Monday, October 29, 2012

Re-posting local news

Monday, October 29, 2012

Valley residents taking a wait and see attitude

Ansonia resident Bob Bialek, a member of Ansonia Rescue Medical Services, shows the sanitized cots that are available to evacuees seeking shelter in the Ansonia High School gym. Patricia Villers/Register

By Patricia Villers
Register Staff
and Jean-Falbo-Sosnovich
Register Correspondent

Naugatuck Valley residents took a wait and see attitude concerning Hurricane Sandy.
As of late Monday morning just one senior citizen was staying in the emergency shelter the city had opened at 8 a.m. at Ansonia High School.

Beverly Favreau, who lives in the Ansonia Housing Authority’s Central Street Apartments complex, was reading as she sat on a cot in the gymnasium.

“I just was concerned when I saw on the TV that parking lots in Stratford were flooded,” Favreau said, and she decided to evacuate. Her sister gave her a ride to the shelter, she said.
Favreau was 11 when the Flood of ’55 devastated the Valley, and she said she has vivid memories of the devastation.

“You can’t trust the Naugatuck River,” she said.

Favreau was living on Maple Street in Seymour at the time and remembers that her church, Seymour Congregational on Broad Street, sustained a lot of damage. “I hope my church is going to be OK,” she said.

Ansonia Rescue Medical Services’ member Bob Bialek, of Ansonia, gave a visitor a tour of the shelter. He said boys’ locker room facilities are being used for men, and girls’ locker room facilities are available for women.

Bialek said the city has made accommodations to have Valley Transit District buses and buses from Emmett O’Brien (Technical High School) available “to use if a mass evacuation is needed.”

The high school is at 20 Pulaski Highway. Ansonia Rescue Medical Services’ personnel stationed there said they were there for the duration of the storm.
“We’re prepared to be here as long as necessary,” Bialek said. Drinking water is available there, as are 150 sanitized cots and blankets from Federal Emergency Management Agency, he said.

EMT Terry Godfrey, of Ansonia, said cafeteria employees were there preparing lunch for workers and shelter clients.

She had her 15-year old twins, Andrew and Jenn, with her to help at the shelter. “They’re Junior Corps members,” Godfrey said, and have been involved with the organization for many years.

Godfrey said last year during Hurricane Irene three people, parents with a child, sought shelter at the high school.

Major Theresa Burkholder from the Ansonia-based Greater Valley Salvation Army arrived at the shelter to offer her agency’s assistance.

“We’re available if there’s a need,” Burkholder said. “We can provide meals, and we have blankets, toiletries, diapers, and other supplies,” she said.

Burkholder said she would deliver items to Ansonia High School if requested.

In Derby, schools are closed today and Tuesday. Derby Middle School on Nutmeg Avenue has been designated as an emergency shelter, if needed, according to the city’s Office of Emergency Management.

Also, according to a statement released by FirstLight Power, which owns and operates the Stevenson Dam, water levels have been lowered to “create space” with the storm impact.

The Derby Riverwalk is also closed until further notice.
Across the Housatonic River in Shelton, residents in several flood-prone areas of the city are being urged to evacuate and move to higher ground. According to the city’s Office of Emergency Management, residents of the Maples, Upper Birchbank, and Birchbank area are advised to move personal items and seek shelter at higher ground as soon as possible, due to the potential for the Housatonic to rise at a rapid rate.

The Shelton Senior Center, at 81 Wheeler St, opened at noon Monday as the city’s emergency shelter.

Shelton schools are also closed Monday and Tuesday. Trash and recycling collection has also been suspend, and is slated to resume Wednesday, Oct. 31, according to Public Works Director Paul DiMauro.

Those with any questions can contact the Office of Emergency Management at (203) 924-5941.

Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller said preparations have been ongoing since Thursday as officials have been meeting with police, fire, public works and emergency management officials.

Seymour Middle School, at 211 Mountain Rd., has been designated as the town’s emergency shelter. Those in need of assistance, especially those with special needs, are urged to call (203)888-1909 to make arrangements. Pets will also be allowed at the shelter, officials said.

Miller also suspended trash and recycling collection for Monday and Tuesday.

A couple of community events have also been cancelled, due to the storm. The annual Trunk or Treat Halloween event has been rescheduled to Sunday, Nov. 4, at Seymour Middle School. The Seymour Historical Society was also scheduled to host a presentation Monday night on the History of the Stevenson Dam, which has been postponed to a later date yet to be determined.

Seymour officials are also urging residents to report power outages directly to CL&P by calling 1-800-286-2000.

The above story is also at Check back for updates.

Update: Derby Mayor Anthony Staffieri said that at 2 p.m. he had just returned from areas of the city near the Housatonic River.

He said McConney’s Grove off Roosevelt Drive and O’Sullivan’s Island were “still in great shape. There were no significant water problems.”

Staffieri said he expected heavy wind could cause problems later today.

“Wind could knock down trees which could down power lines,” he said.

Staffieri said he held several meetings with department heads Monday.

“Their equipment is in good working order, and the flood gates have been closed,” he said.

If it’s necessary the city will open Derby Middle School as a shelter, with Bradley School as a secondary location if needed, he said.

“We have food and water, we’re prepared.”

Staffieri said it appeared that City Hall would be closed tomorrow.

“We encourage people to call the police department, the fire department, or public works,” he said. “Right now they are waiting for a call. Hopefully there won’t be any calls. That means that there were no problems.” 

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