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Letter: Storm Prep, Restoration Effort Overstated

A Darien Patch user said Wednesday that what he saw on the streets in town didn't match what he'd been hearing from officials.

[Editor's Note: This letter was submitted to Darien Patch at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. To upload your own letter, click here.]

I find it incredible that we still don't have certain major roads such as Mansfield Avenue, to mention one, clear. We have town workers putting sand back on the beaches as opposed to clearing a few trees on Mansfield Avenue and I am sure elsewhere. I also find it odd that there is no police presence throughout the town. I occassionally see a DPD car pass, but there is no traffic control at all.

I don't understand why there isn't a stronger (if at all) police presence and how we can't clear a couple of trees to get certain roadways clear. I, along with two neighbors, could easily clear these trees with a chainsaw. Did it at two homes yesterday with wires and yet today nothing is happening. The politicians here in Darien (CLNP included) are saying how well prepared we are yet I dont see any visible progress. They are patting themselves on their back but no real progress on certain major roads has been made where it matters in my opinion. Many agree with this opinion. One tree on Brookside as another example could easily be clear but yet the town has done nothing (except put some sand back on the beach) and people are driving all over the lawn at Cherry Lawn Park causing much damage.

Im not talking about many trees either -- one at the end of Overbrook Lane and Mansfield and another by Saint Nicholas for example to clear much of Mansfield.

CT Light and Power is also still assessing -- seriously?

Just an opinion and we should be asking these questions.

Karen Brewer November 01, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I Sort of agree. I mentioned yesterday on patch that it would be really helpful to know what the list of priorities are. I get that it's hospitals nursing homes downed and dangerous wires but we could ease some frustration if we had some insight into how decisions are made. I'm sure appearances are deceiving but without all the info it's all left to the imagination. I for one don't doubt everything that can be done is being done but the Cyrus info would go a long way toward citizens knowing how to setup for coping The big issue is these lines still being above ground.
Will I Am November 01, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Well said John
Concerned Citizen November 01, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Yes it has been the worst storm we have seen in a while, however we were told that they learned their lesson from the last storm and were prepared to jump into action with linemen and tree removal crews at the ready. So far they have just finished assessing! I would have thought they would be working on restoring power after all the talk I heard pre-storm. Shame on me for believing them. As for the police, there have been bad accidents becuase people have been flying through intersections. Yes, we were told to treat all lights without power as stop signs, but I am not sure that those from other towns merely travelling through our town got that memo.
Siwanoy November 01, 2012 at 05:37 PM
"given this is the worst storm this entire region has seen in at least 80 years." Really? I thought the hurricane in 1938 was worse...
John Sini November 01, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Siwanoy, Perhaps when it comes to loss of life because the 1938 Storm came as a surprise to many, leaving them unprepared along the LI and New England coast. However, Sandy damages are now estimated at >$50 billion, the 1938 Yankee Clipper amounted to inly $4.7 billion in property damage (adjusted for inflation).
John Weer November 01, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Mr. Sini, I respect your views but you seem to be a very bitter individual to be honest. You don't seem to be open to listening to others opinions and perhaps you are friends of the first selectwoman. There has been a lot of talk from her about preparedness but a lack of action "based on what she is saying". My observation was about our priorities. Clearing the trees off the main roads or brushing the sand back onto our beaches? Nice attempt to suggest it's for an additional tide. I have actually not been inconvenienced in any meaningful way, and don't mind dealing with no power. I am however keeping in mind three elderly neighbors of mine, one with a serious heart condition, should they need emergency assistance. Regarding who can cut the trees, well, we could all learn from Governor Christie in NJ who didn't bother with the EPA and all the red tape to protect his residents. I think it would be okay for our town workers here in Darien to cut these trees and not wait for CLNP. Don't worry Mr Sini, it would be okay if we did it as i did over the weekend with a tree and wires in my drive (don't tell on me). Maybe i should have waited a week for CLNP and kept my family of four held up in my house. It would be good for you to stop generalizing about your fellow residents and understand, with an open mind, that these are constructive comments nothing more. See you at Starbucks for a cup of pumpkin spice late' -- I'll be the dude in the Nantucket reds.
Dave November 01, 2012 at 07:05 PM
John is right. I was away when the storm hit and am in a place with power and you guys who have little access to the news have no idea the degree of devastation the storm has caused up and down the eastern seaboard and even with 7 feet of snow in some places. Hoboken is filled with waste high water, 120 homes in Queens have burned to the ground. Lower Manhattan has no power. Most of the CT shoreline has 50-70% power outages. This is Irene times ten. So be patient and stop trying to second guess the officials. No one can plan for things like this. As far as I can see the response has been good considering the magnitude of the damage.
JonD November 01, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Why does John Sini have to make personal and snide comments about Starbucks and ACK reds when he doesn't even know who he is attacking? When you resort to personal attacks John, it shows you no longer have a legitimate argument.
Joy November 01, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I agree with John. I think unless you have been fully briefed on the extent of damage throughout the town and fully aware of where all the local resources are being put to use, then to start lodging complaints about blocked roads (that are easily detoured) and proper use of resources seems silly. I have to imagine local resources are stretched extremely thin right now, all while dealing with their own personal issues of loss of power and property damage. Lets give them a big thanks instead of criticizing the job they are doing a mere two days after the storm hit.
Joe Pankowski November 01, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Mr. Sini's argument is legitimate. His frustration, like mine, is with Monday morning quarterbacks who believe that things would run so much better if they were in charge. The stark reality: people are working very hard to remove the trees from our roads and get power restored, but both of these take time.
Ksmithee November 01, 2012 at 07:57 PM
I live over near town hall and there has been an 80+ foot pine tree completely blocking access to 10 homes on Archer Lane. No clp or tree crew has been there yet they keep telling residents it's a priority. When the monster came down early Monday night it tangled in wires & took out the utility pole. All homes on archer & all streets below park avenue are affected. Just to disregard the obvious loss of electric, cable & phone...If a medical or fire situation should arise to any of those 10 homes the emergancy response would be delayed dramatically and could result in a loss of life or home.
James Palen November 01, 2012 at 08:03 PM
There are 12 CLP crews working on the town's power grid. These utility crews are charged with both figuring the source of the outages and working with the town and private tree crews to allow for the safe removal of trees entangled in wires. Yes, it is true that most of use could "easily clear these trees with a chainsaw" -- however it is extremely dangerous to remove a tree that has any contact with wires because it could carry live current either from the substation or from the improper installation of any 1 of the over 1,000 generators in town that may be backfeeding into the grid. Give the choice of a rushed and potentially dangerous tree removal effort versus an slow but methodical plan where there is an utility professional there to insure that it is safe for the town's staff (or private contractors) to remove the tree touching wires - I will choose safety over speed. With three members of my family volunteering as firefighters and regularly working with utility crews to clear roads when trees bring down powerlines -- I will most certainly deal with spoiled milk and a low battery alert on my iPhone to insure the safety of those doing the work.
Debra Ritchie November 01, 2012 at 10:14 PM
People really need to keep things in perspective. I think of all the displaced friends in Noroton Bay and along the water. Homes may be total loss. While not that bad, our neighborhood is trashed with barely a way out - definitely not room for a fire truck. But we all realize there is a system and we must be patient. Most of us have generators since we have learned from past experience it is necessary with all the trees here. After power is restored we must all come together as a community to help those who have lost everything. I cannot help but think of that young mom trying to evacuate in NY. With rushing flood waters, she lost her grip on her young sons age 2 and 4. Today they were both found in a nearby marsh. Gone. Lost precious lives. How fortunate we are that Sandy did not take more from our community.
sebastian dangerfield November 02, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Dont you just love siwanoy... John Sini says "80 years" but Siwanoy, mentions one 74 years ago--as though, that changes the dynamic and perspective that John Sini offers. Then I point out his obvious lie "my maternal grandfather was a Fleet Admiral." And he says that my mind cant comprehend there are more. haha Siwanoy --I named the 4-5 that ever existed. My mind is definitely capable of comprehending a 5th through 10th Fleet Admiral, if you would be so kind as to list them. In fact, just provide a link. Or are you going to say , like you normally do, that you never said that?
Aaron Pardisian November 02, 2012 at 10:43 AM
People in Bridgeport are throwing eggs at utility crews because they are not satisfied with the speed of power restorations. The eggs probably had spoiled, but that seems no excuse. Yet, the Governor has had strong support in Bridgeport, so they should expect more help. We have Hydro Quebec and Kansas City Electric trucks helping us in Darien. Perhaps the Governor will have them reassigned to Bridgeport now that he has learned that the voters there are not happy with the performance so far.
John Weer November 02, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Go figure Mr Sini and Mr Pankowski, "Dannel P. Malloy is questioning the response by the state's two main utility companies to widespread power outages..." and how offensive it was to you both that I offered constructive comments yesterday and expressed concern for my elderly neighbors. It seems to me that the Governor has a lot more information than the rest of us. The article is on the homepage of the Darien Patch. Does this sound familiar, similar to my comments from yesterday? Again, there are no complaints just questioning certain priorities and suggesting we cut through the red tape as Governor Christie did in the State of NJ with downed trees, etc. Be more open to constructive comments and don't "go with the flow". Our response will not be perfect as you suggest and we should identify these issues so that we can be better next time. You should both be in Congress or work for the EPA where nothing gets accomplished. Ms Ritchie is right, there are so many devastating stories out there particularly the one she mentioned. As I mentioned yesterday, we can do without power but need to be concerend for others and our neighbors. We are very blessed to not have experienced such tragedy.
Joe Pankowski November 02, 2012 at 01:44 PM
@ Mr. Weer: we'll agree to disagree about the tone and content of your letter. Quite frankly, I read it as an attack on our town leadership, with an occasional dig at CL&P. As a native of North Florida, I'm fully aware of the time it takes for clean-up of streets and the restoration of power after a storm such as Sandy. And, to answer your next question: no, my family doesn't have power.
David Gurliacci (Editor) November 02, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Here's a link to that story: http://darien.patch.com/articles/live-wire-sparks-fire-near-where-darien-kids-play
mann about town November 05, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Take a deep breath! This was a bad storm ,worst ever is what I heard. I think its time to cut down a lot of trees-you know the sacred ones that people dont want to touch and then in a storm down they come and we are without power. Maybe the town could clear all trees on town property at the sides of the roadsAND not replace them with trees but with low growing ground cover. Keep cool and think!! Cause and effect!
Mr. Spazi November 05, 2012 at 09:12 AM
First of all, how many DPW employees do you think we have that are qualified to take down trees, especially trees that are entangled in power lines? How many cherry pickers trucks have you seen parked at the DPW garage? Secondly, do you realize how many cheap knuckleheads we have in this town that are running on generator power without a transfer switch, but are lighting up their homes by back-feeding (u do that with 2 males plugs)?

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