New Canaan High School Cafeteria Fails Health Inspection

New Canaan High School’s cafeteria last week failed a health inspection after officials found milk in a reach-in refrigerator at a higher temperature than required. The milk in the unit near the cook line was found to be at 54 degrees during the unannounced Sept. 28 inspection, according to a report from a town sanitarian, whereas the state Health Code requires it to be at 41 degrees. The Health Code allows for temperatures to be measured plus or minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit to account for the potential error in thermometer readings, officials say. The milk’s temperature violates a requirement that food service establishments keep food “protected during storage, preparation, display, service and transportation,” as described on health inspection report forms.

In the language of the New Canaan Health Department, it represents a “four-point violation.” In surprise inspections, municipal health officials note any violation on a form that categorizes and grades each of them from one to four, with four being the most serious.

P&Z: Board of Ed Failed To Properly Notice Neighbors of ‘Alternative High School’ Plan; Vote Postponed To October

Though the “alternative high school” is up and running in downtown New Canaan, town officials last week were prevented from approving a site plan that would formally allow it because of the district’s failure to properly notify neighboring property owners. The Planning & Zoning Commission must “give the public the opportunity next month to address” the district’s location of the alternative high school in 800 square feet of space on the second floor of the same building that New Canaan Public Schools administrators occupy on the corner of Forest Street and Locust Avenue, according to P&Z Chairman John Goodwin. “This Commission’s responsibility is for use and land use and so, whether you like it or not, we are part of the checks and balances process of this town,” Goodwin told Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi at the Commission’s regular meeting, held Sept. 25 at Town Hall. 

Turning to his fellow commissioners, he added: “We cannot vote on this tonight, since notices did not go out in time. Normally we would not have opened the application, given the timing issues.”

Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, properties in the Retail B zone may be used as a “municipal facility,” including a school, with site plan approval by P&Z.

Board of Ed: Schools May Need To Use Fuel Oil Temporarily Because Natural Gas Lines Still Aren’t In

Eversource missed an Aug. 25 deadline to run natural gas lines to New Canaan’s public schools, and district officials say they’re now preparing for a more expensive backup whereby oil might be used for a period of time if the work still isn’t done by heating season. Delayed in part by weather, the company still has “quite a bit of work to do,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said during a regular meeting Monday of the Board of Education. “They are working hard,” Luizzi said during the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “There is weather involved with this.

Lunch Lady’s Attorney: Former Food Services Director ‘May Have Been Involved in a Fraud’

An attorney for one of the former New Canaan lunch ladies accused of stealing a total of nearly $500,000 in cash from school cafeterias said Monday that he’s “optimistic” regarding his client’s case and also interested to find out what role was played by a man who used to oversee food services for the district. Stamford-based attorney Darnell Crosland told reporters that he has made an official request for discovery, in part to find out whether there’s evidence exonerating his client, Joanne Pascarelli, and also made an inquiry into Bruce Gluck, former head of food services for New Canaan Public Schools. “There is evidence that he may have been involved in a fraud, but it’s outside of the statute of limitations,” Crosland said at Stamford Courthouse after Pascarelli appeared before Judge Gary White. She and her sister, Marie Wilson, were arrested last month by New Canaan Police and charged with first-degree larceny following a monthslong investigation prompted by a complaint from the school district. 

“The idea here is that there’s $500,000 that’s alleged they have taken,” Crosland said. “And there’s an old adage, ‘Follow the money.’ And when you look at these individuals, there’s no cookie crumbs leading us to any money here, at all.