Thursday, May 23, 2013
Westporter to Place Wreath on Unknown Soldier’s Tomb
By Dave Matlow
Monday will mark the first Westport Memorial Day parade that Anne Beers, who served in the Navy as a pharmacist’s mate during World War II, will miss due to another call of duty.
Anne Beers will miss Westport’s Memorial Day parade this year for a good reason. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
She has been invited to Washington, D.C. to place the wreath on the tomb of the “Unknown Sailor” in a Memorial Day ceremony.
“Can you believe this?” she said. “I will also be in the first row with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at a concert this Sunday at the White House.”
Beers was recommended for the ceremony by lifelong friend Ted Mauger, a World War II Air Force veteran, who had been asked to place a wreath on the grave of the an unknown Air Force veteran.
Town Gets Liability Notice in Pedestrian Death
The estate of a Fairfield man who was killed in March while crossing Post Road East not in a crosswalk in front of Shake Shack has put the Town of Westport on notice of a potential claim of liability for wrongful death damages.
Bruce Tabackman: Fairfield attorney. File photo
The March 2 death of Bruce Tabackman, 68, a lawyer, was the fourth pedestrian fatality on Post Road East since 2008.
The notice was delivered to the Town Clerk’s office Wednesday. The lawyer representing the estate, Alan B. Fodeman, of Fairfield, said a notice had also been sent to the parents of the 16-year-old Westport driver of the car that struck Tabackman.
The insurance company representing the parents, Liberty Mutual, also filed a similar notice with the town. The parents’ identity is being withheld by WestportNow because their son, who was not charged, is a minor.
Immigration Unites, Then Divides House
By Mark Pazniokaswww.ctmirror.org
UPDATE and CORRECT The push and pull of immigration politics played out over a marathon House session that began Wednesday with bipartisan consensus on one bill and ended today in partisan rancor on another.
In a vote likely to reverberate in the 2014 races for governor and General Assembly, the House voted 74-55 after sunrise today for a bill allowing people in the country illegally to obtain a Connecticut driver’s license, beginning Jan. 1, 2015.
The same legislators began their workday a little after noon Wednesday with a 132-0 vote for a bill that limits the circumstances under which state and local law enforcement officers can detain illegal immigrants for deportation.
“The bookends of the day tell a very different story,” said House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk. [State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg of Westport, a Democrat, voted yes, and state Rep. Gail Lavielle, a Republican of Westport, Wilton, and Norwalk, voted no. (corrects votes).]
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Westport PBA Aids College Students
The Westport Police Benevolent Association (PBA) presented Wilbur Foundation grants to five Fairfield County students whose parents are associated with the Westport Police Department and a grant to a Staples High School senior who will study forensic accounting. Pictured (l-r) are Officer Scott Morrison, PBA president; Jasmine Henry, a Staples senior who will attend NYU to study forensic accounting; Matthew Librandi, son of Officer Dave Librandi and wife Michele, a Stamford High School senior who will attend Holy Cross College;, Erica Shannon, daughter of Police Lt. Jerry Shannon, UConn sophomore; Iain Baxter, son of retired Westport officer Dave Baxter and who will enter his sophomore year at the University of Pikeville (Kentucky), and Officer Don Rice, PBA board member. Absent from the event were Cameron Rice, son of Don and Betsy Rice, who will enter his senior year at Old Dominion, Norfolk, Va., and Benjamin Call, son of Police Chief Dale Call, who will enter his sophomore year at the University of Chicago. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thursday Farmers Market Opens Eighth Season
The Thursday Westport Farmers’ Market opened its 2013 season today—its eighth—at the Imperial Avenue Parking Lot. Toasting the opening with locally made green juice from Kaia Cafe were (l-r) Michel Nischan of Wholesome Wave and the Dressing Room restaurant; Jeff Mayer of Soluxe Energy Solutions, a sponsor; Selectman Shelly Kassen, First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, Selectman Charles Haberstroh, and Lori Cochran-Dougall, market director. Several dozen vendors are participating in the summer session which runs until Nov. 7. The market is open Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jacob Meisel for WestportNow.com
Plants and flowers were among the items on sale today at the Thursday Westport Farmers Market opened its eighth season at 50 Imperial Ave. Several dozen vendors are participating this year. Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 106 Old Road
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 106 Old Road, near Bulkley Avenue North, is in process. Built in 1954, the one-story split level has 1,421 square feet and is situated on a .51-acre property. Because the house was built more than 50 years ago, the application will be reviewed by the Westport Historic District Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Woman’s Club Bestows Gifts
The Westport Woman’s Club today distributed $31,000 to 27 recipient nonprofits at its annual community service grants breakfast at club headquarters. according to Charitable Giving Chair Pat Jensen. The club, organized in 1907, is a nonprofit philanthropic organization dedicated to volunteerism and the raising of funds in support of the charitable, educational, cultural and public health services in Westport and surrounding towns. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Weather Forces Postponement of Art About Town
The Westport Downtown Merchants Association announced that today’s Art About Town opening night street party has been postponed a week because of the weather.
The event will be held Thursday, May 30, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
The WDMA iinvited everyone downtown next week for an evening of art, music and free fun for the whole family.
Memorial Day Parade Details Announced
Westport Veterans Council President William Vornkahl and Parks and Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy announced today details of the Memorial Day parade and ceremonies to be held on Monday.
Westport police units lead the 2012 Memorial Day parade. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
The parade starts promptly at 9 a.m. from Riverside Avenue near Saugatuck Elementary School and will end in Parker-Harding Plaza. Memorial sevices will follow immediately on Veterans Green.
The program will begin with the Invocation by the Rev. Edward Horne of United Methodist Church. Maggie Miller and Molly Liles of Brownie Troop 5048 will lead the assembled in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the National Anthem performed by Staples High School soloist Grace McDavid Seidner.
First Selectman Gordon Joseloff will give a welcoming address, followed by “America The Beautiful” by Tyler Jent, a student at Staples High School.
BBQ’s Await Memorial Day Weekend Crowds
Thursday, May 23, 2013
8:15 a.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Downtown 2020 Committee
8:30 a.m. – Parks/Rec Conference Room – Compo Beach Site Improvement Committee
10 a.m. - 2 p.m. - 50 Imperial Ave. lot - Westport Farmers Market
10 a.m. – Earthplace – Sasco Brook Pollution Abatement Committee
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “SOLOS 2013”
4:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Historic District Commission Work Session
5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - Main Street area - Art About Town street party Postponed to May 30
6 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Just Out on DVD: “Zero Dark Thirty”
7 p.m. – Earthplace – Sherwood Mill Pond Committee
8 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Board of Finance Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Booked for the Evening Celebrates Meacham
By James Lomuscio
Jon Meacham at the Westport Public Library tonight displaying Southern charm and self-deprecating humor. CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
With wit, Southern charm, self-deprecating humor, grace and an overwhelming optimism about America’s future based on its past, journalist, historian and Pulitizer Prize-winning biographer Jon Meacham tonight accepted the Westport Library Award at its 15th annual Booked for the Evening fundraising gala.
The event drew about 400, including many local officials, to the library’s Great Hall.
Library Director Maxine Bleiweis presented the award, describing Meacham, a Tennessean, as “journalist, editor, writer, pundit, public intellectual and Southern gentleman.”
“It is equally impressive that this list of accomplishments accrues to a person who only two days ago had his 44th birthday,” Bleiweis noted.
The image of author and journalist Jon Meacham, tonight’s Westport Public Library Booked for the Evening honoree, is projected on screens around the library’s Great Hall. Several hundred persons turned out for the 15th edition of the library fundraiser. See more pictures here. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Foreigner Headlines Levitt Summer Gala
The Westport Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts said today its summer gala on June 22 will feature Foreigner, one of the world’s best-selling rock bands.
The Foreigner concert will be held at the Staples HIgh School field house. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
The Levitt, which this summer will make temporary use of Jesup Green while its new home is under construction, said the gala will be held at the Staples High School field house. It will help underwrite 50 free nights of music and performing arts.
With 10 multi-platinum albums and 16 Top 30 hits, Foreigner has dominated the pop charts since it was originally formed in 1976.
It has worldwide sales of almost 80 million albums, including 37.5 million albums in the United States alone. Foreigner hits include “I Want to Know What Love is,” “Double Vision,” “Hot Blooded,” “Feels Like the First Time,” “Cold As Ice,” “Head Games,” “Juke Box Hero” and many more.
Yale Study: Bias Toward Elderly on Facebook
By Grace Merrittwww.ctmirror.org
Ageism exists and has been unmasked on Facebook.
A startling – and some say disturbing—percentage of young people berate old people on Facebook, a Yale study has found.
Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health analyzed 84 Facebook groups and found that all but one had negative stereotypes of the elderly. Many portrayed old people as being debilitated and advocated banning them from driving and shopping. One even suggested they be put before a firing squad.
“The hypothesis was that we would find some negative portrayals, but I don’t think we anticipated the level we found,” said Becca R. Levy, associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health. “The number of negative portrayals was surprising to me—and disturbing.”
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WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 89 Compo Road North
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 89 Compo Road North is in process. Built in 1948, the 1 1/2-story cape has 1,360 square feet and is situated on a .36-acre property. Because the house was built more than 50 years ago, the application will be reviewed by the Westport Historic District Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
A Hallowed Playground to Honor Sandy Hook’s Dylan
By James Lomuscio
Donated manpower, machines and materials are set converge at Westport’s Long Lots Elementary School Friday, June 7, to build a playground honoring Dylan Hockley, a 6-year-old who died in the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown.
Site of the new playground at Long Lots Elementary School. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
According to Deputy Fire Chief Robert Kepchar, who is overseeing the event, the new playground at no cost to the town should be completed within a day.
The playground equipment costing $117,000 is a gift from the New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association which is raising funds to build 26 playgrounds throughout the tri-state area, each one dedicated to one of the victims. Kepchar said the Hockley family selected Westport because they have relatives in town.
“The goal is to build 26 playgrounds in the tri-state area prior to the one-year anniversary,” said Kepchar. “Stratford is going the week after us.”
It was suddenly summer Tuesday with temperatures soaring into the mid-80s. Compo Beach and nearby waters were busy as residents sought to cool off. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Westport Public Library is closed for a benefit.
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “SOLOS 2013”
12:30 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - SOLOS 2013 Lunchtime Artist Talk: Nell Bernegger and Joel Werring
4 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Tree Board Canceled
7 p.m. - 9 p.m. - Westport Public Library - BOOKED for the evening 2013: Jon Meacham
See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
DTC Committee Recommends Garten for Top Spot
By James Lomuscio
A search committee of the Democratic Town Committee (DTC) tonight recommended Helen Garten of the Board of Finance as its candidate in November to face Republican Jim Marpe. Two other would-be candidates challenged the endorsement.
Garten said she is confident she will be the fourth woman to hold Westport’s top job as First Selectwoman.
“We can win, and we will win,” said Garten, who previously served on the Representative Town Meeting. “The Republicans want to win because they think it’s their turn. We want to win because we have a record of achievement.”
Garten, 60, who has been on the finance board eight years and who teaches law at Rutgers University, made her comments following a ringing endorsement from the search committee. Current First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, 68, a Democrat, is not seeking a third term.
Helen Garten: ‘We Can Win and We Will Win’
Helen Garten, a Board of Finance member, addresses the Westport Democratic Town Committee (DTC) at Town Hall tonight fellowing a search committee’s recommendation she be the party’s First Selectman candidate in November. “We can win, and we will win,” she said. No recommendation was made for Second Selectman. Two other Democrats, state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, and Kenneth Wirfel, a former Board of Finance member, challenged the endorsement. The Democratic candidate, to be formally nominated in July, will face Republicans Jim Marpe and Avi Kaner. Current First Selectman Gordon Joeloff, a Democrat, is not seeking a third term. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff and Selectman Shelly Kassen, both Democrats, and Jim Marpe, the likely Republican candidate for First Selectman in November, tonight showed bipartisan support for Barbara Butler (c), the town’s Human Services Department director, who was honored by the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce at its inaugural First Citizens Awards dinner at the Inn at Longshore. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Chamber Honors Present and Future Leaders
The Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce tonight held its inaugural First Citizen Awards Banquet and Salute to outstanding current and future leaders in the Westport and Weston communities at the Inn at Longshore. Lisa Parrelli Gray, Chamber executive director (c), poses with award recipients (l-r) Staples High School student Jacqueline Devine, Weston High School student Matthew Proctor, Westonite Ken Edgar, Staples High School student Corey Werner, Barbara Butler, director of Westport’s Human Services Department, and Weston High School student Claire Cook. The students received Future First Citizen Awards. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Panel Backs Car Tax Repeal—But Not for Several Years
By Keith M. Phaneufwww.ctmirror.org
A legislative task force has endorsed the repeal of Connecticut’s car tax, but—like another group before them – doesn’t recommend relief for most taxpayers to begin before 2018.
The Municipal Opportunities and Regional Efficiencies Commission (MORE) created by House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, also proposed a common statewide school calendar, new “master” regional planning agencies, and an end to the requirement that communities publish public notices in local newspapers.
Sharkey and other leaders predicted the MORE Commission’s recommendations would provide steady, cost-lowering efficiencies across cities and towns for years to come.
“The problem” with repealing car taxes now, “is towns and cities need some sense of consistency,” Sharkey told reporters during a mid-morning Capitol press conference.
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John Franklin, Community Volunteer, 76
John F. Franklin, a 47-year Westport resident who served as president of the Westport Arts Center and Westport Sunrise Rotary, died Sunday following a series of illnesses. He was 76. A family obituary said he waged “a long and valiant fight against multiple serious health concerns, including Myelofibrosis and diabetes.” The Westport Sunrise Rotary Club honored Franklin (above with wife Jeanne) in May 2011 for his work for the community. He received a Champion of the Arts Award in 2012 from the Westport Arts Advisory Committee. (See obituary here) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
All Aboard for New Haven
The first New Haven-bound train since Friday’s derailment in Bridgeport departed the Westport station today at 4:13 p.m. Metro-North said there would be limited service to New Haven from Grand Central Terminal during tonight’s rush hour. Full service on the New Haven Line will resume Wednesday, Metro-North said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Westport Police Lift Train Station Traffic Restrictions
With the resumption of limited train service to New Haven today, the Westport Police Department announced it has lifted all traffic restrictions around the Metro-North Westport station in Saugatuck.
A statement said bus service provided by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for out-of-town riders will end at 4:30 p.m.
As a result, the only buses departing from the Saugatuck train station will be regular Norwalk Transit/Westport Transit service.
Extra traffic personnel will be on hand throughout the afternoon to assist with the expected traffic resulting from this morning’s higher than normal parking usage, the statement said.
Metro-North Resumes Limited Service to New Haven
With one of the two damaged tracks rebuilt and returned to service, Metro-North said it will resume limited service today to New Haven starting at 3 p.m..
A statement said there will be regular train service from Grand Central Terminal (GCT) to South Norwalk station, with limited service to New Haven, representing 50 percent of regular service.
The first train is the 3:07 p.m., train leaving GCT and arriving in New Haven at 5 p.m..
Regular train service from New Haven to GCT will resume wth the the 4:23 p.m. train leaving New Haven and arriving in GCT at 6:17 p.m..
Public Hearing Set on Clinton Ave. Area Improvements
The Connecticut Department of Transportation will hold a public informational meeting on Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. in the Westport Town Hall regarding the intersection improvements of Route 57 (Main Street) and Route 136 (Compo Road North) at Clinton Avenue.
The purpose of this project is to improve the safety and operation of the intersection and will involve widening along the east side of Route 57 for approximately 1,000 feet to provide exclusive left-turn lanes in both directions, said an announcement by First Selectman Gordon Joseloff.
The Compo Road North leg will be widened at the intersection to provide an exclusive left-turn lane while realigning the through-lane with Clinton Avenue. Additional information about the project is available for review at the Town Clerk’s Office.
“Residents, commuters, business owners and other interested individuals are encouraged to attend this public hearing,” said Joseloff.
Real Estate Report: Colonials Are King
By Judy Szablak
Traditional and transitional colonial-style homes reign supreme in Westport, and continue to be the most marketable properties with the best resale value.
This home at 167 Compo Road South is listed at $1,799,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of William Pitt Sotheby’s-Southport/Fairfield
Comprising 63 percent of the 289 available homes for sale, these mostly five-bedroom homes average just over 4,250 square feet, with an average list price of $2,163,117.
In the past year, more than two-thirds of the reported sales through our local MLS were colonial-style homes, and the average sales price of these 273 homes during the last 12 months was $1,634,577.
Although there might seem to be a great disparity in the average pricing of what’s currently on the market as opposed to what has closed in the last year, the significant price increase is due largely in part to the amount of new construction.
Parking at Premium
The eastbound parking lot at the Metro-North Westport station was full as usual early today, but there was additional traffic on that side as all drop-offs were directed away from Railroad Place. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Police Chief: More Commuters Today
Westport Police Chief Dale Call on Railroad Place today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Westport Police Chief Dale Call said there were far more shuttle buses early today to the Westport station with more riders than on Monday.
“There are many more from out of town,” he said as he surveyed traffic on Railroad Place, where the buses were dropping off commuters from Westport and Fairfield and Bridgeport.
“Yesterday there were three buses,” he said shortly before 7 a.m. “Today it’s a steady stream of buses. There are definitely more commuters here than yesterday and there seems like more cars in lots than yesterday.”
He said the situation was “very orderly today. Commuters are an adaptable group.They learned the drill yesterday and everything is smooth today.”
Bus to Train
Bus shuttles operated for the second day today to the Metro-North station in Westport from Fairfield and Bridgeport. Westport Transit buses also operated as usual with the exception of service to Green’s Farms, where there was no train service. But there was shuttle service from Green’s Farms to Saugatuck for those parking at Green’s Farms. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Commuters await the 6:34 a.m. today at the Westport Metro-North station. Police said traffic today appeared to be about the same as Monday—but I-95 began to back up earlier today than Monday in the Bridgeport area, according to I-95 cameras. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
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