Friday, March 09, 2007
School Officials Face Federal Civil Rights Case
A Westport family has filed a federal civil rights case against the Westport school district and the town claiming racial discrimination and denial of needed special education services.
Carla Karlen has filed the case on behalf of her two children against the town, Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon, Pupil Services Director Cynthia Gilchrist and former Coleytown Elementary School Principal Kaye May.
Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said today he had no comment on the case.
The court papers, which were filed today in Town Hall, state that Karlen is African American, her spouse is Caucasian and her children are biracial, and one child has a number of learning disabilities inlcuding Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Auditory Integration Disorder and Erlin Syndrome.
Town Plan Won’t Include Family Y Move
The Westport Planning and Zoning Commission is not planning to weigh in specifically on the Westport Weston Family Y’s decision to move its facility from downtown to Camp Mahackeno in the update to the Town Plan of Conservation and Development.
During a discussion on the town plan update during a work session Thursday night, most members of the commission said they were not in favor of mentioning the organization specifically, but they were in favor of talking about the need of certain types of organizations to be downtown and in the Saugatuck area.
Commission Co-Chairwoman Eleanor Lowenstein asked the commission’s members if they wanted to comment on the Y issue because of a discussion that came up during the last meeting on the town plan Monday night.
“It’s silly to try to resolve it in the town plan,” said Bruce Kasanoff, a commission member. “The timing is wrong.”
Historical Society Sponsors George Washington Tour
The Westport Historical Society will celebrate George Washington’s 275th birthday with a tour of places he visited on Saturday at 2-4 p.m.
The tour is called “George Washington Slept Here” and will be led by Barbara and Allen Raymond. Allen Raymond is the town historian.
The tour follows the route of the original King’s Highway, which is still marked with Benjamen Franklin’s milestones. It will conclude with a visit to the Rising Sun Tavern and Burr Mansion in Fairfield with Walter Matis of the Fairfield Historical Society.
There will be refreshments, and the tour costs $13 for society members and $4 for children.
P&Z Reviews House Regulations Proposal
The Westport Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public workshop next week on proposed house size regulations, but Thursday night it reviewed the changes and considered potential problems with them.
The proposed changes are on the town’s Web site, and a second, updated version will be placed on the Web site by Monday. The workshop will be held on March 15 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.
Glenn Chalder, Planimetrics consultant who is helping craft the regulations in addition to working on updating the Town Plan of Conservation and Development, thinks some of the biggest concerns residents will have over the proposal is the changes in coverage.
Tennis courts will count as 100 percent coverage, he said, and walkways, which are currently exempt in many cases, will also count as coverage.
Friday, March 9, 2007
8 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Composers Project: Derek Bermel & The Lark Quartet
P&Z To Work on Historic Property Regulations
The Westport Planning and Zoning Commission is taking steps to help residents preserve historic properties in response to recent events over 113 Cross Highway, which was the site of Westport’s first filling station.
The Zoning Board of Appeals recently approved a part of a plan to restore the accessory buildings at the property, and since then the owners have applied to demolish the property (See WestportNow March 6).
Tonight the Planning and Zoning Commission agreed to start a subcommittee to draft regulations to assist people in preserving historic properties.
“(The ZBA) can’t vary what’s not there (in the regulations), so we need to do something without destroying our residential area,” said Eleanor Lowenstein, commission co-chairwoman.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Former Westport Resident Sentenced on Federal Charges
A former Westport resident and real estate executive was sentenced today in New Haven federal court to three months in a federal prison and three years of a supervised release for tax evasion.
Wade Shavell: former real estate broker gets three months in prison. File photo
Wade Shavell, 45, who now lives in Palm Beach, Fla., was also ordered to spend three months of his probation confined to his home, perform 120 hours of community service and pay a $100,000 fine by U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz, who presided over the case. Shavell pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion last September (See WestportNow Sept. 15).
The judge could have sentenced Shavell from 12 to 18 months in prison, but chose a lesser standard because of an “extraordinary physical impairment,” officials said. He is to report to a facility, which has not been named yet, on April 30.
According to documents filed with the court, while living in Westport Shavell incurred significant capital gains as a result of the sale of his real estate company in 1999 to Coldwell Banker. He also maintained a condominium in Florida, federal officials said.
Senior Center Remains Open Despite Road Work
The Westport Center for Senior Activities will continue to run as normal during the week of March 12 despite major road and utility construction on Imperial Avenue.
A portion of Imperial Avenue has been closed to traffic due to construction on Connecticut Light and Power’s project to bury a 340-kilovolt power line from Middletown to Norwalk.
Police will be on Imperial Avenue to help direct traffic, including to the senior center.
Construction is expected to conclude on Imperial Avenue around March 23.
For more information on access to the center, call (203) 341-5099.
Power Line Construction Continues
Construction crews have been digging on Westport’s Post Road East near Maple Avenue each night this week despite cold temperatures as part of the Connecticut Light & Power Co. high voltage line project that runs from Milddletown to Norwalk. Crews are also working on related construction on Imperial Avenue. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com
Staples Students Receive Top Science Honors
With a discovery that advances the field of astronomy, Staples High School junior Antonella Lisanti took overall first place at the Connecticut Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at the University of Connecticut last weekend.
She was a runner-up in the competition last year and attended the national competition. This year, Lisanti was invited to give an oral presentation of her project, which concerned galaxies that contain black holes.
Working at Yale University, Lisanti examined and categorized over 600 different galaxies. Her work has supported several controversial theories on the types of galaxies that contain super massive black holes. She also discovered something that may help astronomers understand how these super massive black holes are formed.
Lisanti received a $13,000 scholarship from UConn and a $2,000 scholarship and a $2,000 scholarship from the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.
“High School Musical” Coming to Coleytown Middle School
Members of Westport’s Coleytown Company rehearse the many song and dance numbers in Coleytown Middle School’s spring production of “High School Musical.” More than 110 students are participating in the cast and crew. All the popular songs from the top-selling album of 2006 will be performed in the stage version of the hit Disney movie. Performances are scheduled for March 29-31 at the school on North Avenue. For more information, including ticket sales, visit the Coleytown Company Web site. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) David Dreyfuss for WestportNow.com
Thursday, March 8, 2007
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Planning & Zoning Commission Work Session
7 p.m. – Westport Fire Headquarters – Public Site & Building Commission
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Libary - Westport Reads: Insights into Juries
Proposed Budget Carries 6.9 Percent Increase
The Westport Board of Finance tonight received the proposed $161.3 million 2007-08 budget, which is a 6.9 percent increase over the current budget, during its meeting tonight.
The proposal includes a $57.5 million selectman’s budget, which is a 5.9 percent increase over the current budget, and a $89.2 million Board of Education operating budget, which is a 8.4 percent increase over the current budget.
First Selectman Gordon Joseloff and Board of Education Chairwoman Mary Parmelee gave presentations of the two proposed budgets.
Joseloff said much of his budget proposal this year, like last year, involves “catching up,” including in public safety and technology.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Judge Rejects Motion to Dismiss Appeal of Family Y Decision
A Stamford Superior Court judge rejected a motion to dismiss the case that is appealing the Westport Flood and Erosion Control Board’s decision to approve the plan to move the Westport Weston Family Y’s facility to Camp Mahackeno.
Judge Taggart D. Adams issued his decision on Monday in the case of Arthur Cohen versus the board, and it was released today.
Westport Town Attorney Ira Bloom said he and Family Y attorney Lawrence Weisman filed the motion to dismiss because they believed the appeal was premature.
“We felt they should wait until the Conservation Commission made its decision,” he said. “The judge did not see it that way.”
Westport Property Transfers Feb. 26-March 2, 2007
Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period Feb.26-March 2, 2007:
Teresa L. Link to Federico M. Araujo and Patricia Q. Monnerat, 3 Sterling Drive, $1,470,000
Helen Lucas Liftig Family Trust to Maria Silver, 7 Plunkett Place, $1,405,000
Todd V. and Nasia Middlebrook to Gordon McPhaden, 105 Hillandale Road, $1,480,000
Clark W. and Todd Y Ruff Tr to Ronald K. Levan Jr., 67 Kings Highway North, $725,000
James F. Gunzy Est to Jose Bonilla, 4 Sky Top Road, $550,000
Playhouse Announces Additions to “All About Us” Cast
Yvette Freeman will be joining the cast of the new musical “All About Us” that will be opening the Westport Country Playhouse’s 2007 season on April 10.
Yvette Freeman: award-winning actress. Contributed photo
“All About Us” is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “The Skin of Our Teeth” by Thornton Wilder. It is the story of the indestructible Antrobus family who survived a thousand calamities by the skin of their teeth. Freeman will play Mrs. Antrobus.
Freeman won Obie, Ovation and NAACP Awards for her performance in the Off-Broadway play “Dinah Was,” based on the life of jazz singer Dinah Washington. On television, she played Nurse Haleh Adams on the NBC drama “ER.”
Portraying the Wooley Mammoths are Eric Michael Gillett and Drew Taylor. Gillett was on Broadway in “The Frogs,” “Sweet Smell of Success” and “Kiss Me Kate.” Taylor was in Broadway’s “Sweet Smell of Success,” “Annie” and “The Secret Garden.”
Indoor Field Hockey Tournament is Saturday
Westport Field Hockey Association will hold an Indoor Field Hockey Tournament Saturday in the Staples High School Fieldhouse from 8:15 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A 12-team middle school division will play at 8:15 a.m. to noon, and the 18-team high school division will play at 1-6 p.m.
Middle school teams include Westport, Wilton, Ridgefield ,Stamford, Danbury, Our Lady of Fatima School and Western Massachusetts Nomads.
High school teams include Staples, Darien, Wilton, Brien McMahon of Norwalk, Ridgefield, Stamford, Masuk of Monroe and Wamogo. Also included will be club teams Western Massachusetts Nomads, Sportsplexe, Connecticut Revolutotion and Mystic.
Y’s Men to Hear About Financial Reporting Practices
Robert J. Kueppers: Speaking to the Y’s Men. Contributed photoThe Y’s Men of Westport Weston will hear about financial reporting during its next meeting on Thursday at 10 a.m. at Saugatuck Congregational Church.
Robert J. Kueppers, deputy chief executive officer of Deloitte & Touche USA, will speak on “Financial Reporting Environment: where it’s been, where it is today, and where it is going.”
In his position Kueppers works closely with the chief executive officer and provides direction for ethics & compliance processes and regulatory and public policy matters.
He is also a vice chairman of Deloitte & Touche USA. He has worked in the company’s Wilton office.
Budgets to Be Presented Tonight
The Westport Board of Selectmen approved the five-year capital forecast Tuesday, and it will be included in the budget proposal presented to the Board of Finance tonight.
First Selectman Gordon Joseloff and Board of Education Chairwoman Mary Parmelee will both give budget speeches to the finance board tonight at 8 p.m. in Town Hall. The presentation will also be televised on cable channel 79 and on the town’s Web site.
Since the capital forecast was first presented last month (See WestportNow Feb. 7), a firehouse improvements at three stations were added to the forecast, said Finance Director Donald Miklus.
It’s been a number of years since changes were made to most of the stations, he said, and it’s time to improve the infrastructure, although it won’t be for another four to five years.
RTM Approves Resolution Encouraging More Family Y Talks
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.
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)
Speakers Forcus on Energy Conservation, Green Power
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.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Application Filed to Demolish 113 Cross Highway
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.”
FBI Agent Details Priorities to Westport Rotary
By Barbara Sweet
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.Page 1284 of 1651 pages
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