‘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.

Some Voice Opposition to Proposed Ban of Thin Plastic Bags; Town Legislators To Meet Wednesday

Saying it’s punitive, unnecessary and unsanitary and represents government overreach, some New Canaan residents are voicing opposition to a proposed ban on thin plastic bags at local shops. 

Though members of New Canaan’s legislative body say most constituents who have lodged their opinions in formal letters are in favor a single-use plastic bag ban, others have been critical of the proposal. Jeanne Russo in a letter to the Town Council said that such bans often have “unintended negative results.”

“Expecting senior citizens or lower income families to buy reusable bags, so some in our community can feel good about themselves by ‘doing their part,’ is unfair and wrong,” Russo wrote. “You represent all members in our community, not just the ones with loud voices.”

Town resident Nicole Busby said that while she’s in favor of people bringing reusable bags with them to local shops, she’s opposed to an outright ban on plastic bags because “it’s an overreach of government.”

Scott Hobbs in a letter to the Council said that while single-use plastic bags may seem wasteful, “they are all sanitary.”

“Recycled bags frequently get contaminated from use with food and most people do not properly maintain them,” he said. “In addition, if you look at the chemicals, water and time involved in properly maintaining the reusable bags, it is likely that they cost more and are at least closer to as harmful to the environment. Please do not pass such a resolution.”

The comments come as the Town Council Bylaws and Ordinance Committee considers draft legislation (see it here in full) that would prohibit retailers from supplying double-handled carryout bags to customers.

Letter: ‘Thank You’ from God’s Acre Christmas Caroling Committee

While the carols and the Christmas Eve gathering remained the same, this year marked a changing of the guard in terms of leadership for the annual God’s Acre Christmas Caroling. 

A century ago, when John E. Hersam, then publisher of the New Canaan Advertiser, along with other members of the Town Band, invited friends and neighbors to God’s Acre for Christmas Eve Caroling, he likely had no idea he was helping to launch one of the quintessential New Canaan traditions. Thus, at the start of this year’s Carol Singing, it was fitting that V. Donald Hersam, and the entire Hersam family, was publicly thanked for their 100 year stewardship of this wonderful community event. 

With the sale of the Advertiser to Hearst last fall, the Hersams have transitioned stewardship of this annual event to a new God’s Acre Christmas Caroling Committee. We are each honored to help carry on this amazing tradition. 

Even though this is a free event open to all, there are annual costs associated with hosting it. This year we want to thank Tim Brown, from Brown Thayer Shedd Insurance, for stepping forward to underwrite construction of the bandstand and Rand Insurance for underwriting the cost of the song sheets provided that evening. We thank each individual and local family who sent in donations to help defray the costs.