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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Board of Finance Restores Funds, Approves Budget

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Board of Finance tonight restored $205,608 to the selectman’s budget before approving a total 2007-08 proposed budget of $160.1 million.

The finance board had cut $876,000 from the selectman’s budget last month and it also cut $500,000 from the Board of Education proposed budget.

The restoration brings the total selectman’s budget to $56.8 million, a 4.7 percent increase over the current year. First Selectman Gordon Joseloff had originally proposed a $57.5 million budget, a 5.9 percent increase.

The $500,000 cut brings the school proposal to $88.7 million, which is a 7.8 percent increase over the current budget. The Board of Education had proposed a $89.2 million 2007-08 operating budget, which is a 8.4 percent increase over the current budget.

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No One Injured in Gas Line Rupture

A backhoe struck a gas pipe today on Beechwood Lane off Spicer Road but caused no injuries, fire officials said.

At about noon, Westport firefighters responding from their nearby headquarters on Post Road East found a an underground pipe that had been broken during the construction of a house, said Assistant Fire Chief Gene Maloney, and gas was spewing from the pipe.

Workers at the scene said a backhoe struck the pipe while doing excavation work, he said, and firefighters monitored the home with meters to determine gas level concentration and evacuated the home owner’s dog from the house.

Southern Connecticut Gas Company representatives were at the scene to shut down the gas supply and begin repairs to restore gas service, he said.

04/12/07 01:10 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Conservation Discusses Conditions on Family Y Decision

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Conservation Commission tonight again focused on potential conditions of any decision it may make on the Westport Weston Family Y’s application to build a new facility at Camp Mahackeno.

The commission is working towards a resolution on decision, but it has yet to take any vote on the application. Typically, however, conditions are placed on approvals by the commission.

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.

The commission tonight asked questions about potentially requiring the building to be moved west and how it could be done.

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Court Meeting to Focus on Gorham Appeal

By Jennifer Connic

Westport officials will be in Bridgeport Superior Court on Thursday for a status conference in appeal of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision to reject an affordable housing application for the Gorham Avenue Historic District.

Red Coat Development proposed to build 20 condominiums at the 1.5 acres at 296 Main St. and 5 Gorham Ave. Six of the units would be deemed “affordable” under state statutes. The application falls under the state’s affordable housing statute, which switches the burden of proof on a zoning decision to the commission.

The Planning and Zoning Commission rejected the application in January (See WestportNow Jan. 18), and the developer appealed the decision in February (See WestportNow Feb. 9).

Town Attorney Ira Bloom said today the meeting to be held is essentially to update the court on the status of the case.

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04/11/07 08:44 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Preparing for Summer Beach Season

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Crews from the Kowalsky Brothers were at Westport’s Compo Beach today getting the sand ready for the summer beach season. The Kowalsky Brothers crews annually redistribute the sand at the beach after it has been shifted due to teh winter weather. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

04/11/07 08:14 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Schools Plan Title I Testing

Westport Public Schools will be conducting a screening process to identify preschool children who are “at risk” for learning under the Federal and Local Title I eligibility criteria.

Screening for Title I will be held by appointment only at Coleytown Elementary School on Tuesday, May 8 at 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Testing takes approximately 45 minutes for each child.

The Title I screening process considers the child’s development in the areas of motor, cognition and language development. The free Title I screening is open to Westport residents whose children reach the age of 3 by June. 

The current Title I program for children identified as “at risk” is incorporated into the Westport Public Schools’ Stepping Stones Preschool.

To schedule an appointment, call Carol Haberlin at (203) 341-1712.

04/11/07 08:04 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Library Board Seeks Trustee Candidates

The Westport Public Library Board of Trustees is seeking candidates to apply for vacancies on the board.

Appointments will be for a four-year term beginning in June.

There are 20 members on the Library Board, half of whom are appointed by the Representative Town Meeting and half of whom are appointed by the board itself. 

More information about the role of the Library Board is available at www.westportlibrary.org.

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Westport Art Organizations Receive State Funding

Four Westport organizations are among those receiving a state Arts Endowment Fund award, which total $732,939 for the state organizations.

The Levitt Pavilion will receive $3,584.03, Music for Youth will receive $952.78, the Westport Arts Center will receive $7,725.14 and the Westport Country Playhouse will receive $27,627.36 in state funding from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.

“The Commission on Culture and Tourism recognizes the importance of sustaining Connecticut’s arts organizations and institutions, which contribute significantly to our state’s quality of life and the economic vitality of our cities,” Karen Senich, commission executive director, said in a release.

“We also realize the critical need for unrestricted funding, which can be used by organizations to their best advantage.”

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04/11/07 04:42 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Spring Walk

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Two teens walked the wooden structure at Westport’s Burying Hill Beach on Tuesday. Temperatures reached the high 40s and are expected to reach into the 50s today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

04/11/07 04:30 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


10:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – International Hospitality Committee
Noon - Westport Public Library - authors@the Library: Judith Marks-White
5 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Board of Selectmen (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Conservation Commission Work Session
7:30 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Literature: Mark Schenker
8 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Board of Finance Budget Restoration Meeting (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
8 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – RTM Information Technology Committee

04/11/07 04:05 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Ballfields Named to Honor Little League Volunteers

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Representative Town Meeting tonight voted to honor two Westport Little League volunteers by naming the Coleytown Field and the Town Farm complex in their honor.

The RTM voted today to name a baseball field at Coleytown Elementary School for Donald Levy and to name the baseball and softball fields at the Town Farms “Mary Ellen White Baseball and Softball Complex at Town Farms.” Additionally, the entrance driveway at the Town Farms would be renamed Mary Ellen White Way.

Levy, who spent decades working with Westport Little League, died last August (See WestportNow Aug. 21). Mary Ellen White, known as the “heart and soul” of Westport Little League, died last October (See WestportNow Oct. 5).

Matt Greco, a tri-captain for the Staples High School baseball team, said he and his fellow captains went through Westport Little League and plan to play in college, and White was always there volunteering her time when they played when they were younger.

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Students Present Solutions for Town’s Problems

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Fifth grade students from across Westport presented their ideas on how to solve some of the town’s problems during tonight’s Westport Representative Town Meeting session. The topics included pollution, emergency preparedness and Internet safety. Emma Moskovitz (l) and Melissa Beretta presented their project on Internet safety. The students first presented their projects at a session in February (See WestportNow Feb. 7). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jennifer Connic for WestportNow.com

04/11/07 01:54 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Panel Focuses on Feminist Movement

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The Westport Public Library tonight hosted a discussion about the successes, mistakes and unfinished business of the women’s movement. The panel was led by Barbara Love, editor of “Feminists Who Changed America 1963-1975.”  Also on the panel were Vicki Moss, one of the 10 founding members of the New York Association of Women Business Owners; Jocelyn Boryczka, professor of politics at Fairfield University specializing in feminist political theory; and Ann Wallace who led the effort in the late ‘60s to resuscitate the Equal Rights Amendment. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Joan Hume for WestportNow.com

04/11/07 12:29 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Westporter to Speak on First Novel

Westporter Judith Marks-White will speak about her first novel, “Seducing Harry, an Epicurean Affair,” at the Westport Public Library on Wednesday at noon.

The book follows the escapades of soon-to-be-50 and married but bored Coco Plotnick-Hollander-Harding after she meets Harry Troutman, a renowned, dashing New York City plastic surgeon.

For 22 years, Marks-White has written the weekly column “The Light Touch” for the Westport News and her feature articles and humorous essays have also appeared in many magazines and anthologies.

She also teaches English and humor writing at Norwalk Community College and is currently at work on her second novel, “Outrageously Blonde.”

For more information, call (203) 291-4840 or visit www.westportlibrary.org.

04/11/07 12:06 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Westport Property Transfers April 2-6, 2007

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period April 2-6, 2007:

78 Cranbury Road LLC to Jeffrey A. Mayer & Nancy E. Diamond, 90 Partrick Road, $915,000WN property.jpg

James F & Henrietta Y. Fox to Sherief Meleis & Deena Emera, 180 Wilton Road, $1,340,000

319 Post Road East Associates LLC to Braidmax LLC, 139 Kings Highway North, $700,000

Ray L. Meyerson to Diana & Rodney Larsen, 75 Riverside Ave., $1,050,000

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Final Day of School Slated for June 21

The final day in the Westport schools will be Thursday, June 21.

Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon announced the final day of school during the Board of Education meeting Monday night.

The school calendar has three snow days built in, he said, but there were only two snow days this year. Therefore, the school year will be one day shorter than originally planned, he said.

Staples High School graduation will take place at 2 p.m. on the final day of school in the high school’s field house.

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All Gone: 45 Gorham Ave.

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A construction crew completed the demolition of the 1955 house at 45 Gorham Ave. today. The house sold in March for $815,000. It was the WestportNow Teardown of the Day on March 26. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Substitute Teachers Drive Budget Uncertainty

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Board of Education has been told that the 2006-07 school budget will not end in a deficit at the end of the fiscal year.

The board Monday night reviewed the quarterly financial report, which covers expenses through March, which shows a $135,225 deficit. School officials released a report Friday showing the deficit (See WestportNow April 6).

“We will manage the budget,” said Nancy Harris, assistant superintendent for business. “We won’t be in a deficit.”

Two uncertain areas of the budget is out-of-district tuition, she said, and the account covering substitutes and interns, which she said is the biggest unknown.

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Chilly Golf

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Temperatures were in the 40s Monday. but it felt warmer with some enjoying the sun with a round of golf at Westport’s Longshore Club Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007


8:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Human Services Commission
8:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201A – Planning & Zoning Commission Affordable Housing Committee
10 a.m. - Westport Public Library - Jobseekers Resource Seminar
1 p.m. – Earthplace – Sasco Brook Abatement Committee
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Historic District Commission
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Zoning Board of Appeals
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - authors@the library: Barbara Love
8 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – RTM (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)

04/10/07 04:05 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

School Board Won’t Seek Budget Restoration

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Board of Education decided tonight it will not seek restoration of the $500,000 cut from its proposed 2007-08 budget by the Board of Finance.

The $500,000 cut brings the school proposal to $88.7 million, which is a 7.8 percent increase over the current budget. The Board of Education had proposed a $89.2 million 2007-08 operating budget, which is a 8.4 percent increase over the current budget.

The Board of Finance, which meets Wednesday to review restoration requests, suggested school officials take $400,000 of the cut from the insurance reserve fund.

Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said it would remain unclear on the future of the district’s insurance funding, but he would not recommend seeking restoration.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Staples Loses to New Canaan 8-5 in Baseball Opener

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Max Krakowiak delivers the first pitch of the 2007 season. Len Samela for staplesbaseball.com
The Staples varsity baseball team finally got its 2007 season started today after two weather-related postponements but dropped the opener to New Canaan 8-5.

The Wreckers jumped out to an early lead but struggled in the middle innings and couldn’t close the gap late in the game. Max Krakowiak was the losing pitcher.

Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff was on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Wrecker home field.

The Wreckers next go up against Bridgeport’s Harding High School at home at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

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Man Who Confessed to Westport Robbery Pleads Guilty

A Bloomfield man who has confessed to five armed robberies, including one in Westport,  that netted about $2.5 million worth of jewelry pleaded guilty today in New Haven to two federal charges in connection with one of the incidents, federal prosecutors said.

Jerry Kenyatta Carter, 36, faces seven years to life in prison and a fine of up to $5 million when he is sentenced June 26.

The U.S. attorney’s office said Carter robbed five jewelry stores in Westport, Enfield, Manchester, Orange, and Hartford between April 2004 and May 2006.

He pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in New Haven to one count of interfering with interstate commerce by threats of violence and one count of using and carrying a firearm in connection with a crime of violence for the Enfield robbery.

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Clam Dig

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A clam digger was hunting for shellfish at low tide at Compo Cove today. His dig comes after town officials learned some shellfish areas in Westport were downgraded by state officials (See WestportNow today). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

04/09/07 10:29 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Talking Transportation: Commuters Cry for “Quiet Cars”

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow

It takes a tough man to be president of Metro-North, and Peter Cannito fits the bill. A longtime “railroad man,” Cannito offers commuters a chance each year to face him with their questions, comments and, occasionally, compliments.

talkingtransportation250.jpg

But guess what was the hot topic at this year’s “President’s Forum?”  Not dirty bathrooms, fare increases or lack of seat but obnoxious cell phone users.

Metro-North used to market “train time (as) your own time.”  You could read, nap or work on your laptop. But these days, train time means sharing your space with a lot of newbie riders who are more selfish than courteous.

For several years now, I’ve been suggesting we give commuters a break—not by segregating the abusive cell-phonies into one car where they could yell over each others’ conversations, but by doing the opposite: dedicating one car to a cell-free zone.

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