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ABOUT TOWN: Thanks

Thanksgiving is here just in time.

For those who were out of power, yet again, and who lost trees, this is for you.

And to those who were particularly unlucky and suffered damage to their homes or cars as the trees fell, our sincere sympathies. Westonites who were trapped in cold and powerless homes, with trees blocking access and live power lines scattered all about, this is for you, too.

But why are we giving thanks after all we went through? Because neighborliness, official and otherwise, prevailed. Because generosity and going the extra mile on behalf of others were normal actions. And ingenuity reigned!

The more organized among us had a plan, both individually and for those coordinating public actions.

There were little but nevertheless very important things. “Charging stations,” for example, cell phones and portable computers being good ways to get essential news updates and CodeRed alerts. Those devices come with the paraphernalia to plug in to AC outlets. Outlets were available at the “comfort station” and other locations provided by the town, but any place with a live AC outlet will actually do.

I give thanks for being married to someone who is technically adept and had foresight. I also will give thanks this Nov. 22 for living in Weston, where the town leadership wasn’t afraid to step up, assume responsibility, and frequently say “hello” via CodeRed to give me the latest information.

Sustainability

What is sustainability? It is all encompassing. It is a principle upon which to base public and private decisions. Waste not, want not.

In Weston we are ahead of the game. We’ve been engaging in “sustainability” as long as we have been living with private wells and septic systems. Add to that the Aspetuck Valley Health District, now called the Westport Weston Health District, which was the first regional entity in Connecticut to address these issues.

Where does the federal government come in? Almost everywhere. However, those of us in outlying towns, far from major infrastructure, have learned that we are pretty much on our own when natural disaster strikes.

A simple one word description: Self-reliance. The necessary first ingredient to managing power outages these days.

We have all come to realize that living in the woods can have its drawbacks. But it would not be fair to say that we haven’t known for a long time what we were up against. The Weston Environmental Resources Manual, a.k.a. the Dominski-Oakrock Study, explained everything. It was completed in 1976, and one of the things that followed after it was a revision to the subdivision regulations.

These revisions of the early 1980s codified the desirability of underground utility lines. How did that assist in our recent power outage experience? As older major streets, especially state highways, got attention, power to the newer subdivisions came back!

New regional overflights for aerial mapping will be implemented at the end of this winter. These will make possible overlays of the historical development patterns in our community, subdivision by subdivision, as well as providing other useful information related to infrastructure.

Not much open land is left in Weston that is uncommitted to specific uses. We have reached the limits of development. It is now time to be creative about sustainability.

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Check out Margaret Wirtenberg's website: http://www.aboutweston.com/

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