Patrick Barnard

Recent Articles

Selectmen Approve Funding for New Ambulance, Boiler Repairs

The Board of Selectmen at its most recent meeting unanimously approved three expenditures including $9,281.10 for emergency repairs to the boiler at Town Hall, $15,099.10 to refurbish 10 snow plows, and $182,326 for the purchase of a new ambulance. Bill Oestmann, superintendent of buildings, told the board during its Dec. 5 meeting that the boiler at Town Hall developed a problem while he was away on vacation a couple of weeks earlier. “I guess it got cold that week and the heat was not responding very well in Town Hall,” Oestmann said during the meeting, held at Town Hall. ”So, the mechanical company came down and found that there were some issues related to the valves. Continue Reading →

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Santa Arrives Safely in New Canaan

Children and adults hoping to see Santa Claus arrive in his personal helicopter at Mead Park on Saturday morning were instead greeted by New Canaan’s Tom Stadler, who was in the parking lot vigorously flapping his arms—not in an effort to fly himself, but rather to alert the incoming crowds that a snowstorm bearing down on the area had forced the Jolly Old Elf to cancel his flight. Instead, Santa was arriving via land-based transportation, Stadler told drivers as they flooded into the bustling parking areas—more specifically, via a fire truck that was bringing him directly to hardware shop Weed & Duryea, sponsor of the annual event, as well as Gregg’s Garden Center. After battling some slow-moving traffic during the 2,000-foot-long trek over to the hardware and general store, and then getting “trapped” in the store parking lot, everyone eventually made it safely to Weed & Duryea’s “Christmas Headquarters,” where local band, the New Canaan School of Rock, was cranking out “Spirit of Radio” by Rush to get everyone in the holiday mood. Sure enough, the Bearded Man of the Hour arrived right on time, waving to his adoring fans from a beautifully restored 1949 ladder truck owned by former Assistant New Canaan Volunteer Fire Chief (and Santa’s personal chauffeur) Scott Ready (the truck had been in service in New Canaan until 1973). A long line of starry-eyed children (and their parents) had already formed as Santa took his “throne” in the Christmas shop, surrounded by colorful, sparkling holiday merchandise. Continue Reading →

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Board of Selectmen Considering Dissolving Utilities Commission

Town officials say they’re considering dissolving the Utilities Commission, which has recently seen three resignations and currently lacks a quorum. During Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan floated the idea of dissolving the commission—which in recent years has worked on initiatives related to cellular coverage, natural gas and solar energy—and replacing it with a Selectmen’s Technology Advisory Committee, which would simply advise the board on technology initiatives. “Because of FOIA I can’t talk that much—outside of this meeting—but we’ve had three resignations on the Utilities Commission—which leaves us with not even a quorum,” Moynihan said during the special meeting, held at Town Hall. “They had to cancel their meeting last night—and I’ve been thinking about asking the Town Council to repeal the ordinance the created the Utilities Commission and replace it with a Selectmen’s Technology Advisory Committee.”

Moynihan said the main difference between the new Selectmen’s Technology Advisory Committee and the Utilities Commission is that the committee would simply advise the board on technology matters related to the town. “The Technology Advisory Committee would work on how the town can employ technology to provide better, more efficient services to our citizens,” he said, adding that he got the idea for the committee from a town resident a couple of months ago. Continue Reading →

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Town Building Evaluation and Use Committee Unveils Its Recommendations [IUPDATED]

Members of the Town Building Evaluation and Use Committee—which for the past eight months has been looking for ways to make more efficient and cost-effective use of town-owned facilities—presented its draft report to the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday. Among the recommendations included in the group’s massive 91-page report (available here in full) are moving the Board of Education offices from the current leased space on Locust Avenue to a town-owned facility—preferably the second floor of Waveny House or the main house at Irwin Park; using former Outback Teen Center building for an alternative high school program; renovating the Police Department building; razing the Richmond Hill garage; using the three-bay garage at Irwin Park as additional space for the Public Works Department; and developing policies for the storage of documents and other items in town buildings, among other recommendations. “The idea here is to look at where we might find some savings—or, if not, lower costs, moving forward—by optimizing the use of our buildings,” committee co-chair and Board of Finance member Amy Carroll said during the special meeting. “That’s what really drove this whole analysis. In tough times, [the Board of Finance] going to go through every department and say, ‘Please sharpen your pencils, what can we do better?’ It seems to me that from a town perspective, we should be saying, ‘How can we do better with our own buildings?’ ”

With regard to the general cost of the committee’s recommendations, which is still largely yet to be determined, Carroll said: “Yankee frugality is awesome—in that you don’t spend too much—but sometimes it might be penny wise and pound foolish. Continue Reading →

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ZBA Grants Variance for Improvements at Brinkerhoff Avenue Home

The Zoning Board of Appeals recently approved a variance paving the way for improvements to a single-family home located at 7 Brinkerhoff Ave. Mario Lopez of ML Builders, on behalf of homeowner Ed Ku, presented plans for improvements to the circa-1918 home during the ZBA’s most recent meeting on Nov. 6. Ku plans to change the pitch of the home’s roof from 7 feet to 14 feet and add a 56 sq. ft. Continue Reading →

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