Town Calls for Volunteers To Help New Canaan Seniors Stay Home During COVID-19 Emergency

Town officials are calling for volunteers to help run errands for New Canaan residents 75-and-older so that those individuals most at-risk to COVID-19 are able to stay home. A list of some 1,434 residents in the age bracket has been pared down to about 900 after those already receiving care and services through local organizations such as Waveny LifeCare Network and Staying Put in New Canaan were removed, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. 

Volunteers are needed to help “order meals from restaurants, get their groceries, pick up prescriptions at the pharmacies,” Moynihan said during a regular Board of Selectmen meeting held Tuesday via videoconference. 

“We would like to have a 1-on-1 relationship where a volunteer takes on a couple or a few seniors to be able to go to the grocery store instead of having them go,” he said. Many of the 900 people identified are “very active and vital people” who do not require assistance themselves, “but the key is they could stay home, given their age they are the most vulnerable, so ideally we want to get to a point where we get as many volunteers as possible.”

Those interested in volunteering should contact Interim Director of Human Services Bethany Zaro, Moynihan said. Her email is Bethany.Zaro@newcanaanct.gov, according to the municipal website. 

“All of our town employees and our volunteers are doing a terrific job,” Moynihan said. He said that Emergency Management Director Mike Handler and Health Director Jen Eielson especially have been doing “an absolutely tremendous job” during the COVID-19 emergency. 

Moynihan announced Sunday that Town Hall is closed to the public and that the “most essential” municipal workers are reachable via phone and email to respond as best they could.

NCPD

Strangulation, Risk of Injury Charges for New Canaan Man, 38

Police arrested a 38-year-old New Canaan man before dawn Sunday and charged him with third-degree strangulation, risk of injury to a child, third-degree assault and disorderly conduct. At about 2:05 a.m. on March 22, officers were dispatched to a Forest Street home on a report of a domestic dispute between two occupants, police said. Following an investigation, police brought the felony and misdemeanor charges. Third-degree strangulation is classified as a misdemeanor. Under state law, it happens when someone “recklessly restrains another person by the neck or throat or obstructs such other person’s nose or mouth and impedes the ability of such other person to breathe or restricts blood circulation of such other person.” More serious strangulation charges are brought in cases where an individual intends to suffocate another person or causes serious injury in doing so.

Waveny Pulls Application for Senior Facility on Oenoke Ridge

The venerable nonprofit organization that last summer unveiled a proposal to build a new senior living facility on Oenoke Ridge last week withdrew its applications. Citing the COVID-19 emergency and its focus on the residents it serves, the Waveny LifeCare Network said in a March 18 letter to the Planning & Zoning Commission that its “mission of caring and commitment to our residents, patients, employees and the entire community remains steadfast.”

“When Waveny LifeCare first formally submitted three separate applications to the New Canaan Planning and Zoning Commission the fall of 2019, we could not have predicted the global events that have taken place since then,” a letter to P&Z from the organization’s Board of Directors said. 

“Accordingly, while a potential executive order by Governor Lamont to extend the limits mandated by state-imposed deadlines placed on applications currently in front of local planning and zoning commissions remains a possibility, the Board of Directors and Senior Management of Waveny LifeCare Network has decided to withdraw our pending zoning applications rather than adding to the burden of our volunteer P&Z commissioners and Town leadership,” the letter said. “We do not make this decision lightly but do so with the public’s best interest in mind.”

Waveny will return with a new application when appropriate, Board Chair Kathleen Corbet said in an email. 

Signaled in late-2018 and unveiled in July, Waveny’s plan called for 70 units in a three-story residential retirement building located between the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society campus and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church green. While advocates pointed to a lack of options for active local seniors seeking to remain in New Canaan through a “Continuing Care Retirement Facility” model, opponents called the proposed building too large and dense for the site.

Selectmen Approve Contract for Work at Waveny Water Towers

Town officials last week voted in favor of a $13,475 contract with a Naugatuck-based communications company to move public safety antennas and other equipment back to one of the water towers at Waveny. Cellphone, public safety and public works antennas had been temporarily mounted on scaffolding around a tower while it’s being repainted—a project that should wrap up by June, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. 

At that time, “they will remount the antennas on top of the tank,” Moynihan said during the March 10 Board of Selectmen meeting, held at Town Hall. 

“We have already paid for most of this, this is an add-on because of the equipment,” he said. The first selectman participated in the meeting by telephone. 

Moynihan and Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of the contract with NorcomCT. 

Joseph Zagarenski, senior engineer in the Department of Public Works, said the funds cover about $11,500 in “cabling and connectors to take the antennas that are in their temporarily location on the scaffolding, and move them back to the water tower.”

“And then there is $2,220 to retest and do final connections on our end,” he said. Williams asked whether the funds are in the budget for this fiscal year. Zagarenski said yes, the “Emergency Communications Radio Project.”

Local Business and COVID-19: Karl Chevrolet

What follows are responses from Leo Karl III, president of Karl Chevrolet, for our Q&A on how the local business is navigating the COVID-19 emergency in New Canaan. New Canaanite: What has the past week been like for you and Karl Chevrolet? Leo Karl III: Like all of us, each day has brought new information and adjustments. We have been preparing and making plans for a couple of weeks, so we feel our team has been very pro-active in dealing with the COVID-19 Coronavirus health threat. We want to do our part to be good stewards of our community’s health and well-being, while delivering needed services to our clients as seamlessly as possible. That includes adapting several new business initiatives.