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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Westport Firefighters Assist at Train Accident

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Westport firefighters today helped Fairfield units after a Metro-North train hit a van just over the Westport-Fairfield border in Fairfield. The driver of the van, a Metro-North worker, escaped injury but two persons on the New York-bound train suffered minor injuries. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Commission Examines Designating Roseville Farmhouse

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The Historic District Commission is considering making 88 Roseville Road a historic property. It was built in 1860. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The Westport Historic District Commission is embarking on another study to move towards designating another property as historic under the town’s ordinance.

Town officials have hired Associated Cultural Resource Consultants to study the history of 88 Roseville Road in a step towards designating the property. It was built in 1860.

Earlier this month, the Representative Town Meeting approved the designation of 113 Cross Highway as a local historical property. In the last year, the RTM has also designated 99 Myrtle Avenue, which is owned by the town, as historical and created the Gorham Avenue and Violet Lane historic districts.

Morley Boyd, Historic District Commission, said the woman who owns the property is a senior citizen and plans to sell it soon.

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Foggy Beach

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A sea gull was the only creature stirring at Westport’s Compo Beach under foggy conditions Wednesday afternoon. Rain was in the area on Wednesday, but today is forecasted to have sunnier skies. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006


2:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Bond Committee
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Planning & Zoning Commission Work Session
7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “A Christmas Carol”
7:15 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Youth Commission

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Holiday Music

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Westport’s Beford Middle School eighth grade holiday concert tonight was well attended. Conductors included Michele Aurori Anderson (orchestra—above), Stephen Baranski (chorus) and Gregg Winters (band). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lawrence J. Zlatkin for WestportNow.com

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Downtown Merchants Plan Calls for Metered Parking

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The Westport Downtown Merchants Association tonight unveiled its $14 million plan to upgrde parking in the downtown area. The plan calls for metered parking to be installed in most parking areas. The group’s president, David Waldman (at podium), said the revenue from the meters would pay the cost of the improvements in as few as 12 or so years. He spoke at a presentation at the Westport Public Library.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jennifer Connic for WestportNow.com

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Downtown Plan Includes Metered Parking

By Jennifer Connic

The Downtown Merchants Association tonight unveiled preliminary plans to upgrade the downtown area by improving parking and pedestrian access, and the plan includes metered spaces in a variety of locations.WestportNow.com Image
Among those attending tonight’s Downtown Merchants Association briefing on a new downtown parking plan were Ellie Lowenstein (l), chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission, and Morley Boyd, chair of the Historic District Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jennifer Connic for WestportNow.com

The plan calls for reconfiguring Parker Harding Plaza that includes a two-way street and changing the entrance to the parking so that it is away from Post Road East.

Additionally, the plan calls for a parking deck to be constructed on the Baldwin Parking Lot on Elm Street and beautification along Main Street including landscaped “bump outs.”

The plan—which increases parking spaces by 10 percent—could cost as much as $14 million, and the merchants would ask town officials to front the cost. The revenue generated from metered parking would be used to pay back the loan.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Preservationists Work to Save Rudolph House

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Architect Paul Rudolph designed the house at 16 Minute Man Hill, which is slated for demolition. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

By Jennifer Connic

Preservationists believe the battle to save the house at 16 Minute Man Hill has been lost because the roof membrane was removed, but the new owner of the Paul Rudolph-designed house said today he was following the rules to obtain a demolition permit.

The house was the WestportNow Teardown of the Day on Nov. 16 and has been the topic of conversation since its publication, and some have tried to preserve the house.

The Historic District Commission, however, does not have jurisdiction over the house because its age is not at least 60 years old, said Morley Boyd, commission chairman. Private residents such as architect Michael Glynn have been working with commission members in attempts to preserve the house.

“I’m afraid we have been defeated,” Glynn said. “(The new owner) is determined to destroy it. He removed the roof membrane and today’s rain is going into the house.”

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Teen Services Librarian Joins Staff

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Jaina Lewis: Library’s first teen services librarian. Contributed photo
The Westport Public Library welcomed its first teen services librarian this fall after a national search.

Jaina Lewis joined the staff in October, library officials announced today, and she will reach out to teens and provide services and support.

Among her first initiatives, Lewis is refreshing the teen section of the library’s web site and has already inaugurated a blog for teens at www.westportlibrary.org/teenblog.

She has also formed a Teen Advisory Council to help select books and other materials for teens and provide input in creating ongoing library programs for the age group.

Lewis attends events at Toquet Hall to meet teens outside the library, and she can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Meeting Broadcasts Coming to Web

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In order to watch a town meeting on television now, you have to be watching it in Westport on cable channel 79, but that soon will change.

The Board of Selectmen approved a contract Wednesday night to allow for live streaming of town meetings through the town’s Web site.

Eileen Zhang, town information technology director, said a large number of people are watching the meetings on television—and request copies on DVD—and the live streaming takes it a step further.

People would not only be able to watch on their home computers including Macs, she said, they would also be able to watch on mobile devices such as a PDA or cellular phone if it has Internet access.

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Former Westporter Robert A. Potts Dies at 79

Former Westport resident Robert A. Potts died early today at his home in Essex, Conn. He was 79 years old.WestportNow.com Image
Robert A. Potts: lived in Westport 38 years. Contributed photo

He was a longtime cancer survivor, according to his son, Mark.

A retired magazine publishing industry executive, Potts was the publisher of Dun’s Business Month and also held senior positions at Watson Publishing and Cahners Publishing.

He was active in many local and civic organizations in Essex and Westport, where he lived for 38 years. He was known to his family and many friends as a raconteur and for his hearty appreciation of a good joke or funny story.

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After the Y Moves: Development on Church Lane (1)

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Tuesday’s news conference announcing the sale of the downtown Westport Weston Family Y building included this architectural rendering of a new building on Church Lane that would replace the Weeks Pavilion which currently houses the swimming pool. The developers said their plans include residential units on a portion of the site. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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After the Y Moves: Development on Church Lane (2)

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One of two architectural renderings of a proposed new building on Westport’s Church Lane unveiled at Tuesday’s news conference announcing sale of the Westport Weston Family Y building. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Children Evacuated in School Bus Incident

A quick acting Westport school bus driver is credited with preventing possible harm to his riders after detecting a strong burning odor coming from his vehicle’s engine compartment.

The incident occurred Tuesday at 3:48 p.m. as the bus was making a run in the Westfair Drive area, said Assistant Chief Gene Maloney. He said firefighters responding to a report of a school bus fire instead found no fire but detected a strong burning odor coming from the bus engine department.

By that time, the driver, who was not identified, had evacuated all the children from the bus and gathered them in an adjacent driveway, Maloney said. He said the source of the odor appeared to be a possible failure of the turbocharger on the vehicle’s diesel engine.

“This condition did not present any danger to the students riding the bus,” Maloney said. Dattco Bus Co. personnel and the Westport school system transportation coordinator arranged for another bus to transport the students home, he said.

12/13/06 06:33 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

December Sailing

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It’s December, but some sailboats are still moored and docked in the waters along Westport including at Ned Dimes Marina at Compo Beach. Temperatures were mild on Tuesday—in the upper 40s—and they are predicted to continue to be warm today—in the 50s—but rain is also in the forecast. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2006


10 a.m. - Westport Public Library - Jobseekers Resource Seminar
10:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – International Hospitality Committee
Noon - Westport Arts Center - Gallery Chat: Global
2:30 p.m. – Westport Center for Senior Activities – Senior Center Policy & Planning Board

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Affordable Housing Topic of Summit

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Experts and residents discussed affordable housing tonight at a Westport Town Hall meeting and many agreed that they know what is needed to garner support to move forward to erect such housing. WestportNow.com Image
Floyd Lapp (l), executive director of the South Western Regional Planning Agency, responds to a question from Westport Planning and Zoning Commission member Davic Press (at podium) during tonight’s Town Hall meeting on affordable housing. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jennifer Connic for WestportNow.com

For almost three hours, experts suggested ways to provide more affordable housing and responded to audience questions and comments during what was billed as a “Citiizens Summit on Affordable Housing.”

First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, who organized the meeting, said affordable housing is an issue of paramount concern.

“We need to constitute it in a manner that is in a good location and that is of a density that is good for the neighborhood,” he said.

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Talking Affordable Housing

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A meeting billed as a “Citizens Summit on Affordable Housing” at Westport Town Hall tonight heard from a panel of experts, including (l-r) Stamford-based planner Rick Redniss; Floyd Lapp, executive director of the South Western Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA); David Fink, policy and communications director for the Hartford-based Partnership for Strong Community, and Westporter Ross Burkhardt, president and CEO of New Neighbors, Inc., a Stamford-based nonprofit community development corporation. Westporter Steven Daniels, chair of the Joint Housing Committee of the Westport Human Services Commission (r), was moderator. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jennifer Connic for WestportNow.com

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Taking a Bow

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Members of the Coleytown Middle School take a bow during the Seventh Grade Holiday Concert. The seventh grade orchestra, band and chorus also participated in the event. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Selectmen Approve Inn at Longshore Lease

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The Board of Selectmen tonight approved an extension of the town lease with Longshore Associates of Westport to run the Inn at Longshore, but the matter still needs Planning and Zoning Commission approval.

The extension lasts 10 years with an increase in the rent and there are two options to extend the lease by five years each, said Town Attorney Ira Bloom.

The Board of Finance approved the lease during its meeting last week (See WestportNow Dec. 6). The P&Z is scheduled to review the matter at its Dec. 21 hearing.

There are two years remaining on the current lease, so the new one does not start until 2009.

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Fit to Knit

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Coleytown Elementary School students participated in a “knit-a-thon” assembly today that featured Lynne LeBarron from Westport-based Save the Children as a speaker. Over nine days, the students learned to knit and created more than 200 infant hats and scarves. The hats were donated to Save the Children, and the scarves were donated to the Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Joseloff Open to Discussions on Keeping Y Downtown

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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.”

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Family Y Announces Sale of Downtown Building

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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.WestportNow.com Image
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.

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Class Size Discussion Focuses on Space Issues

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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.

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Westport Community Theatre Presents Dickens Stories

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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.

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