine's maximum sustained winds have increased to near 45 mph (75
kph) with some additional strengthening expected before the storm makes
Heavy rain is predicted with northeastern Mexico into south Texas
getting 4 to 8 inches with as much as a foot in some places. It could
cause flash floods and mudslides.
The storm is located about 280 miles (450 kilometers) south-southeast
of Brownsville, Texas, and is moving north near 10 mph (17 kph).
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further
information. AP's earlier story is below.
MIAMI (AP) — Tropical Storm Hermine is getting a little stronger in the
Gulf of Mexico as it heads toward the coasts of Texas and Mexico.
A tropical storm warning was issued early Monday for the southern Texas
coast. A tropical storm warning was already in effect for the coast of
Mexico from Tampico to the mouth of the Rio Grande. Hermine's
maximum sustained winds have increased to near 45 mph (75 kph) with
some additional strengthening expected before the storm makes landfall.
Heavy rain is predicted with northeastern Mexico into south Texas
getting 4 to 8 inches with as much as a foot in some places. It could
cause flash floods and mudslides.
The storm is located about 280 miles (450 kilometers) south-southeast
of Bronwsville, Texas, and is moving north near 10 mph (17 kph).
Earl lashes Caribbean,
By MIKE MELIA, Associated Press Writer
30 August 2010
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Hurricane Earl lashed the northeastern
Caribbean with heavy rain and strong winds Monday, causing flooding in
low-lying parts of the Leeward Islands as it gained strength on a
course that could threaten the eastern United States later this week.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Earl, which formed on
Sunday, already had sustained winds of 110 mph (175 kph) and was likely
to keep growing.
"It is possible that Earl could become a Category 4 hurricane as we get
into the middle to late portions of the week," hurricane center
specialist Michael Brennan said. Category 4 storms have sustained winds
of at least 131 mph (210 kph).
The storm's forecast track would carry its center north of the
Caribbean, then forecasters say it is likely to bend to the north,
moving roughly parallel to the U.S. East Coast. The hurricane center
said it is early to say what impact if any Earl would have on the U.S.
In Antigua, powerful wind and rain destroyed at least one home and at
least eight people had to be evacuated, though there were no reports of
critical injuries. Emergency response officials said about 350 people
were in shelters. Local weather authorities reported at least 5 inches
(13 centimeters) of rain and 10-foot (3-meter) waves.
In St. Maarten, the storm toppled trees and knocked out electricity to
much of the island but there were no reports of serious damage. Heavy
gusts of wind swirled debris across streets that were empty due to a
Alisha Daya, a 24-year-old tourist from Milwaukee, said she wore
earplugs Sunday night but still had trouble sleeping because of the
noise from the wind and crashing waves at the Oyster Bay Beach Resort
in St. Maarten.
"It was loud because we were right on the ocean," said Daya, who said
the storm will keep her and her parents and boyfriend from leaving the
island as planned on Monday although the worst seemed to have passed.
"Some furniture is flying around, but everything seems to be OK."
Cruise lines diverted ships to other ports in the Caribbean and Mexico
as a customary precaution for tropical weather. Antigua's V.C. Bird
International Airport closed, and regional airlines LIAT and Winair
Hurricane warnings were in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St.
Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, St. Maarten, Saba,
St. Eustatius, the British Virgin Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Early Monday, Earl was about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north-northeast
of St. Martin and headed west-northwest at 14 mph (22 kph), according
to the center in Miami. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 50
miles (85 kilometers) from its center.
Earl has grown rapidly in strength, fueled by warm ocean temperatures
of 86 F (30 C).
Earl could bring battering waves and storm surges of up to four feet
(1.2 meters) above normal on some islands, as well as downpours that
threaten to unleash flash floods and mudslides.
Forecasters say there is a chance the hurricane could brush the U.S.
Mid-Atlantic region toward the end of the week, with its closest
approach to North Carolina on Friday.
In any case, the U.S. East Coast is likely to see pounding surf.
"Folks from the Carolinas northward through the Mid-Atlantic and New
England need to be paying attention to Earl and the forecasts as they
get updated through the week," Brennan said.
Meanwhile, the Category 1 Hurricane Danielle was weakening far out over
the north Atlantic.
Brace for active hurricane season
By CHASE WRIGHT, Hour Staff Writer
31 May 2010
Experts predict the upcoming hurricane season will be a top 10 year and
may seem "extremely active" in comparison to last year, which was
AccuWeather Chief Hurricane Meteorologist Joe Bastardi expects 16 to 18
storms to hit the Atlantic basin this season, and at least six of those
will impact the United States coastline.
"2010 will be above average, and worst case scenario it may be in the
top 5 to 10 percent as far as impact to land areas in the Western
Hemisphere," Bastardi said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an
"active to extremely active" hurricane season in the Atlantic.
For the six-month season, which officially begins Tuesday, NOAA is
projecting as many as 23 named tropical storms, including up to seven
major hurricanes. Between eight to 14 storms would strengthen
into hurricanes, with top winds of 74 mph or higher. Three to seven of
those could become major storms that reach Category 3 or higher --
meaning they bring sustained winds of at least 111 mph.
"If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more
active on record," agency Administrator Jane Lubchenco said.
The outlook ranges exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six
hurricanes and two major hurricanes. Amy Godsey, state
meteorologist for Florida, told The Hour that predictions for the
upcoming hurricane season are based on warming waters in the Atlantic
and weak upper atmospheric winds, which are conducive for storms.
"The big thing is how much decay will there be in El Niño,"
Godsey said. "There's still some uncertainty whether El Niño
will drop to neutral conditions or swing toward La Niña. If that
happens, you're looking at named storms in the 20s."
El Niño in the eastern Pacific has dissipated since peaking in
December, which means wind shear will be weaker and thus less likely to
break up storms, she said. Strong wind shear helped suppress
storm development during the 2009 hurricane season when only nine
storms formed, she said. With a busy hurricane season on the
horizon, Godsey suggests families and business owners in take time to
evaluate their emergency preparedness.
More information on how to prepare
can be found at www.Ready.gov and
Just wait a few weeks
After fix fail, a dispiriting
summer of oil, anger
By TED ANTHONY and MARY FOSTER, Associated Press Writers
30 May 2010
BOOTHVILLE, La. – There is still a hole in the Earth, crude oil is
still spewing from it and there is still, excruciatingly, no end in
sight. After trying and trying again, one of the world's largest
corporations, backed and pushed by the world's most powerful
government, can't stop the runaway gusher.
As desperation grows and ecological misery spreads, the operative word
on the ground now is, incredibly, August -- the earliest moment that a
real resolution could be at hand. And even then, there's no guarantee
of success. For the United States and the people of its beleaguered
Gulf Coast, a dispiriting summer of oil and anger lies dead ahead.
Oh ... and the Atlantic hurricane season begins Tuesday.
The latest attempt — using a remote robotic arm to stuff golf balls and
assorted debris into the gash in the seafloor — didn't work. On Sunday,
as churches echoed with prayers for a solution, BP PLC said it would
focus on containment rather than plugging the undersea puncture wound,
effectively redirecting the mess it made rather than stopping it. Yet
the new plan carries the risk of making the torrent worse, as top
government officials warned Sunday.
"We failed to wrestle this beast to the ground," said BP Managing
Director Bob Dudley, doing the rounds of the Sunday talk shows.
As the oil washes ashore, crude-coated birds have become a frequent
sight. At the sea's bottom, no one knows what the oil will do to
species like the newly discovered bottom-dwelling pancake batfish — and
others that remain unknown but just as threatened.
Scientists from several universities have reported large underwater
plumes of oil stretching for miles and reaching hundreds of feet
beneath the Gulf's surface, though BP PLC CEO Tony Hayward on Sunday
disputed their findings, saying the company's tests found no such
evidence of oily clouds underwater.
"The oil is on the surface," Hayward said. "Oil has a specific gravity
that's about half that of water. It wants to get to the surface because
of the difference in specific gravity."
Perhaps most alarming of all, 40 days after the Deepwater Horizon blew
up and began the underwater deluge, hurricane season is at hand. It
brings the horrifying possibility of wind-whipped, oil-soaked waves and
water spinning ashore and coating areas much farther inland. Imagine
Katrina plus oil spill.
The spill is already the worst in American history — worse, even, than
the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster. It has already released between 18
million and 40 million gallons of oil into the Gulf, according to
"This is probably the biggest environmental disaster we've ever faced
in this country," White House Energy and Climate Change Advisor Carol
Browner said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
At some point — the widespread debut of the BP "spillcam" is as good a
delineation point as any — this tipped, in the national conversation,
from a destructive event into a calamitous, open-ended saga. And for
the bruised and cantankerous American psyche, it could not come at a
Fear is everywhere, and polarization prevails. Faith in institutions —
corporations, government, the media — is down. Americans are angry, and
they long ago grew accustomed to expecting the resolution of problems
in very short order, even if reality rarely works that way.
So when something undefined and uncontrollable happens, they speculate
in all the modern forums about collusion and nefarious dealings. In the
process, this tale of environmental disaster and economic damage
cripples the sea-to-shining-sea narrative that usually offers Americans
comfort during uncertain times.
"There are people who are getting desperate, and there are more getting
anxious as we get further into the shrimping season and there is less
chance they will recover," said the Rev. Theodore Turner, 57, at Mount
Olive Baptist Church in Boothville, near where oil first washed ashore.
Fishermen make up about a third of his congregation.
BP's next containment effort involves an assortment of undersea robot
maneuvers that would redirect the oil up and out of the water it is
The first step in BP's latest effort is the intricate removal of a
damaged riser that brought oil to the surface of the Deepwater Horizon
rig. The riser will be cut at the top of the crippled blowout
preventer, creating a flat surface that a new containment valve can
The valve would force the oil into a new riser, bringing it up to a
ship. The seal, however, would not prevent all oil from escaping. White
House energy czar Carol Browner said Sunday the effort could result in
a temporary 20 percent increase in the flow. BP has said it didn't
expect a significant increase in flow from the cutting and capping plan.
If the containment valve fails, BP may try installing a blowout
preventer on top of the existing one.
In the end, however, a relief well would ease the pressure on the
runaway gusher in favor of a controlled pumping — essentially what the
Deepwater Horizon was trying to do in the first place. But that will
take at least two months.
Using government figures, if the leak continues at its current pace and
is stopped on Aug. 1, 51 million to 106 million gallons will have
"They are going to destroy south Louisiana. We are dying a slow death
here," said Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, La.
Coastal tent cities are about to rise to house the workers and
contractors minimizing the damage. Sand banks and barriers are being
built. But the consensus around the Gulf Coast is turning more
apoplectic and apocalyptic. This is, people are starting to say, a
generational event — tragic to this generation, potentially crippling
to the next.
"The oil spill is part of prophecy," said Turner, the Louisiana
minister. "The Bible prophesized hardships. If we believe the word of
God is true — and we do — we also know that in addition to prophecying
hardships he promised to take care of us."
The Obama administration, which has been grilled for not taking the
reins sooner, sought to assure the public.
"I am resolute and confident that we will see a better day ahead of
us," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Saturday. And yet that
statement, stacked up against the word "August," tempers the optimism
for many watching this saga unfold.
They see a dissembling corporation, an ineffective government and an
ocean surface covered by a viscous shell with the consistency of
molasses and the peril of poison. To them, it comes down to only this:
There is still a hole in the Earth. Crude oil is still spewing from it.
And there is still, excruciatingly, no end in sight.
M A N D A T E A L E R T
CPR switch: Chest presses first, then
By JAMIE STENGLE, Associated Press Writer
Mon Oct 18, 6:34 am ET
DALLAS – New guidelines out Monday switch up the steps for CPR, telling
rescuers to start with hard, fast chest presses before giving
The change puts "the simplest step first" for traditional CPR, said Dr.
Michael Sayre, co-author of the guidelines issued by the American Heart
In recent years, CPR guidance has been revised to put more emphasis on
chest pushes for sudden cardiac arrest. In 2008, the heart group said
untrained bystanders or those unwilling to do rescue breaths could do
hands-only CPR until paramedics arrive or a defibrillator is used to
restore a normal heart beat.
Now, the group says everyone from professionals to bystanders who use
standard CPR should begin with chest compressions instead of opening
the victim's airway and breathing into their mouth first. The
change ditches the old ABC training — airway-breathing-compressions.
That called for rescuers to give two breaths first, then alternate with
30 presses. Sayre said that approach took time and delayed chest
presses, which keep the blood circulating.
"When the rescuer pushes hard and fast on the victim's chest, they're
really acting like an artificial heart. That blood carries oxygen that
helps keep the organs alive till help arrives," said Sayre, an
emergency doctor at Ohio State University Medical Center.
"Put one hand on top of the other and push really hard," he said.
Sudden cardiac arrest — when the heart suddenly stops beating — can
occur after a heart attack or as a result of electrocution or
near-drowning. The person collapses, stops breathing normally and is
unresponsive. Survival rates from cardiac arrest outside the hospital
vary across the country — from 3 percent to 15 percent, according to
Sayre. Under the revised guidelines, rescuers using traditional
CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, should start chest compressions
immediately — 30 chest presses, then two breaths. The change applies to
adults and children, but not newborns.
One CPR researcher, though, expressed disappointment with the new
guidelines. Dr. Gordon Ewy of the University of Arizona Sarver Heart
Center thinks everyone should be doing hands-only CPR for sudden
cardiac arrest, and skipping mouth-to-mouth. He said the guidelines
could note the cases where breaths should still be given, like
near-drownings and drug overdoses, when breathing problems likely led
to the cardiac arrest.
Ewy is one of the authors of a recently published U.S. study that
showed more people survived cardiac arrest when a bystander gave them
hands-only CPR, compared to CPR with breaths. The guidelines
issued Monday also say that rescuers should be pushing deeper, at least
2 inches in adults. Rescuers should pump the chest of the victim at a
rate of at least 100 compressions a minute — some say a good guide is
the beat of the old disco song "Stayin' Alive."
Dr. Ahamed Idris, of the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas,
said people are sometimes afraid that they'll hurt the patient. Others
have a hard time judging how hard they are pressing, he said.
"We want to make sure people understand they're not going to hurt the
person they're doing CPR on by pressing as hard as they can," he said.
Idris, who directs the Dallas-Fort Worth Center for Resuscitation
Research, said that for the last two years, they've been advising local
paramedics to start with chest compressions and keep them up with
minimal interruptions. That, along with intensive training, has helped
improve survival rates, he said. He said they found paramedics
hadn't been starting compressions until the patient was in the
ambulance and lost time getting airway equipment together.
"The best chance was to start chest compressions in the house,
immediately," he said.
Weston EMS explain what to do if your child
Written by Susan Jordan, WVFD
Saturday, 27 March 2010 00:00
On Thursday night, March 18, the Weston Intermediate School was
filled with people wearing Weston EMS blue. Parents gathered at a
symposium learned the answers to the questions parents fear most: What
do I do if something happens to my child? When do I call 911? What
should I do while I’m waiting?
EMT Marilyn Kirchner demonstrates “hands only” CPR to Jenine
Nisan Evantoff, director of Weston Injury Prevention and the
Heart Smart Program for Weston EMS, and Dana Katz, chairman of the
intermediate school PTO Parent Program Committee, spearheaded the
The evening started with a panel of Weston EMS members
discussing different aspects of medical emergencies. The panel included
Jon Weingarten, president of Weston EMS; JT Sollazzo, chief of Weston
EMS; Michael Schlecter, training officer of Weston EMS; Mark
Goldenberg, safety officer of Weston EMS; plus Mr. Evantoff and Sgt.
Michael Ferullo of the Weston Police Department, director of emergency
management in Weston.
“We take great pride in educating parents of Weston in
preventing injuries,” Mr. Weingarten said. He then went on to read some
sobering statistics, including:
• Injury is the leading cause of death in children — falls,
bike injuries and drowning.
• Airway obstruction is the leading cause of death in
children under one.
Mr. Weingarten said, “There are common sense strategies for
preventing these injuries ... but when an injury does happen it’s
important to know the steps to take.”
• Recognize the nature and extent of the injury;
• Call 911 for help and give your address clearly;
• Initiate appropriate first aid; and
• Support your injured child and your other children.
Mr. Solazzo spoke about the EMS squad. “Last year, Weston EMS
went on 604 calls. We have members all over town so that a first
responder can get to your house right away with the police to help even
before the ambulance arrives.”
Weston EMT Julia Braden talks to Tiffany and Steve Chila
about bone injuries at a recent childhood injuries symposium.
He also thanked the people of Weston for supporting EMS with
donations. “The contributions from all of you are what we use to keep
our organization running. We don’t receive funding from the town of
Mr. Schlecter talked about the importance of ongoing training
and told the group that EMS holds two training sessions a month.
“Tonight, we want to give you training to improve your preparedness.
You need to know what you can do while waiting for the ambulance to
arrive,” Mr. Schlecter said.
He and other panelists repeated throughout the evening that
parents should not feel shy about calling 911. If you’re worried, you
should call, Mr. Schlecter said. “No one knows your child and what is
normal or not normal better than you.”
Sgt. Ferullo discussed the CodeRed calls from Weston dispatch
used during last weekend’s storm. He said Weston Police, Fire and EMS
work together as a team. “The police are first on the scene followed by
the ambulance and fire if necessary.”
Mr. Goldenberg talked about making sure a scene is safe.
“That means protective eyewear if you are using chemicals or equipment
and always using a spotter if you’re on a ladder,” he explained. He
also encouraged parents to check their child’s sports equipment and
said, “if a helmet has a crack in it, throw it out.”
The panel took questions from the floor and discussion
followed on topics like, “What do I do if my child passes out?” Panel
members explained the importance of always making sure the airway is
clear first and then calling 911 for direction on what you can do while
waiting for the ambulance.
If a child has fallen, the child should not be moved until an
assessment can be made on any spinal cord injury.
Attendees broke into smaller groups for hands-on training.
The EMTs were at stations showing how to treat allergic reactions,
broken bones, and bleeding. There was also a station for hands-only CPR
on a mannequin.
T H E S T O R
M - P O W E R L I N E
S D O W N A N D R I V
E R S R I S I N G . . .
THANK YOU TOWN OF
WESTON EMERGENCY SERVICES!!!
Saturday at 6pm (l.6pm); Sunday at @10am (c.); DPW worked
through the night, coordinating with PD, EMS and FD; by @5pm
Sunday (r.) - March 12,13,14, 2010 rain and wind storm bigger event
elsewhere...but that's if you didn't lose power!
not previously published
CleanHarbors (the same firm?) at a regional household hazardous waste
collection. Senator Dodd visits Kleen
Energy plant site Feb. 16, 2010. Chemical Safety Board review
Lawyers representing Middletown power
plant blast victims want site preserved
published Mar 1, 2010
Two lawyers representing three men who were injured and the family of
one who was killed in the Middletown power plant explosion last month
are filing court documents seeking to preserve that they call evidence
on the property.
Robert I. Reardon Jr. and Reese Norris are filing a "bill of
discovery" today in Middletown Superior Court, seeking a court order
that the Middletown site and evidence on it be preserved to allow
their experts to investigate further.
Police investigators last week released the site of the Feb. 7
explosion back to the owners, O&G Industries and Kleen Energy
Systems. The order the two lawyers are seeking would bar O&G and
Kleen Energy from doing any clean up from the blast or continue
construction of the energy plant, which was near completion when it
Five workers were killed in the explosion and several dozen were
Reardon represents Joseph Scovish of Oakdale, Kenneth Meloney of
Oakdale, and Dennis Riley of Manchester. He said all three received
head, neck and back injuries in the blast.
Norris represents the wife of Peter Chepulis, who was killed.
The lawyers are also including the city of Middletown in the request,
saying that investigators seized evidence after the blast.
KLEEN ENERGY: Agency Urges Moratorium On
Power-Plant Gas Line Purges
By DAVE ALTIMARI, The Hartford Courant
February 26, 2010
Click here to find out more!
Federal authorities investigating the Kleen Energy plant explosion are
calling on similar plants or any industry that conducts high-pressure
natural gas purges to stop them until safer regulations can be put in
Donald Holmstrom, the lead investigator for the Chemical Safety Review
Board, said at a press conference Thursday that there is an absence of
regulations guiding companies on how to safely do these dangerous gas
Holmstrom said that the board expects to make recommendations to
improve the purging procedure and that Congress will hold hearings and
hopefully approve legislation to put new regulations for purging in
"There are no national requirements to use safe practices in what is
becoming a much more common occurrence all across the country,"
Holmstrom said. "We strongly caution natural gas power plants and other
industries against the venting of high-pressure natural gas in or near
work sites. This practice, although common, is inherently unsafe."
The Kleen Energy blast on Feb. 7, which killed six and injured 26,
occurred during the purging, or cleaning, of a natural-gas pipeline
leading to the turbines in the main power block building. The gas was
purged from the auxiliary boiler on the southeastern side of the power
block building through a pipe that ran along the back wall of the
The gas was vented out of temporary pipes less than 20 feet off the
ground all along the back of the building, Holmstrom said. One of those
venting pipes was in the tunnel-like area between the two giant towers,
known as heat recovery steam generators, behind the main building.
Holmstrom said that close to 400,000 cubic feet of natural gas, or
enough gas to fill a basketball arena, was purged into the mostly
enclosed area in the 10 minutes before the explosion occurred.
Holmstrom said that dumping the gas into such a congested area slowed
the dispersal rate and allowed the gas to build up to a point that it
reached the lowest explosive limit of at least 4 percent natural gas
and the rest air.
Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the explosion,
but Holmstrom said that's not a big focus of his agency right now. The
gas could have been ignited by one of several ignition sources because
welding and grinding were going on during the purge, a diesel fuel
heater was near the back wall of the building near where the explosion
occurred, and welders' work tables in the courtyard area might have
Also, radio transmissions or even static electricity could have sparked
the blast, sources said.
"Ignition sources are hard to determine and this case is no different —
there were numerous potential ignition sources in and around that
building," Holmstrom said. "We're focusing on preventing something like
this happening again and in developing safe practices for the people
who work in these plants."
Holmstrom said one area that his investigators are reviewing is
eliminating the use of natural gas during the purges and instead
possibly replacing it with air, steam, nitrogen or even water. He said
that there also is a possibility of using combustion devices, similar
to flares, that can safely burn up the flammable gas or vapor.
Investigators believe that the six men killed were working in the
southwestern corner of the power block building, the closest part of
the building to where the blast occurred in the courtyard area.
A multi-agency group of local, state and federal agencies has been
working on the investigation. Investigators from the Chemical Safety
Review Board were originally not allowed into the Kleen Energy site
because they were not considered members of a law enforcement agency.
After several days of backroom dealing between state and federal
officials and congressional representatives, the team of 10 safety
board investigators was allowed on the site. The investigators have
been conducting their own interviews with witnesses, reviewing
documents and examining the blast site.
Holmstrom said they are still trying to work out an agreement with
state and local officials about the handling of evidence. Investigators
obtained a search warrant earlier this week allowing them to remove as
many as 75 pieces of evidence from the site.
The Chemical Safety Review Board is a federal agency that was formed to
investigate industrial accidents such as the Kleen Energy explosion.
The board has no criminal authority. Its recommendations carry
significant impact in changing fire and building codes.
Copyright © 2010, The Hartford
Middletown Power Plant Explosion: Massive
Amount Of Gas Released Before Blast
Dave Altimari, The Hartford Courant
11:18 AM EST, February 25, 2010
Close to 400,000 cubic feet of gas was released into the atmosphere
behind the Kleen Energy building in the final 10 minutes before the
explosion that killed six and injured 27, the lead investigator of the
U.S. Chemical Safety Board said today.
Donald Holmstrom, lead investigator of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board,
said that the gas was released into a congested area next to the power
block building, and that the congested area likely slowed the
dispersion of the gas and was ignited by an undetermined ignition
source. The gas released was enough to fill a basketball arena,
"A major focus of the CSB investigation is to determine what
regulations, codes, and good practices might apply to these gas blows,
'' said Holmstrom.
He added, at a morning press conference in Middletown: "To this point,
no specific codes have been identified, but we are continuing our
research. In the meantime, we strongly caution national gas power
plants and other industries against the venting of high pressure
natural gas in or near work sites. This practice, although common, is
The blast on Feb. 7 occurred during the purging, or cleaning, of a
natural-gas pipeline leading to the turbines in the power building. The
purged gas was directed outside the building -- the preferred method,
according to national safety experts. But a huge amount of the gas
pooled in a bowl-like area behind the main power block building while
crews were working inside.
The gas could have been ignited by one of several ignition sources
because welding and grinding was going on during the purge, a diesel
fuel heater was located near the back wall of the building near where
the explosion occurred, and welders' work tables located in the
courtyard area may have been charged.
In addition to the equipment, radio transmissions or even static
electricity could have sparked the blast, sources said. Investigators
believe the workers who were killed were working in the southwestern
corner of the power block building, the closest part of the building to
where the blast occurred right outside in a tunnel-like space called
the courtyard, between two giant towers.
A multi-agency group of local, state and federal agencies has been
working on the investigation. CSB investigators were originally not
allowed into the Kleen Energy site because they were not considered a
law enforcement agency. After several days of backroom dealing
state and federal officials and Congressional representatives, the CSB
investigators were allowed on the site. They have been conducting their
own interviews with witnesses.
The CSB is a little-known federal agency that was formed to investigate
industrial accidents such as the Kleen Energy explosion. While the
board has no criminal authority, its recommendations carry significant
impact in changing fire and building codes.
On Wednesday the National Fire Protection Association approved several
of the board's recommendations stemming from its investigation into the
ConAgra plant explosion in Garner, N.C., last June that killed three
and injured dozens more. At the ConAgra plant, workers were purging air
from a natural-gas pipe so that they could light a new water heater.
The vented gas built up in a utility room and exploded.
Copyright © 2010, The Hartford
6th victim dies from plant
The Associated Press
Article published Feb 19,
Conn. (AP) _ A sixth person has died from injuries received in a Feb. 7
power plant explosion in Connecticut.
Middletown Police say that Kenneth Haskell of New Durham, N.H., died
Friday afternoon at Hartford Hospital.
The police say the 37-year-old Haskell was a superintendent for
Keystone Construction and Maintenance Services at the Kleen Energy
Mayor Sebastian Giuliano says "It's like that Sunday all over again."
He says "It's just very sad."
The explosion at the nearly completed plant came as workers purged a
natural gas line.
Twenty people were also injured.
Report: Warning issued
just before Middletown blast
Article published Feb 18, 2010
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) — A worker monitoring natural gas levels at a
Middletown power plant reportedly called for an evacuation moments
before last week's explosion that killed five workers.
The Hartford Courant, citing witnesses and investigators it did not
identify, said the message, radioed throughout the Kleen Energy plant,
warned workers that gas meter readings had spiked.
Workers have told The Associted Press that they left after smelling
gas, but made no mention of an evacuation order. Middletown South
District Deputy Fire Chief Marc Fongemie said Thursday he did not know
if such an order was issued.
The newspaper reported Wednesday that investigators have recovered the
two gas meters used at the time of the explosion, which occurred while
workers were purging gas lines at the plant, which was under
Continue To Burn Off Fuel At Middletown Explosion Site
12:34 PM EST, February 14, 2010
Environmental crews remained at the Kleen Energy power plant Sunday to
burn off fuel from potentially dangerous containers.
Houston-based Clean Harbors spent Saturday performing the procedure,
and will continue doing so during the day Sunday and possibly Monday,
said South District Deputy Fire Chief Marc Fongemie.
Many gas cylinders were damaged in an explosion last Sunday, which
killed 5 people and injured 27, said Fongemie. Because of the damage,
the cylinders are not considered safe enough to transport, and their
contents must be burned off on-site.
Fongemie said anyone seeing black smoke from the plant should not
worry, and that the procedure is not considered dangerous to area
Huge Buildup Of Gas Outdoors A Puzzle In Middletown
By DAVE ALTIMARI, JOSH KOVNER
and EDMUND H. MAHONY, The Hartford Courant
February 11, 2010
The five men killed in Sunday's blast at the Kleen Energy power plant
in Middletown were on the crew assigned to prepare a natural gas pipe
and turbine for purging inside the main power building.
They were responsible for monitoring the pipe during and after the
purging operation, sources said. All other nonessential personnel left
the building when the purging process was started.
At some point, several workers said, they smelled a strong odor of
natural gas inside and outside the main power building.
A union worker said he was told by co-workers that one or more
electricians working inside the building walked out because of the
smell. By leaving, they may have saved their lives because the force of
the blast, which occurred outdoors in what was known as the courtyard
behind the main power building, literally blew the walls off the
The men left inside the building were killed by shrapnel and other
flying debris and not the initial explosion, a law enforcement source
said. Their bodies were found in front of the main building.
Peter Chepulis, Raymond Dobratz and Ronald Crabb were pipe fitters;
Chris Walters was a safety manager for Keystone Construction, a
subcontractor; and Roy Rushton was a supervisor involved with the
installation of the gas turbines at the plant.
Twenty-seven people were injured in the explosion. Most were standing
outside after they left the building while the purging took place or
were in construction trailers waiting for the test to be completed. The
blast threw some of them at least 40 feet in the air, but most of the
dangerous debris was blown forward through the main building.
Investigators believe the explosion originated in the rectangular
courtyard between the two giant retention towers, but the more
perplexing question is how the gas accumulated outside the building at
a level high enough to explode.
Investigators are looking at several possibilities for the source of
the ignition, including a welder's torch and static electricity.
But two experts in gas pipeline testing, Bryan Baesel and John Puskar
of Combustion Safety Inc. of Cleveland, said identifying the precise
ignition source is less important than understanding how enough natural
gas was able to accumulate outdoors to explode.
"There could have been 1,000 ignition sources. That much natural gas is
going to find an ignition source at some point," Baesel said.
Puskar said that for an outside explosion to occur, there would have
had to have been a tremendous amount of escaped gas.
He said a chemical known as mercaptan is added to natural gas to give
it an odor so it can be detected. But new pipes tend to absorb
mercaptan, he said, causing the odor to fade. If that were the case in
Middletown, he said, there could have been a large gas build-up before
workers smelled it.
He also said a phenomenon known as "odor fatigue," in which nasal
passages become saturated with the smell of gas over time, can make it
difficult for people to continue to detect the mercaptan.
Puskar said the purging crews typically use a detector, known as a
lower-explosive-limit or "LEL meter," to monitor any gas release.
Police officers heading the criminal investigation at the Kleen Energy
plant seized gas detectors, gas analyzers and security cameras earlier
Investigators spent a snowy Wednesday interviewing workers who were on
the site when the explosion occurred, according to Middletown Deputy
Fire Marshal Al Santostefano.
On-site investigation continued into late Tuesday night and could
resume this morning, depending on conditions following the snowstorm,
If weather conditions are appropriate today, officials plan to vent
natural gas that remains in a pipeline leading to the plant from the
Algonquin gas pipeline, which runs by the site. That venting will take
place a distance from the building and is intended to make work at the
site safe, Santostefano said.
Should the venting proceed, an announcement will be made this morning,
Santostefano said. "At no time will there be danger from this," he
said. "This is a very safe procedure."
Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said a search warrant covering the
explosion scene has been extended until at least Friday. He said
investigators were examining dozens of tanks at the site, many of them
welding tanks, with the intention of removing them as evidence. He said
that many of the tanks were damaged and that their contents would have
to be neutralized before they can be transported by truck.
O&G Industries, the general contractor for the construction, issued
its first public statement on the blast late Wednesday.
The company offered condolences to victims, pledged cooperation with
the criminal investigation and indicated that it plans to resume
construction in the future.
The statement said that while O&G was the general contractor and a
minority shareholder in Kleen Energy, it did not handle most of the
specialized work, including the piping. The statement didn't mention
who was in charge of Sunday's purging operation.
"O&G subcontracted this work to qualified companies who specialize
in these areas," the statement said. "Each of these major contractors
was required to have and adhere to their safety plan, as well as having
a safety officer on site during the performance of their work. Safety
personnel from all major contractors and O&G regularly perform
safety inspections on the site."
Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 777 released a statement Wednesday
saying that the union has established a fund to accept donations for
their three members — Crabb, Dobratz and Chepulis — who were killed in
the explosion. The union said two members remain hospitalized with
injuries. It also said it will not discuss the explosion further.
Those who worked on the plant and are now unemployed and can't get
their equipment can call a special phone number — 860-566-5790 — to
file unemployment claims.
•Courant staff writer David Owens
contributed to this story.
Copyright © 2010, The Hartford Courant
Page last updated at 23:19 GMT, Sunday,
7 February 2010
Connecticut power plant gas
explosion kills five people
The 620MW Kleen Energy plant was due to come
online in the summer
A huge explosion has rocked a power plant in
the US state of Connecticut, killing at least five people and injuring
12, the local mayor has said.
Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said it was caused by a
People living up to 50km (30 miles) away reported that their
homes were shaken by the blast at the Kleen Energy plant, being built
There are reports of people trapped under the remains of a
plant building, and a rescue operation is under way.
Search experts and specialist dog teams were at the site
combing through the wreckage, the mayor said.
Speaking at a news conference on Sunday evening, Mr Giuliano
said that the identities of the dead had not yet been released as some
of the victim's families had not yet been informed.
Mr Giuliano said the plant, which was only 95% complete and
due to open fully in the summer, was undergoing a series of gas tests
when the explosion occurred.
He said between 100 and 200 people worked on the massive
site, and were employed by multiple contracting companies.
"How many people were here today - that's the number they
can't really nail down. They were purging gas lines all night long,
most people were evacuated from the building when they ran the tests,"
Mr Giuliano said.
The plant is located to the south of the town, on the
Earlier, deputy fire marshall Al Santostefano said there were
some 50 construction workers on the site at the time of the explosion.
At least 100 firefighters were sent to the scene and it had
taken them an hour to contain the fire caused by the blast, he said.
Officials say there is no further danger to the public, and
have not evacuated the area. The plant, however, remains cordoned off.
The nearby Middlesex Hospital told the Associated Press it
had received 11 victims, while the hospital in the state capital,
Hartford, has treated three others.
'Gas line test'
Mr Santostefano said a natural gas pipeline running near the
plant had exploded at 1117 (1617 GMT) sending a shockwave that one
local resident compared to an earthquake.
"We heard such a loud explosion and the dog was outside and I
heard her bark. And then when we went outside we saw a very big
explosion of bright orange flame between the two smoke stacks," Lynn
Townsend told the Associated Press.
"It really shook the house and everybody was scared and the
kids started to cry because they did not know if the house was going to
Fighting through tears, plant worker Paul Venti said: "It's
just horrible. All I know is I lost some union brothers. They are some
close close personal friends. It's horrible. They were working. They
"I just heard there was a gas explosion and I'm getting all
kinds of phone calls from union brothers. We got some people up there
they got little kids that are at home and we lost them."
From the New York
Post (l)...and Associated Press
Click here to view
Jan. 15, 2010 report to the CT Siting Council.
And now there is the forensic analysis of how this disaster happened
and why. And how to prevent it from being replicated.
Middletown Power Plant Explosion: Focus On Worker's Torch
By JOSH KOVNER and
DAVE ALTIMARI, The Hartford Courant
1:10 PM EST, February 9, 2010
Investigators are focusing on a welder's torch as the possible cause of
Sunday's deadly blast at the Kleen Energy Systems power plant, sources
The explosion that killed five and hospitalized 27 people occurred
immediately after the purging, or cleaning, of the underground natural
gas pipeline that runs about 800 to 1,000 feet through the plant.
Sources familiar with the probe and with the purging operation said
that welding work wasn't entirely halted during or immediately after
the purging Sunday morning. That operation can result in an
accumulation of natural gas that must be vented from rooms and
enclosures before ignition sources, such as a welder's torch, can be
safely introduced, experts said.
Fran Walters, of Florissant, Mo., wife of Chris Walters, a safety
manager who died in the blast, said a police officer told her, "The
building was full of gas and before they could do anything, it was too
Several sources said a purge was conducted Saturday without incident.
The plant was 96 percent complete and was being readied for a summer
Sunday's blast blew a construction trailer 40 feet into the air and was
heard and felt for miles. Several sources said there were also
industrial space heaters inside the otherwise heatless building.
"Why have people inside the building when doing this test?" U.S. Rep.
Joe Courtney said Monday. "You're just asking for trouble."
Courtney visited the blast scene Monday, just as state personnel were
preparing to remove some of the bodies from the area. He said members
of trade unions who had gathered at the site were allowed to escort
their fallen brothers out of the ravaged power plant."They moved in
while we were getting briefed. It was such a moving scene. It hurt
literally just seeing it," Courtney said.
State and Middletown police have control of the site and have a warrant
to search the area and seize evidence. Courtney said officials were
treating the plant as a crime scene for the purpose of limiting access
to the blast area as the search for the cause and origin of the blast
"The big thing is to be able to tell the families what the hell
happened out there," said one official.
Lawyers representing the Kleen Energy plant had told state regulators
in a Jan. 15 letter that the official opening of the plant, or the
"commercial operation date," was Nov. 30, 2010. But the letter, by
lawyers from Pullman & Comley to the Connecticut Siting Council,
went on to say that project officials were estimating that the plant
would be open by this summer.
New London attorney Robert Reardon, who is representing one of the
injured pipefitters, said subcontractors had been working seven days a
week recently to meet a late spring, early summer deadline.
"They were under tremendous pressure to get the plant finished,"
Reardon said Monday. "There was a rush to finish, and they were told,
'We have to get this done.'"
A separate state inquiry will focus on worker safety and other labor,
training, permitting and supervision issues at the site, Gov. M. Jodi
Rell announced Monday.
Deputy Middletown Fire Marshal Al Santostefano said the main
investigation, being conducted by multiple city, state, and federal
agencies, including the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health
Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and
Explosives, will explore whether other ignition sources were present
during and after the purging.
"It's going to try to determine whether all electricity was shut down
as a precaution, workers moved from the area — all of those issues,"
Inspectors with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board will be looking closely
at whether the purging of natural gas contributed to the explosion. The
inspectors, who are civilians, were initially barred from the scene,
but Santostefano said Monday evening they are now part of the probe.
O&G Industries of Torrington is the general contractor building the
plant, and principal David Oneglia is also a partner in the ownership
of the plant.
In November, O&G paid a $1,000 fine for not meeting standards for
recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses, according
to OSHA records. The violation is in the least serious category of
violations, an OSHA spokesman said.
William Corvo, a principal partner in the Kleen Energy project,
declined Monday to answer questions about safety protocols or provide
details of the purging operation.
"We're focused now on the human side," said Corvo, who was the face of
the project in Middletown and in Connecticut during the seven-year
process to win permits, capacity contracts and about $1 billion in
financing. "We have people who were hurt, people who were killed. We're
worried about the families."
Kleen Energy's natural gas line connects to the Algonquin pipeline's
meter station at the base of the power plant site. The Algonquin line
is part of a national gas transmission system. The utility extended its
local line about 1.5 miles and constructed the meter station to
accommodate the project, said Algonquin spokeswoman Toni Beck.
"We introduced natural gas to the lateral and to the meter station in
November," said Beck. "Since then, Kleen Energy was taking flows as
they commissioned the plant."
She declined to say how much natural gas the plant was using.
Meanwhile, Congress plans to hold a hearing on the Kleen Energy
U.S. Reps. Courntey, Rosa DeLauro, and John Larson said in a statement
Monday that they have received a commitment for a hearing from House
Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller.
They made the request after surveying the blast scene.
Courtney said it was "imperative that we review what went wrong and to
make sure that all appropriate measures are put in place to prevent
this type of catastrophe from happening again."
Rell on Monday said she was assembling a panel of state agencies to be
chaired by Senior U.S. District Judge Alan H. Nevas "to identify the
cause and origin of the Kleen Energy power plant explosion in
Middletown on Sunday, including any potential contributing factors"
such as construction problems, worker-safety issues, the adequacy of
the on-site supervision, and issues of training, licensing, and
Rell said a second group of state agencies, local officials and experts
will review the disaster and the findings of the Nevas-led panel and
other investigations. The second panel will determine whether any
changes should be made to Connecticut laws, state and local regulations
or building and fire codes to protect both workers and residents living
in the areas surrounding construction projects.
"Our response to the Middletown explosion must follow two distinct but
critical paths," Rell said in a statement. "We must first identify what
went wrong and then determine every measure we can take to prevent
future catastrophes. The reviews must be thorough, impartial and swift.
And if there are concrete steps we can take in the meantime, we must be
equally swift in putting those new measures into place."
Courant staff writers David Owens,
Daniela Altimari and Ken Gosselin contributed to this story.
Copyright © 2010, The Hartford
Kleen Energy plant's promise of lower
energy costs put on hold
By Patricia Daddona Day Staff Writer
Article published Feb 9, 2010
The future of the Middletown Kleen Energy power plant, ravaged by an
explosion on Sunday, is now on the shelf, and with it a promise of
reduced energy costs in Connecticut.
A criminal investigation into the accident is under way, and a safety
review and hearings by state officials and Congress are being sought.
As those probes begin, prospects for Kleen Energy Systems LLC and its
largest investor, Energy Investors Funds of Boston and San Francisco,
to rebuild the plant remain unclear.
Consumers will not feel any impact from the devastating loss associated
with Sunday's explosion because the plant had not yet begun to generate
electricity. Moreover, the supply it is intended to provide would be
largely surplus power, aimed at a market that is already projected to
handle the load through mid-2011, at least.
The largest and only power plant of its type being built in Connecticut
today, the 620-megawatt gas-and-oil fired generator of electricity is
designed to run around the clock or when needed, said Erin O'Brien, a
spokeswoman with ISO New England. It was on track to operate as soon as
May, according to the Connecticut Siting Council.
As such, the plant was expected to help alleviate a longstanding energy
bottleneck caused by high demand in southwestern Connecticut and even
may have led to cheaper prices in Connecticut and New England, energy
experts said Monday.
A megawatt produces enough electricity to power about 500 homes, said
Derek Phelps, executive director of the Siting Council, which granted
the plant a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need.
That would mean the plant could have generated enough electricity to
power about 310,000 homes.
Connecticut Light & Power had a contract with Kleen Energy to buy
its electricity. The plant, which had been under construction since
2007 by O&G Industries of Torrington, was more than 95 percent
complete when the explosion occurred Sunday.
"The loss or delay of this facility will have no impact on supply or
the price of power for CL&P customers," which number about 1.2
million, said CL&P spokesman Mitch Gross. "We've already bought all
of our power for 2010 and purchased most of our power for 2011. We've
also gone out looking for 2012 (supplies) already."
The electricity the Kleen Energy plant would have provided and may yet
provide would have been in excess of what is currently needed daily to
power Connecticut, O'Brien said.
ISO New England is the regional manager of New England's bulk-power
generation and transmission system, overseeing planning and fair
administration of wholesale electricity markets to ensure reliability.
"Our projections at this time show we have some surplus (electricity)
that's anticipated to be available in the mid-2011 time frame," said
O'Brien. "We're assessing the long-term impact more fully."
Nonetheless, state Sen. John Fonfara, co-chair of the legislature's
Energy Committee, said the plant is "very much needed" and was counted
on to boost capacity on the power grid and help keep down energy prices.
Energy efficiency programs and improvements to transmission services
have already helped alleviate congestion and lower consumer costs,
O'Brien said, but she acknowledged that ample supplies would generally
tend to reduce demand and lower prices further.
The Kleen Energy power plant was the largest of a variety of projects
approved by the state Department of Public Utility Control to add
capacity in the state, said DPUC spokesman Phil Dukes.
Connecticut has more than 7,900 megawatts of electricity at its
disposal and about 25 percent of total capacity in all of New England,
O'Brien said. To date, 30 percent is supplied by natural gas, 33
percent by oil, 26 percent by nuclear reactors, 7 percent with coal and
1 percent with hydro-electric power, she said.
The power plant was not required to be operational until November, with
supplies of electricity not expected to be handled by ISO New England
until June of 2011, O'Brien said.
Late Monday, the Fitch ratings service placed the loan terms for Kleen
Energy Systems LLC on a negative ratings watch. "Fitch believes the
accident may prevent Kleen from achieving the sponsor's originally
projected completion date, and the length of the delay cannot be
estimated at this time," the ratings agency said.
Energy Investors Funds said in a statement it is cooperating with
authorities. EIF is the private equity fund manager that raised $985
million in financing to build the facility.
"Energy Investors Funds wishes to express our enormous sympathy and
concern for the workers at the Kleen Energy plant and their families.
We strongly value their contributions, efforts and dedication," the
private equity group said.
An Associated Press report was used
in this story.
Focusing On Safety Issues
Josh Kovner, The Hartford Courant
2:29 PM EST, February 8, 2010
Possible gaps in safety protocols at the Kleen Energy power plant are
at the center of the investigation into Sunday's blast that killed five
and injured 12. It occurred during the always-dangerous process of
purging, or cleaning, of the underground, high-pressure natural-gas
pipeline that runs about 800 to 1,000 feet through the facility.
Sources familiar with the purging operation and the construction and
maintenance of the Kleen Energy pipeline reported these concerns to The
• That welding operations weren't entirely halted and other ignition
sources may have been present during the purging Sunday morning;
• That the area wasn't completely cleared of workers and vehicles
during the operation;
• Clutter and other safety issues at the site had delayed the purging
operation for a short time and caused it to be re-scheduled to Sunday;
• That high-pressure natural gas was used to purge the pipe, as opposed
to non-flammable nitrogen, which had been used for other operations at
• That the fill material covering the pipe was not compacted to a
Deputy Middletown Fire Marshal Al Santostefano said the investigation
-- being conducted by multiple city, state, and federal agencies,
including the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and
the U.S. Chemical Safety Board -- will focus in particular on whether
there were other ignition sources present during the purging.
"It's going to try to determine whether all electricity was shut down
as a precaution, workers moved from the area -- all of those issues,''
Santostefano said. He said he did not yet know what type of gas was
used to purge the gas line.
Investigators with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board will be looking
closely at whether the purging of natural gas contributed to the
"Reports indicate that this may have involved gas purging,'' said
spokesman Daniel Horowitz said. "This is an issue the board is very
concerned about.'' The board recently issued safety recommendations
concerning purging after investigating the natural-gas explosion in
June 2009 at the ConAgra Slim Jim production facility in Garner, N.C.,
which caused four deaths, three critical life-threatening burn
injuries, and other injuries that sent a total of 67 people to the
Santostefano said authorities believe many of those on the site at the
time of the explosion worked for O&G Industries of Torrington, the
general contractor building the plant, which was more than 95 percent
In November, O&G paid a $1,000 fine for not meeting standards for
recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses, according
to OSHA records. The violation is in the least serious category of
violations, an OSHA spokesman said.
The Middletown explosion is the most serious incident of its type in
the country in at least a year, Horowitz said.
William Corvo, a principal partner in the Kleen Energy Project,
declined this morning to answer questions about safety protocols or
provide details of the purging operation.
"We're focused now on the human side,'' said Corvo, who was the face of
the project in Middletown and in Connecticut during the seven-year
process to win permits, capacity contracts, and about $1 billion in
financing. "We have people who were hurt, people who were killed. We're
worried about the families.
Kleen Energy's natural-gas line connects to the Algonquin pipeline's
meter station at the base of the power-plant site. The Algonquin line
is part of a national gas-transmission system. The utility extended its
local line about 1.5 miles and constructed the meter station to
accommodate the project, said Algonquin spokeswoman Toni Beck.
"We introduced natural gas to the lateral and to the meter station in
November,'' said Beck. "Since then, Kleen Energy was taking flows as
they commissioned the plant.''
She declined to say how much natural gas the plant was using.
Courant Staff Writers Daniela Altimari and Ken Gosselin contributed to
Copyright © 2010, The Hartford Courant
Cause of Middletown blast
By Lee Howard
Publication: The Day
Published 02/08/2010 12:00 AM
Updated 02/08/2010 10:38 AM
Middletown - A routine cleaning procedure preceded a huge explosion and
fire Sunday morning that destroyed a natural gas plant under
construction here, leaving five people dead and 12 injured.
One of those killed was 58-year Raymond Dobratz of Old Saybrook, who
was working as a pipefitter supervisor. He was flown by Life Star
helicopter to Hartford Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano said during a news conference at nearby
Woodrow Wilson Middle School late Sunday afternoon that as many as 200
people had been working at different points during the day at the
620-megawatt plant. The plant, which is owned by Kleen Energy Systems,
was constructed to be one of the cleanest natural gas-fired power
facilities in the world.
It was unclear how many people were at the plant at the time of the
explosion. Officials said Sunday night that no one was known to be
missing but that firefighters would continue to comb through the
destroyed building overnight in case there are any other victims.
"Something ignited the gas," said Giuliano, who felt the ground shake
in downtown Middletown during the blast, which he likened to a sonic
Residents as far away as Mystic reported that they felt or heard the
The explosion occurred as power-plant personnel tried to clean two of
the site's gas lines, said state Sen. Thomas Gaffey, D-Meriden. He said
standard procedure is to reduce the number of people on site at the
time of the gas-line purge, a protocol that may have reduced the
Gaffey said workers on site most likely would have included
pipefitters, plumbers and electricians. During the week, as many as 300
or 400 workers are on site, said Gaffey, who estimated the
multimillion-dollar plant, which was scheduled for completion in the
next few months, was about 95 percent finished.
The exterior of the power plant was largely destroyed, with the blast
exposing the innards of the facility. No estimate was given for the
"What used to be siding was hanging off like strips of ribbon,"
Nearby homes, he added, exhibited earthquake-like damage, such as
crumbling walls, broken windows and cracks in the roofs. No one,
however, had to be evacuated.
Marc Fongemie, deputy chief of operations for one of the Middletown
fire departments, said the search-and-rescue operation was being
extended to a range that included the farthest spot where debris was
located. Police blocked off roads so no one could get to the blast site.
This isn't the first time a natural-gas explosion has occurred during a
Just last year in Garner, N.C., three people were killed, four others
were critically burned and 71 went to the hospital when a blast at a
Slim Jim meat processing plant owned by ConAgra Foods occurred during a
similar procedure. Another problem during a gas-purging operation
occurred in 2008 at a Hilton Hotel in San Diego, injuring 14.
Both of these purging procedures were linked to venting gas indoors
"without proper monitoring or safeguards," leading the U.S. Chemical
Safety Board to issue a safety bulletin, according to an article in
Occupational Health & Safety magazine.
Officials said it was unclear what led to Sunday's blast. A formal
investigation will begin today, Deputy Fire Marshal Al Santostefano
told The Associated Press.
The contractor on the project was listed as O&G Industries, a
Torrington company that has been involved in many local projects,
including building several schools in Waterford.
Other subcontractors were also at the Middletown plant, according to
officials, creating initial confusion about how many people were on the
site at the time of the blast.
Guiliano stressed that the 11:19 a.m. explosion was the result of an
industrial accident, not terrorism. Officials said the names of those
killed would be released after their next of kin were notified.
The Red Cross has set up a hotline for families to get information
about victims at (860) 347-2577. Other agencies involved in the
operation included the Department of Homeland Security, Connecticut
State Police and the federal Occupational Health and Safety
Administration, as well as many fire departments and emergency medical
responders around Connecticut.
Giuliano said he knows some victims were taken to Middlesex Hospital.
Two victims were transported to Hartford Hospital.
Injuries were described as ranging from minor to potentially
Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who went to the scene, activated the Emergency
Operations Center in Hartford.
"I thank the many first responders who are braving the very cold and
windy conditions," Rell said.
Rell announced a temporary no-fly zone over the site of the plant
explosion "because of the instability of the heavily damaged building."
The flight restrictions are in effect until 5:21 p.m. today.
The Kleen Energy Systems plant, located at 1349 River Road, is on a
prime piece of land on a hilltop overlooking the Connecticut River. The
fire could be seen for miles around, officials said.
Numerous residents in southeastern Connecticut reported hearing the
explosion and feeling their houses shake.
"I thought a tree fell on the garage," said Kathy Pagani of Ledyard. "I
can't believe it was so far away for me to have felt it and heard it
here in Ledyard."
Bob Walter of Colchester was in his basement doing some work at the
time and thought it was a short tremor.
"We've had them out here before," he said. "But I was shocked when I
heard that it was the accident in Middletown and thought to myself that
was one heck of an explosion."
Kleen Energy Systems is controlled by Energy Investors Funds Group,
according to a report on Bloomberg.com. The plant had a 15-year
contract to provide enough electricity to Northeast Utilities to fuel
about half a million homes, according to a summary of its project found
Algonquin Gas Transmission Co. is the gas supplier to the plant,
according to Bloomberg.
connection - O&G was construction manager of our school/fields $79
million plus bond issue projects
Power plant project beset by controversy
By Rob Varnon, STAFF WRITER
Published: 11:31 p.m., Sunday, February 7, 2010
The Middletown power plant that exploded Sunday morning, killing at
least five and injuring more than a dozen people, was still under
construction and already a controversial project in the region.
O&G Industries, a statewide construction company, was in charge of
building the Kleen Energy plant on River Road.
A woman answering the phone early Sunday afternoon at O&G's
Torrington headquarters said there was no one there to officially
answer questions and that everything is "crazy right now."
The facility is listed on O&G's Web site as a 620-megawatt
gas-fired power plant. That would be enough power to serve as many as
The facility's backup fuel is oil. The plant was slated to become
operational this September, but a filing by the project team from
January said construction was ahead of schedule and the plant could be
on line in the summer. The plant itself sits near the banks of the
O&G has been involved in the project since it first made its way
through the local and state permitting process in 2002.
But the plant was controversial from conception mainly on environmental
grounds, though some questioned the involvement of the primary
developer, Philip Armetta, a politically connected businessman.
In 2006, Armetta was indicted by a federal grand jury alongside other
owners of trash hauling businesses as part of the same federal
investigation that involved James Galante, of Danbury.
On April 27, 2007, Armetta, then 76, pleaded guilty to one felony count
of evading federal banking laws. He made multiple transactions of less
than $10,000 to try to skirt mandatory reporting requirements. He was
sentenced in December of that year to two months in prison and two
years of probation.
While there were some grumblings in the community, going back to 2002,
about Armetta's involvement, the main objections focused on
There was little said about safety.
But environmentalists were concerned about spills of fuel or other
discharge, especially into the Connecticut River.
One group gathered 600 names opposing the plant in 2002 because of
concerns about the impact on wetlands in the area and whether it would
limit access to nature trails running through the Maromas area.
Maromas is a hilly area in Middletown with several trails popular with
mountain bikers and hikers.
Despite objections, the project cleared zoning, wetlands and the City
Council by large majorities, though one councilman at the time, Earle
V. Roberts Jr., voted against the project. Roberts had a home in the
Maromas area at the time, but a number is no longer listed for him.
One of the key reasons the plant was approved by the Connecticut Siting
Council in 2002 was in anticipation of providing electricity to
Fairfield County via the new 345-kilovolt electricity line built by
Connecticut Light & Power Co. and United Illuminating Co. That line
was only being proposed at the time, but it has since been built and
gone into service.
There have been several new plants approved in the state since 2002,
including expansion projects in Bridgeport and Milford.
Gas blast at Conn. power plant kills
at least 5
By PAT EATON-ROBB and JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated
Feb. 7, 2010
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – An explosion that sounded like a sonic boom blew
out walls of an unfinished power plant and set off a fire during a test
of natural gas lines Sunday, killing at least five workers, injuring a
dozen or more and leaving crews picking through debris for more
possible victims. At least 12 people were injured in the
explosion at the Kleen Energy Systems plant in Middletown, about 20
miles south of Hartford. Crews with dogs were still searching the
rubble as darkness fell over the plant, on a wooded hill along the
It wasn't clear how many people, if any, were still buried. Deputy Fire
Marshal Al Santostefano told The Associated Press that 50 to 60 people
were in the area at the time of the explosion, but authorities said
multiple contractors were working on the project, making it difficult
to pinpoint how many people were missing.
"I think a majority of them did survive," Santostefano said. "Most of
them did walk away."
The explosion left huge pieces of metal that once encased the plant
peeling off its sides. A large swath of the structure was blackened and
surrounded by debris, but the building, its roof and its two
smokestacks were still standing. Rescue crews had set up several tents
alongside the site. The explosion happened around 11:15 a.m.,
Santostefano said. Mayor Sebastian Giuliano, who heard the blast,
called it a gas explosion but said the exact cause wasn't immediately
"It felt almost like a sonic boom," Giuliano said at an evening news
The search was focusing in part on who was at the plant at the time of
the explosion. Giuliano said 100 to 200 workers would have been there
on a typical weekday.
"They're trying to figure out who was on the job today and where are
they now," Giuliano said.
One of those killed was Raymond Dobratz, a 57-year-old plumber from Old
Saybrook, said his son, Eric Dobratz, who called the elder man "a great
The 620-megawatt plant, which was almost complete, is being built to
produce energy primarily using natural gas. Santostefano said workers
for the construction company, O&G Industries, were purging the gas
lines, a procedure he called a "blow-down," when the explosion
occurred. The building was still standing, but the blast blew out
the sheet metal that covers its sides.
Lynn Hawley, 54, of Hartland, Conn., told The Associated Press that her
son, Brian Hawley, 36, is a pipefitter at the plant. He called her from
his cell phone to say he was being rushed to Middlesex Hospital.
"He really couldn't say what happened to him," she said. "He was in a
lot of pain, and they got him into surgery as quickly as possible."
She said he had a broken leg and was expected to survive.
Officials had not released the conditions of the other injured people
by Sunday evening, although they said at least a dozen people had
injuries ranging from minor to very serious. The thundering blast
shook houses for miles.
"I felt the house shake, I thought a tree fell on the house," said
Middletown resident Steve Clark.
Barrett Robbins-Pianka, who lives about a mile away and has monitored
the project for years, said she was running outside and heard what she
called "a tremendous boom."
"I thought it might be some test or something, but it was really loud,
a definite explosion," she said.
Work on the plant was 95 percent complete, the mayor said.
Kleen Energy Systems LLC began construction on it in February 2008. It
had signed a capacity deal with Connecticut Light and Power for the
electricity produced by the plant, which was scheduled to be completed
by mid-2010. The company is run by president and former
Middletown City Council member William Corvo. A message left at Corvo's
home was not immediately returned. Calls to Gordon Holk, general
manager of Power Plant Management Services, which has a contract to
manage the plant, weren't immediately returned.
Energy Investors Funds, a private equity fund that indirectly owns a
majority share in the power plant, said it is fully cooperating with
authorities investigating the explosion. In a written statement, the
company offered sympathy and concern and would release more information
on the explosion as it becomes available. Plants powered by
natural gas are taking on a much larger role in generating electricity
for the U.S. Gas emits about half the greenhouse gases of coal-fired
plants and new technology has allowed natural gas companies to begin to
unlock gas supplies that could total more than 100 years at current
Natural gas is used to make about a fifth of the nation's electricity.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell visited the scene Sunday; she earlier called out a
specialized search and rescue team to help firefighters.
The state's Emergency Operations Center in Hartford also was activated,
and the Department of Public Health was called to provide tents at the
scene for shelter and medical triage. Rell said the emergency
teams were expected to work through the night and into Monday.
Daniel Horowitz, a spokesman with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, said
the agency is mobilizing an investigation team from Colorado and hopes
to have the workers on the scene Monday.
Safety board investigators have done extensive work on the issue of gas
line purging since an explosion last year at a Slim Jim factory in
North Carolina killed four people. They've identified other explosions
caused by workers who were unsafely venting gas lines inside buildings.
The board voted last week to recommend that national and international
code writers strengthen their guidelines to require outdoor venting of
gas lines or an approved safety plan to do it indoors.
In February 2009, an explosion at a We Energies coal-fired power plant
near Milwaukee burned six workers. The Occupational Safety and Health
Administration is still investigating.
In the past few years, an explosion at a Dominion Virginia Power
coal-fired plant in Massachusetts killed three workers in November
2007, while one worker and nine others were injured at an American
Electric Power plant of the same type in Beverly, Ohio, in January
Huge Conn. power plant explosion,
Last Updated: 4:12 PM, February 7, 2010
Posted: 12:51 PM, February 7, 2010
A huge explosion at a Connecticut power plant killed at least two
people and caused mass casualties.
Details on the number of injuries and fatalities varied according to
different reports and various officials.
Al Santostefano, Middletown Deputy Fire Marshal told NewsCore that 50
construction workers were at the Kleen Energy power plant when the
explosion occurred. Santostefano confirmed that there were fatalities
and injuries, but could not confirm the number of injured or dead.
He told the Hartford Courant the devastating blast occurred as workers
attempted a "blow down," or purge, of natural gas pipelines. Early
reports are that the cause was a gas leak.
The search and rescue efforts are ongoing, Santostefano told NewsCore.
He said he did not know of any plant workers at the location during the
blast. He also said people may be trapped underneath the rubble and
that emergency officials were conducting search and rescue operations.
The Hartford Courant reported medical rescue personnel as saying that
there were at least two fatalities, and as many as 100 people injured,
including four in critical condition. The paper also reported that as
many as 20 ambulances were on scene and quoted a witness as saying
"there are bodies everywhere."
The Connecticut Post reported that four people were pulled from the
rubble with life-threatening injuries and a source at the scene told
the Post that the death toll will rise beyond two.The Post also
reported a source on scene as saying that the search and rescue
operation had turned into a recovery operation as state police were on
scene with rescue dogs.
Local affiliate WFSB reported that 2 had died and 250 were injured in
Viktoria Sundqvist, managing editor of the local newspaper The Register
Citizen, told Sky News that she had heard a report from an emergency
worker on scene that up to 34 people had died and 100 were wounded.
The power plant is not currently operation. The plant has been under
construction and is not yet online. The plant's general manger Gordon
Holk told WVIT that the plant is a 620 megawatt gas-fired power plant.
Fire officials on scene confirmed that the plant was connected to a
natural gas pipeline.
Police Sgt. Chuck Jacobucci told NewsCore there are mass casualties,
but police don’t know how many people were in the building when the
explosion occurred and if the people were plant employees or
construction workers. Tests were being performed in the plant Sunday
but Jacobucci said he did not know if gas was involved in the tests.
Most of the injured were transported to nearby Middlesex Hospital, but
some have been flown by helicopter to other hospitals, Santostefano
said. Two emergency helicopters, which can transport two passengers
each, have made one trip to hospitals with patients and have returned
to the scene, Santostefano added.
Middletown South Fire District told Fox News earlier that 100 people
were working at the plant at the time of the explosion. Fox News also
reported that the explosion’s impact could be felt as far away as Long
Middletown fire commissioner David Gallitto told NewsCore that two
helicopters were on scene and had transported an unknown number of
injured people to nearby hospitals, Gallitto said.
Santostefano said there were multiple structures on the power plant
site. He said it appears that the explosion took place in the rear of
the largest building, which was entirely damaged.
Local affiliate WTNH reported on-air that a ball of fire could be seen
after the explosion. The station also reported that homes near the
plant have been damaged by the explosion.
HURRICANE SEASON 2009: Always a significant factor in Weston
local elections. Most recent at the top (moving through the
Victims of Maine Wave Are Identified
By LIZ ROBBINS
August 25, 2009
Clio Dahyun Axilrod and her parents had joined the thousands of
visitors on Sunday enthralled by the spectacular waves fueled by
Hurricane Bill that were breaking off the Atlantic Coast of Acadia
National Park in Maine.
But as one series of waves crashed off the rocky cliffs about 350 feet
south of the popular Thunder Hole, the family, from New York City,
recognized the danger, turned around and headed up a diagonal path
toward the roadway.
They were about 40 feet from the main road, Ocean Drive, witnesses told
a park ranger, when a 20-foot-high swell exploded into the air,
sweeping Clio, 7; her father, Peter J. Axilrod, 55, and five other
people out to sea. Clio’s mother, Sandra M. Kuhach, 51, was knocked to
the ground and seriously injured. Officials say at least 13 people were
hit by the giant wave and 16 were admitted to Mount Desert Island
Hospital in Bar Harbor, Me., with injuries.
Four of those who were dragged into the ocean were able to make it out
on their own from the 55-degree water to safety, said a Coast Guard
spokesman, Chief Petty Officer Christopher Wheeler.
About an hour after the wave carried him into the ocean, Mr. Axilrod
was rescued by the Coast Guard in a 47-foot lifeboat.
A 12-year-old girl, Simone Pelletier of Belfast, Me., was also brought
to safety by the Coast Guard, and taken to Mount Desert Island Hospital
with non-life-threatening injuries.
But it took rescuers more than three hours to find Clio, whose lifeless
body was located about a half-mile from shore. She died from drowning,
the Maine Marine Patrol said Monday.
Her parents remained hospitalized at Eastern Maine Medical Center, a
patrol spokesman said in a news release. The family lives on the Upper
East Side of Manhattan.
Acadia National Park’s chief ranger, Stuart West, recounted on Monday
how a sunny summer weekend day suddenly turned tragic.
Earlier Sunday, park officials had closed off the paved walkway and
series of interlocking gates that led to viewing stations at Thunder
Hole, an inlet with a submerged cave that is known to produce booming,
plumelike waves. On Friday signs warning visitors were posted there and
on Sand Beach, just to the north.
But Mr. West said that the bedrock path in the undeveloped area south
of Thunder Hole was not closed. “We didn’t close off all the rock
areas,” he said. “I don’t think there was a need for it. The fact that
there was high surf, and the good weather, it was like a bug to a
light. People were going to go no matter what.”
Ten park rangers were on duty Sunday morning, he said, with others
reporting throughout the day to monitor the conditions and the park
crowd, which numbered about 10,000 throughout the day.
“If you close off an area, people are going to spill into another
area,” Mr. West said. “And if we keep those areas contained, and stack
them full of rangers, that way we can have an immediate response, which
is what happened.”
Mr. West said he did not know whether a park ranger had warned the
victims and it was unclear if they had seen the warning signs in nearby
Park rangers learned from the Coast Guard, Mr. West said, that the
waves, about 15 feet high, were arriving at 16-second intervals, about
two hours before high tide. The penultimate wave in the fatal series
landed at the ankles of observers on the rocks. The one after that was
unlike all the rest.
“Nature is forceful and unpredictable — and it just moves us to pay
close attention to where we are,” said Mr. West, who was at Schoodic
Point, another beach on the mainland part of the park, when the
accident occurred. “You could tell people to step back, but they didn’t
register how dangerous the waves were.”
“All I can say,” he added, “is that we do the best we can to educate
the public. They are ultimately responsible for their safety and their
By Monday, the number of visitors along Ocean Drive had dwindled, along
with the size of the waves. The ocean near Acadia had calmed as
Hurricane Bill, which had been downgraded to a tropical storm when it
hit off the coast of Cape Cod late Saturday, had moved far east into
Bermuda, US coast warned as Bill stays offshore
By MATT SEDENSKY, Associated Press Writer
Posted on Aug 21, 7:56 AM EDT
MIAMI (AP) -- Hurricane Bill weakened slightly early Friday but
threatened to flood Bermuda's coastlines and generate dangerous waves
and riptides along the eastern U.S. coast.
The Category 3 storm's maximum sustained winds lost a little
to near 115 mph, from 125 mph late Thursday. Forecasters said the
hurricane was becoming less organized but could still regain some
strength. The storm was forecast to start gradually weakening Saturday.
Bill was expected to cause significant flooding along the
coastlines Friday and Saturday and Bermuda issued a tropical storm
Along the eastern U.S. coast, waves of 20 feet and more offshore
rip currents at the beach are expected over one of the summer's last
weekends. Forecasters warned boaters and swimmers from northeastern
Florida to New England because of incoming swells as Bill passes far
out to sea on a northward track for Canada's Maritime provinces...
Hurricane Bill Looms in
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 19, 2009Filed at 2:22 p.m. ET
MIAMI (AP) -- Hurricane Bill howled over the open Atlantic as a
dangerous Category 4 storm Wednesday, and it could be energized by
warmer waters as it moves north.
Forecasters said Bill should begin pushing large swells toward
and parts of the southeastern U.S. coast by the weekend, but it wasn't
yet clear how close the storm will come to land.
The National Hurricane Center also said people in the Leeward
should keep an eye on the storm, though its core was expected to pass
well to the northeast of the chain in the next 24 hours. Fishermen in
Antigua were advised to dock their boats.
As strong as Bill already is, it could get stronger because it's
traveling into warmer waters in the Atlantic that could intensify the
storm, said senior hurricane specialist Lixion Avila.
''The warm ocean is like the fuel for car,'' Avila said
you get high octane gas you get more power -- that's what warmer water
Bill was maintaining a top wind speed of 135 mph Wednesday,
it became a Category 4 storm, and forecasters said it could get
stronger. The storm's center was located 380 miles east of the Leeward
Islands -- or nearly 1,400 miles southeast of Miami -- and it was
moving west-northwest near 18 mph.
The most significant threat could be to Bermuda, which the storm
pass in three or four days, forecasters said. But it also could move
directly between Bermuda and the eastern coast of the U.S. without
It was too early to tell if Bill would veer close to shore over
weekend or swing away from the East Coast of the U.S., but the five-day
forecast predicted its center would pass well offshore of the North
Carolina-Virginia line Saturday.
A cold front was expected to turn Bill to the northeast, but it
clear when that would happen, Blake said.
CODE RED "FAQ".
What do you think CODE RED does
for you as a Weston citizen? The FAQ answered our
questions! Click above, on "FAQ"
Redoubt settles a bit but is building
dome...we all know what that can mean, based upon Hollywood versions of
this natural act.
AIR TRAFFIC: Ups and fedex reroute some flights to outside hubs.
By JAMES HALPIN and
Mount Redoubt continued blowing gas, steam and ash Wednesday as
officials worked on plans to forestall risks to the oil tanks at the
Drift River terminal, located in the volcano's shadow.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory reported continuing weak volcanic
tremors and with occasional small earthquakes taking place on the
stratovolcano about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage.
A continuous ash plume reaching about 14,000 feet above sea level was
being pushed by easterly winds that shifted in the afternoon. No
ashfall alerts were in effect, with most of the fallout taking place
near the volcano.
Scientists say the volcano could continue smoldering for days or weeks
before settling down. A dome appears to be forming from cooling lava in
Redoubt's crater and scientists were continuing to warn explosive
activity could continue.
"I would imagine we'll get some further large event," said geophysicist
and field engineer Cyrus Read. "I think the likelihood is that we will
in the form of a dome collapse."
The volcano has caused some significant snags for air traffic, although
Wednesday passenger flights appeared to mostly be moving as scheduled.
But some major cargo carriers were redirecting some of their traffic.
FedEx spokeswoman Sally Davenport said the company has cut back work
hours in Anchorage but all employees are still receiving their
paychecks. FedEx is still bringing cargo planes to Alaska for local
shipments but most of the cargo flights to and from Asia that land in
Anchorage are being routed through Oakland instead.
UPS has sent some of its Anchorage employees home without pay due to
the volcanic unrest but is bringing them back in when there are
packages to sort, said spokesman Michael Mangeot. UPS moved most of its
international cargo flights to temporary hubs in Portland, Seattle and
Honolulu but is still making deliveries to Anchorage.
Concern for the Drift River oil terminal also continued. There are 6
million gallons of oil currently stored in the river's floodplain, and
four workers were on site Wednesday clearing up mud and debris, paving
the way for larger crews to arrive, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Sara
The area got a soaking after a large eruption March 23 launched a
mudslide, but a $20 million dike installed at the terminal after
Redoubt's last eruption in 1989 has so far held steady in protecting
the tanks and their contents from disaster.
A unified command consisting of the Alaska Department of Environmental
Conservation, the Coast Guard and Cook Inlet Pipeline Co. that was
established over the weekend to handle the response was still
developing plans for getting a tanker to the terminal dock, about a
mile offshore, to unload some of the oil, Francis said.
A Tesoro tanker was being eyed for the operation and officials were
trying to schedule a window for it to get there, she said.
dumps ash in Su Valley
Alaska Daily News
By GEORGE BRYSON, firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: March 23rd, 2009 08:19 AM Last Modified: March 23rd,
2009 09:13 AM
An erupting Mount Redoubt exploded again at 4:31 this morning -- its
fifth and strongest discharge yet -- sending an ash cloud to new
heights, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported. Ash has now
detected at 60,000 feet above sea level, the National Weather Service
reported. Mid-level winds are still carrying the ash plume north
the Susitna Valley, and minor ash fall has been reported in Skwentna,
Willow, Trapper Creek and Talkeetna, according to the Weather Service,
the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and eyewitness reports.
High-elevation winds above 40,000 feet are beginning to veer toward
Anchorage, but no ash is expected to fall on Alaska's largest city at
this time, Bob Hopkins, meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather
Service office in Anchorage said.
"Eight miles up -- that's going to stay there," Hopkins said. "But that
will affect aircraft at that altitude."
It's the lower-elevation winds -- between 10,000 and 20,000 feet,
currently blowing north by northeast -- that are most likely to carry
ash to the ground, Hopkins said. In the Su Valley, the ash fall
being described as fine gray dust.
"It's coming down," Rita Jackson, 56, said early this morning at a
24-hour grocery store in Willow. She slid her fingers across the hood
of her car through a dusting of ash.
She was taking a sip of coffee when she tasted something funny on her
lips, Jackson told The Associated Press. It was ash. She said she then
hurried home to get a motorcycle, snowmachine and vehicles under
protective blue tarps. Redoubt began erupting Sunday night, with
first explosion coming at 10:38 p.m., followed by another at 11:02
p.m., a third at 12:14 a.m. and a fourth at 1:39 a.m., the AVO
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport remains open, although some
airlines have canceled or diverted flights. Alaska Airlines reported
canceling 19 flights in and out of Anchorage because of the ash.
Elmendorf Air Force Base reported that 60 planes, including fighter
jets, cargo aircraft and a 747 commercial plane, are being sheltered.
The base initially ordered only essential personnel to report for duty;
that was later changed to all personnel reporting at 8 a.m.
School is in session in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Borough. Mount
Redoubt, a 10,197-foot stratovolcano 100 miles southwest of Anchorage,
last erupted during a fourth-month period in 1989-90. Its recent period
of volcanic unrest began Jan. 25.
An official with the Federal Aviation Administration at the Anchorage
airport early Monday said there were no immediate plans to close the
airport. The Weather Service advised people in areas of ash fall
seal windows and doors, protect electronics and cover air intakes and
open water supplies as well as minimize driving.
The AVO staff also warned authorities at the Drift River Oil Terminal
-- on the western shore of Cook Inlet downriver from the volcano --
that mud flows and flooding from melting glaciers might be headed their
way. Cook Inlet Pipe Line Co., which operates the terminal, said
this morning that it had begun shutting the facility down.
At a 3 a.m. press conference today, John Powers of AVO said given the
hot material landing on snow, mud and snow slides could be expected and
staff would check the Drift River area at first light today.
Protective dikes have been constructed at the terminal since Redoubt
last erupted nearly 20 years ago. Powers also said -- looking at
history of Redoubt eruptions -- that this event could be expected to go
on for some time, even months. The eruption has apparently
transmissions from the observatory's webcam inside a hut near the
volcano, AVO geophysicist Peter Cervelli said. For two hours
the eruption, AVO scientists reported heightened seismicity at Redoubt
and warned there could be a quick escalation to eruptive activity.
The volcano had been on orange "watch" status for most of Sunday after
activity began increasing Saturday, but was changed to red after the
Selectmen, adding item
to agenda on April 24, 2008, approves application for "STOCS box"
grant. This stands for "statewide tactical on-scene communication
system." MOA (memorandum of agreement) between Town of Weston and
CPR made easier: Hands on, mouth off
AMANDA CUDA email@example.com
Article Last Updated: 04/08/2008 07:36:19 PM EDT
When Gloria Bindelglass teaches CPR, she sometimes runs into students
who are reticent about conventional methods of lifesaving — namely
putting their lips on those of a stranger, and breathing into said
"They say 'Eww! I don't feel comfortable doing mouth-to-mouth," said
Bindelglass, a clinical nurse educator at Bridgeport Hospital.
In addition to the "ick" factor, she said, the procedure is tricky —
involving alternating compressing the victim's chest with breathing
into his or her mouth — and many worried that they would make a mistake.
Bindelglass urged students that, if they witnessed someone collapse
from cardiac arrest, they shouldn't stand idly by. But that didn't mean
they were obligated to do the dreaded mouth-to-mouth, either.
Instead, she encouraged them to just do the chest compression portion
of CPR. In this procedure, all that's required is to push hard and fast
on the center of the chest. And, of course, to call 911 for medical
True, it's not quite as good as mouth-to-mouth, Bindelglass said, but
it's "better to do something than nothing."
The American Heart Association agrees. Last week, the association
announced that chest compressions alone, or hands-only CPR, can be used
to help someone who collapses from sudden cardiac arrest. Previously,
the heart association emphasized full, conventional CPR as the gold
standard of intervention, and recommended that bystanders only use
chest compressions alone if they were unable or unwilling to provide
breaths. Now, the association is revising its guidelines to put
hands-only CPR on par with the conventional method in cases where
someone has suddenly collapsed from cardiac arrest.
The heart association issued the statement about hands-only hoping to
increase the number of bystanders who respond to cardiac arrest
collapses. According to the association, about 310,000 adults in the
United States die each year from sudden cardiac arrest occurring
outside a hospital or emergency setting. Though receiving CPR can
double or triple someone's chance of surviving sudden cardiac arrest,
less than one third of out-of-hospital victims receive such help.
Some in the medical community, like Bindelglass, have long seen
hands-only as a good alternative. She said she's told many squeamish
students "if you do nothing else, do the compressions."
Even when not alternated with breaths, the chest compressions help to
pump blood to the heart and brain until medical personnel arrive to
administer further treatment. Not only that, but hands-only is simpler
than conventional CPR, easier to remember, and many judge it to be more
Locally, doctors, nurses and emergency personnel agreed that hands-only
is an easy, effective way to improve a person's chance of survival.
"I think it will help more people perform CPR," said Bill Shietinger,
general manager of American Medical Response of Bridgeport.
Like Bindelglass, Shietinger said many people are intimidated by
conventional CPR and, as a result, might just call emergency services
and do nothing else. He said once people are aware they have another
lifesaving option, they might be more willing to act.
"It's much easier to do the chest compressions than to have to worry
about breathing into the mouth as well," he said.
Nancy Cassella, advanced cardiac life support coordinator at the
Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven, agreed. "[Hands-only] is
simple," she said. "It's straightforward and it's not scary."
So when and how does one do hands-only CPR? Cassella said if someone
collapses in front of you, the first thing you do is tap on the
person's chest and shout loudly, to see if he or she responds. If the
person is unresponsive, then call 911, and begin the chest compressions
(at a rate of about 100 a minute) until help arrives.
Of course, conventional CPR is still the preferred method, especially
since there are some instances in which hands-only isn't advised, said
Dr. Frank Scifo, director of primary care development at St. Vincent's
Medical Center. For instance, hands-only shouldn't be used on children,
or someone whose cardiac arrest is brought on by drug overdose or a
Though hands-only is an effective tool, conventional CPR is still
important, Scifo said. "Yes, [hands only] is better than nothing," he
said. "But there is still no substitute for conventional CPR."
the FAA try
to relate latest air delays to this issue?
Airspace coalition elects officers to
oversee FAA lawsuit
By Wynne Parry
Published December 5 2007
The coalition of 14 towns aligned to fight the Federal
Administration's proposal to reroute flights over Fairfield County has
elected its first officers.
The Alliance for Sensible Airspace Planning announced
yesterday it has
elected Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi as chairman. The
alliance also named Weston First Selectman Woody Bliss and Darien First
Selectwoman Evonne Klein as vice chairmen.
Former New Canaan First Selectwoman Judy Neville was
operating officer...for full story click here.
by PATRICIA GAY
Dec. 14, 2007
Acting Weston Police Chief John Troxell and John Conte, town engineer,
are assessing safety issues at two intersections — Lords Highway and
School Road, and Wells Hill and Kellogg Hill roads.
At a recent meeting of the Police Commission, the town’s traffic
authority, Mr. Conte recommended making the intersection of Lords
Highway and School Road a three-way stop, and adding improvements to
the sight line to make the intersection safer. It is heavily used at
certain times of the day because the town’s schools are on School Road.
However, Amy Sanborn, a resident of Old Hyde Road, which intersects
Lords Highway just east of School Road, said she was concerned about a
three-way stop and suggested putting cones down the middle of School
The commission voted to place a portable stop sign in the middle of
Several days after the meeting, Chief Troxell said the portable stop
sign was installed as directed, but was knocked down three times in one
day and had to be removed.
“We are revisiting this issue. John Conte and I have watched traffic
flow through this intersection after the high school let out, and we
saw that drivers had to pull way out to the edge of the intersection in
order to see. The sight line has to be improved, and if we can clear a
tree that is blocking the intersection, that will help. The
intersection may also have to be widened,” Chief Troxell said.
Wells Hill and Kellogg Hill
Also under review is the potential placement of a stop sign at the
intersection of Wells Hill and Kellogg Hill Roads.
The intersection is currently a two-way stop. Mr. Conte presented a map
showing the horizontal/vertical alignment of the intersection. Because
the alignments do not meet the standards for safe stopping. Mr. Conte
suggested making it a three-way stop.
The commission approved the three-way stop, subject to Chief Troxell
having a discussion with the homeowner of 112 Wells Hill Road about the
The new stop sign would be located at the end of the resident’s
driveway, and the resident’s mailbox might have to be moved, Chief
He said he tried to notify the homeowner several times and has been
unsuccessful so far.
He said there is also a question as to whether the property is located
in Weston or Easton. “If the property is in Easton, Weston may not have
jurisdiction. No sign has been put up yet, and we are still looking
into this one,” Chief Troxell said.
Old Hyde Extension
In addition, the commission also reviewed the absence of speed limit
signs on Old Hyde Extension, which is partially a dirt road. “If there
are no speed limit signs posted, that means the speed limit is
automatically 25 miles per hour. On Old Hyde Extension that would be
way too fast,” Chief Troxell said.
He said a sharp S-curve and steep grades along the road make it
hazardous at fast speeds.
The commission voted to approve the installation of several 15 mile per
hour speed limit signs as well as signs saying “Unimproved Road Ahead,”
and “No Thru Trucks.”
“Those signs will be installed shortly,” Chief Troxell said.
G.I.S. related news...
reverse 911 system
By Martin B. Cassidy, Staff Writer
Published October 13 2007
A reverse 911 system will be ready for operation in Greenwich in about
a month, officials said yesterday.
The town has signed a two-year contract with Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based
NTI Group to provide the service, which will allow police, fire and
other town officials to share emergency information with residents
quickly, First Selectman Jim Lash said.
Once operational, the town will be able to use the system to send
voice, e-mail, and text messages to town residents during serious
emergencies such as floodingin Old Greenwich or Riverside, as well as a
range of other situations, such as heavy traffic, water main breaks or
police searches for missing people or criminal suspects, Lash said.
"The point is that this gives us another way to get information to
people in anticipation of problems or notify them after the fact of
what they should do," Lash said.
The NTI contract, which is for $58,500, will provide the town with a
system called Connect-CTY, which uses the Internet to dial and send the
messages rapidly, Town Emergency Management Operations Coordinator
Daniel Warzoha said.
The town will be able to specify distinct areas for any given message
to be sent by using maps in the town's geographical information system,
Warzoha said. That will allow efforts to be concentrated only in the
areas in which they are needed.
The system also can notify specific groups of people based on factors
other than geography, for example, contacting snow plow crews to
mobilize for road work, Warzoha said. That will help streamline town
operations. "Some of the simple beauty of the system is that instead of
a highway foreman having to call out and make 25 or 30 phone calls, the
system can make the calls for them," Warzoha said. "If we need
contractors to cut trees down during a storm, it's just one call."
Residents who don't want to receive updates will be able to have their
name removed from the company's database, Warzoha said.
In the next several weeks, NTI will begin publicizing the system to
Greenwich residents, offering residents a chance to submit their
e-mail, cellular phone, and other contact information. A directory of
landline telephone numbers will be inputted by the company.
Currently, the town has an e-mail-based notification system for
residents during emergencies, which individuals have to sign up for.
Greenwich Fire Chief Peter Siecienski said that, as Danbury fire chief,
he worked with the system that became popular with residents who seemed
to appreciate getting relevant and up-to-date information.
"Its obviously very good for major emergencies like heavy storm cells
and we found that actually the public was very much involved and
enjoyed that the town was actually caring to notify them," Siecienski
said. "There is a plethora of ways which you can use that system."
to the 4 P.T.O. organizations...
P R E P
A R I N G F O R D I S A S T E R :
4 - P . T . O . - S P O N S O R E D M E E T I N
T W . I . S . C A F E T O R I U M
"Shelter in Place" still the
idea most favored (since 2005 similar LWV
meeting). Animals in Weston
have their own shelter (lessons learned from
Hurricane Katrina) as part of an evacuation plan. Click here "Safety & Preparedness
Store" items; for form to fill out and mail in the the Red
Cross click here.
Who's who: Either
from the speakers' table, the podium or just from the floor, everyone
spoke! See if you can identify some of the principle elements of
Weston's broad ranging Emergency Management effort...the big winner
is: woof, woof...
Above is a Yellow Labrador Retriever (according to our research a year
or two ago, the most popular breed in town). The Town of Weston
is compiling the data and researching needs of pets, etc., and proper
place to "kennel" 4-legged family members during disaster
WHO WAS THERE (l to r):
(Top row) Executive Director of the Westport-Weston Health District Sue
Jacozzi dropped in, seen speaking with First Selectman Woody Bliss
before the event; attending in the audience was
Selectman candidate Jim Maggio
(flanked by Fire Department/Dispatcher
Joe Abruzzi and Interim Police
Chief John Troxell), followed
Democrat candidate for First Selectman Gayle Weinstein, next to First
Selectman Bliss. Panel presents - Director of Emergency
Management Sgt. Mike Ferullo
draws on his vast experience including
Coast Guard rescue during Hurricane Katrina. Second row - Monica
Wheeler, RN, Community Health Director WWHD gave a dynamic talk
Point to become publication soon), backed up by the Red Cross!
Town of Weston
Social Worker Charlene Chiang-Hillman
at right, another vital player in
the effort to protect the fragile and helpless in an emergency.
MEN (AND WOMEN--THERE ARE WOMEN ON THESE
FORCES) IN WHITE: Who would you like to see quickly in an
emergency at your house? Any of the above services!!! At
the left, Interim Police Chief John Troxell, center, representing the
Fire Department point of view (volunteers), Joe Abruzzi, and EMS
(volunteers) head John Weingarten (r.)
Q. AND A. - WWHD Monica Wheeler was dynamic and brought out the
audience and inspired merging of speakers and listeners until almost
everyone had something to contribute!
Answers from speakers - as questions came from the audience:
- First step? Have a "Go-Bag" with you at home, in the
car, at work (grab and go bag includes flashlight w/batteries,
emergency blanket, water, food bars, work gloves, N95 breathing mask,
rain poncho, eye goggles, whistle, detachable first aid kit, and person
- How long? Be prepared to "shelter in place" for days
(quite a few). Lessons learned from previous storms;
audience suggestions and personal stories.
- It is overwhelming to think about...where to begin getting
prepared? Stock up on correct supplies and keep them up to date.
- What about critical records? One person in the
audience suggestred that she had made a CD of all these records (scan
in birth certificate, account numbers, names and contact info for
- The question that no one asked...so what was that "beep"
that kept going off? (Was it the smoke detector? Oops!)
blocked for emergency workers
By Martin B. Cassidy, Staff
Article Launched: 10/27/2008
02:39:01 AM EDT
After pressing last year for
the state to move faster to provide video from Interstate 95 traffic
cameras to emergency workers, Fairfield County officials are holding up
work on the project.
Westport First Selectman
Gordon Joseloff said officials in the South Western Metropolitan
Planning Organization have not endorsed the project. They want fire and
police chiefs to review the design of the Web-based system to ensure
that they will be able to verify accident information and deploy
emergency workers accurately, he said.
"We've pushed to be included
as part of the process and that the fire chiefs and first responders be
part of the planning," said Joseloff, a member of the group.
The Metropolitan Planning
Organization for Fairfield County includes officials from Stamford,
Norwalk, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Westport, Wilton and
Connecticut, the organizations must approve all transportation projects
using federal funds in their regions. Fire and police officials for years have
sought to tap into the state Department of Transportation's network of
more than 100 traffic cameras on I-95 to help them quickly determine
the right place to send firetrucks, ambulances and police cars during
DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick
said 13 of the 15 planning organization's in the state approved
installing the Web video system for first responders. Transportation officials are working with
the planning organizations in the remaining two geographical zones,
Nursick said. If
approved, the system could be completed in a year, allowing fire and
police departments to access the images through a secure Web site.
"The department has been
actively and vigorously working . . . to move this important and
potentially lifesaving project forward," Nursick said. "The department
stands ready to move this initiative forward and will continue to
diligently and urgently pursue access for first responders."
In July, Fairfield County
officials sought to speed the project by turning to Gov. M. Jodi Rell,
who ordered the DOT to work quickly to provide emergency responders
better access to the cameras. At the time, the DOT said it could
complete the work in 18 months, which some officials said was too long.
Fire chiefs and other public
safety planners in Fairfield County want to make sure the
state-designed system will provide high-quality images and help them
respond more accurately, said Norwalk Fire Chief Denis McCarthy,
regional director for the Connecticut Region 1 Emergency Management
"We have been involved in
discussion and then excluded from discussions, and where it is now, I
understand, is that we want participation in the system implementation
and design," McCarthy said.
Without the cameras, fire
departments and paramedics can be directed to the wrong stretch of
highway, delaying medical treatment to victims.
"Overcommitment of fire
department resources and misdirection of fire department resources to
the highway are the biggest problems," McCarthy said. "It costs
valuable moments but also contributes to traffic conditions on the
highway when the trucks are out there."
Public safety agencies now
may access images from the traffic cameras on the DOT's Web site, but
the feeds are blocked during accidents. Members of the South Central Regional
Council of Governments, which represents 15 cities from Milford to
Madison, is withholding approval of the project because of the economic
"It's a lot of money when we
don't have sufficient funds to be doing all the roads and bridges,"
Wallingford Mayor William Dickinson Jr. said. "What I'd like to see is
money spent on the more elemental transportation projects like those,
and I have concerns about spending that money on this type of
information system in this economic climate."
Rell to DOT: Provide
access to I-95 cameras
By Brian Lockhart, Staff Writer
Published July 21 2007
Gov. M. Jodi Rell has directed the state Department of Transportation
to give emergency responders access to the 100 traffic cameras along
"I asked the DOT . . . to take every necessary step to provide access
as quickly as possible," Rell said in a statement yesterday. "Images
from the scene give first responders the information they need to plan
next steps and take the quickest possible action."
Rell's decision follows a request by the South Western Region's
Metropolitan Planning Organization, a panel of municipal leaders that
must approve DOT projects in lower Fairfield County.
The group said the DOT should used the planned $40 million overhaul of
the highway monitoring system as an opportunity to connect emergency
The cameras were first installed in the early 1990s and emergency
responders for years have pushed for live access as opposed to using
the DOT's Web site.
The Web site images are not always in "real time" and sometimes blacked
out for serious accidents.
Emergency personnel, including Stamford Fire Chief Robert McGrath and
Norwalk Fire Chief Denis McCarthy, last week told The Advocate they
need immediate access to the cameras to verify information called in
during an accident and respond to the right location.
The DOT initially said providing access to emergency workers could be
"cost-prohibitive" and restricted because the project is federally
Those issues still have to be addressed, DOT spokesman Judd Everhart
"That's part of what we'll be looking at," he said. "But we're
committed to making it happen."
McGrath said he was "delighted" by the news.
"We don't have the details worked out as yet, but the governor's office
listened," he said. "It won't be abused, I can tell you that. It's just
so we can pinpoint locations and now what equipment to send. It will
decrease our response time."
McCarthy could not be reached for comment, but Norwalk Mayor Richard
Moccia said he is happy the DOT softened its initial opposition.
Moccia said if the state turns to municipalities to help cover any
additional costs, he hoped the money might come from the federal
Department of Homeland Security.
"If not we'll have to look in our own budget," he said.
design; Emergency workers hone skills during staged mass casualty drill
by SARAH COHLER
Jul 18, 2007
At first glance, what appeared to be a horiffic accident involving a
school bus full of kids and a tanker truck was actually a staged
emergency drill orchestrated by Weston’s EMS, Police, and Fire
Those EMTs, police officers, and firemen who were not involved in
drafting the scenario were only told there would be a drill sometime on
Monday, July 17, but they were not given a specific time frame or made
aware of the details of the scene.
At about 6:30 p.m., the stage was set, and emergency workers were
dispatched to an “accident” at the intersection of Treadwell Lane and
Lords Highway East.
In the mock accident, an oil truck on Treadwell Lane had attempted to
make a left turn onto Lords Highway, but the turn was too wide and it
veered off the travel portion of the road and “T-boned” an oncoming
Those involved in orchestrating the event wanted it to seem as
realistic as possible.
The oil truck was inched forward until it almost came into contact with
the side of the bus that had been pushed off the road at a 45-degree
Makeup and costuming added to the realism. According to Teresa Falbo, a
so-called “severely injured victim,” makeup provided by EMS took about
an hour to put on. “I don’t even know what they used on my face to make
it look like this,” she said.
“Some sort of stage makeup, I think.”
Each patient to-be was given a card with his name, age, and
Teresa’s card, which she had to memorize, told her that she, in
addition to neck injuries, couldn’t swallow. So the EMTs carried her
off the bus and laid her down on a back board and gave her a suction
tube to catch saliva.
Children screamed bitterly after the “impact.” The most virulent cries
— “Ow! My face!” and “Help me!” — could be heard a few hundred feet
down the road.
The police were the first on the scene. They gave a brief synopsis to
the firemen, who followed close behind, and EMTs, who were quick to
arrive after calls were made requesting more technicians.
Fire Captain Larry Roberts was very pleased with the response time. “In
the past,” he said, “our scenarios weren’t this elaborate. They were
purely procedural, but this has turned out very well.”
At its peak, there were more than 60 personnel directing traffic,
getting the kids off the bus and treating them. Each department worked
together to achieve a common goal. The whole scene played out so well,
it appeared to the unaware observer that it was either scripted or real.
Police directed traffic around the intersection and managed parking.
When responding to a real emergency, “Everyone takes his own car to the
site,” said Fire Chief John Pokorny. “Part of the drill is managing so
many cars in one place. On any given day, there is no one at the
firehouse. Dispatch coordinates who will go to the station and bring
The EMTs separated the victims into three categories: Red, yellow, and
The green — or stable — victims were taken from the bus first. They had
the ability to walk and sustained only minor injuries. They were
grouped together on a large red mat so that the serious and critical
cases could be dealt with more effectively on another mat.
Although the 12 stable victims by definition required less attention,
Nisan Eventoff, a treatment technician, would ask how they were feeling
whenever he had a spare breath.
“If you feel comfortable enough,” he said to one young girl with skin
abrasions on her cheek, “just stay in that position.”
The eight yellow-labeled patients, those in serious condition, shared a
large, red mat with the six critical, or red, kids on the bus.
Beth Low, an EMT treating critical patients, sat next to a prostrate
Michael Falbo, who looked as though he had a wooden rod protruding from
the right quadrant of his abdomen. Beth pretended to give him oxygen
and apologized for cutting his shirt open to get a better look at the
wound. The injury to the boy might have been staged, but the ripped
shirt will never be the same.
When she asked him how this happened, Mike mumbled something about a
science project. After about a minute of treatment, she shouted
“bleeding is controlled!” and moved on to nearby Carol Bucaro, who was
made up to look as if broken bones were protruding through her left arm.
The driver of the school bus had “died” and the driver of the truck, a
diabetic, was “unconscious.” The bus driver’s body was covered with
yellow plastic, while the truck driver was seen to by at least three
emergency personnel at any given moment, giving him oxygen and checking
As firemen checked under both vehicles for fluids that could ignite a
fire or cause a hazardous situation, EMTs requested more personnel and
oxygen tanks over their walkie-talkies.
The most critical patients were given ambulance priority and were
shipped off to hospitals first. Dispatch had to coordinate with the
EMTs to ensure that hospitals had enough room. However, since this was
a drill, the victims were really dropped off around the corner instead
of several miles away in an emergency room.
“Sometimes,” said Chief Pokorny, “hospitals don’t even have enough room
for four patients, so we have to move people around.”
Mr. Eventoff, who assumed control of the EMTs on site, asked other
technicians, “Westport? Wilton? — OK, Westport,” trying to determine
where each patient should be transported.
“It is great local training,” Chief Pokorny said. “We’re not looking at
this on a regional scale. We just want to give everyone a chance to put
into practice what he’s learned over the last year.”
In addition to the two ambulances, a LifeStar helicopter was scheduled
to land nearby to help move patients from the site to nearby
hospitals. However, the helicopter had to respond to a legitimate call
and so was unable to make it to the drill.
“We don’t use helicopters very often. In the last 33 years I’ve worked
here, we’ve only called for one of the five or six available
helicopters in the area four times,” said the Fire Chief. “But when we
need them, they’re great. They can go to Yale New Haven Hospital in 10
minutes, while it would take over an hour to get there by car.”
Both the chief and the captain of the Fire Department were pleased with
the result of their orchestrated mass injury. “From the time the call
was made to the last victim transported,” said Capt. Roberts, “the
whole thing took about an hour, which is great. That includes travel
Sandra Roberts, who played a witness, pointed out that everyone who
responded to the drill did so voluntarily. “People are eating dinner,
taking a shower; they’re in the middle of their lives when they get a
call. And look how quickly they responded,” she said.
Peter Roberts, son of the fire captain, was uncomfortable with all of
the face paint.
He thought that it was too realistic, so he along with his friend, Will
Laplaca, and his mother were witnesses to the event rather than victims
Most of the volunteer victims were related to firemen, EMTs, or
Teresa, who played the victim with neck injuries, said she was told
over dinner she had to pretend to get into a large-scale motor vehicle
accident. “My first reaction was, ‘Cool! Sounds like fun!’ And it was.”
Drills like this one are done every year around the same location.
Chief Pokorny explained that the roads “weren’t too narrow, there’s
lots of room for parking, and people who live on Treadwell, here, don’t
mind if we park on the edge of their lawn.”
Capt. Roberts said most of the learning comes from the critique after
the drill; all three departments discuss what could be improved next
“It’s a pretty open environment. Nobody’s scolding or being mean about
it. We all know it’s about learning,” he said.
I-95 traffic cameras may help first
Ed Stannard and Associated Press, New Haven Register Metro Editor
A leader of a Fairfield County regional planning group believes the
cameras on Interstate 95 should be used to help towns' emergency
personnel assess traffic crashes.
A spokesman for the state Department of Transportation said Monday,
however, that the cameras were installed to help the DOT manage traffic
problems and aren't always helpful to firefighters and ambulance crews.
Weston First Selectman Woody Bliss, chairman of the South Western
Region Metropolitan Planning Organization, said lower Fairfield County
town officials are demanding more access to images and may oppose a $40
million state plan to replace the cameras in an upgrade.
"It's inexcusable that this traffic information is not available to
first responders in the towns," Bliss said. "It needs to be an integral
part of the design of the new cameras."
About 100 cameras provide state police and the DOT with views of
traffic jams, accidents and other highway problems and emergencies.
Feeds are monitored at DOT offices in Newington and state police Troop
G in Bridgeport. They can be seen at www.ct.gov/dot.
The still images, updated every five minutes, are available to anyone
with Web access. Norwalk Fire Chief Denis McCarthy said municipal
first responders need access to the images because information called
in during an accident is often incorrect. Kevin Nursick, a DOT
spokesman, said Monday the project is 90 percent paid for with Federal
Highway Administration money and changing their function would require
the agency's approval.
"The intent of these cameras is for incident management," Nursick said.
"They are designed and built and geared towards being used by DOT for
that specific purpose."
He said the "bottom line" for the DOT is to "keep traffic moving and to
get it moving as quickly as possible" while first responders may be
looking for a direct view of an accident. "What they are interested in
might not be what the DOT is interested in," Nursick said.
Judy Gott, executive director of the South Central Regional Council of
Governments, composed of mayors and first selectmen from Milford to
Wallingford to Madison, said the group gave its approval to the state's
upgrade plan in June. Gott said the COG's member towns are
working with the DOT to improve response to highway accidents.
McCarthy and Robert McGrath, chief of Stamford Fire and Rescue, said
the DOT feed is not in real time and that views of serious accidents
often are blacked out. Nursick said such blackouts are controlled
by state police so the public won't see seriously injured people. It
would require completely new infrastructure to give towns unblocked
direct feeds, he said.
"Money is going to be a big issue, and we're going to have to talk to
our federal partners" about whether money can be spent for that
purpose, Nursick said.
He said the DOT does have plans to upgrade the camera images.
"We are looking at the possibility of getting an RFP (request for
proposal) out by this fall to solicit service providers to essentially
set up Web sites with streaming video from all our cameras," Nursick
said. That would be in real time, versus periodically updated snapshots.
There are still issues to work out, however.
Rell announces FEMA aid possible
By PATRICK R.
LINSEY, Hour Staff Writer
June 15, 2007
REGION — Residents whose property was damaged in the April 15
nor'easter can apply for federal aid through procedures announced by
Gov. M. Jodi Rell Thursday.
Reversing a previous decision, the Federal Emergency Management Agency
announced Wednesday individuals will be able to seek relief for damage
sustained in the record-setting storm. Previously, FEMA had approved
aid only for state and municipal agencies.
"The storm that battered Connecticut in April caused some of the worst
damage our state has seen in two decades," Rell said. "This is very
welcome news for many people who have wondered whether they would be
left to their own devices to cope with water-damaged walls, ruined
carpets, and lost appliances, furniture and other goods."
Residents seeking aid should contact FEMA at (800) 621-3362. The phone
lines are open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents can
also apply for assistance on the Web at www.fema.gov.
Even residents who have already filed claims with local or state
government should contact FEMA, said Wayne Sandford, deputy
commissioner of the state Department of Emergency Management Agency.
"What'll happen is (FEMA will) actually send a team out to look at the
damage," Sandford said.
Whether picking up the phone or logging online, Rell advised residents
to have the following information handy to expedite the application
* your current telephone number
* your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you
are now staying
* your Social Security number, if available
* a general list of damage and losses you suffered
* good directions to the property that was damaged
* if insured, your insurance policy number or the agent's and company's
* general financial information
After the April deluge, which dropped nearly eight inches of rain on
Norwalk, FEMA investigators toured Connecticut with state officials and
tallied more than $43 million in damage. Of that figure, more than $31
million was attributed to private property losses.
Residents in Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New
London and Windham counties are eligible for individual relief. Such
assistance could include temporary housing, grants and low-interest
loans for home repair and loans from the U.S. Small Business
The city of Norwalk has also put procedures for making a FEMA
application on its Web site, www.norwalkct.org.
"The best thing (storm victims) can do right now is go to our Web site
and read the information that I put out and now the governor's put
out," said Norwalk Mayor Richard A. Moccia. "For those who don't have
Internet capability, if they want to call the mayor's office we'll
print it out for them and get it to them."
Moccia's office can be reached at 854-7701.
The April nor'easter shut down roads and train lines, knocked down
trees and snarled power lines across the state; more than 44,000
Connecticut customers lost power.
Declaration no help
for $31M in private loss
By PATRICK R. LINSEY, Hour
May 12, 2007
NORWALK — President Bush signed a major disaster declaration Friday for
the record-setting nor'easter of April 15, qualifying the state and the
city for federal relief.
But there's a catch.
The declaration covers state and local government for costs incurred
due to the storm but not individual home and business owners whose
property was damaged.
The storm brought nearly 8 inches of rain to Norwalk, flooding roads
and homes in some neighborhoods. Its total, state-wide cost was
estimated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at $43 million.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell thanked the president for signing the declaration,
noting the storm "was unlike anything we have seen in two decades or
more and its effects are still being felt."
However, Rell criticized the decision not to include state residents
individually. Federal disaster relief can include payments for repairs
and low-interest loans.
"Inspectors from (FEMA) counted more than $31 million in private losses
from the storm," Rell said. "What these homeowners need right now is
assistance in putting things right again in their own homes."
Norwalk Mayor Richard A. Moccia said the storm cost the city "several
hundred thousand dollars."
"We'll put our numbers together and apply to get some aid," Moccia
said. "But I'd like to see homeowners eligible to apply for some loans
and hopefully get some assistance."
So would Rell, who directed the state Department of Emergency
Management and Homeland Security to appeal Bush's decision not to
qualify individuals for relief.
Flooding has become a sensitive issue in Norwalk, with residents
reciting horror stories at council and committee meetings over the last
The city has applied for federal funds to improve drainage in
oft-flooded neighborhoods like Buckingham Place, Lockwood Lane and
Olmstead Place. Residents on those streets say flooding has worsened in
recent years as Norwalk has become more developed.
Rell said the state must take steps to prevent heavy rains from causing
similar damage in the future. Norwalk has budgeted roughly $2 million
in its 2007-2008 capital and operating budgets for storm-water
Article Last Updated: 05/12/2007 12:14:00 AM EDT
HARTFORD (AP) — President Bush on Friday has declared a disaster
designation for parts of Connecticut after a powerfull nor'easter
dumped as much 8 inches of rain in the state.
The disaster designation, sought by Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the
state's congressional delegation, makes Connecticut eligible for
federal funds, helping cover some of the $43 million in expenses
incurred by state and local governments and property owners from the
April 15 storm.
Federal emergency management officials said major disaster declaration
covered the damage and flooding done in Fairfield and Litchfield
counties. Additional areas could be declared disasters after further
damage assessments are completed.
Members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency arrived in the state
within days of the storm to evaluate the damage.
The storm damaged 179 businesses and more than 2,400 homes statewide,
state officials said. Government costs associated with the storm and
its aftermath total $12 million, and private losses stand at more than
The storm swamped state and local roads, flooded homes and basements,
damaged bridges and interrupting rail service on Danbury Metro North
line. More than 44,000 customers lost power.
Homeowners and renters could be eligible for grants and low-interest
loans, and businesses could also qualify for low-interest loans.
"emergency" according to Police Department website.
Cartbridge bridge replacement:
A long road lies ahead
by PATRICIA GAY
May 9, 2007
The bridge on Cartbridge Road, which was severely damaged in the
recent nor’easter, is not going to be reopened anytime soon. “It may be
out of service for a year or more,” said First Selectman Woody Bliss.
According to Mr. Bliss, a report from a team of engineers —
including a diver who explored the bridge’s underpinnings — states the
bridge cannot be repaired and must be replaced.
“One of the DOT engineers said this is the worst damaged bridge
in the state,” Mr. Bliss said.
Flood waters from the Saugatuck River pummeled the bridge during
the storm on April 16, causing major erosion to the bridge’s abutment
supports. The bridge had previously sustained
in the flood of 1955, but the abutments, which were filled with stone,
were not replaced at that time. Today, concrete is used for bridge
abutments, Mr. Bliss said.
The cost for replacing the bridge is estimated at around
$800,000, according to a flood damage reported submitted to the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by police Sgt. Patrick Daubert, the
town’s emergency management director.
But a worse problem for the town may be the length of
time it is going to take to replace the bridge.
“Because the bridge is in a federal flood plain, numerous
permits are needed from the Army Corps of Engineers, the state
Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation,
and local authorities,” Mr. Bliss said.
“We are doing everything possible to accelerate the process, but
there is a lot of extra work involved,” he said.
The town is preparing a “request for proposal” to hire an
engineering firm to design the new bridge. Mr. Bliss said there could
be some issues with the design because the state may require the bridge
to be raised a few feet.
The closure of the Cartbridge Road bridge has also affected the
replacement of the bridge on Valley Forge Road, which was slated to
begin this summer. “The Valley Forge bridge is on hold. We can’t do it
right now because we can’t take two bridges out of service at the same
time,” Mr. Bliss said.
With Cartbridge Road closed to through traffic, some
residents have noticed an increase in the number of vehicles traveling
on Lyons Plain Road and other roadways in the area.
In the FEMA report, Sgt. Daubert noted the significance of the
Cartbridge Road bridge as an important connector. “The bridge serves as
one of three primary ways to get to the east side of town. It is a main
thoroughfare used by commuters and emergency service responders to
travel from the east and west sides of the town. In order for emergency
service vehicles to respond, they must now travel to the extreme north
or south ends of town, utilizing the Davis Hill and River Road
bridges,” the report states.
William Sawch, a resident of Lyons Plain Road, said he hopes the
bridge on Cartbridge Road can be repaired quickly, in a similar fashion
to a highway ramp in California that was damaged in a tanker explosion.
The bidding process for that project moved quickly after Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger declared it an emergency.
“I hope our state and local government can prioritize this
beyond the slow pace that appears to be unfolding. If California can
replace portions of the Bay Bridge within days, one would think that
committed authorities in Connecticut could address Cartbridge in less
than the months and years that one hears from the bureaucrats,” Mr.
Flood damage report
In the FEMA report, the roads in town listed as having
the most significant residential flooding from the nor’easter are
Valley Forge Road, Lyons Plain Road, Cartbridge Road, River View Road,
Old Orchard Road, Old Mill Road, and Slumber Corners.
Goodhill Road and Weston Road are listed as having significant
flooding to business establishments.
The report also includes the town’s storm expenses. The cost for
debris removal is listed at $1,740 for public works employees and
$4,892 for police and emergency management personnel. Other
expenses include $121 for fill, gravel and patchwork, $1,200 for
concrete barriers to protect the access to Cartbridge Road, and $1,500
for damage to parks and recreation facilities.
When added to the $800,000 estimate for the damage to the bridge
on Cartbridge Road, the town’s total municipal damage claim to FEMA is
Weston and other municipalities across the state are now waiting
to see if the state will be eligible for FEMA reimbursement.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell has asked FEMA to declare a major disaster in
Connecticut, which would make federal assistance available to
homeowners, businesses and municipalities affected by the nor’easter.
Cheryl Kitts, spokesperson for FEMA, said there were 10 teams in
Connecticut conducting the assessment through the state’s Emergency
Management Department. Five teams were responsible for calculating
costs of municipal damage and recovery, while the remaining teams were
conducting inspections of individual property claims.
“We work with the state as far as the numbers, and the state
determines if the numbers are beyond their ability,” Ms. Kitts said.
The state would use the figures gathered to then appeal for federal
assistance, she said, with any approved funds being sent to the state
to be passed on to the local towns.
Should the state be designated as eligible for federal aid, the
amount of reimbursement to Weston would depend on whether a “disaster”
or an “emergency” is declared. A “disaster” makes the town eligible for
a 100% reimbursement; an “emergency,” 75%.
Mr. Bliss said the town is not going to wait for FEMA funding to
move forward with the Cartbridge Road project.
“We’ll apply for relief if it is available, but we need to get
this process going now,” he said.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT IN WESTON
At its May 4, 2006 meeting, Board of Selectmen designates Sgt. Pat
Daubert as Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security
through the end of 2007. Sgt. Ferullo now in this position.
Status Quo Won't
Safely Restore Gulf Coast Communities
By Paul Farmer, FAICP
As we embark on the second year of recovery following Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita, we see that everything — and nothing — has changed.
There are signs of progress along the Gulf Coast, much of it the result
of ongoing volunteer efforts, although it is proceeding at a slower
pace than we would like. We're also encouraged by announcements that
planning teams will work with neighborhoods in New Orleans.
On the other hand, literally tons of debris still must be cleared away,
a disheartening reminder that recovery is stalled whether because of
inertia, internal debate, distrust or other reasons. We're also
dismayed that questions linger about safety issues. These concerns cast
a cloud over commitments to reinvest and undermine incentives for
residents and businesses to return to their communities.
The current difficulties facing Gulf Coast towns and cities are stark
reminders that no community in America is safe from the devastation of
a natural disaster. Last November the American Planning Association,
American Institute of Architects, National Trust for Historic
Preservation, American Society of Civil Engineers, and American Society
of Landscape Architects outlined a set of principles and an action
agenda that can be used to guide Gulf Coast reconstruction.
This agenda serves not only as a foundation for restoring Gulf Coast
cities and towns, but also for preventing other U.S. communities from
undergoing something similar.
First and foremost, ad hoc decision making must be replaced with
serious strategies that manage risk and set high standards for
rebuilding. It means staffing up local governments' ability to plan, as
well as protect historic buildings and process building permits, not
relying on sole-source contractors or forming elite committees.
Second, reconstruction should be used as a catalyst to rebuild the
regional economy. Gathering a pool of local building tradespersons,
with traditional skills as well as new technologies, can help the
region take the lead in reconstruction and later export services to
other areas. Meeting the service and supply demands of this workforce
and their families also will spur growth of small businesses.
Third, transportation and infrastructure need to support neighborhood
densities and scale. We have great examples of green building and
efficient infrastructure that should be showcased in the Gulf Coast.
One example is the proposed light rail system for New Orleans, which
would support energy efficiency and more compact urban development on
higher ground that is less susceptible to future flood damage.
Fourth, there needs to be housing choice and opportunity. The mix of
incomes, housing styles, shapes and streets in New Orleans' historic
neighborhoods that existed before Katrina hit needs to be preserved.
We're encouraged that more than $15 billion in federal Community
Development Block Grants and emergency funding was approved this year
to help repair and rebuild housing and undertake long-term recovery
efforts. In addition, $40 million in preservation grants have been
approved for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Fifth, new construction must be based on local values and design while
protecting historic neighborhoods through remediation and, where
feasible, repair of existing homes and other buildings. Each street and
neighborhood in every Gulf Coast town and city has its own story. The
pattern and scale of streets, housing, shops, parks, public buildings
and gathering places are the vital elements of these stories. They work
together to create the look and feel of a community and must guide
preservation and rebuilding.
We don't need a one-size-fits-all approach to architecture. Restoration
needs to be based on meaningful input of residents and their leaders so
as to rebuild communities that are real and authentic, not pseudo
imitations of what existed before. Regional pattern books can be useful
if modified to meet local needs and conditions.
Sixth, the region's natural systems must be restored. Attention and
funds for this task are still missing. Without sound ecological
management in place, we are jeopardizing the region's long-term
economic health and safety.
Adopting these measures will help us restore and preserve the unique
character of New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities provided they
are done with assurances that the hurricane protection system has been
rebuilt and residents are told about the risks of living in areas where
devastating hurricanes and flooding can occur.
Congress can help by passing the federal Safe Communities Act,
addressing disparities in offshore oil and gas revenues for Gulf
States, and establishing the Louisiana Recovery Corporation or similar
We should never repeat what Gulf Coast residents have and are still
having to go through to get their lives and livelihoods back in order.
By working together — engaged citizens and their leaders, community
officials and business interests, design professionals, state
governments and members of Congress — we can overcome the remaining
challenges and take steps that will benefit communities throughout the
FAICP, is the chief executive officer of the American Planning
Association. This commentary reflects the views of APA, American
Institute of Architects, National Trust for Historic Preservation,
American Society of Civil Engineers, and American Society of Landscape
preparedness starts with you
By JEANNE HOFF, Hour Staff Writer
June 16, 2006
WESTPORT — As the state Department
of Emergency Management and federal Department of Homeland Security
increasingly thrust responsibility for disaster preparedness onto
municipalities, town officials say self-sufficiency can be the
difference between life and death.
During a televised Citizen's Brown
Bag Luncheon Wednesday, First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, Weston First
Selectman Woody Bliss, Westport Fire Chief Chris Ackley, who is also
director of Westport Emergency Management, Police Chief Al Fiore,
Director of the Westport Weston Health District Sue Jacozzi and others
encouraged residents to be equipped to make it through the first 72
hours of a major emergency, such as an influenza outbreak, earthquake,
flood or terrorist attack, on their own.
"As the state Department of
Emergency Management pushes more responsibility down to the local
level, it's more important for us to maintain public preparedness,"
Ackley said. "More and more, it's up to the individual to be prepared."
In January the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services announced a $100 million emergency
appropriation to fund state and local governments' preparedness in case
of an influenza pandemic. Connecticut
is slated to receive roughly $1.3 million. Although the funds are
ear-marked for disaster preparedness drills and informationals, health
district medical examiner Dr. Stuart Steinman and Michele C. DeLuca of
the Mid-Fairfield County Chapter of the American Red Cross said the
best preparedness is self- preparedness.
A major factor in self-preparedness,
Steinman said, is routine vaccination. Across the globe, the World Health
Organization reports confirmed death cases of avian influenza A have
been on the rise. In
2003 there were three reported deaths; in 2006 that number has risen to
128 confirmed deaths. Citing
cases of avian flu, Steinman said people can prevent infection by
receiving basic flu shots, or a nasal flu vaccination and avian flu
Health officials believe the only
way avian flu can be transferred from birds to humans is if both
viruses simultaneously infect the body. DeLuca
said another factor of self-preparedness is making sure there is at
least one gallon of water, per day, on hand for each individual in the
household. DeLuca said
the American Red Cross suggests households have 72-hour emergency kits
Although self-sufficiency is
encouraged, Jacozzi said, the health district, which will administer
flu shots in October and November, has been examining its mass
distribution and mass vaccination plans since the Sept. 11, 2001,
"Since 9/11, the state Department of
Public Health gave us mandates to begin preparing for bioterrorism
events," she said. "We have developed a mass vaccination plan. After
9/11, we tested the plan and it works and we developed a mass
dispensing plan in April."
In April the district held a
Strategic National Stockpile Drill to measure how quickly antibiotics
could be distributed to the 54,000 residents of Westport, Weston and
Wilton in the event of a pandemic. Jacozzi said the drill was a success,
though the district is looking to "tighten up" its dispensing methods
The Red Cross advises
to prepare a disaster plan...
June 12, 2006
Assemble a disaster supplies kit
- Gather emergency supplies including: Emergency medications,
nonperishable food, a non-electric can opener, bottled water (at least
three gallons per day per person), a battery-powered radio, flashlight,
extra batteries, extra clothes, important documents, cash and credit
cards, a first aid kit and other items for infants, elderly or disabled
family members and pets.
Store supplies in a waterproof, easy-to-carry container, such as a
plastic tub with handles.
Prepare a personal evacuation plan
Identify an evacuation route ahead of time; discuss with family members.
If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
In case of evacuation to an American Red Cross shelter, be sure to
bring the disaster supplies kit, medications, extra clothing, pillows
and blankets and other hygiene and comfort supplies.
Make advance preparations for pets so you can bring them with you when
you leave, but remember, due to health department regulations, pets
aren’t allowed in public shelters.
for high winds
Measure windows and obtain shutters or cut plywood to cover each one.
Remove diseased and damaged tree limbs well before a storm strikes.
Strengthen garage doors with vertical support beams made from 2X4s and
“L” brackets. Get professional help if needed.
You can help the victims of thousands of other disasters across the
country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross
Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter,
food, counseling and other assistance to those in need.
Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the
Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross
chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC
Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting http://www.redcross.org/
— Source: American
officials rate drill a success
tests regional disaster readiness
By JEANNE HOF
FApril 20, 2006
REGION — Residents of Southwestern Fairfield
County, town officials and first responders participated Wednesday in a
Strategic National Stockpile Drill to measure how quickly antibiotics
could be distributed to 54,000 people in a pandemic.
The exercise coordinated by the Connecticut
Department of Public Health called upon 255 medical employees and
hundreds of locals from Southbury down to Greenwich to voluntarily
showcase their acting talents using Westport's Bedford Middle School,
at 88 North Ave., as their stage.
The drill required volunteers to act out a real
time scenario as if some sort of respiratory disease outbreak had
spread at New York and Boston sporting events attended by thousands of
The middle school served as the Point of
dispensing clinic, where those who were exposed to the disease at the
sporting events had face-to-face contact with a possibly infected
individual or those who wanted assistance came for medical attention.
The inaugural drill — funded through a
bioterrorism grant — was one of seven drills occurring simultaneously
in New Britain, Milford, Groton, Plainfield, Glastonbury and Southbury.
Sue Jacozzi, of the Westport/Weston Health
District, Wilton First Selectman Bill Brennan, Westport First Selectman
Gordon Joseloff and Selectman Shelly Kassen, along with Weston First
Selectman Woody Bliss, agreed that Wednesday's trial run of the town's
emergency preparedness drill would allow them to ferret out any
problematic areas of the three-town mass dispensing and vaccination
plan that needed to be addressed.
"We want to make sure that we have a good
system in place," in case of a serious natural health emergency such as
an earthquake, flood, influenza outbreak or terrorist attack, Bliss
New Canaan Fire Marshal Fred Baker and Westport
Fire Chief Chris Ackley said other than "logistical humps," such as the
time it took to set up the stations and open the facility for full
patient operation, the drill ran smoothly.
The setup snafu resulted in the center
welcoming patients at roughly 11:30 a.m., instead of 10 a.m. as
Westport Fire Inspector Nathaniel Gibbons said
regardless of the minor setback, he is now confident that had a real
outbreak occurred the POD would meet its goal of swift and efficient
48-hour medicine distribution to those in need.
"We had some logistical challenges. Any event
like this that requires virtually an overnight setup is going to have
those challenges but we overcame them and we started a little late but
ultimately medicine was delivered to those who needed it. So that's why
I am optimistic that in a real event it would work fairly well."
Once patients were screened at the triage on
the eastern entrance of the building, they were given yellow, green or
red post-diagnosis flags, which indicated the urgency of their need for
From the triage, patients were directed to one
of several stations, which included areas for express dispensing, exit
review, weight calculation, dispensing, translation, first aid,
pharmacist assistance and even volunteer orientation.
Baker said more than 500 households had been
seen within the first hour, which surpassed their goal of slightly more
than 200 households an hour.
Furthermore, 19 residents who exhibited serious
symptoms were transported to area hospitals as they would have been had
there been a real pandemic.
A laboratory in the Department of Public Health
was said to have determined, after interviews with many patients, that
the outbreak was primary pneumonic plague, but the source of the
disease was not identified.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
will evaluate the state's performance of the Strategic National
Stockpile Drill and release how well each municipality executed the
exercise in two to three months.
However, Jacozzi said a joint Bioterrorism and
Planning Committee comprising officials from Westport, Weston and
Wilton will judge the town's specific performance and release that
information on one to two weeks.
Participants in Wednesday's event included
police chiefs Al Fiore of the Westport Police Department, Tony Land of
the Weston Police Department, Ed Kulhawik of the Wilton Police
Department and their employees along with the local EMS, Wilton Nursing
and Home Care, The American Red Cross, Sacred Heart University and
Fairfield University volunteers and the men and women of the Westport
Tom Mahoney of the Greenwich Department of
Health said prior to an emergency situation, residents should gather
and keep information about their household such as weight and height of
each child, date of birth, allergies and any other medically pertinent
By JEANNE HOFF and ROBERT KOCH
April 19, 2006
REGION — Health officials will descend upon Westport today as part of
the Strategic National Stockpile Drill, in which Connecticut will test
its ability to distribute medicines swiftly and efficiently in the
event of an emergency.
Roughly 255 officials from Southbury down to Greenwich are expected to
participate in the emergency preparedness clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
in the gymnasium of Westport's Bedford Middle School, 88 North Ave.,
along with 300 area residents acting as patients.
The Strategic National Stockpile contains large quantities of medicines
and medical supplies designed to assist the public in the event of a
public health emergency such as a flood, earthquake, terrorist attack
or influenza outbreak. The cache is intended to be used in instances in
which local supplies run out.
Today's exercise is one of several occurring simultaneously throughout
the state to familiarize residents and health agencies with their
municipalities' mass dispensing and vaccination plans in case of a
major disaster such as bio-terrorist attack or an outbreak of a deadly
"This is a significant exercise in our continued efforts to
prepare for a serious national health emergency," said Gov. M. Jodi
Rell. "My expectation is that Connecticut will be the best prepared
state for any type of disaster or emergency."
Sue Jacozzi, director of the Westport /Weston Health District said
following 9/11, her district and the Wilton Health Department began
devising a method of efficient distribution of medicines to the 54,000
residents of Westport, Weston and Wilton.
"The purpose of the drill is to test the Westport, Weston and Wilton
mass dispensing plan and identify weaknesses and strengths," Jacozzi
Bill Mooney, emergency response coordinator at the Norwalk Health
Department, said department staff and retired physicians and nurses
will participate in the distribution drill at Bedford Middle School. He
said the drill will be based on a mock plague sparked by bio-terrorism
incidents at sporting events in Boston and New York City, based on
information disclosed thus far.
Wednesday will mark the first time the towns will publicly test their
ability to distribute medicines effectively.
Similar health exercises, such as testing communication plans at
various hospitals such as the Norwalk Hospital began April 14.
However, today, Norwalk Hospital will test its ability to receive
federal stockpile medicines and treat its staff.
"We'll open our emergency operations center as well as our dispensing
clinic. We'll test our ability to put staff through that clinic in
timely fashion," said Lynda Nemeth, director of risk management
compliance and co-director for emergency management at Norwalk
Hospital. "If health care workers aren't healthy, they can't take care
of the public."
Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said Westport volunteered to
serve as a point of distribution site for the drill because the town
has always prided itself on its proactively in being equipped for
natural or man made disasters.
The statewide exercise culminates today with the opening of seven
points of distribution points: New Britain, Milford, Groton,
Plainfield, Glastonbury, Westport and Southbury. Afterward, the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention afterward will evaluate
"Connecticut's planning efforts for incorporating the national
stockpile to address a health disaster have received excellent
reviews," Rell said. "Now we want to put those written plans into
action to determine what further refinements are needed."
Radio Device To Link Emergency Disaster Workers
New London DAY
By PATRICIA DADDONA
Published on 1/9/2006
By this summer, an invention by six emergency officials from across the
state could enable their colleagues from different towns and agencies
to communicate over previously incompatible radio systems at the scene
of a disaster.
The inability to talk across systems has been one of the major
obstacles Homeland Security officials have been trying to overcome ever
since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Dubbed STOC, for
“on-Scene Tactical Operations Channel,” the device is a combined
receiver and radio in a box that can take a message transmitted on one
radio bandwidth and send it clearly and without interference to a
different bandwidth, said Wayne Sandford, deputy commissioner of the
state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
The state has set aside $2.1 million in Homeland Security funding for
the device, and has already obtained licenses from the Federal
Communications Commission, Sandford said.
Federal, state and local public safety agencies currently use many
different types of portable radios that operate on different
bandwidths. Those bandwidths — of 150, 400 or 800 megahertz — carry
different amounts of information and can transmit only to a radio using
the same bandwidth, Sandford said.
Police and fire officers carrying different types of radios often
cannot talk to one another at the scene of a disaster like the
InterRoyal mill fire in Plainfield in April or the Monsanto fire in
Stonington three years ago — both of which required mutual aid from
Now, the all-volunteer Interoperable Communications Workgroup, led by
Chairman Michael Varney, a fire chief in Ellington, has created a
device that can incorporate five frequencies into the three different
bandwidths. Varney is also an analyst in the state Department of
Using parallel frequencies, a firefighter on a 150-MHz band radio can
send a message to a radio using a different bandwidth and be heard,
Varney and Sandford said.
What the STOC device will do, said Varney, is “add capacity to existing
radio systems and increase the number of agencies that can talk to one
another. This adds at least three different talking groups per incident
at basically no cost to the municipalities. This capability doesn't
By connecting public safety workers in the field, Varney said, STOC
“increases coordination, prevents delays, allows workers to get help
faster, and the incident runs safer. Knowing people can talk directly
to one another, there's no miscommunication. Communication is
For instance, if traffic were being redirected following a major oil
spill on the Gold Star Memorial Bridge over the Thames River, said
Nicholas DeLia, the fire chief in Groton City, STOC could take a
message from a radio in the hands of a Groton police officer and
transmit it to a radio used by a New London police officer.
“This is for the ground-level guys,” said DeLia, who is involved in
emergency planning in southeastern Connecticut, “the guys that are
shooting the foam, controlling the traffic.”
Sandford said, “The beauty of the device is, we don't have to buy more
radios, because (emergency officials on scene) use the radios they
already have. All they have to do is program the new frequencies into
The state's new device could become a model for the rest of the
country, Sandford said.
“We're the first state in the nation that the FCC has even heard from”
on this subject, he said. “If it works, and we think it will, the FCC
is going to promote this across the country.”
Last year, the state bought I-CALL/I-TAC radios for every town in the
state. Like STOC, the I-TAC allows direct communication, but special
radios had to be purchased and can only be used by commanders, not
emergency workers at the scene, state officials said.
The consequences of having firefighters, police and ambulance workers
on the scene who cannot talk directly to one another are profound, and
dangerous, as the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks made all too clear,
local emergency experts say.
Roger D. Sylvestre, chief of fire and emergency services for the
Mashantucket Pequots and a local leader in emergency planning for
southeastern Connecticut, said the state committee's invention could
prove critical in months to come.
“That's a really good deal if they can pull that off,” he said. “What
you wouldn't have happen is what happened at the World Trade Center,
where police knew something that firefighters didn't know. The police
could see into the building, that the structure was starting to fail,
but there was no method to communicate that readily to the firemen,”
who were trapped inside.
The device works only on portable, 3- to 5-watt radios. Using
low-powered radios within a quarter of a mile of one another prevents
interference, Sandford said. The devices could not be used to
link all fire, police and emergency medical officials at once, Varney
added. In fact, that would not be desirable, he said.
“You don't want too many people on one channel. Then there's not enough
air time,” he said.
Varney's committee members developed the idea for STOC from continuous
conversations about improvising techniques, Varney said. They then
built a model and demonstrated it could work. The state has issued an
informational request for proposals, and once it gets a workable
prototype, will put the concept out to bid, Sandford said.
“I don't know that one person (on the committee) had that ‘aha!'
moment,” said Varney. “It happened over time, came out of a lot of
The STOC device may eventually be used to link municipal emergency
workers to private security forces like those from Pfizer or Electric
Boat, Sylvestre said, and could help coordinate experts from various
agencies into a single team when special expertise is needed.
If development goes as planned, STOC devices could be in the hands of
local officials within six months, Sandford said. The state will have
to see how much a single device costs and then try to distribute them
equally across the state, so that all towns in all five of the state's
emergency zones have access to them, he said.
“Ideally, it would be nice to be able to have one of these in each
municipality,” said Varney.
ABOUT TOWN—November 17, 2005
by MARGARET WIRTENBERG
(Suggested title: “Emergency”)
“Emergency! Everyone to get from street!” This is one of my
favorite lines from the movies. Alan Arkin, playing a Soviet
submarine officer, barked out this order in “The Russians Are Coming,
the Russians Are Coming!”
At a League of Women Voters of Weston event on emergency preparedness,
at Weston Library last Saturday, that is basically what we were told to
All invited speakers had a similar message. We were told about
how to remain “in-place.” The “in-place” option works for
Westonites. Instead of clogging local and state roads in an
attempt to “evacuate” during natural disasters, we should prepare for
being independent of modern conveniences for 72 hours.
The American Red Cross spoke of the need to be prepared. What
does that mean? What items should all Westonites make sure to
have on hand in an emergency? What are some tips on survival
“in-place?” Go to the Internet: www.redcross.org.
The Westport-Weston Health District took the lead in answering
questions about myriad health threats. This included discussion
of possible global pandemics.
Weston’s emergency management coordinator had a confidence-inspiring
“take charge” approach. Having returned from duty in New Orleans
he is up to date. He knows the need for and the “how to’s” of
coordinated emergency management.
First Selectman Woody Bliss moderated, and he was a vital source of
information. One statistic he offered was sobering. It is
necessary to maintain a 43 mile per hour speed to keep traffic flowing
on both I-95 and the Merritt Parkway. Evacuation scenarios via
those two arteries beggar the imagination. Since both highways
are at a standstill in the mornings anyway, we may need another
The message I took away from this vital League meeting was
simple. Each of us can do something to protect ourselves and the
community from disasters. Our regional health district is a good
place to turn. For more information on-line: www.wwhd.org
or telephone 227-9571.
Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan
There is a bureaucratic version of the Boy Scout by-word. Instead
of “be prepared” the professionals call it something else.
“Pre-Disaster Mitigation” is the title. The Plan for our
eight-town Region, approved at the beginning of 2005 by the South
Western Regional Planning Agency (www.swrpa.org), says a few things we
can all try to remember.
First, the shoreline communities potentially experience the most and
the most severe incidents. Where does Weston rank? Count
the number of pages in the Plan devoted to descriptions of what town
departments do and hope to be able to do. Three communities are
brief. Weston, Wilton and New Canaan lie inland. Their
“pre-disaster mitigation plans” are each four pages long.
Westport and Greenwich are two communities that have a great deal to
say on this subject. Their responses were, respectively, 23 and
13 pages long. Stamford, Darien and Norwalk, shoreline towns as
well, were not quite as wordy.
SWRPA prepared this document in advance of the creation of a new State
Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. The
DEMHS established five areas of regional cooperation for emergency
“One Coast, One Region” is the way Congressman Christopher Shays
identifies cooperation among Stamford, Norwalk and Bridgeport in
economic development. Emergency planning will now be coordinated
along these same lines!
Strengthens Into Hurricane
By ELIZABETH ROBERTS, Associated Press Writer
8:35 AM EDT, September 10, 2006
HAMILTON, Bermuda -- Florence intensified into the second hurricane of
the Atlantic season Sunday as it headed for Bermuda, where residents
installed storm shutters and hauled their yachts onto beaches.
Florence was expected to reach the tiny British territory Monday,
according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. But was too early
to tell whether it will make a direct hit.
The storm was a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near
80 mph with higher gusts. Florence was expected to become a Category 2
hurricane as it passes Bermuda, the hurricane center said.
The storm was expected to veer away from the U.S. coast as it turns
north toward Bermuda, but forecasters said its large size could also
create high surf and rip currents along parts of the eastern seaboard.
"Those waves will affect a good portion of the U.S. East Coast from
basically Florida all the way up to the Cape Cod area" starting Sunday
through the early part of next week, hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart
said. "When those large swells come rolling in to the coastline they
tend to produce dangerous and potentially deadly rip currents."
Bermuda issued a hurricane warning. The government urged its 65,000
residents to take precautions and volunteers were mobilized. The
hurricane center said tropical storm force winds could hit the North
Atlantic Island by Sunday afternoon.
"We are asking residents to please stay home. We are urging the
public's cooperation so that emergency vehicles will have free passage
on the roads," Derrick Burgess, minister of public safety, said at a
news conference. "Also, we are discouraging the public from sightseeing
as this puts everyone at risk."
He also encouraged the public to stock up on hurricane supplies and
secure their homes, lawn furniture and any other loose items which
could be affected by high winds.
At 8 a.m. EDT, the center of the hurricane was about 305 miles
south-southwest of Bermuda and was moving toward the north-northwest
near 15 mph.
The hurricane center said Bermuda was expected to get 5 to 8 inches of
rain, with up to 10 inches possible in some areas.
In boatyards and marinas in Bermuda -- a wealthy island chain 640 miles
east of the U.S. coast -- boat owners dragged their yachts onto beaches
or secured their moorings.
At Pitts Bay marina, Bermudian Alan Hughes moved his 17-foot Boston
Whaler away from the dock wall and tied it down.
"We are obviously concerned and cautious. It will be a tidal issue,
with up to five or six foot tidal swells," he said.
At the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, the hotel distributed a disaster
plan -- which included provisions for evacuation -- and told guests
that patio furniture would be removed from their rooms.
Roy Riggio, a 72-year-old volunteer counselor with Medicare from New
Canaan, Conn., said he and his wife, Barbara, arrived in Bermuda on
As other guests at the Fairmont were leaving, Riggio said he didn't
believe the hurricane would deter him and his wife and he wanted a
"window seat" at the hotel's restaurant on Sunday night to watch the
"If not, I'm going to take pictures from my room -- I have a room up at
the top of the hotel -- and I want to get some photos. I'm not a
glutton for punishment, but it's exciting," he said.
Authorities said they were closing the island's only airport, Bermuda
International Airport. Flights from New York and Miami scheduled to
arrive late Saturday have been canceled.
Ferries stopped running Saturday afternoon and bus service was to end
Sunday at 1 p.m.. Authorities have opened a shelter in the island's
center, and the public utility has warned there may be power outages
due to the high winds.
Public schools and government offices will be closed Monday.
Acting Police Commissioner Roseanda Young said arrangements have been
made for tourists to leave after the airport shuts down, with
commercial airlines and private jets helping out.
"All tourists have been given the opportunity to leave. Those still
here have chosen to stay," she said.
Large ocean swells were affecting Bermuda and the northern coasts of
the Caribbean islands, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin
Islands, the hurricane center said.
Bermuda requires newly built houses to withstand sustained winds of 110
mph. It also has a sturdy infrastructure with many of its power and
phone lines underground.
Hurricane Fabian killed four people when it struck in 2003 as the
strongest storm to hit Bermuda in 50 years. Fabian, a Category 3
hurricane with 120 mph winds, tore the roofs off several homes and left
many of Bermuda's famed golf courses in ruins.
Florence follows on the heels of Tropical Storm Ernesto, which was
briefly the season's first hurricane before weakening and drenching the
East Coast last week. The storm was blamed for nine deaths in the
United States and two in Haiti.
Remember Three Mile Island?
Pipe Leak at Nuclear Plant
Raises Concerns - seen any good, old
By MATTHEW L. WALD
May 2, 2009
WASHINGTON — The discovery of water flowing across the
floor of a building at the Indian Point 2 nuclear plant in Buchanan,
N.Y., traced to a leak in a buried pipe, is stirring concern about the
plant’s underground pipes and those of other aging reactors across the
A one-and-a-half-inch hole caused by corrosion allowed about
100,000 gallons of water to escape from the main system that keeps the
reactor cool immediately after any shutdown, according to nuclear
experts. The leak was discovered on Feb. 16, according to the plant’s
owner, Entergy Nuclear Northeast, a subsidiary of the Entergy
Entergy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission emphasized that
the Indian Point reactor could still have been shut down safely with
either of two other backup systems, although operators generally avoid
They also stressed that the supply pipe was quickly repaired
after the leak was found and that the water itself, which is cleaner
than tap water, posed no environmental threat. Yet the leak’s discovery
has prompted Entergy and the regulatory commission to begin studying
how the chief system for cooling during shutdowns, so important that
the Indian Point 2 has three pumps in place to do the same job, could
be endangered by the failure of a single part.
More broadly, it has raised concerns about the monitoring of
decades-old buried pipes at the nation’s nuclear plants, many of which
are applying for renewal of their operating licenses. Indian Point 2,
whose 40-year operating license expires in 2013, already faces harsh
criticism from New York State and county officials who want it shut
This week Representative Edward J. Markey, the Massachusetts
Democrat who heads a House subcommittee on energy and the environment,
said the leak raised serious questions about Entergy’s and the
regulatory commission’s oversight.
“This leak may demonstrate a systemic failure of the licensee
and the commission to inspect critical buried pipes in a manner
sufficient to guarantee the public health and safety,” he wrote to the
commission’s chairman, Dale Klein in a letter on Thursday. The letter
was also signed by Representative John J. Hall, whose district includes
the plant. The congressmen said they were “shocked” that a leak that
big could develop without detection and called the system for detecting
such problems “profoundly inadequate.”
One argument raised by New York State in opposing extension of
the license of Indian Point 2 or the adjacent Indian Point 3 reactor is
that crucial components are aging in ways that the operators may not
anticipate or understand.
The supply pipe at issue, measuring eight inches in diameter, is
used to fill a 600,000-gallon tank that is used whenever the plant
“trips,” or shuts down because of an equipment malfunction. Such
shutdowns are not unusual; one occurred on April 3, roughly a month
after the pipe was fixed.
James F. Steets, a spokesman for Indian Point, said it was
unclear when the leak began. The company initially said the pipe was
losing 18 gallons a minute but later amended that to 12; either number
is small relative to the 600,000-gallon tank, he said.
Mr. Steets said that the water level in the tank offered no clue
that the supply pipe was leaking. The tank has an alarm to indicate its
water level is falling, he said, but it did not sound because an
automatic system was topping off the tank with purified water.
At a nuclear plant, a central water system takes heat from the
reactor in the form of steam and turns it into electricity. During a
shutdown at Indian Point 2, that system often turns off and a pipe
measuring 12 inches in diameter carries water from the tank into the
cooling system to carry off excess heat.
The buried portion of neither the 8-inch supply pipe nor the
12-inch pipe connecting the tank to the reactor cooling system has been
visually inspected since the reactor began operating in August, 1973,
according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Nor does the commission
require such inspections.
Paul Blanch, an electrical engineer and nuclear safety expert
who worked at Indian Point in 2001 and 2002, said that because neither
pipe has been inspected, except for a short section that was replaced
when the hole was located in February, “they shouldn’t be operating
He said the plant could be operating with a backup system that
is ready to fail.
Mel Gray, a branch chief at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
who oversees inspections at Indian Point, confirmed in a telephone
interview that inspectors “have not dug up and laid eyes visually” on
the pipes. But he said that experts routinely conduct “surveillance
tests,” measuring the tank level and the flow through the pumps that
direct water from the tank to the reactor.
“If you had a gross leak, you’d detect its going somewhere
else,” he said, referring, for example, to a leak large enough to drain
the tank quickly.
Mr. Gray acknowledged that the 12-inch line that delivers water
from the 600,000 gallon tank during a shutdown might be rusted in
places, too, but he said it was unlikely to fail suddenly when called
upon. But Mr. Blanch warned that if gravel or dirt leaked into the
12-inch supply pipe when the pumps started up, that could make them
Mr. Steets of Entergy said that if the tank were disabled, a
tank filled from Buchanan’s municipal water system could be used to
deliver water during a shutdown.
But Mr. Blanch and the letter from the two congressmen faulted
the system that relies on city water.
Plant operators dislike using such water because city tap water
is not as clean as reactor water. And critics point out that the system
is not safety-rated, meaning it is not certified to work in adverse
conditions like blackouts and earthquakes and is not maintained as
Another potential solution proposed by the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission involves using the reactor’s emergency core cooling system
during a shutdown. But cooling water can only be inserted after
reducing the pressure in the reactor, which causes the water to boil.
Letting the water boil can lead to core damage.
Buried pipes are emerging as an endemic problem as reactors age,
although so far most of the attention has been to the substance that is
leaked — not a pipe’s role in ensuring the reactor’s safe operation
Reactor water includes tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen
that can occur naturally but is also made in reactors. Leaks of water
with tritium have been discovered in underground piping at the Byron,
Braidwood and Dresden twin-reactor plants in Illinois, and at a
three-unit plant in New Mexico, Palo Verde. Indian Point also leaked
water with tritium from its spent fuel pool in 2005.
While experts at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in
interviews that additional pipe leaks like the one found in February
would not pose a big challenge to reactor operators, they acknowledged
that it was something new.
“We were not aware of a problem before with underground pipe,”
Mr. Gray said. “Now that we have one, it’s got our focused attention.”
“We’re not done,” he said.
release health report on reactor
By Patrick McNamee, Special Correspondent
Article Launched: 05/12/2008 01:00:00 AM EDT
Fairfield County may be nearly 50 miles from Indian Point nuclear power
plant in Buchanan, N.Y., but one group thinks that may not be far
The Radiation and Public Health Project is launching a campaign to
educate residents about possible dangers and plans a news conference
for tomorrow at Earthplace in Westport to discuss findings of its
latest health report.
The plant has been a source of controversy since it opened in 1974.
Entergy, which owns and operates it, has requested 20-year license
extensions for its two water-pressurized reactors that would allow one
to operate until 2033 and the other until 2035. A decision is expected
Joseph Mangano, a member of the Radiation and Public Health Project,
said the plant has caused health damage.
"There is a considerable body of evidence that nuclear reactors have
harmed residents from radioactive chemicals that are routinely released
in low doses from the reactors," Mangano said. "Our campaign is to
inform the public that there are health risks."
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has set up Emergency Planning Zones
that cover areas within 10 miles of a plant and a 50-mile radius, which
encompasses Fairfield County.
In an accident or meltdown, towns within 10 miles would have to shelter
and evacuate people and distribute potassium iodide pills to counter
the effects of radiation poisoning. Within 50 miles, radiation would
affect crops and reservoirs, so some food and water would be banned.
"There is nothing special about those 10 miles. It's not like there is
a magic lead wall," Mangano said. "We know that radioactivity can
travel hundreds of miles."
In an accident, radioactivity would be carried downwind and could reach
Fairfield County within two hours, he said. But even without a
meltdown, radiation can be in the air, reservoirs and food supply, he
Scott Burnell, spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said
studies done by Entergy and the New York Department of Environmental
Quality, have shown no effect on people that live near the plant.
"Once you get into the distance between Indian Point and Connecticut,
there is no information to show there is any danger," Burnell said.
Emergency preparedness plans are reviewed routinely and protect people,
"Once outside the 10 miles, based on information available to the NRC,
anything that could happen is unlikely to have an immediate impact,"
Burnell said. "Certainly, there could be an effect on farms and water
supply up to 50 miles, but we feel the plans in place are sufficient."
Tomorrow, the Radiation and Public Health Project will release the
findings of The Tooth Fairy Project, in which they studied the level of
Strontium-90, a radioactive isotope, in baby teeth. They also will
discuss research on death rates for children and adolescents from
"We're not trying to instill fear in people, but to keep them informed
of the dangers, and this is only one type of chemical and danger in the
air," Mangano said.
Entergy spokesman Jim Steets said the group is scaring people.
"This group is not a credible health agency, just a group with some
widely criticized health studies," Steets said. "I don't know their
point except to scare people into thinking there is some correlation
between health problems and Indian Point, which has not been proven."
Leaders are reserving judgment.
"We would be concerned and would hope to learn more about safeguards
that are in place for the surrounding population," Greenwich First
Selectman Peter Tesei said. "I am certainly pleased, however, that
there are people scrutinizing and looking into the information so that
we can learn more."
Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy had similar feelings.
"I think on issues like this, we follow the lead of our attorney
general," Malloy said. "We've gone through phases of this before where
we wanted to have (potassium iodide) tablets. It's important because it
is built in a densely populated area."
Mangano said he is not an energy analyst but he wants residents to
consider the findings before the decision is made on renewing Indian
"We would encourage citizens and leaders to use this information in the
debates about license extensions," he said. "This is an opportunity to
become involved in the public process."
Easton man's drug case continued
Article Last Updated: 06/03/2008 10:38:34 AM EDT
BRIDGEPORT — The drug case against an Easton man, whose home was the
target of a police raid last month that led to a visitor's death, was
continued today until later in the month.
Ronald Terebesi, whose Dogwood Drive home was raided May 18 by a
heavily armed police team, appeared briefly this morning in Superior
Court on Golden Hill Street.
He faces charges of possessing narcotics and drug paraphernalia, which
were lodged several days after the raid during which Gonzalo Guizan,
33, of Norwalk was fatally shot by officers.
Terebesi's case was continued to June 19 at the request of his lawyer,
Edward Murname, to allow the defense time for further investigation.
The continuance was granted by Judge Matthew Frechette.
Terebesi and his lawyer had no comment as they left the courtroom.
The raid and Guizan's death remain under investigation by State Police
and the State's Attorney's office.
A lawyer for Guizan's family has indicated they are considering filing
suit against authorities.
Easton resident in raid faces drug
Article Last Updated: 05/24/2008 11:50:21 PM EDT
EASTON — Ronald A. Terebesi Jr. — whose home was raided by police last
Sunday, during which they fatally shot a guest at the house — was
arrested on drug charges Saturday afternoon.
Terebesi, 42, of 91 Dogwood Drive, is charged with possession of
narcotics, a felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He turned
himself in at the police station at 12:30 p.m. and was released on
$10,000 bond, police said. The warrant was issued Friday, police said.
He couldn't be reached for comment on Saturday.
Police and members of the Southwest Regional Emergency Response Team
had raided the home about 2:30 p.m. last Sunday, seizing two small
clear glass smoking pipes and crack cocaine in a tin box.
But officers entering the home were allegedly confronted by Gonzalo
Guizan, 33, of Norwalk, whom they shot to death.
The two officers involved in the shooting have been identified as Brian
Weir, who has eight years of experience on the Trumbull Police
Department, and Michael Sweeney, who has seven years of experience on
the Monroe Police Department.
The State Police and the State's Attorney's Office are investigating
the shooting to determine if it was justified.
Less than two weeks before the raid, the home's doors and windows were
riddled by gunfire during a mysterious drive-by attack.
Also, Terebesi had a loaded .357-caliber Magnum handgun when emergency
medical personnel were dispatched to a call at his house in March. And
while police had taken the gun from him, authorities feared he might
have acquired another loaded weapon before the raid, prompting Easton
Police Chief John Solomon to take precautions for officers' safety.
No guns were found in the house, sources have said.
Easton police said that evidence obtained in the Sunday raid was field
tested by state police; the test proved positive for narcotic
substances, police said.
Terebesi is slated to appear June 3 in Bridgeport Superior Court.
No guns found in raid that killed
By Daniel Tepfer
Article Launched: 05/20/2008 01:00:00 AM EDT
EASTON - The Dogwood Drive home where a Norwalk man was killed during a
police raid Sunday was the target of neighborhood complaints about loud
parties and cars coming and going late into the night.
And less than two weeks before the raid that also caused minor injuries
to homeowner Ronald Terebesi and two police officers, the home's doors
and windows were riddled by gunfire during a mysterious drive-by
attack. Terebesi, 42, had a loaded .357-caliber Magnum handgun
when emergency medical personnel were dispatched to his house in
March. And while police had taken the gun from him, authorities
feared he might have another loaded weapon Sunday.
So Police Chief John Solomon felt he had sufficient evidence to call
out the troops when his officers, joined by the Southwest Regional
Emergency Response Team, set out to execute a search warrant at the
house shortly before 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Officers on the raid, some wearing bulletproof vests, armored helmets
and camouflage, surrounded the small gray house. They launched
concussion grenades into the dwelling to disorient the people inside
with bursts of noise and light. The raid turned violent when the
lead officers burst into the house and, according to the police report,
were confronted by Terebesi and Gonzalo Guizan, a 33-year-old Norwalk
Guizan allegedly charged the officers and "physically encountered two
of the police officers," according to the report.
The two officers - one of whom apparently shot Guizan - were identified
as Brian Weir, an eight-year veteran of the Trumbull Police Department,
and Michael Sweeney, a seven-year veteran of the Monroe Police
Department. Guizan, of 79 East Ave., Norwalk, was taken to St.
Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport, where he was pronounced
dead. State police investigating the shooting yesterday would not
identify the officer who fired the fatal shots. The officers and
Terebesi also were taken to St. Vincent's Medical Center for treatment
of minor injuries and later released.
Terebesi was not arrested Sunday, although investigators returned to
the house Monday to continue their search under authority of the
warrant. However, police apparently did not find any guns in the
house during a search after the raid. State Police are continuing
to investigate the shooting and will present their findings to State's
Attorney Jonathan Benedict. He will make the determination if the
evidence justifies the fatal shooting of Guizan.
Terebesi's lawyer, Gary Mastronardi, contended yesterday that neither
his client nor Guizan was doing anything wrong when the raid was
"The whole thing stinks to high heaven, and we will be taking a closer
look at it," he said.
"Here you had two guys simply watching television when police throw in
grenades, and then come right through the door," Mastronardi said.
He said the two men had met at the home Sunday afternoon to discuss
setting up a local employment agency.
Guizan was scheduled to appear in state Superior Court in Norwalk on
Aug. 28 to face drunken-driving and drug charges. He was pulled over by
Norwalk police June 6 and charged with driving under the influence. A
search of the vehicle turned up a multi-colored glass pipe with
narcotics residue, according to police. He faced additional
charges of narcotics possession and use of drug paraphernalia.
Court records show Guizan had no previous criminal record.
Terebesi also has no prior criminal record. Last month, however, he was
charged with three counts of use and possession of drug
paraphernalia. That charge was lodged after an incident early
March 31, when Easton EMS and police were dispatched to Terebesi's home
in response to a call that a man was having a seizure, according to
When personnel arrived, they said they found Terebesi appeared to have
passed out on his living room couch. He looked as though he was under
the influence of alcohol or drugs and gave police permission to search
the home, according to the records. Police said they found pipe
stems, commonly used to smoke crack cocaine, under Terebesi's body,
along with a loaded .357-caliber Magnum handgun. Police seized the gun.
The drug paraphernalia charges were filed against him in April.
The police team that staged Sunday's raid, made up of officers from the
local departments in region, had encountered controversy before. Last
September, the squad shot Stratford resident John Bell in the arm
during a raid of a Bridgeport gas station, where they suspected an
illegal gambling operation was based. Officers said Bell fired at them
first, and they returned fire. The case is pending in federal
Residents on Terebesi's street remained awe-struck yesterday at the
series of events that disturbed their peaceful neighborhood.
"I'm not very happy it's happening here. It's scary, people being
shot," said Fred Beitman, of Pond Road, who lives next door. "I have no
control over what happens in other people's houses."
Drew Clark, who lives across the street on Dogwood Drive, said,
"Yesterday, my wife and I heard a large crash and an explosion,
followed by five or six shots. We saw smoke coming out of the house.
"We came here to live to enjoy peace and quiet," he said. "Now, we hear
boom, boom, boom."
Clark said he and his wife, Sheila, were shocked to see police officers
in tactical gear when they walked down to the scene to find out what
happened. Fred Mauer, who lives up the street on Dogwood Drive,
said he was returning home on bicycle when he encountered the police
SWAT team and saw "someone getting loaded into an ambulance."
Norwalk man ID'd in Easton shooting
Article Last Updated: 05/19/2008 02:17:19 PM EDT
EASTON — A 33-year-old Norwalk man has been identified today as the man
fatally shot during a police raid on a Dogwood Drive yesterday.
Gonzalo Guizan, of 79 East Ave., apartment 7, Norwalk, was killed
during a confrontation with officers trying to execute a
search-and-seizure warrant at 91 Dogwood Drive shortly before 2:30 p.m.
While state officials continue to investigate incident, sources
indicate that no guns were found in the home.
Ronald Terebesi, 42, the home's resident, was apparently injured during
the raid, although sources say he was not shot. His condition today is
not immediately known.
The squad of Easton officers and the Southwest Regional Emergency
Response Team battered its way into the Dogwood Drive house just before
2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
Before the team entered, it apparently launched "flash bags" into the
house that set off loud noises to distract and confuse the home's
When officers entered the house, according to State Police, they were
confronted by the two men. Guizan allegedly charged the officers and
"physically encountered two of the police officers," according to the
The two officers were identified as Brian Weir an 8-year veteran of the
Trumbull Police Department, and Michael Sweeney, a 7-year veteran of
the Monroe Police Department.
Investigators have not released information on how many times Guizan
was shot or which officer shot him.
An autopsy on the dead man is scheduled to be conducted by the chief
state medical examiner. Terebesi's home was hit by gunfire May 7.
He had been arrested last month on three counts of possessing drug
The incident is being investigated by the State's Attorney's office and
the State Police.
Source: No guns at Easton raid site
Article Last Updated: 05/19/2008 12:05:18 PM EDT
EASTON — While state officials this morning continue to investigate the
fatal police shooting of a person at a Dogwood Drive house yesterday,
sources indicate that no guns were found in the home.
The identity of the dead person had not been released by late morning,
but State Police indicate a more complete report on the incident may be
released later today.
Another occupant of the home injured during a confrontation with a
regional police squad, attempting to serve a warrant, apparently
remains hospitalized. None of the officers on the raid, two of whom
were initially reported to be injured, remain under treatment this
The squad of Easton officers and the Southwest Regional Emergency
Response Team battered its way into the house at 91 Dogwood Drive just
before 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
Before the team entered, it apparently launched "flash bags" into the
house that set off loud noises to distract and confuse the home's
The home, which was occupied by Ronald Terebesi, 42, was hit by gunfire
May 7. Terebesi had been arrested last month on three counts of
possessing drug paraphernalia. It was not known as of this morning
whether Terebsi was the party killed or injured during the raid.
Police said the person killed during the raid had charged at officers
in a threatening manner.
The incident is being investigated by the State's Attorney's office and
the State Police.
1 dead, 3 hurt in Easton shooting
Article Last Updated: 05/18/2008 11:17:19 PM EDT
Click photo to enlargePolice leave the home on Dogwood Drive where a
person was... (Christian Abraham/Staff photographer
)«1234»EASTON — An
attempt to serve a search and seizure warrant at a Dogwood Drive home
went awry Sunday afternoon, leaving one person dead and shattering the
serenity of the usually quiet neighborhood.
At about 2:20 p.m. officers from the Easton Police Department and the Southwest
Regional Emergency Response Team arrived at the small gray ranch
at 91 Dogwood Drive to execute the warrant, according to Easton Police
Chief John Solomon.
"After the officers entered, shots were fired," Solomon said.
One person was killed and two Easton officers and another occupant of
the house were taken to the hospital for undisclosed injuries that were
not considered life-threatening, police said. Solomon also would
not confirm the identity of the person who died. The person was
fatally shot by a local police officer after the man
"charged the entry team and physically encountered two of the police
officers," State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said. Specifics of
the confrontation, including whether the resident had a weapon, were
Ronald A. Terebesi, 42, lived in the home. He was arrested on a warrant
April 12 on three counts of possession of drug paraphernalia after
police were called there March 31 on the report of a medical emergency.
Then on May 7, gunshots were fired through the windows of the house but
no one was hurt.
Police said they found shotgun rounds had been fired through the front
windows, rear door and kitchen window of the home when they responded
to a 911 call at 4:12 that morning. A red sedan with a loud muffler was
seen leaving the area after the shooting, police said. On Sunday
afternoon, residents gathered in the driveway of a home across from
Terebesi's and watched as officers from Monroe, Trumbull, Fairfield and
Easton, as well as the State Police Major Crime Squad, processed the
scene. About a half dozen young children played in the street in
front of the
police tape that cordoned off the area as their parents and neighbors
waited for news as to what had happened.
Dogwood Drive resident Gerry O'Brien said he was in the basement of his
home when he heard a loud noise.
"It sounded like a battering ram," he said. Other family members
thought they heard gunshots, he said.
"It was a little frightening," he said. Other neighbors said that a
team of about 10 officers in combat gear arrived at the house and
forced the door open. It was then that the shots rang out, they said.
Terebesi was not friendly with him or any of his neighbors, O'Brien
said. "We have a tight-knit homeowners association," he said, to which
Terebesi did not belong.
"He definitely kept different hours than the rest of us," he said,
adding that there were often late-night goings-on at the home.
The neighborhood association had scheduled a meeting for Sunday
afternoon, O'Brien said. They had requested a police officer attend to
address the problems at Terebesi's home, he said, but were told one
would not be available.
"They said they would be busy working on a case," he said. Sunday's
events didn't come as a complete surprise to neighbors, he said,
because of the past police activity at the house.
"If this represents a resolution to the problems there, then I feel
good about it," O'Brien said.
The Southwest Regional Emergency Response Team is a consortium of
officers from six neighboring police departments, each of which assigns
officers to the team, Solomon said. The case has been turned over to
the state police, Solomon said, because it involves a shooting in which
local police were involved. Vance on Sunday night declined to
release the identities of all involved, but said their names would be
made available today. The identities were being withheld Sunday
to give police time to notify their families, Vance said.
Easton police also declined to identify the two officers involved in
It’s Always the End of the World as We
By DENIS DUTTON
January 1, 2010
Christchurch, New Zealand
IT seems so distant, 1999. Bill Clinton had survived impeachment, his
popularity hardly dented, Sept. 11 was just another date and music fans
were enjoying a young singer named Britney Spears.
But there was a particular unease in the air. The so-called Y2K
problem, the inability of computers to read dates beyond 1999
threatened to turn Jan. 1, 2000 into a nightmare. The issue had first
been noticed by programmers in the 1950s, but had been ignored. As the
turn of the century loomed, though, it seemed that humankind faced a
litany of horrors.
Haywire navigation controls might cause aircraft to fall from the
skies. Electricity grids, water systems and telephone networks would be
knocked out, while nuclear power plants would be subject to meltdown.
Savings and pension accounts would be wiped out in a general bank
failure. A cascade of breakdowns in communication and commerce would
create vast shortages of food and medicine, which would, in turn,
produce riots, lawlessness and social collapse. Even worse, ICBMs might
rise from their silos unbidden, spreading death across the globe.
Y2K problems would not be limited to mainframe computers that governed
the information systems of the modern world, but were going to affect
millions of tiny computer chips found everywhere. Thanks to these wonky
microprocessors, elevators would die, G.P.S. devices would stop working
and dishwashers would dry the food onto the plates before trying to
rinse it off. Even ordinary cars might spontaneously accelerate to
fatal, uncontrollable speeds, with brakes failing to respond.
The Y2K catastrophe was promoted with increasing shrillness toward
century’s end: headlines proclaimed a “computer time bomb” or “a date
with disaster.” Vanity Fair’s January 1999 article “The Y2K Nightmare”
caught the sensationalist tone, claiming that “folly, greed and denial”
had “muffled two decades of warnings from technology experts.”
Among the most reviled of the Y2K deniers was Bill Gates, who not only
declared that Microsoft’s PCs would take the date turnover in stride,
but had the audacity to blame those who “love to tell tales of fear”
for the worldwide anxiety. Mr. Gates’s denialism was ignored as
governments and corporations set in place immensely expensive schemes
to immunize systems against the Y2K bug.
They weren’t the only ones keen to get in on the end-time spirit. The
Rev. Jerry Falwell suggested that Y2K would be the confirmation of
Christian prophecy, “God’s instrument to shake this nation, to humble
this nation.” The Y2K crisis might incite a worldwide revival that
would lead to “the rapture of the church.” Along with many
survivalists, Mr. Falwell advised stocking up on food and guns.
So the scene was set here in New Zealand for midnight on Dec. 31, 1999.
We are just west of the dateline, and thus would be the first to
experience not only popping Champagne corks and fireworks, but the Y2K
catastrophe, if any. As clocks hit midnight, Champagne and skyrockets
were the only explosions of interest, since telephones, ATMs, cars,
computers and airplanes worked just fine. The head of the government’s
Y2K Readiness Commission declared victory: “New Zealand’s investment in
planning and preparation has paid off.”
Confident that our millions were well spent, we waited for news of the
calamities sure to hit countries that had ignored Y2K. Asia, a Deutsche
Bank official had predicted, was going to be “burnt toast” on New
Year’s Day — not just the lesser-developed areas of Vietnam and China,
but South Korea, which by 1999 was a highly computer-dependent society.
South Korea, one computer expert told me, had a national telephone
system similar to British Telecom’s. But where the British had wisely
sunk millions of pounds into Y2K remediation, South Korea had done next
However, exactly 10 years ago today, as the date change moved on
through the Far East, India, Russia, the Middle East and Europe, it
became apparent that it made little difference whether you lived in
Britain, which at great expense had revamped many of its computer
systems, or the lackadaisical Ukraine, which had ignored the issue.
With minor glitches that would have gone unnoticed any other day of the
week, the world kept ticking on. It must have been galling for
computer-conscientious Germans to observe how life continued its
pleasurable path for feckless Italians, who had generally paid no
attention to Y2K. There were problems, to be sure: in Australia, a
bus-ticket machine stamped the wrong date, while in Britain a tide
gauge in Portsmouth Harbor failed. Still, the South Korean phone system
came through unscathed.
By the time midnight reached the United States, where upward of $100
billion had been spent on Y2K fixes, there was little anxiety. Indeed,
the general health of American information systems, fixed and not,
became clearer in the new year. The Small Business Administration
calculated that 1.5 million businesses had undertaken no Y2K
remediation. On Jan. 3, it received about 40 phone calls from
businesses that had experienced minor faults, like cash registers that
misread the year “2000” as “1900” (which seemed everywhere the single
most common error caused by Y2K).
KNOWING our computers is difficult enough. Harder still is to know
ourselves, including our inner demons. From today’s perspective, the
Y2K fiasco seems to be less about technology than about a morbid
fascination with end-of-the-world scenarios. This ought to strike us as
strange. The cold war was fading in 1999, we were witnessing a
worldwide growth in wealth and standards of living, and Islamic
terrorism was not yet seen as a serious global threat. It should have
been a year of golden weather, a time for the human race to relax and
look toward a brighter, more peaceful future. Instead, with computers
as a flimsy pretext, many seemed to take pleasure in frightening
themselves to death over a coming calamity.
No doubt part of the blame must go to those consultants who took
businesses and governments for an expensive ride in the lead-up to New
Year’s Day. But doom-laden exaggerations about Y2K fell on ears that
were all-too receptive. The Y2K fiasco was about more than simple
Religions from Zoroastrianism to Judaism to Christianity to U.F.O.
cults have been built around notions of sin and the world’s end. The
Y2K threat resonated with those ideas. Human beings have constructed an
enormous, wasteful, unnatural civilization, filled with sin — or, worse
in some minds, pollution and environmental waste. Suppose it turned out
that a couple of zeros inadvertently left off old computer codes
brought crashing down the very civilization computers helped to create.
The theme of our fancy inventions ultimately destroying us has been a
favorite in fiction at least since Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” We
can place alongside this a continuous succession of spectacular films
built on visions of the end of the world. Such end-time fantasies must
have a profound, persistent appeal in order to keep drawing wide-eyed
crowds into movie theaters, as historically they have drawn crowds into
churches, year after year.
Apocalyptic scenarios are a diversion from real problems — poverty,
terrorism, broken financial systems — needing intelligent attention.
Even something as down-to-earth as the swine-flu scare has seemed at
moments to be less about testing our health care system and its
emergency readiness than about the fate of a diseased civilization
drowning in its own fluids. We wallow in the idea that one day
everything might change in, as St. Paul put it, the “twinkling of an
eye” — that a calamity might prove to be the longed-for transformation.
But turning practical problems into cosmic cataclysms takes us further
away from actual solutions.
This applies, in my view, to the towering seas, storms, droughts and
mass extinctions of popular climate catastrophism. Such entertaining
visions owe less to scientific climatology than to eschatology, and
that familiar sense that modernity and its wasteful comforts are
bringing us closer to a biblical day of judgment. As that headline put
it for Y2K, predictions of the end of the world are often intertwined
with condemnations of human “folly, greed and denial.” Repent and
Angela Carella: Report: Dispatchers,
not cops, are slow to respond
Published 09:37 p.m., Saturday, May 12, 2012
Most urban police departments in the United States try to respond to
high-priority calls in five minutes or less.
Rural police departments try for seven minutes or less.
But the average response time for such calls in Stamford is 12 minutes.
For low-priority calls in Stamford the average response time is 26
The delay appears to be happening not with patrol officers but in the
911 dispatch center, according to a report by Matrix Consulting Group,
a California company hired by the city to analyze the Stamford Police
"Queue time" in the dispatch center -- the number of minutes from when
a call comes in to when it's sent to an officer in the field --
averages eight to 10 minutes, "longer than desired," the report states.
Some of the delay could be because Stamford, at 52 square miles, is a
large city geographically, which increases travel time for officers,
according to the report.
But it's the queue time in the dispatch center that drives the delays,
a team of Matrix analysts concluded, citing several reasons:
Dispatchers follow an "exotic" schedule in which A, B and C squads
rotate day and evening shifts and X, Y and Z squads work midnight
shifts. Dispatchers are not deployed so that more are on duty when call
volume is high and fewer are scheduled for quieter times of day. The
lack of coordination "can result in substantive needs for additional
staff," according to the report.
Research shows that it is "less productive" to have police, whose
skills are in law enforcement, in charge of dispatch centers, the
report states. Centers operate better when they are run by trained,
professional dispatch managers and supervisors. Stamford's dispatch
center is headed by a captain and five sergeants.
The dispatch center does not have a procedures manual, creating
inconsistencies in how dispatchers record calls. If all dispatchers
follow a manual, "efficiency, effectiveness and professionalism" will
be improved, according to the report.
One result of inconsistent practices in the center is that Stamford
dispatchers "take considerably longer processing calls in an effort to
meet community expectations," the report stated.
A survey of employees showed that half the respondents rated dispatch
service fair or poor. Such a response is "uncommon" for dispatch
agencies, according to the report.
There are "significant issues" with how dispatchers use Computer Aided
Dispatch software, the report found. Dispatchers are not trained the
same so there are inconsistencies in how information is recorded.
With more efficient scheduling, common training and professional
managers, the center can operate with nine full-time dispatchers, the
report concluded. It now has 28.
The Matrix report is preliminary; a Board of Finance committee will get
the final report at an upcoming meeting.
Public safety Director Ted Jankowski could not be reached for comment
Friday. At some point police and other officials will have a chance to
comment on the findings.
Stamford has enough officers who most often have enough time to respond
to calls, the report found, but patrol units are not being dispatched
quickly. Many police departments set response-time goals for calls,
depending on priority, but Stamford does not, according to the Matrix
It points to studies that have shown that fast police response doesn't
necessarily increase the likelihood that a crime will be interrupted or
a criminal caught -- that's usually linked to how quickly a citizen
The importance of response time has to do with perception, according to
the report. Citizens have more confidence in their police department if
the response is quick when they call.