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Friday, March 26, 2010

Barnum Financial Tops List of State’s Best Places to Work

The Barnum Financial Group, with offices in Westport and 17 other locations statewide, was chosen as one of the 25 “Best Places to Work in Connecticut for 2010” by the Hartford Business Journal at its annual awards ceremony Thursday evening in Waterbury.

Barnum, located at 265 Post Road West, topped the list of the top five large companies, followed by Comcast Cable in Berlin, Yale-New Haven Hospital, the Henkel Corporation in Rocky Hill, and Robinson and Cole LLP in Hartford.

According to the HBJ, the listing was determined by an independent survey company, Best Companies Group, which works to identify and recognize companies “which have been successful in creating and maintaining workplace excellence.”

“Best Places to Work continues to be one of our most exciting events,” said Gail Lebert, HBJ publisher. “We are honored to celebrate these winning companies and aim to give them well-deserved recognition for their perseverance and drive in these times.”

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03/26/10 02:16 PM Comments () • Permalink

Longshore Sunrise Image
Trees on Westport’s Longshore golf course stand out as stark silhouettes against a brilliant golden sunrise early Thursday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


03/26/10 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, March 26, 2010

9:30 a.m. - Westport Arts Center - ArtCafé
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Westport Modern: When Cool Was Hot!”
10 a.m. - Noon - Westport Historical Society - Westport for Dummies Tour
7:30 p.m. - Staples High School - Staples Players, “Little Shop of Horrors”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


03/26/10 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Drinking to the Playhouse’s 80th Anniversary Image
More than 100 guests tonight attended an 80th anniversary celebration of the Westport Country Playhouse with a blended and single malt scotch tasting event held at the Sheffer Rehearsal Hall. Sponsored by Diageo, the event featured the company’s Master of Whiskey sharing the pleasures and complexities of premier brands Johnnie Walker Black, Johnnie Walker Gold, Johnnie Walker Blue, Oban, Talisker, and Lagavulin, each with hors d’oeuvres pairings.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/26/10 02:42 AM Comments () • Permalink

New Sign Heralds Saugatuck Center Development Image
A new sign went up on Riverside Avenue today heralding construction of a new retail, office and residential development in Westport’s Saugauck area. The posting of a sign for phase one of what is called Saugatuck Center features the “Marsh” and “Tide” waterside buildings that will house 4,000 square feet of retail space on the street level, as well as 5,000 square feet of office space overlooking the water and six residential apartments on the second floor. Backed by the Gault family, the development’s initial buildings are scheduled to be completed by early 2011. The developer is promoting Saugatuck Center as a “plan to bring neighborhood back to Saugatuck, Westport’s historic waterfront community.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/26/10 12:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Himes to Meet With Westport Seniors on April 1

Congressman Jim Himes will hold a question-and-answer session with Westport seniors on Thursday, April 1 to discuss the health care reform bill President Obama signed into law Tuesday.

The meeting will take place at 2 p.m. at the Westport Center for Senior Activities, 21 Imperial Ave.

Click here for a fact sheet on how health care reform will impact seniors.


03/25/10 08:33 PM Comments () • Permalink

FEMA Assessment Team Will Visit Westport Monday

UPDATE Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced state and federal emergency management officials will meet in Hartford on Monday and later tour Fairfield County, including Westport, to begin conducting joint damage assessments from the March 13-14 Image
Westport resident Mandy Germishuys shows Don Quirin of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) her water-filled basement after a 2007 storm that battered Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Fire Chief Christopher Ackley, Westport’s emergency management director, said a FEMA team will visit Westport in mid-morning. Westport has estimated it had at least $829,000 in municipal damage and expenses and at least $300,000 in damage to residences that is not reimbursable from insurance.

The surveys by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) follow preliminary reviews by DEMHS that indicated the costs and damage amounted to more than $7 million.

The goal is to verify that Connecticut has met the federal thresholds of at least $4.39 million in damages statewide and at least $2.85 million in damages in Fairfield County so that Rell can request a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration, her office said.

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03/25/10 05:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

RTM Rules Committee Votes 7-3 Against Amendment

By James Lomuscio

Some members of the Rules Committee of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) thought the proposed amendment was redundant. Another suggested the RTM’s Rules of Procedure were fine as they stand, having worked well for 50 years. Some thought the amendment’s language needed tweaking.

In the end, a proposed amendment designed to clarify how much authority the RTM has in land use decisions—especially if it means overturning Planning and Zoning Commission rulings—was voted down Wednesday night by a 7-3 vote.

Now the amendment, without the Rules Committee’s imprimatur, goes before the full 36-member RTM on April 6.

“I was disappointed,” said Hadley Rose, RTM moderator who chaired the Rules Committee and who voted for the amendment along with Barbara Levy and Sean Timmins.

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03/25/10 04:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

Board of Finance Completes Budget Work

The Westport Board of Finance adjourned at 2:47 a.m. today after an almost nine-hour session completing work on the proposed municipal and education budgets for 2010-11.

During the marathon session, the board voted to reduce the proposed education budget of $96.8 million by about $1 million and the municipal budget of $63.7 million by about $1.6 million. The board will hear requests for restoration of funds at its April 7 meeting.

In two nights of voting, the board reduced the municipal operating budget by almost $3.6 million in order to add $2.8 million to the pension contribution line to fully fund the $8.3 million amount recommended by the town’s actuaries.

Fully funding the town’s pensions was often cited by board members as their goal and the reason they had to drastically cut other parts of the budget.

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03/25/10 06:48 AM Comments () • Permalink

Finance Board Cuts $1 million from School Budget

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE After much wrangling Wednesday night, the Westport Board of Finance trimmed the school board’s proposed $96.8 million budget for 2010-2011 by $1 million with 4 to 3 vote.

The four Democrats voted for the cut while the three Republicans opposed it, with one, Avi Kaner, earlier proposing a $197,000 reduction.

At the last minute Republican Ed Iannone suggested a $600,000 reduction, seconded by Democrat Allyson Stollenweck, who had earlier made the $1 million reduction motion. However, in the end she decided to vote with her fellow Democrats on her higher proposed reduction.

Most members were conflicted over the cut, especially since they had initially praised school board chairman Don O’Day when he presented the proposed budget.

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03/25/10 04:51 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sure Sign of Spring Image
Daffodils along Westport’s Greens Farm Road have appeared, a sure sign that spring has sprung. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larr Untermeyer for


03/25/10 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, March 25, 2010

9:30 a.m. - Westport Public Library - Longshore Ladies Nine-Hole Golf Association Information & Registration Coffee
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Westport Modern: When Cool Was Hot!”
10 a.m. – Earthplace – Sasco Brook Pollution Abatement Committee
Noon - Westport Public Library - [email protected] Library: Jeff Shesol, “Mutual Contempt”
6 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - A Scotch Tasting Event: “High Spirits”
7 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79 and
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Sherwood Mill Pond Committee
7 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Jobseeker Special: “Turn Networking to Getworking,” Ron Drew

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


03/25/10 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Board of Finance Cuts $1 Million from Education Request

UPDATE The Westport Board of Finance tonight reduced the Board of Education’s proposed 2010-11 budget by $1 million after three hours of discussion. The 4-3 vote was on party lines—-four Democrats in favor, three Republicans Image
Board of Education Chariman Don O’Day addresses the Board of Finance tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Moments earlier, Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon told members that if they cut his proposed operating budget of $96.8 million by $1 million, it would be “virtually impossible” to keep the programs at current levels because it will have an impact.

The education vote came after the board earlier continued where it left off in the early hours of the morning on the town budget, cutting an additional $1.12 million, mostly in public works but also $100,000 from the library.

A library official told board members the reduction could mean closing for 39 out of 49 Sundays beginning in July—a remark that brought a sharp rebuke from several board members who said the library could find money elsewhere.

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03/25/10 12:38 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On “Westport for Dummies” Tour Image
Forty-nine persons today joined the Westport Historical Society’s annual historical bus tour of Westport neighborhoods called “Westport for Dummies.” Among the stops was Compo Beach by the cannons to learn about the landing of the British in 1777. The two-hour tour included as tour guides Allen Raymond, Westport’s municipal historian, Ron Malone, former Westport chief of police, and Peter Jennings, an 11th generation Westporter.The tour is being offered again Friday from 10 a.m. to noon. A few spots are still available and reservations can be made by calling (203)222-1424. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


03/24/10 07:35 PM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 55 Valley Road Image
An application is in process to acquire a permit to demolish the house at 55 Valley Road off Greens Farms Road in Westport. Built in 1939, the 1-1/2-story cape has 3,153 square feet and is situated on a .65-acre lot. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/24/10 01:22 PM Comments () • Permalink

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