Alert “06880” reader, RTM District 4 representative and frustrated driver Andrew Colabella writes:
The condition of Hillspoint Road left by Aquarion was subpar. Dipping and diving while driving along the roadway, I thought that after digging up the entire road, they would come back and either repave what they had previously dug up to be smoother, or mill the entire road or lane.
The last 2 weeks, only certain areas were dug up and repaved.
Hillspoint Road has looked like this for a while …
Hal Kravitz, Chris Tait, Robin Tauck, Jenny McGuinness, myself and many other members of the public were deeply upset. Even 1st Selectman Jim Marpe and Director of Public Works Peter Ratkiewich were displeased by the work.
However, good news came in a letter from Peter Ratkiewich. He wrote:
Due to the condition of the asphalt, Mr. Marpe has authorized me to place a sacrificial cover of pavement, about 1” thick, over the entire road to make it acceptable for the summer. This will buy us some time and make the walking surfaces safe for the summer months.
We will do this from Compo Road South to Lamplight Lane, which is the worst of the worst. This takes away the Optimum problem too, as they can install their trench any time (it’s only for a couple of services, not the whole length like the water line).
We will use FGB Construction to do the work. They will try to get started next Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest. The work should only take 2 days or so, then everyone should be out of there.
We will eventually end up milling this up and putting down a full 2 inch mat, but the temporary pavement could possibly give me a one year window so that I might be able to fix the sidewalk too.
… and this. (Photos/Andrew Colabella)
This is a road many of us drive every day. I want to thank everyone who spoke out and politely objected to the current condition of the road.
The importance of speaking up when there is an issue or question should always be addressed with haste, and no hesitation.
Residents who live in town and have issues with primary or secondary roads can call Town Hall: 203-341-1000.
If there’s a pothole, damaged curb from a snowplow, dead animal or issues with town infrastructure, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-341-1120.
Also, never hesitate to reach out to your RTM representative about any town issues. We are all here to help you.
Here’s to a smoother future, as we come out of hibernation from the pandemic.
Tomorrow night — as Americans pay respect to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Washington — the Unitarian Church will honor her here.
The outdoor vigil begins at 7 p.m. (Thursday, September 24). Guests can bring a candle in a mason jar, an RBG quote, or a story to share.
Masks are required. If you feel safer in your car, you’re invited to stay there.
Children are invited to be part of this memory-making event too.
Artwork courtesy of Stephen Goldstein.
If you live on a few local roads, you’re in luck. Starting tomorrow, Westport’s Public Works Department will begin paving:
Old Hill Farms Road
The Westport Library’s 8th annual Teen Photography Contest has an apt theme: “Together Apart.”
It’s open to all Fairfield County residents in grades 6 -12. Renowned photographer Pamela Einarsen is the judge.
Click here to enter. The deadline is October 30. So there’s plenty of time for young photographers to take photos — alone or together, but of course apart.
The Richmondville Avenue Mill building is being renovated. Offices will be converted to condos. Michael Pearl was there, and warns: “Beware of flying doors!”
And finally … Bruce Springsteen turns 71 today. There were only a zillion songs I could have chosen, to honor one of my favorite artists and human beings. This one made it to the top. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)
Last weekend’s double whammy — a wild, tree-limb-downing, power-outage- causing storm Saturday night; then an even more intense, violent and dangerous one just 18 hours later — stretched our resources to the limit.
On Sunday, the Fire Department responded to 80 calls in an hour. Police were everywhere. Emergency responders raced to deal with downed wires, trees on houses and in roads, even carbon monoxide issues.
For the rest of the day, and throughout Monday, the guys (and gals) whose business it is to handle emergencies like this did just that.
Quickly, efficiently — and often thanklessly — they restored electricity, cut trees, removed limbs, replaced wires, directed traffic, and got Westport back to normal.
A familiar scene. This is Greens Farms Road, at Rustic Lane. (Photo/Seth Schachter)
If you helped, you’re our Unsung Heroes of the Week. Without our firefighters, police, EMTs, traffic agents, Public Works crews, town engineers, utility workers. private contractors — and everyone who supports them — this town would be a mess.
You’re always there when we need you. Hopefully we won’t need you again for quite a while.
Over 1,700 Westporters are still without power. Restoration continues slowly.
Wednesday’s storm — the 2nd in 5 days — took its toll on much of New York and New England.
But as we’re recovering from that double whammy, let’s realize how good we actually have it.
Our public officials and town employees really earned their pay this week. In no particular order, we owe huge thanks to:
Westport Police Department. They’ve been vigilant in responding to calls, assessing damage, helping work crews, and keeping the town safe and secure. They’re stretched thin — but every man and woman on the force responded. (NOTE to impatient citizens: Those traffic barricades are up for a reason. Click on the video from New Jersey below — but beware. It’s gruesome.)
Westport Fire Department. At the height of the storm Wednesday night, they answered literally hundreds of calls. From live wires and fallen trees to actual fires, they covered the town. They were often the first eyes on an incident, and they coordinated expertly with other town offices. On Thursday and through today, they’ve kept going. Their red trucks — and the firefighters on them — are a truly welcome sight. And they seem to be everywhere.
Public Works Department. They’re the guys who are actually out there, working all day and night. They plow the roads, remove the trees, and do all the other dirty work that enables the rest of us to carry on with our lives. It’s tough, demanding, physical work. And they haven’t had a break in days.
First Selectman Jim Marpe. He’s the man at the top. His calm, efficient yet commanding presence has inspired everyone else — at the emergency operations center, and in the field — to do their jobs. Jim believes in public service, and he makes sure every public official serves the town well.
Everyone else in emergency operations too. I don’t know everyone’s names. But quietly and effectively, they managed back-to-back storms with professionalism and care.
Superintendent of schools Colleen Palmer. She had to make difficult, irrevocable, damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t choices about closing school. That comes with the territory. But she went above and beyond, communicating often and clearly about how and why she made those decisions. Today she threaded the needle — opening school, but not penalizing students for absences, and postponing all tests and quizzes. She “weathered” criticism with grace — and kept thousands of youngsters safe.
School maintenance staffs. They shoveled tons of heavy snow, and did all the other work, to ensure that schools could open today. They were there at the height of the storm. No one saw what they did — but today we noticed how much they did.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten other key men and women in town. If you know anyone I’ve missed, click “Comments” below.
Public Works takes care of downed trees. Police put up barricades. It takes a village to help our town weather 2 storms since last Friday. (Photo/Janette Kinnally)
Recently, Starbucks moved across the Post Road. It exchanged comfy, friendly digs with limited parking near the diner for cold, unfriendly digs with equally limited parking — but a drive-thru! — near Bank of America.
Fairly quickly, customers noticed that the coffee chain with the green logo was anything but environmentally green. The outside was a mess — though that’s been cleaned up a bit.
The new Starbucks, a few days after opening.
Meanwhile, inside there was no way for customers to separate paper and plastic goods from everything else.
Robie Spector had spent years trying to get managers at the previous Starbucks location to recycle. Facing defensiveness and obfuscation, she stopped going there.
Robie gave the new place a try. She was distressed to see no recycling.
She tried again. Again, she got the same lack of answers and “a dash of odd vibe.”
She contacted Starbucks corporate. A district manager called back, blaming the landlord.
Robie contacted the first selectman’s office, who told her to call Public Works. They had good news: State law mandates that businesses recycle.
However, there are no inspectors. So companies do what they want, unchecked.
As they chatted, Robie and Scott Sullivan of Public Works realized that Panera by Home Goods does a great job of recycling. Robie set up a meeting with Sharon, the general manager, who was quite helpful. She emboldened Robie to keep pressing Starbucks’ district manager.
She did. Finally, Robie says, Starbucks is recycling.
At least, it seems that way. Of course, it could all end up in the same place out back. (Thankfully though, that trash has been cleaned up.)
As Thomas Jefferson sort of said, eternal vigilance is the price of a grande iced sugar-free vanilla latte with soy milk.
As a Westport resident for over 4 years, I have had an issue with Westport Waste Management for a while. After today’s incident I thought “06880” could broadcast it, and hopefully get some notice.
As I disposed of my trash I saw a white unmarked van with New York license plates pull up. Two 25-year old-ish men dressed in work clothes started to remove trash bags, a bathroom sink and countertop, dry wall, wooden baseboard, etc., and throw it all into our dump. There was no one nearby, so I went to the hut by the entrance to report them.
For a town that is so strict on summer beach passes, deer rights over residents, prohibiting dogs on the beach 6 months out of the year and making residents get approval to remove any vegetation on their property if wetlands are involved, I wondered why we are not more strict with our trash removal — something residents pay directly for.
It could be as simple as picking up a sticker for your car — just like the beach. Benefits would include reduced tax dollars, as residents and the town would not pay for non-resident trash removal. The town could also track how many residents use it versus private contractors.
I checked the town website (Public Works Department). Two sentences address who is eligible to use the transfer station:
Westport residents are allowed to dispose of a variety of household items that includes furniture, carpeting, lamps, televisions and many other similar items. An area has been set aside for recycling household electronics.
The transfer station is frequently used by contractors working on Westport homes.
And, of course, by others. Including guys in vans with New York plates.
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