Botch Job: New Signs at Jelliff Mill Bridge Identify Noroton River as ‘Norton River’

Town officials on Monday pulled out signs installed at each end of the Jelliff Mill Bridge because they misidentified the Noroton River flowing underneath as the ‘Norton River.’

Asked who’s responsible for the botch job, New Canaan Public Works Director Tiger Mann said the contractor, Hudson, Mass.-based New England Infrastructure Inc., pointed to a subcontractor. According to Mann, the contract administrator on the project told the subcontractor on Jan. 11 that the correct spelling for the signs was ‘Noroton River,’ as noted on the plans. Ultimate responsibility for the $3.2 million Jelliff Mill Bridge replacement project, completed last summer, falls with the state, which paid for 80 percent of it, Mann said. The ‘Norton’ signs had gone up “very recently,” Mann said, and the mistake was caught Monday.

Did You Hear … ?

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said during Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Finance that the next phase of the natural gas installation project, bringing it to the downtown, will start in April. ***

First Presbyterian Nursery School aced its most recent unannounced inspection by the New Canaan Health Department. It was conducted Dec. 11 and officials found no code violations at the Oenoke Ridge Road facility. ***

Looking to do something special on Valentine’s Day?

‘An Unsung Hero’: New Canaanites Remember Jim Cole 

Saddened by news of Jim Cole’s passing this week, New Canaanites are remembering the longtime former resident as a dedicated volunteer who served the community quietly and in numerous ways while helping to shape emergency preparedness in town. A former chairman of the New Canaan Police and Fire Commissions who went on to become the town’s director and later deputy director of Emergency Management and served on its Traffic Calming Work Group, Cole died Monday in Florida, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. In calling for a moment of silence at a regular meeting of the Board of Finance on Tuesday night, Moynihan called Cole “a great friend of New Canaan” and “great volunteer” alongside his wife, Nancy Upton. Known for his deep involvement in the Congregational Church of New Canaan, local service organizations and the Community Emergency Response Team, a volunteer group known as ‘CERT,’ Cole was a widely respected expert on emergency response for whom the safety of the community was imperative, according to those who knew him. 

He not only helped plan for emergencies but also rolled up his sleeves to work hard when they struck, according to Mike Handler, New Canaan’s director of emergency management. Handler called Cole “a remarkable guy” who “took community engagement and involvement to a different level” not only as a volunteer but also as a great recruiter who was “fiercely loyal” to those who gave of their time as he did.

Coffee’s on for Thursday

Join fellow residents, business owners and editor Michael Dinan for the monthly Community Coffee, to be held 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 in the Curtis Art Gallery on the main floor of New Canaan Library. (Please use the original Main Street-facing entrance.)

The free, public coffee is a group conversation about what’s happening around town, moderated by Dinan. It’s presented in partnership with the library, and we serve Zumbach’s Gourmet Coffee (thank you, Doug). Topics come from our attendees could include the Saxe Middle School baseball diamond, animal cruelty case, P&Z, coverage of DUI arrests, Facebook moderation, municipal budget or 2019 elections.

Op-Ed: Memories of a Winter Skating Scene

Happy Childhood memories of growing up in New Canaan. This is what comes through during interviews with two long-time residents of New Canaan on the topic of Mead Park and the little brick building perched on its northern border. 

So much controversy circles about this building that there is not even consensus about its name. Cassia Besson Ward said the official name in her memory was the Park Maintenance Building, but frequently refers to it as the “Brick House.” 

She grew up in the little grey house across the street and shared, most unexpectedly, this watercolor of a winter skating scene. Besson Ward said she has fond memories of growing up with Mead Park as her front yard, playing with her sister and other children in the streams, making houses out of pine needles behind the “Brick House” and even staging an amateur “Greek Pageant” in the park. 

Painted by her father, John Case Besson, the watercolor includes specific individuals from her childhood. Cassia and her sister are depicted with a sled, one riding, the other pulling.