NCPD: Coughlin Receives ‘Stephen W. Wood Officer of the Year’ Award; Gannon, Callinan Promoted

New Canaan Police Department’s Sgt. Louis Gannon was promoted to lieutenant while Thomas Callinan was promoted to sergeant during a ceremony held Thursday at New Canaan High School’s Wagner Room. The announcement was made in December and the promotions took place Jan. 2, but the traditional ceremony was postponed to February 10. Gannon has been with the department for 30 years, serving as patrol sergeant, youth officer, training officer, investigator and, most recently, acting lieutenant.

Town Council Approves $2 Million in ARPA Spending

The New Canaan Town Council at its most recent meeting voted 11-1 to approve a round of American Rescue Plan Act or “ARPA”-funded expenditures totaling $2.05 million. The package of one-time expenditures includes $725,050 for bonuses for town and school employees, in recognition of their work on the “front lines” during the pandemic, and another $1.33 million for various town projects, according to information shared at the Town Council’s Dec. 15 meeting at Town Hall. The Board of Selectmen had approved the expenditures earlier this month, the Board of Finance the night prior to the Town Council meeting. The suite of initiatives is part of $6 million in total ARPA funds that the town expects to receive from the federal government, to be distributed in multiple rounds.

Ban on Bird Feeders Lifted

New Canaan residents can bring their bird feeders back outdoors again now that the  mysterious bird die-off that started in July has subsided. During the Conservation Commission’s Sept. 9 virtual meeting, Newell Cotton, a member of Friends of Bristow Bird Sanctuary and Wildwood Preserve, provided an update on the strange disease that resulted in a ban on bird feeding. Cotton said the mysterious affliction “was a concern during the summer—you probably saw the Connecticut Audubon’s communications regarding taking down feeders—but now they say feeders can go back up.”

Cotton said although the alarming trend of birds suddenly dying “did make its way to Connecticut, it was in very small numbers.”

“It was more of a Mid-Atlantic occurrence—around Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland,” he said. “I don’t think the root cause has been identified.

More Improvements Coming to Bristow Bird Sanctuary

More improvements at Bristow Bird Sanctuary—including improving trails, adding more boardwalk, building a new pavilion and adding a bird blind—will soon be underway. During the Conservation Commission’s meeting on Sept. 9, Chairman Chris Schipper announced that the town is actively bidding for phase two of the project, which will be privately funded and includes the construction of footings and a pad for the new pavilion. “I was very pleased to have seen the bid notice out today for Centennial Master Plan Phase 2,” Schipper said during the virtual meeting. “Let’s hope we get some interested responders who can undertake that phase.”

Director of Public Works Tiger Mann said the contractor who won the bid for phase one has been notified that bidding is now open for phase two.

To Boost Sustainability, New Canaan Explores Adding Electric Vehicles to Fleet

The town of New Canaan is gearing up to add electric vehicles to its fleet as part of its effort to achieve silver accreditation in the Sustainable CT program, which offers recognition and grants to towns that engage in a range of sustainability initiatives that meet state standards. On Thursday, Public Works Director Tiger Mann presented an update to the Conservation Commission on the town’s plan to start replacing some if its municipal vehicles with electric vehicles. Although Mann said there is no definitive timetable for converting the town’s fleet, the process would likely begin with the vehicles used by the various land use boards such as the Building, Inland Wetlands, Planning & Zoning and Health departments. “A majority of our fleet is either emergency vehicles for police and fire—or for public works,” Mann said during the meeting, held via videoconference. “We are looking to turnover our land use departments to electric vehicles, first.”

Mann said last year the town submitted a proposal for a mitigation in air quality grant from the Western Connecticut Council of Governments to switch four land use department vehicles to electric, but the Department of Transportation denied the application.