Friday, December 01, 2006
Staples Candlelight Concert Scheduled Dec. 8 & 9
A Look Back: The Staples Choir performs during last year’s Candlelight Concert. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Betsey Lebow/WN File
The 66th annual Candlelight Concert will take place at Westport’s Staples High School on Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9 at the high school.
Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday and 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The Staples Choir and Chorale, Symphonic and Sophomore Orchestras and the Symphonic and Sophomore Bands will present an evening of holiday music.
Along with individual performances by each ensemble, all of the singers and orchestra students will join forces for the traditional processional off “Sing We Noel” and a community sing-along to Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.”
Tornado Watch Issued
The National Weather Service tonight issued a tornado watch for Westport and portions of the tri-state area. The watch is effective until 10 p.m.
An advisory issued at 6:10 p.m. said tornadoes, hail to 1 inch in diameter and thunderstorm wind gusts to 70 mph and dangerous lightning are possible in these areas.
The tornado watch area is approximately along and 35 statute miles east and west of a line from 30 miles north northeast of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. to 30 miles east southeast of Allentown, Pa. This includes the Westport area.
A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. Persons in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements and possible warnings.
Westport Prepares for Tonight’s High Winds
Connecticut Light and Power and Westport Public Works crews are on stand-by in case of any problems associated with today’s high winds.
A high wind advisory from the National Weather Service is in effect until 1 a.m. on Saturday, and winds of 25-35 miles per hour with gusts up to 60 miles per hour are expected.
First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said Connecticut Light and Power have extra crews on duty in case there are power outages, which could happen with high winds.
As of 5 p.m., there were no power outages reported in Westport by Connecticut Light and Power, but there was one outage reported in Weston.
Holiday House Tour is Sunday
Five Westport homes will be decked out for the holidays and ready for visitors on Sunday as part of the 20th annual Holiday House Tour sponsored by the Westport Historical Society.
The tour is at 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes two renovated antiques, a renovated farmhouse and a waterfront Victorian.
The after-tour cocktail party is scheduled for 4-7 p.m. at a 10,000-square-foot colonial manor and features speciality cocktails, champagne and caviar, live jazz music, hors d’oeuvres by Chef Pietro Scotti and a silent auction.
For tickets, call (203) 222-1424.
School Board to Vote on Maintainers Contract
The Westport Board of Education will review and vote on a new, four-year contract with the Maintainers Union, which carries a 4.87 percent salary increase, on Monday.
The information about the new contract was released with the board’s agenda information today. The contract covers eight maintainers.
In addition to the salary increase, the union members will increase their health insurance contributions from 13 percent to 16 percent over the life of the contract.
Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said the maintainers do not have incremental increases built into the contract like the ones for the teachers and other municipal employees.
Going Down: 56 Easton Road
The house at 56 Easton Road in Westport’s Coleytown area was demolished this afternoon. Built in 1954, it was the WestportNow Teardown of the Day on Sept. 8, 2006. It sold in June for $735,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Celebrating His 90th
Friends and family today honored former state representative and Westport town attorney John Boyd on the occasion of his 90th birthday this month. Boyd, shown cutting a cake with his wife Jean at the Westport Center for Senior Activities, was a key figure in the town’s 1960 acquisition of Longshore Club Park and in preventing Cockenoe Island off Compo Beach from becoming the site of a nuclear power plant in 1967. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Student Enrollment Drives Budget Process
Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon hasn’t started preparing his proposed 2007-08 budget yet, but he knows enrollment will be a major influence on it.
The Board of Education and Board of Finance are slated to hold preliminary budget talks during a meeting Monday night, but Landon said the school board has yet to review a report on school enrollment projections.
The report is one factor in determining how many teachers are needed for the school year, he said, but he knows there will be about 100 additional students at Staples High School for the 2007-08 school year.
The last two school years, he said, more students have been arriving at Westport schools than anticipated, but he’s not sure if it should be considered a trend yet.
Day at the Farm
Visitors to the Kowalsky Farm on Westport’s Morningside Drive were greeted Thursday by several animals, including a llama, who were seeking treats. More warm weather is predicted for today along with showers, possible thunderstorms, and a high wind warning is in effect this afternoon into evening. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Friday, Dec. 1, 2006
8:30 - 10 a.m. - Shaw’s Supermarket, 605 Post Road East - Westport-Weston Health District flu clinic
10:30 a.m. - Noon - Stop & Shop Supermarket, 1790 Post Road East - Westport-Weston Health District flu clinic
1:30-3 p.m. - Coleytown Elementary School - Stepping Stones Open House
7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “A Christmas Carol”
8 p.m. - Westport Community Theatre - “An Inspector Calls”
8 p.m. - Seabury Center - Singers & Songwriters: Susan Werner / Guy Davis
P&Z Considers Denying Gorahm Affordable Housing Plan
All seven Westport Planning and Zoning Commission members said tonight they should deny a plan for an affordable housing in the Gorham Avenue Historic District and began discussing how to back up such a vote.
Red Coat Development has proposed to build 20 condominiums at the 1.5 acres at 296 Main St. and 5 Gorham Ave. Six of the units would be deemed “affordable” under state statutes. The application falls under the state’s affordable housing statute, which switches the burden of proof on a zoning decision to the commission.
Commission members said there is a significant need for affordable housing in Westport, but the plan presented was not the proper way to do it.
“We have a need for affordable housing in this town,” said Bruce Kasanoff, a commission member. “It’s critical and we need to do more. If I thought of the worst possible way to do it, (the application) would be close to it.”
Playhouse is Toys for Tots Collection Site
Those attending the Westport Country Playhouse’s performance of “A Christmas Carol” will have the opportunity to donate to the Toys for Tots program through Dec. 23.
The playhouse is an official collection site for the program, which is run by the U.S. Marines Corps Reserve and collects new, unwrapped toys for needy children.
Over the 58 years of the Toys for Tots program, Marines have distributed more than 351 million toys to 166 million needy children.
Performances for “A Christmas Carol” are scheduled for selected Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 1 and 5:30 p.m.
For ticket information, call (203) 227-4177 or 888-927-7529, surf to www.westportplayhouse.org or visit the box office at 25 Powers Court.
With temperatures in the 60s today, people brought out their dogs to play at Westport’s Compo Beach. Warmer temperatures are expected for Friday, but rain is also in the forecast. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Thursday, November 30, 2006
WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 5 Reimer Road
Westport building officials are reviewing an application to demolish the house at 5 Reimer Road, which is near Bedford Middle School. The house sold in September for $1.025 million. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
High Wind Watch in Effect
The National Weather Service said today a high wind watch remains in effect from Friday afternoon through late Friday night for Westport and the tri-state area.
Southerly winds are forecast to increase to 30 to 40 mph by late Friday afternoon ahead of an approaching cold front. Higher winds are possible in bands of heavy showers and thunderstorms, reaching 45 to 60 mph, an advisory said.
As this front moves through, winds will shift to the west and northwest with gusts up to 60 mph possible for a few hours.
Those who travel in high profile vehicles should be aware that crossing bridges may be difficult during this time. Power outages will be possible with downed branches and trees, the advisory said.
Moving Van Pulls Down Wires
A moving van (r) pulled down overhead wires at mid-day today as it entered Darbrook Road from Compo Road North. Westport police and fire units responded along with crews from Connecticut Light & Power Co. Traffic was rerouted on Compo Road North for about one hour. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Westport Rotary’s Newest Members
The Westport Rotary Club this week inducted its newest members. They included (l-r) John Luyando, assistant manager, Commerce Bank; Helene Weir, executive director, Westport Weston Family Y; (in between, Lois Schine, president of Westport Rotary) and Christopher Ackley, Westport fire chief. Rick Benson, Rotary district governor-elect (2008-2009), at the microphone, conducted the installation ceremony at the weekly luncheon at the Inn at Longshore. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Middle School Musical
Students involved in the drama program at Westport’s Coleytown Middle School thought they would be performing “Aida” this spring, but that changed when Dodie Pettit (l) became artistic director for the Coleytown Company. This week she announced—with the help of three students—they would perform the stage adaptation of “High School Musical,” a Disney Channel original movie. Auditions take place next week, and performances are slated for March 29, 30 and 31. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) David Dreyfuss for WestportNow.com
Continued unusually warm weather has brought people out of their homes, iincluding this man fishing Wednesday at Westport’s Burying Hill Beach. Temperatures are expected to stay warm until this weekend. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006
5:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Emily McLaury House Committee
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Planning & Zoning Commission Work Session
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Sherwood Mill Pond Committee
7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “A Christmas Carol” (sold out)
8 p.m. - Westport Community Theatre - “An Inspector Calls”
The Secrets to Longer Life
Aging expert Leonard Guarente, appearing at the Westport Public Library tonight, drew a capacity crowd hoping to learn the secrets about “The Future of Longevity.” The Massachusetts Institute of Technology biology professor, who is at the forefront of investigating how to prolong life and counter diseases of aging, spoke at the most recent edition of the Community Conversation series. He said it has been known for a long time the simple answers for a longer life are not to smoke and to keep weight down. Guarente believes that the use of chemical compounds that mimic the effects of a restricted diet will revolutionize the therapeutics of aging. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Coach P on Saturday Football Final: “It’s Going to be a Battle”
Flashback: Marce Petroccio celebrates last year’s state championship win over Masuk. Betsey Lebow/WN file photoWestport’s Staples High School football team plays in its fifth straight state championship final Saturday and Coach Marce Petroccio said today it will be tough.
Staples (10-1) plays Bunnell of Stratford (11-1) at 7 p.m. at West Haven’s Ken Strong Stadium for the Class L championship.
“I have great kids,” Petroccio told reporters in Cheshire at news conference for teams involved in Saturday’s games. “I love coming to work every day and working with them. They’re awesome. They’ve got a lot of heart. They are the poster child for team chemistry.
“It’s going to be a tall task (beating Bunnell), it really is. We don’t have a lot of time to get ready. They’re a spread offense. They do a lot of different things. It’s going to be a battle.”
Rell Announces Agreement on Power Lines
Gov. M. Jodi Rell today announced an agreement that avoids the need to build three bridges to carry new high voltage power transmission lines across waterways in Fairfield, one of which borders Westport.
Jodi Rell: common sense prevailed. Dave Matlow/WN file photo
Rell said the state Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection (DEP) are now proposing to run these transmission lines along two existing DOT bridges, including one at Sasco Creek on the Fairfield-Westport line, and to place the line underwater in the third location.
“We have crafted a solution that addresses my two top concerns on this project–serving the energy needs of our families and businesses, and protecting the environment,” Rell said in a statement issued by her office.
“DOT and DEP have successfully responded to public concerns about the impact of this project and have demonstrated that common sense and cooperation are two keys to effective government. By minimizing the impact on the environment, we protect Connecticut’s beauty and quality of life.”
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Merchants to Unveil Plan for Downtown
The Downtown Merchants Association is planning to unveil a $15 million plan to upgrade Westport’s downtown area, including an increase in parking through a deck on the Elm Street lot.
David Waldman, president of the downtown merchants group, is seen in front of the one-time Westport Bank & Trust Co. building after announcing he had purchased it in November 2004. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com file photo
David Waldman, association president, said the group will unveil its plan on Dec. 13, and it includes 150 new parking spaces and changes to Parker-Harding Plaza that includes beautification and better access to the Saugatuck River.
There would additionally be new sidewalks and improvements to the streetscape, he said.
The lack of parking was one of the main reasons that drove the merchants to craft the plan, Waldman said.
Federal Judge Rejects Indian Land Claims
A federal judge in New Haven today rejected all remaining land claims filed by the Golden Hill Paugussett Indians who have used the claims to try to force approval of plans to build a gambling casino in Bridgeport.
The land claims, repeatedly rebuffed by state and federal courts, involved tens of thousands of acres in southwestern Connecticut. At one point the claims made over a decade included some in Westport. The town has opposed a Bridgeport casino.
U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton, in dismissing three remaining federal land claim cases brought by the tribe, said the Golden Hill group lacks standing to take possession of so-called ancestral lands.
She said the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has concluded that the group ceased being a viable Indian tribe more than 100 years ago.Page 1318 of 1651 pages
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