Commission Seeks Feedback On Cell Tower Proposal

New Canaan residents are invited to public hearing to be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Town Hall to share their views on a proposal from the Utilities Commission to install 110-foot tall cellular towers at Irwin Park and West School. For the past several years the Utilities Commission, under the direction of the Board of Selectmen, has been studying various approaches to improving wireless coverage in town. The northern sections of New Canaan, in particular the northwest quadrant, suffer from serious wireless coverage gaps—some as large as 10 square miles—due to the town’s unique topography. Not only is this an inconvenience for residents, it also presents a serious public safety risk, as the town’s police, fire and EMS services all rely on cellular technology for emergency communications. During Thursday’s Town Council meeting, Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said “there have been incidents in the past where people have tried to make 911 calls from the north section of town and have not been able to get through.” He said a few months ago, a tradesman who was working in the northwest corner of town seriously injured his leg and almost bled to death because he was unable to reach 911 using his cell phone. “There have also been incidents of motor vehicle accidents where people couldn’t get through,” Krolikowski told the council members, adding that people who have been in accidents have sometimes had to “drive toward town until they get a signal.”

Wendy Dixon Fog, captain of New Canaan EMS, added that emergency medical technicians rely on the cellular network to get data and information about patients while they are on scene or in transit.

‘New Canaan At Its Best’: Town Council Thanks Volunteers Who Run Family Fourth at Waveny

New Canaan’s legislative body on Wednesday recognized a group of residents who volunteer each year to plan and run one of the town’s most beloved annual traditions, the Fourth of July fireworks at Waveny. The Family Fourth Committee through its many hours of volunteering creates what Town Council Vice Chairman Steve Karl called “a Norman Rockwell moment” for those who picnic and enjoy the fireworks show each summer. “It’s one of those places and times when it’s New Canaan at its best,” Karl said during the Town Council’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “Thank you.”

The committee includes:

Steve Benko
Scott Cluett
Chris Cody
Wendy Dixon Fog
Win Goodrich
Suzanne Jonker
Vincent Luciano
Steve Parrett (Secretary)
Tom Stadler (Chairman)
John DiFederico
Rob Mallozzi (honorary member)
Doug Richardson (liaison from the Park & Recreation Commission)

At councilman Penny Young’s suggestion, the committee earned a standing ovation from the legislative body and others gathered in the Town Meeting Room. Town Council Chairman Bill Walbert said nothing better defines New Canaan “than the celebration that we put on for our country’s birthday.”

“There are a lot of things that speak to it, one of which is the fact that we depend on our citizens to support it, it is run by our citizens we have countless volunteers that work everything from traffic to balloons to you name it.”

Walbert noted that Stadler “lives and breathes” the Family Fourth as the committee’s chairman and “is always looking to make it better.”

Committee member Steve Benko recalled that the Family Fourth was launched in 1979 when the chairman of Park & Rec at the time, Joe Toppin, brought the idea to then-First Selectman Charlie Morton about creating a regular event out of a Bicentennial celebration at Waveny a few years earlier, complete with a picnic, fireworks and skydivers.

Did You Hear … ?

The alpacas of Crajah House on Oenoke Ridge Road on Tuesday were shorn of their thick winter coats—see photos above. Their owner, New Canaan’s Debbie McQuilkin, tells us the process for each “blanket” includes picking out sticks, hay and straw, then going for the secondary areas of the neck, backside and legs. The material is sent to a fiber mill where it’s washed, cleaned again and dyed or made into a yarn that McQuilkin herself chooses—fine knitting or heavy weaving for rugs. It also can be sent back for hand spinning or felting, McQuilkin said. The alpaca fleece is hypoallergenic and contains no lanolin, and it’s naturally fire-resistant.