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Thursday, February 15, 2007

School Officials Mull Kindergarten Savings

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Board of Education now faces a large surplus in its budget after approving a plan for full-day kindergarten, and Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon hopes his original budget proposal is restored.

The board approved a plan this week to have three full days of kindergarten and two shorter days for students, and the plan could bring $390,000 in transportation savings because there would not need to be the mid-afternoon kindergarten transportation run.

Landon said the school board will need to have discussions on what to do with the savings because some of it could be used to accomplish transportation goals.

“One of the board’s goals is to look into tracking systems for the vehicles,” he said. “We may also look at (Global Positioning Systems) and sensors for the buses. And then there is the question of maintaining a sufficient number of drivers for the long-term.”

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I-95 Accident Backs Up Local Traffic

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Traffic was still backed up southbound at 2 p.m. today on the bridge over the Saugatuck River in Westport following clearing of the accident in Norwalk. DOT photo
Traffic on Westport local roads was backed up today during the morning rush hour and into the afternoon as drivers sought a way around I-95 which was snarled in the southbound direction following a fatal accident near exit 14 in Norwalk.

Traffic on Post Road East and other Westport roads following the 5:53 a.m. accident was heavy with delays, according to police.

It was eight hours before the accident, involving a tractor-trailer which rear-ended a car, was cleared and traffic flowed freely again.

The fatality was a 49-year-old Norwalk woman who was a passenger in the car which had pulled off the roadway about a mile north of exit 14, according to police reports.

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02/15/07 02:35 PM Comments (1) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Town Plan Meeting to Air This Weekend

Westporters will have the opportunity to watch on the town’s cable access channel this weekend the final public workshop for the update to the Town Plan of Conservation and Development.

The meeting will be on cable channel 79 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m.

The Jan. 29 meeting, which was held at Bedford Middle School, focused on infrastructure issues including community facilities, utilities and transportation (See WestportNow Jan. 29).

In addition to the town’s cable access channel, the meeting can be viewed over the Internet via the town’s Web site.

02/15/07 02:17 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Westport Schools on Two-Hour Delay

Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said that Westport public schools will open on a two-hour delay today due to the weather.

All buses will run on a two-hour delay.

The Stepping Stones preschool a.m. session will be canceled, he said.

02/15/07 11:13 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Snow Scene

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Snow blanketed Westport’s Longshore Club Park on Wednesday as several inches fell as part of a winter storm that also brought ice. Temperatures dipped into the teens overnight and will stay there today. A wind advisory remains in effect until 6 a.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Thursday, Feb. 15, 2007


5:30 P.M. – Town Hall Room 309 – Emily McLaury House Committee
7 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Three-Finger Poi
7:15 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Youth Commission

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Town May Pay Up to $100,000 in Federal Case

By Jennifer Connic

The Town of Westport may pay up to $100,000 in a settlement of a case that involves three bail enforcement agents and Westport police officers.

Town Attorney Ira Bloom said there are settlement talks in a federal case between Lawrence and Mary Tirreno, Westport residents, and Barbara Mott, a bail bondsman, and two agents employed by her. The town is also named in the case.

The parties have been talking for weeks about a settlement in the case, he said, but there is no settlement and a trial date is set for March 13.

The Board of Finance approved a resolution at a special meeting Tuesday for the town to pay up to $100,000 in any potential settlement in the case, he said.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Truck Slides on Ice, Hits Wall

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A tractor trailer slid on a patch of ice today and hit the wall on the side of the railroad underpass on Compo Road South. The truck was making a delivery to the Westport Wastewater Treatment Plant construction project. Police and firefighters were at the scene to assist with towing the truck from under the bridge and to control traffic. Compo Road South had to be closed in order for the truck to be towed to the intersection with Green’s Farms Road. The driver of the truck was able to drive the vehicle from the scene and on to I-95. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

02/14/07 11:57 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Selectmen Approve Golf Fee Increases

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Board of Selectmen today approved increases in the fees for golfers that will help pay for the improvements to the golf course at Longshore Club Park.

The photo handpass fees will increase from $50 to $75, and the adult handpass fee stays the same at $30. A new senior handpass for those ages 62 years old and older would be $20.

Also, the daily greens fees will increase by $2 each.

Parks and Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy said the fees were outlined more than a year ago when the funding for the improvements for the golf course was detailed.

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02/14/07 11:07 PM Comments (1) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Moving the Snow

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Snow plows and bulldozers were virtually the only vehicles on Westport streets as snow, rain and ice pelted the town. There were few accidents on the roads today, bu extra police officers and firefighters were on duty to respond if there were any problems. An ice storm warning was in effect until 5 p.m. and a wind advisory is in effect until 6 a.m. on Thursday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

02/14/07 10:38 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

No Flooding, Few Accidents Accompany Winter Storm

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Most people stayed off the roads today with the snow and ice that covered Westport and its roads, which led to few accidents. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
By Jennifer Connic

There have been no reports of flooding during today’s winter storm, said Westport Fire Chief Christopher Ackley.

Snow, rain and ice have been pelting Westport throughout the day, and the forecast has called for high winds and the potential for flooding. A ice storm advisory is in effect until 5 p.m., and a wind advisory is in effect until 6 a.m. on Thursday.

“We’ve been monitoring the forecast and our models, and it appears we have avoided the flooding that we had anticipated,” he said.

The number of car accidents police and firefighters have responded to today has also been low.

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02/14/07 07:45 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Three Finger Poi to Play at Westport Arts Center

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Three Finger Poi will perform Hawaiian music at the Westport Arts Center on Thursday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Three Finger Poi will present Hawaiian singing, music and dance as part of Westport Arts Center’s “Third Thursday” series on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the arts center on Riverside Avenue.

The acoustic trio will play hulas, 1920s and ‘30s hot instrumental swing/Hawaiian pieces, mellow Island ballads and novelty numbers from the ‘40s and ‘50s. The trio’s instrumental sound is that of the ukulele and the acoustic national steel guitar played in the “authentic” old time style from the “Golden Era” of Hawaiian music

Three Finger Poi band will be joined by two hula dancers from the Hawaii Cultural Foundation in New York, Eleanor Trilliana and Eleia Cooke, who recently performed with Bette Midler.
“Third Thursdays” are casual monthly gatherings including wine and hors d’oeuvres from 7 to 7:30 p.m. followed by informal performances from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. featuring talented musicians and artists.

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IHA Receives $20,000 Grant

The Fairfield County Community Foundation has awarded Westport’s Interfaith Housing Association with a $20,000 grant to support the Bacharach Community’s program director.

The Barcharach Community works with women and children who seek support, stability and a safe place to stay in the shelter.

The women are given training and counseling to develop skills necessary to begin leading stable lives.

The Fairfield County Community Foundation promotes the growth of philanthropy to strengthen local communities and the region. The foundation issued $7.5 million in grants last year.

For more information about the Interfaith Housing Association, visit www.ihawestport.com.

02/14/07 04:30 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Ice Storm Warning Issued

The National Weather Service today issued an ice storm warning for Westport and the tri-state area until 5 p.m. The winter weather advisory is no longer in effect.

Freezing rain possibly mixed with sleet at times will fall through most of this morning and into this afternoon. The heaviest precipitation will fall during the morning hours, an advisory said.

Ice accretion of one-half to three-quarters of an inch is possible. As colder air flows back into the area toward evening the precipitation may mix with or even change to wet snow before ending in the evening.

An ice storm warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Significant amounts of ice accumulations will make travel dangerous or impossible, the advisory said.

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Center for Senior Activities Closed Today

The Westport Center for Senior Activities is closed today due to the weather.

All activities including the home delivered meals program are cancelled for the day.

For more information, call the center at (203) 341-5099.

02/14/07 03:18 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Former Westporter Ellen Hanley, Broadway Star, Dies at 80

Former Westporter Ellen Hanley, 80, a stage actress best known for playing Fiorello LaGuardia’s first wife in the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “Fiorello!” in 1959, died of a stroke Monday at Norwalk Hospital after a long battle with cancer, her family said.

Hanley was honored last October at a Westport Town Hall ceremony with an award from the Westport Arts Advisory Committee.

Born May 15, 1926, in Lorain, Ohio, Hanley made her Broadway debut in “Annie Get Your Gun,” starring Ethel Merman, in 1946. The following year she appeared as Clothilde Pfefferkorn in “Barefoot Boy With Cheek,” a zany collegiate musical featuring Nancy Walker and Red Buttons.

In the 1952 revue “Two’s Company,” which starred Bette Davis, Hanley introduced the Vernon Duke-Ogden Nash song “Roundabout.”

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Going Down: 29 Burr Farms Road

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Construction crews demolished the house at 29 Burr Farms Road in Westport on Tuesday. The 1954 house sits on 1.1 acres and sold in January for $1 million. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Westport Schools Closed

Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said Westport public schools will be closed today and all activities canceled due to the weather.

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Wintry Mix to Change to Rain During Day

The National Weather Service said early today that a winter weather advisory remains in effect for Westport and portions of the tri-state area until 10 p.m.

Snow, sleet and freezing rain will become heavier and change over to just a sleet and freezing rain mix during the morning commute and then mix with or change to all rain by around midday as warmer air continues to move into the region, the advisory said.

As the storm moves to the northeast this evening and colder air flows back into the area, the precipitation will change to wet snow before ending early this evening.

Total snow and sleet accumulations by the time the precipitation ends could range from 1 to 3 inches with ice accretion of a tenth to one quarter inch possible, the advisory said.

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02/14/07 09:39 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Fortune Finder

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Despite temperatures in the mid-20s Tuesday, a treasure hunter ventured into the cool waters of Long Island Sound off of Westport’s Compo Beach. Winter weather with a mix of rain, sleet and snow moved into the area early today and will continue into tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2007


8 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Maintenance Study Committee
10:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – International Hospitality Committee
Noon - Westport Public Library - authors@the library: Judith Marks-White
4:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – School Building Committee
5 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309/307 – Board of Selectmen (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
6-9 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Teen Valentine’s Day Party (grades 6-9)

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ZBA Considering Plan to Preserve 113 Cross Highway

By Jennifer Connic

Westport Zoning Board of Appeals members said tonight they believe the owners of 113 Cross Highway are using the wrong method to gain approvals to preserve the structures on the property, site of the town’s first gas station.WestportNow.com Image
113 Cross Highway before preservation work began. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow/WN file photo

Michael and Kim Ronemus are seeking variances to be able to use an old garage and barn as an office and guest house, which are not allowed under the zoning regulations in accessory buildings. The house was designated as historical by the Representative Town Meeting last December, which prevents its destruction (See WestportNow Dec. 5)

Peter Gelderman, who is representing the Ronemuses, said the historic nature of the property and trying to preserve it presents a hardship. A hardship is required in order for the board of appeals to grant a variance, or waiver from the town’s zoning regulations.

“They are trying to do something that otherwise would be allowed if they were not in accessory buildings,” he said. “It would be easier and cheaper for them to take them down and build an addition on the house or just tear it down and start over. They want to try to preserve the buildings.”

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Wildman Addresses Rotary Club

WestportNow.com Image
Dianne Wildman, Cablevision’s News 12 award-winning editorial writer and presenter, addressed the Westport Rotary Club today at its weekly meeting at the Inn at Longshore. The former deputy press secretary for President Bill Clinton talked on the wide variety of editorials she has broadcast over the last 10 years.  She spoke about the emergence of blogs and applauded WestportNow for its pioneering role in local news coverage on the Internet. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

02/13/07 11:12 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Town Readies for Winter Storm

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Westport’s plow crews stand ready to clear the roads if snow starts falling tonight as predicted, but Public Works Director Stephen Edwards said he wouldn’t be surprised if the storm changed to all rain.

A winter weather advisory has been issued for the region calling for snow to begin falling this evening and on Wednesday. The advisory states snow will mix with rain and sleet with an expected accumulation of two to three inches of snow.

Edwards said he anticipates the weather to be ugly, but not because of the volume.

“It’s going to be a mix of rain and ice, and it’s going to be a real mess,” he said.

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Westport Property Transfers Feb. 5-9, 2007

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period Feb. 5-9, 2007:

Sherwood Diner Inc. to Connecticut Light & Power Co., easement, 901 Post Road East, $137,500WN property.jpg

Gregory H. and Patrice Ambrose to Cartus Financial Corp., 12 Tupelo Road, $1,187,500

Cartus Financial Corp. to Karl M. Lintel, 12 Tupelo Road, $1,187,500

Carol G. Fumo to George Reichhelm, 263 Wilton Road, $780,000

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