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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sprucing Up for Memorial Day

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Town of Westport employees spruced up some crosswalk markings on Main Street today in preparation for Monday’s Memorial Day parade. The event kicks off at 9 a.m. from Saugatuck Elementary School on Riverside Avenue and winds up at Veterans Green opposite Town Hall for the annual Memorial Day observance ceremony. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com

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Portrait Artist Rob Surette Performs at Bedford Middle

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The Westport PTA Cultural Arts Committee today brought artist Rob Surette, known as the “fastest portrait artist in the world,” to Bedford Middle School. He presented his inspirational program “Be Somebody” to the entire student body. This was his last performance of the year in the Westport Schools. He performed at all five elementary schools and both middle schools. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Westport Doctor Sentenced for Health Fraud

A 70-year-old Westport doctor today was sentenced to two years probation for engaging in health care fraud and agreed to pay more than $421,000 in restitution.

Igor Staw of Stony Brook Road was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Peter C. Dorsey in New Haven, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He pleaded guilty to the offenses last December. (See WestportNow Dec. 11, 2007)

According to documents filed with the court and statements made in court, Staw owned and operated two medical practices, Respiratory Associates and Health Extenders, located on East Avenue in Norwalk.

From June 1, 2004 through June 1, 2006, Staw submitted claims to insurance companies for physical therapy sessions, nutritional counseling sessions, and massage therapy sessions rendered by non-physician providers at his medical practices, prosecutors said.

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Coleytown Fun

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Students at Westport’s Coleytown Elementary School today enjoyed the annual field day. Among those experiencing the water slide were these fifth graders. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ariane Stiegler for WestportNow.com

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“Health Issues” Force Paul Newman Playhouse Withdrawal

“Health issues” have forced Paul Newman to withdraw from directing a fall production at the Westport Country Playhouse, the Playhouse announced today.paulnewman100.jpg
Paul Newman: “I’m very sorry.” WN file photo

A brief announcement did not specify what kind of issues the 83-year-old Newman is facing, but it followed what friends have said was persistent back trouble in recent months and what some tabloids have reported is a battle with cancer.

“Distinguished actor and director Paul Newman, who was slated to direct the fall production, ‘Of Mice and Men”’ by John Steinbeck, will step down from making his directorial debut at the Playhouse due to health issues,” the announcement said. “Tony Award-nominated director Mark Lamos will take the helm in Newman’s place.”

The announcement quoted Newman as saying: “I’m very sorry I can’t be part of this Westport Country Playhouse production, but I leave ‘Of Mice and Men’ in Mark Lamos’ very capable hands with the full support of my wife, Joanne Woodward, and Anne Keefe as Playhouse artistic directors.”

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Explaining Installation Art

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Danielle Cavanna, newly named education and grants manager at the Westport Arts Center, today gave a tour and talk for gallery visitors about installation art in the context of the current exhibition, “Color in 3D.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Molly Agnes Evans for WestportNow.com

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Saugatuck Rainbow

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A rainbow appeared over the Saugatuck River in Westport’s Saugatuck area on Thursday to the delight of those able to see it. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ward M. French III for WestportNow.com

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Rowing the Saugatuck

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A rower passes the Westport Public Library area on the Saugatuck River in Westport’s center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com

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Friday, May 23, 2008


9:30 a.m. - Westport Arts Center - Art in Context Talk: Installation Art, Danielle Cavanna
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Color in 3D”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Found”
7 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Fairfield Prep “Battle of the Bands”
7:30 p.m. - Westport Town Hall - Westport Arts Center presents the Claremont Trio
8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “The Pavilion”

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WestportNow Wins Top Honors in Connecticut SPJ Awards

WestportNow won top honors tonight in the Connecticut Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual excellence in journalism awards for 2007.

It was the first year that the group opened its awards competition to Web-only publications.

WestportNow won in the Web: General Excellence, Independent category and in the Web: Breaking News Coverage category for its coverage of the April 2007 nor’easter and resulting flooding. WestportNow.com Image
Dave Matlow: Named finalist. WN file photo

In addition, WestportNow Editor Jennifer Connic and photographer Dave Matlow were named finalists in the Web: Breaking News Coverage category for their coverage of the controversial January 2007 demolition of the Paul Rudolph-designed home at 16 Minuteman Hill (See WestportNow Jan. 13, 2007), and Emily Hamilton Laux was named a finalist in the Web: Online Feature category for her story on Westporters reflecting on the death of artist Eric von Schmidt (See WestportNow Feb. 6, 2007).

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Westport Property Transfers April 28 - May 2, 2008

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period April 28 - May 2, 2008:

Sam Smith to Ilona Sokolowska, 96 Valley Road, $540,000 WN property.jpg

Robert W. and Aileen A. Thompson to Karen Friedman, 24 Lansdowne, $809,000

Mary Wood Cooper Est. to George Knapp, 2 Joann Circle, $880,000

Brose LLC to SIR Holdings LLC, 943 and 951 Post Road East, $2,100,000

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Y’s Men Passing of the Gavel

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Undaunted by threatening skies and chilly temperatures, the Y’s Men of Westport/Weston held their annual picnic today at Sherwood Island State Park. The picnic celebrated the close of the organization’s 30th year serving needs of the community. At the picnic, new officers were chosen with Bill Balch (l) elected to succeed outgoing president Robert Fatherly (r). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

05/22/08 04:42 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkDigg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Staples Ranks High in Newsweek High School Rating

Newsweek’s list of top U.S. high school shows Westport’s Staples High School fourth among 13 Connecticut schools making the list.

In its May 28 issue, Newsweek ranked Staples No. 415 out of 1,358 schools on the list and fourth in the state behind Farmington (157), Weston (226), and Conrad (West Hartford) (412).

Staples came out ahead of Ridgefield (551), Wilton (565), Greenwich (689), Darien (797), and Joel Barlow-Redding (1178) in Fairfield County. Last year, Staples was No. 402 on the list.

Newsweek said its list was compiled according to a single metric—the proportion of students taking college-level exams: Cambridge, International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement.

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Rite of Passage

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Brooke Howell, 4, received a helping hand from her father Tony as they rode their two-wheelers together along Westport’s Woodside Avenue on Wednesday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com

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Thursday, May 22, 2008


10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Color in 3D”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Found”
3 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - 5th Annual Student Art/Photo & Graphic Design Show
5:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Small Business Opportunities with State, Local, and Federal Governments panel discussion
6:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “The Pavilion”

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Accounting Change Forces 7 Percent Westport Tax Increase

An accounting standards change that calls for the disclosure of escalating future costs of retiree health care benefits led to a Westport Board of Finance decision tonight to increase taxes to residents by 7 percent beginning July 1.

The board set the 2008-09 mill rate at 14.70, an increase of .97 mills from the current tax rate of 13.73 mills, or 7.03 percent.

On the average assessed home of $892,000, the taxes will be $13,112, an increase of $865.

Earlier this month, the Representative Town Meeting approved a $168.7 million town budget, a 4.72 percent increase over the current year (See WestportNow May 7, 2008)

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Touch for Final Touch

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A Westport woman escaped serious injury today when her car crashed into the front of Final Touch Cleaners, 1031 Post Road East. The car took down a structural column and shattered glass on a front entrance door. Westport firefighters said she was shaken up by the air bag deployment but otherwise uninjured. There were no injuries inside and business at the cleaners was not interrupted. The front end of the car sustained substantial damage and had to be towed from the scene. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Woman Sues Over Assault by Staples Teacher

A 22-year-old Westport woman has filed suit against Westport school officials for what she said is their failure to protect her from sexual assault by a Staples High School teacher five years ago and allowing him to remain a teacher despite prior complaints, the Connecticut Post reported today.

In the lawsuit, filed in Bridgeport Superior Court Tuesday, the woman is seeking unspecified damages against the Board of Education, Superintendent. Elliott Landon and then Principal John Brady, as well as the former teacher, Peter Eramo Jr., of Milford, the newspaper said.

Neither school nor town officials returned calls for comment on the lawsuit, the report said.

Authorities said that in 2003, while Eramo was a teacher at Staples, he had sex with the student, then a 17-year-old junior, after a night of drinking in New York City. The criminal case against him is pending in Milford Superior Court, and he is free on $10,000 bond, the newspaper said.

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Out for a Paddle

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An elegant pair of swans posed obligingly in the marshes off Westport’s Gorham Island Tuesday just before the rains came. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008


8 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Maintenance Study Committee
8:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Plan Implementation Committee
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Color in 3D”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Found”
Noon - Westport Public Library - Authors@the Library: Frances Kiernan, “The Last Mrs. Astor: A New York Story”
3 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - 5th Annual Student Art/Photo & Graphic Design Show
2 p.m. and 8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “The Pavilion”
7 p.m. – Room 102 – Historic District Commission
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Conservation Commission
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Board of Finance Anticipated Executive Session
7:30 p.m. – Westport Public Library – Library Board of Trustees
8 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Board of Finance (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
8 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309/307 – Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Going Down: 5 Lowlyn Drive

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The house at 5 Lowlyn Drive, off Partrick Road was demolished today.  Built in 1952, the two-story colonial was 2,357 square feet and situated on a one-acre property. It was the WestportNow Teardown of the Day on March 9. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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The Envelope, Please: Rotary Awards $40,000 in Grants

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The Westport Rotary Club held its annual community partnership grant luncheon at the Inn at Longshore today and distributed checks totaling $40,000 to 40 agency representatives. Many of the recipient organizations are located in Westport,  including A Better Chance, CLASP Homes, Interfaith Housing, the Levitt Pavilion, Positive Directions, Project Return, Westport EMS, Westport Volunteer Fire Department, and Staples Tuition Grants. Among non-Westport-based organizations receiving grants were the Carver Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, the Norwalk Symphony, Music and Art for Humanity (MACH) and the Playhouse on the Green. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Police Motor Vehicle Arrests Jump Sharply

Westport police motor vehicle arrests jumped 47 percent in a just completed six-month period over a year ago following creation of a special two-man traffic enforcement team, police said today.

From Nov. 1, 2007 to April 30 of this year, police issued 3,017 arrest charges compared to 2,056 in the same period last year, an increase of 47 percent, said Lt. Thomas P. Casimiro, public information officer.

In the latest six-month period, there were 5,538 “traffic stops” compared to 3,882 in the previous period, a 43 percent increase, he said.

“The increase in motor vehicle activity can be attributed to the efforts of the members of the Westport Police Department to keep the roadways of the Town of Westport safer,” Casimiro said.

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Check, Mate

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Daniel Lowinger of Norwalk set up a chess board and practiced some moves at the Westport Public Library’s café. A chess master and coach, he teaches chess, English, and Chinese at The Pierrepont School in Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008


10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Color in 3D”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Found”
10 a.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – Arts Advisory Committee
10 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Administrative Review Committee
10 a.m. – Parks & Recreation Conference Room – Public Site & Building Commission Longshore Golf Halfway House
10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Pageturners: “The Rug Merchant” by Meg Mullins
3 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - 5th Annual Student Art/Photo & Graphic Design Show
4 p.m. - 7 p.m. - Barnes & Noble - Staples High School Book Fair Kickoff
6:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Emergency Medical Services Task Force
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – RTM Planning & Zoning Committee
8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “The Pavilion”

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