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More than a week after a freak October snowstorm, tens of thousands of Connecticut residents are still without power. Jeff Cohen reports that some roads remain blocked by downed trees and power lines, and anger is growing over the pace of the restoration effort.
JEFF COHEN, BYLINE: Walter Tobias came to Simsbury Town Hall to ask for help. The 78-year-old has no power at home, and his sick wife is stuck in a rehab center.
School closures due last weekend’s snowstorm have created a scheduling headache for education leaders. We visited the town of Cheshire on Thursday, where students have already missed five days of classes, and winter hasn’t even begun.
"Grades were supposed to close this week, so this is one of the critical weeks in school."
Many Connecticut towns remain in the dark after last weekend’s early snowstorm knocked out power to a record number of state residents. WNPR’s Diane Orson reports that in the town of Seymour, stores are closed and people are heading to shelters to stay warm.
Drive through Seymour and you see businesses locked up, one after the other. Then you reach the Shop Smart Convenience Store.
The door is wide open and customers move in and out, though its pretty dark inside. Clerk Mohammed Aquel says a generator is keeping things operating.
The freak October storm that hit the state this weekend caused more power outages than Hurricane Irene. And, for people in many parts of the state, it could be at least a week until they get their power back. Transmission lines are out to the Northwest corner of the state - where many towns are 100 percent out. Many state schools are closed - power is out to businesses, and hundreds of roads are either closed or barely passable because of downed trees and lines.
Governor Malloy has appointed a panel to review how the state, municipalities and utilities responded to Tropical Storm Irene. The group will also take a broader look at Connecticut’s disaster preparedness.
Members of the S.T.O.R.M. Irene Panel include leaders from the military, disaster relief, non-profit agencies and municipal governments. They’ll examine response to the storm - what worked and what didn’t.
So. Bought your generator yet? During the long power outage, everybody, it seemed, became a preparedness expert, if not an out and out survivalist. But it's a mentality you might find hard to hold on to. You have to buy food you're NOT going to eat right away.
Post Tropical Storm Irene, there are many communities still without water and power, but they have somewhere to go to get necessary supplies: Rentschler Field in East Hartford. The stadium parking lot has been transformed into a distribution site for food and water run by the Connecticut National Guard.
Irene hit Connecticut as a strong tropical storm Sunday with torrential rains and gusty winds that destroyed coastal homes, toppled trees and left a record 800,000 customers without power, surpassing damage from Hurricane Gloria in 1985. More than eight inches of rain fell.
The storm reached New England weaker than expected as it failed to re-intensify after making initial landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, but it still destroyed or damaged dozens of beachfront homes in East Haven and nearby communities and undermined sections of seawall, walkways and streets.
Abnormal snowfall this winter may have made the season a pain for many Connecticut residents, but it's shaping up to be a boon for local maple syrup producers. Aea farmers have sap flows they haven't seen in years. Ron Wenzel's sugar house is a little oasis each winter. "My wife calls this my man cave; I'm up here for 10, 12 days," he says.
There has been an historic amount of snowfall around the Northeast. So far in Hartford, at least 80 inches have fallen.
The extreme snowfall has pitted disposing snow against protecting the water. Many cities in the Northeast have run out of space to put the snow and are asking for permission to dump it in waterways. As part of a collaboration with northeast stations, Monica Brady-Myerov of WBUR reports.
Record-setting snowfall, sub-zero temperatures and treacherous travel conditions have meant plenty of missed school days this year. Educators are worried that lost classroom time may affect preparation for standardized tests.
State Department of Education spokesman Tom Murphy says he’s seen school closings, late openings and early dismissals in other years, "but this is really beyond what we’ve seen ever. And it couldn’t happen at a worse time in our high schools, when we have our end of course exams"
After days of shoveling and scraping Connecticut residents may be happy to hear there’s been a prediction for an early spring. It came from Connecticut’s official state groundhog.
The Lutz Children’s Museum in Manchester takes in wild animals that have been injured. Including a female groundhog who bears the weighty title, "Connecticut Chuckles the Seventh". Early this morning she went outside, sniffed the air and looked around, but did not see her shadow, according to Bob Eckerd, the executive director of the museum.