The West Hartford Town Council returned to its regular bimonthly meeting schedule Tuesday evening, inaugurating its new public address podium by announcing two proclamations and hearing one presentation.
Kristen Angell from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society was the recipient of the first proclamation, a declaration that West Hartford is designating Sept. 2011 as "Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma Awareness Month," to encourage participation in voluntary activities to support educational programs and the funding of research programs to find a cure for these diseases.
In accepting the proclamation, Angell invited participation in the “Light the Night Walk” on Thurs., Oct. 6 at the Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor.
The also received a proclamation honoring the volunteer organization’s service to the community and its 10th anniversary. Founders of the WHSO, including music director Richard Chiarappa and original board president Jim Kilian were on hand, as were several board members.
Current board president Ron Reisner accepted the proclamation on the WHSO’s behalf, and invited council members as well as the public to attend both the “” fundraiser on Sept. 24 in the Auditorium and the WHSO’s season-opening concert on Oct. 30 at Kingswood Oxford’s Roberts Theatre.
In addition, the council heard a presentation from Noa and Jacob Silverstein, two West Hartford students who have initiated a fundraising program and campaign called “Buckle Ur Phone” which focuses on educating about the dangers of texting and driving. The sister and brother team has designed red thumb bands – because the thumb is most often used for texting – which bear the message “Buckle Ur Phone,” and they are selling them for $1 each to both increase awareness of this cause and raise money for investing in technology to educate drivers about the dangers of texting and driving. For more information, visit “Buckle Ur Phone” on Facebook.
The primary focus of Ron Van Winkle’s report to the council was the two recent storms that together dropped nearly 13” of rain on West Hartford. According to a rain collector at the , Tropical Storm Irene resulted in 6.7” of rain, over several days. The remnants of Tropical Storm Lee deposited another 6” of rain last Thursday, in a very short timeframe.
“With Irene we lost some trees, and we opened our ,” said Van Winkle. However with Lee, Van Winkle said, “There was flooding everywhere,” resulting from nearly 13” of rain in a week’s time which put a major stress on the drainage system.
“Main Street was the only north-south route which remained open at all times [on Sept. 8],” said Van Winkle, who said that the water eventually drained on its own once the rain stopped.
The pumped out 38 basements as a result of Irene, and pumped 83 basements after Lee. The Fire Department cannot pump out basements that are contaminated with sewage; in those cases the MDC should be contacted.
In response to a question by council member Denise Hall regarding the operation of the town’s storm sewer system, Van Winkle responded that, “All of the systems in West Hartford were built for a 10-year storm.” The rainfall amounts in both Irene and Lee exceeded the system’s capacity.
Although most of the flash flooding resulted from over-taxing the drainage systems, Van Winkle said that the town’s Engineering and Public Works departments will be inspecting those areas that flooded to ensure that there are not any obstructions.
The final item of new business discussed by the council was the discharge of police dog , who retired after many years of service. A retirement celebration was held on August 12, and Kora has now been officially discharged and conveyed to her handler, West Hartford Police Officer Eric Rocheleau.
“We own this dog; she’s an asset to West Hartford. This resolution gives her to the family that has taken care of her for all these years,” said Van Winkle.
The will soon be receiving a grant which will fund the purchase of a replacement police dog.