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Thursday, November 20, 2008

“Listening is an Act of Love”

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Five years ago. radio documentary producer David Isay launched his StoryCorps project to record an oral history of America with the voices of everyday people. He set up recording booths in various places, including Grand Central Terminal. To mark the 10,000th interview, he published a book “Listening is an Act of Love” with excerpts from the interviews and today addressed a Westport Library audience to discuss the book and his work. By now, 30,000 people have shared their life stories, with many of the interviews broadcast on National Public Radio. Fairfield NPR station WSHU co-sponsored his appearance. Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

11/20/08 08:38 PM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Train Delays, Late E-Mail Notifications Rile Riders

New Haven Line commuters experienced their second morning rush hour delays in four days today, a problem exacerbated by late e-mail notification of the delays.

Beginning at about 6:30 a.m. commuters began e-mailing each other about delays, caused by a disabled train in the vicinity of Norwalk, but it was not until 8:05 a.m. that the railroad sent out a mass e-mail reporting the delays.

Commuters irate about the delays—which followed similar delays on Monday—and the delayed notification messaged Metro-North customer service and in return got an apology.

“Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience or difficulty,” said one Metro-North representative. “There is no question that this has been a trying week for many New Haven Line customers, and we very much regret that. 

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11/20/08 07:05 PM Comments (2) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Bysiewicz Says She Favors Abolishing Electoral College

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In her second Westport appearance in a week, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz today addressed the Westport Weston Y’s Men. She said the Nov. 4 vote was conducted without any problems and with no recounts. She said she favored abolishing the Electoral College and seeking a popular vote of the president. And she said she was pursing Connecticut having a form of “early voting” possibly through mail-in voting or “no excuse” absentee voting. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

11/20/08 06:37 PM Comments (4) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Catching the Rays

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Some visitors to Westport’s Compo Beach paused to get a little sun on Wednesday despite the chilly weather that saw morning lows in the 20s.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

11/20/08 05:15 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Thursday, November 20, 2008


10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Unique Perspectives: Photography by Six Westport Artists”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “WestportNow Photographers: The Best From the Best”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Optimism”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Not all Rubber Ducks Look Alike”
Noon - Westport Public Library - Authors@the Library: David Isay, “Listening is an Act of Love”
7 p.m. – Westport Police Department – EMS Task Force
7 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing
7:15 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Westport Youth Commission
7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - Community gathering/“Our Town” screening in honor of Paul Newman (waiting list only)

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PAL Ice Rink at Longshore to Open Saturday

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The Westport Police Athletic League (PAL) Ice Rink at Longshore Club Park will open Saturday—earlier than usual. Tony Laniter, director of the rink, said while the rink has traditionally opened the day after Thanksgiving, the recent cold weather will permit the earlier opening. To celebrate, the rink will be open from noon to 8 p.m. with free ice time and free skate rentals. The rink will continue to operate daily after Saturday. For additional information visit the rink Web site or call (203)226-RINK (226-7465). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com

11/20/08 03:33 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Adding a Little Color

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Tony Lantier, director of the Westport PAL Ice Rink at Longshore Club Park, added some white paint to the rink surface today as part of the preparations for Saturday’s early opening. All ice time and skate rentals will be free on Saturday when the rink will be open from noon to 8 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

11/20/08 03:30 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Westport Housing Starts Drop Along With National Statistics

New housing starts are down in Westport along with those in the nation.WestportNow.com Image
Of this year’s 64 Westport housing starts, 15 of them were part of the Bradley Lane development, shown here, in the Saugatuck area. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

So far this year, there have been 64 new housing starts in Westport, according to the Building Department, down almost 21 percent from a year ago when there were 81 in the comparable period. But even that figure is misleading.

“It’s noteworthy when you realize that 15 of the 64 starts are the condos on Bradley Lane, leaving only 49 single family starts,” a Building Department official said. That makes the drop 39.5 percent for single family homes, slightly higher than the national average.

On a national level, the government reported today that home construction took its fourth tumble in a row during October, falling 4.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted 791,000 annual rate, after falling a revised 3.0 percent in September.

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11/19/08 09:10 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Y Building AKA Bedford Square Plans Unveiled

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Representatives of the developers of the current Westport Weston Family Y building in Westport center today unveiled plans for the property that include retail shops, restaurants, condominiums, and a piazza public space with fountain. The presentation before the town’s Plan Implementation Committee included display of a model of the new 110,000-square foot complex to be known as Bedford Square. Developer David Waldman of Westport estimated the project would add about $100 million in value to Westport’s grand list. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

11/19/08 03:32 PM Comments (2) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Dark Clouds Sunset

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Dark clouds masked Tuesday’s sunset at Westport’s Compo Beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008


8:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Plan Implementation Committee (PIC)
10 a.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – International Hospitality Committee
10 a.m. - Westport Public Library - Jobseekers Resource Seminar with Michael Shavel, CT Dept. of Labor
10 a.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – International Hospitality Committee
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Unique Perspectives: Photography by Six Westport Artists”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “WestportNow Photographers: The Best From the Best”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Optimism”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Not all Rubber Ducks Look Alike”
1:15 p.m. - Westport Senior Center - “Challenges of the New President” lecture by John Orman
5 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309/307 – Board of Selectmen (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. - Westport Police Department Training Room - Westport CERT Emergency Shelter Management Class
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Special Board of Finance
7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - Community gathering/“Our Town” screening in honor of Paul Newman (waiting list only)
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Levitt Pavilion (The New Pavilion) Canceled
7 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Conservation Commission (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. – Westport Public Library – Library Board of Trustees
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - “The Status of Public Education in Bridgeport” panel discussion

11/19/08 05:05 AM Comments Closed • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rooster Ban Ordinance Back Before RTM

The rooster ordinance is back before Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM).WestportNow.com Image
Compo Beach area neighbors want an ordinance that would silence this crowing rooster. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Seven months after they first sought the law, a group of neighbors in the Compo Beach area has renewed a request that the town’s legislative body approve an ordinance giving them relief from a crowing rooster owned by a fellow resident.

The initial request, made in April, was withdrawn to refine the wording of the proposed law. (See WestportNow April 21, 2008) The ordinance could be heard at the RTM’s Dec. 2 meeting and then referred to committee.

In a petition signed by 33 Compo residents, they seek approval of an ordinance declaring that “no person shall keep in the town any roosters in such location that the crowing thereof shall be annoying to any person occupying premises in the vicinity.”

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11/18/08 10:55 PM Comments (5) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Retiring State Sen. Freedman Addresses Westport Rotary

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Retiring State Sen. Judith Freedman today spoke of her 22-year career in the legislature in a talk before the weekly meeting of the Westport Rotary Club. She said she was especially proud of legislation she helped pass that improved health care, including requiring insurance coverage of mammograms, as well as numerous laws affecting special education needs. Freedman, a Republican, will be succeeded in the 26th District by Toni Boucher, currently a Republican state representative from Wilton. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

11/18/08 08:03 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Baron’s South Housing Plan Calls for 104 Units

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First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff today disclosed preliminary details of plans for senior and workforce housing on Baron’s South in a presentation at the Westport Center for Senior Activities. The plan calls for a total of 104 rental units, including a new building (“A) just south of the present Senior Center (“SC”) which will have 51 units for seniors. Another 23 senior units will be in new town houses and the existing Baron’s Mansion and expansion (“B”), and the balance of 30 units will be workforce housing (“1-4,” “C,” “D”). He said the plan is for minimal taxpayer funding for the project with financing to come from federal and state sources. Another presentation is set for Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium prior going to the Planning and Zoning Commission later for approval of the conceptual plan. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed graphic

11/18/08 06:05 PM Comments (16) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westport Weston Family Y Names New CEO

UPDATE The Westport Weston Family Y today announced the appointment of Robert D. (Rob) Reeves as its new chief executive officer.WestportNow.com Image
Rob Reeves: takes over in January. Contributed photo

Reeves, 50, who has held a similar position at the Bangor, Maine YMCA for nine years, succeeds Helene Weir who announced in July that she was leaving after two years to take the top position at the Calgary Y in her native Canada. (See WestportNow July 7, 2008)

Reeves, who takes up his new position at the beginning of the New Year,  has worked at various YMCAs for almost 30 years, according to Troy Ellen Dixon, Y spokeswoman. He joined the Bangor Y from the Harrisburg, Pa., Area YMCA where he was senior vice president.

Reeves and and his wife Joanne have two daughters, Courtney who is a sophomore nursing student at Salem State College in Massachusetts, and Victoria, who will be a junior at Staples High School.

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11/18/08 04:36 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Getting to Be That Time of Year

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Workers erected holiday lights along Westport’s Post Road East on Monday night. Economists predicted the holiday buying season could be one of the bleakest in years because of the economy. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


8:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 307 – Human Services Commission
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Westport/Weston Health District Flu Clinic
10 a.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Arts Advisory Committee
10 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Administrative Review Committee
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Unique Perspectives: Photography by Six Westport Artists”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “WestportNow Photographers: The Best From the Best”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Optimism”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Not all Rubber Ducks Look Alike”
10:30 a.m. - Westport Center for Senior Activities - Presentation on plans to build senior and workforce housing on Baron’s South
11 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201A – Septic Maintenance Public Education Task Force
6 p.m. - Coleytown Middle School - “The Road to Preventing Suicide” by Eric Caine, MD
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – Historic District Commission
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – RTM Finance Committee

11/18/08 05:05 AM Comments Closed • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

A Conversation With Joyce Carol Oates

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Author Joyce Carol Oates (l) engaged in conversation tonight with Westporter Sybil Steinberg at the seventh annual Malloy Lecture in the Arts at Bedford Middle School. The event was produced by the Westport Library. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

11/18/08 03:40 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Joyce Carol Oates: “Inertia” Keeps Her at Princeton

By Larry Untermeyer

More than 500 persons attended tonight’s seventh annual Malloy Lecture in the Arts series at Bedford Middle School which featured the noted American author Joyce Carol Oates in conversation with Westporter Sybil Steinberg, a contributing editor for Publishers Weekly. WestportNow.com Image
Author Joyce Carol Oates signs a book for a fan tonight at Bedford Middle School. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

The prolific Oates, who has written 54 novels and 31 short story collections as well as poetry and drama, has received numerous literary awards, but not the Nobel Prize, although she has been nominated three times..

When questioned about this omission, Oates humorously noted that she also did not win the Fields Medal for Mathematics. “I guess I’m just a loser and I didn’t even know it,” she said.

Asked what it is about Princeton University that has kept her teaching there since 1978, Oates instantly quipped, “inertia.” 

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11/18/08 03:35 AM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westport Environmental Summit

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Members of several dozen Westport organizations with interest in the environment met at Westport Town Hall tonight for what was billed as an “environmental summit.” Conservation Department Director Alicia Mozian (r) greeted the attendees and said the meeting was aimed at better coordination and eliminating duplicating efforts among the groups in improving the environment. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

11/18/08 03:08 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Creative Arts Festival at Staples This Weekend

The Westport Young Woman’s League presents its 33rd annual Creative Arts Festival Saturday and Sunday at Staples High School.WestportNow.com Image
Food goods were popular at an earlier Creative Arts Festival. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

More than 150 artisans from Maine to Maryland and beyond will offer something for everyone—whether you are an avid collector, shopping for a one-of-a-kind gift, or hunting for a bargain.

With a reputation as of one of the premier juried craft shows in the country, the festival will feature toys, novelties, decorative art, jewelry, clothing, ceramics, sculpture, home décor and many gourmet food products with something in every price range.

New and returning “green” artists will offer eco-friendly, but profoundly unique items including distinctive bags and home accessories made of Earth-friendly materials that use environmentally safe production processes.

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11/18/08 12:02 AM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, November 17, 2008

Winter Farmers Market Returns to Fairfield

The folks who brought you the Thursday Westport Farmers Market at the Westport Country Playhouse are taking up winter residence again with a market at the Fairfield Theatre Company in Fairfield.

The Fairfield Winter Farmers Market returns for a second year beginning Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 70 Sanford St., across from the Fairfield train station.

The market will feature locally grown organic greens and herbs, heritage breed eggs, pasture-raised meats, farmstead cheeses, and homegrown honey.

Sponsoring the market is the Wholesome Wave Foundation, managers of the popular Thursday summer market in Westport as well as one in Fairfield, the Fairfield Theatre Company, the Town of Fairfield and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.

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11/17/08 11:25 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

From Kenya to Staples: an African Woman’s Story

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Kakenya Ntaiya. 30, visited Westport’s Staples High School today to tell African studies students of her life growing up as a member of the fabled Masai tribe in southwestern Kenya. Before leaving her native land, she convinced villagers to help pay for her U.S. trip by promising that after she graduated she would find funds to build a school for girls in her village.  Ground was broken during the summer for the new boarding school which will open in January. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

11/17/08 10:55 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Metro-North New Haven Line Trains Delayed

All Metro-North New York-bound trains on the New Haven Line were running up to 25 minutes late today because of wire damage near East Norwalk.

The railroad said in a statement that delays were 10 to 15 minutes, but messages from passengers waiting for trains said they were running up to 25 minutes late.

11/17/08 12:32 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Talking Transportation: A WPA Project for Transportation

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow

How can our nation pull itself out of this economic tailspin, create new jobs and actually give something to generations? Why, by repairing and reinvigorating our country’s transportation system.

talkingtransportation250.jpg

What we need is a new, 1930s-style Works Progress Administration (WPA) Project for transportation. The WPA provided jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression.

The recent election saw a number of states and cities endorse spending for mass transit, mostly for overdue improvements transportation, but with the side benefit of thousands of jobs.

In California, voters approved an almost $10 billion bond package to build high speed rail between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The full plan will cost $42 billion and employ a half-million workers. Construction of the 220 mph train system could begin in 2011.

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