FINE ARTS PROJECT '09 "With
a little bit of luck"
WestonArts has played its part
finding $$ to renovate the high school auditorium in 2008.
FOR MEETINGS OF BOARDS, COMMISSIONS, ETC. IS IN THE TOWN CLERK'S OFFICE:Town
Clerk's room reservation shorthand names SELECTMEN'S
MEETING SCHEDULE 2013 Schedule of
Selectmen’s meeting for 2013 (which will be at 7:30pm in the Town Hall
Meeting Room, and we assume, all televised) - Revised
January 3rd and 17th February 7th and 27th (was February 25th)
March 7th and 21th April 4th and 22nd
May 2nd and 16th June 10th and 20th July 8th (July 4th on Thursday)
August 1st and 15th September 3rd (Rosh Hashanah on
the 5th) and 19th
October 3rd and 17th November 7th and 18th
December 5th and 19
Revised 11/15/12 Please note that "regular meetings" in 2013 are not all on the
first and third Thursday! In fac0t, half of the months include an
exception! There are 6 non-first/third Thursdays this year, two
of which come because a national or religeous holiday falls on Thursday
(July 4th and September 5/6).
About Town still
of Weston website(go to "meetings
calendar" on dropdown
menu) forthis month'sMEETING CALENDAR); below, meetings we plan to
in the near future, or those that are worth watching on Town TV. Non-Town of Weston events in italics also
not in bold face.
Oversight Committee Public Meeting on their plans so far,
June 15th at 10am in the Town Hall Meeting Room and a second session in
the evening, Tuesday, June 18th at 7:30pm in the Town Hall Meeting Room.
Board of Selectmen, Thursday, June
20, 2013, Town Hall Meeting Room - agenda.
Special Town Meeting, Tuesday, June
25, 2013 at 7:30pm, Weston Library - 48 Norfield Road purchase -
warning & call here.
ALL MEETINGS ATTENDED: our
action notes, in reverse chronological order (link directly to those
taken at the Board of Selectmen here)
Posted in the Town Clerk's Office September 8, 2004, the following memo
to Town Employees from the Office of the Town Administrator..."Due to
increase in Freedom of Information requests and the time involved in
audio and video tapes, the Town will no longer provide copies in
All tapes will be sent to an outside vendor for duplication. Cost
for audio tape is $10.00 per tape with a $15.00 round trip delivery
Cost for a video tape is $25.00 per tape with a $15.00 round trip
Check out meeting
videos online at Town of Weston website.
Special Board of Selectmen, Saturday, June 15, 2013
at 9am in the Commission Room - no notes - we attended Lachat meeting.
COMMITTEE MONDAY JUNE 10, 2013 7:45 AM TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM -
Discussion/decision regarding Town and School Facilities. Next
meeting by end of June.
Public Hearings Monday
2013 at 7pm, Town Hall Meetings Room on Firearms, Code and 48 Norfield
Road. Firearms Ordinance adopted, Code adopted, 48 Norfield to
Special Town Meeting June 25.
Board of Selectmen
Monday, June 10, 2013 at...7:30pm...Town Hall Meetings Room - notes - NOTE:
We didn't bring a pillow to sit on. 90 minute Executive Session
makes the end time beyond any we can recall.
Lachat Oversight Committee, Tuesday, June 4, 2013
at 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room - planning for public hearings on the
Plan for Lachat.
Fund Wednesday May 22nd Symposium on International Relations "Water,
Water Everywhere But Not A Drop..."Read
about it here.
Board of Selectmen,
Thursday, May 16, 2013, 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room - notes. And what Lachat Oversight
Committee presented here.
Committee meeting, Tuesday, May 14, 2013, at 7:30pm, Town Hall
Commission Room - notes.
May 9, 2013, 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room - agenda.
We will not be attending - will find out mill rate from Town Hall
PROCESS OVER - EXCEPT FOR MILL RATE...
Oversight Committee, Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting
Room - agenda includes discussion of master planning from various
RIDDANCE DAY 2013" AT DPW, 8:30AM TO 12:30pm - click here for instructions on how to
pack household hazardous waste products, which they are, etc.
Lachat Oversight Committee Earth Day meeting here.
WATER TESTING RESULTS - WWHD,
Thursday, April 11, 2013 7pm, at Weston Library Community Room -"...The district
is currently compiling
data from those well reports, and Mr. Cooper said he is preparing a map
that will show where high levels of arsenic have been reported in
Weston. 'It’s a little too soon to say if one area of town is more
affected than another; we’re not sure yet,' he said. Mr. Cooper
plans to present the map and address concerns about arsenic at a public
discussion and presentation on Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m. in the
Community Room at the Weston Public Library. Mr. Toal will also be on
hand to discuss arsenic in the state..."
Board of Selectmen
Thursday, April 4, 2013, now that the start time moved to 7pm
(earlier)? In the Town Hall Meeting Room.
Board of Finance
Hearing on the FY'14 budget, Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 8pm,
Board of Selectmen
Hearing on Proposed Fire Arms Ordinance Update Thursday March
21pm 2013 at 7pm, Town Hall Meeting Room
March 21, 2013, 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room, 7:30pm or whenever
public hearing is over if later.
March 11 - Board of Finance Reviews BOS Budget, 7:30pm, Town
Hall Meeting Room Tuesday, March 12
- Board of Finance Reviews BOS Budget (if necessary) 7:30PM
MR CANCELLED Tuesday,
March 12- Board of Finance Reviews BOE Budget
March 13 - Board of
Finance Reviews BOE Budget (If necessary) 7:30PM MR
February 27, 2013,
– Board of Selectman review
Board of Education
budget request (if necessary) and continue review of Board of
request (if necessary). Board of
Selectmen vote on and transmit First
Selectman’s and Board of Education budgets to Board of Finance. Board
moderator for Annual Town Budget meeting. at Regular Board
of Selectmen’s’ meeting. (March is for Board of Finance
consideration of budget...remember the Charter Revision mandates a
for school resource officer.Tuesday,
February 26, 2013,
– Board of Selectmen review
Budget request. Ditto plus security funds???.
Review Committee, Monday, August 27, 2012 at 5:30pm in the Town
Hall Meeting Room - notes
Wednesday, August 29, 2012, Commission Room, Town Hall - notes.
Building Committee, Wednesday,
August 22, 2012, 7:30pm - notes.
Board of Selectmen,
Thursday, August 16, 2012, 7:30pm - notes
Board of Selectmen,
Thursday August 2, 2012, 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room - notes.
Thursday, August 2, 2012, 7pm, Town Hall Meeting Room - abandonment of
turnaround at Oak Lane - neighbors to get pieces? Yes - had to do with
not filing map in 1995.
Special Board of
Monday, July 23, 2012, 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room - notes.
Board of Finance,
Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 7:30pm - CANCELLED.
8PMIN THE COMMISSION ROOM, JULY
10: votes to return to 3 items on Referendum unanimous
CHANGED!!! SPECIAL Board of
Thursday, July 5, 2012, 8:45am - notes.
Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 7:30pm,
Town Hall Meeting Room -notes
HEARING THURSDAY JUNE 14, 2012 AT 7:30PM IN THE TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM
June 7, 2012, 7:30pm, Town Hall
Meeting Room - notes.
Special Board of Selectmen, Thursday,
May 17, 2012, 8:30pm,
Town Hall Meeting Room - notes.
Charter Revision Commission Meeting THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2012 at 7:30pm,
Town Hall Meeting Room - a vote taken here? Yes - 7-0.
Board of Selectmen,
Thursday, May 3, 2012, 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room - canceled.
Revision Commission, Wednesday, May 2, 2012, 7:30pm, Town Hall
Meeting Room - reviewed public hearing comments.
REVISION COMMISSION PUBLIC
HEARING: well attended on April
25 at 7:30pm in the Town Hall Meeting Room
(Final DRAFT available)
REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY, Tuesday,
April 24, 2012, 6am to 8pm, WMS Gym. (We covered this
event to send in results to AP).
Special Board of Selectmen, Tuesday
April 24, 2012 we assume at 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room, we watched
the re-run, having taped it.
Special Board of Finance, Monday,
April 23, 2012, 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room - notes. SET TAX RATE, OK
Special Building Committee
meeting Monday, April 23, 2012 no agenda yet posted, we assume at
7:30pm, Commission Room (we think time of day and location correct;
reliable source at Town Hall mentoned that there would be a Special
Board of Education at
the Library on the 24th, too! We stopped in at the end to hear
about "new business."
REFERENDUM on the FY'13 Town and School
operating budgets as approved by ATBM, Thursday April 12, 2012, from
6am to 8pn, WMS Gym...absentee ballots cast - 7 - YES wins on Town and
School operating budgets (364 votes total).
Board of Selectmen, Thursday, April
5, 2012, Town Hall Meeting Room - notes.
89 voters at ATBM
APRIL 4, 2012 AT 8PM, WHS AUDITORIUM/on to Referendum April 12.
Special Board of Finance Meeting, 7:45pm,
April 4, 2012 in the Weston High School Auditorium Lobby -
Agenda: Discussion.decision regarding the approval of a
resolution to recommend that the Board of Selectmen issue and sell
general obligation\refinancing bonds to achieve debt service
savings. Adjourn to ATBM.
Charter Revision Commision March
28, 2012 hears from Town Clerk at the Library, continues tweaking full
new Charter draft - still not finished!
WFFR Public Meeting about
Education Reform Tuesday, March 27, 2012 S.R.O. in Town Hall!
SELECTMEN'S MEETING, Friday, March 23, 2012, 1pm, Town Hall
Meeting Room - windows and doors, WMS.
DATE: Board of Finance deliberation meeting now a day earlier,
Wednesday, March 21,
2012 - Town Hall Meeting Room at 7:30pm.
Special Joint Meeting of the Board of
Selectmen and the Building Committee (appointed by the Board of
Selectmen): Wednesday, March
21, 2012 at 7:30pm, Commission Room at Town Hall
of Education: Superintendent's
Budget Call In Session
Monday, March 19, 2012 goes
well. Questions are about
Commission, Saturday March 17 at 1pm - to prepare executive summary
publication. Schedule of public reviews in Town Hall Meeting Room
above in red.
Public Hearing on
Budget, Board of Finance, Tuesday, March 13, 2012, at 8pm, WMS
REVISION COMMISSION MARCH 10 and 11 WEEKENDER: Saturday at
10:30am and Sunday at 1pm (don't forget to have moved the clock ahead
one hour), Commission Room at Town Hall
Board of Selectmen,
Thursday, March 1, 2012, Town Hall Meeting Room, no agenda yet
Commission, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, 7:30pm, Town Hall - we did not
attend for the first time!
Special Board of Ethics,
Wednesday, Feb.22, 2012, 5:30pm; the Board of Ethics has
reserved the Commission Room for Friday, Feb. 24, 2012 at
6pm: By 7pm, unanimous vote "no conflict any more."
Special Board of
Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room - notes.
Charter Revision Commission, Wednesday,
Feb. 15, 2012, 7:30pm, Town Hall -
cancelled, we think - haven't been to Town Clerk's office to check but
reported by two people of totally reliable credentials!!!
Special Board of
Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012, 7:30pm (we assume). Town Hall Meeting Room -
Board of Education presents budget FY'13 to Board of Selectmen (no
Special Board of
Monday, Feb. 13, 2012, 7:30pm (we assume). Town Hall Meeting Room -
First Selectman presents her budget FY'13 to Board of Selectmen
Board of Finance,
Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012, Town Hall Meeting Room - notes.
Charter Revision Commission, Wednesday,
Feb. 8, 2012 at 7:30pm, Town Hall Commission Room - continued drafting.
Board of Ethics, Monday,
February 6, 2012, 4:30pm, Town Hall Commission Room - notes.
2, 2012-Town Hall Meeting Room - notes.
Commission, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 - Town Hall Meeting Room-
drafting session (not on Town TV)
Special Board of
January 31, 2012 at 6:30pm, Town Hall Commission Room - continuing
discussion of Board of
Selectmen's question re: Board of Finance member recently elected
the Town Hall Meeting Room Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 6pm - more review of
Board of Selectmen,
Thursday, January 19, 2012, 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room, revised agenda.
Lachat Leases, January 19, 2012, 7:15pm, Town Hall Meeting Room
Zoning Commission Meeting: Jan. 18, 2012, 6pm, TH Annex -
2 items - Lachat Leases approved again,
4-1; appointment of Land Use Director as Temporary Zoning
Enforcement Officer through January 23, 2012.
Special Charter Revision
Commission, Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 7:30pm in the
Town Hall Meeting Room - draft
BOARD of FINANCE, January 12, 2012 7:30 PM, TOWN HALL
MEETING ROOM - notes.
Board of Selectmen,
Thursday January 5, 2012, 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room - notes.
Commission, Wednesday, January 4, 2012, Town Hall Meeting
Room - agenda covers Article 8, the budget process; discussion
Charter Revision Commission,
Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011, 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room - ATBM were
discussed conceptually and more to come.
Monday, December 19, 2011 at 7:30pm in the Commission Room at Town Hall
Special Board of
Wednesday, December 14, 2011, Town Hall Meeting Room, notes.
Special Board of
Sunday, December 11, 2011, 9:30am, Town Hall Meeting Room. Lachat
COMMISSION SPECIAL MEETING, DECEMBER 8, 2011 CONFERENCE ROOM,
TOWN HALL ANNEX, 24 SCHOOL ROAD, 6 P.M.
Work Session: Discussion and Possible Decision: The Referral for
CGS Section 8-24 Report, the Lachat Property, l06 Godfrey Road, Leases
and Agreement between the Town of Weston and the Nature Conservancy of
Connecticut, Inc. (Town of Weston)
# AGENDA FOR THE
DECEMBER 7 MEETING OF THE WESTON CHARTER REVISION COMMISSION (Revised
12/04/11) - we assume it is at 7:30pm in Town Hall and is televised.
Item 1 – Approval of the Minutes of the November 2 and 16 Meetings
Item 2 – Discussion of appointment vs. election of Town Clerk and Tax
Item 3 – Presentation regarding the history of the budget process; how
this process is handled by selected other towns; and what the legal
constraints are on this process.
Item 4 – Any other business of the Commission.Special Board of
Tuesday, November 29, 2011, Town Hall Meeting Room,notes.
Board of Education,
Monday, November 21, 2011 at 7:30pm in the Weston Library - notes.
7:30pm, November 16, 2011, Town Hall Meeting Room - draft
agenda. First cut run-through done!
IN CEREMONY 6PM TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2011, TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM
Weston Board of
Education Forum:9:00 AM to 10:45 AM, Weston Intermediate School Cafetorium
Building Committee, Monday,
November 14, 2011 at 7:30pm in the Commission Room - notes.
Notes for these meetings previously attended are organized in
reverse chronological order: Also,
Who are YOUR government
now represented by John McKinney and Toni Boucher in the Senate and
John Shaban of Redding took over the 135th District seat in the House.
Ken Dixon: Surviving the Capitol floor's
Published 3:44 pm, Friday, June 7, 2013
your Legislature in its death throes the other night as the
five-month-plus 2013 legislative session bumped up against its midnight
witching hour. I'm standing in the House, watching the sausage
factory get even more primitive. It's loud, with the distressed noise
of dying legislation. The decibel level is way up. First-term
House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, is surrounded by
deputies who are combination gatekeepers/bodyguards at this point.
Across the chamber, veteran House Minority Leader Larry Cafero,
possibly plumbing his Italian roots, is more like an opera conductor,
his arms crossed, scanning the room, shooting a cuff every couple
minutes to look at his watch.
With a half-hour left, I'm humming Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor,"
which is written ambivalently enough to think it's either about a guy
being murdered over a woman, or about romantic rejection forcing a man
back to work in the old Chicago stock yards, where he's killing
cattle. I can practically hear an undertone of "moo ... moo"
coming up from the lawmakers, as five months of work, as thousands of
bills, hundreds of hours of public hearings and countless deals, come
to a crescendo. There have to be close to 300 people here in various
stages of stress, amusement, rage, befuddlement or impending relief.
"I'm down here on the killin' floor," I hum to myself in a Chicago
blues cadence, happily watching the panorama, with Democrats over on
the right and the Republicans in front of me. After all, anything
waiting this late in the legislative session probably deserves to die
Earlier in the day, Democratic gremlins tried to sneak language into a
budget-related bill that would have accelerated the controversial
drivers' license program for undocumented immigrants from 2015, as
voted upon a week earlier, to July 1 of this year. It wasn't a
great time to be caught doing that, because Cafero's 52-member caucus
never has more power against the 98 Democrats -- one vacancy -- than on
this last day. At noon, Cafero, R-Norwalk, told Democrats that business
in the House could essentially end in hours ... of ... slow ...
questions ... and ... amendments, unless the language were taken out,
"This is one of the most reckless, irresponsible moves I've seen in my
decade-and-a-half-long tenure in the Legislature," said Rep. David
Scribner, R-Brookfield, ranking member of the Transportation Committee.
Busted, Democrats, who conveniently could not find the culprit, agreed
and later admitted it was supposed to have given the DMV some
flexibility in starting out on its effort to give licenses to about
54,000 immigrants. But the nearly hidden insertion didn't exactly set
the right tone for the day. Sure, the vast majority of the big
stuff had been completed. The budget was mostly finished, with its
record spending levels and its controversial shifting of $6.4 billion
from the $44 billion spending package to avoid a losing vote in the
Democrat-controlled Senate over blowing through the Constitution
State's constitutional spending cap.
But the 508-page legislation triggering the budget -- called an
implementer -- was the last chance for legislative losers and lobbyists
to get a piece of the action. The bill was needed if Democrats could
continue to brag that they completed their budget on time and the
part-time legislators could go back to their real jobs back home.
They had been at it since before the Newtown shootings, grappling, in a
bipartisan manner, with a nasty budget deficit, which they finally
bridged in a bipartisan deal at the end of December.
On the killin' floor of the House, it's now 20 minutes to 12. The
36-member Senate had packed up, finishing their work without the need
for Sen. Eric Coleman, D-Hartford, an iron man who came in earlier in
the week to vote for the budget just days after gall bladder
surgery. After Democratic leaders and Mark Ojakian, Gov. Dan
Malloy's chief of staff, made nice with Cafero, House Republican
deputies got together with their Democratic counterparts to agree on a
list of bills that could win unanimous approval before the clock ran
The deal was, the bills would get called by House Clerk Martin Dunleavy
as fast as he could read them. Lawmakers would move for their passage
and inclusion on the Consent Calendar. There would be no discussion.
First-term Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, would then
add the bill to the list, which would be voted on just before midnight.
Rep. Kim Fawcett, D-Fairfield, scoots over on the Republican side,
trying to save a bill for her deskmate, Rep. Diana Urban of Stonington,
who earned eternal enmity from the House GOP a few years back when she
switched parties. When the bill is called a few minutes later, Cafero
grabs the microphone and asks Sharkey to kill it. Cafero is
standing on the rug, next to his aisle seat halfway up the tiers of GOP
desks. He looks at the clock over Sharkey's head and notices it's a
couple minutes fast. He walks down to the front of the speaker's podium
and announces it to staff.
He walks back up the tiers to his desk, where he's confronted by a
representative from Cheshire named Al Adinolfi. Adinolfi's a short,
older character who often looks as if he just took a big bite out of a
lemon. A member of the Judiciary Committee, he once said that marijuana
use caused someone's ear to fall off. Adinolfi is standing on a
tier above Cafero, face-to-face and pointing a finger at his leader. He
wants to speak on one of the bills. This is not in the agreement with
Democrats, Cafero replies, adding that Adinolfi should be happy that
his bill will win passage. Depending on various accounts, Adinolfi says
that he'll vote against the consent calendar if he's not allowed to
Cafero, the maestro of political opera, at this point angrily steps up
toward Adinolfi as if he might like to grab his neck and shake him for
a while. Fortunately, Rep. John Piscopo of Thomaston stands between
them. Adinolfi scuttles up to his back-row seat. He's ashen-faced
as various colleagues and staffers try to cool him down. The clock
rolls up to a minute before midnight. Sharkey calls for the vote
on the consent calendar. Adinolfi, avoiding infamy, casts his vote and
the two roll-call screens go all green.
The 2013 session is finished and a huge cheer of relief replaces the
mooing on the legislative killin' floor.
to the U.S. Bureau of the Census...it is simple to use U.S. Census
2000 or the new one, Census 2010:
for SAMPLE OF WESTON DATA AND BLOCKGROUP MAP, and for more:
are Weston families? Click here
for University of Connecticut data center.
early overview: In
Weston, the population as of April 1, 2000 was...10,037 persons
increase over the previous decade). This is really big news,
speaking. We are still the smallest Town in the sub-region of Weston,
Wilton (10.3% increase) and Norwalk; we were growing the
use/land cover data over the period from 1985 to 2002 available for
This series of maps shows the loss of open areas and introduction of
(Very busy because many planning agencies and others are downloading
GIS data--interactive users also on hold for a while.)
really most accurate data in small towns comes from two places:
the Town Clerk's records and the Assessor's Office. Check out
some of our sources here.
or think tank, we don't have satellite imaging or graduate students
for us...but we have access to real subdivision and zoning.
"drive-by" land use survey opportunities. A different techique
determining land use. So how has Weston fared between 1986 and
(the years for which we had data) according to our mapping
Please check our maps and data HERE.
picture of Connecticut to the upper left. What about installing
surfaces on School Road (is the Sports Complex proposed surface and
drainage any less permeable than the existing "Great Swamp" natural
we start looking at this report again - especially since it addressed
issue of limitations regarding watering fields? We did! And
now the School Building Committee has retained the firm which did the
(below) to draw up a working plan for water supply for our School
NEMO visits Weston
January 2005 and agrees with P&Z regarding
to care for groundwater resource; FIRST (EARLY) GROUNDWATER
STUDY OF WESTON PUBLIC SCHOOL CAMPUS: summary, conclusion and
do you remember this from YR2000?
Public Hearing Notes--May 25, 2000 continued to June 13, 2000 (by now
night: Weston resident Christopher Plummer, who attended the
on May 25, spoke for us all in a letter to the Editor of the 5-31-00
NEWS, part of which is quoted below:
America because she allows us the freedom to improve and protect our
according to the rules of nature. In short, she allows us privacy
in cohesion with nature."
ORDER" SIGNED, SEALED AND DELIVERED (as announced at Special Town
LANDS, WATER QUALITY...REMEMBER THE DROUGHT? HTTP://www.drought.state.ct.us/
to the links below for H20 Quality and Quantity Data: USGS
in Connecticut...the best there is when it comes to mapping,
The "umbrella agency" for hydrologic data as well. Please find
"estimated use of water" 1995 report along with the chapter on
Release: Wastewater Treatment" which shows that States with heavy
return of treated wastewater to surface water are Illinois and
the big reclaimed wastewater States are Florida, California and Arizona.
ranks in the middle in terms of amount of public water treatment
to surface water. But in 1995, in CT Publicly Owned treatment
there was zero--none-- re-use of treated wastewater ("reclaimed").
has plan for water recycling for high school and middle school...and
voters approved water conservation plan for high school and middle
at machine vote on June 28, 2001. PROGRESS:
contractors finishing up summer '02 on this job. Connecticut
WATER conditions are reported (click below). Nearby monitoring
are: the Saugatuck River (in Redding) and Sasco Brook (in Fairfield):
Weston Health District Home Page--link here to environmental
health agency serving our Town... if you look, links can be found here
to NYC, Center for Disease Control (CDC), CT. Department of Public
Police Now Advise Assertive Response
to Mass Attacks
By ERICA GOODE, NYTIMES
April 6, 2013
The speed and deadlines of recent high-profile shootings have prompted
police departments to recommend fleeing, hiding or fighting in the
event of a mass attack, instead of remaining passive and waiting for
The shift represents a “sea change,” said Chuck Wexler, executive
director of the Police Executive Research Forum, which recently held a
meeting in Washington to discuss shootings like those in Newtown,
Conn., and Aurora, Colo.
The traditional advice to the public has been “don’t get involved, call
911,” Mr. Wexler said, adding, “There’s a recognition in these ‘active
shooter’ situations that there may be a need for citizens to act in a
way that perhaps they haven’t been trained for or equipped to deal
Mr. Wexler and others noted that the change echoes a transformation in
police procedures that began after the shooting at Columbine High
School in 1999, when some departments began telling officers who
arrived first on a scene to act immediately rather than waiting for
backup. Since then, the approach has become widespread, as a succession
of high-profile shootings across the country has made it clear that no
city or town is immune and that police agencies must be prepared to
take an active approach.
“We used to sit outside and set up a perimeter and wait for the SWAT
team to get there,” said Michael Dirden, an executive assistant chief
of the Houston Police Department. “Now it’s a recognition that time is
of the essence and those initial responders have to go in,” he said,
adding that since the Virginia Tech University shooting in 2007, the
department has been training first responders to move in on their own
when they encounter active gunfire.
Research on mass shootings over the last decade has bolstered the idea
that people at the scene of an attack have a better chance of survival
if they take an active stance rather than waiting to be rescued by the
police, who in many cases cannot get there fast enough to prevent the
loss of life.
In an analysis of 84 such shooting cases in the United States from 2000
to 2010, for example, researchers at Texas State University found that
the average time it took for the police to respond was three minutes.
“But you see that about half the attacks are over before the police get
there, even when they arrive quickly,” said J. Pete Blair, director for
research of the university’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response
Training Center and an author of the research, which is set to be
published in a book this year.
In the absence of a police presence, how victims responded often made
the difference between life and death, Dr. Blair said.
In 16 of the attacks studied by the researchers, civilians were able to
stop the perpetrator, subduing him in 13 cases and shooting him in 3
cases. In other attacks, civilians have obstructed or delayed the
gunman until the police arrived.
As part of the research, Dr. Blair and his colleagues looked at
survival rates and the actions taken by people in classrooms under
attack during the Virginia Tech massacre, in which Seung-Hui Cho killed
32 students and teachers before killing himself.
In two classrooms, the students and instructors tried to hide or play
dead after Mr. Cho entered. Nearly all were shot, and most died. In a
third classroom, Prof. Liviu Librescu, a Holocaust survivor, told his
students to jump out the second-story window while he tried to hold the
classroom door shut, delaying Mr. Cho from coming in. Professor
Librescu was killed, but many of the students survived, and only three
were injured by gunfire. In another classroom, where the students and
teacher blocked the door with a heavy desk and held it in place, Mr.
Cho could not get in, and everyone lived.
“The take-home message is that you’re not helpless and the actions you
take matter,” Dr. Blair said. “You can help yourself and certainly buy
time for the police to get there.”
Kristina Anderson, 26, who was shot three times during the Virginia
Tech attack, said that every situation is different but that she thinks
it can help for people to develop a plan for how they might act if a
mass shooting occurred.
“Everywhere I go now, I think about exits and doorways and potential
places to hide and things to barricade and fight back with,” Ms.
Anderson said. “Some person has to take action and lead.”
Two instructional videos, one produced by Houston’s Office of Public
Safety and Homeland Security and the other by the University of
Wisconsin’s police department, recommend that civilians fight an
attacker if options like escaping or hiding are not available.
Dennis Storemski, a former executive assistant chief in Houston’s
police department and director of the public safety office that
produced the video, called “Run. Hide. Fight.,” said the decision to
produce it emerged from a realization that while first responders were
“fairly well prepared” to deal with mass shootings, the public was not.
The video has received over two million hits on YouTube, and the office
gets requests every day from other police departments and government
agencies that would like to use it, Mr. Storemski said.
He said initially, the suggestion that victims should fight back as a
last resort stirred some controversy.
“We had a few people that thought that was not a wise idea,” Mr.
Storemski said, but that in some cases fighting back might be the only
Susan Riseling, chief of police at the University of Wisconsin in
Madison, said the Virginia Tech episode changed her thinking about how
to advise students because it was clear that Mr. Cho had “one goal, and
that seemed to be to kill as many people as possible before ending his
The department’s video, screened during training sessions around the
state but not available online, tells students to escape or conceal
themselves if possible, but if those options are not available, to
fight. In the video, students are shown throwing a garbage can at an
attacker and charging at him as a group.
“If you’re face to face and you know that this person is all about
death, you’ve got to take some action to fight,” Chief Riseling said.
What she worries about most, she said, is that spree shootings are
becoming so common that she suspects people have begun to accept them
as a normal part of life.
“That’s the sad part of it,” Chief Riseling said. “This should never be
Some newly released September 11, 2001 photos (above)... NOTE:
A few pictures, immediately above, are worth remembering after the Presidential Election year
2008 - guess the Wall Street meltdown and global sub-prime mortgage
contagion over-trumped all other issues! In Shanksville, Thousands Gather to
Honor Flight 93 Victims
By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE September
SHANKSVILLE, Pa. — The dedication of a memorial here on Saturday to the
40 passengers and crew members who died on United Airlines Flight 93 on
Sept. 11, 2001, provided an opportunity for two former presidents to
appeal for unity.
Neither George W. Bush nor Bill Clinton specifically mentioned the
fractured state of relations in Washington. But their sharing of a
stage and their comments here in a field where Flight 93 slammed into
the ground stood in sharp contrast to the current discord.
“We have a duty to find common purpose as a nation,” said Mr. Bush, who
was president during the terrorist attacks of 9/11. In a warning that
seemed aimed at his fellow Republicans, including presidential
candidates, some of whom are calling for the United States to limit its
footprint overseas, he warned that “the temptation of isolation is
Mr. Clinton thanked Mr. Bush — and President Obama — “for keeping us
from being attacked again,” and the audience, previously somber and
He also drew applause when he announced that he and the Republican
House speaker, John A. Boehner, who was in the audience, had agreed to
host a bipartisan fund-raising event in Washington to help raise the
$10 million needed to complete the memorial here.
Their comments seemed an attempt to recapture — if only briefly — the
unity that prevailed in the country after the terrorist attacks 10
years ago, which killed nearly 2,700 people at the World Trade Center
in New York, 184 people at the Pentagon and the 40 people who were
aboard Flight 93 when it plunged into a field here.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who also spoke, echoed their
sentiments. He acknowledged Mr. Bush as “the man responsible for
bringing our country together at a time when it could have been torn
apart, for making it clear that America could not be brought to her
knees.” He said that Mr. Bush’s leadership “helped us find our way, and
for that you deserve our gratitude for a long, long time.”
But the heart of this nearly three-hour ceremony was honoring the
response of the passengers and crew on United Flight 93 as they were
hijacked. When they realized from phone calls that a broader attack
against the United States was under way, they voted to rebel against
their captors and tried to seize control of the plane.
They understood that doing so would be likely to cause the plane to
crash, but the alternative was to allow the terrorists to continue to
Washington, just 20 minutes by air from Shanksville, on what appeared
to be a suicide mission aimed at the Capitol building.
The ceremony here drew thousands of people, so many that the National
Park Service, which owns the 2,200-acre site that includes the
memorial, had to turn people away.
As the sun broke through heavy clouds on Saturday afternoon, bells in
front of the crash site tolled 40 times as the name of each passenger
and member of the crew was read. A soft white cloth was peeled away to
reveal the new memorial: 40 polished marble panels etched with each
“Of course we saw 9/11 on the TV,” said Geraldine Lattanzi, 78, of
Ambler, Pa., who drove across the state with her daughter to attend the
ceremony. “But until you see it, and all these names, you don’t know
how sad it really is.”
Again and again, the speakers called the actions of the 40 passengers
and crew extraordinary, astonishing and heroic. Mr. Clinton drew an
analogy between them and the Spartans in ancient Greece as well as to
the Texans at the Alamo; the difference, he said, is that the Spartans
and Texans who opted for certain death were soldiers, while those on
Flight 93 “just happened to be on a plane.”
Mr. Clinton said: “With almost no time to decide, they gave the entire
country an incalculable gift. They saved the Capitol from attack, they
saved God knows how many lives, and they spared the terrorists from
claiming the symbolic victory of smashing the center of American
The ceremony was held one day ahead of the 10th anniversary of Sept.
11, bringing considerable attention to this remote spot in southwestern
Pennsylvania before the world’s gaze fixes Sunday on New York. A second
ceremony will be held here on Sunday, when President Obama is scheduled
to visit. He is also attending events at ground zero and the Pentagon.
The opening of the memorial here offered the public its closest glimpse
of the crash site since it was closed on 9/11. The actual site,
accessible only to family members, was once a smoldering crater filled
with debris; it is blanketed now by wildflowers at the edge of a forest
of hemlocks and maples. A 17-ton boulder marks the point of impact.
Family members are holding a private funeral service there on Monday to
bury three coffins containing some human remains at what has become a
cemetery. NYC light beams marking 9/11 paid for
The Associated Press
Updated: 12/17/2009 10:53:20 AM EST
NEW YORK—The agency responsible for ground zero redevelopment will
spend $695,000 through 2011 to fund the twin beams of light that pay
tribute to the World Trade Center victims.
The Tribute in Light memorial has been projected into the night sky
from lower Manhattan around the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist
attacks every year.
The board of directors of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. voted
Thursday to pay for the lights through the 10th anniversary of the
attacks in 2011.
The board also voted to fund an oral history project and a documentary
about the rebuilding of the trade center site.