NEWFANE -- Nearly a year after Tropical Storm Irene, plastic litter certainly isn’t the biggest problem remaining along the hard-hit Rock River.
But Frank Suponski is tired of looking at it, and he thinks the black plastic -- some of which is wrapped around other debris in the river -- is scrap left behind by thieves who plundered downed wire in the wake of Irene.
"It’s all over the place. It was cut. Mother Nature didn’t do this," Suponski said.
"The trees and the (natural) debris are going to go away eventually," he added. "But the plastic is going to be there forever."
The Penner Road resident took that and other Irene-related concerns to Newfane Selectboard’s meeting Thursday night.
Suponski, a former Newfane lister and Selectboard member, said Irene took out utility poles and left "thousands of feet" of downed, plastic-coated wire. Someone salvaged the wire for scrap but left the plastic, he contends.
The plastic either was tossed into the river or was swept into the waterway by subsequent storms, Suponski said.
In response, the Selectboard directed board member and Town Clerk Gloria Cristelli to contact FairPoint Communications to see whether the company will remove the plastic.
Suponski also said he is concerned about metal culverts that were left behind following storm-recovery work.
And he raised questions about how Hunter Brook Bridge will be reconstructed,
"I’d like to not see a bridge go by my house anymore," he said.
Officials said engineering for the bridge is ongoing.
"We don’t have the plans yet, so we don’t know," Cristelli said.
In another Irene-related matter, Selectboard Chairman Jon Mack noted that Windham County is receiving an additional $4.5 million in federal block-grant money to deal with storm damage.
The announcement came last month and was the result of lobbying by local and state officials who contended that Windham had been shortchanged. Mack said officials should "move as quickly as possible" to apply for competitive grants to fund Newfane projects.
"This is a very positive development," he said.
In other business, the Selectboard also heard from Albert D’Armand of Rock River Science and Education Inc. He complained of commercial leaflets littering the town trail.
"I’m not against them advertising there," D’Armand said. "But it should be done in a more orderly fashion."
Mack said officials would "look into what the regulations are and, if it’s appropriate, send a letter" to the advertisers.
Mike Faher can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.