Thursday, December 01, 2005
Charter Oak Gives $60,000 to Bridgeport Groups
The Charter Oak Foundation, a Westport-based, nonprofit organization aimed at Bridgeport area families and children, recently made grants totaling $60,000 to three area organizations. The recent grants bring Charter Oak’s gifts to more than $1.5 million over the past two years.
Among the Bridgeport recipients were: Career Resources, which offers basic education classes to help adults earn their GEDs; the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center, which runs clinics at Bridgeport Hospital and at its Fairfield office; and Original Works, an outlet for teenagers interested in drama involving plays, television documentaries and song and dance performances.
“All of the organizations funded during our fall grant cycle have previously received grants from Charter Oak and proven that they efficiently and effectively empower some of our area’s most disadvantaged individuals and their families,” said Westporter Andy Boas, the foundation’s president.
According to Boas, Charter Oak was founded in 2001 to help children and families who have the ability to succeed but need financial support to realize their potential. He said that foremost among the foundation’s goals is to reduce poverty in the Bridgeport area.
Freedman Files FOI Complaint Against State
Claiming the state legislature is acting under a cloak of secrecy undermining the public, state Sen. Judith G. Freedman of Westport filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) complaint against the General Assembly’s Legislative Commissioners’ Office Wednesday after being denied a copy of draft legislation pertaining to campaign finance reform.
Freedman says her complaint is designed to ensure that legislators are informed of bills being drafted and given sufficient time to study them before being asked to vote. Freedman had asked for the campaign finance reform draft legislation but was denied it on the grounds of client-attorney privilege.
“Unfortunately, this is not new for the legislature, but it has gotten increasingly more comon to circumvent the process,” Freedman wrote to Andrew O’Keefe, the state’s FOI Commission chairman. She added that under the guise of special sessions and emergency certified bills, committees do not have a chance to meet.
“In other words, the public is the big loser,” she stated.“They have no idea what the General Assembly is about to do.”
Making Their Mark
Workers marked the pavement at Westport’s Peoples Bank at Compo Road North early today. The activity indicated completion of intersection improvements at the corner of Post Road East and to the bank’s parking and drive-in area. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ron Malone for WestportNow.com
Thursday, Dec. 1, 2005
7:30 p.m.—Town Hall Auditorium—Planning and Zoning Commission
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
A Foggy Day
First Selectman Gordon Joseloff and Selectwoman Shelly Kassen hosted the first Citizen Brown Bag Luncheon of their administration today. They talked about a number of issues they are working on including revaluation and senior citizen tax relief. The next one is scheduled for Dec. 14. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com
Joseloff Holds First Brown Bag
First Selectman Gordon Joseloff listens to residents during Wednesday’s Citizens Brown Bag Lunch, the first of his administration. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com
First Selectman Gordon Joseloff heard about problems with sidewalks, trees and an assortment of other issues during his first Brown Bag lunch today, but he also outlined his initial plans after a little over a week in office.
Joseloff said he hopes it was the first of many sessions, but he hopes to take brown bag lunches—first initated by former First Selectwoman Diane Farell—on the road to other venues.
“We still haven’t worked out the schedule yet, but we hope to have it here at Town Hall at least one time per month,” he said. “The holidays are coming, so we might not have something set until after the new year.”
Joseloff said he wants to keep an open line of communication with the community, so he intends to continue the lunches.
Library Taps Seven Top Advisors
By James Lomuscio
Seven movers and shakers, some with enough credentials for a presidential cabinet, have joined the Westport Public Library’s 25-member Advisory Coucil, a body that offers insight on how the library can define its mission and reach its goals.
The new members include: Arthur Levitt, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission; David Komansky, chairman emeritus of Merrill Lynch & Co, Inc.; Lawrence Grossman, former president of NBC News and PBS and current co-chair of the Digital Promise Project; Ann Sheffer, a community arts patron and member of the Connecticut Commision on Culture and Tourism, as well as a board member of myriad foundations; Evelyn Kossak, president and co-founder of Jolen Creme Bleach Company; Ian Bremmer, columnist and commentator who founded Eruasia, a research and consulting firm; and Venetia Kontogouris, managing director for Trident Capital, a venture capital and private equity firm.
The new council members join a powerhouse roster that includes Joseph A. Califano, Jr., U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare from 1977 to 1979, and John Sias, former president of the San Francisco Chronicle and president of NBC Network Group.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2005
10:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – International Hospitality Committee
Noon - Town Hall Room 201 - Citizens Brown Bag Lunch (live coverage cable channel 79)
5:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – School Building Committee
Staples Wins in State Championship Semifinals
Senior Lonson Becker runs the ball during Staples 27-21 win over Fitch in the first round of the state championship playoffs. Becker and Ryan Bohling combined for 289 yards rushing as top-seeded Staples edged No. 4 Fitch in the CIAC Class L semifinal. The Wreckers play for the championship on Saturday against Masuk of Monroe. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Betsey Lebow for WestportNow.com
On the Move
Staples senior Ryan Bohling powers ahead during the Wreckers 27-21 win tonight over Robert Fitch Senior High School of Groton at Wilton in the state semifinal. Top-seeded Staples had a 14-0 lead early in the game but the Falcons tied it up 21-21 with seconds to go in the third quarter before the Wreckers went ahead with a 30-yard run by Bohling in the fourth quarter. Bohling gained 168 yards on 20 carries and scored three touchdowns in all—the others were TD runs of 1 and 24 yards. Staples meets Masuk Saturday in the state final—the fourth consecutive state playoff game for the Wreckers who have won two of them. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Betsey Lebow for WestportNow.com
“I’m So Proud of Our Kids”
Staples Coach Marce Petroccio congratulates his players following tonight’s 27-21 CIAC Class L semifinal win over Fitch at Wilton. “What a great win. I’m so proud of our kids,” he said. “We could have went in the tank when it was 21-21, but the kids did a great job battling back.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Snow Policy and Concerns
Saying there are 123 miles of town maintained roads and that snow removal can cost up to $2,500 per hour, Westport’s Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Stephen Edwards today asked for greater resident cooperation as he outlined the town’s snow removal policy.
Edwards biggest gripe is with private plowers who dump driveway snow back onto plowed streets and with those who park on town roads making it tough for DPW trucks to get through.
“The most contentious issue we have is with the removal of snow from private driveways where the contractor will improperly plow a driveway to his convenience and make a windrow across the road,” said Edwards. “Any unsupecting driver coming up the road can hit it and lose control, or it can freeze and cause an ice patch.”
Edwards urged homeowners to be vigilant in encouraging contractors to plow safely by moving snow off the road, “because if we have to call the Police Department and have a citation issued, in most cases we only have the homeowner to cite.”
Energy Costs to Impact School Budget
Westport school officials expect rising energy costs to impact the proposed 2006-07 school budget, which will be released to the Board of Education in January.
Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said he will be meeting with principals beginning today to flush out budget requests.
“I hope to maintain excellence in programs at the lowest cost,” he said. “We need to go through everything and see where we’re at.”
At this point, Landon said, he cannot determine what sort of funding level he anticipates in his budget proposal.
Locals To Play in David Copperfield
Local youngsters in Westport Country Playhouse’s production of Charles Dickens’ “David Copperfield” are, from left, bottom row, Adam Riegler, Westport; Brendan Geiling, Fairfield; and Siena D’Addario, Easton; top row, Josh King, Westport; and Betsy Selman, Weston. The holiday family classic plays December 1-17. Students and educators are eligible for 50 percent discounts. For ticket information, call (203) 227-4177, or visit www.westportplayhouse.org. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed Photo
Shopping for Others
Shopping and charitable giving are set to converge on Main Street, Westport this Saturday, Dec. 3, as a women’s clothing store stages a holiday benefit to help dependent women move into the workforce.
The upscale Eileen Fisher store plans to donate 10 percent of the day’s sales to Dress For Success Mid-Fairfield County, a not-for-profit organization that helps women in southwestern Connecticut get jobs by providing business appropriate clothing and professional development training.
“Eileen Fisher has been hosting these in-store shopping events for us for seven years now,” said Darryl Manning, Dress for Success executive director. “It’s a fabulous way to get your holiday shopping done and help a worthy charity at the same time.”
Manning added that shoppers will receive $25 off all purchases made throughout the day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Landon Supports Study on State Mandates
Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon supports a new commission formed by Gov. Jodi Rell to study if unfunded and partially-funded mandates serve a need throughout the state.
“Local property taxpayers and municipal leaders suffer under these mandates,” Rell said in a press statement. “The sooner we cut the costs for the cities and towns to respond to state government, the sooner cities and towns will be able to pass those savings to their residents.”
Landon said today that such a study is long overdue.
“Every time the state imposes a new mandate without proper funding, it means we have to reduce funding in the school district for other programs,” he said. “We might have to reduce funding for a program we need more or not introduce something we need.”
Saugatuck Holiday Lights
The historic Bridge Street Bridge is sporting colors of the season reflecting off the Saugatuck River this evening. The lights are courtesy of Al’s Angels, a charity run by Westporter Al DiGuido. James Lomuscio for WestportNow.com
Police Report Few Problems Over Holiday Weekend
Westport police are reporting a large number of motor vehicle violations, but say it was a relatively quiet holiday weekend.
Police Sgt. Jerry Shannon said police issued 81 tickets for motor vehicle violations, responded to 22 accidents and had no thefts reported in the downtown area in the time period from Wednesday night to this morning.
Police did not make any driving while intoxicated arrests, and all of the accidents were minor, he said.
The statistics are compiled and reported to the state, he said.
Bloom Reappointed Town Attorney
The new administration at Westport Town Hall has reappointed Ira Bloom to serve as Town Attorney. Bloom has already served eight years in the post under former First Selectman Diane Goss Farrell. Gail Kelly was also reappointed as Assistant Town Attorney.
“I am very pleased to have Ira Bloom and his firm continue to represent the town,” said First Selectman Gordon Joseloff. “They have done a fine job for Westport, and the continuity will be important for our boards and commissions.”
Bloom is a partner in the Westport law firm of Wake, See, Dimes & Bryniczka, one of the oldest firms in Westport. Kelly is an associate with that firm. In their posts Bloom and Kelly will continue to be assisted by other members of the firm, including Douglas LoMonte, Mark Kovack, Eugene Cederbaum and Monique Ryan.
At the firm Bloom’s practice has been in the land use and municipal areas, and he has represented both towns and private clients. Bloom also serves on the executive committee of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Planning and Zoning Section, where he is a frequent speaker and writer.
Joseloff to Hold Brown Bag Lunch
New First Selectman Gordon Joseloff will hold at least one Brown Bag Lunch.
A lunch has been scheduled for Wednesday at noon in Town Hall’s room 201.
No further lunches have been scheduled at this time.
(Gordon Joseloff is founding editor of WestportNow)
CLASP Fashion Fundraiser Set
The runway is set to open at the Westport Woman’s Club for a very special fashion show and luncheon Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 11:30 a.m. to benefit CLASP Homes, Inc., a Westport-based not-for-profit agency serving adults with developmental retardation.
What makes the show unique, says CLASP spokeswoman Alisa Levinson, is that the models sporting designs from CHICO’s will be CLASP residents.
“We have worked hard to raise awareness in our community about who we are, and what important work we do,” said Tracy Flood, CLASP president. “Last year was a tremendous success, and the models are very excited about the upcoming show.”
Betty Lou Cummings, a former Westport second selectman, is scheduled to emcee the event, which will also include a silent auction.
Westport Country Playhouse to Collect for Toys for Tots
Westport Country Playhouse will be a Toys for Tots collection site during its holiday production of Charles Dickens’ “David Copperfield,” Dec. 1-17.
Theater-goers are invited to support the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program by bringing new, unwrapped toys to the Playhouse drop-off box located in the lobby, and donors are entered in a drawing to win a gift with each donation.
Last year, U.S. Marines distributed 19 million new toys and brought the joy of Christmas and delivered a message of hope to over 7 million needy children throughout the nation.
Over the course of the 57-year history of the program, Marines have distributed over 332.5 million toys to 159 million needy children.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Sunday’s chilly but sunny weather attracted some kayakers to the Saugatuck River who took advantage of the low tide to get under the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge in Westport’s center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Sailing the Sound
A Bridge to Light
Sporting a Santa hat, Al DiGuido fastened and checked all the holiday lights along the historic Bridge Street Bridge, while John Giunta snaked cables to a power source to make sure the Saugatuck landmark is all aglow tonight. The lights are courtesy of DiGuido’s charity, Al’s Angels, which plans to provide 1,500 toys to needy children throughout Fairfield County this Christmas. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) James Lomuscio for WestportNow.com
Candlelight Concert Tickets Available
Tickets are available for next month’s 65th annual Candlelight Concert, presented by the Staples High School Music Department.
The annual Staples Candlelight Concert has attracted crowds for decades. This view is a 2004 concert. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Laux for WestportNow.com
The Symphonic Orchestra, Symphonic and Sophomore Bands, along with the Staples Chorus and Chorale will perform the concert on Friday Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. and Saturday Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m in the recently reopened Staples Auditorium.
Each group will present individual performances while the singers and orchestra will also unite for the traditional processional “Sing We Noel” and the finale “Hallelujah Chorus.”
Tickets are only available by mail. To receive tickets, send a self-addressed stamped envelope indicating the number of tickets and the specific concert requested, as well as an alternate concert request in case the first choice is sold out.
PAL Holiday Party Set
The Westport Police Athletic League’s (PAL) annual Children’s Holiday Party has been set for Sunday, Dec. 18, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Inn at Longshore.
According to PAL, the event is open to children 10 years old and younger, and it will include a magic show, a DJ, and the arrival of Santa with gifts at 1:30 p.m.
Along with food and door prizes each child will receive a coupon entitling him or her to skate at the Longshore Ice Rink from 3 to 5 p.m. that day, PAL officials said.
The yearly party was the brainchild of the late Peter “PJ” Romano, PAL director and special police officer, who was also instrumental in bringing the ice rink to town.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Weekend Shopping Holds Strong
By James Lomuscio
People flocked to downtown on Friday to kick off the holiday season, and retailers were quite busy with sales. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jonathan Thrope for WestportNow.com
Westport’s downtown merchants had a better Black Friday than last year, with more people buying than browsing, retailers say. And the pace continued today as people toting shopping bags bustled along Main Street and Post Road East where an officer continued to direct traffic.
Downtown parking spaces remained at a premium with all lots full.
“I can’t give you numbers, but the increase has been significant,” said William McGuinness, director of Tiffany & Co. on Post Road East. “We opened in November 2004, and this was our record Black Friday.”
McGuinness added that typically the weekend after Thanksgiving here is more social in nature with people stepping out for coffee and hot chocolate with children home from college and primarily window shopping.
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