Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cheshire Officials Update Storm Clean Up Information

I'm not sure why they waited until Friday at 6 p.m. to release this information, but the folks at the Cheshire Town Hall released an update on their efforts to clear the streets of snow. If you have any comments or questions after reading this, call me at 203-789-5706 or e-mail them to me at I'll try to get them answered on Monday.
Here's the news release:


The latest winter storm of January 26 and 27, 2011 continued to add to record snowfall totals. The Town has been as aggressive as possible to keep our 151 miles of Town roads clear and safe, while also clearing parking lots and sidewalks for our Town buildings.

The Town will continue to address snow related issues, especially with the potential of more snow in the near future, and residents are asked for their cooperation and assistance.

Specifically, we ask the public to be aware of the following conditions:

• There are many large areas of piled snow which the Town will be removing as soon as
possible utilizing Town crews and subcontractors. Snow piles at locations such as cul-de-sacs
that do not create public safety issues will not be removed.

• Sight lines for intersections along state roads and more heavily traveled Town roads will be
prioritized. Less traveled intersections in residential neighborhoods will be cleared after the
priority intersections have been addressed.

Sight lines for private driveways will be the responsibility of the homeowner. Cheshire police remind the traveling public to use caution when approaching and entering intersection, especially when lights are red. Even if the intersection is not marked as “No Right on Red,” it is strongly suggested that motorists do not make right hand turns until the traffic light has turned green to avoid the risk of an accident.

• Sidewalks must be cleared by property owners. Cheshire Ordinances require residents to
clear the sidewalk in front of their properties within 24 hours of the end of the snow fall.

We ask the public to be diligent in performing this function as it can become a serious public safety hazard.

Sidewalk clearing is especially critical in areas around schools and in high pedestrian traffic areas. The Town will be aggressively enforcing this Ordinance, which includes a fine for non-compliance.

• The traveling lanes of Town roads have been narrowed. The height of the snow piles on the
sides of the roads offers little opportunity to further push the snow back off the roads; doing so
would push snow onto cleared driveways and sidewalks.

Therefore, the Town cannot clear the roads to the edge of the pavement, so residents may need to dig out their mailboxes. The Town will eventually need to open up access to storm drains, but this is not a priority at this time.

• Fire hydrants have been buried by the snow, and the Cheshire Fire Department is attempting
to clear them, which is critical for public safety. Given the amount of snow and limited staff,
most of whom are volunteer firefighters, it is unlikely that the Fire Department will be able to
get to all hydrants. We are appealing to the public to assist us by clearing any fire hydrants that
abut your property.

• The Curbside Trash and Recycling collection schedule has been slightly impacted, and the
hauler is doing their best to catch up; please be aware that collection may be slightly delayed.
Residents are asked to leave their trash and recyclables out on their regular collection day, and
to place the material where it will not hinder traffic, which we know can be a challenge with
the large amount of snow bordering the road.

We thank our residents for your patience and cooperation during this challenging winter.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Place to Come in From The Cold This Weekend in Wallingford

As it has already done twice already this winter, Master's Manna is opening its doors to people who need protection from the unforgiving Connecticut weather.

The food pantry, which is located at 46 N. Plains Industrial Road, opened its doors at 4 p.m. Friday as an emergency shelter. It will remain open through Monday at 4 p.m. because temperatures are expected to hover just a few degrees above zero for much of this weekend.

Master's Manna relies on word of mouth to get the word out that their building, in an industrial park, will be available for shelter. Individuals who need a place to stay or who know someone who does can call Master's Manna at 203-678-3042.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Emergency Shelter Opened in Cheshire

Shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday, Cheshire emergency management officials announced that they are opening up the town's Senior Center as an emergency shelter.

The move was necessitated because nearly 3,100 Connecticut Light & Power customers, primarily those living in the southern end of town, were without power. Lt. James Fasano, a police spokesman, said the Senior Center will remain open until power is restored throughout the entire town.

The Senior Center is located at 240 Maple Ave.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

League of Women Voters Holds Program On History of Jury Trials in Connecticut

The Cheshire Wallingford League of Women Voters and the Jury Outreach Program of Connecticut will hold a forum on Saturday covering the state's history of jury trials.

The forum is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber on the third floor of the Cheshire Town Hall. The program will look at state's first codification of its laws, the 1650 Ludlow’s Code, as well as Connecticut’s own war on witchcraft and about the first witch executed in the state.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One Man's Opinion on the Fate of the Cheshire Pool

The jury is still out on whether the future of the Cheshire Community Pool will be buried under two feet of snow that fell Tuesday night and Wednesday.

But if it turns out that the pool becomes a summer-only facility, let the record show that it was because of a lack of political courage.

Ever since it opened in Sept. 2003, the pool has been a political pinata, something to be whacked at and criticized rather than a problem to be fixed. And every time an opportunity came to fix it, local Democrats and Republicans failed to act, deciding instead to study the problem to death.

You can't argue about the outcome of last June's referendum on replacing the bubble with a $7 million permanent structure. Voters rejected the proposal soundly and who can blame them, given the current economic climate.

But what is open to argument is what should have been done next. And instead of putting a plan for replacement bubble on the fast track, so that the estimated $500,000 cost could have been considered as part of a November referendum vote, the Republican dominated council chose instead to have Town Manager Michael Milone explore possible buyers for the pool.

No serious buyers were found and following the bubble collapse, which left a large hole in it, it's unlikely anyone will step forward to acquire the facility.

But let's get back to what happened Wednesday. With a scorecard for the pool that shows one partial collapse and a full one in the last 13 months, the council can honestly say that it has real concerns about the safety of erecting a new bubble. That will likely set the stage for the pool becoming a de facto summer only facility, which is what many on the council wanted all along.

How convenient.

But lest you think that my partisan colors are showing with this blog entry, I should point out that the real opportunity to fix this problem once and for all was frittered away by previous councils, when Democrats were in the majority.

The Democrats controlled the council from 2005 to 2009, so they had plenty of time before the recession hit in the fall of 2008 to come up with a solution to the pool problem. Once the recession hit, all bets were off.

I recall telling a Democratic councilman in the spring of 2008 that getting a proposed solution to the pools problems on the November ballot was critical. According to the town's charter, any expenditure in excess of $350,000 must be brought to a referendum vote.

I made that observation not because I had a crystal ball and could see the economic maelstrom that was headed our way later that year. Rather, it was because I believed then that nobody on the council, Republican or Democrat, would have the guts to run for re-election in November 2009 and support a costly remedy to the pool on the same ballot.

No potential solution found it way onto the Nov. 2008 ballot or any vote held in town prior to that.

So, now, the fate of the pool's year around status hangs in the balance. The town's political leaders will shake their heads sadly and say that what happened is the result of what current Council Chairman Tim Slocum called "an epic storm."

Slocum's right about the storm. But if this is indeed the end of a year-around pool in Cheshire, don't blame Mother Nature.

Place the blame where it belongs, on politicians in both parties who were more concerned with getting re-elected than showing some political courage.