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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 105 Hillandale Road

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Westport building officials are reviewing an application to demolish the 1969 house at 105 Hillandale Road. The 3,312-square-foot house sold this month for $1.5 million (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

03/28/07 02:20 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Saugatuck Reflections

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Temperatures reached into the 70s on Tuesday in Westport, bringing out some to walk or sit and read along the Saugatuck River. Today’s forecast calls for temperatures to be slightly cooler with highs in the 50s. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jennifer Connic for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007


10:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – International Hospitality Committee
5 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309/307 – Board of Selectmen (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7 p.m.- Town Hall Auditorium – Conservation Commission (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – TEAM Westport Committee
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - “A Centuries-Old Tradition in a Brooklyn Workshop”
7:30 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Literature: Mark Schenker

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

ZBA Modifies 113 Cross Highway Variance

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The Zoning Board of appeals modified a variance for 113 Cross Highway tonight to help preserve the historic garage. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Zoning Board of Appeals tonight unanimously approved a plan to help preserve the former Cross Highway Garage.

The owners of 113 Cross Highway—Kim and Michael Ronemus—filed a request for a modification to their recently granted zoning variance for 113 Cross Highway to develop one of the accessory buildings into an office.

The Zoning Board of Appeals last month approved one variance to allow a home office in one of the accessory buildings, which was necessary because Westport zoning regulations do not allow offices in outbuildings. The ZBA, however, rejected two other variance requests that would have expanded the building and allowed a guest room in a separate accessory building (See WestportNow Feb. 28).

The modified plan calls for a new 292-square-foot building adjacent to the garage with a breezeway linking the two buildings. The new building would have a 60-square-foot basement to handle mechanicals for the two buildings.

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03/27/07 11:49 PM Comments (1) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Homegrown Cooking

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About 50 people attended a talk at the Westport Historical Society today with local chef Michel Nischan, who has also authored a cookbook and is the co-owner of Westport’s Dressing Room restaurant. He described the Dressing Room as a homegrown restaurant and stressed the importance of supporting local farmers. “Our goal is to recapture the simple and pure tastes found in locally grown organic ingredients for this generation and those to come,” he said. Nischan also prepared a turnip soup for those attending and signed copies of his cookbook, “Homegrown: Pure and Simple.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

03/27/07 10:30 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Feels like Summer

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It felt like summer in Westport today with temperatures reaching 72 degrees. It brought many people to Compo Beach to catch some of the sun. The forecast calls for temperatures to be in the 50s the remainder of the week. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

03/27/07 10:19 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Joseloff to Seek Budget Restoration

By Jennifer Connic

Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said today he is planning to ask the Board of Finance to restore at least some of the $876,000 cut it made to his proposed 2007-08 budget.

The board voted on the cut—which includes reductions to the fire department, parks and recreation, health district and general government budgets—during its meeting Monday night. (See WestportNow March 26) But it will consider restoration of some or all of those cuts before its final budget vote during a meeting scheduled for April 11.

With the cuts, the selectman’s proposed budget is $56.6 million, which is a 4.3 percent increase over the current budget.  Joseloff had originally proposed a $57.5 million budget, which is a 5.9 percent increase over the current budget.

Joseloff today identified several areas he’d wish to seek restoration in his budget, including salary funding at the fire department, hybrid cars for departments that do home inspections, and parks and recreation field maintenance funding.

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03/27/07 09:35 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Attacking the Fire

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Westport Firefighter Steve Murphy attacks the flames at today’s blaze in an empty building at 580 Riverside Ave. No one was injured in the fire which was confined to a rear room used for storage. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Saugatuck Fire Under Investigation

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Fire Marshal Ed Zygmant (r) investigates a fire at 580 Riverside Ave. this morning. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
A fire erupted in an empty Saugatuck business today but quick work by Westport firefighters confined the damage to a rear room used for storage.

No one was injured in the 9 a.m. blaze in at 580 Riverside Ave., which once had been home to the Laura Bazante Salon.

Firefighters at the Saugatuck fire house, which is just up the street at 555 Riverside Ave, received a walk-up report that there was smoke in the area.

When firefighters investigated, they found the fire in the rear of the building which is slated to be demolished as part of a project to revitalize Saugatuck Center (See WestportNow March 12), and it currently stands empty.

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03/27/07 06:15 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 8 Oak Ridge Park

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Westport building officials are reviewing an application to demolish the 1952 house at 8 Oak Ridge Park. The 1,552-square-foot house sold last December for $725,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

03/27/07 09:37 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Getting Back in the Water

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With spring and warmer temperatures here, rowers from the Saugatuck Rowing Club are back on Westport’s Saugatuck River. Temperatures were in the mid-40s on Monday under overcast skies, but the forecast calls for temperatures to reach close to 70 today with sunny skies. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

03/27/07 04:30 AM Comments (1) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Board of Finance Cuts School Budget by $500,000

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Board of Finance Monday night cut $500,000 from the proposed 2007-08 school budget in a vote that came after midnight in a room that earlier had been filled with parents concerned with a potential large cut.

The cut brings the 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, and will have the opportunity to seek restoration at an April 11 final budget hearing.

Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon sent an e-mail to parents Monday morning encouraging them to attend the meeting because it was vital they attend to support the proposal. Many of the seats in the Town Hall auditorium were filled, and there was an overflow crowd in the lobby.

Earlier in the evening, Kevin Connolly, finance board vice chairman, proposed an almost $1.9 million cut to the proposed budget, but other members said they could not be on board with the large cut.

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03/27/07 04:23 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Noon - Westport Historical Society - Michel Nischan
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 307 – RTM Transit Committee
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – Boating Advisory Committee
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Zoning Board of Appeals
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Architectural Review Board
8 p.m. – Town Hall Green Room – RTM Rules Committee

03/27/07 04:05 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Finance Board Cuts $876,000 from Selectman’s Budget

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Board of Finance tonight cut $876,000 from the selectman’s proposed 2007-08 budget, but left a number of issues on the table to be resolved at the April 11 restoration hearing.

It was the first time the finance board cut a significant amount of money from the proposed selectman’s budget in nearly a decade.

With the cuts, the selectman’s proposed budget is $56.6 million, which is a 4.3 percent increase over the current budget. First Selectman Gordon Joseloff had originally proposed a $57.5 million budget, which is a 5.9 percent increase over the current budget.

Board of Finance Chairman Jeffrey Mayer said there are a number open items and invite town officials to bring back new information and seek restoration of the cuts at the April 11 session, which is when the board will make its final vote on the budget.

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League of Women Voters Plans Bridgeport Volunteer Fair

The Westport League of Women Voters is sponsoring a Bridgeport Volunteer Fair on Sunday at 4-6 p.m. at the Center for Senior Activities.

The league is sponsoring the event following sessions where Bridgeport Mayor John Fabrizi and Schools Superintendent John Ramos spoke in Westport.

League planners said Westporters asked at those sessions what they can do to help build an alliance with Bridgeport, and the fair is the beginning of going that.

At least 15 organizations will be at the event, and there will be a presentation on volunteer opportunities in Bridgeport. Active volunteers will also be present to discuss their experiences.

For more information, contact Jane Eyes at (203) 227-0782 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

03/27/07 01:45 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Monday, March 26, 2007

Former Westport Teacher Pleads Guilty on Child Porn Charges

Retired Westport middle school teacher Paul Held, 68, pleaded guilty today on federal child pornography charges, and federal officials called him “one of the most prolific collectors of child pornography” ever seen in Connecticut.paulheld75.jpg
Paul Held: sentencing set for June 14. File photo


Held, who taught at Bedford Middle School, was in New Haven U.S. District Court before Judge Mark R. Kravitz, and he pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography.

He was initially arrested in August 2005 on federal child pornography charges after he left a CD full of child pornography in a computer he loaned to his neighbor (See WestportNow Aug. 3, 2005).

Federal officials said at the time of his arrest, Held possessed “numerous computers, compact discs, magazines, photographs and VHS tapes containing child pornography.”

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Westport Officials Want Conveyance Tax to Continue

By Jennifer Connic

Westport may have to raise about $1 million more in taxes if state officials do not renew the conveyance tax by the end of June.

Proposals to continue the conveyance tax were before a state General Assembly committee today in a hearing, and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is lobbying on behalf of communities, including Westport, to extend the tax.

The state’s Town Clerks Association is also lobbying in favor of continuing the bill, and Westport Town Clerk Patricia Strauss is the chairwoman of the association’s Legislative Committee.

Finance Director Donald Miklus said Westport could lose about $1.1 million in revenue if the tax at its current rate is not continued.

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Westport Property Transfers March 19-23, 2007

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period March 19-23, 2007:

Fairport Development LLC to James and Dawn Henry, 205 Bayberry Lane, $2,860,000WN property.jpg

Schmiedeck Construction LLC to Rosalind N. Siegel, 21 Old Hill Road, $4,975,000

The Land Group Inc. to Matthew and Nichole Feuer, 37 Jennie Lane, $3,070,000

Martin Schultz Est to Bin Zhang, 81 Myrtle Ave., $994,250

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Westport Chef Featured at Historical Society

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Michel Nischan: to talk about artisan foods. Contributed photo
The Westport Historical Society will present chef Michel Nischan, who is the co-owner of Westport’s Dressing Room Restaurant, on Tuesday at noon.

Nischan will talk about artisan foods, locally grown produce and the Westport Farmers Market.

He will also present a seasonal spring soup for tasting.

Reservations for the talk are recommended, and tickets are $10 for members and $12 for non-members.

For more information or to reserve a seat, call (203) 222-1424.

03/26/07 08:53 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

CL&P Upgrading Service to Parts of Westport

Connecticut Light and Power said today it is working on a electricity distribution project that will upgrade service to Westporters who live along the Norwalk border.

The $740,000 project will improve reliability for customers in the areas of Kings Highway South in Westport and Strawberry Hill Road, County Street, Wolfpit Road, Westport Avenue and Fullin Road in Norwalk, an announcement said.

The work, which has already started, is scheduled to be completed by June 1.

The work includes in Westport a new circuit and equipment at the Compo substation in Westport, which will allow CL&P better handle customer demand for power.

Crews are also replacing 12 poles, installing pole-mounted high voltage circuit breakers called reclosers, which will cause shorter power outages if a customer loses power.

03/26/07 07:31 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 45 Gorham Ave.

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Westport building officials are reviewing an application to demolish the 1955 house at 45 Gorham Ave. The 1,780-square-foot house sits on a one-half acre property and was sold this month for $815,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Warmer Weather on the Way

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While there was sun this weekend in Westport, there were also overcast skies—including near Longshore Club Park—and rain and cooler temperatures. Temperatures were in the 40s much of the weekend, but the forecast is calling for 60-degree weather this week. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Monday, March 26, 2007


8:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201A – Planning & Zoning Commission Affordable Housing Committee
Noon - Westport Public Library - authors@the library: Joan Gould
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Board of Finance budget hearing (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Teen author Gregory Galloway

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Oops

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A Westport firefighter tonight inspects a late model Mercedes involved in a chain reaction accident on Riverside Avenue near Post Road West. An elderly woman motorist driving alone in the car smashed into the rear of an unattended van parked in front of 15 Riverside Ave. shortly before 10 p.m. The van in turn was pushed into the back of a 2001 Ford Excursion, causing damage to the rear of that vehicle. The owner of the Excursion said he was having dinner at the nearby Siena Restaurant when he heard the crash and found the woman standing outside her severely damaged Mercedes. The woman did not require medical attention. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

03/26/07 03:04 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Author Featured at Y’s Women Talk

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Joan Gould: Talking on fairy tales. Contributed photo
The Westport Weston Y’s Women and the Westport Public Library are teaming up to present author Joan Gould on Monday at noon at the library.

Gould is the author of “Spinning Straw into Gold – What Fairy Tales Reveal About the Transformations in a Woman’s Life,” and her talk will be about the book.

Her book is about the hidden meanings in fairy tales and what these beloved stories reveal about a woman’s life.

For more information, call Ann Lloyd at (203) 226-4145.

03/26/07 02:29 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon
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