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New Canaan Schools to Open after Labor Day Weekend [Update]

Town officials say damage to electrical systems is more extensive than initially thought.

Update 9:46 p.m.

There will be no school in New Canaan on Thursday, town officials announced Wednesday night via townwide robo-call and on a social media site controlled by the municipality. School will start Tuesday, Sept. 6.

This message was posted moments ago on the New Canaan Office of Emergency Management Facebook page:

This is an August 31st 9:00 pm update from the Emergency Operations Center. We continue to make our roads safe. The damage to our electrical infrastructure was much more extensive than the initial assessment revealed. As a result, public schools will not open until Tuesday, September 6th. Power was restored to over 1000 homes today. As a reminder, please continue to report downed wires or debris blocking your driveway to the EOC at (203) 594-4100. We will provide further updates tomorrow.

Update 3:45 p.m.

Following is an update from the :

— The New Canaan Food Pantry will be open for normal operation on Thursday, Sept. 1 from 9-10:30 a.m. and 6:15-7:30 p.m.

— Vine Cottage has a limited supply of "Meals Ready to Eat" and water bottles available to residents during working hours 8:30-4:30.

— Hoses are available at the Fire Department and Vine Cottage to fill containers for cleaning and flushing toilets.  Residents can fill clean containers for drinking as well.  ###

 

Update 2:30 p.m.

Sgt. Carol Ogrinc of the  said parents should advise students walking and biking to to stay on sidewalks and not to take shortcuts or cut through people's yards.

"There is still the possibility that there are wires that are unsafe on private property that members of the EOC may be unaware of," Ogrinc said. 

Update 1:45 p.m.

The Wednesday night concert at  will be held this evening as planned. The Fairfield Counts, big band sound, will perform at 7:30 p.m. As an added bonus, there's WiFi at Waveny park. 

Update 1:25 p.m.

New Canaan Public Schools will open Thursday morning with a 90-minute delay. To see the full text of the

Update 12:45 p.m.

— Six-year-old Beagle, Dakota, was one of five dogs that have been picked up for roaming since Sunday, according to . All were the result of invisible fences not working because of power outages. The dogs have all been reunited with their owners.

Dakota, who was recently adopted from North Carolina, was reunited with his family Wednesday afternoon.

Kleinschmidt said they are not charging fees, and if your dog is lost, you can pick him or her up at police headquarters.

— Approximately 75 percent of New Canaan homes are still without power, according to Police Commissioner Jim Cole. Emergency Management officials have focused on getting "high priority targets" back online since power went out Sunday morning. 

"I'm anxious to see more homes come online, and I'd really like to see that soon," Cole said.

Cole said the town was right " first," and said he expects to see progress today.

"Today's the proof of the pudding," he said. "If we get West School up that will free up a big crew. 

Update: 12:15 p.m.

(Editor's Note: Following is an announcement from Mike Handler, Director of Emergency Management.)

Good morning, this is Mike Handler with an 11:30 a.m. update on August 31st from your Emergency Operations Center.

  • All roads in town are now passable to emergency vehicles.
  • Work continues to make safe the downed power lines. 
  • Four out of our five schools now have power.  

If you have trees or wires down blocking your driveway completely we ask that you call our EOC immediately at 203-594-4100 or post this information on Facebook at “newcanaanoem.com 

  • Please do not approach downed power lines.
  • Please do not leave candles unattended.
  • The Health Department has inspected all food establishments in town and all are operational.  
  • The two are prepared to open once power is restored.

If you have a concern about your residential water or any other storm related needs please call the EOC.  Thank you.


Update: 11:20 a.m.

— Power has been restored to all New Canaan Public Schools with the exception of .

— Selectman Rob Mallozzi told Patch there are currently six trucks here from CL&P working in town, and each truck has an independent tree crew working alongside.

"If you add our town public works crews, we have at least 16 assets in place dedicated to restoring power," Mallozzi said.

Update: Wednesday, Aug. 31, 10:15 a.m.

— On a three mile drive to town this Patch editor saw six different crews at work: power company, AT&T and Cablevision.

— has set up a farrm stand and is selling coffee, newspapers, fruits, vegetables, packaged foods and Wave Hill Bread. Alex Stewart set up a generator to power the register. Once they'll give the go-ahead for deliveries of perishable.

— Upon seeing the array of foods and the staff waiting to help out at Stewart's a customer (who wished not to be identified) said, "They're using their noggins."

— A tree fell on Frogtown near Weed St. this morning. The road is passable.

Update Tuesday, Aug. 30, 8:55 p.m.

The New Canaan Emergency Operations Center put out this update on Tuesday evening: “Six roads remain closed. Power has been restored to half of our high priority targets. Our critical fire and EMS communications are back on-line. We continue to focus on Upper Elm Street with the hopes of bringing and the back up as soon as possible. We still have over 100 downed power lines that are presumed to be charged—please continue to stay away from any downed lines. Thank you for your patience as we focus on our critical infrastructure which will allow us to restore residential power.”

Update 3:20 p.m.

The full length of Route 123 is now open to traffic.

has two generators for sale, the is open and has set up a small stand selling newspapers. 

EOC will be offering hot meals and water — drinking and non-potable (for washing and cleaning) — at the high school from 4-6 p.m. Non-potable water is available at the .

Update: 2 p.m.

-- According to the MTA, regular service on the New Canaan branch line will begin with the 3:57 p.m. train from Stamford.

-- WiFi is working at Waveny House. The house is not open but Wi-Fi access 

Original Story

(The following is a report from the New Canaan Director of Emergency Management Michael Handler.)

This is an August 30 11:30 a.m update from the Emergency Operations Center. We continue to update our Road Closure Map on our “newcanaanoem.com” Facebook page.

Ponus Ridge Road, Valley Road, Locust Ave., Weed St., Elm St., Marshall Ridge Road, Sunrise Ave., Springwater Lane, Adams Lane, Brookside Road, Hillcrest Road, Rockybrook Road, and Juniper Road are now open and passable but still considered NOT safe.

We currently have four teams dedicated to making roads passable and/or safe and two teams working on restoring power to the Town’s high priority targets. These efforts will continue until darkness. At that time we will have one, possibly two, crews working through the night. It is anticipated that the majority of making our roads safe will take today and perhaps the early part of tomorrow. At that time, our crews will enter the restoration phase.

We want to remind everyone that part of the restoration process can involve taking homes that currently have power down temporarily. but we are hopeful schools can open on Thursday. A final decision regarding Thursday will be announced by Wednesday at 1p.m. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. today volunteers will be staffing a drinking water and heated meal distribution site at . In addition, non-potable water for use for sanitary needs will be available at the New Canaan High School and the . Please bring containers.

The will remain open until 10pm this evening and has electrical power and internet access. The remains open for showers until 10pm—please bring your own towel. Please call (203) 594-4100 for any information or concerns and reserve 911 for true emergencies.

Further updates will be provided later today. 

John Sheffield August 31, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Sheryl, good reporting from the EOC. People should know that all but a couple of the people at the EOC are Volunteers, working long hard hours for no pay in a high stress, little thanks environment all the while each of them has a spouse and family at home alone without their help, houses of their own in peril, yard clean-up and repair, and all the other inconveniences everyone in town feels. Yet, these fine folks spend 14-18 hours or more up at the EOC doing their best to help the town and their neighbors. Remember most of those volunteers have regular day-jobs as well---just in the pictures I see lawyers, store-owners, retired GE execs, finance/bank execs, and more. To think that they know how to lead and what to do in these times of need is amazing. They spend countless hours throughout the year training for this as well. Sheryl, I'll bet the townspeople would enjoy a story profiling these great folks so we can learn who they are and what they do when they aren't leading the town out of this mess. Thanks EOC volunteers!!
Four Jacks August 31, 2011 at 05:32 PM
Nice idea John. These people have worked really hard, they deserve a lot of credit.
J Bauer August 31, 2011 at 06:27 PM
What I find ridiculous is that with 12k people in town without power, most of the CL&P crews have focused exclusively on getting the schools powered in time for tomorrow's open. I have friends with babies and little children and no generators, no running water, etc... and they really have nowhere to go. Would it have been so bad to delay the opening until Tuesday and tack on the days to the end of the year or cut short one of the longer vacation breaks? Would that have not been common sense? Darien went from 70% without power to 30 something percent. We went from 81% to 76% in the same time period. Is there any explanation for this? Are the people that run this town so ignorant that they believe getting the school year to start on time is more important than allowing people access to basic living necessities? Hey Rob M., after voting for you, I sure hope that you were not on board with this decision.
Roy A. Abramowitz August 31, 2011 at 06:47 PM
FYI: The tree and power crews are working at this monment at Rte 123 which had extensive damage. That is a correct decision. Rte 123 is needed by EMS, fire and police to respond to emergencies especially the elderly. Also this is the main power conduit. It is fustrating but things are progressing. This is also a main conduit for the school buses tomorrow. AS to your concerns if you call 594-4100 the OEM and CERT volunteers will bring bottle water and meals that self heat to you. The Red Cross has donated alot of pre packaged self heating meals and water. Instead of complaining assist our neighbors in need and get the available assistance to them. AS far as Rob is concerned his wifw and he have been manning the OEM endlessly since before the storm hit. So have Nick Williams and all our first responders. These people have businesses and responsible jobs and they are ignoring those responsibilities to ensure our safety. Just think of the monumental task the OEM ad Highway Department did to open the hundeds of miles of roads that were all clsed in just48 hours. Give Kudos notcomplaints. Town officials and volunteers dserve kudos not complaints. Any fustration should be directed at the ill planning of a monopolized utility structure and the Stae for allowing that scenario. The Town of New Canaan and our elected officials have absolutely no control or say over he uilit companies. Write your tax hungry governor and read him the riot act. Help out and stop moaning.
J Bauer August 31, 2011 at 07:01 PM
If half the crews are working on restoring power to the schools, you mean to tell me that our town government had "absolutely no control or say" over that decision? That the "monopolized utility" just came to the conclusion on its own that it should direct a large part of its resources to restoring power at our elementary schools rather than for homeowners? How about the fact that so many people are working to restore power to West School when I still had to drive underneath a hanging tree in contact with power lines this morning at 8am? Were we not prioritizing safety first, clearing roads second and power restoration last ? What you see as "moaning" is simply a desire to see that, if our town government was able to impact the priority of clearing and/or power restoration projects (which they obviously did), they do so effectively and with the proper considerations in mind! PS - your information about hot meals and water is good to circulate here - I think that many in town would find it helpful. However, it is still no substitute for proper prioritization.
Roy A. Abramowitz August 31, 2011 at 07:45 PM
Believe me I understand your frustration. My family and I live in the Northeast wooded part of town and probaby will be without juice until Saturday the earliest, according to his "High Taxness" Danel Malloy.The town has cleared the roads and Aspatuck has cut trees and placed wires on the side. We are ready for the linemen. The state has its priorities and opening schools is their call. The town then makes the safety call. They want schools open and not our homes with power. Personally I think my 12 year old daughter is safer in school and can buy lunch in school. It also frees my wife and I up to our business responsibilities. J I am not arguing with you or demeaning your fustration. What I am saying is that you must consider the bureaucratic line of command. The Town has done all they can within 48-72 hours. It is the state and monopolized utilities that have allocated only 4 electric line crews to us. They have their hours and dictated Malloy priorities. Our town officials are helpless. They and our first responders also have no power and shower at the "Y" . Remember Obama denied FEMA disaster area assistance to Fairfield County after the tornadoes. Texas and Oklahoma have their power infrastructure below ground because of constant tornadic activity. Why not Connecticut? Flood Malloy and Washington with letters. The money wasted on QE1, QE2 and now the Feds sneaking of a mini QE3 could hace accomplished this nationwide. Our town officials are powerless in this endeavor.
Roy A. Abramowitz August 31, 2011 at 07:52 PM
Consider that Obama spent $660 million of our tax dollars to fund a San Francisco "for profit" Green solar panel company that is now going bankrupt. Under Malloy and Obama the Government spends more tax dollas alerting persons on food stamps that they qualify for free cell phones and minutes. And the trillion upon trillions of federal aid to our enemies who want to destroy our way of life. But our power infrastructure cannot be protected. That is where our criticism belongs, not here in New Canaan. Think before you vote in the next presidential and governatorial election.
J Bauer August 31, 2011 at 07:53 PM
Okay, that is a good explanation, I appreciate it. As for Malloy, state bureaucrats and teachers unions, I can only imagine what goes on behind the scenes... so if the state is really setting the agenda, I should not be surprised at all. Yet another argument in favor of more autonomy at the town level, in my opinion.
Tony Phillips, LCSW August 31, 2011 at 08:00 PM
Just a note to highlight about food resources available to students. (This is pulled directly from the Superintendent's letter @1pm today) - Food service will be modified slightly in that we will not have the standard range of options. However, every cafeteria will have a hot lunch and sandwich options. No student will be denied breakfast or lunch because they do not have sufficient funds. - The high school will serve breakfast. Stay safe.
J Owen September 01, 2011 at 03:08 AM
Quit being a suck-up! Just kidding John. :) Kudos to all the volunteers, and if I remember correctly you volunteer with the CERT, so thanks to you as well.
God Bless New Canaan September 01, 2011 at 04:51 AM
Thanks Roy for trying to politicize the situation by taking a shot at gov Malloy and implicating Pres Obama, when in fact, Ron Paul and a number of Republican 'leaders' have repeatedly stated that they would oppose any federal aid until they get their pound of flesh out of the budget.
Glen K Dunbar September 01, 2011 at 12:52 PM
Safety first. Glad they are giving it extra time to get power up and roads clear. Of course if we had not had this weather problem we would not be going through this. I read there are 2 more hurricanes maybe on tap?? Ummm UNFAIR Glen
Roy A. Abramowitz September 01, 2011 at 02:59 PM
George: Your welcome. I know the truth hurts. Not politicizing just explaining how incompetent our federal and state administration is under the current leadership. Let us look at just today's news. Productivity tumbled again. Fell three quarters in a row -- 1st time since 1979 (George was not that Jimmy Carter's rein). Weekly jobless topped 400k again today. And the Fed began purchasing Treasury Bonds again. A non transparent QE 3. QE 1 and QE2 raised our federal defecit by trillions and the economy got worse. The current administration spent in ecxess of $250,000 to create each job paying less then $50,000. That is a 500% loss from an investor's standpoint. Obama's approval among women (the group that voted him in) is at an all time low. And while the storm brewed and the warnings were posted he was again vacationing but told us we will get through this. Great advice and proactive planning. The national Guard could have been deployed and units have training in restoring power. Same for the Governor, absolutely no planning. As of this morning New Jersey has only 7,000 homes without power. They were hit harder than CT. CT still around 300,000. The Town of New Canaan officials did their job. Roads were cleared around 100% in just 48 hours, ready for the power crews. Everyone was safe and food and water supplied. Kudos to OEM, CERT, Red Cross, Police, Fire, EMT, and the highway department. Fact is the Power Crews are working but under Malloys watch we only have 4 crews.
ncaviator September 01, 2011 at 04:34 PM
PN78 is, quite obviously, a lunatic. We have the best school system in Connecticut, in large part because of David Abbey.
Glen K Dunbar September 01, 2011 at 05:36 PM
Roy. You are so right Sir. Yet, I PERSONALLY have to be so careful what I say here as I always get in trouble (unfairly) when I write. But, if the Nat'Guard had helped out and would help now we might all have power. Let us hope the other Hurricanes will go bother someone else. We have paid our dues weather wise 100x over :( I also respect our Governor. But, He is always worrying about money. Just ask the Feds for it and get our power up GLEN

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