‘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.

Did You Hear … ?

Bruce Willis—star of Christmas season film favorite “Die Hard”—dropped into Zumbach’s Gourmet Coffee on Pine Street on Monday morning for a cup of brew. ***

A sign posted Wednesday on the door at Hamptonite, a women’s fashion boutique that opened on Elm Street in May 2016, says “no sales can be transacted” there due to a sales and use tax permit issue. ***

The man who was arrested earlier this year after filming a woman in a bathroom at Grace Farms while he worked as a chef at the Lukes Wood Road organization, pleaded guilty to four counts of voyeurism, according to Connecticut Judicial Branch records. ***

The Board of Education opened its meeting Monday with a moment of silence for former President George H.W. Bush. ***

Farmers Table on Nov.

National Weather Service: It Was a Tornado 

The powerful storm that struck New Canaan Tuesday evening was in fact a tornado, officials confirmed. 

Representatives from the National Weather Service after surveying the town said that New Canaan experienced an “EF1 tornado” with winds reaching 100 mph, according to Mike Handler, the town’s director of Emergency Management. 

“Clearly the damage we sustained yesterday was different from prior storms,” Handler said in an email update. “Unlike past hurricanes or Nor’easters, this storm was predominantly isolated to a band along the New Canaan/Norwalk border. Damage to both trees and our electrical infrastructure was severe.”

The Office of Emergency Management opened as the tornado took down trees, limbs and power lines, knocking out power to more than 1,400 local homes, some 75 of which still had not been restored as of 6 p.m. Wednesday. With this storm, we have all just been introduced to severe weather patterns with far less predictive warning than previous storms,” Handler said. “The Town will continue to update its emergency operations plans to ensure that we utilize the very latest and best practices.”

Handler is urging residents to notify police as they discover branches on power lines or downed electrical lines, at the general number of 203-594-3000.

Emergency Management: ‘Most’ Town Roads Should Be Passable Wednesday Morning After Violent Storm [UPDATED]

Update 12:15 p.m.

As of midday, White Oak Shade Road between Gerdes Road and Shagbark Lane remained closed for restoration efforts by Eversource due to Wednesday night’s storm, police said. Eversource now expects power to be restored by 5 p.m. “This is just an estimation and could be longer depending on work that needs to be completed by Eversource,” according to Police Lt. Jason Ferraro. “Motorists are advised to seek alternate routes through the afternoon rush hour.” Update 6:39 a.m.

Roads are blocked at Marvin Ridge, Conrad and Wydendown Roads as well as White Oak Shade Road at Brookside, according to the Office of Emergency Management. Most of the 402 New Canaan homes still without power will be restored this morning, officials said, citing information from Eversource.

Michael Handler, New Canaan Republican, Takes Major Step Forward in CT Gubernatorial Bid

New Canaan resident Michael Handler is poised to take an important step forward in his bid for the Connecticut governor’s seat, as his campaign announced Monday that it has surpassed a key fundraising threshold. By exceeding $250,000 in qualifying contributions—none of which came from lobbyists or state contractors—the Republican is expected to qualify for public financing under the Citizens’ Election Program or ‘CEP.’

“I am extremely proud of the support that our campaign continues to receive,” Handler said in a press release. “Clearly, our message is resonating—the challenges we face as a state are fixable. I will address our threatening fiscal situation, reduce taxes and excessive regulations, and attract new businesses to our state. As CFO of Stamford, I fixed the mess Dan Malloy left behind after 14 years as mayor.