Selectmen’s meeting recap: DPW workers worked up to 19 hours clearing Feb. 1 snowstorm, Penguin Plunge Canceled again

Winsted Town Seal
Winsted Town Seal

WINSTED — Employees of the town’s Department of Public Works (DPW) worked 18 to 19-hour shifts clearing the snowstorm on Monday, Feb. 1, according to Town Manager Robert Geiger.
Town Manager Geiger talked about the department’s snow clearing efforts during the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting on Feb. 1.
According to the National Weather Service, the town was hit with 15.3 inches of snow.
Geiger said that 15 employees from town, including DPW street crew employees, employees from the water and sewer department, and two mechanics, all drove plow trucks to clear the streets.
“They all started at 3 a.m., and all of them were on the road starting at 5 a.m.,” Geiger said. “They will work until midnight tonight. All of them are going to go over to the Town Garage to sleep in their cars for four hours. Then they will all go back on the road again at 4 a.m. to start clearing all of the snow before rush hour.”
As of press time, weather forecasters are predicting another snowstorm for Sunday, Feb. 7.
In other business: Geiger spoke about a sewer line break on Elm and Center Streets that took place on the night of Friday, Jan. 29.
“It turns out it was an accident caused by a subcontractor for Eversource,” Geiger said. “We sent eight of our Public Works employees from the sewer department over there with a vacuum truck. They had to dig a nine-foot hole to hook a live sewer line to make a patch. It was 20 degrees, snowing, and dark. But they did a great job with the repair.”
Geiger said that the town is working with Eversource and their subcontractor, who was not named by Geiger, on who will pay for the repairs.
“We know who is going to pay for the repairs, and they know who’s fault it is,” he said. “They will work with us to pay for it.”
Penguin Plunge canceled again
Geiger told the board that, after discussing with Special Olympics representatives, this year’s Penguin Plunge at Highland Lake would be canceled this year.
The event is a fundraiser for the Special Olympics organization which provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
After 17 years, Winsted’s Penguin Plunge was canceled by the organization last year due to what the organization cited as a low number of participants registered.
Geiger said that a representative from the organization wanted to hold the event in Winsted this year.
“We had a lengthy discussion and I explained to them we couldn’t do it this year,” Geiger said. “Even though they are trying to social distance, there’s no way to do that with that many people jumping into that water, having lifeguards, and having them dry off. It just wouldn’t work.”
Vaccinating residents
Geiger said that the town is trying to identify residents 75 years old and older to help them receive Covid vaccinations.
“But there is a lot of confusion over how to sign up and where to sign up, and that confusion continues,” he said. “But a lot of people are getting vaccinated. People email and call me every day, and we’re trying to get the best information that we can to get it distributed to everyone. We are not the only ones having the problem and it is happening in most of the towns.”
Geiger added that he, Town Clerk Shelia Sedlack, and her husband Selectman Steven Sedlack, all received their first Covid vaccination.
According to data collected by the state, as of Feb. 3, 676 residents in Winsted have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine.
As for residents age 75 years and older, 211 residents have received their first dose.

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