To the Editor:
I went to both Barlow and the Community Center to talk with people and obtain their reactions to this storm. The below list are questions to the current First Selectman with regards to the storm.
1. Didn't we learn anything from Irene?
2. Why wasn't the Highway Department out prepping the roads earlier than 2:30 p.m.? The storm began at 11 a.m. and Wilton and Bethel were out prior to that preparing their trucks and pre-treating the roads.
3. Why weren't shelters set up on Saturday so that evacuations of the elderly and families with small children could be brought to them? Instead the Fire Departments were doing well-being checks and checking on the elderly with environmental conditions all day Sunday and through today (Wednesday, Nov. 2).
4. Why was Barlow not made a shelter until Monday evening? The CERT team was trained to open shelters and prepare them with cots and blankets, MREs and water and we had only Barlow as a shelter which 1) Not everyone could get to due to down wires and trees and 2) Didn't know about them because they didn't have access to the Internet because of no power and half the town doesn't have land line phones to hear the broadcast from Fuchs and Natalie. The elderly don't know how to sign up for the alert site to their phone and the town website wasn't updated until Tuesday with information of where WiFi, warming and shelters were.
5. Where was Natalie that Chief of Police Doug Fuchs has been in charge of the departments for this storm? Where are the other two selectman that the tax payers pay yearly stipends to? Rudy Marconi, First Selectman of Ridgefield, was and is at their emergency shelters.
6. Why is the Police Department working with CL&P and NOT the highway department? The town of Wilton, Ridgefield, and Bethel Highway Departments work with CL&P to look at what needs to be done and coordinates the cleaning efforts. What does the PD have to do with that?
7. Why on a town wide phone announcement on Monday did the Chief of Police ask residents to call them to inform them if they were trapped only to not rescue them within 24 hours? The Fire Departments were rescuing trapped residents so they could get to the warming stations and water stations.
8. Why aren't we using our contingency fund to rent chippers etc. to have more Town Highway crews out clearing the roads? The town of Redding only has one chipper and isn't even working overtime to assist in the efforts of clearing the roads for emergency vehicles. The money to pay for overtime, excess equipment, and manpower will be return through FEMA grants since Obama has declared the state in emergency conditions.
Throughout the storm I have been informed of the above concerns which relate to this storm that residents thought were addressed after Irene and weren't. The simple fact that Natalie hasn't been out to meet with residents at these facilities and has let the Police Department head the efforts of this terrible disaster is another reason why we need a new face in Town Hall, a Police Commission, and strong relationships with all departments (Police, Highway, and Fire).
Erika Magnussen Vibbert