Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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Westporters Make Hurricane Preparations

Westporters Make Hurricane Preparations
A normally quiet Monday turned into a busy day today for Westport hardware stores, gas stations, supermarkets, and area marinas as Hurricane Isabel churned toward the East Coast.
ItӒs been crazy, said Mike Hegley, assistant manager at Torno Hardware on Post Road East. ԓD-batteries, six-volt batteries, flashlights, kerosene lanterns and stoves you name it, they֒re flying out of here.
He said the store had one generator in stock when it opened today.  ԓA man called up and bought it sight unseen for $590, Hegley said.


Westporters Chuck and Elena Foster remove their 21-foot Boston Whaler from Compo Marina today. WestportNow.com photo


He also reported portable radios, especially the hand-cranked kind, moved off the shelves quickly. ԓIts mostly the elderly and housewives,Ҕ Hegley said.
It was much the same story at Crossroads Hardware on North Main Street.
People just want to be sure they have enough batteries and that kind of stuff on hand,Ӕ said one employee. Duracell and Eveready must be getting rich today.Ӕ
Parking lots were more crowded and checkout lines longer at Shaws and Super Stop and Shop supermarkets on Post Road East.
ғWeve been busy all day,Ҕ said one worker at Stop and Shop who declined to give his name.
At the marina at Compo Beach, the day started off quietly but there was increasing traffic of SUVs and trucks with trailers taking boats out as the day wore on.
ItӒll really get busy down here tomorrow and Wednesday, said Sam Arciola of the Westport Police DepartmentԒs Marine Division.
I took the day off from work to get the boat out,Ӕ said Westporter Chuck Foster as he and his wife Elena maneuvered their 21-foot Boston Whaler on to their trailer.
If it hadnӒt been for the hurricane, I wouldnԒt have taken it out yet.

Hurricane Watch: Westport Can Shelter 200 in Event of Storm

Editors Note: With the East Coast approach of Hurricane Isabel, WestportNow presents this update on emergency preparedness based on comments made at the Sept. 2 meeting of the Representative Town Meeting.

By Denis McCarthy

Westport Fire Chief

The town maintains a public shelter at the Long Lots School. The capacity of that shelter is about 200 residents. It is run by the Red Cross. During a typical winter storm, power outage, or hurricane we get 25 to 30 residents.

Surprisingly, we get residents far in from the coast that are frightened and alone during an emergency.  The shelter provides an important place for them to have camaraderie and care at the same time.

It is not extensively used during a disaster. We did have a study in the late 80Ғs, early 90s by the Army Corps of Engineers that identified the total population that would be subject to flooding or significant wind damage during an event.  That becomes our worst-case scenario for planning purposes. 

We have been instructed to develop sheltering capacity for 650, well beyond the 30 or so that we have experienced in the past.

When Staples is open, we will have generating capacity in the auditorium, the cafeteria, the field house and the old gym, food supplies and for the central heating unit that will provide the excess capacity for a once in a lifetime event.

This, hopefully, would be for the very, very rare event, the typical ғ100-year storm that is going to wreak havoc and make the Compo Beach neighborhood, lower Hillspoint Road and Saugatuck Shores uninhabitable for a period of time.

We also have at GreenԒs Farms School the capacity to provide auxiliary power into the school that would serve as a feeding station and some respite care during the day but not necessarily for overnight shelter.

Although, the town did not build, could not afford or chose not to afford, making Staples High School a shelter that could withstand an earthquake and the worst of the hurricanes, I feel that based on where we are and our experience, we are well positioned for providing a place of refuge for residents.

Westport First Selectwoman Proposes Veterans Park Across From Town Hall

Westport First Selectwoman Proposes Veterans Park Across From Town Hall
Just in time for VeteransҒ Day in November, First Selectman Diane Goss Farrell is proposing changing the name of the town-owned park across the street from Town Hall to Veterans Park.

Currently known as Town Common, the area on Myrtle Avenue is home to memorials for fallen World War I and World War II veterans and is the site of annual Memorial Day and VeteransҒ Day observances.

Farrell proposed the name change in a letter to fellow Board of Selectmen members Carl Leaman and John Izzo.

Under the towns policy for naming public facilities, the name change would have to be approved first by the Board of Selectmen and then the Representative Town Meeting.

ғI just thought it would be an appropriate time to do it, Farrell told WestportNow.

The park sits adjacent to the new addition to the Westport Historical Society building.

Farrell said she has ordered underbrush cleared between the two properties so visitors to the societyԒs new Westport History Center will have a clear view between the trees of the town-owned park.

During the controversy last spring over naming the bridge over the Saugatuck River in downtown Westport for the late Ruth Steinkraus Cohen, a number of Westporters opposed to the name suggested instead it be called Veterans Bridge.

Westport Officials Prepare for Terrorist Drill, Hurricane Watch

Westport Officials Prepare for Terrorist Drill, Hurricane Watch
First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell is among Westport officials invited to attend an exercise Monday in Stamford aimed at making Fairfield County better prepared for a terrorist attack.

But with Hurricane Isabel, with top winds of 155 mph, forecast to hit the U.S. East Coast by the end of the week, the exercise took on added significance and urgency, according to planning officials.

The same local agencies would be involved in responding to a natural disaster as well as a man-made one, the officials said, and lessons learned in Mondays drill could apply equally to a terrorist attack or a hurricane.

In addition to the ғtable-top exercise, which envisions a simulated terrorist attack in Stamford, U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays will hold a field hearing in Stamford of his National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations subcommittee.

Forecasters said they expected Isabel to hit the U.S. East Coast by the end of the week, but they added that air currents and condition could push it further north before landfall.

“Landfall along the U.S. Mid-Atlantic coast somewhere between North Carolina and New Jersey between four or five days is appearing more and more likely,” the National Hurricane Center said.

The last major storm that caused significant flooding and forced evacuations of low-lying areas in Westport was the 1992 nor’easter that hit over a period from Dec. 10-13.

The deadliest hurricane to hit New England occurred on Sept. 21, 1938. More than 600 people died.

Bicycle Fundraiser Attracts Hundreds

Bicycle Fundraiser Attracts Hundreds
The Sound Cyclists Bicycle Club Harvest Rides 2003Ӕ fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut attracted almost 700 people today to the Westport event, organizers said.

Participants set off from Westports Luciano Park adjacent to the Metro-North Railroad tracks in the Saugatuck area on four different bike routes throughout the lower Fairfield County area.

Upon their return to the park, they held an afternoon barbecue.

Mulcahy: “Im Glad Dave Got a Touchdown But Sorry it Was Against Us”

The good thing about Saturdays UConn-Boston College game was that no matter who won, a former Staples Wrecker would taste victory.

This time around it was BCҒs Dave Kashetta who won bragging rights against best friend UConns Sean Mulcahy Җ with Staples coach Marce Petroccio and members of the current Staples football team watching from the sidelines.

With a little help from Kashetta, a tight end who caught a 29-yard touchdown pass two minutes into the second half, Boston rolled over UConn 24-14.

Mulcahy, who plays defensive end and had five tackles and one sack in the game, wished for a better outcome but was still happy for Kashetta.

I was very happy that he scored a touchdown,Ӕ Mulcahy told reporters after the game. But I just wish it wasnӒt against us.

ԓAfter the game, Sean said Keep playing hard and go beat Miami,ђ Kashetta said. ԓAnd I told him, Keep playing hard and good luck the rest of the season.ђ

Happy 90th for Ralph Sheffer

Happy 90th for Ralph Sheffer


Ann Sheffer sings happy birthday to her father, Ralph Sheffer, at a party today at the Westport Historical Society marking Sheffer’s 90th birthday. The society’s new exhibit hall is named in honor of Sheffer and his late wife Betty. Sheffer served 16 years on the Representative Town Meeting, including a record 10 years as its moderator from 1959 to 1969. Ann and husband Bill Scheffler are current RTM members. WestportNow.com photo