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Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Westport Police Aid in Baby

Westport Police Aid in Baby Seal Rescue
Animal rescue calls are not that unusual for Westport police. But the one that came in Tuesday was a bit out of the ordinary a ֓seal in distress call at Old Mill Beach.

The arriving officer radioed headquarters that he had found what appeared to be a baby seal on the beach, and that the seal was ԓalert and conscious, a term usually used to describe humans in need of help.

The officer added that he wasnԒt quite sure what action to take next.

After some consultation at headquarters, police decided to check with the Mystic Aquarium and the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk. The seal was removed to the Norwalk facility for later transfer to Mystic.

The episode was so unusual that the Bridgeport-based Connecticut Post, a daily which no longer covers routine news in Westport, leaving it to its co-owned semi-weekly Westport News, ran a brief item about the rescue.

Update: The Hour reported that the seal was transferred Wednesday to the Mystic Aquarium where it may have to undergo surgery.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Army Corps of Engineers to

Army Corps of Engineers to Set Hearing on Controversial Oyster Plan
The Army Corps of Engineers, responding to hundreds of complaints, will hold a hearing in June on a controversial plan to harvest oysters from Long Island Sound off of Westport using cages suspended above the bottom.

Recreational boaters say the plan, if approved, will severely impact the ability to hold sailboat races in waters off of Westport as well as pose possible safety concerns.

Cori Rose, a senior project manager for the Corps in Concord, Mass., told WestportNow that the hearing has been scheduled in response to about 500 comments received about the plan, most of them in opposition.

She said no exact date or location has been set for the meeting, but it will be held sometime in June somewhere between Westport and Milford.

The aquaculture company seeking the oyster farming permits has also applied for permission to work waters off of Milford.

Westporters concerned about the plan will meet Tuesday evening at Town Hall under the auspices of the Boating Advisory Committee.

Rose said the public comment period on the application by Mariculture Unlimited LLC, owned by Westport obstetrician John Garofalo, which had been set to expire April 17, has been extended.

She said the public hearing date and place will likely be set in early May as it must be noticed at least 30 days in advance.

When is a Colonial not

When is a Colonial not a Colonial? Ask Matthew Schoenherr
Westport architect Matthew Schoenherr knows a few things about Colonials.

Among them—how to transform a Colonial from being a stiff, boring house utterly unsuited to modern life to an elegant, understated house that respects history but has all the requirements for modern family life.

At least that’s according to today’s Detroit Free Press which published an upbeat review of Schoenherr’s new book, Updating Classic America: ColonialsӔ (Taunton, $29.95).

It said the book by the principal in Z:Architecture on Jesup Road was engaging and illuminating.Ӕ

The newspaper quoted Schoenherr as saying that despite the tendency of real estate agents to call every two-story house a Colonial, they really are not.

And as for houses known as a “builder’s Colonial,” the Free Press said Schoenherr was diplomatic in his comments, although many other architects are not. “The proportions are just wrong,” he said.

Connollys Out, The Vine Mediterranean

Connollys Out, The Vine Mediterranean Grill & Pizza In
Another familiar Westport restaurant is gone, soon to be replaced by an upscale pizza place.

ConnollyҒs Restaurant and Taproom, a longtime fixture on Post Road West on the corner of Sylvan Road South, closed down suddenly earlier this month.

The restaurant, once known as Connolly’s The Seafood Steak House, was marked by its distinctive green and white striped awning.

A sign on the window tells visitors soon opening in its place will be The Vine Mediterranean Grill & Pizza.

We will be closed April 14-29 for minor renovations,Ӕ the sign says. Once again we thank you for your faithful years of patronage at ConnollyӒs Taproom and we look forward to seeing you at our new establishment.

The sign said the new restaurant would offer a weekend breakfast buffet, a Sunday brunch, an all-you-can-eat selection plus ԓfree online home and business delivery services. The sign gave an Internet address which is not operational.

A workman who answered the phone at the former ConnollyԒs said The Vine would be under new ownership.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Staples Grad Sean Mulcahy Named

Staples Grad Sean Mulcahy Named Tri-Captain of Huskies Footballers
Staples grad Sean Mulcahy has a new honor to add to his long list of honors tri-captain of the University of Connecticut football team.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Mulcahy, a 6-foot-6, 295-pounder who graduated from Staples in 2000. “It’s an honor, especially coming from the players and the coaches.֔

Mulcahy has never missed a game at UConn and has started the past 26.

Along with the defensive tackler, two other seniors were named Saturday as captains of the Huskies—defensive end Uyi Osunde and wide receiver Shaun Feldeisen.

Hartford Political Debate: ItӒs Like

Hartford Political Debate: ItӒs Like Trying to Sell Spinach to Six-year-olds
What does spinach have to do with Connecticut politics or Westport? Think ԓhard-to-swallow and you get the idea.

Andy Sauer, the executive director of Common Cause of Connecticut, says some state lawmakers (including some from Fairfield County?) are having a difficult time passing a bill revising the stateԒs primary election system.

It’s difficult because the proposed legislation eliminates the political protections they, as incumbents, have enjoyed for years, according to Sauer.

The controversy is about what to do after a federal court judge struck down the states primary system as unconstitutional in January. The decision left it to lawmakers to devise a new and more open process allowing challengers to have an easier time of getting their names on a primary ballot.

Common Cause of Connecticut, a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit, says legislation to deal with the issue now being debated in Hartford is being tinkered with to include provisions that are unnecessary and unfair to challengers.

“The bottom line is, (legislators) hate the bill,” said Sauer. “It’s like trying to sell spinach to six-year-olds.”

The AP has a good rundown of the issue on todayҒs news wires. Westport isnt mentioned, but the bill will affect Westporters and any one else in the state seeking to challenge incumbents for a place on the ballot.

Down By the River, Early

Down By the River, Early in the Morning
If you were up and about early Saturday, you might have come across some hardy people around the Saugatuck River.

TodayŒs Greenwich Time described the scene this way: Just before 6 a.m. yesterday, about two dozen men and one woman entered the frigid waters of the Saugatuck River in Westport. At exactly 6, the shrill sound of a whistle rang out. As if rehearsed, each person flung out a fishing line.

ӔThe 2003 Connecticut trout season had begun.

These hardy souls were joined by thousands of anglers fishing the more than 200 rivers and 86 lakes and ponds in Connecticut that were stocked with hatchery raised trout in time for opening day.Ӕ

So How Did You Enjoy

So How Did You Enjoy Your Vacation, Mary-Lou and Larry?
Anyone who knows Westporters Mary-Lou and Larry Weisman also knows that they are ultra busy and ultra involved. Shes a writer and heҒs an attorney specializing in land use issues.

Now we also know, thanks to todays New York Times, that, as one might expect, they donҒt do well on relaxing vacations.

In an essay in the Sunday travel section headlined Caffeinated Couple Meets Decaf Vacation,Ӕ Mary-Lou spells out the difficulties she and Larry have encountered trying to find relaxation on holidays in the Caribbean, on a barge trip in France, and hanging out in a village in Ireland.

The essay is adapted from Mary-Lou֒s new book, Traveling While MarriedӔ (Algonquin, $15.95).

Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, had this to say about the book:

He’s a whitewater-rafting kind of guy. She prefers the bubbling waters of a posh health club hot tub. For more than 40 years, Larry and Mary-Lou Weisman have been backpacking through Europe and barging down the Amazon as both dauntless travelers and devoted spouses.

ӓNow Mary-Lou shares the secret of staying happily married while contemplating lost luggage, jet lag, and Eurodollar equivalencies in a mirthful memoir of a lifetime of journeying a deux.

“With self-deprecating good humor, Weisman pokes fun at her own obsessive-compulsive behavior and Larry’s laid-back mentality to reveal the offbeat and off-the-beaten-track adventures of travelers as mismatched as a cheap set of luggage.

Mary-Lou is an award-winning journalist who, in addition to The New York Times, has written for Newsweek, the Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, the New Republic, New York magazine, Glamour, Redbook, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Cosmopolitan, among others.

Her previous books include ԓMy Middle-Aged Baby Book and ԓIntensive Care: A Family Love Story.

Saturday, April 19, 2003

Protesters Take to Westport Downtown

Protesters Take to Westport Downtown
They werent large in number, but a group of protesters got the attention of passersby in downtown Westport today.

Less than a dozen people, including several children, were protesting a proposed 22-home development by ARS Partners on Partrick Road, the former F.D. Rich property.

They walked the sidewalks around the William Pitt real estate office on the corner of Post Road East and Myrtle Avenue for several hours holding signs protesting the project and promoting their Web site,

They also collected signatures for presentation to the Planning and Zoning Commission on May 1.

Matthew Mandell, one of the picketers, said they chose to march outside the real estate office because they expected William Pitt to be one of the agents for the housing development.

The 55-acre parcel, including 36 acres of wetlands, is off of Partrick Road and Newtown Turnpike.

The opponents of the project have formed a not-for-profit organization, The Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund, Inc.

The Hour Takes a Look

The Hour Takes a Look at Board of Finance Bickering
Todays Hour of Norwalk takes a look at recent bickering among members of WestportҒs Board of Finance, noting that it has increased as elections approach.

Hour reporter Jen Connic quotes unnamed political observers as saying the back and forth between Democrats, who hold a 4-3 majority on the board, and Republicans has much to do with the forthcoming election in November.

Democrats Steven L. Ezzes, board chairman, and Kevin A. Connolly are up for re-election this fall as are Republicans R. Gavin S. Anderson and Robert D. Graham.

U.S. Census Bureau Updates Fairfield

U.S. Census Bureau Updates Fairfield County Data
Westport isnt mentioned specifically, but the latest U.S. Census Bureau data for Fairfield County gives a pretty good insight into population trends in the region.

TodayҒs Advocate of Stamford has a good rundown of the data, noting that If it weren’t for immigrants and a bunch of babies, Fairfield County would be rapidly losing population.

The bureau reported that from April 2000 to July, Fairfield County’s population grew 1.5 percent to an estimated 896,202.

In that two-year period, an estimated 16,281 immigrants arrived to Fairfield County from foreign nations and 14,353 residents left for other parts of the United States. Fairfield County also had the state’s highest birth rate, which helped replace those leaving.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Parade Coordinator Says Nothing Special

Parade Coordinator Says Nothing Special for Memorial Day Parade
Bill Vornkahl has been coordinating Westport’s Memorial Day parade for more than three decades. He says this year will be his 33rd or 34th—he can’t remember which.

What the 72-year-old Westporter is sure about, however, is that this years parade on May 26 won’t be much different than all the other years, despite the war in Iraq.

“We’ll be honoring the Korea War vets,” he said. “You know, this is the 50th anniversary of that war’s end.”

Vornkahl, who also helps organize Westport’s Italian Festival parade (this year will be his 19th - he is also sure of that), said the Korean anniversary will be the theme of the paradeҒs floats.

He said the latest war and its casualties will certainly be on the minds of all vets and all Westporters. But he made clear it was important that the deeds of those who made the ultimate sacrifice before this year need to be remembered as well.

The parade steps off shortly after 9 a.m. from Riverside Avenue in front of Saugatuck Elementary School and ends up in front of Town Hall where the traditional post parade ceremonies will be held.

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