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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

P&Z Approves Lot Use for Power Line Project

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Planning and Zoning Commission has approved a plan to allow Connecticut Light and Power to use the lower Imperial Avenue parking lot for the high-voltage power line project, but members also heard concerns from neighbors about noise.

The commission approved the plan at its meeting Monday night, during which it heard that use of the entire lower lot is necessary temporarily to allow workers to dig a trench under the river for the power line. It is part of the project for 345-kilovolt transmission line from Middletown to Norwalk by Northeast Utilities.

The lot will also permanently contain a vault for electric equipment. Construction will also be suspended in June in order to make way for the Westport Woman’s Club’s 100th annual Yankee Doodle Fair.

“CL&P has been sensitive to our needs,” Town Attorney Ira Bloom said. “They want to get the ball rolling on this in the month of January.”

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Board of Finance Names New GOP Member

The Westport Board of Finance Monday night named Thomas Little as the replacement for Republican member R. Gavin S. Anderson.

The Democratic chair said he will make “a distinctive and valuable contribution to the town.” GOP members said they regretted their Democratic colleagues’ “strong-arm” tactics in making the selection.

A statement by Republican members Charles Haberstroh and Avi Kaner said: “Tonight the Democrats on the Board of Finance voted, along party lines 4-2, to appoint Tom Little to the vacant Republican slot on the board.

“We congratulate Tom on his appointment and look forward to working with him. It is regrettable that the Democrats would use their majority to strong-arm the selection process to appoint the Republican replacement.”

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After the Rain

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More than an inch of rain was recorded in parts of Westport on Monday, but it cleared at Compo Beach by late afternoon. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2007


8:45 a.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Municipal Employees Pension Board
Noon - Toquet Hall - “Play With Your Food”
5 p.m. – Staples High School, Room 590, Staples Subcommittee
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Historic District Commission
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 206 – RTM Transit Committee
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – Architectural Review Board
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Zoning Board of Appeals
8 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – RTM Meeting (live coverage cable channel 79 and www.westportct.gov)

01/09/07 05:37 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

School Board Begins Kindergarten Discussions

By Jennifer Connic

The Board of Education heard arguments tonight from parents who both support and oppose a form of an all-day kindergarten program, but many cited problems with the proposal.

Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon has proposed a kindergarten program where students would attend three full days of school and two extended days (See WestportNow Jan. 7).

Landon based his proposal on the recommendation from the staff stating kindergartners need more time in order to have time to explore and play. Additionally, he cited a survey in which two-thirds of parents chose a preference for full-day kindergarten.

“We are not proposing this to add to the curriculum,” Landon said tonight. “It’s to offer the existing, fully-comprehensive program in a more relaxed atmosphere with a greater opportunity for socialization and exploration.”

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Westport Photographer Exhibit Opens in Norwalk

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An exhibit featuring works by Westport photographer Suzanne Sheridan opened tonight at the Patriot Bank branch on Westport Avenue in Norwalk. Rozanne Gates of Westport and an unidentified man admire her Compo Beach cannon photo. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

01/09/07 02:09 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Monday, January 08, 2007

Master Chef Addresses Y’s Women

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Michel Nischan, Master Chef, author, lecturer, environmentalist and enthusiastic organic gardener, addressed today’s meeting of the Y’s Women of Westport Weston. Nischan, a partner with Paul Newman in the Dressing Room restaurant at the Westport Country Playhoiuse, helped bring the farmers market to the Playhouse parking lot last summer.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Demolition Permit Issued for Rudolph House

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The home at 16 Minute Man Hill won’t be demolished if it can be sold by Friday under a court agreement.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com file photo by Dave Matlow
Westport building officials issued the demolition permit today for the Paul Rudolph-designed house at 16 Minute Man Hill, town officials said.

David and Yvette Waldman, who contracted to purchase the house for $3.2 million, and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation settled on Friday in the court battle over the future of the home (See WestportNow Jan. 5).

Under the settlement, the Waldmans will negotiate through Friday with a potential buyer for the property who would preserve it. If a deal cannot be negotiated by then, the Waldmans would then have the right to demolish the house.

Waldman said on Friday during press interviews that he plans to demolish the house on Saturday if an agreement cannot be reached.

01/08/07 09:04 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

School Budget Could Increase 8.9 Percent

By Jennifer Connic

Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon has proposed a 8.9 percent increase for the 2007-08 school budget.

The proposed budget was sent to the Board of Education on Friday and it will discuss it during its meeting today at 8 p.m. at Staples High School. The proposal is also available for public viewing on the school district’s Web site.

The proposal is a $7.3 million increase over the current budget and would bring the total budget up to $89.2 million.

The proposal carries a 7 percent increase in total salaries, but the biggest increase is in benefits, which includes health insurance, with a 25.1 percent increase in the line item.

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Ceremony Honors Partrick Wetlands Preservation

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Christopher Tymniak (r), representing Gov. M. Jodi Rell, today presents a proclamation from the governor to Matthew Mandell (l) and Sean Timmins (c), Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund directors, honoring the effort to preserve the wetlands.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jennifer Connic for WestportNow.com
By Jennifer Connic

The steady rain today did not dampen the celebratory mood at a ceremony at the Partrick Wetlands honoring the donation and dedication of the property in northwest Westport.

The Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund formally received 22 acres of the 55.9-acre property at the ceremony from Stratford-based ARS Partners LLC. The Westport Conservation Department and the state Department of Environmental Protection will oversee the conservation easement for the property.

The event ended 40 years of uncertainty about the property. As part of a negotiated deal, ARS Partners donated the 22 acres to the preservation fund and will construct 13 single family luxury homes on the balance of the property closest to Newtown Turnpike.

Matthew Mandell, preservation fund director, said the property will be a showcase of what can happen when parties can work together for a common goal and common good.

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Imperial Lot Necessary for Power Line Project

By Jennifer Connic

Town officials have negotiated an easement plan for the Westport Woman’s Club parking lot on Imperial Avenue that will ensure the 100th annual Yankee Doodle Fair will take place this summer.

The temporary easement is necessary for the construction of the 345-kilovolt transmission line from Middletown to Norwalk by Northeast Utilities.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will consider the easement during a hearing today at 7 p.m., and the Board of Selectmen will review it on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

P&Z Director Laurence Bradley said one easement, which will take up the entire parking lot, is temporary for the construction of the power line and specifically to dig under the river. The second, permanent easement is to locate a vault for the power line.

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Mild Days

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Temperatures in Westport Sunday got into the 50s—not nearly as warm as Saturday but still milder than normal. Rain which began Sunday night is forecast to taper off this afternoon. This Sunday view is near Longshore Club Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Monday, Jan. 8, 2007


10 a.m. - 18 Partrick Road - Partrick Wetlands dedication ceremony
6:30 p.m. – Staples High School, Room 321, Board of Education Executive Session
7 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79 and www.westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Parks & Recreation Commission
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - authors@the library: Bob Spitz
8 p.m. – Staples High School Cafeteria – Board of Education (live coverage cable channel 78)

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Landon Proposes Full-Day Kindergarten Program

By Jennifer Connic

For the third time during his eight-year tenure, Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon has proposed changing the kindergarten program so students are attending a full day of school.WestportNow.com Image
Elliott Landon: “urgent need” for full-day kindergarten. WN file photo

Landon has proposed kindergartners attend three full days of school and two extended days of school per week based on the results of a survey of former kindergarten parents. The plan would go into effect for the 2007-08 school year.

The Board of Education will discuss the survey results during its meeting at 8 p.m. on Monday at Staples High School.

Landon, who marks his eighth anniversary with the Westport school system this week, could not be reached for comment.

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Ceremony Scheduled to Dedicate Partrick Wetlands

The Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund will hold a public ceremony on Monday at 10 a.m. to dedicate the 22.14 acres of open space it received from ARS Partners in northwest Westport.

The ceremony will take place at 18 Partrick Road, and it will be held rain or shine. The property will remain as open space.

Event organizers say those attending should wear footwear appropriate for a short walk up a gravel trail.

The donation of the property ends 40 years of uncertainty over the property that lies between Partrick Road and Newtown Turnpike.

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Mild But Winter-Like Weather Returns

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The weather turned colder today but by January winter standards was still mild—in the 50s. But that was good enough to enable these skaters to have fun at the Westport PAL Ice Rink at Longshore Club Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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For the Birds

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People didn’t necessarily think the weather was for the birds on Saturday with temperatures in the mid-70s. Many visited Westport’s Compo Beach to take advantage of the warm weather. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

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Sunday, Jan. 7, 2007


4 p.m. - Steinway Piano Gallery - Mozart and Friends Recital

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

First Taste of Ice Cream

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Today’s summer-like weather enabled Elizabeth Tilton, 20 months old, of Norwalk to enjoy her first taste of ice cream outside Ben and Jerry’s on Westport’s Post Road East. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

01/06/07 11:11 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Winter Bike Ride

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It was summer-like in Westport’s downtown today, but the temperature sign at the Bank of America always seems to register a couple of degrees warmer than it really is. If it wasn’t actually 74, it was close enough for a good winter bike ride. (Westport’s weather stations registered a high of 72 during the day.) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Winter Day at the Beach

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People and dogs crowded Westport’s Compo Beach today to bask in sunshine and temperatures that edged near 70.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

01/06/07 11:00 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Put the Rowing Machines Away

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It’s usually around St. Patrick’s Day that you start seeing rowers on the Saugatuck River in Westport—generally quite bundled up. A big change to be wearing short sleeves on the water, no ice in sight in January. No one was complaining today in this Saugatuck Rowing Club quad. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Susan Farewell for WestportNow.com

01/06/07 10:41 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Winter Wonderland

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It was a summer-like winter wonderland at Westport’s Compo Beach today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Jogging and Jamming

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Joggers mixed with traffic jams at Westport’s Compo Beach today as summer-like weather made January look like July. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

01/06/07 10:16 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Winter Fun at Compo Playground

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It looked like mid-summer at Westport’s Compo Beach playground today. Famed Westport photographer Larry Silver borrowed a digital camera to contribute this shot to WestportNow. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Silver for WestportNow.com

01/06/07 10:02 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon
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