Archive for December, 2010

December 26th, 2010

Nothing To See Outside Today

by LonSeidman

Stay inside. Its the day after Christmas and today’s a great day to spend with the family. Read that newest Christmas book and warm by the fireplace. Heavy snows are falling on Wolcott tonight and blizzard force winds are expected overnight.

Blizzards are defined as storms with over twelve inches of snow and 35 mph winds. While winds in Wolcott have been strong thus far, they are expected to increase overnight. As winds pick up, it is possible to experience to white-out conditions and drivers and pedestrians can lose their way within seconds.

So, as we said – there’s no reason to leave home tonight. Many people attended church and stopped by the grocery stores for food supplies this morning and the snow began falling in Wolcott at around 11 am with nothing more than a slight breeze. Conditions have worsened since then.

County Rd. Dangerous
Lower County Rd. entering Southington (where you pass the golf course) is quite hazardous today particularly with snow covering an icey portion of road. At 7:30 this morning much of the downhill travel lane had ice covering the roadway, causing cars to slow down and move into the oncoming lane. This was present BEFORE the snow began to fall. It is advisable not to use this road during the storm as the icey portion will be hidden from view. It is possible to get some traction from snow covering it, but still – use alternates through Cheshire in the south end of town to prevent a potential accident.

Deep Snow Expected
While Cape Cod was expected to get the worst of the storm, it appears they will get several inches of rain overnight. The rain-snow line will cross mid-Rhode Island towards Plymouth and everything west of that line will get snow. This area originally was predicted recieve the heaviest amount however the storm will be moving more west, crossing through Connecticut near Wolcott. That means Wolcott – as usual – will recieve some of the heaviest snow in the state. 15 to 22 inches is expected as of 6 pm according to various state meteorologists.

Power Outages Possible
Because of the high winds and heavy snow, it is possible that power may go out in some areas of the state. Should this occur, be sure to have emergency supplies ready. Don’t use generators inside or in areas without proper ventilation. Have flashlights and extra blankets ready. Make sure you plow your driveway and make sure building numbers are visible as soon as practical.

How are you spending the snow day?

December 19th, 2010

Winter Wonderland Today

by LonSeidman

The Wolcott Lions Club will host its annual Winter Wonderland festival today from 11 am – 4 pm at their property on Wolcott Rd. Santa Claus is expected to make an appearance and residents will be treated to hot chocolate and refreshments. Evercone is welcome.

A donated toy or food item will be accepted from anyone attending.

December 19th, 2010

Want to Shop Locally?

by LonSeidman

Sometimes you may want that perfect gift that you can’t get at the mall or box store. Somsething with character. Or perhaps you want to support local businesses right here in town. Well, a directory is now available online. The Why Wolcott website, a tool sponsored by the Wolcott Economic Development Commission has a listing of local businesses. Many of the businesses also have their own links on the website as well.

You can see the Wolcott businesses listed here so far, and there is also a link for businesses not yet listed to be added. www.whywolcott.com

By supporting local businesses, you keep your neighbors employed. And you may already know those involved, or can help their business thrive.

December 19th, 2010

Need a Christmas Tree?

by LonSeidman

If you haven’t picked up your tree yet, you have only one week left!

There are a few places within Wolcott to pick up trees. The Lions’ Club had a small handful left Saturday afternoon. The Homewoods have opened a farmstand on Center St. and also have reasonably priced trees. Pillwillup Farm is located at 1089 Woodtick Rd. where you can cut or take pre-cut trees.

Another location is in the north end of town, although we need a more exact location.

Just outside of Wolcott, the Lemon Tree on Lakewood Rd. had a large selection of Canadian Balsams ranging from 4 feet to 9 feet in height, all of which need a loving home. Another tree stand can be find nearby on Wolcott St. in front of Midas near the intersection of Lakewood Rd.

December 8th, 2010

Wisler Fills Council Vacancy

by LonSeidman

Longtime local volunteer Rachel Wisler was accepted as the newest member of the Wolcott Town Council Tuesday evening. Wisler has been an active member in the Junior Women’s Club and also runs a business in town with her husband, Rene. She will represent the 2nd District after the seat became vacant when Randy Petroniro suddenly resigned a few weeks ago. Because Petroniro

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December 8th, 2010

Bristol Mayor Hospitalized, Cheshire Resident Amidst Gunfire

by LonSeidman

IN BRIEF:
The Mayor of Bristol, Art Ward was hospitalized after choking on a piece of steak on Saturday, December 4th. He is currently in a medically induced coma at Bristol Hospital, although recent news reports say that doctors may be attempting to wake him.

Town Councilor Ken Cockayne is the city’s acting mayor for now.
More on this news in the Bristol Press and Bristol Today blog.

———————-
Tim White of Cheshire gave up his seat as 4th District Town Councilor in Cheshire last month in order to work for a humanitarian organization in Haiti. Since arriving, he has already endured and recovered from malaria. Now, he is surrounded by gunfire following the presidential elections in the country. White is residing in the town of Jeremie, which is in the southwestern area of the country. In a conversation over Facebook, he noted hearing gunshots in town. When asked if they were celebratory, angry or something else, White reports that it was coming from supporters of losing candidates. Whether or not there were any actual casualties in his town cannot be confirmed. White has sequestered himself inside the location he is staying in. His thoughts and observations can be read at his blog: Tim White Listens.

We hope you’ll join us in holding both Mr. Ward and Mr. White in your prayers for recovery and safety.

December 6th, 2010

Slick Roads With First Snow

by LonSeidman

As of 5:50 am Wolcott schools are still on schedule, but a lake effect snow band that shot through the area is causing numerous accidents and delays on area roads and highways.

THe band started after 5 pm yesterday and was heaviest in Watertown and the Litchfield Hills. The snow band emanates from Lake Ontario in a South-easterly direction over Litchfield County, through Watertown, Wolcott, and overnight it went further into Wallingford. As of this morning, Rt. 6 in Plymouth is down to one lane east of Rt. 262 and Rt. 202 in Litchfield is closed. I-84 eastbound in Middlebury is open, but the highway in both directions in Waterbury are snow covered. There are numerous accidents on I-91 in Wallingford.

Snowfall amounts vary by location. Most of Wolcott only received a dusting, but the snow was reported to be consistent through most of last evening in Watertown.

Lake effect snow is not uncommon in Wolcott, even though this band originates near Oswego NY at the eastern edge of Lake Ontario. That’s an over 5 hour drive from here. Most of the stars were visible in Wolcott even though the snow was falling lightly from clouds further away. It made for a uniquely beautiful, if cold night.

December 3rd, 2010

Teachers To Vote on New Contract

by LonSeidman

What’s the largest portion of the Town’s Budget? What fiscal item do some town officials say they have no control over year after year? And what budget item will most significantly affect your tax rate in the next three years?

If you said the teacher’s union contract, you’re correct.

Little information is known at press time, but a teacher’s union contract has been under negotiations since late summer. Word has reached us that a vote is being held today by teachers on whether or not to approve a three year contract.

Past year’s contracts included 3.5% annual increase for teachers’ salaries. Medical contributions by teachers had also been increased in past years. Tactics often used by teachers’ unions are to compare their salary to the state average salary and show that their union is below that average. As they gain increases in their contract, the state average thus rises. Then the next union in another town with negotiations can argue that they are below the average, because the average constantly shifts upward.

School districts in contrast often point to the ability of their taxpayers to pay any increase. The current economic climate can be further used to show that an increase would not be in a town’s best interest. Waterbuy recently did that and rejected subsequent requests for raises, although the Board of Education there did entertain the motion after the contract was verified.

We don’t know much about the current proposed contract, but if negotiations result in similar pay increases of the past, Wolcott’s 200 or so teachers’ salaries might be compounded in annual raises. This could result in millions of dollars of added expenses to Wolcott taxpayers’ over the life of the contract. We hope that perhaps other non-salary incentives could be offered instead, if needed. Teachers consistently are saddled with costs for supplies and their classrooms. Why don’t schools reumburse them for these or supply a budget for such expenses?

Offers like this that might sweeten a deal could go a much longer way than added salary. But again, we don’t know the details at this point and caution against anyone making assumptions.

If a contract is approved by teachers, we expect it would then need to be ratified by the Board of Education. Residents should contact BOE members to give them their input on the matter. Earlier this year the Town Council rejected a school administrators’ contract which then went to arbitration. The administrators won the arbitration.

December 3rd, 2010

Bridgeport Continues Count One Month Later

by LonSeidman

Exactly one month later, Connecticut’s election results for Governor could still change.

Even after three vote counts -each with different tallies, give and take between the Foley and Malloy campaigns on who was right, and then the ultimate concession speech by Tom Foley, the debacle in Connecticut’s largest city still continues. An extensive recount being conducted by the Connecticut Citizen Audit coalition at the request of the Connecticut Post newspaper is halfway completed. A bipartisan commission was also appointed by Mayor Bill Finch to investigate what went wrong and what should be corrected. They have quite the job to tackle with a one month deadline in the midst of angry residents, clear facts, and cloudy misinformation. Some of the uproar begun at a hearing held on Nov. 22nd, where one City Councilor exclaimed that “I wouldn’t have stood in line that long to vote for MYSELF!” referring to the four hours some residents waited for ballots.

Enter a citizens volunteer group of vote counters. The

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