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Friday, March 02, 2007

Compo Road South Closed by Flood Waters

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Westport’s Compo Road South at the railroad underpass was closed by flood waters during today’s rain. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Stranded

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A car is standed in flood waters today at the intersection of Westport Pumpkin Hill Road and Colony Road. Almost 3 inches of rain fell in several hours this morning. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Plowing the Rain

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A state Department of Transportation truck tries to push water to the side of Post Road East at the Sherwood Island Connector during today’s heavy rains. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Hardie Gramatky Exhibit Opens Tonight at Library

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An opening reception will be held at the Westport Public Library at 6 p.m. today for an exhibit featuring watercolors by artist Hardie Gramatky, including “Evening Quiet” (above) of a farmhouse on Westport’s Roseville Road. Called “one of America’s 20 great watercolorists” by painter Andrew Wyeth, Gramatky (1907-79) was a prolific artist and a longtime Westport resident. The exhibit includes never-before-seen watercolors painted both in Westport and around the world. Contributed photo

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Friday, March 2, 2007


8:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Westport Transit District
3 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Community Inclusion Task Force
6 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Opening reception Hardie Gramatky exhibit
6:30 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Artist Event: Artist’s Salon
7 p.m. - Mitchells of Westport, - Near & Far Spring Gala

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New Firefighters Join Westport Department

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First Selectman Gordon Joseloff congratulates new firefighters Joseph Arnson and Matthew Zaremski after a promotional ceremony today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Fire Department welcomed two new firefighters into its family during a promotional ceremony today.

Joseph Arnson, 20, of Middlebury, and Matthew Zaremski, 21, of Norwalk, joined the department and will start attending the Connecticut Fire Academy on Monday for 10 weeks of training.

Following the training, they will spend two weeks training before rotating each of the four shifts for the next year while they are on probation.

Fire Chief Christopher Ackley said the new hiring was because of two retirements from the department.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Westport Reads Kicks Off Saturday

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If you’re running errands in Westport on Saturday at 1-1:30 p.m., keep your ears peeled. You might hear a cello marking the beginning of the Westport Library’s Westport Reads 2007.

This year’s selection is “The Soloist” by Mark Salzman and cellists will be marking the kick off of the month of events by playing at Barnes & Noble, both Starbucks locations, Docs Café, Balducci’s, Trader Joe’s and the Westport Library. Brochures will be available with all of the month’s events.

Events include “’See’ with Your Ears,” featuring the Norwalk Symphony Quintet, on Tuesday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. and “Insights into Juries,” with Judge Alan H. Nevas, on Thursday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Also features are “Buddhism 101: Definition, Chants, and Practices” on Monday, March 12 at 7:30 pm, a PageTurners discussion of the book on Tuesday, March 20 at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. and “Cello and Flute in Concert” with cellist Eliot T. Bailen and flutist Susan Rotholz on Wednesday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m.

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Curtin, Gleason and Sarandon to Read Short Fiction

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Jane Curtin: Reading short fiction at the playhouse. Contributed photo
Jane Curtin, Joanna Gleason and Chris Sarandon will read short fiction in “Selected Shorts,” a live version of the renowned NPR show of the same name and a celebration of the short story, on Tuesday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Westport Country Playhouse.

Presented by Arts in the House, a co-presentation between the Westport Arts Center and Westport Country Playhouse, the program will be taped for future NPR broadcast.

The evening’s theme is enthralling stories about the unexpected consequences of secrets between lovers.

Curtin will bring to life “Twenty Grand” by Rebecca Curtis, which is about a daughter’s view of her parents’ hopes, dreams and one crucial dispute at a toll booth.

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Freedman Addresses State Issues in Talk

By Jennifer Connic

State Sen. Judith Freedman, R-26, touched on a number of topics that face state officials this year including affordable housing during a talk with the Y’s Men of Westport Weston today.

Freedman, a Westport resident, gave an update on the issues facing the state senate this session before taking questions from the audience.

She said she believes the state affordable housing law—which requires each town to have 10 percent of its housing stock be labeled as affordable—will never be repealed.

Under the state law, if a town does not have enough affordable housing a developer can propose a housing development with 30 percent of the homes labeled as affordable.

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WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 15 Bonnie Brook Road

15 Bonnie Brook Road, Westport CT
Westport building officials are reviewing an application to demolish the 1958 house at 15 Bonnie Brook Road in the Coleytown area of town. The house—which is 3,000 square feet and sits on two acres of land—sold in December for $1.1 million. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

03/01/07 06:41 PM Comments (2) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Joseloff’s Budget to Increase Over 5.5 Percent

By Jennifer Connic

Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff this week presented a preliminary 2007-08 budget proposal that includes a 5.8 percent increase, but he said the figures may change before it is formally presented to the Board of Finance on March 7.

Joseloff’s proposal is $57.4 million. Combined with education costs, which include a requested operating budget increase of 8.4 percent, the total budget proposal is $161.2 million, which is a 7.5 percent increase over the current budget.

Joseloff said his budget proposal will change before its formal submission, but he expects the increase to be 5.5-5.7 percent. Town officials may be able to create some savings, including in the insurance account, before the submission.

Fixed costs including rising utility prices and contracted salary increases are partly driving the budget increase, Joseloff said, but there are new initiatives included in his proposal.

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Thursday, March 1, 2007


11 a.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Pension boards meeting
5:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201A – Emily McLaury House Committee
6:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7-9 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - Open House

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No Injures Reported in Warnock Drive Fire

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Westport firefighters responded to a fire in a detached garage tonight on Warnock Drive. A neighbor reported the fire and alerted the homeowners in the nearby house. There were no injuries, but one exterior wall of the garage was heavily damaged. Cause of the fire is under investigation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

03/01/07 04:48 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Town Officials Plan to Name Ball Fields

By Jennifer Connic

Westport officials are planning a way to honor two people who devoted their time to the town and specifically Westport Little League.WestportNow.com Image
Mary Ellen White: honored by town. Contributed photo

The Board of Selectmen voted today to name a baseball field at Coleytown Elementary School for Donald Levy and to name the baseball and softball fields at the Town Farms “Mary Ellen White Baseball and Softball Complex at Town Farms.” Additionally, the entrance driveway at the Town Farms would be renamed Mary Ellen White Way.

Levy, who spent decades working with Westport Little League, died last August (See WestportNow Aug. 21). Mary Ellen White, known as the “heart and soul” of Westport Little League, died last October (See WestportNow Oct. 5).

“They were involved in the fabric of our town and this is a great way to honor them,” said Selectman Robert Lasprogato.

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Talking about a Best Seller

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Thrity Umrigar read from her new novel “The Space Between Us,” which is set in modern-day Bombay, during a session of the authors@the library series at the Westport Public Library today. It was a standing room only crowd with about 100 people who attended the talk. The book explores the intertwined lives of an upper middle class Parisi housewife and her illiterate servant of 20 years. It captures the divisions of class and culture that separate the intrinsically connected but vastly removed lives of the rich and poor in the author’s native India. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Softball Jamboree Scheduled for Sunday

Westport Girls Softball will hosts its free annual Softball Jamboree on Sunday at noon to 2 p.m. at the Staples High School field house.

Girls in kindergarten through fifth grade are eligible to attend the event that is hosted by the Staples varsity softball team. Additionally, the 2006 Westport Majors Softball All-Stars will be on hand.

Those attending will receive a free t-shirt and can win prizes in games such as base running races.

Mini coaching clinics will be offered to show girls the fundamentals of the game, and there will be information on hand for girls to sign up for the 2007 Little League season.

For more information, contact Stephen Axthelm at (917) 602-7844 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Freedman to Speak to Y’s Men Thursday

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Judith Freedman: Giving a state Senate update. Contributed photo
State Sen. Judith Freedman, R-26, will speak at the next Y’s Men of Westport Weston meeting on Thursday at 10 a.m. at Saugatuck Congregational Church.

Freedman will give an update on the state senate during her talk.

She is a Westport resident and represents a district that includes Westport, Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, and Wilton. Freedman was re-elected to her post last November.

She is the ranking member of the Government Administration & Elections Committee, which oversees legislation regarding the Ethics Commission, compacts between the state and Indian tribes, constitutional amendments, elections and campaign finance.

She is also the ranking member of the Select Committee on Children and is a member of the Appropriations Committees and the Legislative Management Committee.

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All Gone: 4 Hawthorne Lane

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Construction crews demolished the house at 4 Hawthorne Lane off Bayberry Lane this week and remained on site to remove the rubble. The 1954 house, which sold last month for $885,000, was the WestportNow Teardown of the Day on Jan. 27. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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ZBA Partially Approves 113 Cross Highway Application

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113 Cross Highway before preservation work began. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow/WN file photo
By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Zoning Board of Appeals Tuesday night partially approved an application that would allow a couple to preserve some of buildings that once were Westport’s first gas station, the Cross Highway Garage at 113 Cross Highway.

Michael and Kim Ronemus were 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 Representative Town Meeting last December designatated the house as historical based on its history as the town’s first filling station, an action which prevents its destruction.

The board approved the variances necessary to allow a home office to be installed in one of the buildings, but it denied a request to change one of the buildings into a guest room.

Board Chairman Jim Ezzes said there is evidence the barn where the home office would be located was once used as an office and therefore it would be appropriate to approve it. However, he said it would not be right to permit expansion of the building because the board does not approve expansions of uses such as a home office.

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Saugatuck Winter Scenes

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Temperatures in Westport—including along the Saugatuck River—reached 40 degrees on Tuesday and are expected to reach into the 40s again today. The warmer temperatures helped melt some of the snow from the recent storms. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn Miller for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007


8 a.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Maintenance Study Committee
10:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – International Hospitality Committee
Noon - Westport Public Library - authors@the library: Thrity Umrigar
4:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – School Building Committee
5 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309/307 – Board of Selectmen (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – TEAM Westport Committee
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Westport Community Gardens
7:30 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Literature: Mark Schenker

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Conservation Hearing Focuses on Y Septic System

By Jennifer Connic

Tonight’s Conservation Commission hearing on the Westport Weston Family Y’s new facility focused on the sewage treatment system, which came the same week the Family Y received a preliminary state approval for the system.

Westport Weston Family Y officials are planning to move their facility from the corner of Main Street and Post Road East in the downtown area to Camp Mahackeno adjacent to the Merritt Parkway. The plans include a septic system—called FAST—that would handle 34,000 gallons of sewage and water per day.

The state Department of Environmental Protection issued a draft approval for the system this week (See WestportNow Today).

Tonight the commission heard from several experts about the septic system, including an engineer who reviewed the state draft approval document.

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Fuel Spills from Pedestrian Walkway on Railroad Bridge

An estimated four gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the Saugatuck River from a fuel drum with a loose cap on the pedestrian walkway on the Metro-North Railroad Bridge spanning the river, Westport fire officials said tonight.

Someone had moved the drum onto the walkway, and there had been a previous attempt to secure the cap with black electrical tape, said Assistant Fire Chief Gene Maloney.

Firefighters discovered the leak when they responded at 7:32 p.m. to a report of a fuel spill on the pedestrian walkway.

On arrival, they found an oily substance leading from the commuter parking lot on the west side of the river across the pedestrian walkway to a concrete platform adjacent to the bridge tender’s shack mid-way across the span, Maloney said.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Going Down: 376 Greens Farms Road

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Construction crews demolished the house at 376 Greens Farms Road in Westport today. The 1920 house on .75-acre at the corner of Robin Hill Road not far from Bulkley Avenue South sold in November 2005 for $810,000. It was the WestportNow Teardown of the Day on Oct. 9. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Longtime Westporter Gloria Hunter Dies at 79

Gloria Hunter, a longtime Westporter who worked as a journalist, teacher, author and columnist and taught reading and college test preparation skills to countless area students, died Sunday at her Westport home. She was 79.WestportNow.com Image
Gloria Hunter: Westport resident since 1965.  Contributed photo

Hunter had struggled valiantly to maintain a normal life with family and friends and in her community as she waged her battle against cancer, according to Thomas Hunter, her husband of 56 years.

Hunter was known to many Westporters for her “As I See It” column in the weekly Westport Minuteman newspaper for the last 13 years. Her last column, “Teaser Titles,” was completed just before her death.

Born in Chicago, Hunter was the daughter of the late Eleanore Kline and David Waldron Hunter. She spent her early married life in Ann Arbor, Mich., Summit, N.J., and Cleveland, Ohio before making Westport the permanent family home in 1965.

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