Monday, September 23, 2013

Unsecured Loads

I just followed a tractor trailer up Bridgeport Avenue this morning that had papers blowing out from under a tarp all over the road.  The amount of litter one vehicle can create is astounding.  The truck turned onto Constitution Blvd So. presumably to scatter its load all over Route 8. I had a pen and paper handy and wrote down the following info while stopped next to the truck at a stop light:

Winter Bros. V 99719 9:24 a.m. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cameras Identify Litterbugs

Litter collected at Eklund during a two-week period
Chronic vandalism plagues some of the trailheads in Shelton, so the Conservation Commission has responded by investing in cameras designed to take pictures of wild game, but which can be placed where there is no electricity.  The cameras can be moved about where most needed.  Eklund Garden, located near Hope Lake on Oak Valley Road, has been plagued with vandalism for years, so cameras were installed recently. 

Over the course of about two weeks, the Conservation Agent inspected the parking lot every day or two, picking up all litter, which can be seen in the top photo.  The camera memory cards were then pulled out of the cameras and the photos reviewed.  It was discovered that the parking lot was being used as a frequent party location for a group of young adults, with the largest gatherings coinciding with litter collection shortly thereafter.  

During the largest of the gatherings, someone can be seen putting down a plastic bag and then pulling out a six-pack of Corona beer.  The litter picked up after this gathering includes the black plastic bag left on the rock (visible in all subsequent pictures until picked up by the Conservation Agent), the empty cardboard Corona carton, 5 Corona beer bottles, and several Corona beer bottle caps, along with a load of other litter. The information is being forwarded to the Police for enforcement. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Clean Sweep Volunteers Pack the Auditorium

Clean Sweep volunteers, including 140 Scouts and their families, turned up in droves to receive their certificates and custom patches at the annual Clean Sweep Recognition Event on June 12.  Attendance was higher than expected and the auditorium was packed.  Mayor Lauretti noted in his opening remarks that the event may be moved to a larger venue in the future to accommodate the growing number of participants. 

Gil Pastore, Chairman of the Anti-Litter Committee, ran through some statistics for Clean Sweep 2013:  More than 640 participants picked up a total of 340 large garbage bags of litter, 2500 lbs of scrap metal (Boy Scout Troop 28), 3 full pickup truckloads of debris (Land Trust), and 65 cubic yards of garbage hauled from the river (Housatonic River Cleanup, Inc.), not to mention a large assortment of items such as mattresses, tires, and construction debris. 

Chairman Gil Pastore hands out certificates

The Committee started out with seven special awards:

Housatonic River Cleanup, Inc. - "Special Recognition"  
for the largest cleanup in Shelton. This year, 168 people removed an estimated 65 cubic yards from the river and piled it up at the Sunnyside boat ramp.  This is only part of their efforts, however, which also included more volunteers removing litter from the Housatonic in Stratford and Milford. 

Chris Papp -- "Special recognition" for years of cleaning up the Housatonic River. 

Boy Scout Troop 28 - "Heavy Metal Champions" for removing 2500 lbs of debris, mostly scrap metal, from the Wiacek open space. 

Shelton Land Trust and Neighbors - "Best Find" - for pulling an old motorcycle out of the woods, along with three pickup trucks worth of junk from the open space adjacent to Wake Robin Drive. 

Cub Scout Pack 27 - "Volunteer of the Year" - Civic Group Category for removing 41 bags of litter from East Village Park.

Tighe & Bond - "Volunteer of the Year" - Business Category,
 for removing 25 large garbage bags of litter from parts of Isinglass Road and Huntington Street.

George Waters - "Volunteer of the Year" - Individual category, for tirelessly cleaning up the banks of the Housatonic River by canoe and kayak year round and cleaning up around the Shelton Canal, removing about 30 large bags and other assorted debris from our waterways. 

The Scouts seemed genuinely proud of their certificate, with one overheard saying, "I will treasure this for always!"  Each certificate was personally signed by Mayor Lauretti. Click here a list of those who volunteered for Clean Sweep. 

Picking out a door prize
After the certificate were awarded, the evening ended with door prizes, the highlight for many attendees. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Preparing for the Clean Sweep Recognitions

Nearly 400 certificates with patches and seven special awards are all ready to be handed out this evening at the annual Clean Sweep Recognition event at City Hall at 7:00 pm. There's one box of Girl Scout certificates, one box of Cub Scout certificates, and the third box is Boy Scouts and assorted non-Scouts.  The patches are custom, and the Mayor signs each and every certificate. 

When everyone checks in, they get a raffle ticket for a door prize.  They can then proceed on to the auditorium and check out the door prizes, which are given out at the end of the event. If your number is called, you go on up to the table and pick whatever you want. 


This year we have assorted candy, 3 baseball caps (Yankees, Red Sox, and Rec Path), a DVD of the Hobbit, a colored clay art set, a portable speaker for gadgets like iPods, several super bouncy balls, colored bubbles, and  there will be a few more items added later on. 

And of course there will be refreshments. We have eight 50-packs of Munchkins and two dozen assorted donuts, as well as several cases of water to wash it all down.  Should be a good time for all.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Clean Sweep Award Winners Announced

A record 640 volunteers were involved with the 6th annual Shelton Clean Sweep held in April, removing litter from parks, roadways, school grounds, and waterways. The tally of litter removed from the city included 340 large plastic bags, 65 cubic yards, 2575 lbs of scrap metal, three full pickup trucks, as well larger items such as tires, vinyl siding, and mattresses.   Participants will be recognized by the Anti-Litter Committee and Mayor Lauretti at 7:00 pm on June 12 at City Hall, at which time certificates and patches will be distributed and the following awards will be given.

Clean Sweep award winners for 2013 are: 

Housatonic River Cleanup, Inc. - "Housatonic River Champions" - Special recognition for this mega-cleanup event in Shelton, Stratford, and Milford. This year, on the Shelton portion of the river alone, 168 people removed an estimated 65 cubic yards from the river and piled it up at the Sunnyside boat ramp.  This annual event has been held each year even before our Clean Sweep Program began six years ago.

 Housatonic River Cleanup, Inc. created a 65 cu.yd. pile of litter  at the Sunnyside Boat Ramp
Boy Scout Troop 28 - "Heavy Metal Champions" for removing 2500 lbs of debris, mostly scrap metal, from the Wiacek open space, where the debris had been lingering for years. This troop is a consistent over-achiever, having won our "Volunteer of the Year" award the previous three years.

Boy Scout Troop 28 at the Wiacek Open Space

Shelton Land Trust - "Best Find" - for pulling an old motorcycle out of the woods, along with  three pickup trucks worth of junk from the Land Trust open space adjacent to Wake Robin Drive.

Land Trust members with an old motorcycle pulled from the woods

Cub Scout Pack 27 - "Volunteer of the Year" - Civic Group category for removing 41 bags of litter from East Village Park. The Pack is another consistent overachiever and last year recieved a "Mount Trashmore" award.

Boy Scout Pack 27 at East Village Park. 

Tighe & Bond - "Volunteer of the Year" - Business category, for removing 25 large garbage bags of litter from parts of Isinglass Road and Huntington Street where they border Aquarion watershed lands.

Tighe & Bond employees along Isinglass & Huntington Street.

George Waters - "Volunteer of the Year" - Individual category for tirelessly cleaning up the banks of the Housatonic River by canoe and kayak year round and cleaning up around the Shelton Canal, removing about 30 large bags and other assorted debris from our waterways.

George Water's kayak on the Housatonic

A full list of Clean Sweep participants along with a photo album is on the website.  Patches and certificates are available to participants by completing an online Patch/certificate request form. Participants who do not attend the recognition event on June 12 will receive their patches and certificates later that week.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day: Clean Sweep is underway

Shelton Clean Sweep is the entire week of Earth Day, April 22.  This year the dates are April 20-28, which includes two full weekends. Here are some of the first cleanups:

Cub Scout Pack 27 removed 41 bags and misc stuff from East Village Park

The Land Trust pulled this debris out of conservation lands off of Wake Robin Drive.

Another pile of debris removed by the Shelton Land Trust.
Garbage collected from the Canal Street area by George Waters

One of the piles assembled by Tighe & Bond on Isinglass Road

The other pile by Tighe & Bond, this one at the corner of Isinglass & Huntington St.

Caitlin and Conner McGuire with Jack and Jason Mandulak and parents cleaned up Booth Hill Road.

Litter from the Housatonic River loaded into a kayak by George Waters.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Utility Company Litter

[The following post is by Teresa]:  Everything in the photo above was picked up beneath an AT&T  U-Verse "cabinet" one day in April in my neighborhood. This is one of those big green metal control panels. I've walked past the box every day for years and there is always something there on the ground. In addition to what you see in the picture, there are hundreds of little snippets of wire in the dirt too small and numerous to pick up. This is a clear violation of Shelton's Litter ordinance. I've personally had to pick up litter in this spot over and over again. Common guys, pick up after yourself please!

There was also a mess left behind after Hurricane Sandy and the Blizzard wherever the wires had been down on Mill Street and Judson Street -- lots of pieces of plastic and metal. It's understandable that some litter may be left behind by emergency crews in a rush to bring back the power. But it doesn't seem fair for neighborhood volunteers to be stuck picking up debris from the utility companies months after power has been restored.

Update 4/ 19/2013:  Ingrid Waters, a member of the Anti-Litter Committee noted that she also frequently needs to clean up materials left by utility companies. She took the picture below just this week showing items near #88 Long Hill Cross Road:

Monday, April 1, 2013

Gearing Up for Clean Sweep

Shelton's 6th annual "Clean Sweep" commences on Saturday, April 20, as civic groups, homeowners, and businesses head outdoors to pick up litter in their neighborhoods.  The event lasts the full week of Earth Day (April 22) and ends on Sunday, April 28.

Participants choose the where and when.  Some work alone and others organize group events. Cleanup locations included public areas such as streets, parks, school grounds, and waterways. After the cleanup, the City will pick up the accumulated litter if called.

Adults working alone typically pick up litter along the streets in their neighborhood, while Scouting groups focus on parks and school grounds so that children are not exposed to traffic. Businesses have tackled some of Shelton's more difficult stretches of roadway, including portions of Isinglass and Booth Hill Roads. Businesses now also have the option of adopting a street for year round cleanup in exchange for a street sign with their name on it.

Some of the reasons Sheltonites have given for why they pick up litter have included:

  • "Because I live here." 
  • "I want my kids to grow up seeing clean streets and parks."
  • "I want to keep property values up."
  • "A clean street and parking lot helps my business image."
  • "I have company coming over and want the street to look nice." 
  • "I want to prevent litter from getting washed into the river."

Free patches are available
Registration is not required, but is encouraged. The Anti-Litter Committee has also set up a simple online form where people can record a cleanup year-round.  Online registration and cleanup reports can be found at, along with answers to frequently asked questions.

Clean Sweep has proved to be quite successful during its first five years, with an estimated 500 people participating throughout Shelton each year, not including the related Housatonic River Cleanup. This year the River Cleanup, which is organized by a group of boaters, will be held on Saturday, April 27, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Sunnyside Boat Launch.

Clean Sweep participants are eligible for free custom patches and certificates from the Mayor, which are awarded at a special recognition event held in June, complete with refreshments and door prizes. This year the event will be held on June 12, at 7:00 p.m. in the City Hall auditorium. The event is especially popular with Scouting groups.

Although Clean Sweep officially kicks off on April 20 this year,  cleanups prior to that date can qualify as Clean Sweep projects if the cleanup is registered online. Bags and gloves are now available at the Community Center (main office) and City Hall (Mayor's office). To request a pickup from Highways & Bridges, call 203-924-9277 during business hours.

For more information, visit or call the Conservation Agent at 203-924-1555 x315. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Stone Gardens Farm Adopting Birdseye Rd

 Stone Gardens Farm, located at 83 Saw Mill City Road in the White Hills, is the only farm in Shelton where residents can buy shares of the season's harvest.  The CSA program (short for "Community Supported Agriculture,") allows people to pay a seasonal fee up front and then pick up a box of whatever produce was harvest each week.  Stone Garden Farms also operates at vegetable stand at the farm, and participates in the City Seed farmers' markets in New Haven.  
The farm has adopted the section of Birdseye Road that runs between Pearmain Road and Saw Mill City Road.  Birdseye is one of only six roads in Shelton that have been officially declared "scenic" by the Board of Aldermen. Other Shelton farms who have adopted a stretch of road for litter removal include Fairview Tree Farm and Jones Family Farms, both of whom adopted portions of Walnut Tree Hill Road. Thank you! 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cracking Down on Phone Book Deliveries

The days of phone books dropped off along the side of the road in Shelton are coming to an end. The books should now turn up on residents' doorsteps. And if residents don't want a phone book, they can 'opt out' of delivery.

The phone directories have become a problem in recent years as growing numbers of unwanted phone books have been left unclaimed along city streets for weeks or months, creating an eyesore along city streets.  Many people no longer use the book, and instead rely on their computers and cell phones to look up information. Volunteers who pick up litter along their street especially loath picking up the water-soaked books because they are so heavy.

Phone book on the ground  weeks after delivery
Any resident who finds their new phone book out by the road is being asked to report the improper delivery to the Shelton Anti-Litter Committee by emailing or by calling (203) 924-1555 x 315.  Please be sure to include the delivery date and street promptly so it may be verified.  The Committee is asking for photos if possible showing the phone book and nearby identifying features (like a mailbox number).  This applies to delivery of both the Yellow Pages, White Pages, and the Yellow Book, which are delivered by the same distributor.

In addition to the litter issue, the mass distribution of phone books to people who don't want them is considered wasteful by many.  Polls now show that the majority of Americans do not want and will not use the phone books they receive. Yet according to the Daily Green, the manufacture of phone books in the U.S. each year consume 19 million trees, 7.2 million barrels of oil (not including gasoline for deliveries); 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, and generate 268,000 cubic yards of solid waste, not including the books themselves.

In response to this growing national problem, an "Opt Out" program was established by the Local Search Association that allows residents to register their name and address to stop future deliveries of the Yellow & White Pages and/or the Yellow Book.  Register online at  The Anti-Litter Committee is encouraging residents to opt out, and to report any problems with the process to the committee, including trouble registering with the website or receipt of phone books after opting out.

The issue came to a head on March 8, 2012, when the Shelton Board of Aldermen passed a resolution clarifying that dropping off unwanted phone books or any other such materials in the City right-of-way or on private property without the property owner's permission was a violation of Shelton's litter ordinance.  City leaders were subsequently contacted and a meeting arranged. In a follow-up email to City leaders and the Anti-Litter Committee, John Anglace, Board of Alderman President, described the meeting as follows:
After passing our Resolution, the Mayor and I were contacted and asked to meet with representatives of the Yellow Pages (YP).  We met with them.  They explained that they had already sold advertising for this year's YP directory distribution in the Shelton area and that their ability to do business in Shelton had been dealt a severe blow because of our Resolution.

We listened and explained to them the serious litter problem they had caused and what difficulties our anti-litter volunteers had picking up those wet directories.  We told them we were not trying to hurt their doing business in Shelton nor were we trying to keep Shelton citizens from receiving the YP book but we needed assurances and a plan acceptable to us and our Anti-Litter Committee that would provide a guaranteed no litter distribution.  
YP responded with a plan to offer advertising through various media and on-line sources whereby Shelton citizens not wanting to receive the YP book could "opt out" of the distribution in advance and that their distribution vendor would make a second run a week later where they would pick up any directories not taken in by our citizens.   The directories will be dropped at the door this year as opposed to being dropped in the City Right of Way in the past."

Books violating the delivery guidelines, like these phone books
 left on top of mail boxes, should be reported to the Anti-Litter Committee as soon as possible. 
Confusing matters is the fact that there are two competing phone books, the Yellow Pages, which comes with the White Pages,  and the Yellow Book.  Although these books are created by two different companies and delivered at different times, they share the use of the same local distributor, who is responsible for the actual deliveries.  

Books along Buddington Road March 6, 2013

Report problems with deliveries to the Conservation Agent, Teresa Gallagher, at or by phone at 203 924-1555 x315.  Pictures improper deliveries with identifying features in the background are especially helpful. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sign up now for Clean Sweep 2013

The 6th annual Shelton Clean Sweep will take place from Saturday, April 20 to Sunday, April 28. That's the week of Earth Day. Registration is now open.  The online registration form has been added to our website, so people can start their planning now.  You can get the details and register at

Changes this year:    For 2013, we are encouraging everyone who has picked up litter in a public place for Clean Sweep, Adopt-a-Street, or randomly throughout the year because they care, to report their efforts via our online clean up form. We plan to publish the results online in real time.  Don't want to draw attention to yourself? That's OK, just enter your name as "anonymous."  The benefits of reporting your clean-up are: 
  • People will see that someone picked up a certain area and how much was cleaned.
  • That can inspire others to chip in.
  • This will help us estimate how many people are involved in picking up litter and how much they are picking up.  
  • If you enter your name (or group name) you gain recognition for your efforts. 
Patches & the Recognition Event: Another change this year is the new online form to request certificates, patches, and invitations for the Recognition Event.  There are a lot of Clean Sweep participants who don't want to be bothered with patches or recognition events, hence the separate form. But for Scout leaders and others, this will be the form where you enter all the names and addresses of your participants so they will each receive an invitation  and certificates with patches attached.   The Recognition Event will be June 12 at 7:00 pm.  This is especially popular with youth groups.  Certificates and patches will be handed out with the Mayor, and there will be refreshments and door prizes. We've been tweaking this event over the years and last year we had the best one yet, and we were done by 8:00 pm.