Click above to read the current "About Town" column;  unofficial information ONLY found on this webpage. ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR THIS SITE HERE.
T O P I C S   O F   I N T E R E S T   -   M E E T I N G S    -    C O M M E N T A R Y 

Margaret Wirtenberg

SITE MAP:    a page summarizing INTERNAL LINKS by topic!


FINE ARTS PROJECT '09  "With a little bit of luck" WestonArts has played its part finding $$ to renovate the high school auditorium in 2008.  Jon Lender Sunday columns here

Town Clerk's room reservation shorthand names

2015 OFFICIAL DATES:  How many will actually be held on these dates?  Will the record of keeping to these dates be better than in 2014?

2014 OFFICIAL DATES - WE NOTE THAT THIS ADMINISTRATION DESERVES CREDIT FOR AWESOME WEBSITE POSTINGS TO PRESERVE DEMOCRACY!  Can be and have been altered by having "Special Meetings" instead on a different date or time or cancelled - but agenda at "special" cannot include "any other business")


2014 TRANSPARENCY SCORE CARD:  What percentage of Regular Meetings were held by the Selectmen in 2014?
Twenty-five (25)* divided by twelve (12)** =  almost half!  Considering that all but one was recorded, and that was due to "cockpit trouble" as my late father-in-law, who served in the Army Air Force in WWII used to say, makes a record that is indeed praiseworthy! 

*Twenty-five Board of Selectmen's Meetings in 2014 - About Town only missed one (Election Night) - watched two (2) others from home on Town TV.
**Twelve (12) Board of Selectmen's Meetings were held as scheduled;
  one (1) snow cancellation;  the rest, except for Nov. 4, were rescheduled but shown on Town TV live or to watch afterward.

About Town still relying only on Town of Weston website (go to "meetings calendar" on drop-down menu) for this month's MEETING CALENDAR);  below, meetings we plan to attend in the near future, or those that are worth watching on Town TV.  Non-Town of Weston event we plan to attend also listed.

ALL MEETINGS ATTENDED:  our action notes, in reverse chronological order (link directly to those taken at the Board of Selectmen here)
NOTE:  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 the increase in Freedom of Information requests and the time involved in copying audio and video tapes, the Town will no longer provide copies in house.  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 charge.  Cost for a video tape is $25.00 per tape with a $15.00 round trip delivery charge."  Check out meeting videos online at Town of Weston website..
Notes for these meetings previously attended are organized in reverse chronological order.

Our Selectmen's notes, most recent; from 2009 as far back as May 30, 2002; FYI - Selectmen's notes "links" appear in two addition.
Building Committee
Board of Finance
Board of Education
Link to our notes including other Boards, Commissions and Committees:  Capital Planning Committee, Board of Ethics, former Cemetery Committee, Charter Revision Commission 2003 and 2011-2012;  2013.


Who are YOUR government representatives?  Weston 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.

Favorite journalist reports here from the CT POST.  A recent report here:

According to the U.S. Bureau of the is simple to use U.S. Census 2000 or the new one, Census 2010: click HERE for SAMPLE OF WESTON DATA AND BLOCKGROUP MAP, and for more:

Excellent I-BBC series on global water crisis - HERE.
Link HERE to Connecticut Fund for the Environment;
WOODLANDS HERE to join or just read of their reasons for being concerned about the future...345kV old power lines articles.

Basic groundwater link:

Update of Unofficial Weston Land Use Map in the works:

Imperviousness...what is it?  We now think about it as it relates to climate change.
Click on the picture of Connecticut to the upper left.  What about installing more impervious surfaces on School Road (is the Sports Complex proposed surface and drainage any less permeable than the existing "Great Swamp" natural drainage system) ?
Should we start looking at this report again - especially since it addressed the issue of limitations regarding watering fields?  We did!  And now the School Building Committee has retained the firm which did the report (below) to draw up a working plan for water supply for our School Project.

NEMO visits Weston January 2005 and agrees with P&Z regarding need to care for groundwater resource;  FIRST (EARLY) GROUNDWATER FEASIBILITY STUDY OF WESTON PUBLIC SCHOOL CAMPUS: summary, conclusion and recommendations--click here.

And do you remember this from YR2000?
Wastewater Public Hearing Notes--May 25, 2000 continued to June 13, 2000 (by now some "old news"):
From the first night:  Weston resident Christopher Plummer, who attended the meeting on May 25, spoke for us all in a letter to the Editor of the 5-31-00 Westport NEWS, part of which is quoted below:

"We live in America because she allows us the freedom to improve and protect our land according to the rules of nature.  In short, she allows us privacy in cohesion with nature."

CT. D.E.P. "CONSENT ORDER" SIGNED, SEALED AND DELIVERED (as announced at Special Town Meeting 5-24-01);
Go to the links below for H20 Quality and Quantity Data:
USGS in Connecticut...the best there is when it comes to mapping, etc. The "umbrella agency" for hydrologic data as well.  Please find the "estimated use of water" 1995 report along with the chapter on "Wastewater Release:  Wastewater Treatment" which shows that States with heavy return of treated wastewater to surface water are Illinois and Ohio...but the big reclaimed wastewater States are Florida, California and Arizona.

Connecticut ranks in the middle in terms of amount of public water treatment release to surface water.  But in 1995, in CT Publicly Owned treatment facilities, there was zero--none-- re-use of treated wastewater ("reclaimed").

WESTON has plan for water recycling for high school and middle school...and the voters approved water conservation plan for high school and middle school at machine vote on June 28, 2001.  PROGRESS:  Nettleton contractors finishing up summer '02 on this job.  Connecticut SURFACE WATER conditions are reported (click below).  Nearby monitoring points are: the Saugatuck River (in Redding) and Sasco Brook (in Fairfield):

Surface water news to think tide next?
USGS Surface Water Information--State Maps
Click below for USGS graphs measuring flow status in current "historical" period:
Average Daily Streamflow Conditions Plots for Connecticut
For future reference:  Ridgefield Water Company (part of Kelda/Aquarion) taking out water from the Saugatuck--December 7, 2000 Board of Selectmen's meeting discussed this matter.

Police Now Advise Assertive Response to Mass Attacks
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 help.

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 with.”

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 option.

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 life.”

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 normal.”


WTC:  Some newly released September 11, 2001 photos (above)...and some new (to us) pix from Washington POST just below of Pentagon and Pennsylvania location.  .

Snapshots of that Sept. 11, 2001 and afterwards.

F-16 pilot was ready to give her life on Sept. 11
Washington Post
By Steve Hendrix, Published: September 8, 2011

Late in the morning of the Tuesday that changed everything, Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney was on a runway at Andrews Air Force Base and ready to fly. She had her hand on the throttle of an F-16 and she had her orders: Bring down United Airlines Flight 93. The day’s fourth hijacked airliner seemed to be hurtling toward Washington. Penney, one of the first two combat pilots in the air that morning, was told to stop it.

The one thing she didn’t have as she roared into the crystalline sky was live ammunition. Or missiles. Or anything at all to throw at a hostile aircraft. Except her own plane. So that was the plan.

Because the surprise attacks were unfolding, in that innocent age, faster than they could arm war planes, Penney and her commanding officer went up to fly their jets straight into a Boeing 757.

“We wouldn’t be shooting it down. We’d be ramming the aircraft,” Penney recalls of her charge that day. “I would essentially be a kamikaze pilot.”

For years, Penney, one of the first generation of female combat pilots in the country, gave no interviews about her experiences on Sept. 11 (which included, eventually, escorting Air Force One back into Washington’s suddenly highly restricted airspace).

But 10 years later, she is reflecting on one of the lesser-told tales of that endlessly examined morning: how the first counterpunch the U.S. military prepared to throw at the attackers was effectively a suicide mission.

“We had to protect the airspace any way we could,” she said last week in her office at Lockheed Martin, where she is a director in the F-35 program.

Penney, now a major but still a petite blonde with a Colgate grin, is no longer a combat flier. She flew two tours in Iraq and she serves as a part-time National Guard pilot, mostly hauling VIPs around in a military Gulfstream. She takes the stick of her own vintage 1941 Taylorcraft tail-dragger whenever she can.

But none of her thousands of hours in the air quite compare with the urgent rush of launching on what was supposed to be a one-way flight to a midair collision.

First of her kind

She was a rookie in the autumn of 2001, the first female F-16 pilot they’d ever had at the 121st Fighter Squadron of the D.C. Air National Guard. She had grown up smelling jet fuel. Her father flew jets in Vietnam and still races them. Penney got her pilot’s licence when she was a literature major at Purdue. She planned to be a teacher. But during a graduate program in American studies, Congress opened up combat aviation to women and Penney was nearly first in line.

“I signed up immediately,” she says. “I wanted to be a fighter pilot like my dad.”

On that Tuesday, they had just finished two weeks of air combat training in Nevada. They were sitting around a briefing table when someone looked in to say a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York. When it happened once, they assumed it was some yahoo in a Cesna. When it happened again, they knew it was war.

But the surprise was complete. In the monumental confusion of those first hours, it was impossible to get clear orders. Nothing was ready. The jets were still equipped with dummy bullets from the training mission.

As remarkable as it seems now, there were no armed aircraft standing by and no system in place to scramble them over Washington. Before that morning, all eyes were looking outward, still scanning the old Cold War threat paths for planes and missiles coming over the polar ice cap.

“There was no perceived threat at the time, especially one coming from the homeland like that,” says Col. George Degnon, vice commander of the 113th Wing at Andrews. “It was a little bit of a helpless feeling, but we did everything humanly possible to get the aircraft armed and in the air. It was amazing to see people react.”

Things are different today, ­Degnon says. At least two “hot-cocked” planes are ready at all times, their pilots never more than yards from the cockpit.

A third plane hit the Pentagon, and almost at once came word that a fourth plane could be on the way, maybe more. The jets would be armed within an hour, but somebody had to fly now, weapons or no weapons.

“Lucky, you’re coming with me,” barked Col. Marc Sasseville.

They were gearing up in the pre-flight life-support area when Sasseville, struggling into his flight suit, met her eye.

“I’m going to go for the cockpit,” Sasseville said.

She replied without hesitating.

“I’ll take the tail.”

It was a plan. And a pact.

‘Let’s go!’

Penney had never scrambled a jet before. Normally the pre-flight is a half-hour or so of methodical checks. She automatically started going down the list.

“Lucky, what are you doing? Get your butt up there and let’s go!” Sasseville shouted.

She climbed in, rushed to power up the engines, screamed for her ground crew to pull the chocks. The crew chief still had his headphones plugged into the fuselage as she nudged the throttle forward. He ran along pulling safety pins from the jet as it moved forward.

She muttered a fighter pilot’s prayer — “God, don’t let me [expletive] up” — and followed Sasse­ville into the sky.

They screamed over the smoldering Pentagon, heading northwest at more than 400 mph, flying low and scanning the clear horizon. Her commander had time to think about the best place to hit the enemy.

“We don’t train to bring down airliners,” said Sasseville, now stationed at the Pentagon. “If you just hit the engine, it could still glide and you could guide it to a target. My thought was the cockpit or the wing.”

He also thought about his ejection seat. Would there be an instant just before impact?

“I was hoping to do both at the same time,” he says. “It probably wasn’t going to work, but that’s what I was hoping.”

Penney worried about missing the target if she tried to bail out.

“If you eject and your jet soars through without impact . . .” she trails off, the thought of failing more dreadful than the thought of dying.

But she didn’t have to die. She didn’t have to knock down an airliner full of kids and salesmen and girlfriends. They did that themselves.

It would be hours before Penney and Sasseville learned that United 93 had already gone down in Pennsylvania, an insurrection by hostages willing to do just what the two Guard pilots had been willing to do: Anything. And everything.

“The real heroes are the passengers on Flight 93 who were willing to sacrifice themselves,” Penney says. “I was just an accidental witness to history.”

She and Sasseville flew the rest of the day, clearing the airspace, escorting the president, looking down onto a city that would soon be sending them to war.

She’s a single mom of two girls now. She still loves to fly. And she still thinks often of that extraordinary ride down the runway a decade ago.

“I genuinely believed that was going to be the last time I took off,” she says. “If we did it right, this would be it.”

Read the story of the now public Flight 93 voice recorder here
In Shanksville, Thousands Gather to Honor Flight 93 Victims
September 10, 2011

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 deadly wrong.”

Mr. Clinton thanked Mr. Bush — and President Obama — “for keeping us from being attacked again,” and the audience, previously somber and silent, applauded.

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 name.

“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 government.”

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.

"Ground zero" of Sept. 11, 2001:  Has this "blue light" had finally ended its run...or not?
NYC light beams marking 9/11 paid for through 2011
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.