Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Joseloff Open to Discussions on Keeping Y Downtown
While Westport-Weston Family Y leaders are open to dialogue with town officials, First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said today he is willing to consider moving the organization’s facility to town property in the Jesup Green area.
At a news conference today, Family Y officials announced they were selling their downtown facility on the corner of Main Street and Post Road East to Bedford Square Associates for more than $20 million. They plan to move from the facility in three to five years.
Helene Weir, Family Y CEO, said Y officials are in constant contact with Joseloff and other town officials about their plans and the time line of events, including the sale of the downtown facility.
“We are open to a dialogue with the town,” she said. “We will talk with them at any time.”
Family Y Announces Sale of Downtown Building
Westport-Weston Family Y officials announced today they have sold their downtown building for more than $20 million to an investor group. They said even if they do not secure a new building at Camp Mahackeno, they are committed to moving from the current facility within the next three to five years.
The Westport-Weston Family Y building will be sold for more than $20 million and become a mixture of retail, residential units and restaurants. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com file photo
Y officials told a press conference the buyer is Bedford Square Associates, made up of a Westport developer and others. The Y’s CEO, Helene Weir, said the final price in excess of $20 million will be determined by the timing of the move.
Bedford Square Associates is comprised of David Waldman of Westport-based David Adam Realty, B. Lance Sauerteig of BLS Strategic Capital, Paul Brandes of Charter Realty and Development and Daniel Zelson also of Charter Realty.
Waldman’s company owns the former Westport Bank and Trust building, which now houses Patagonia, across Church Lane from the YMCA building.
Class Size Discussion Focuses on Space Issues
A Westport Board of Education discussion Monday night turned from the possibilities of lowering class size to the space needs in various schools across the district, specifically at Bedford Middle School.
Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon provided information to the board on how much more space would be necessary if the maximum number of students in elementary classes was reduced.
While two to 13 additional rooms would be necessary mattering on how small classes were made, Landon said there was only space for two additional classes.
One would be at Green’s Farms Elementary and the second at Saugatuck Elementary, he said.
Westport Community Theatre Presents Dickens Stories
The Westport Community Theatre will present readings of several Charles Dickens stories this weekend. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
The Westport Community Theatre will present readings of several Charles Dickens stories—including “A Christmas Carol”—this weekend in two performances.
The performances are slated for Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the theater at Town Hall.
Performances include excerpts from “A Christmas Carol,” “The Pickwick Papers,” “Sketches by Boz” and “The Chimes.”
Leslie Van Etten Broatch, Marguerite Foster, Aaron Kaplan, Damien Langan, Pamela Meister, Ashley Nichols and Rob Pawlikowski join two members of the early-music ensemble The Everyman Guild, Doug Miller and Matilda Giampietro, in portraying a Victorian family in the staged reading by performing the stories and traditional songs. The audience will be invited to sing along when they can.
December Day at the Beach
Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006
8 a.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Maintenance Study Committee
5 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309/307 – Board of Selectman
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Historic District Commission
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Citizens Summit on Affordable Housing
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Zoning Board of Appeals
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – Architectural Review Board
8 p.m. - Town Hall Room 206 - Board of Finance anticipated executive session
Board Considers Starting School Before Labor Day
The Westport Board of Education is considering a proposal for the 2007-08 school calendar that includes a pre-Labor Day start for school.
The board discussed the proposal during its meeting tonight, but it will not vote on the matter until January.
Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said the Calendar Committee was faced with a number of issues including if school should start before Labor Day, if there should be school on Columbus Day and Veterans Day, if there should be a winter and spring break and when there should be staff development days.
Landon said the committee determined that the issue has come up that the school year ends far too late. School has started after Labor Day the last few years.
Water Quality at Issue in Y Hearing
The Westport Conservation Commission heard from several people tonight how the planned septic system for the proposed new Westport-Weston Family Y facility could affect the Saugatuck River.
The commission is currently reviewing the application from Y officials to build a new facility at Camp Mahackeno, and it includes a large septic system.
The plan would require the Y to move from its downtown building, and Y officials have scheduled a press conference for Tuesday morning to announce who will buy the downtown building.
Dick Harris, who monitors water quality at a variety of area rivers, said he would like to say the quality of the Saugatuck River and Lees Pond was great, but it is not.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Gifts from the Heart
The Y’s Women held their annual holiday party today at the Westport-Weston Family Y. Mary Kastriner (l) and Jean McGurk, who oversee the gift giving program, collect the presents the women brought to the party. The donated gifts will be distributed through Interfaith Housing Association and the Norwalk Women’s Crisis Center. About 100 women attended the party, which included storyteller Marilynn Tannebaum telling tales from around the world. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Weston Kiwanis Sponsors Children at Playhouse Performance
Playhouse Artistic Director Tazewell Thompson (2nd l.) poses with a group of children from the Convent of Dominican Sisters who attended Saturday’s performance of “A Christmas Carol.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Ten children from the Convent of Dominican Sisters in Blauvelt, N.Y. had the opportunity to watch “A Christmas Carol” at the Westport Country Playhouse last weekend.
The Weston Kiwanis Club underwrote the tickets for the Saturday performance. The children came from the same convent where Playhouse Artistic Director Tazewell Thompson spent eight years as a child.
Thompson spoke with the club earlier this year about his upbringing at the convent, and the club members were inspired to support the St. Dominic children’s excursion to the Playhouse for a luncheon and performance.
At the luncheon, Thompson told the youngsters that “theater was my awakening.”
A Doggone Good Swing
Debbie Valerio of Westport practices her golf swing today while her dog, Ranger a Cinnamon Lab has fun chasing the (tennis) ball at Grace K. Salmon Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Town Considers More Synthetic Turf Fields
With private funds used to install synthetic turf on two of Westport’s athletic fields, the athletic community is turning to taxpayers to help pay for the turf on two final fields.
The Staples synthetic turf football field was completed in time for this fall’s play. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com file photo
While the Field of Dreams Committee raised $1.5 million to install the turf on the Staples High School football field and the Wakeman Park soccer field, it hopes the town will pay for one of the two final fields, said Parks and Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy.
The Parks and Recreation Commission will discuss the proposal by the committee—made up of individuals who support town sports—during its meeting today at 7:30 p.m.
McCarthy said the $1.5 million for the final two fields has not been raised to date, but the committee would commit to raise $800,000 for the P.J. Romano Field at Saugatuck Elementary School.
Keaton Film Festival Rescheduled
Buster Keaton: Rescheduled to January. Contributed photoThe Buster Keaton Film Festival at the Westport Country Playhouse has been rescheduled until January because of the extension of “A Christmas Carol.”
The festival, which was originally scheduled for Dec. 29, will now take place on Jan. 6 at 2 and 7 p.m.
Classic Buster Keaton silent films with their original scores performed live by Rick Benjamin’s Paragon Ragtime Orchestra will be presented by Arts in the House, a co-presentation by Westport Country Playhouse and Westport Arts Center. “The General” and “The Playhouse” will be featured.
Tickets are $20 for the 2 p.m. showing and $20, $25 and $30 for the 7 p.m. show.
Cold weekend temperatures didn’t keep people away from Westport’s Compo Beach, including the playground. Temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-40s this week. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Monday, Dec. 11, 2006
7 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Special Conservation Commission
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Parks & Recreation Commission
8 p.m. – Staples High School Cafeteria B – Board of Education (live coverage cable channel 78)
Officials Investing in Historical Property Preservation
Westport officials are planning to invest in restoring the Emily McLaury House, which is located on the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Avery Place. The house would be rented to a municipal employee. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
By Jennifer Connic
Westport officials are seeking funds to renew a staff position to help preserve historical properties in the community as well as to restore an historical property owned by the town.
The Board of Finance last week approved adding a new staff position for the second half of the fiscal year for approximately $24,000 to assist the Historic District Commission. It also approved approximately $268,000 for the restoration of the Emily McLaury House, which is located at 99 Myrtle Ave.
Both items will head to the Representative Town Meeting for final approval in January.
First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said town officials have tried to sell the Emily McLaury House—which was designated as a local historical property in December 2005—four times, and it has become more expensive to fix.
Sunday Music at the Library
Ellie Miller of the Fairwinds Brass Ensemble shows her piccolo trumpet to the audience during a performance at the Westport Public Library today. Westporter Ed Chansky (r) plays trombone for the group and narrates the performance. The performance included Mozart, Ragtime and Sousa. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Brush Fire Slows Rail, I-95 Traffic
A large brush fire late today adjacent to the Metro-North rail tracks and I-95 between exits 17 and 18 in Westport slowed rail and highway traffic. The Westport Fire Department said a large tree limb fell across the railroad tracks, touching off the fire. Wilton supplied a tanker truck for water supply to aid Westport firefighters. It took about 30 minutes to control the blaze which covered about one-third of an acre near the Hale’s Road overpass. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Deirdre Abbotts for WestportNow.com
Holiday Music Featured at Senior Center
Holiday music from various Staples musical groups will be performed at the Westport Center for Senior Activities on Sunday, Dec. 17.
The Friends of the Center for Senior Activities will present “Staples Holiday Talent Review” featuring students from Staples High School.
The doors for the free show open at 1 p.m. Refreshments will be served at 1:30 p.m. and the show starts at 2 p.m.
For more information or to reserve a spot, call (203) 341-5099.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Greetings from Santa
Santa Claus and his helpers were on Main Street again on Saturday. It was the final of three weekends when Santa was to appear in a program sponsored by the Downtown Merchants Association. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006
2 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - Holiday Concert
2 p.m. - Westport Public Library - music@the library: Fairwinds Brass Ensemble
5:30 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “A Christmas Carol”
Staples Presents Annual Candlelight Concert
Alice Lipson conducted the A Cappella Choir during tonight’s Candlelight Concert at Westport’s Staples High School. The various Staples choral groups, orchestras and bands participated in three concerts this weekend as part of the annual “gift to the community.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Julia Mally for WestportNow.com
Sing We Noel
A member of the Staples choir (l) and the freshman chorus sing the traditiional processional “Sing We Noel” tonight that marks the start of the Staples annual Candlelight Concert. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Hamilton Laux for WestportNow.com
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Choral Director Alice Lipson gets a big thank you hug from Megan Watt during tonight’s Candlelight Concert at Westport’s Staples High School. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Hamilton Laux for WestportNow.com
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