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Beleaguered Wilton Residents Soldier On

WILTON, Conn. – Residents will have to do without schools for another day and, for many, power, too, in the wake of Saturday’s snowstorm.

Schools will be closed again Tuesday. Two schools, which were not named, still do not have power. “We are working closely with the first selectman’s office and the Emergency Operations Center,” said Gary Richards, Wilton’s schools superintendent.

Some residents are staying in the town's emergency shelter at Miller-Driscoll Elementary. Shelter director Cathy Pierce said 25 people were registered to stay in the shelter with three dogs and a Siamese fighting fish.

One dog and the fish belong to Wilton resident Sam Ullman, who, with her three children and the family pets, stayed at the shelter Sunday night.

“It was pasted on the door at the library, and that’s where I read about it,” Ullman said, explaining how she found out about the shelter. “I thought this was an opportunity for my kids to say, ‘I got to stay in a cold shelter,’ or something like that.”

She said it was like camping and planned to return Monday night because the shelter was to be open and because “I left my stuff here.”

Pierce said the shelter would definitely be open Monday night, but she was unsure about the rest of the week. She said that when she spoke to town officials they said power would “probably come back in the next couple days, but nothing definite.”

By 5:30 p.m. Monday, Connecticut Light & Power reported that 67 percent of Wilton was still without power, a 10-point step down from the peak number.

"We expect total restoration will take a week or more in some areas, but we will continue bringing in more crews to improve on that. And we will provide more detailed restoration estimates as soon as we have sufficient information to offer specific projections," Jeff Butler, CL&P’s president and chief operating officer, said in a news release.

State Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-Wilton, said CL&P told her it was sending every available truck to the 149 towns it serves, which she said equals one or two service trucks per town. “There’s not a lot you can do with one or two crews.”

Lavielle said the power company will get outside crews to assist in the cleanup. “I can’t document anything except what they tell me, but we are supposed to have a major influx of crews by Tuesday morning, because they’re coming from all over the place,” she said.

Lavielle visited the library Monday and said that unlike during Irene, when people were angry, they are “not at the end of their rope, but I don’t see any anger any more, I just see ‘aw, man’ exasperation and severe inconvenience.”

Residents are making the best of it and using the facilities available to them. The Wilton Library has extended its hours for Tuesday, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 8 p.m. When the library opened Monday morning, Janet Crystal of the Wilton Library said, that 15 people were waiting to come in.

The Wilton Family Y will also be available for people who need fresh water and a shower. It is operating on its normal hours. Y executive director Bob McDowell said the Y’s facilities were being used more heavily than after Irene.

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