Well, what a week it was, as more users used Waterford Patch this week than any in our history.
It began and really never ended with Superstorm Sandy and the devastation it left in its wake. Monday evening was the worst of it, with winds measured at more than 70 mph and the ocean water rising six feet above its normal high tide. That left places like Millstone Point and Mago Point completely underwater, and destroyed the sand dunes at Waterford Beach and the beach overall at Camp Harkness.
It also, which wound up being a cause of great annoyance, left 77 percent of the town without power. As of 8 this morning, 3 percent of the town was without power, or 312 Waterford users.
There were so many side-plots to the hurricane and the recovery afterwards. There was First Selectman Dan Steward saying he was losing patience with Connecticut Light & Power and the delays in restoring power. There was Police Chief Murray Pendleton telling people not to trick-or-treat on Halloween, and the town not announcing a make-up date like other towns. And there were the dozens of unbelieveable sites around town, from a destroyed garage on Fifth Avenue to the purple sand at Camp Harkness to the massive lines at every restaurant and coffee shop.
There was some police news during the week as well, with Waterford Police warning of a tree-cutting scam and a 72-year-old Stonington man dying Friday night after he drove the wrong way on I-95. But rather than focus on all the power outages, the scams, the frustration with CL&P or even the horrific loss of a life, we’d like to take a minute to write a few well-deserved Patch shout outs.
- First and foremost, we’d like to thank the town workers. They did an outstanding job. They worked day and night, clearing the roads, opening shelters for people to charge their phones and take showers and do whatever they could to help bring the power back. The roads were cleared as soon as linemen would shut the power off to downed power lines, and that was a huge help in making the town safer and restoring some quality of life to all of us.
- Along those lines, the Waterford Utility Commission. Many people worry about the loss of power, but the far worst situation is the loss of sewer. Or worst yet, the backing-up of sewers into somebody’s home. The Utility Commission worked day and night with six – SIX – men energizing all 170-plus grinder pumps it is responsible for and ensuring that all 27 pump stations continued to operate, despite all 27 losing power at one point.
- The general public. The amount of people who asked this website what they could do to help was outstanding. This week, I’ve seen people helping people clear their yards of debris and trees, giving coffee and food to the linemen stationed at the Waterford Speedbowl and just being generally courteous to each other despite no power and, in some cases, no water. These events often bring out the best and worst in people, and I saw far more good than bad.
- The CL&P linemen. Yes, I know many of you have something to say about CL&P management. But on Wednesday, CL&P management had the media (including Waterford Patch) spend an afternoon with a utility crew. What was interesting was the linemen could care less about the attention – in fact, I think they were annoyed we were there – but instead just wanted to get the job done. They were focused on what they had to do, were working 16-hour shifts and were completely determined on getting the power restored. It was impressive.
- The Quaker Hill Fire Company. Really, all five volunteer fire companies in this town are amazing, as they consistently do so much for the town, from fighting fires to putting on a plethora of community events. But a quick shout out to Quaker Hill, who held their Halloween party Wednesday night and had a turnout three times larger than they’ve ever had before.
- And finally, Shannon Mayer. With the police chief asking residents to refrain from trick-or-treating, Mayer stepped into action and decided to hold a “make-up” Halloween event. So Monday night at Cohanzie Fire House, there will be a trunk-or-treat event from 6 to 8. Along with giving the children of this town the Halloween they missed, Patch will be collecting non-perishable food items to help out people recovering from Sandy. We really hope to see you there, in costume, non-perishable food item in hand.