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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

RTM Approves Resolution Encouraging More Family Y Talks

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Representative Town Meeting Tuesday night approved a sense of the meeting resolution encouraging the administration to continue to work with Westport Weston Family Y officials on exploring options to keep the facility downtown that could include a land swap.

The measure, which is nonbinding, was approved after three hours of debate and five revisions of the resolution. The first resolution requested First Selectman Gordon Joseloff to create a committee to search for downtown solutions rather than seeing the Family Y moving to Camp Mahackeno.

Joseloff, however, said he would not form a committee because he feels action needs to be taken. Additionally, he said, he has been talking with Family Y officials at least weekly about potentially keeping the facility downtown.

He has already taken action, he said, by moving forward with an engineering study of Jesup Green and Baron’s South, which includes considering a large, community-use facility for the area.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2007


10:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - International Hospitality Committee
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - TEAM Westport Committee - CANCELED
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Board of Assessment Appeals
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201A - Board of Finance anticipated executive session
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Flood & Erosion Control Board
8 p.m. - Auditorium - Board of Finance including budget presentation (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)

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Speakers Forcus on Energy Conservation, Green Power

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Green Energy Task Force tonight heard from representatives of Connecticut Light & Power Co. and the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund about initiatives they are taking to reduce energy consumption and promote clean energy.

They were the first of a series of speakers to address the task force about clean energy initiatives throughout the state.

Marge Kelly, representing CL&P’s Conservation Department, said her company focuses more on conserving energy than instituting new clean energy technologies.

Its efforts include requesting people not to use appliances such as washers and dryers until after 8 p.m. at night under the “Wait Until Eight” program, she said.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Application Filed to Demolish 113 Cross Highway

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The owners of 113 Cross Highway are seeking to sell the historic property. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow file photo by Dave Matlow
By Jennifer Connic

The owners of 113 Cross Highway—which was the location of Westport’s first filling station—are seeking demolition permits and for someone to purchase the property.

The application for the demolition permits comes about one week after the Zoning Board of Appeals granted one variance that allows for a home office but denied variances that would have allowed expanding the office’s size and a guest room (See WestportNow Feb. 28).

Kim Ronemus, who owns the property with her husband Michael, said they are requesting the demolition permit for anyone who may purchase the property.

“We didn’t get any variances for what we want to do,” she said. “We are completely devastated. It’s not economically feasible for us to renovate those seven outbuildings and have them stand with no use.”

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FBI Agent Details Priorities to Westport Rotary

By Barbara Sweet

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FBI Special Agent Stuart Robinson addressed the Westport Rotary Club today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Stuart A. Robinson, Supervisory Special Agent, New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, told the Westport Rotary Club today that the FBI has had to do more with less since 9/11.

The tragedy of Sept. 11 has changed how the nation feels about itself, and how the FBI deals with law enforcement issues, he said.

Speaking of those who attempt to perpetuate fraud on the public, Robinson said these people “have no shame, and are very goal-oriented.”

In an attempt to deflect fraud, he said the public should make a firm rule never to give information of a personal nature to anyone, unless you have, on a proactive basis. sought out an entity such as a known charity or local church.

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WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 73 Valley Road

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A number of Westport officials are revieiwng an application to demolish the house at 73 Valley Road. The 1954 house is on one-third of an acre on the corner of Hale Street. The Zoning Board of Appeals will review the proposal at its March 13 meeting. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Staples Principal Gives Details of Drug Incident

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John Dodig: “Students involved will be welcomed back” after consequences concluded. WN file photo
In a letter sent today to parents at Westport’s Staples High School, Principal John Dodig detailed last week’s drug incident at the school and asked them to “remember that part of being a teenager is making mistakes.”

Dodig disclosed for the first time that nine students were involved in the marijuana incident Thursday which resulted in the arrest of seven students. (See WestportNow March 2, 2007)

He said the nine were suspended from school for periods of from five to 10 days. Some of the seven arrested have been recommended to the Superintendent of Schools for expulsion from school for a length of time to be determined at a hearing but not to exceed 180 school days.

“It is important to remember that part of being a teenager is making mistakes,” Dodig said. “Some mistakes are worse than others and result in dire consequences.

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School Board Discusses Policy on Police in Schools

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Board of Education Monday night began discussions on develping a policy on when police would be allowed in schools. It came just days after seven Staples High School students were arrested on drug possession charges.

The board’s discussion about permitting police in schools—including when there is an incident in the schools—was its first since 2001, and gave direction to its attorney Tom Mooney on writing a new policy.

Board Chairman Mary Parmelee said there are two times police could be in the schools, including when school officials call them and when officers want to talk to a student involved in an incident that did not happen at a school.

Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said in his experience in Westport police officers do not come onto school grounds unless they are invited by school officials.

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Winslow Scene

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The sun was out most of Monday in Westport, but there were also snow showers that moved through the region. Temperatures are expected to dip into the low 20s today. View is of Winslow Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Hamilton Laux for WestportNow.com

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Tuesday, March 6 2007


10 a.m. - Westport Public Library - Jobseekers Resource Seminar
3 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Special Board of Selectman anticipated executive session
4:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309/307 - Special Board of Selectman
5:30 p.m. - Westport Fire Headquarters - Public Site & Building Commission
Levitt Pavilion Committee
6:45 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Green Energy Task Force
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Board of Assessment Appeals
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - Shellfish Commission
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Westport Reads: “See” Music with your ears
7:45 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - RTM anticipated executive session
8 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - RTM Meeting (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)

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Kindergarten Savings $310,000 Less than Expected

By Jennifer Connic

Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon tonight clarified how much will be saved on transportation because of all-day kindergarten, which is $310,000 less than originally anticipated.

The Board of Education approved a plan to implement three full days of kindergarten in the fall along with two days of classes that will end 2 hours earlier than the remainder of elementary students. At that time, Landon said school officials would save $390,000 in transportation costs.

Landon said tonight during the announcements portion of the meeting that he “misspoke” and the actual savings will be $80,000.

Board Chairwoman Mary Parmelee noted that the board approved the measure for its education value and not the savings, but she asked the board if any member wanted to bring the plan back for a re-vote. No one said they wanted a second vote on the matter.

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School Board Won’t Change Attorneys

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Board of Education made clear tonight it will not change its attorney although concerns were raised about a potential conflict of interest since he is from the same firm as the attorney representing a developer suing the town over a residential project.

Attorney Chris Smith, representing Redcoast Development, and school board attorney Tom Mooney are both from Hartford-based Shipman and Goodwin. Redcoat Development is appealing the Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision to reject a proposed condominium development, which includes affordable housing, for the Gorham Avenue Historic District.

Mooney said during tonight’s meeting the Connecticut Bar Association ruled 22 years ago that there is no conflict of interest because the Board of Education is a state agency. The question comes up regularly, he said, because the firm has 140 attorneys representing a variety of issues, including 80 school districts in the state, he said.

“This is a land use issue, and it’s unrelated to the work of the school system,” he said. “I represent the Board of Education. I do not represent the town. It’s separate.”

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Gusty Winds Down Trees, Power Line

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Winds gusting up to almost 40 miles per hour knocked down trees and power lines tonight in several areas of Westport, including (above) on Burr School Road off of Long Lots Road. Firefighter Jason Kronenberger checks for downed wires. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Westport Forum Discusses Bridgeport Schools

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The Westport Public Library tonight hosted a discussion on “Spotlight on Bridgeport Schools—Why Should We Care?” Panelists included (l-r) Marilyn Ondrasik, executive director of the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition, Peter Hurst, president of Community’s Bank in Bridgeport, and Dr. John Ramos, superintendent of Bridgeport schools. Noting that many educationally deprived Bridgeport children turn to crime and that the city is a quick ride from Westport, Hurst asked: “Do you want that 18 minutes from this town? I hope not.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

03/06/07 03:08 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

P&Z Examines Infrastructure Issues

By Jennifer Connic

While there are enough school facilities to house children, Westport school and town officials will need to examine administrative space and where to house school buses over the next 10 years.

The issue came up during a Westport Planning and Zoning Commission discussion tonight on the update to the Town Plan of Conservation and Development.

Avon-based Planimetrics is working with the commission on the update, and issued a booklet on infrastructure issues, which can be found on the town’s Web site.

Glenn Chalder, Planimetrics principal, told the commission that the idea is not to micromanage each department on what it should do in the future, but rather to make sure each has the facilities to carry out its mission for the next 10 years.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Like a Blizzard

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Snow showers moved through Westport this afternoon. They were so heavy it was hard to make out the trees in some Westport backyards. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn Miller for WestportNow.com

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Proposed Zoning Regulations Focus on Home Size

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Planning and Zoning Commission will begin discussions this week on proposed new zoning regulations that would limit the size of residential structures.

The new regulations are available in the Planning and Zoning Department at Town Hall and are scheduled to be placed on the town’s Web site.

The proposed regulations include new limits on height and setbacks, and will be the subject of a commission work session on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. A public workshop on the regulations is scheduled for Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

When town officials hired Avon-based Planimetrics last spring to complete an update to the Town Plan of Conservation and Development, they also asked the firm to analyze ways to control the size of homes through zoning regulations (See WestportNow April 4, 2006).

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Woman’s Club to Hold Tag Sale

The Westport Woman’s Club will hold a tag sale at its Curio Cottage Thrift Shop at 44 Imperial Ave. on Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The tag sale will take place in the clubhouse auditorium and will include an expanded selection of furniture, vintage collectibles, china, glassware, house wares, home accessories, artwork, toys and games.

The club will accept “almost new” donations for the tag sale on Wednesday ant Thursday at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Westport Woman’s Club will use all proceeds as donations to charitable organizations and social service agencies throughout Fairfield County

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Town Receives $5,000 Clean Energy Grant

By Jennifer Connic

Westport is among 15 communities that received a $5,000 grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund to support small projects that support green energy.

Each of the communities in the state that are part of the 20 percent clean energy by 2010 program received the grant. Also receiving funding were Bloomfield, Canton, Cheshire, Chester, Essex, Hartford, Harwinton, Meriden, Plainville, Salisbury, Stamford, West Hartford, Wethersfield and Woodbridge.

Carl Leaman, Green Energy Task Force chairman, said he’s not sure how the grant will be used, but it could be used for assorted small projects.

The task force, which meets Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. in Town Hall, will begin discussing the matter during its upcoming meeting, he said.

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WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 5 Minard Drive

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Westport building officials are reviewing an application to demolish the house at 5 Minard Drive, which is in the Saugatuck Shores area. The 1953 house changed hands last June for $812,500. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Sherwood Shots

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Temperatures at Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park approached 40 degrees on Sunday. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-30s today, but they’re expected to dip quickly into the 20s by mid-week. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Hamilton Laux for WestportNow.com

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March 5, 2007


5 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Historic District Commission
7 p.m. - Staples High School, Room 321 - Board of Education anticipated executive session
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309/307 - Work Session for Town Plan of Conservation &
Development
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Golf Advisory Committee
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Community Conversation: Spotlight on Bridgeport Schools
8 p.m. - Staples High School, Room 301 - Board of Education (live coverage cable 78)

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Accident Ties Up Parkway Traffic

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An early evening accident tied up traffic today on the Merritt Parkway between exits 40 and 41 in Westport. The accident just after 5 p.m. involved a van that left the northbound lanes and hit a tree, resulting in injuries. Westport fire and EMS were among emergency services which responded. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Arctic Cold Front to Bring Bitter Cold This Week

An Arctic cold front will move through Westport and the tri-state area late Monday afternoon followed by possible record breaking cold Monday night into Tuesday, the National Weather Service said today.

Winds both ahead of and behind the front will be very strong with gusts up to 40 mph from Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning, an advisory said.

These strong winds combined with bitterly cold temperatures will produce wind chill values 5 to 10 degrees below zero with wind chills approaching 15 below possible across the interior lower Hudson Valley and interior portions of southeastern Connecticut from late Monday night into Tuesday morning.

In addition, scattered snow showers will be possible during the evening hours on Monday, especially to the north and west of New York City, the advisory said.

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Sunday Afternoon Jazz

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There was a full house at Westport’s Center for Senior Activities for today’s performance by the Galvanized Jazz Band, recently recognized as the “Best Jazz Band in the State” by Connecticut Magazine. The event was part of the Sunday Indoor Music Series made possible by a grant from Mimi Levitt and the Mortimer Levitt Foundation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Susan Pfister for WestportNow.com

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