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State Studying Branford’s Xmas Recycling Program

by marcia chambers | Jun 6, 2014 3:28 pm | Comments (1)

With Permission State environmental commissioner Robert Klee met this week with Branford High student Etta Hanlon to learn how towns and perhaps even cities might duplicate Branford’s innovative Christmas paper recycling program.

Hanlon, 15, came up with the idea to recycle Christmas wrappings last year and she and Dan McGowan, the Branford Solid Waste Management director, got the program underway. Branford’s Christmas recycling plan not only helped the environment, it saved Branford money in tipping fees by recycling 18 tons of wrapping paper waste. Click here to read the story.

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Bat Lady’s Message: Create A Bat House!

by Emma Zehner | Jun 2, 2014 7:13 am | Comments (1)

Emma Zehner Photo What is intelligent, goofy, and fun to hang out with? According to Gerri Griswold, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, these words best describe a bat.

Griswold, who oftentimes goes by the name “the bat lady,” has been working for 21 years to dispel any other notions: “The more you learn about this animal, the more you realize how beautiful it is.”

Given her admiration for bats, it’s fitting that Griswold has been particularly distraught in recent years about the drastic demise of “the most perfect creature.” In the past, Griswold can remember counting 150 to 200 bats at the Winchester Land Trust. Now she feels lucky if she sees one or two on a given night. She attributes much of their disappearance to habitat destruction and the arrival of white nose syndrome, a disease that affects hibernating bats. 

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Inland Wetland Commissioners Ask Tough Questions

by Diana Stricker | May 20, 2014 8:00 am | Comments (1)

Diana Stricker Photo Members of Branford’s Inland Wetland Commission (IW) are concerned that newly created wetlands won’t be wet enough to replace ones that would be disturbed for a possible commercial development project at 250 N. Main St.

“How are you going to support those wetlands?” asked Dr. Richard Orson, an environmental consultant and member of the IW commission. At a recent public hearing, Orson said he fears the project would limit the water available for the proposed 26,000 square feet of wetlands that would be created or enhanced. Orson is pictured at left.

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Etta’s Ingenuity Honored

by Diana Stricker | May 14, 2014 8:18 am

Diana Stricker Photo It was a day to celebrate a young girl’s idea that sparked a whole new avenue of recycling for Branford and the state.

Politicians, family and friends gathered Tuesday afternoon at Branford’s Transfer Station to honor Etta Hanlon for her idea to recycle Christmas wrappings. Dan McGowan, director of the Transfer and Recycling Station, was also honored for helping make the idea a reality. Etta’s program is the first of its kind in the state.

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Branford Roads Endangered After Hurricanes

by Diana Stricker | May 12, 2014 7:20 am

File Photo Branford has officially approved a regional Hazard Mitigation Plan for its roads and houses, listing Linden Avenue as the number-one project on its wish list for federal funds. (Photo is of Hotchkiss Grove.) 

The proposed Linden Avenue project, with a pricetag of $5 million, would prevent what happened during Tropical Storm Irene, when a surge undermined the only road leading to the Indian Neck-Pawson Park peninsula where 400 families live. (Click here to read about that.) The following year, in 2012, came Hurricane Sandy, one of the deadliest storms in United States history.

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Pay Tribute: Plant A Native Tree

by marcia chambers | May 1, 2014 6:45 am

Mary Johnson Photo Want to plant a commemorative native tree in Branford?

The Community Forest Commission has a new program that enables a native tree to be planted in memory of a person, or to honor a person, an animal or an event that occurred recently or in the past.

The Branford Commemorative Tree Program, which gets underway this spring, will benefit the town as well. The commission approved the new program last fall. 

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“March Went Out Like a Lion”

by Mary Johnson | Apr 1, 2014 1:00 am | Comments (2)

Mary Johnson Photo Large fluffy snowflakes hit the shoreline with fierce intensity yesterday morning, lodging on flowers everywhere in what appeared to be a cruel joke. We are recording the event because we are hoping this is our final snow story in what has been a long winter season. 

Our photographer Mary Johnson grabbed her camera and headed out as heavy pockets of snow hit the shoreline. All in all, about three inches of snow fell on Branford and nearby towns. 

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Do NOT Feed the Waterfowl

by Sally E. Bahner | Jan 21, 2014 9:27 am

Sally E. Bahner Photo One of the best things about living by the shore and waterways is the easy access to its wildlife. Who hasn’t tossed some leftover bread to ducks and geese swimming along the rivers and ponds and been thrilled with their excited response?

Not so fast.

John, Michele, and Genevieve Hughes of Branford are on a mission to educate people about the dangers of such a practice, especially in the winter when the temptation to feed wildfowl is high. 

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Super Storm Sandy $$$ Arrives

by Diana Stricker | Nov 26, 2013 12:09 pm

Diana Stricker Photo There’s a new $71 million pot of money available for homes and businesses damaged by Super Storm Sandy that are still in need of repairs. Federal money that was promised after the storm last year is finally available for distribution.

The good news is that homeowners can receive grants ranging from $10,000 to $150,000. The bad news is that it’s only for damage that has not yet been repaired. Officials said once all the priority cases are met, there may be money to reimburse homeowners who already paid for repairs.

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FEMA Flood Map Changes Trigger Anxiety

by Diana Stricker | Sep 3, 2013 8:10 am | Comments (3)

Diana Stricker Photos A FEMA workshop to discuss new flood maps and insurance changes brought a flood a people, a flood of questions and a flood of frustration in Branford.

New FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] floodplain maps went into effect in New Haven County in July, resulting in more properties being designated as high risk zones. In addition, residents will have to deal with the effects of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 which will phase out lower premiums for many homes, including older homes that were grandfathered into the National Flood Insurance Program. (Click here to read a previous story about the new maps.)

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