Wednesday, April 25, 2007
New Haven Line Service Resumed
(UPDATE) Service on Metro-North’s New Haven Line resumed close to normal today after thousands of commuters had their morning rush hour disrupted by downed catenary wires near Greenwich, the railroad said.
Commuters gather around a television newly installed by the town in Westport’s Saugatuck train station to get the latest news on today’s New Haven Line delays. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
A railroad spokeswoman said the line expected full service to be restored in time for the evening rush hour. Service was shut down by the wires problem for almost three hours until shortly after 8 a.m. for the 37,000 commuters who normally ride the New Haven Line.
In the early morning hours, frustrated commuters at Westport’s Saugatuck train station gathered around a television newly installed by the town in the waiting room to watch news reports about the delays, including helicopter aerial shots of the downed wires.
When the first trains finally rolled through the station at about 8:15 a.m., many of the waiting commuters were unable to board because of the crowded train entry ways.
Longtime Westporter Robert J. Ellwanger Dies at 77
Robert J. Ellwanger, a longtime Westport resident and businessman, died Monday at his home in Naples, Fla., his family said today. He was 77.
The husband of Margaret W. Ellwanger, he was born in Queens, N.Y., on April 19, 1930, to the late John and Daisy Ellwanger.
Ellwanger graduated from Bayside High School and the Pohs Institute of Insurance & Real Estate.
He moved to Westport in 1973 from Fairfield, where he had been employed by Real Estate Insurance Management. He founded Ellwanger Insurance Consultants at 12 Avery Place before moving the business to 180 Post Road East.
Commuters Face Delays, Crowded Trains on New Haven Line
Commuters faced delays and crowded trains on the New Haven Line today after partial service resumed following suspension of service earlier this morning because of downed wires in Cos Cob. Pictured is a Westport commuter trying to board a train at Saugatuck shortly after restoration of some service to Grand Central. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Many were enjoying the weather at Westport’s Compo Beach on Tuesday. Temperatures reached 75 degrees and are expected to stay warm through most of the week. Rain is expected to move into the area on Friday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jennifer Connic for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
8 a.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Maintenance Study Committee
10:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – International Hospitality Committee
Noon - Westport Public Library - authors@the library: Masha Hamilton
2 & 8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “All About Us”
5 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309/307 – Board of Selectmen (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – RTM Planning & Zoning Committee
7:30 p.m. – Westport Public Library McManus Room – Library Board of Trustees
8 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – RTM Parks & Recreation Committee
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Temperatures reached 75 degrees in Westport today, and the warm weather has brought many out for morning walks and runs in the Compo Beach area. Among them was Colleen Oppenheimer who took her son, Andrew, out for a morning stroll. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Earthplace to Hold Green Earth Fair
Westport’s Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center is planning its biggest Earth Day celebration ever with a four-day Green Earth Fair that will feature children’s activities, learning opportunities and music.
The Green Earth Fair takes place Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a variety of events each day. Most events take place on Saturday and Sunday, and the full schedule is available on Earthplace’s Web site.
Frank Grazynski, Earthplace assistant development director who is heading the fair, said the organization—which is located on Woodside Lane—has always had the Earth Festival to celebrate Earth Day, but they wanted to step it up to make the community more aware of environmental issues and steps they can take to be more eco-friendly.
“I want everyone to step away and do one simple thing to change their habits whether it’s (an environmentally-friendly) light bulb or a hybrid car or something else,” he said. “If we all do one thing, I feel we have accomplished much.”
Young Woman’s League Winds Up “Kids on the Block” Shows
Members of the Westport Young Woman’s League today wound up another spring of performances of the “Kids on the Block” diversity puppet program with shows at Long Lots Elementary School for second and third graders. Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff posed before today’s show with co-chairs Michelle Saunders and Kristin Ehrlich and members of the cast. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
No Injuries Reported in Bonnie Brook Road Fire
A ceiling fire today in a third floor laundry room of a home on Bonnie Brook Road caused minor damage and no injuries, fire officials said.
A nanny watches with a 4-year-old as firefighters work at a house fire today at 3 Bonnie Brook Road. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Westport firefighters responded to the fire shortly after 8 a.m. at 3 Bonnie Brook Road. A nanny who was in the house with a 4-year-old discovered the fire and called 911.
Firefighters extinguished the flames after gaining access to the attic above, officials said, and the damage was limited to a ceiling-mounted recessed light fixture, electrical wiring, wood sheathing and structural wood framing adjacent to the light fixture.
Officials said the laundry room had some some damage and minimal water damage, and an adjacent child’s playroom was subject to smoke damage.
The home’s occupant called an electrician to restore electrical service, officials said. Firefighters were on scene for about one hour.
Police Identify Victim in Garbage Truck Death
Police today identified the employee of the Westport garbage collection company who was found dead in his truck on Monday.
Police said he was Ronald Booth, 50, of Bridgeport, who worked for Malone Refuse of Westport for 19 years.
A contractor found him wedged inside the compactor at a home on Greens Farms Road on Monday (See WestportNow April 23).
Malone Refuse also issued a statement today about the loss of a “valued friend and employee.”
Martha Stewart “Depressed” After Selling Westport Home
Martha Stewart sold her longtime Westport home on Turkey Hill Road South last week and was “very depressed” after the transaction, the New York Daily News reported today.
Martha Stewart originally asked $9 million for her 4-acre Westport “Turkey Hill” home at 48 Turkey Hill Road South. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) File photo
She disclosed the sale of the 1805 farmhouse during an appearance Sunday night at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan.
“I collect houses like other people collect paintings,” she said, according to the newspaper. “I finally did sell my (Westport house) last week. I was very depressed after I signed the contracts and had to go home and go to sleep.”
Stewart did not disclose the sale price, and the Town Clerk’s office said today the sale had not yet been recorded in its books.
Second Day for Farmers Market Planned
A look back: Last summer’s farmers market drew young and old. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer/WN File
By Jennifer Connic
The first year of the farmers market at the Westport Country Playhouse was successful enough to bring it back this year, but there was one consistent complaint.
“The one criticism we heard over and over was about how we didn’t have the market on a weekend,” said Katherine Dyer, market manager. “We had a lot of working people who said they couldn’t come.”
That may change this year as Wholesome Wave and the Celebrate Westport Committee plan to bring the market to the Center for Senior Activities on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Board of Selectmen will vote on the second market day during its meeting on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Town Hall.
Westport Girls Softball Opens Season
The Westport Girls Softball League opened its season Monday with First Selectman Gordon Joseloff throwing out the first pitch on a ballfield behind Westport Town Hall. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Matthew Mandell for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
10 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Arts Advisory Committee
5:30 p.m. – Westport Fire Headquarters – Public Site & Building Commission Levitt Pavilion Committee
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Zoning Board of Appeals (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Architectural Review Board
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - authors@the library: Carter Wiseman
8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “All About Us”
Conservation Commission Plans Family Y Approval
Updated After months of hearings and controversy, a poll of Westport Conservation Commission members tonight showed an approval of the Westport Weston Family Y’s application to move its facility to Camp Mahackeno.
The members gave their preliminary votes twice tonight, and voted 5-1 the first time and 6-0 the second time with one member abstaining both times. William Blaufuss was the member who said he’d vote against the application, but in the second straw vote he reversed his vote.
The commission is expected to cast its final vote on Thursday.
Westport Weston Family Y officials are planning to move their facility from the corner of Main Street and Post Road East in the downtown area to Camp Mahackeno adjacent to the Merritt Parkway. The plans include a septic system—called FAST—that would handle 34,000 gallons of sewage and water per day.
Library Honoree David Halberstam Killed in Crash
David Halberstam, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who was to be honored at the Westport Public Library’s Booked for the Evening fund-raiser next month, was killed today in a car crash south of San Francisco, a coroner said. He was 73.
David Halberstam: was to be honored May 27. Contributed photo
Halberstam, a New Yorker, was a passenger in a car that was broadsided by another vehicle in Menlo Park, south of San Francisco, San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault told reporters.
The Westport Public Library Award to Halberstam, which was announced in March, honors those whose work furthers the goals of the library. The event had been set for Sunday, May 27. (See WestportNow March 12, 2007)
Previous recipients of the award have been Tom Brokaw, E.L.Doctorow, Calvin Trillin, Wendy Wasserstein, Pete Hamill, Martin Scorsese, Arthur Mitchell, and Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Man Found Dead in Garbage Truck
An employee of a Westport garbage collection company was found dead on Greens Farms Road today, police said.
Westport police, fire, and EMS personnel investigate today’s fatality at 243 Greens Farms Road involving a garbage truck (l). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
A contractor at the scene called police after he found the male employee wedged in the compactor of his garbage truck at 243 Greens Farms Road, police said.
The truck was owned by Malone’s Refuse of Westport, and the employee was dead when police, firefighters and EMTs arrived at the scene, police said.
Police said the next of kin need to be contacted before the name of the victim is released, and police continue to investigate the incident.
Officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Office of the Medical Examiner were also at the scene.
Voluntary Action Center Honors Westport Volunteers
The Voluntary Action Center of Mid-Fairfield tonight honored 85 persons who volunteer for various organizations in the area at a ceremony at Norwalk’s Brien McMahon High School. Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff presented certificates to a dozen Westporters or those nominated by Westport-based organizations, including Melody D’Alessandro, a sophomore at Greens Farms Academy. She was honored for her work with the American Red Cross Mid-Fairfield County Chapter. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Suzanne Sheridan for WestportNow.com
Municipal Storm Damages Total About $100,000
Westport officials said today that the town spent about $100,000 in efforts to respond to the nor’easter that pelted Westport and the region on April 15-16.
First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said, however, the major damage was to Westport’s private homes, and town officials do not know the total of those damages.
Westport was hit with extensive inland and coastal flooding during the two-day storm event. About 5 inches of rain fell as measured by Westport weather stations, and the storm surge along the coast and the Saugatuck River rivaled the one that caused extensive flooding in December 1992.
Joseloff said town officials are sending the bills to the state which is likely to seek reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which could authorize up to 75 percent.
Adding to the Information Flow at the Train Station
The town has installed a television in the waiting room of Westport’s Saugatuck train station as part of what First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said is an effort to keep commuters better informed. The town has also arranged for images from security cameras installed at the station by the state to be monitored in real-time at Westport police headquarters. In addition, Westport is extending its Wi-Fi initiative to the station and surrounding area. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Weir: Mahackeno Wasn’t the First Choice
Westport Weston Family Y Chief Executive Officer Helene Weir addressed the Y’s Women of Westport Weston this morning just hours after a confrontation with those opposing how Y officials are planning a move to Camp Mahackeno.
“I was told before I got here that it was a contentious process and people were emotional over it,” said Weir, who just celebrated the one-year anniversary of taking her position. “I could never describe it now that I know it because it’s so unbelievable. I’ve never been yelled at like I was this morning on the sidewalk.”
Weir said the move—which the Conservation Commission may vote on tonight—is a tough deal and she doesn’t want to make anyone upset.
Family Y officials have been looking for a solution for 12 years on where to move, she said, and Camp Mahackeno was not the first choice.
Sides Speak Out at “Y Rescue Group” Press Conference
Win Baum (l) and Tom Orofino spoke today about at the new “Westport Y Rescue Group” and trying to make the process surrounding the Family Y’s planned move more open. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
By Jennifer Connic
There was a clashing of ideas on the steps of the Westport Weston Family Y this morning.
The members of the newly formed “Westport Y Rescue Group” held a press conference about its formation and seeking a more open process on plans to move the Family Y to Camp Mahackeno. But also there were members of the Family Y leadership along with a number of community members.
The gathering led to a flow of questions and accusations between the two sides, including over the resignation of Win Baum, one of the rescue group’s founders, from the Family Y’s Board of Directors.
Baum recently resigned from the Board of Directors, he said, after he was accused of “misconduct and malfeasance” after he published an op-ed about his opinions on the decisions made by the board.
Enjoying the Weather
Many were out in Westport on Sunday to enjoy the weather with temperatures around 70 degrees, including along the water at Sherwood Island State Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jennifer Connic for WestportNow.com
Talking Transportation: Highway Service Areas
By Jim CameronSpecial to WestportNow
With warmer weather comes the annual cry—“road trip!”
Now, most of us don’t think twice about the decrepit service areas on I-95 and the Merritt Parkway. Their nasty fast food and over priced gas are best avoided by knowing locals.
But a study is underway by the Connecticut Department of Transporation (CDOT) to rehabilitate these service and rest areas, and, hey, there’s hope for the future.
Last year, I attended a focus group which examined the shortcomings of the 31 facilities, most of them in southwest Connecticut. The complaints I heard echo commuters’ gripes about Metro-North: facilities are too old, the bathrooms are dirty, and there’s not enough parking.
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Sunday’s summer-like weather with temperatures in the 70s brought many visitors to Westport’s Winslow Park, including a man who enjoyed a slow walk along its pathways. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
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