Monthly Archives: October 2011

First Snow of the Season Hammers Bethel Drivers

First Snow of the Season Hammers Local Drivers

A car slid off the road on Whittlesey Drive Saturday as BHS band parents were picking up their kids from practice.

First Selectman’s Update 3:15 p.m.:

Highway department personnel have been plowing and sanding roadways for several hours, yet road conditions currently range from very poor to dangerous.  Residents are strongly advised to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.  Several roads are partially or completely blocked by downed tree limbs, as well as by cars unable to negotiate the hills. 

Numerous power failures are being reported.  Currently CL&P reports 734 homes in Bethel without power.

Update 3:15 p.m.: CL&P reports 8%, or 734, of Bethel residents without power.

Original Post 2:50 p.m.: The first snow of is hitting Bethel drivers hard as they attempt to navigate the snowy roadways with 4-6″ already covering the streets at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.  A car slid down the hill on Rockwell Road where it intersects with Plumtrees, resting in front of the street sign across from Gingerbread Schoolhouse. A 3-car pileup in front of the tennis courts on Whittlesey Drive forced drivers and plow trucks to navigate around the accident as dozens of parents were picking up their children from marching band practice which was dismissed at 1:15p.m.

Plow trucks were having a difficult time getting around the many cars that slid off the road on Whittlesey causing a large traffic jam. A large tree branch that was hanging down on Plumtrees Road near the intersection of Walnut Hill os forcing drivers to use one lane. Another pileup at the corner of Walnut Hill and Old Hawleyville Road is creating a huge line of cars having trouble getting around the cars stuck on the side of the hill.

Some of the many cars on the roadways were headed downtown for Trick-or-Treat Street, but it was not very busy, according to Kim Ramsey, owner of The Toy Room.

“There has been a steady stream of traffic but the roads are really bad,” she said. “There aren’t a lot of people out [for Trick-or-Treat Street] but people are telling me the roads are awful and there are a lot of trees down.”

Marisol Haynes, owner of Marisol’s Consignment on Greenwood Ave., decided to close early. “I closed early..still people trick or treating on Greenwood, but I’m guessing they live in the area and aren’t driving. Very slippery out there,” Haynes said.

The First Selectman urged people to stay home if they don’t need to go out to allow for the plow trucks to do their job. The plow trucks are out in full force but can’t properly plow with so many cars out there. He will keep us posted with updates throughout the storm.

If you see an accident or a tree down please report it by calling 911. Please also let Bethel Buzz know by posting on our Facebook page or by emailing ctbuzznews@gmail.com.

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Take Our Trick or Treat Poll!

Storm Alfred Set to Pack a Punch

Storm Alfred Set to Pack a Punch

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm watch for the area all day Saturday and into early Sunday morning. Up to 10 inches of  snow is expected with winds gusts up to 30 m.p.h. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy urged residents to prepare for power outages due to heavy snow falling on trees.

Connecticut Light & Power reported crews on hand “just in case” of heavy, wet snow Saturday night into Sunday. Officials from Connecticut Light & Power said more than 200 crews will be on call this weekend to help restore power if any outages are reported. For a CL&P outage map click here.

Bethel parents are waiting to find out if their Trick-or-Treat Street plans will be cancelled for Saturday. Executive Director of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce Bobbi Jo Beers said: “Traditionally Trick-or-Treat Street has always been ‘rain or shine,’ so if it is raining it will still be on,” she said.

“I’m speaking with local business owners to see their thoughts on having it on Sunday, the only problem with that is that many of those downtown businesses are closed on Sundays. We will see what happens and we will make a decision around 10 or 11:00 a.m. on Saturday morning,” Beers said.

The cancellation or postponement will be posted on the Bethel Chamber’s Facebook page.

First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker issued an automated call at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon to all Bethel households who registered with the emergency notification system.

“Good afternoon. This is First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker with an important message for all Bethel residents. The National Weather Service has predicted a significant winter storm in this area Saturday night. With the amount of leaves still remaining on trees, there is a strong potential for power outages. Residents should prepare for the possibility of downed power lines, blocked roads and several days without power.  Town officials are monitoring the storm and making preparations. Please stay aware of the storm and begin making preparations now for you and your family, and please, do not, under any conditions, touch downed power lines, as they can become re-energized without warning at any time. If you see downed lines, please notify the police immediately by calling 9-1-1.  Thank you, and have a safe weekend.” 

To sign up for weather and emergency alerts, click here.

Click here for the current Bethel weather forecast.

Bethel Police Names New Youth Officer

Bethel Police Names New Youth Officer

The Bethel Police Department announced Thursday their appointment of Officer Lynn Morris as their new youth officer.  Chief Jeffrey Finch promoted her to Detective.

Det. Morris will be replacing Officer Ralph DeLuca retired from the Bethel Police Department after serving the Bethel community for 3 decades. While there is no D.A.R.E. program in place after being cut by Chief Finch and the Police Commission, Det. Morris will have a visible presence in the schools, mainly at Johnson and Bethel Middle School.

“I will be interacting with kids during the school day and investigating any criminal and juvenile issues that come up, as well as any child abuse,” Morris said Thursday. She will be visiting the schools mainly on a weekly basis but will be available on a daily basis as needed.

“I will be stationed at the Police Department and visit the schools to say hi to the kids and as needed if they need presentations on topics related to bullying, etc.,” she said.

Since the D.A.R.E. program was cut no new programs have been initiated to replace the anti-drug program. Chief Finch could not be reached for comment.

Det. Morris’ new position as Youth Officer officially begins on Nov. 7th.  She has been trained in dealing with victims of child sexual assault and has 15 years of on-the –job training in handling juvenile cases.

Morris, a Bethel resident, is married with 2 children in the Bethel Public School System, ages 8 and 10-years-old.

Road Update

First Selectman’s Corner, Oct. 27, 2011

By Matthew Knickerbocker, First Selectman 

Contributed Photo

Road Update:  Still the most popular question by visitors and callers to town hall.  It’s election season, so there are a lot of opinions being offered as to whether or not the plan is on schedule, was it the right plan, was it a realistic plan, who’s fault it is that it’s not done yet, etc, etc, etc…  So again, a brief update.

The first $2 million that was approved by the BOF and by voters last December definitely called for an aggressive, but realistic work schedule.  It was designed to cover about six miles or so of heavy duty reconstruction with partial milling on some roads and extensive full depth reclamation on others.  It also included new storm drain tops and in many cases, reconstruction of drain vaults and piping.  The amount was not pulled out of thin air.  It was carefully developed by our own highway supervisor with sharp attention to how much work could realistically be completed by our crews working in conjunction with milling and paving contractors.

Having said that, yes, the work is slightly behind schedule, and the culprit that has affected Bethel as well as every other town in Connecticut is the weather.  It started out bad right from the first day of spring, when asphalt plants opened over a month late after that brutal winter (the one we’d all like to forget), and then got worse.  Record snow melts and super heavy spring rains kept the ground too wet to start the drain work on time.  Heavy rains continued on and off all summer, frequently cancelling contract work and pushing it to later dates.  Tropical Storm Irene stopped the entire project in its tracks while our road crews performed cleanup operations for about two full weeks before getting back to the road work, plus the tree removal contractors we need for road widening were tied up even longer.

Despite all of this, our crews are still very close to completing all the work that was authorized for the first year.  It’s possible that a few of the phase one roads will have to roll over to spring for completion, but if we get any break in the rains, they could still be done this fall.

And residents will be happy to know that as of right now, the project is running about $100,000 UNDER budget.  The original cost estimates were correct, if not a bit conservative, and we should be able to do more with the first $2 million than originally expected.

As always, please call my office if you have questions at (203) 794-8501.

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Stony Hill Four Corners Association Continues To Help Community

Stony Hill Four Corners Association Continues To Help Community

The Stony Hill Four Corners Association is planning a fundraiser for the Stony Hill Fire Department’s Ambulance Fund. The Pancake Breakfast will be held at the firehouse on Stony Hill Road this Sunday from 9:00 a.m – 12:00 p.m.

Local merchants and businesses donate all food goods that Chef Armando cooks. All proceeds go to the Ambulance Fund. There are Goody Bags for the first 100 children dressed in costume and exciting drawing prizes donated by the neighborhood businesses. Prizes include a Quality Gem gift certificate, a Kindle and a flat screen TV. This is just one of the many events the association holds to help the community. The Association was formed to create a greater awareness of what the businesses in the Stony Hill Area have to offer, while also creating ways for those businesses to give back to the community. This is done with a series of community events.

The Association meets the first Wednesday of every month all business and organizations in the area are welcome to attend. The Cascades and Maplewood at Newtown hosts their monthly meetings and serve breakfasts for all who attend.

Association member and Union Savings Bank Branch Manager Madeline Bunt said: “The Association is comprised of people who “walk the talk” in giving back.”

In November The Stony Hill Four Corners Association is sponsoring 2 tree lighting ceremonies. At the Stony Hill tree lighting the Association will  collect food for the Bethel and Newtown food banks. At the Hawleyville tree lighting they will collect toys for The Newtown Fund. During the spring the association will plan for the Amber Alert.

Because there is no Executive Director salary and no overhead, the members of the Association can use virtually all of the funds collected at their events to give back to the community.

For more information about The Stony Hill Four Corners Association, check out their website by visiting  www.stonyhillfourcorners.com , check out their Facebook page, “Stony Hill Four Corners,” or call Madeline Bunt at Union Savings at 203-730-6377 or Dennis Janofsky at Quality Gem 203-748-4239.