Friday, May 11, 2007
Gaffney Leaves Assessor Position
After three years and ushering the town through a contentious revaluation process, Assessor Bill Gaffney is leaving Westport.
Westport Assessor William Gaffney (r) meets with the Revaluation Working Group shortly after his hiring in 2004. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com file photo
Gaffney’s last day is today and will be leaving to take a position with Waterbury-based Total Valuation, a private assessment firm.
He came to Westport after town officials nixed an attempted revaluation after discovering there was a large backlog of building permits that were never assessed. The town lost its assessor and deputy assessor over the course of six months.
Having put the office back in order and completed the revaluation, Gaffney said he felt good for all that he has accomplished in his three years in Westport.
Arts Center Seeks Entries for Members Show
The Westport Arts Center is seeking artists to enter “Members Show 2007—Group Shows,” and submissions are due before Friday, June 15 at 4 p.m.
The show is part of the arts center’s annual summer-long exhibition of member artists’ work in its gallery, which is located on Riverside Avenue.
Membership to the Westport Arts Center is the only requirement in order to participate, and the cost to become a member is $45.
The non-juried group shows are an all-inclusive, multi-media visual arts exhibit and they feature work by more than 250 member artists from throughout Fairfield, Westchester and New Haven counties as well as New York City and New Jersey.
Westport Property Transfers May 1-4, 2007
Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period May 1-4, 2007:
Westport Family Homes LLC to Bowers Living Trust, 7 Keyser Road, $1,685,000
Kathleen M. Moriarty to Todd P. & Stephanie Koehler, 9 Lowlyn Road, $857,000
Jeffrey Bellman & Deena Daugherty-Bellman to Jill H. Oshea, 1 Quentin Road, $1,785,000
L&L Homes Inc. to John F. Lynch, 9 Boxwood Lane, $3,600,000
Love for Drama
Al Pia, longtime Staples High School drama teacher, spoke at the Westport Public Library Thursday night about his book “On Stage! The Communal Magic of Theatre and Acting the Truth: The Acting Principles of Constantin Stanislavski.” “God directed me into this wonderful town,” Pia said. “I feel absolutely privileged to work in this town.” He will be directing “Miss Saigon” for the summer theater this year. “It makes a fantastic statement on the horror of war,” he said. Many former students and their parents attended the talk. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Friday, May 11, 2007
5:30 p.m. – Town Hall Lobby – Westport Schools Town-wide Art Show Reception
8 p.m. - Seabury Center - Westport Arts Center’s Singers & Songwriters: Wailin Jennys
Sewer Comments Cause Stir
Published comments from Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff about the preference to sewer a new Westport Weston Family Y facility at Camp Mahackeno have caused a stir.
During Monday’s Representative Town Meeting budget session, Matthew Mandell, RTM District 1, led a protest vote against the sewer fund because of Joseloff’s reported comments, and Joseloff responded to the comments during today’s Y’s Men talk.
Mandell said town officials shouldn’t be allowing sewers in areas that have been deemed where septic should be used, which includes Mahackeno.
A lot of research and study was completed to institute the town’s sewer plan, and there would be significant ramifications to allow the “blue line”—the border of the sewered and nonsewered area of town—to be moved, he said Monday night.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Solar Panels Installed at Fire Headquarters
Workers are finishing the installation of 110 solar panels at Westport Fire Headquarters. The panels would provide enough electricity to power 13 homes, and will be used to generate power for the building. A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, May 30 at 3:30 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com
Garden Club Plant Sale is Friday
Westport Garden Club members were at Saugatuck Congregational Church today setting out plants for its annual sale. The sale will take place on Friday at 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the church’s front lawn. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jennifer Connic for WestportNow.com
Joseloff: No Family Y at Winslow Park
First Selectman Gordon Joseloff holds up a copy of the results of a community survey completed for the update to the Town Plan of Conservation and Development during a talk with the Y’s Men of Westport Weston today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com
By Jennifer Connic
Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said today he does not wish to see the Westport Weston Family Y located at Winslow Park and early results of an engineering report show a new facility also would not work at Jesup Green.
Joseloff was speaking before the Y’s Men of Westport Weston with Weston First Selectman Woody Bliss in giving an annual update to the organization’s membership about the two towns.
Joseloff said he is striving to keep the Family Y downtown, which is why he moved forward with plans to hire an engineering firm to analyze Jesup Green and Baron’s South, and the results of the study are informally returning to town officials now.
“I know the importance of the Y to the community, and it is nice to have it downtown,” he said.
California Man Arrested in Identity Theft Case
A California man was arrested in an identity theft case that involved a Washington Mutual Bank theft at the Post Road West branch in a March, police said today.
Marvin Baker, 51, of Richmond, Calif., was charged on Tuesday with criminal impersonation, first degree larceny, second degree forgery and first degree identity theft. He was held on a $250,000 bond.
Police received a complaint about suspicious activity at a Washington Mutual branch in Norwalk on March 21, police said, and Westport patrol officers located a vehicle matching the description of the one from the Norwalk complaint and stopped it. The identified and interviewed individuals were allowed to leave because no crimes had been committed, police said.
In April, Washington Mutual Bank investigators advised Westport police of a March 6 larceny at the Post Road West Branch, police said.
Temperatures were close to 80 degrees in Westport Wednesday. With summer-like weather, many headed to Compo Beach to sit or walk on the jetty.Today’s forecast calls for a chance of showers with a slight chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon with highs in the mid 70s. Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Journalist and Author of Steinway Book Visits Westport
New York Times journalist and author James Barron Wednesday night signed copies of his book “Piano: The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand” at Westport’s Steinway showroom on Post Road East. The book expands on his series of articles published in the newspaper and chronicles how a New York immigrant family created an American cultural institution. To research the book, Barron followed the 11-month production process of one Steinway piano. To date, 565,700 Steinway pianos have been built. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thursday, May 10, 2007
10 a.m. - Saugatuck Congregational Church - Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff and Weston First Selectman Woody Bliss address Y’s Men
Noon - Westport Public Library - Momoirs: the Umbilical Cord Stops Here
5:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201A – Emily McLaury House Committee
7 p.m. – Westport Fire Headquarters – Public Site & Building Commission
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - authors@the library: Al Pia
Music Makers at Coleytown Middle School
James Forgey conducted Westport’s Coleytown Middle School Jazz Band tonight in a stirring rendition of music from the 70s. The concert also featured the Seventh Grade Chorus under the direction of Amy Radomski, the Chamber Orchestra conducted by Eileen Shannon, and Camerata conducted by Radomski. All songs performed by the Chorus and Camerata were accompanied by graduating eighth grade student Ryan Laney while piano interludes were played by seventh grader Connie Zhou. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com
Hanging Student Art
Westport teachers and parents were at Town Hall today hanging student art. The art will be on display through the remainder of the month as part of the School Town-Wide Art Show. The show opens with a reception at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jennifer Connic for WestportNow.com
Theatre Artists Workshop actors performed a staged reading of “Medea,” a Greek tragedy, tonight at the Westport Public Library. The performance was part of “The SpokenWord Celebrates Greece” lecture series sponsored by the Friends of the Library. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Plans Would Restructure Downtown Historic Property
Plans to restructure the historic building at 115 Main St. will go before the ZBA in June. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
By Jennifer Connic
There are plans to restructure the downtown building at 115 Main St.—which most recently housed Clementine—but the Westport Historic District Commission isn’t necessarily thrilled with the plans.
The plans call to retain portions of the historic structure and create a pedestrian access to Parker-Harding Plaza. The building would also have a glass curtain wall on the side adjacent to the walkway.
The plan is on the June 12 agenda for the Zoning Board of Appeals, and it was referred to the Historic District Commission for comments.
The commission reviewed the plans during its meeting Tuesday night, and Chairman Morley Boyd said the commission is not particularly fond of the plans.
Second Draft of Town Plan in the Works
The schedule for public meetings for the update to the Town Plan of Conservation and Development has changed slightly as the Planning and Zoning Commission wrapped up its discussion on the first draft.
The commission wrapped up its discussions on the first draft Tuesday night and charged Glenn Chalder, Planimetrics principal who is working on the plan with the commission, to move forward with rewriting the plan into a second draft.
P&Z Director Laurence Bradley said Chalder was charged with restructuring and reorganizing the plan after the discussions, and a second draft should be delivered to town officials later this month.
Levitt Pavilion Receives $35,000 Grant
The Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts has received a $35,000 grant for its 2007 summer season from the Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation, pavilion officials announced today.
The New York-based foundation supports a variety of programs in the arts, medicine and social services, and the directors are Janet and Fred Plotkin of Weston and their children, Carolyn, Amanda and Jonathan, who reside in New York City.
The Schnurmacher gift marks 12 years of personal and financial commitment to the Pavilion on behalf of the Plotkin family, and Janet and Fred Plotkin lived in Westport for nearly 30 years before moving to Weston.
“One of the reasons we moved to Westport was because of its commitment to the arts and its excellent cultural facilities,” said Janet Plotkin. “We believe the Pavilion is a wonderful asset to the town and unique in its mission of providing outstanding entertainment, free of charge, for area residents of all ages.”
Y’s Men Exhibit Hangs at Senior Center
Susan Pfister, Westport Center for Senior Activities director, adjusts the final photos that are hanging in the center’s game room. The photographs are part of an exhibit from the Y’s Men Camera Club titled “Portraits.” The exhibit is on display during regular business hours at the center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com
Old Lever Voting Machines Free for Taking
They’re now pieces of Westport’s history, but no one has come forward to take the lever machines off the hands of the registrars of voters.
The town’s registrars of voters said today they are making the lever machines—which have been replaced by electronic equipment this fall—available to anyone who wants to take them.
The two registrars had tried to sell the machines, but there were no takers, said Registrar Nita Cohen.
Now the two registrars need space in the schools to store some of the new equipment, and the machines need to go before July 1 in order to make room for the giant storage bins, she said.
P&Z Plans to Exclude Affordable Housing from Cap
The Planning and Zoning Commission will again examine removing affordable housing from counting against its cap on the number of multi-family housing units in Westport.
The commission voted Tuesday night to send a proposal to change its regulations to exempt affordable housing from the cap to the South West Regional Planning Agency and the state Department of Environmental Protection for comments.
The regulation change had been previously considered by the commission in January 2006, but it was later withdrawn because the commission wanted to examine affordable housing as a bigger issue (See WestportNow Jan. 4, 2006, Jan. 23, 2006).
P&Z Director Laurence Bradley said since then the commission and he have gained knowledge and experience on affordable housing and the multi-family housing cap.
Tuesday’s high was in the upper 60s with sunny skies—just right for a picnic table chat at Westport’s Compo Beach. Today’s forecast calls for a high in the 70s. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
9 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Community Inclusion Task Force
10:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – International Hospitality Committee
Noon - Westport Public Library - Classical DJ: Ten Years, Seventeen Thousand CDs, and a Microphone with David Bouchier
2:30 p.m. – Westport Center for Senior Activities – Senior Center Policy & Planning Board
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Golf Advisory Committee
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - The SpokenWord Celebrates Greece: Staged Reading of Medea
Survey Results Show House Size Concerns
A survey of Westport residents shows one of the biggest issues on their mind is the size of homes in town.
The survey, which was released this week, was conducted as part of the update to the Town Plan of Conservation and Development by the Planning and Zoning Commission. A consultant issued the telephone survey to 400 Westport residents.
“Too many large houses” was listed as the third most important issue in Westport following high taxes and the education system. Of the improvements to the town’s quality of life, “limit house size” was the top issue.
Additionally, nearly 79 percent of those responding said town officials need “to do more to limit the size of residential houses,” and 74.4 percent said “Westport needs a choice of housing types.”Page 1308 of 1699 pages
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