Tag Archives: Westport Weston Health District

Another Sewer Leak. Another Beach Closure.

This morning, Westport Fire Department personnel were notified that sewage was coming up from a manhole in front of Saugatuck Elementary School.

Public Works was called, and a representative responded. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Parks & Recreation Department, Conservation Department, Marine Police and businesses abutting the Saugatuck River were notified too.

The Sewer Department is working to mitigate the problem. This sewer is separate from — and the discharge “significantly smaller than” — last week’s sewer leakage event downriver, the Fire Department says.

In an abundance of caution, the Westport Weston Health District closed all beaches for swimming until further testing can be done. They advised suspending river activities too.

The good news: It’s not a Saturday.

The other good news: Based on traffic around town, it’s that mid-August time of year when nearly everyone is away. Roads, stores and restaurants are empty. Enjoy!

Sewage coming out of a manhole cover. This is NOT the Riverside avenue scene, but it is the first thing that popped up on a Google Images search.

Beaches Open: Everyone Into The Water!

Earlier this afternoon, the Westport Weston Health District gave the all-clear.

Westport beaches are now safe for swimming. They were closed on Saturday afternoon, following a sewage spill.

Compo Beach was almost empty today. Tomorrow, the crowds will return.

Weather permitting, of course.

Jump for joy! The water’s fine! (Photo/Richard Wiese)

(Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

Pics Of The Day #838

There was plenty of action this afternoon and evening in Saugatuck.

A sewage pipe break half a mile north of the treatment plant closed Westport’s beaches — and Sherwood Island State Park — as a precaution.

The break is located near the Black Duck. (Photo/Michael Cammeyer)

State Representative Jonathan Steinberg says the break is below 2 big well fields upstream, so exposure is limited.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

Town employees, Aquarion workers and others from a variety of government agencies and private companies are on the job.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

 

Double L Market Owner Angered By Health District Dispute

Lloyd Allen is one of the most chill people I know.

The owner of Double L Market has cultivated a loyal clientele. Customers love his fresh, local, organic, free-range, gluten-free and grass-fed meats, produce, seafood and more. They come not just to buy, but to banter with him.

He’s been operating for more than 30 years, first in actual farm stands, now in a Post Road store next to Calise’s.

Lloyd Allen, outside his Double L Market on the Post Road.

But yesterday Lloyd was upset. Also angry, appalled and disheartened.

His voice shook as he told me that 2 weeks earlier, the Westport Weston Health District inspected Double L, and gave him a 94.

On Wednesday, another inspection. Another grade of 94.

But then, he said, he got a call. There was a problem with labeling, he was told. He said he’d be in at 8:45 yesterday morning.

At the meeting he was told: “You’ve got a serious problem. We’re going to close you down today.”

The problem was with labels on salsa, tomato sauce and canned peppers. They did not include the weight, or indicate where the products came from.

He asked exactly what was needed to rectify the problem. “I don’t know,” a young inspector told him.

She said the state Department of Consumer Protection might be involved too.

Lloyd told “06880” that Double L buys from producers with HACCP food safety accreditation — “and you can’t get higher than that.”

Westport Weston Health District inspectors at Double L Market. (Photo/Lloyd Allen)

The WWHD inspector came into his store, and embargoed everything she said was improperly labeled.

Lloyd does not dispute the need for proper labeling. His issue, he says, is that he was not told earlier about the issue, offered a chance to rectify it — or even given the proper information on what he needed to do.

He is also furious at the way he was treated.

“They showed me no respect,” he said. “I’ve been here for 35 years. I have the healthiest, freshest stuff in town. I love local. I work with big farmers and small farmers.

“I’ve made this town better. I’ve worked with so many kids. The Health Department used to come in, and tell me what was needed. This time they just came in and acted, without any respect at all.”

He worried yesterday he might be shut down, right before Mother’s Day.

Double L Market is still open — though there are empty shelves where his salsa, tomato sauce and canned peppers used to be.

Empty shelves at the Double L market.

“It’s like I was walking down the street with my baby, and someone suddenly grabbed me and shook the baby,” Lloyd said.

“That’s how I feel about the way I was treated.”

Restaurant Health Inspections: The Sequel

This morning’s “06880” story about Julian’s — the Post Road restaurant that received its first-ever failing grade from a state Health Department trainee, then lost customers when the score was disclosed to the media (despite passing with a high score on its re-inspection) — generated plenty of reaction.

Readers wrote, relieved that one of their favorite restaurants was not suddenly gross. Others commented on their own experiences working in restaurants.

A Westport owner sent me a detailed reply. He asked not to be identified, but said he spoke for many colleagues. He wrote:

This is so interesting. I thought I was going crazy.

An inspector who was just hired by the town paid us 3 visits in 2 weeks. A little excessive, I thought.

No hands — but gloves required?

She deducted points for a broken tile in the customer seating area. How is that a health violation? Until then, I thought the craziest thing I had heard before from a health inspector was to use gloves to make an espresso (there’s no hand and food contact when making an espresso).

I have said for years that all health inspectors should, by law, have worked in restaurant kitchens for at least 6 months, so they understand the pressures. Some of the regulations make no sense, and they can’t explain them.

Just last week we were told we could not cook whole turkeys, porchetta and roast beef because our kitchen is not “equipped” for that. She told us to buy pre-cooked crap meat. Mind you, we have a type 4 license, which allows us to cook whatever we want.

When taking over our space we added more modern ovens and a lot of refrigeration in order to get that type 4 license. When we asked the inspector why we couldn’t cook the meats, and how to comply with regulation — meats that made us known among our customers — she didn’t know how or why.

The other thing that bothers me is that the health department has been unwilling to explain things through the phone or email, so we can quickly fix or adapt. They are requiring these long, in-person meetings.

Even with all of this going on, our lowest grade was 85.

Fortunately, I recently had a lengthy and productive conversation with Jeff Andrews, the health district’s chief sanitarian. We were able to find solutions for the “problems” they encountered.

I’m relieved to know that this was not a targeted attack on us. Please let Mike Sayyed of Julian’s know that we thank him for speaking out. This business is tough. Most of us operators are honest, and want to make sure all health regulations are met in our places. Crazy inspectors make our life very hard.

Oh My 06880 — Photo Challenge #67

Last week’s photo challenge took us to the highest point in Westport.

And therein lies the story.

Peter Tulupman’s image showed an abandoned building next to the Rolnick Observatory, behind the Westport Weston Health District on Bayberry Lane.

Those buildings were originally part of the Nike missile launch site. The reason they were there — to protect Bridgeport’s electronics manufacturing industry from Russian attacks — was that the launch site (and the missiles themselves, on the North Avenue land that’s now Bedford Middle School) had to be at the highest elevation possible. Bayberry Lane fit the bill.

Edward Bloch, Dan Lasley, John Sexton, Susan Huppi, Sharon Paulsen and John Brawley all knew the photo was taken at the former Nike missile site. To see it, click here.

This week’s photo challenge comes with a back story — but I don’t know it. If you have any idea why the bridge in the background was built — or when, by whom, whatever — please add those details when you comment. Inquiring minds want to know!

Oh My 06880 - April 10, 2016

KHS Votes Westport A Winner

Election Day has come and gone. But for alert “06880” reader Christie Stanger, the good feelings linger. She writes:

On Tuesday, as adults took to the polls, younger Westporters took to the hallways and sidewalks outside of polling places, at bake sales to raise money for schools.

While Kings Highway Elementary is not unique, our adventure highlights what a wonderful town Westport truly is.

When KHS was closed as a voting site, we had to move our Election Day bake sale to the Westport Library. Westport Weston Health District’s Mark Cooper, Norma Jarrett, Sandy Arcudi and Melissa Romano helped us get our permit to sell baked goods. This is not like bake sales of old, but their kindness made the process seem very small-town.

Next, we coordinated with Town Hall. Janet Suchsland and Eileen Francis in the first selectman’s office gave us permission to operate in a public space. The library’s assistant director, Paul Mazzaccaro, allowed us to operate at both entrances. He provided us with tables and chairs, meeting us bright and early on Election Day (and wishing us luck).

Kings Highway Elementary School students, parents and siblings rock the Election Day bake sale at the Westport Library.

Kings Highway Elementary School students, parents and siblings rock the Election Day bake sale at the Westport Library.

And lucky we were! 70 degree weather with blue skies on November 3. That was fabulous — but the people of Westport were even warmer.

Voters, candidates and library patrons stopped by for goods made by loving hands, and others donated by generous businesses (Saugatuck Sweets, Great Cakes, Starbucks and Atlantic Pizza). The number of times we  heard “Keep the change!” and “Let me just give!” gave us warm fuzzies more real than the ones teachers handed out as pencil toppers.

Finally, we did not notice even one person parking outside the lines in either parking lot!

It all added up to one of those magical days, when you’re reminded that people are good and generous, that we are all in this together, and that Westport is an amazing town!

Flu You

I don’t scare easily.

But Sunday’s “60 Minutes” story on the H1N1 virus terrified me.

H1N1Before Scott Pelley’s report, I’d thought of swine flu as some sort of overdone media hype, like the Y2K, um, bug. 

Now I think of H1N1 as another 1918 pandemic, except I’m alive for this one.

And I hope to remain so.

Which is why, at the end of the segment, I and every other “60 Minutes” viewer raced to our computers and clicked on the link the show thoughtfully provided, to find out where to get our own flu shots.

I drilled down several levels.  The good news is, I easily found the “CT Flu Watch” page, and from there the Westport Weston Health District page.

The bad news is — well, read it yourself:

Both the Westport Weston Health District and the Wilton Health Department have received a limited amount of live, attenuated influenza vaccine. This is a thimerosal-free nasal spray indicated for healthy individuals ages 2 – 49 years of age who are not pregnant. At this time, use of this vaccine is restricted to the following priority populations:

Children aged 2 – 4 years

Persons who live with or care for children less than 6 months of age.

The vaccine is currently available at 3 pediatric groups:  Bay Street, Village and Willows, as well as the Health District itself.

As more vaccine becomes available, it will be offered to the following high-risk target groups:

Pregnant women

People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age

Certain healthcare and emergency medical services personnel who work directly with patients

Children 6 months through 4 years of age

Children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions.

Finally — I should live so long — the vaccine will be available for my demographic:  “everyone (else) who wishes to be vaccinated.”

I’ll keep checking the Health District site, as suggested.

In the meantime, I’ve got another plan:  Stop watching “60 Minutes.”