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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Saugatuck Shores View

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Wednesday’s sunset as seen from Westport’s Saugatuck Shores area. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Penny Sousa for WestportNow.com

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Thursday,  February 26, 2015


10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Coney Island: Side Show”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Chess Club for Adults
7 p.m. - Westport Library - Jobseeker Special: Essential Digital Interview Handbook
7 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - Sherwood Mill Pond Committee
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - RTM Finance & RTM Public Protection Committees

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 5 Oak Ridge Park

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An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 5 Oak Ridge Park, off Imperial Avenue, is in process. Built in 1949, the one-story ranch has 1,054 square feet and is situated on a .57-acre property. Because the house was built more than 50 years ago, the application will be reviewed by the Westport Historic District Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

02/25/15 08:01 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Registrars of Voters Jobs on Way Out?

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

A countdown began today toward a debate over scrapping Connecticut’s unique system of relying on locally elected registrars of voters, one for each major party, to carry out elections in all 169 cities and towns.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill outlined legislation that would replace the Republican and Democratic registrars with a single, non-partisan official appointed by the local governing authority.

Click here for more of story

02/25/15 07:52 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Oil Spill Disrupts Post Road East Traffic

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Traffic on Westport’s Post Road East near Hillspoint Road was reduced to one lane during the late afternoon rush hour today after an 11-gallon oil pan fell from underneath a flatbed truck. Firefighters applied absorbent to contain the oil spill and to prevent it from entering runoff drains. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

02/25/15 05:40 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Cleaning Up

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Westport firefighter Brien Cartegena applies an absorbent to contain an oil spill from a flatbed truck on Post Road East today. The driver said he turned right from Hillspoint Road when he heard a grinding crash beneath the front cab. It turned out to be an 11-gallon oil pan that fell to the roadway. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

02/25/15 05:32 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

BOF Reviews Town Operations Director Job

By James Lomuscio

The Westport Board of Finance Tuesday night reviewed the job performance of Dewey Loselle in the newly created position of town operations director as part of its 2015-16 budget review. Not all members were pleased.

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Town Operations Director Dewey Loselle (l) appeared at today’s Board of Selectmen meeting where he discussed other topics. His job performance was reviewed by the Board of Finance Tuesday night. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Michael Rea gave Loselle a B-plus for the work he has done since assuming the $90,000-a-year position created last year at the request of First Selectman Jim Marpe.

“I’m surprised how effective Dewey has been,” said Rea. “He’s like Kilroy. He’s there. I see him all over.”

Finance board member Janis Collins was not that generous, saying, “Sorry, I don’t give you a B-plus,” citing things she thought would be accomplished when the new job was approved last year.

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Arctic Compo

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Tuesday’s sunset at Westport’s Compo Beach looked Arctic-like. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015


8:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 307/309 - Board of Selectmen Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
9 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Westport Library - The Refinery: Entrepreneur Accelerator Program for Women-led Companies
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Coney Island: Side Show”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
4:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Tree Board Commission
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Parks & Recreation Commission
7:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Westport Library Board of Trustees

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

02/25/15 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Finance Board Hears Plea for P&Z Staffer

By James Lomuscio

Swamped with increased permit applications while down two-and-a-half staffers for several years, Westport’s Planning and Zoning officials made its case before the Board of Finance tonight for a $60,000-a-year plus benefits “permit expediter” position to be included in the 2015-16 town budget.

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Planning and Zoning Director Laurence Bradley (c) and P&Z Commission Chair Chip Stephens (l) make their case tonight for another staffer to Board of Finance members. First Selectman Jim Marpe (foreground) listens. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The permit expediter, described as one-stop shopping for applicants, would pore over applications large and small to make sure nothing slips through, while at the same time breaking up the log jam due to an estimated 600 applications annually, P&Z officials said.

Planning & Zoning Director Laurence Bradley said the position’s cost would be offset by a 45 percent increase in permit fees, which have been flat since 2003.

He said that with the new fee structure, revenues would jump from around $300,000 to more than $600,000, possibly more. The reason, Bradley said, is that new construction is up in Westport, ranking it fourth in development throughout Connecticut behind Stamford, Danbury and Norwalk.

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WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 120 King’s Highway North

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An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 120 Kings Highway North has been approved. Built in 1948, the 1-1/2-story cape has 1,405 square feet, is situated on a .78-acre property and changed ownership in March 2014 for $565,000. Because the property is located within the Kings Highway North Historic District, the demolition permit application required a “certificate of appropriateness” review by the Historic District Commission (HDC) and, according to HDC secretary Carol Leahy, was approved with the stipulation that any new construction also requires HDC approval. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

02/24/15 08:46 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Doggie Book Lovers

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Westport Country Players staff members ham it up today with their pups in anticipation of Sunday’s two performances of “Dog Loves Books, a new musical based on The New York Times bestseller by Louise Yates about a dog who loves books so much that he decides to open his own bookstore.The play, in the Playhouse’s Family Festivities series, has performances at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. with running time one hour. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

02/24/15 03:59 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Bridgeport Hospital CEO: ‘Healthcare Act Not Working’

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William M. Jennings, president and CEO of Bridgeport Hospital, told the Westport Rotary Club today that the Affordable Healthcare Act “is not working for us.”  In response to a question, Jennings said the legislation has not reduced emergency room activity or changed the profiles of the types of patients being seen. “The Healthcare Act has not been a positive experience for us so far,” he said. Jennings noted that Bridgeport Hospital’s cost basis is among the lowest in the country. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

02/24/15 03:36 PM Comments (1) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westport Library Finalist in National Service Competition

The Westport Library is among 30 U.S. libraries and museums named as finalists in a national competition chosen because of their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities, the Library announced today.

It said it is a finalist for the 2015 National Medal for Museum and Library Service awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums.

The award is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to their communities, an announcement said.

The winners will be named this spring, and representatives from winning institutions will travel to Washington, D.C. to be honored at an award ceremony.

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02/24/15 02:51 PM Comments (1) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Saugatuck Scene

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UPDATE Trailer-trucks are backed up at about 1 p..m. today southbound on the I-95 bridge over the frozen Saugatuck River after a crash in Norwalk shut down the highway. It was reopened at about 2 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com

02/24/15 01:15 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Norwalk I-95 Crash Backs Up Traffic to Westport

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UPDATE A crash involving a tractor-trailer on I-95 in Norwalk between exits 14 and 15 just before 11 a.m. today shut down the roadway and backed up traffic to Westport. The roadway was reopened at about 2 p.m. View is looking southbound from near exit 17 in Westport. DOT photo

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Library’s Bleiweis to Receive National Honor

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Maxine Bleweis: honored for being a “risk-taker.” Contributed photo

Maxine Bleiweis, executive director of the Westport Library for the past 17 years, will be honored by the national Public Library Association (PLA) in June for being “a risk taker, an innovator and/change agent in a public library,” library officials announced today.

Each year since 1997, the Chicago-based PLA , a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has given the prestigious Charlie Robinson Award to a library director “known for developing and implementing programs which are responsive to the need of community residents,” according to the PLA.

The award, which includes a $1,000 prize, is scheduled to be presented to Bleiweis, who is scheduled to retire July 1 (see WestportNow Jan. 7, 2015), at the ALA’s annual conference in San Francisco in June.

“By every measure, Maxine was instrumental in ushering our library into the new millennium and guiding us through a dynamic period of change,” said Mike Guthman, president of the Westport Library’s Board of Trustees. “Through the gift of her imagination, visionary thinking and ability to motivate others, our library is now recognized as one of the most innovative libraries in the world.”

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015


9:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Downtown Steering Committee Special Work Session
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Coney Island: Side Show”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
1 p.m. - Westport Library - Writing 101: Introductory Course for Fiction & Non-fiction
4 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 307/309 - Board of Finance Special Public Meeting
7 p.m. - Neat (6 Wilton Road) - Westport Library: Adults Read YA Fiction
7 p.m. - Westport Library - Award-winning novelist Dinaw Mengestu: “All Our Names”
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - Architectural Review Board
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Zoning Board of Appeals (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

02/24/15 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, February 23, 2015

Talking Transportation: Is Metro-North Irreplaceable?

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow

What is Connecticut’s relationship with Metro-North?  Client – vendor?  Shared partnership?  Stockholm syndrome?  Or is the railroad a “fanged sloth” hanging around our neck?

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All of those analogies has been made to the state’s 30-plus year relationship with Metro-North, part of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 

But given their dismal safety record and deteriorating service in recent years, many have asked “is it time to fire Metro-North and find someone else to run our trains?”

I posed that very question almost four years ago and people were shocked, not knowing that such a thing was even possible. Now there are even laws being considered in Hartford to rid us of the railroad.

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Westporter Honored

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The Association of Jewish Aging Services (AJAS) today honored Bill Sims (l) of Westport with its Trustee of the Year award as it opened its annual conference in La Jolla, Calif. AJAS is the national organization for community-based Jewish senior care organizations. Sims stepped down last year as board chair of Jewish Senior Services (JSS) in Fairfield. Managing principal of the investment bank HJ Sims, Sims was instrumental in securing the financing for JSS’s new $97 million intergenerational campus in Bridgeport. The new 320-bed facility, scheduled to open in March 2016, will be the first “household “ model nursing home in Connecticut. Presenting the award was fellow Westporter Ken Wirfel, a former member of the Westport Board of Finance and vice chair of JSS. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

02/23/15 07:12 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westporter: ‘Hail Mary Pass Better Than Getting Tackled’

www.ctmirror.org

Richard Bunting of Westport was among those who appealed to legislators in Hartford today to allow terminally ill patients access to experimental treatments that have not yet received FDA approval.

He told the Public Health Committee that his wife, Mary, has multiple sclerosis and cannot tolerate the medications that are currently available. He said has cancer that is in remission, but it has no treatment.

When you have cancer, doctors tell you to try this or that, said Bunting, 63. “And then one day, they tell you, ‘We’ve tried everything.’”

He said he wishes people like his wife had better access to experimental drugs. “A Hail Mary pass is better than laying down to get tackled,” he said.

For more on story, click here

02/23/15 06:41 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

NTSB Preliminary Report Adds Little New on Train Crossing Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) today released a preliminary report on a Metro-North crash that killed six persons Feb. 3 at a Valhalla, N.Y. crossing, but it added little to what was already known.

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An aerial view of the crash site in Valhalla, N.Y. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) NTSB photo

“Unfortunately, today’s report reveals no new facts about the disastrous Metro-North crash earlier this month,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said in a statement.

“I urge the NTSB and other investigators to move forward swiftly with investigating and releasing critical facts and recommendations for reform.”

The report repeated what NTSB investigators had said publicly earlier – that the train attempted to slow down but was unable to stop in time to avoid the deadly collision. It said 12 sections of third rail, each measuring 39 feet, had pierced the lead car. And it estimated the accident cost Metro-North $3.7 million in damage.

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WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 175 Hillspoint Road

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An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 175 Hillspoint Road is in process. Built in 1928, the two-story conventional style house has 2,846 square feet, is situated on a .8-acre property and changed ownership this month for $1,250,000. Because the house was built more than 50 years ago, the application will be reviewed by the Westport Historic District Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

02/23/15 04:40 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Power Back On Just In Time for Lunch

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UPDATE Power was back on at Oscar’s Deli and other Westport center stores at about noon today after an outage that an Eversource Energy spokesman said lasted about an hour. Spokesman Mitch Gross blamed the outage, which he said affected 550 customers, on a break in an underground cable. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

02/23/15 12:20 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Power Outage Hits Downtown Area

UPDATE A break in an underground cable caused a power outage today in the downtown area, forcing many stores to close for about an hour.

Mitch Gross, a spokesman for Eversource Energy, formerly known as Connecticut Light and Power Company, said 550 Westport customers in the downtown area were affected.

“The problem was an underground cable; it wasn’t working properly,” Gross said. “We were able to make the repairs and to reroute the power via another route.”

He said the power was out for less than an hour.  “It happened around 11, but they were back before noon,” he said.

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