We live on Earth. It's our home.
There's no place else like it.
We may aspire to travel to Mars and beyond, but nothing we have discovered so far even comes close to being the provider of life, of air and water and of all things necessary for our survival. For our enjoyment.
It is our responsibility to live decently – to do what we can to protect this world in order that we can hand off this wonderful world to the next generation.
If we live life like that, then Every Day is Earth Day.
“Earth Day Every Day” has special meaning in this year of 2020, its 50th year.
It is harder to even consider Earth's special beauty and strength at a time like this, saddened and alarmed by the coronavirus in our lives, in other people's lives across this world of ours.
It is time, more than ever, to see with fresh eyes just what has meaning for each of us – family, friends, home, work, play, the earth around us.
It was a former Wisconsin Senator and Governor, Gaylord Nelson, whose
passion and concern for conservation led to the concept of a National Day
for Earth in 1970. His was the inspiration of this grand movement.
Each of us, today, can do one small thing to help make our small place on Earth, North Stonington, even better.
From a Forever Earth Day Fan
NORTH STONINGTON – Sarah Vaillancourt wanted to do something good to support the front-line workers who are working so hard to keep us and our loved ones safe during this relentless pandemic.
Vaillancourt is a senior consultant with Thirty-One Gifts, a national direct sales or network-marketing company. She runs her own business selling Thirty-One Gifts products and finding others who also want to sell Thirty-One gifts. She saw on Facebook that a “sister” with Thirty-One had done a fundraiser to get “Care Kits” donated to these health workers.
She thought she would do that, and set a goal of donating 25 Care Kits.
“I mentioned it to my amazingly talented friend, Erica Green,” Vaillancourt said, “who graciously offered her help in this cause by donating hand sewn masks and straps.” Vaillancourt and her daughter Lily sewed buttons onto headbands (donated by friend Nancy Bergel) to hold the masks in place, “giving these workers a break on their ears,” she added.
And it grew from there.
By Robert D. Utter
NORTH STONINGTON – The other day, a well-used black truck came up the driveway and out stepped Wayne Berardi, the town’s wetlands enforcement officer. We kept our awkward new-world distance and discussed the brook that goes under Grindstone Hill Road. Connie and I have known Wayne for many years, and he knew we lived on Pendleton Hill Brook.
He wanted to know what I knew about the dams that had been placed across the brook above and below where the road crosses the water. The dams, it turns out, had upset the United States Geological Survey (USGS) measurements of water levels in the stream, mainly because the lower dam was raising the water level at the measurement gauge.
USGS has been monitoring the stream for more than 60 years, now in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
DEEP had contacted Wayne to see what he knew about it, Wayne came up the driveway to see what I knew about it.
Zero or one case? It’s more and it’s here.
By Margaret Leonard
NORTH STONINGTON – It has been more than a week since North Stonington was made aware of it’s first confirmed COVID-19 case. As identified by our local health department, Ledge Light Health District, it was a 53-year-old male. Only today has the state database reflected that number.
There are discrepancies in the data. This is very obvious in a town like North Stonington which is dealing with one case (.02% of the population), but it is less obvious for a town like Stamford with 1,748 cases (1.3% of the population). In a phone call with the director at Ledge Light, Steven Mansfield, he was able to clarify the discrepancy.
When a COVID-19 test comes back positive, it is reported to the state and to the local health department, he explained. Ledge Light releases their numbers on Friday and the state releases them daily. There are people manually entering the data and mistakes happen. The current priority of the health department is tracking down contact points of infected individuals.
Whether there are none or one confirmed positive cases in town shouldn’t affect behavior, Mansfield pointed out. Only first responders and high-risk individuals are currently being tested.
Mr. Mansfield emphasized the importance of acting as if everyone around you is infected. He actually takes it a step further and assumes he is infected and doesn’t want to be the person who infects anyone. Mr. Mansfield shared what his personal behaviors were as someone with parents in their eighties.
“They have been self-quarantined for over a month,” he told The Milltown Monitor, “I have been doing their grocery shopping for them. I leave the groceries on the doorstep and take the envelope from under the knocker.”
Mr. Mansfield suggested that whichever mentality will cause you to act with an over-abundance of caution and follow protocol is the guideline you should be following.
April 18, 2020
By Margaret Leonard
NEW HAVEN - With the opening of a “rapid COVID-19 testing site,” the state’s capacity to test high-risk patients and first responders has increased by 750 tests per day.
The CVS Health testing center, at the former Gateway Community College at 60 Sargent Dr., is easily accessible from Interstate 95.
Using a new system called the Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test, CVS Health said it plans to conduct up to 750 tests per day, seven days a week.
"Our MinuteClinic providers join countless other heroic health care professionals across the country and around the world in forming the first line of defense against this devastating virus," said Troyen Brennan, MD, chief medical officer and executive vice president of CVS Health.
"Thanks to our partnerships with state officials and the utilization of advanced technology, our providers will be able to test large numbers of people...and make real-time decisions about treatment and appropriate next steps."
Because of limited supplies, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, testing is limited to high-risk patients and first responders. Limitations also mean testing will only be done by appointment. The New Haven site only provides same-day scheduling.
Steven Mansfield, director of the Ledge Light Health District, said he got tested on Thursday during a trial run. He is happy to report (and is allowing us to say) his test was negative. Had his test been positive, there is a specific set of instructions he would have been told to follow: the necessary steps to self-quarantine and what to do if symptoms get worse.
Those who schedule tests will need to show proof of identity, birthdate and in-state residence. Only Connecticut residents will be tested at the Sargent Drive site. Rhode Islanders must be tested in Rhode Island.
To schedule a test online, go to https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing.
Here’s what to expect at the test site.
The patient will be asked to show email or text confirmation of the test appointment.
While, the patient remains in their vehicle, a sample of nasal secretions will be collected by carefully inserting the swab into the nostril exhibiting the most visible drainage, or the nostril that is most congested if drainage is not visible. The swab is inserted approximately 1 inch into the nasal passage. In many cases, the patient will be asked to perform this swabbing themselves.
Patients should have their mobile phones with them to be contacted by the provider.
From the start of the appointment, it is approximately 30 minutes to receive test results.
For more information, please visit https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing.
By Margaret Leonard
NORTH STONINGTON – Feeling that cabin fever and need to get out of the house?
You say you want to shop locally and support North Stonington business?
Well, here’s your chance.
This article was updated March 12, 2020 to include video of a press conference.
“While this may be disappointing, we are doing so in the best interest of our students and staff,” he added
“Please understand that this is an ever-evolving situation and conditions on dealing with the COVID-19 are subject to change at any time,” Nero said.
As of yesterday, there were two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the State of Connecticut – one in Fairfield County, the other in Litchfield County, according to the Connecticut Department of Health State Laboratory.
The day after Rhode Island declared a state of emergency, Connecticut followed suit.
“It gives us the opportunity to get more testing capacity faster for all of the people of the state of Connecticut,” Governor Ned Lamont said during a press briefing Tuesday.
“In the emergency briefing room, there you see a big red dot over New York and a big red dot over parts of Massachusetts,” Lamont said, “and we are in the middle and we’ve got to be prepared for what could be happening.”
At the PTO meeting Monday night, Nero said the town is working to be as prepared as possible. “We need to be ready to have a quick reaction, not an over-reaction,” he said.
Elementary school parent/teacher conferences also took a hit. The ritual of waiting to be called into a private meeting with your caregivers and your teacher won’t happen this season.
“To ensure the safety and health of all, we are changing our plans for Wednesday and Thursday parent/teacher conferences,” Elementary School Principal Veronica Wilkison said in an email to parents Tuesday afternoon. Instead of in-person conferences, the teachers will be calling all parents at the scheduled time of the conference, she explained. Both days will remain early dismissal days.
On Tuesday morning, state’s high school sports organization, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference canceled all remaining winter sports tournaments.
During the Tuesday evening Board of Selectmen meeting, former first selectmen Nick Mullane and current first selectmen Mike Urgo both expressed their disappointment for children who had worked so hard to be in the final tournaments, only to have them canceled. They both hoped Connecticut would follow along with what was being done in Europe by having spectator-free events, where the athletes were still able to participate.
The town’s health advisor is the Ledge Light Health District in New London. Selectman Robert Carlson expressed confidence in Ledge Light’s role.
“I’m very happy we are on board with them,” he said. “I think they are rated as one of the best health districts in Connecticut, if not the best.”
For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including guidance and other resources, all residents in the state are encouraged to visit ct.gov/coronavirus.
Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The information line is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access for those with a hearing impairment. The hotline only intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider to seek treatment.
Between Friday and Monday, the 2-1-1 information line has taken 252 phone calls from residents.
Continue to check back for updates.
By Margaret Leonard
NORTH STONINGTON – With words like “outbreak” and “pandemic” splashed across every media outlet, and headlines like “First Presumptive Positive Case of COVID-19 Identified at RIDOH's State Health Laboratories”, it’s hard not to have an increased fear of a new virus. The Milltown Monitor is being built on fact-based, non-sensationalized news.
Let’s break down the facts, talk about how to practice prevention, get prepared for worst-case-scenario and get you some resources.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “There is an expanding global outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus.” There are many coronaviruses and you have most likely had at least one in your life. This particular virus has been officially named SARS-CoV-2 and it causes COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019). This is the third time in recent history where a coronavirus isolated to animals has passed to humans and resulted in human-to-human spread. The other two were Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
On Friday, First Selectman Michael Urgo hosted an informative meeting for community officials. In attendance were Stephen Mansfield, Director of Health for Ledge Light Health District; Gary Baron, Director of Emergency Services for North Stonington; George Brennan, Director of Emergency Services for Stonington; Theresa Pensis, Senior Center Director and Agent for the Elderly; Resident State Trooper, Officer David Greene; Christine Dias, Administration and Finance Officer; Christine Wagner, Chair of the Board of Education and Peter Nero, Superintendent of North Stonington public schools.
Mr. Mansfield described the health departments in the United States as “the best in the world”. The group at the table seemed confident in their preparedness for such an outbreak.
In a statement from Mr. Urgo, "North Stonington follows Ledgelight Health Districts guidance and has been in regular contact with them to be sure we have the most up-to-date information from the CDC."