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Wednesday, October 15, 2003

High Winds, Heavy Rains Down Trees, Cause Power Outages

High Winds, Heavy Rains Down Trees, Cause Power Outages
High winds and heavy rains early today downed trees and power lines. There was a brief outage that affected parts of the Saugatuck area as well as portions of Post Road West.

One power failure at about 1 a.m. touched off fire and burglar alarms in the Saugatuck School on Riverside Avenue as well as the Wild Oats Market on Post Road West, according to reports from the scene.

Power was restored to the area a short time later.

At 7 a.m., Connecticut Light and Power reported 27 Westport customers were without power but one hour later reported no outages.

The weather station at the Longshore Sailing School reported winds gusting up to 43 miles per hour off of Long Island Sound during the early morning hours.

The station at Bedford Middle School on North Avenue at one point measured rain falling at the rate of almost half an inch an hour.

By 5 a.m., the winds and rain had died down. But there were numerous reports of downed trees, including one across Compo Road South at Bradley Street, on Clapboard Hill Road as well as Turkey Hill Road South, Hillandale Road near Center Street, and on Jennings Court.

The National Weather Service had issued a high winds advisory for the area during the overnight hours and said gusty winds could continue until late afternoon.

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10/15/03 11:07 AM Comments () • Permalink

All in the Family Deputy

All in the Family



Deputy Police Chief David Heinmiller and wife Toni congratulate son Marc following his swearing in Tuesday as a Westport policeman. Heinmiller, 25, was one of the top finishers among 500 applicants. Two others were also sworn in during Town Hall ceremonies. WestportNow.com photo

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10/15/03 03:25 AM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Fails in Bid for Federal Grant for Emergency Communications

Westport Fails in Bid for Federal Grant for Emergency Communications
Westports application, in cooperation with Wilton, for millions of dollars in federal funds to improve regional emergency communications has been rejected, according to First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell.

She said neither community had received official notification of rejection of the $6.1 million bid.

But she told WestportNow that Westport and Wilton were not on a list of approved applicants released late last month by the Department of Homeland Security which awarded $79.6 million in grants.

Under the application, submitted before an Aug. 1 deadline, Westport would have been responsible for funding $1 million of the plan and Wilton $525,000, according to Deputy Police Chief Al Fiore.

The communities applied under a federal pilot program aimed at helping municipalities develop interoperable communications systems for fire, police and EMS services.

The program is jointly run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of JusticeҒs Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

Under the joint proposal, which required lengthy meetings and hours of work to hammer out, the two towns would have taken six separate and distinct radio systems and combined them into one system to achieve interoperability.

The system was designed to enable it to be expanded to as many as 13 other communities currently in Westport and Wiltons mutual aid compact, Fiore said.

Farrell said she had hoped the federal funds would have eased the burden for Westport taxpayers in upgrading the Police Department communications infrastructure.

She expressed disappointment that Westport had not received official notification of rejection of its application and said she planned to indicate her displeasure to members of the stateҒs Congressional delegation.

Two New England applicants received grants under the program—Narragansett, R.I. was awarded $3,041,942 and Grafton County, New Hampshire, got $2,176,168.

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10/15/03 03:05 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Fine Living Cable Channel Spotlights Westport

The Fine Living cable channel spotlights Westport on Saturday as one of its 10 More Perfect Places to Live in America.Ӕ

But youll need access to satellite television to view it as the newest of the Scripps Networks lifestyle-oriented television networks is not available on Cablevision. The 3 p.m. broadcast can be seen on DirecTv channel 232.

ғWestport could be the best suburb in America, proclaims the channelԒs Web site promotion of the program.

It’s an accessible, vibrant bedroom community to New York City with fabulous housing stock ӗ and a great beach scene with all kinds of water activities on Long Island Sound. The schools are about the best in the country.

It lists these attributes:
ӕ  Westport’s economy is based on retail and professional services.
  Its median household income is $119,872.
Օ  The average public school class size in Westport is 21 students.
  Its crime levels are far below the national average.
Օ  Westport’s Compo Beach is a one-mile stretch on Long Island Sound.

The network, which is a sister channel to HGTV, The Food Network, and The Do-It-Yourself Network, placed Westport at No. 10 on its list for the program.

Its other nine best places to live are: 9. Santa Fe, N.M.; 8. Stockbridge, Mass.; 7. Charlotte, N.C.; 6. Las Vegas, Nev.; 5. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.; 4. Kihei, Hawaii; 3. Madison, Wisc.; 2. Boston, Mass., and 1. San Francisco, Calif.

“These choice residential spots represent months of research, and include the large and the small, back roads and big towns, plains and deserts and beaches,” the Fine Living Network said.

“Certain selection criteria were hard and fast—all 10 boast a vibrant city economy, access to nature and outdoor recreation, a solid school system and reasonably priced housing.

“But beyond that, these places all have the intangible, the attitude and character that quite simply make them great places and great places to live.”

The network’s crew was in Westport last spring, doing interviews and taping scenes at beaches, Longshore, the downtown area, and at the Staples High School graduation.

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10/14/03 04:39 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Names Utility Executive Special Police Advisor

Westport Names Utility Executive Special Police Advisor In an innovative way to increase community security, Westport today named Connecticut Light and Power Co. executive Christopher Swan, who grew up in Westport, a special advisor to its Police Department.
First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell today swears in CL&P executive Chrisopher Swan as a special advisor to the Police Department. WestportNow.com photo
Swan, general manager for the utilitys Stamford/Norwalk district, was sworn in during todayҒs police promotion ceremonies at Town Hall by First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell. Police Chief William Chiarenzelli explained that Swan long has been closely involved in emergency preparedness meetings and planning sessions. But he said Swan often had to leave the room when the discussions turned to classified matters, especially involving planning for possible terrorist attacks. By making Swan a sworn adviser to the department complete with his own badge ֖ he said this problem was eliminated. Chiarenzelli said he was especially happy to have Swan a sworn member of the police department team. He said it was Swans late father-in-law, Samuel Luciano, who was chief of the department when he first joined 40 years ago. Swan, a 1967 graduate of Staples High School, is married to LucianoҒs daughter Carol. Luciano died in 1970 at the age of 57 and is remembered by longtime Westporters as one of the communitys finest police commanders.

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10/14/03 04:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

Just Call Him Sarge Ellen

Just Call Him Sarge



Ellen Pitoniak pins a sergeant’s badge on husband John at today’s police promotion ceremonies at Town Hall. Pitoniak, a 23-year veteran of the force, had been a detective. WestportNow.com photo

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10/14/03 02:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

He’s an Inspector Now Police

He’s an Inspector Now



Police Chief William Chiarenzelli (r.) extols the virtues of Thomas P. Casimiro II as he is promoted to the rank of inspector during today’s Town Hall ceremonies. Casimiro, who joined the force in 1978, had been a sergeant. WestportNow.com photo

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10/14/03 02:33 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Adds to its Finest

Westport Adds to its Finest



First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell swears in three new police officers today in ceremonies at Town Hall. They are (l. to r.) Howard E. Simpson III, 37, of Seymour, Laurie A. Huzina, 27, of Norwalk, and Marc D. Heinmiller, 25, of Stratford, son of Deputy Chief David Heinmiller. Police Chief William Chiarenzelli is at podium. WestportNow.com photo

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10/14/03 02:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

Well-Known Westporter Peter PJӔ A.

Well-Known Westporter Peter PJӔ A. Romano, Sr. Dies at 71
Peter PJӔ A. Romano, Sr., a native Westporter who was active in numerous community organizations over the years, including chairing the Police Athletic League (PAL) annual fireworks event, died Monday at Norwalk Hospital. He was 71.

Romano was an employee of Home Oil for 40 years before retiring in 1995. A former director of the PAL, he headed the fireworks annual fundraiser for the organization for 35 years. He also oversaw the annual PAL Halloween and Christmas events.

He was a longtime member and past president of the Westport Sons of Italy and has been honored as Westports Volunteer of the Year as well receiving a citizenship award from the Sportsmen of Westport.

Romano and his son, Peter T. Romano, were among the YMCAҒs Faces of AchievementӔ honorees in 1998.

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10/14/03 12:06 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, October 13, 2003

Mother Nature Showing Her Colors

Mother Nature Showing Her Colors



The trees are starting to show their fall colors around Westport. This is the scene on Compo Road South today near Longshore Club Park. WestportNow.com photo

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10/13/03 01:42 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, October 11, 2003

No Rabbi, No Synagogue But Westport Jewish Group Survives After 36 Years

No Rabbi, No Synagogue But Westport Jewish Group Survives After 36 Years
Todays The Advocate of Stamford spotlights WestportҒs Congregation of Humanistic Judaism. The group marks its 36th anniversary this year and saw a 31 percent increase in membership last year.

Excerpt: Costs remain far less than other full-service congregations, as Congregation for Humanistic Judaism does not have a building or a rabbi to maintain. Local school buildings are rented out for Sunday school classes and for High Holy Day celebrations. They do not, as some members will point out, have an ӑedifice complex.Ҕ

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10/11/03 02:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Restaurant Scene: Fairfield County Weekly Likes Blue Lemon Because Advocate Didnt

This weeks Fairfield County Weekly gives a positive review to WestportҒs Blue Lemon restaurant in Sconset Square, pointedly citing a poor review in The Advocate of Stamford.

Excerpt: Don’t believe what you read. Especially if it’s a restaurant review written by a ӑspecial correspondent for the Stamford Advocate, who shall remain nameless, and who writes as if her palate and food sensibilities were forged by an affliction for tuna casseroles and Chicken a la King.

ҔHowever, a bad reviewer can be a good reverse barometer. Which is what I told my husband and son when they wondered why I wanted to give Blue Lemon a try after the Advocate panned it.

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10/11/03 05:38 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, October 10, 2003

Financial Filings Show Democrats and Republicans With Equal Cash on Hand

Financial Filings Show Democrats and Republicans With Equal Cash on Hand
Financial filings with the Town Clerks office show Westport Democrats and Republicans with about the same amount of cash on hand as the local election heads into the home stretch.

But the Democrats have far outpaced Republicans in fundraising as well as spending.

As of Sept. 30, Democrats reported having $23,639 on hand, while Republicans had $23,257.

The Republicans started out the reporting period July 1 with a lot more money in their coffers—$12,062 compared to $2,966 for the Democrats, according to the filings.

The Democrats were able to raise $24,535 during the period versus $14,189 for the Republicans. The Democrats far outspent Republicans in the three-month period—$11,910 compared to $2,994.

A good chunk of the DemocratsҒ expenditures was for expenses for a Sept. 5 fundraiser, including $2,920 for a caterer. But committee chair Martha Aasen said at the time that the event was highly successful in raising money for the Democrats.

The filings showed Board of Education petitioning candidate Stephen Rubin, a member of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), raising the most money among local candidates for the Nov. 4 race—$6,615.

The least raised was $365 by Ralph Hymans, also an RTM member, running for a Board of Finance seat on the Republican line.

Board of Finance chair Steve Ezzes filed his campaign report a day past the deadline and will be fined $55, Town Clerk Patricia H. Strauss said. He also was also fined the same amount four years ago for also filing a late report, she said.

Committtees and candidates must file their next financial reports by Oct. 28, according to Strauss.

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10/10/03 04:27 PM Comments () • Permalink

Playhouse Gala Attracts the Stars

The setting was Greenwich but the talk was Westport. And Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Martha Stewart were among Westports luminaries who turned out. The occasion was Thursday nightҒs red carpet fundraising gala at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich which benefited the renovation of the Westport Country Playhouse..
Among attendees at the gala were (l. to r.) Sean Hayes, Carole King, Joanne Woodward, Suzzanne Wright, Bob Wright, Christopher Plummer, Paul Newman, and James Naughton. Westport Playhouse photo
Woodward is artistic director of the Playhouse, which moves its productions to Ridgefield next summer while renovations are underway. The event featured performances by Robin Williams and Carole King. It was emceed by Sean Hayes, Emmy Award-winning star of NBC’s “Will and Grace. Part-time Westport resident and Miramax studio chief Harvey Weinstein co-chaired the evening along with FairfieldԒs Bob Wright, chairman of NBC. Also among those attending was First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell. She said the event was thoroughly entertaining, even the live auction which Williams made even livelier with his antics during the bidding. Top bid for a walk-on movie role with Newman was $50,000, won by “a woman wearing a hat,” that she did not know, said Farrell. Newman’s Own matched the bid, she said. Weinstein made the $25,000 winning bid for a stay at an Italian villa, then told the audience he didn’t intend to make use of the stay but would make the contribution anyway. So the prize went to the next highest bidder for $24,000, according to Farrell. Organizers sold 700 tickets, ranging in price from $500 to $2,000. The gala raised $1.5 million to renovate the 168-year old barn that became the playhouse’s home in 1931.

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10/10/03 10:32 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Staples Gone Dry

Staples Gone Dry
Construction workers shut down all water to Staples High School today as part of a planned suspension during work on the school’s renovation and expansion project.

The mid-afternoon shutoff occurred after the normal school day and was expected to last a couple of hours, according to Susan Chipouras, project manager.

Water resumed flowing to the school at about 6:15 p.m.

Fire department officials closely monitored the school during the shutdown, which also affected the building’s sprinkler system.

Staples has experienced several unintended interruptions in the water supply in recent weeks as workers severed two water lines. They also hit a gas line not documented on their site maps.

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10/09/03 06:56 PM Comments () • Permalink

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