Tempers start to flare as Sandy recovery drags on
Updated 7:54 pm, Friday, November 2, 2012
The trip to the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church wasn't easy Thursday, with detours forced by downed trees and wires, but residents from all over town made the trek to get the latest updates from town officials on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
It was chilly inside the historic church, but that didn't stop some tempers from rising, as some in the crowd expressed frustration that not only did they not have power for days, they had no idea when it would be restored.
And while posting updates on websites and making robocalls to keep the public informed about the storm were credited by many, not everyone has been able to receive those messages. That prompted one man to suggest the town go "old school" and erect billboards at fire stations and Sullivan-Independence Hall, and nail notices to utility poles.
There were questions about school openings -- about half the schools have power, and a decision on whether to reopen will be made Sunday -- as well as about Tuesday's elections, although one woman thought it was "disgusting" that people are worried at this point about the elections.
First Selectman Michael Tetreau, and state Reps. Tony Hwang and Brenda Kupchick said pressure is being brought to bear on United Illuminating from all levels of government. Right now, there are still only three UI line crews in town.
Nick Rosen said he saw on television that President Obama was in New Jersey touring storm damage, and asked if there are federal resources available to help here. "Has anyone at the state level picked up the phone?" Rosen said.
Tetreau said not to his knowledge.
"That's your job!" a woman in the crowd shouted.
People living in the flooded beach area wanted to know when they could return to their homes and others asked why the emergency shelter was closing Friday. Tetreau said the number of residents there is down to 50, and if they still need accommodations, they would find room at shelters in Norwalk and Bridgeport, which are remaining open.
Old Dam Road resident Linda Patscot made it through the storm without damage to her home, but said people on Fairfield Beach Road are begging to use her family's kayak to get to their homes. "They're desperate to see what's happened," she said.
As the meeting wound down, Patscot said the response from town officials didn't seem very coordinated. "They can't really give us the answers," she said.
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