Parks Officials: Wet Weather Lifts, Clearing Way At Last To Open Playing Fields

Town officials say they expect nearly all playing fields to be open by Wednesday, despite recent heavy rains that have held up operations at the water tower and Farm Road fields at New Canaan High School. Athletes on major spring sports that practice or play on grass had options as of Monday on the NCHS track and Conner fields (soccer), playing fields at Saxe (lacrosse), little league and varsity fields at Mead Park (baseball) and Orchard Field at Waveny (softball), according to the Department of Public Works. DPW workers on Tuesday will paint out the kids’ soccer fields at Waveny, said John Howe, parks superintendent. “Overall the condition of the fields, they are in good shape,” Howe told “With that said, they are still wet, even though we’ve had a few days drying and we’re almost a month later than when we regularly open up.

Parks Officials: New Canaan’s Pesticide-Free Playing Fields Are Safe

Though some of New Canaan’s playing fields—specifically, those located on school grounds—may see more bare patches, ruts and uneven surfaces as a result of a pesticide ban, the fields themselves are safe, parks officials say. John Howe, parks superintendent with the New Canaan Department of Public Works, said it’s true that not using pesticides allows crabgrass and clover to grow, and leaves grubs to eat roots, meaning “the fields could be less safe.”

Yet “I do not feel we have any fields that are unsafe, whether they have pesticides or not,” Howe said during the regular Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday morning, held in the Training Room at the New Canaan Police Department. The comments came as the board approved a total of about $47,000 for the purchase and application of grass treatment products for New Canaan’s athletic fields. State law prohibits the use of pesticides on school grounds from pre-K through eighth grade. New Canaan about five years ago, led by a subcommittee on the Town Council, extended the pesticide ban to include the high school.

Memorial Day with Sandra (Conner) Lefler: ‘I Think About Them Every Day’

The last time New Canaan’s Sandra Lefler (née Conner) saw her brother, Creighton Conner, was Memorial Day weekend in 1966, here in town. Creighton, a 1960 New Canaan High School graduate who excelled in academics as well as sports, had earned a bachelor’s degree in American Literature from Middlebury College, then joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps and went to Vietnam for two years, where he served as second lieutenant. Though the war had become very unpopular, Sandra recalled, the siblings’ grandfather William B. Conner—the man for whom Conner Field off of Farm Road (just below what is now Saxe Middle School) is named—told Creighton “to be an example for the rest of the kids and march in the parade, which my brother did.”

“My mother and I watched him and we kept running around from every corner on Main Street—you know how there are all those side streets off of Main?—because he looked so great in his uniform,” Sandra, two years younger than Creighton, recalled from a living room sofa at the Douglas Road home she shares with her husband of nearly 47 years, Mark—it’s not far from the house where she and Creighton grew up, on Oak Street up near the corner of South Avenue. “He marched in the parade down to the cemetery. He looked so handsome.