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WESTPORT’S TOP DOG FOR 2015.  The new year is right around the corner and it’s time for the Westport Top Dog Photo & Essay Contest for 2015!
 
Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Raymond J. Orr, Pearl Harbor Survivor, 92

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Raymond J. Orr of Westport, who as a 19-year-old seaman first class survived the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died Jan. 16. He was 92. The grand marshal of Westport’s Memorial Day parade in 1996, Orr frequently visited Westport schools with other veterans to recount his war experiences (above in 2009, pointing to his ship, the USS Bagley). In 2005, he told WestportNow he was still shaken by the loss of 2,300 sailors on Dec. 7, 1941, adding: “and, as a matter of fact, not to be maudlin, when I die, my ashes are going to be spread over Pearl Harbor. It’s some spiritual thinking that I’ll join them.” See full obituary here. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

01/22/15 11:35 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Red Oar

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A kayaker makes his way in waters off of Westport’s Compo Beach.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for WestportNow.com

01/22/15 12:15 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Thursday,  January 22, 2015


10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
1:30 p.m. - Westport Senior Center - WestportREADS: Discuss “Dubliners”
2 p.m. - Westport Library - Overcoat Film Series: “20 Feet from Stardom”
6 p.m. - Westport Library - Palliative Care: Team Approach in Caring for Those with Serious Illness
7 p.m. - Blue Lemon - WestportREADS 2015 Dine Around Town: Dublin! at Blue Lemon
7 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Planning & Zoning Commission (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
7:15 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Westport Youth Commission
7:30 p.m. - Room 307/309 - RTM Finance, Public Works, Parks & Recreation, Public Protection, & Education Committees
8 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - RTM Education

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

01/22/15 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

They Came to Fight a Housing Complex But Wrong Battle

By James Lomuscio

Many of the approximate 100 persons who turned out at Westport Town Hall tonight to fight a proposed five-story, 200-unit housing complex at the site of the Westport Inn, seemed to have picked the wrong battle.

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The Conservation Commission tonight considered an application by developers of a proposed five-story, 200-unit housing complex at the site of the Westport Inn. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The Conservation Commission’s purview, as chairman W. Fergus Porter noted at the outset, was to look at the effects of the proposed development at 1595 Post Road East on wetlands and watercourses.

But those who spoke talked about noise, light pollution, zoning violations, strains on the sewage treatment plant, increased hydrocarbons from cars, the placement of generators—even West Nile.

“These are serious concerns, but this commission can only focus on issues within its jurisdiction,” said Town Attorney Ira Bloom.

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01/21/15 11:36 PM Comments (5) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Rotarians Briefed on Emergency Volunteer Duties

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Westport Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury tonight briefs members of Westport’s two Rotary clubs who have volunteered to support Westport emergency management during emergencies. It was the first of three training sessions for approximately 40 members of the clubs taking part in the initiative. First Selectman Jim Marpe, who was present at the session at Fire Department headquarters, said,  “I’m both the First Selectman and a Rotarian and am elated to see the two Rotary clubs join together to support the emergency management team.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

01/21/15 08:04 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Ice Jam

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The Saugatuck River near the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts was jammed with ice late today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

01/21/15 06:03 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

The Ice Rink to Themselves

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There were only a few skaters on the P.A.L. ice rink at Westport’s Longshore Club Park late today, allowing for unencumbered skating. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

01/21/15 05:38 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westport Baseball & Softball Preparing for New Season

Westport Baseball & Softball is getting ready for its new season.

It will hold a parent informational meeting on Sunday, Feb. 8 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Bedford Middle School cafeteria, an announcement said.

The meeting will allow attendees to meet the board of directors, officers, commissioners and program directors to learn about Westport’s baseball and softball programs.

Parents interested in registering their child for a spring baseball or softball program are encouraged to attend, the announcement said. 

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01/21/15 05:16 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

P&Z Chair Hosts Brown Bag Lunch

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Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) Chairman Chip Stephens (l) today hosted a brown bag lunch at Westport Town Hall for members of the Westport League of Women Voters (LWV). He used the occasion to urge greater turnout and interest in P&Z meetings “The frustration I feel is that not enough people attend meetings,” he said. “We hope people will attend and give their thoughts and suggestions.” He urged the the LWV to update its 1995 report on planning issues. “It would be a great help to the commission,” he said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

01/21/15 03:36 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Police K-9 Units Converge on Old Y Building

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Police K-9 units from Westport, Fairfield, Norwalk and Stamford converged today on the former Westport Weston Family Y building on Post Road East for a training exercise. They parked their vehicles on the site of the now-moved Kemper-Gunn House on Church Lane. Westport developer David Waldman, part of the Bedford Square Associates group redeveloping the former Y building, said the group has made the building available to Westport police for training exercises. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com

01/21/15 02:34 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Real Estate Report: Time to Prepare for Spring Market

By Judy Szablak

It may seem a bit early to prepare for the spring market in Westport, but don’t let this valuable time pass you by without taking full advantage of the forthcoming busy real estate season. It will happen upon us sooner than you might think.

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Featured Home: This home at 15 Apple Tree Trail is listed at $2,975,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of William Raveis/Westport Beach (+) Country Homes

If you are selling your home, consider hiring a building inspector to uncover any unforeseen issues that a buyer would inevitably uncover, and fix them prior to your home going on the market. This could save you a lot of lost time, not to mention money. 

It is also a good idea to take this opportunity to de-clutter your home in preparation for going on the market, and among other things, paint if necessary.

There is nothing worse than becoming painfully aware that you were ill-prepared for the perfect time to place your home for sale, and then coming to the realization that your lack of action has wound up placing your home just “behind the market.”

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01/21/15 01:14 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Susan Granger At the Movies: ‘American Sniper,’ ‘Inherent Vice,’ ‘Paddington’

By Susan Granger

Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated “American Sniper” pays tribute to the late Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL acclaimed as the most deadly sharpshooter in U.S. military history.

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Set in Iraq, the opening scene is riveting, as Kyle (Bradley Cooper) must decide whether to shoot a woman and a young boy. The same pivotal scene is repeated midway through the story -– at a time when it’s better understood. 

Prior to that, there’s the conventional biography. Where Kyle came from (Texas), how he met his wife (Sienna Miller) and why he nobly embarked on four tours of duty. Apparently, it all went back to Kyle’s father’s dictum that the world is divided into three types: sheep, wolves and sheepdogs.

Devoted to God, country, and family (in that order), Kyle envisioned himself as a sheepdog, protecting others, while his expertise earned the nickname “The Legend.” But when he eventually returned home, Kyle suffered post-traumatic stress, like many other soldiers.

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01/21/15 12:29 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
10:30 a.m. - Norwalk Transit District (275 Wilson Ave., Norwalk) - Westport Transit District Directors Budget Meeting
6 p.m. - Westport Library - Business Special: Taming Time Management
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Chess Club for Adults
7 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Conservation Commission (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Library Board of Trustees

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

01/21/15 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

For the Community, a Close Look at 8-30g

By James Lomuscio

Westport Town Attorney Ira Bloom did not pull any punches tonight when he talked about the state’s affordable housing statute 8-30g that allows developers to override local zoning laws if a town does not have 10 percent of its housing stock deemed affordable—which Westport does not.

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Concerns about proposed multi-family housing complexes brought more than 100 to Town Hall tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) James Lomuscio for WestportNow.com

“There are many examples throughout the state where a developer who’s been turned down comes back with an 8-30g application,” he said. “It’s legal. They’re using this process to make money.”

Bloom was the first to speak at tonight’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Committee meeting that drew more than 100 to the Town Hall auditorium.

The topic of 8-30g has been at the forefront over the past several months as two multi-family housing complexes—a 200-unit, five-story one at the site of the Westport Inn and a 186-unit one at Hiawatha Lane Extension in Saugatuck—have been subjects of P&Z attention.

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01/20/15 10:29 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Congressman’s View of the President

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U.S. Rep Jim Himes (CT-4) snapped this picture of President Obama as he made his way to the podium tonight for his State of the Union address. Himes’s guest at the event was David L. Levinson of Westport, president of Norwalk Community College (NCC). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jim Himes via Twitter.com

01/20/15 10:14 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westporter is Guest at State of the Union

WestportNow.com ImageU.S. Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4) poses tonight with Westporter David L. Levinson, president of Norwalk Community College, who was his guest at the State of the Union address at the Capitol. “Dr. Levinson is one of Connecticut’s leading advocates for making college more affordable and accessible for all Americans, and I’m honored to have him join me at this year’s State of the Union address,” Himes said in announcing his selection of Levinson. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
01/20/15 09:50 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Green and Greenberg Draw Library Crowd

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Westport authors Jane Green and Mike Greenberg, both of whom have done much of their writing at the Westport Library, spoke to a full room tonight at the library about their new books——Green’s “Saving Grace” and Greenberg’’s “My Father’s Wives.” Green has published 15 New York Times best-selling novels, and Greenberg is the co-host of ESPN’‘s “Mike and Mike.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

01/20/15 09:15 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Getting the Light Just Right

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Helen Klisser During (c), artistic director at the Westport Arts Center, today adjusts the lights on “Coney Island Boardwalk, NY, Day to Night 2011,” a photograph by Westport photographer Stephen Wilkes (r). The photo—see a time lapse video here and a “CBS Sunday Morning” feature on the photo and Wilkes here —is one of more than 70 works by 14 photographers in “Coney Island: Side Show” opening on Friday with a 6 to 8 p.m. reception. Jill Sarver (l), visual arts manager, assists. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Marina White for WestportNow.com

01/20/15 04:54 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Town to Secure New Restaurant to Replace Splash

Westporters beginning this spring will be able to dine overlooking Long Island Sound in space formerly occupied by Splash Restaurant at the Inn at Longshore Club Park.

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Splash Restaurant & Bar had been a Westport waterside favorite since 1995 before it closed last October.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

First Selectman Jim Marpe and Rory Tagert, who has leased the Inn at Longshore, a the town-owned facility, for more than 30 years, announced today they have signed a letter of intent to identify and secure a new restaurant to replace Splash, which closed last October after 19 years. (See WestportNow Oct. 31, 2014)

“It is imperative that a first class restaurant for all Westporters is in operation for the spring and summer 2015 seasons,” Marpe said in a statement. “The restaurant must also include services for golfers.”

Marpe noted that a long-term sublease with a restaurant operator would be subject to the town’s terms, conditions, and approval.

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01/20/15 02:38 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Lee Greenberg at 97: ‘Not Yet on Way to Heaven’

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Westporter Lee Greenberg, who will celebrate her 97th birthday on Thursday, told the Westport Rotary Club today at it weekly meeting at Branson Hall, Christ & Holy Trinity Church, “I was born on Jan. 22, 1918 and I’m still looking forward to every wonderful day to come my way. I’m so lucky to be among Rotary friends to start my birthday celebration.” She added, “I’m not yet on my way to heaven so I’ll see you next year. I’m sure to be here.”  She is pictured with Steve Lewine, president of the Westport Rotary Club. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

01/20/15 02:07 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Police Chief Inducted Into Westport Rotary Club

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Westport Police Chief Dale Call today was inducted into the Westport Rotary Club by Steve Lewine, Westport Rotary Club president (l), and Rick Bassett of New Haven, past Rotary district governor. Call said the Westport Rotary Club and the Westport Police Department, two key Westport institutions, each started 91 years ago and that he is honored to be a member of both. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

01/20/15 02:02 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Boys Soccer Players Are Academic Stars, Too

For the 12th time in 14 years—and the sixth season in a row—the Staples boys soccer program has been honored with a national award for academic excellence.

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The 2013 Staples High School boys varsity soccer team – Academic All-America honorees. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Kim Lake for WestportNow.com

The National Soccer Coaches Association of America gave the Wreckers a Team Academic Award — one of only two boys public high school soccer teams in Connecticut to be so named. The other was Ellington High.

To qualify, a squad must have a 3.25 grade point average of all varsity players. The award is given for the previous academic year. In 2013, Staples’ varsity players had an average GPA of 3.43. Of the Wreckers’ 12 Academic All-America awards, that was by far one of the highest average GPAs.

“I’ve always said that our players are some of the smartest and most creative people at Staples,” said head coach Dan Woog.

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01/20/15 12:12 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

P&Z Members Visit Geiger’s Redevelopment Site

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The Westport Planning and Zoning Commission today visited Geiger’s Garden Center, 1135 Post Road East, which a developer wants to replace with a residential and commercial complex. (See WestportNow, Jan. 14, 2015) Members reviewed plans for curb cuts, the proximity of the proposed buildings to the edge of the property lines, the interplay between commercial and residential parking, traffic access, fire department access, landscape guidelines, and sidewalks Special attention was given to reviewing already granted variances, according to P&Z members Jack Whittle and Chip Stephens. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com<

01/20/15 09:59 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Smoke Detector Alerts Family to Basement Fire

A smoke detector alerted a Westport family to a basement fire late Monday, allowing them to flee the house and summon firefighters, the Fire Department said.

An automatic alarm was received from the West Branch Road home just after 11 p.m., said Assistant Chief John Plofkin, Jr. While en route, the family advised the Fire Department of a smoke condition coming from the basement.

Firefighters stretched a hose line deep into the basement area and found a fire contained to a single room, he said. A secondary back up hose line was also stretched to protect the initial crew while other firefighters ventilated the basement area of smoke and heat. 

Firefighters were able to knock the fire down quickly and kept the majority of the damage contained to the room of origin and a small area directly above the basement area, Plofkin said.

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01/20/15 02:27 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Landmark Status Sought for Baron’s Mansion

By James Lomuscio

For 17 years, the Baron’s house has been empty, filled with only memories and myths, not to mention books stored for the Westport Library’s book sales.

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Golden Shadows has been vacant for 17 years. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Located at 68 Compo Road South on the town-owned 23-acre Baron’s South property, the two-story, 1959 brick Colonial Revival mansion was the home of the late Austrian Baron Walter Langer Von Langendorff and his British wife Evelyn Diane, founders in the mid-1940s of Evyan Perfumes.

Evyan was the first American perfume company to rival French perfumeries with its White Shoulders, now produced by Elizabeth Arden, and Golden Shadows scents.

Now, two Westport preservationists want the town to designate the home dubbed Golden Shadows a Local Historic Landmark Property.

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