In order for Brookfield and its residents to be eligible for FEMA funding, the Town, the State and President all must all declare Connecticut a disaster zone. The Town and the State have already made those declarations.
In order to substantiate claims, Brookfield officials are asking residential and businesses property owners to submit pictures of damage to any structure, along with the address pictured, and a description of the extent of damage sustained. All submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brookfield Building Department officials are currently going to the heavily affected areas assessing structural damages. Having entered recovery mode, many residents are hiring contractors. Eversource has engaged with some electrical contractors to assist with repairing the damage to electric service entrance cable and meter box on houses. Residents should ask for identification.
A 38-year old man has been arrested after he refused to leave a home for 14 hours. Troopers received a call shortly before 2 am Monday about a domestic violence incident in a Purchase Brook Road home from people who were in the house. Joseph Michael Stotz eventually came out of the house, ending the standoff. He hit a trooper while being arrested, but the officer was uninjured. Stotz was evaluated at Waterbury Hospital and released. He was charged with disorderly conduct, interfering with an officer and assault on an officer. Stotz was held on $100,000 bond for arraignment today.
Due to the uncertainty of road conditions, the need for more tree line work, and at the request of Brookfield's Emergency Management Team, the Memorial Day Parade has been cancelled. A Memorial event will be held at Williams Park as scheduled and the Library will be open and hosting family related events on its Lawn. The parade will be rescheduled at a time to be determined.
State Representative Will Duff has been endorsed by the Republican party to run for reelection in the 2nd state House District, of Bethel, Danbury, Redding and Newtown. The freshman lawmaker's first bill was to eliminate the state income tax on Social Security and pensions, which was included in the bipartisan budget.
A New Milford man is looking to challenge a freshman lawmaker for the 67th state House seat. Democrat Tom O'Brien is seeking fill the role currently held by Republican Bill Buckbee. O’Brien chaired the bike and trails committee and was influential in establishing the New Milford River Trail along the Housatonic River.
Brookfield, Danbury and New Fairfield continue to have several hundred residents without power from the severe weather that hit a week ago. Scattered outages remain in the rest of the Greater Danbury area. Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross says the rebuilding of the system continues. But he says one of the delays is the extensive damage to homes and businesses. Gross says it's unsafe for utility workers to make repairs until towns inspects those structures and gives the OK. Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross says they're resetting 300 miles of wire. It's the distance from Hartford to Washington D.C., if you unroll the wire and lay it out.
One of the areas of New Fairfield hit hardest by last week's severe storm is Candlewood Isle. Residents there are not expected to have power back until Thursday. The emergency shelter at New Fairfield High School will be open again today, 8:30am to 8pm, with three meals available. Showers and bathrooms are available all day.
Today is the last day dumpsters will be available in Newtown for residents to dispose of spoiled food. Due to schools being in session, the dumpster at Newtown High School will be moved to Sandy Hook Fire House for today.
Brookfield Police are reminding people that any down wires that were dead days following the storm, may become re-energized during repair efforts. Now, is the time to be extra safe and avoid downed wires. The Still River Greenway in Brookfield is closed and should not be used until crews can enter, clear the path and evaluate trees along the trail for safety. The last day of school in Brookfield is now scheduled for June 29th. The Superintendent is requesting a onetime waiver from the state Department of Education excluding Brookfield from the 180 day requirement.
Squantz Pond State Park has reopened. Sleeping Giant and Wharton Brook will remain closed indefinitely. A determination will be made today about whether Kettletown State Park can open for the Memorial Day weekend.
The Bethel Highway Department will be going around town over the next several weeks to clean up storm debris from the side of roads. First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says in the aftermath of the storm, crews just cut trees and pushed them to the side. They did this in an effort to get as many roads reopened as quickly as possible. The Highway Department and tree care contractor will pick up debris and branches that they cleared. But Knickerbocker asked for patience as there is more than 80 miles of road in Bethel to be cleared.
As for the overall cost of the storm, he estimates between $10,000 to $30,000 to cover overtime work and outside contractors. Bethel did not take the brunt of the storm and had to spend less than neighboring towns, like Brookfield and Newtown.
Newtown will pick up trees and brush that has fallen on the shoulder of the road, but First Selectman Dan Rosenthal asked residents not to drag brush from personal property to the roadside. He says restoration efforts are paramount and accumulating brush on the side of the road will effect workers and potentially impact school buses. Brush, up to 3-inches in diameter, may be disposed of for free at the Newtown Transfer Station. There is a $10 per cubic yard fee for anything in excess.
The Brookfield Board of Finance has revised the proposed budget down to $67 million. The plan calls for $42.9 million for the town and $24.1 million for the schools. It raises taxes by 4.65 percent, about one percent lower than the first proposal. The second budget referendum in Brookfield will be held on the 29th. Unexpected state aid and a stipend for the fire department make up for much of the cut. The Board of Finance decided to start with small cuts because of the limited ballots cast between 5pm and 8pm due to the storm a week ago.
The New Milford Town Council has revised the proposed budget down after it failed during a referendum, which continued despite the severe storm. The combined $101.5 million proposal would raise taxes 2.6 percent. The original proposal would have hiked taxes by 3.87-percent. Less money would be used from the undesignated fund in the new proposal. The state is also granting more aid to the town than anticipated. The second budget referendum in New Milford will be held on June 5th.
The planned renovations to Rockwell and Johnson schools in Bethel are moving forward. An information session is planned by Bethel Superintendent Christine Carver tonight about what teachers, students and parents can expect during construction, which could begin as soon as December. When all of the work is completed, Rockwell 3rd graders would be moved to Johnson, the current 4-5 school. In making the pitch for local approval of the spending, school officials noted that both buildings are too small, need new roofs, are not handicap accessible and have old heating and cooling systems. The Public Sites and Building Committee meeting is at 7pm.
No official federal disaster declaration has been made yet to help municipalities, residents and businesses with the cost of clean up and repairs from Tuesday's severe weather. But 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty toured Brookfield and New Fairfield yesterday to take pictures, which should bolster the FEMA request. See notes that the federal government needs to be a partner in this moment. While Connecticut is not at the top of the list when thinking about tornadoes, Esty says that doesn't mean the district isn't dealing with their devastation right now.
Brookfield First Selectman Steve Dunn estimated that by the time things return to normal, the cost could be more than $2-million.
Senator Richard Blumenthal also toured New Fairfield and Brookfield yesterday to view storm damage in an effort to make the case for a federal disaster declaration to be made. He says FEMA assistance is given to the gulf coast and Oklahoma, now Connecticut needs the help. Blumenthal says it's unlike anything seen in the country in the last several decades because the tornadoes and macroburst hit a heavily forested area.
Eversource says the damage to their system was worse than during Superstorm Sandy.
The last day of school in Danbury is Friday, June 29th. Superintendent Sal Pascarella says Tuesday, May 22, is now a full school day. Friday, May 25, is now a full day, and the previously-scheduled teacher professional development program is cancelled. Alternate bus stops due to ongoing tree removal and pole repairs were set up for students who live on West King Street, Forty Acre Mountain Road, Palmer Road and Stadley Rough Road.
The New Milford Town Council will meet tonight about budget revisions. Residents rejected the tax and spending plan on Tuesday. There were some calls for another referendum on the same plan because of the severe weather. But the poll locations were all open and had power until 8pm so there is nothing in the town charter or state statute that would allow for a re-vote. The Town Council will look at where to make changes, with public input, starting at 7pm in Town Hall.
The Brookfield Board of Finance will meet tonight to discuss budget revisions. The first tax and spending plan was rejected during a referendum Tuesday. It included $43-million for the schools and $24.4 million for the municipality, along with $2.6 million in capital spending. Tonight's meeting is at Brookfield High School at 8pm.
Brookfield Police have increased patrols and encouraged residents to be aware of vacant homes in neighborhoods and to check on elderly neighbors. Police Chief Jay Purcell says the 911 system was overwhelmed on the day of the storm. People were calling on routine lines because they couldn't get through to 911. They had to rely on backup from Litchfield County dispatch and others where 911 calls roll over to. People were trapped in their cars between downed trees, others were concerned with trees through their homes.
State police are involved in a standoff with a person in Southbury. Troopers responded to a Purchase Brook Road home around 2am for the report of a disturbance. A person in the home refused to come out and may have a gun. Several roads in the area are closed while troopers try and resolve the situation. No injuries have been reported and Police say there is no threat to the public.
More than 1,800 broken poles had to be replaced and nearly 300 miles of downed electric lines reinstalled. That was more than had to replace after Superstorm Sandy.
As of 3:30pm Sunday, Eversource found 317 broken poles in Brookfield. There were 308 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, 50 miles of wire needing replacement and 162 transformers installed. There were 33 blocked roads.
Eversource found 172 broken poles in Danbury. There were 310 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, nearly 22 miles of wire needing replacement and 57 transformers installed. There were 46 blocked roads.
Eversource found 317 broken poles in New Fairfield. There were 427 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, 35 miles of wire needing replacement and 115 transformers installed. There were 35 blocked roads.
Eversource found 159 broken poles in Newtown. There were 336 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, 33 miles of wire needing replacement and 63 transformers installed. There were 52 blocked roads.
Eversource found 177 broken poles in Oxford. There were 370 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, 29 miles of wire needing replacement and 56 transformers installed. There were 25 blocked roads.
Eversource found 204 broken poles in Southbury. There were 487 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, 33 miles of wire needing replacement and 78 transformers installed. There were 32 blocked roads.
110 Eversource crews were in New Fairfield yesterday and National Guard troops have been working to clear roads and check on residents. In New Fairfield, there are 419 broken poles, 121 transformers and 44 miles of wire that must be replaced.
First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says all roads are passable, an improvement from Tuesday night when 95% of roads were blocked by trees, poles and wires. The areas that sustained the most significant damage were the Baldwin Hill Area where 25 poles had to be replaced.
About a dozen homes on Candlewood Isle sustained damage from fallen trees. The Candlewood Lake Road area had 167 separate damage locations.
Brookfield officials are reviewing ways to remove some of the tree damage as a town. The Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance will be meeting today to discuss the matter. The Town Brush Yard, located between town hall and the fire department, is open for Brookfield residents to drop off brush. The Still River Greenway and the Gurski Homestead Property have been closed due to concern of downed trees. Showers and charging stations are available at the Greenknoll YMCA during regular business hours. Water filling stations are available at the fire house, the Police Station and Brookfield High School.
Eversource has approximately 150 line and tree crews working in Newtown. The Municipal Center, located at Fairfield Hills will be open Monday from 8am to 8pm. Dumpsters for Spoiled Food Disposal are available at Newtown High School, Hawleyville and Dodgingtown Fire Departments.
Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell continues to coordinate restoration efforts in Kent, Patterson and Putnam Lake. As of yesterday, NYSEG was reporting about 6,000 outages in Putnam County.
(Photo: Putnam County Executive)
The New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department responded Saturday afternoon on a report of a generator close to home on fire at on Llyod Avenue. A firefighter that was at Ball Pond firehouse grabbed an extinguisher and saw that the fire was much worse. Most of the home was already fully involved. Fire crews met some difficult issues with propane tanks leaking, down power lines and getting around the neighborhood due to the recent storm.
All the occupants were out of the home before the fire department arrived. Neighbors helped to drag fire hose, move cars and bring equipment. Firefighters from New Fairfield, Putnam Lake, Sherman and Danbury provided mutual aid. An investigation by the state fire marshal is ongoing for exact cause.
On Saturday, Danbury fire companies were dispatched to North Nabby Road for a reported shed fire. Additional tankers were requested from the volunteer fire companies. Crews faced a lot of storm debris still remaining from Tuesday's severe weather. The fire was quickly extinguished and the Danbury Fire Marshals office is investigating the cause of the fire.
Areas in southern Bridgewater were particularly hard hit by last week's severe weather, with some evidence that the microburst or tornado touched down across Iron Ore Hill Road. BRidgewater officials are seeking recognition as a FEMA disaster area in order to secure federal funds to help pay for the cleanup. First Selectman Curtis Read says it could take months and a lot of resources to repair most of the damage. The town lost some iconic trees like the willows by the Rec Pond and the Christmas tree on the Green.
(Photos: First Selectman Curtis Read, Facebook)