HARVARD -- For the second year in a row, the weather is to blame for postponing Harvard's trick-or-treat festivities downtown. At 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Fire Chief Richard Sicard made the announcement that due to safety reasons and the lack of power to hundreds of households, the town would postpone the downtown event, which had been set for 5:30-7:30 p.m.
At this point, there has been no new date and time set for Harvard's trick-or-treat revelry.
"Due to the total number of household that are still without power, the number of power lines that are on the ground, and the number of power and tree crews working around town, we feel it is in the best interest of public safety to postpone trick-or-treating for tonight," said Sicard.
It was on Halloween last year that the Bromfield School opened as a shelter, providing meals and heat for hundreds in town due to a brutal nor'easter. The resulting snow snapped trees and knocked out power.
This year, blame it all on Hurricane Sandy's high winds and driven rain.
As we go to press on Wednesday, we note that as of this early afternoon hour, Harvard is not fully energized yet. National Grid reports that of its 2,278 Harvard customers, there are still 504 customers without service at noon due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy. The generators hum and woodstoves and fireplaces blaze for those who have them.
Some scratched their heads and wondered why school was cancelled late Sunday afternoon for Monday morning. But as Monday played out, it became clear that Hurricane Sandy would have made for a miserable and potentially dangerous commute home for students.
Interim School Superintendent Joseph Connelly, who lives in Reading, had to make the call from 37 miles away. Connelly credited the "excellent advice" of Harvard Police Chief Edward Denmark on helping Connelly decide to place the ConnectEd call, based on local weather and road conditions.
In deciding to open school 90 minutes delayed on Tuesday, Connelly said the call was made with an eye towards the end of the school year, with the official start of winter still two months away.
"By using a 90-minute delay, Harvard received credit for a full-day in school (on Tuesday)," said Connelly. Connelly said it was "reassuring" to have constant access to the advice and input of Denmark, Fire Chief Richard Sicard and Public Works Director Richard Nota when making cancellation and delay calls "that affects the safety and well being of our students and school staff."
Nota said "other than 20 large trees down on roads, miscellaneous minor tree debris on most all roads and leaves clogging the catch basins, this was a minor event compared to recent storms."
On Wednesday morning, Nota said of four roads closed due to down power lines, two were open with two more - Bolton and Brown Roads - to be opened by day's end.
"Our full crew was in all Mondays night," said Nota.