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Friday, December 08, 2006

Chilly Ride

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Colder temperatures didn’t keep a cyclist away from Westport’s Burying Hill Beach at sunset on Thursday. Temperatures are supposed to become colder today with a chance of snow. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Friday, Dec. 8, 2006


7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “A Christmas Carol”
7 p.m. - Staples High School - Candlelight Concert
8 p.m. - Westport Community Theatre - “An Inspector Calls”

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Hanukkah Events Planned

Two Hanukkah events are planned throughout December in Westport.

Hanukkah on Ice is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 17 at 5:30-8 p.m., and a Menorah lighting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Hanukkah on Ice will take place at the PAL Ice Rink at Longshore Club Park and features Hanukkah gelt, music, face painting, hot chocolate and dreidels. Admission is $12 for adults and $10 for children and includes skates and potato pancakes.

The Menorah lighting takes place at Compo Acres Shopping Center and features potato latkes, music, hot chocolate and dreidels. The event is free.

For more information, call (203) 221-2767.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Compo Sunset

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Normally a regular scene during the summer months, people still pause and sit on the cannons at Westport’s Compo Beach as winter draws near. Temperatures were in the mid-40s today, but are predicted to be cold on Friday with a slight chance of snow. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Smart Growth Topic of Rotary Session

Smart growth will be topic of discussion at Friday’s Westport Sunrise Rotary session.

Matthew Mandell, an open space advocate and RTM member, will speak at the breakfast session that starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Peppermill Restaurant.

Mandell is a co-director of the Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund, which secured 22 acres of open space on the former F.D. Rich property.

He is also a trustee at Earthplace and represents District 1 on the RTM.

Mandell is also scheduled to appear on the “Lunch with Lisa” program at 11 a.m. on Saturday on AM 1400 WSTC and 1350 WNLK.

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Finance Board Supports Baron’s and Jesup Study

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Westport Board of Finance members said they saw the need for an engineering study at Baron’s South and Jesup Green, but some also expressed hesitancy about moving forward with any major spending that could be connected with the study’s results.

The board approved $49,500 for the engineering study during its meeting Wednesday night, and now the request moves to the Representative Town Meeting.

First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said he has a vision of downtown that is vibrant and people-oriented, but he needs to know what can and cannot be done.

Baron’s South has hilly terrain that is not easy to build on, he said, and the senior center influences any development.

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Town Plan Session to Air this Weekend

The third meeting about the update to the Town Plan of Conservation and Development will air on Westport’s cable access channel this weekend.

The meeting will air on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m.

The session, which took place in November at Bedford Middle School, centered on development issues.

The session can be found on cable channel 79 in Westport.

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Marina Sunset

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Colder temperatures have descended upon Westport in December, but some boats remain in the water at the marina at Longshore Club Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Thursday, Dec. 7, 2006


7 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79)
7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “A Christmas Carol”

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Finance Board Approves Longshore Lease

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The Inn and Longshore could potentially be leased to Longshore Associates of Westport for an additional 22 years.

The Board of Finance approved a 10-year extension of the lease during its meeting tonight. The Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Selectmen still need to review and approve the lease.

The lease starts in 2009 after the final two years of the current deal, and it includes two options for renewal for five years each.

Town Attorney Ira Bloom said the rent for the first year of the lease is $675,000, which is consistent with an appraisal for the property.

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Anderson Serves Final Session on Finance Board

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The Board of Finance applauds R. Gavin Anderson (r) after he received a plaque honoring him for seven years of service on the board. Tonight was Anderson’s final meeting before retiring. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Hamilton Laux for WestportNow.com
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Heralded with pipes and drums, Westport Board of Finance members honored R. Gavin Anderson during his final meeting on the board tonight.

After seven years on the Board of Finance, Anderson, a Republican, is retiring from the position in order to spend more time with his wife, Kendall, with one year remaining on his term.

“In the years we have been colleagues, there has never been a time where you didn’t work harder than any of us on behalf of the town,” said Jeffrey Mayer, finance board chairman.

Charlie Haberstroh, one of Anderson’s fellow Republicans on the board, said he has learned a lot from Anderson and has always been struck by his principles, love for debate, sense of fairness and his ability to listen.

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Speaking on Celebrity Eating Disorders

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Westporter Gary Stromberg, author of “Feeding the Fame,” spoke at the Westport Public Library tonight about the book he penned with Jane Merrill, who is also from Westport. The book captures the stories of celebrities who have suffered eating disorders. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Playing for the IHA Holiday Party

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Niles Lathrop (l) and Jack Holtze of the Coleytown Middle School Jazz Band concentrate on their saxophones during a performance for the Interfaith Housing Association’s holiday party tonight. The party took place at IHA’s Gillespie Center and Hoskins’ Place and the activities included a holiday tree lighting, menorah lighting and a visit from Santa Clause, who arrived with the Westport Fire Department. Those who attended brought food donations for the IHA’s food pantry. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Holiday Fun

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There was a large turnout tonight for a holiday party hosted by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce at Commerce Bank on Westport’s Main Street. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Archaeology Topic of Y’s Men Session

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Nicholas F. Bellantoni:Talking about combining archaeology and forensics. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
The Y’s Men of Westport-Weston will hear from the state archaeologist during its next session on Thursday at 10 a.m.

Nicholas F. Bellantoni, who serves as the state archaeologist with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Archaeology Center at the University of Connecticut, will talk on “Adventures of the State Archaeologist: Combining Forensics and Archaeology.”

Not only will he talk about recent archaeology projects throughout the state, but will discuss his role in police investigations, forensics and burials.

The meeting takes place at Saugatuck Congregational Church, which is located at 245 Post Road East.

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WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 8 Sprucewood Lane

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Westport officials are considering a demolition application for the house at 8 Sprucewood Lane. The property changed hands last month for $1,175,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Seeing Red

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The Westport Center for Senior Activities was blooming with bright red hats today as the Red Hat Society of Fairfield County lunched at the center and then viewed a fashion show presented by the Dress Barn with their members as the models. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Regulation and Ordinance Differences Need Resolution

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After the Representative Town Meeting passed an ordinance governing private sewage systems, Westport officials are now left to reconcile differences between the ordinance and a Water Pollution Control Authority regulation.

The RTM voted 27-6 Tuesday night for the ordinance after making four amendments to the original proposal, including increasing how much money should be kept in an emergency fund.

The ordinance’s intent is to provide the town with financial security in case a large, private sewage system should happen to fail, and includes two accounts in case of problems.

The first account would hold money to maintain the system, and the second would be for money in case there is an emergency that causes community pollution.

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Builders Beyond Borders Receives $10,000 Grant

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Builders Beyond Borders received a $10,000 grant to fund its leadership training program. Last September, 58 high school seniors participated in the program. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
The Newman’s Own Foundation recently awarded a $10,000 grant to Builders Beyond Borders, a program that has sent hundreds of Westport teenagers abroad to developing nations to help with construction projects.

The grant will be used to develop a leadership training program for experienced students who qualify for the program.

At the end of September, 58 high school seniors took part in leadership training at Camp Jewell to prepare them to take on leadership roles in their schools, communities and at Building Beyond Border trips in Ecuador in February, March and April.

In early 2007, 340 high school students will travel to Ecuador to help with various construction projects.

For more information, visit www.buildersbeyondborders.org or call (203) 847-5220.

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Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006


10 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Westport-Weston Health District Flu Clinic
10:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – International Hospitality Committee
4 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Beautification Committee
6 p.m. - Gillespie Center/Hoskins’ Place - Interfaith Housing Association Holiday Party
7 p.m. – Westport Fire Headquarters – Public Site & Building Commission
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Flood & Erosion Control Board
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - authors@the library: Gary Stromberg
8 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Board of Finance Meeting (live coverage cable channel 79)

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RTM Designates 113 Cross Highway as Historical Property

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The RTM unanimously approved 113 Cross Highway as a local historical property. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow file photo by Dave Matlow
By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Representative Town Meeting tonight unanimously chose to protect 113 Cross Highway as a local historical property.

By adding the property to the ordinance, the house would be protected from destruction and the Historic District Commission would need to approve any changes to it.

The property is known as the Meeker Elwood House and Cross Highway Garage and was the home of Westport’s first filling station.

Michael and Kim Ronemus, who bought the property last spring, are seeking to protect the house because they did not want to see it destroyed (See WestportNow May 20).

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RTM Approves Teachers Contract

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The Westport Board of Education and the Westport Education Association officially have a new contract in place.

The Representative Town Meeting tonight unanimously approved the contract with the teachers union that the school board approved last month (See WestportNow Nov. 6).

Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said he was pleased with the settlement because it brings labor peace, but it also highlights gains that benefit both students and the taxpayers.

The deal carries wage increases of 2.85 percent, 2.82 percent and 2.89 percent in each of the three years. It goes into effect on July 1, 2007, and runs through June 30, 2010.

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Reproductive Rights Talk Slated for Woman’s Club

The Westport Woman’s Club will be the site of a talk Wednesday about reproductive rights, which is sponsored by the Rosie Fund

The event is scheduled for 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the club, which is located on Imperial Avenue.

Author Cristina Page will be speaking on topics from her book, “How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics and the War on Sex,” and she will be available to sign copies following the talk.

Page is vice president of the Institute for Reproductive Health Access at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and a reproductive rights activist. Her policy proposals have been adopted by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New Jersey State legislature.

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Elementary Spanish Program Questioned

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Westport Board of Education members are questioning the need for Spanish in elementary school grades, but feel further study is needed before any decisions can be made.

The school board reviewed the district’s world language program during its meeting Monday night. Included was the elementary school Spanish program, which was implemented with kindergartners in the 2000-01 school year.

Lynne Shain, assistant schools superintendent for curriculum and staff development, said teachers changed their focus for teaching Spanish in the younger grades to focus on listening comprehension rather than the traditional model that focuses on reading, writing and vocabulary.

The change was because school officials felt the emphasis should be on speaking the language rather than reading or writing, she said.

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Bringing Holiday Cheer

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Alice Lipson leads the Staples Orphenians during a visit to the Westport Rotary Club today. The group visits the club each year during the holiday season. The group will perform as part of the annual Staples Candlelight Concert, which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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