New Canaan residents share their thoughts and raise issues of importance to our community, on matters touching local residents—property and business owners, taxpayers, students, nonprofit leaders and caregivers. This is a space for New Canaanites to recognize good works that may otherwise go unnoticed or to raise questions and concerns for public vetting. To submit a letter to the editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In response to the “No Left Turn” editorial posted in the NewCanaanite. Given the situation, I don’t find declaring a six-month trial a failure in two weeks in reasonable. I feel the sign is working and it and deserves the full six-month trial period the Police Commission unanimously voted for in January. The Police Commission took action because they recognized the threat to the safety and quality of life of New Canaan residents. The 1.2-mile stretch of roads passing through Marvin Ridge, Nursery, White Oak Shade, and Gerdes Roads are all significantly safer and quality of life has been restored along the route.
Installed with the best intentions and even successful in some ways, the new “no left turn” sign at Nursery and Marvin Ridge Roads is creating more problems than it’s solving and should be removed. It’s true that since a sign prohibiting a left-hand turn from Marvin Ridge to Nursery from 7 to 9 a.m. weekdays went in nearly one month ago, some in the neighborhood have had relief from a surge in morning commuter traffic. The approximately 350 vehicles that had been using Nursery Road between 8 and 9 a.m.—including motorists using navigation apps such as Waze to avoid Merritt Parkway backups—posed a safety risk, advocates of the sign said. Yet a 3.5-year police history showed no reported accidents on Nursery Road from 2015 through 2018—that’s one data point cited by a professional traffic engineer hired by the town to study roadway characteristics, traffic volume and speeds on Nursery Road and make recommendations about how to help solve the problems there and on Gerdes Road. Ultimately, the engineer said, installing a “no left turn” sign would have the same negative impact as closing the road would.
On Valentine’s Day, many hearts simultaneously broke throughout New Canaan with a single widely distributed email.
As some swooned over loved ones or batted eyelashes at a crush, the much adored and longstanding principal of South School, Joanne Rocco, announced her retirement in an email to parents.
It was an email that launched a thousand forwarded messages, and reduced many to tears.
I received numerous frantic messages about the breaking news—or shall I say, heartbreaking news. Though I no longer have students at South, I felt a mix of immense sorrow for those families who will not know Ms. Rocco and absolute triumph that my kids attended “her” school. My family had six blissful years reaping the rewards of Joanne’s hard work and tenure. The thought of her absence is a big blow to our community.
And to pile on the hurt, it seems that our schools are getting hit hard this winter. Our Board of Education is fighting an uphill battle with town bodies to fully fund its proposed budget while in Hartford, the state government is flexing its muscular overreach, introducing bills that call for school regionalization.
I have officially exceeded my threshold and cannot take any more unexpected news regarding our schools.
For our first installment of “0684-Radi0” (hit “Listen in Browser” above on your smartphone), a new weekly podcast series from NewCanaanite.com, we take an in-depth look at a recent news item, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan’s efforts to bolster communications out of Town Hall by issuing press releases that will be published both on a re-launched municipal website and, if all goes as planned, in local news outlets.
Many thanks to Moynihan and UConn Associate Professor of Journalism Marie Shanahan for granting us interviews, to my brother Terry for creating a soundtrack, and to Nurenu Brand Marketing for sponsoring this debut installment.
Something seems to be askew in this year’s deliberations over the town budget.
The budget process began in November 2018, when the Board of Finance unanimously adopted “Budget Guidelines for Fiscal Year 2019-2020.” The BOF analysis was thoughtful, thorough, and conservative. It determined that a $3 million (2 percent) cap on spending growth would protect the town financially while continuing services at levels citizens demand.
Meeting the guidelines became a consensus goal for Town managers and school leaders. The guidelines were the centerpiece of an offsite budget meeting of all the key stakeholders on Nov. 17.