April 2024
Issue 119
In This Issue:
  • Connecticut Public Works: Promotions & Announcements
  • Safety Matters: April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
  • Innovation Station: CT Creative Solutions Award Guide
  • Simsbury Public Works Road Paving Video
  • Town Crier: City of Norwalk Celebrates Completion of Phase 2 of Norwalk River Valley Trail
  • APWA: Veterans in Public Works
  • Need an Extra Set of Hands for Your City/Town DPW's Seasonal Work?
  • CT Public Works Foremen Come to the Rescue When Kindergartener's Water Bottle Rolls Into Storm Drain
  • NEAPWA Chapter Connects: Innovations for Resilient Municipal Infrastructure — A Holistic Approach (Video)
  • REMINDER: TLP Cohort #10 Applications Due May 31st
Town of South Windsor

  • Gary Schacht, a South Windsor Public Works employee since 2001, has been chosen for the CT Association of Schools' "Distinguished Friend of Education" Award. For the past 13 years, he has selflessly mentored special education students in the sign shop, providing meaningful internship experiences. The humble Schacht is being honored for his outstanding service to education by passing along his knowledge to student interns.

Town of Watertown

  • Bill Hirleman has been promoted to Working Foreman.
  • Ian Bethin has been promoted to Heavy Equipment Operator.
  • Jim Finley has been promoted to Heavy Equipment Operator.
  • Brandon Barnoksy has been promoted to Truck Driver.
  • Chris Hurley has been hired as a Laborer.
  • Matt Innaimo has been hired as a Laborer.
CT Department of Transportation

  • Gary Pilczak, Design Engineer 3, was presented with the ITS-CT Award for Excellence. For several years, Gary has volunteered to assist the T2 Center as we have been building our Level One, Level Two, and most recently, our Level Three Certificate programs for Connecticut’s Traffic Signal Technicians, a very important educational initiative for this critical group of transportation professionals. Gary has not only given input into the technical content, but he has also taught several of the classes, which has been a significant way that Gary has “paid it forward” to his signal colleagues, both municipal and CTDOT. Gary makes an immediate connection with our participants. The evaluations of his teaching have been excellent, and we are very proud of the impact this program has had on our signal community. We look forward to continuing our collaboration. Congratulations, Gary!

Let us celebrate your department's successes with our CT Public Works community. Please email Regina Hackett your agency's great news and we will publish it in an upcoming newsletter.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), in 2021 there were 3,522 people killed and an estimated 362,415 people injured in U.S. traffic crashes involving distracted drivers. In Connecticut in 2021, there were over 5,600 crashes attributed to distracted driving that resulted in nine fatalities and more than 850 injuries.

Distracted driving includes activities such as adjusting the radio or GPS, eating or drinking, and even conversations with vehicle passengers. However, the most prevalent activity is cell phone use, whether it is talking, texting, or using social media. Forty-eight states, including Connecticut, have laws prohibiting hand-held cell phone use yet it continues.
Once again this year, the Connecticut DOT is partnering with State and local law enforcement and NHTSA to run an enforcement campaign, Put the Phone Away or Pay. “We urge all drivers to prioritize safety by keeping their focus on the road and not on their phones. Every moment behind the wheel demands our full attention,” said CTDOT Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto. “This enforcement effort aims to remind everyone that distracted driving is illegal, dangerous, and deadly. Let’s work together to make Connecticut’s roads safer for everyone.”

To continue reading, click here.
For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community contact Melissa Evans or Jason Hughes.
CT Creative Solutions Award Guide
Over the years, the T2 Center team has collected innovative solutions to your day-to-day challenges, through our Creative Solutions Award Program.

In addition to this being a way to recognize and reward your creativity, it is also intended to be a resource for you to learn from each other.

In 2023, we launched an updated guide and hope you will take the time to go through the innovative solutions from our CT cities/towns. You may find the solution to a challenge you have in your agency!
Don’t forget to submit your innovations for our 2024 award program. Click here to submit your creative solution today! If you have something that has really helped your crew but you are not sure if it meets the criteria for the program, reach out to Mary McCarthy to share your idea and see if it is a fit.
Simsbury Public Works Road Paving Video
Simsbury Public Works was able to collaborate with the local cable access TV station to produce a video outlining their road paving program. This program takes the viewer through the process of how they use a pavement management approach to select which roads to pave. It then moves into explaining the different processes Simsbury utilizes for maintaining their roads. The cable TV station will play the video randomly during the spring and summer, but more importantly, it is located as a link on the town's website. This allows Simsbury Public Works to direct residents with questions to the video, ultimately helping them understand the thought and consideration that is put into the paving work the Town performs.
City of Norwalk Celebrates Completion of Phase 2 of Norwalk River Valley Trail
The Norwalk River Valley Trail has officially expanded, as the project's second arm opens the trail to three miles.

The trail is now connecting Union Park to New Canaan Avenue.

"From the beach to here, they'll pass by the aquarium, Oyster Shell Park, Stepping Stones, and Lockwood Mansion along the way. That sounds like a pretty good day to me," said Lisa Shanahan, of the chair and ordinance committee.

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff tested out the trail by arriving on a bike to the announcement of the completion. "I look forward to biking on this on a really beautiful, sunny day," said Duff.
Phase 2 of the project ends on the corner of Riverside Avenue and New Canaan Avenue, but that's only for now, the city says there's more in the works.

Click here to continue reading.
APWA: Veterans in Public Works
The American Public Works Association (APWA) has partnered with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) to facilitate hiring veterans and military spouses in public works positions across the country. APWA has developed a website that provides numerous resources to connect employers with qualified veteran candidates, including regional coordinators, apprenticeship programs, job fairs, and programs focused on reintegrating homeless or incarcerated veterans into the workforce. The goal is to match public works organizations with the skills, productivity, and commitment to service that characterize the military community to fill crucial roles and address workforce needs.

On March 14, 2024, the APWA's Workforce Development Committee collaborated with the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) to provide an overview of the VETS program and highlight opportunities for hiring veterans in public works departments and local governments across the nation. This webinar aimed to identify the benefits of hiring veterans, describe various employment opportunities, and provide resources offered by VETS for employing veterans, service members, and military spouses. Click here to watch today.

Check out the great resources that this partnership has developed by visiting the APWA's Veterans in Public Works website.
Need an Extra Set of Hands for Your City/Town DPW's Seasonal Work?
Need an extra set of hands for your City/Town DPW’s seasonal work? Let the CT Pre-Apprenticeship High School Training Program (CTPAHSTP) help connect you with a pool of great candidates. They have a list of Work Based Learning Students that were outstanding graduates of the Connecticut Pre-Apprenticeship and High School Training Program. This one-week program is taught by members of the New England Laborers Training Trust Fund at Technical High Schools across the State.
Register now for more information on how to get an extra set of hands!
The Pre-Apprentice Program is funded by the CT Department of Transportation.
Students will work for you during their shop cycle, instead of attending school. Reimbursement of student wages up to $16 per hour for 160 hours may be available to your agency.
To learn more, please see the flyer or visit www.CTPAHSTP.com, under the “Employment Opportunities” tab. 
CT Public Works Foremen Come to the Rescue When Kindergartener's Water Bottle Rolls Into Storm Drain
What happens when a Vernon kindergartener drops his favorite water bottle and it rolls into a storm drain?

It was a routine Monday morning for the Fortin family – getting Matthew on the bus to kindergarten at Center Road School and daughter Avery to her grandparents’ house so mom and dad, Michael and Stephanie, could get to work.

And then at the bus stop the unthinkable happened. Matthew’s beloved water bottle, adorned with his favorite stickers, fell from his backpack and rolled into a storm drain and out of reach. Matthew was distraught.
“I didn’t have time to console him because the bus was there,” Michael said. “He was in tears, but I told him it was going to be OK.” Even Matthew’s younger sister Avery was crying.

Michael packed Avery into the car for the ride to her grandparents’ house, but first stopped at the Vernon Public Works office. He told Brenda Laprade, an administrative assistant, what happened and she took down the details and a few minutes later passed them along to Steve Scaramella and Shaun Tellier, foremen in the public works department.

Steve and Shaun had just given out work assignments for the day and were getting ready to visit work sites when Brenda told them about Matthew and his water bottle.

Click here to continue reading.
NEAPWA Chapter Connects: Innovations for Resilient Municipal Infrastructure — A Holistic Approach
Discover innovative solutions for urban infrastructure challenges, including storm surge-resistant manhole frames, self-leveling assemblies, and ADA-compliant warning surfaces. Learn how modernizing specifications and embracing new technologies can enhance infrastructure resilience.
REMINDER: TLP Cohort #10 Applications Due May 31st
A friendly reminder that applications for the Transportation Leadership Program's Cohort #10 are due by Friday, May 31, 2024.

For the program application and overview, click here.

Don't hesitate to contact Donna Shea if you have any questions or would like to discuss potential candidates.
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If you have any ideas or suggestions for future Connecticut Crossroads topics, please feel free to email the designer Regina Hackett at regina.hackett@uconn.edu