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Thursday, June 30, 2016

State Cuts Prompt Project Return Joining Homes With Hope

By James Lomuscio

With state budget cuts set to leave Project Return high and dry, the nonprofit group home for girls announced today it has joined forces with Homes with Hope, a local agency that addresses homelessness.

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The Project Return house today at 124 Compo Road North. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Established in a five-bedroom, country farmhouse at 124 Compo Road North in 1983—it actually opened in 1986 after three years of renovations—Project Return has been financially supported by the state Department of Children and Families (DCF).

But that support ends Friday as the state’s budget crisis deals financial blows to nonprofit, supportive services statewide.

Homes with Hope, established in 1983, then as the Interfaith Housing Association of Westport and Weston, is not as dependent on government monies.

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06/30/16 03:45 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 4 Mimi Lane

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UPDATE & CORRECT An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 4 Mimi Lane, off Hillspoint Road, is in process. Built in 1955, the 1-1/2 story ranch has 2,462-square feet, is situated on a .5-acre property and changed ownership last month for $880,000. Because the house was built more than 50 years ago, the application will be reviewed by the Westport Historic District Commission. (An incorrect picture was posted earlier.) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/30/16 12:48 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘The BFG,’ ‘The Free State of Jones,’ ‘The Conjuring 2’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Blending live action and computer animation, Steven Spielberg has adapted Roald Dahl’s fantastical tale “The BFG” with Oscar-winner Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) as the titular character, The Big Friendly Giant.

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Scripted by the late Melissa Matheson (“E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial”) and directed by Spielberg, it’s set in London in the early 1980s and revolves around 10 year-old orphan, Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), a lonely insomniac who - at 3 a.m. - spies a 24-ft.-tall giant lurking about the cobblestone streets, collecting and dispensing phosphorescent dreams to unsuspecting sleepers.

She sees him and he sees her. Reaching his hand through an open window, the grandfatherly-looking BFG gently plucks Sophie out of bed because - if word got out that giants roamed the city - that would end their nocturnal visits.

So the BFG whisks terrified Sophie off to Giant Country, where sinister Fleshlumpeater (voiced by Jermaine Clement) and Bloodbottler (voiced by Bill Hader), constantly bully him.

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06/30/16 12:33 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Ready to Party

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A house along Westport’s Soundview Drive is decked out in red, white, and blue today in advance of party time for tonight’s Westport P.A.L. fireworks display, which begins at 9 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Showing the Flag

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A garage under construction at 223 Hillspoint Road at Old Mill Beach took on a patriotic look today in advance of Westport’s fireworks tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Prime Property

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This prime piece of Compo Beach real estate was grabbed early today in advance of tonight’s 9 p.m. fireworks. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Fireworks Night Early Birds

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You know it’s Westport’s Independence Day (even though it is June 30) fireworks night when beach chairs and tables are set up early at Compo Beach. This was the scene along Soundview Drive early today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Patriotic Stakeout

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A table and flag staked out this Compo Beach spot early today for tonight’s fireworks. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Thursday, June 30, 2016


10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “the beautiful POND”
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “SOLOS 2016”
10 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Westport Library - June WestportMAKES: Build Telescopes Together
3 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Westport Library - #ThrowbackThursdays
5 p.m. - 7 p.m. - Westport Library - June WestportMAKES: Build Telescopes Together
7 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Drink n’ Draw
7 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Movie Night: “Finding Nemo”
8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “Buyer & Cellar”
9 p.m. - Compo Beach - Westport PAL Fireworks (rain date July 1)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

06/30/16 12:05 AM Comments Closed • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Celebrities Shine on Playhouse’s 85th Anniversary

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Among those seeing tonight’s performance of Michael Urie in “Buyer & Cellar” at the Westport Country Playhouse were (l-r) Anne Keefe, Playhouse associate artist; actors Chris Sarandon and Joanna Gleason; “Buyer & Cellar” playwright Jonathan Tolins; and 2016 Tony Award winners Stephen Karam (“The Humans” playwright) and Thomas Kail (“Hamilton” director). Gleason was in a New York production of Karam’s play “Sons of the Prophet.” Today marks the Playhouse’s 85th anniversary.  Co-founders Lawrence Langner and wife Armina Marshall opened the first show at the Playhouse on June 29, 1931. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Don Rebar for WestportNow.com

06/29/16 09:01 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Large Turnout for Levitt Children’s Series Opener

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There was a large turnout tonight at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts for the season opener of the Melissa and Doug Children’s Series featuring the Dirty Sock Funtime Band. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Sign of Approval

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This youngster gives a four-finger approval to tonight’s Westport Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts season opener of the Melissa and Doug Children’s Series featuring the Dirty Sock Funtime Band. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

06/29/16 08:26 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tickets Still Available for Fireworks

There are about 300 vehicle tickets left for Thursday night’s P.A.L. fireworks display at Compo Beach, a Westport Parks and Recreation (P&R) Department employee said today.

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An estimated 10,000 persons attended last year’s Compo fireworks display. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Tony Riggio for WestportNow.com

In all, 2,000 tickets, at $35 each, were made available for the event, said Emily Kristy, assistant to P&R Director Jennifer Fava.. When those are gone, about 50 shuttle tickets from Longshore Club Park will be sold for same price, she said.

The weather forecast is for clear skies during the day with a high of 86. Rain date is Friday.

Meanwhile, Westport police issued a fireworks traffic advisory, as well as caveats for those who walk to the event.

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06/29/16 06:00 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Barbara Butler Honored at Retirement Party

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In an often emptional ceremony, Westport bid farewell today to Barbara Butler, who is retiring Thursday after 27 years as Westport’s director of the Depatment of Human Services. First Selectman Jim Marpe led tributes to Butler at a reception at the Westport Center for Senior Activities and presented her with a commendation. Other speakers included Selectman Helen Garten, former First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, former Selectman Shelley Kassen,  Representative Town Meeting Moderator Eileen Flug, and state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, who presented Butler with a commendation from the state legislature. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

06/29/16 05:01 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

A Moment With the Boss

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Retiring director of the Department of Human Services Barbara Butler shares a moment today with Sue Pfister, direcor of the Westport Center for Senior Activities, at a retirement party for her at the Center, Pfister kept a box of tissues close at hand as she and others paid tribute to Butler, who retires Thursday after 27 years at the helm. Butler said she she decided on retiring confident the department will continue its stellar ways under new director Sarah Heath. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

06/29/16 04:56 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

All Smiles After 27 Years

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It was an emotional farewell today to Barbara Butler, retiring director of the Department of Human Services, at a party in her honor at the Westport Center for Senior Activities. Butler said any success she had was due to her staff at what one speaker said was the gold standard for a human services department that is the envy of every other community in the state. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

06/29/16 04:51 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

One More Gift

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A giclee of Westport artist Hardie Gramatky’s watercolor of Compo Beach from Westport’s art collection was presented to retiring Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon in his last week on the job after 17 years. Making the presentation were members of the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection (WSPAC) Committee (l-r) co chairs Maija Krasts and Kathie Bennewitz, and Michele Mechanic. “He has always been a strong supporter of WSPAC,” said Bennewitz, adding as a last act, Landon supported the Board of Education and Westport Arts Advisory Committee in making the former PTA committee evolve into a new entity, the Westport Public Art Collections (WESTpac), which will operate as the caretaker of the WSPAC and town art collections beginning Friday, July 1. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

06/29/16 04:04 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Construction Crew Shears Off Propane Tank

UPDATE A construction crew today sheared off the mechanism on an underground propane tank on Bermuda Road in Westport’s Saugatuck Shores area, according to fire officials.

A Gault Energy crew managed to quickly stem the leak, which was reported shortly after 1 p.m., they said.

The tank involved was said to be a 500-pound one.

Fire units left the scene at 1:40 p.m.

06/29/16 01:25 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Brush Fire Forces Road Closure, Train Slowdown

UPDATE A brush fire that broke out near the Metro-North overpass on Compo Road South forced a brief closure of the roadway today and a slowdown on the New Haven Line, authorities said.

The fire was reported at about 1 p.m. and the closure and slowdown lifted about a half hour later.

The fire, caused by a downed power line, was in the area of the town’s sewage treatment plant on Elaine Road. Metro-North initiated a slowdown on three of the its four tracks; the other track was already shut down because of construction.

One train was halted at the Green’s Farms station where some of its passengers disembarked, according to dispatchers.

06/29/16 01:11 PM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Constuction Contract Approved for Commuter Lot

After a spirited discussion, the Board of Selectmen voted 2-0 today to approve awarding of a controversial construction project contract to renovate commuter parking Lot No. 1 at the Metro-North Westport station at Saugatuck.

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Lot No. 1 often is at full capacity with 321 spaces. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

First Selectman Jim Marpe and Selectman Avi Kaner voted in favor of the award to Norwalk-based Deering Construction Co. while Selectman Helen Garten abstained, saying, “Maybe we should have a broader discussion.”

The project generated much controversy earlier this month when, after almost three hours of discussion, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) on a 24-2 vote with three abstentions approved a $1.5 million appropriation. (See WestportNow June 8, 2016)

The controversy arose over an original plan to reduce the lot’s five exits to one as some commuters and RTM members feared this would add additional time to exit the lot. But after a real-time test on the eve of the vote, a second exit was added to the plan.

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Improved Wi-Fi Service for Compo Beach

Visitors to Westport’s Compo Beach will experience improved Wi-Fi service under an agreement approved today by the Board of Selectmen.

The agreement calls for Cablevision to install a Wi-Fi transmitter in the Joey’s at the Beach snack stand, said Eileen Zhang, the town’s information technology director.

She said the transmitter will supplement town Wi-Fi transmitters already installed at the beach as well as the Cablevision one installed at the Ned Dimes Marina.

The transmitter will also improve Wi-Fi service at the beach entrance, Zhang said, where the internet is used to process credit cards for non-permit holders.

06/29/16 11:12 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

At 95, Ed Vebell Still Drawing on History

By James Lomuscio

The setting seemed cinematic, fictitious even—a worldly, wizened 95-year-old keeping two 18-year olds rapt and continually amazed, so much so that they would keep coming back to hear more.

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Ed Vebell: at 24, he drew Nazis at Nuremberg while thinking of his Paris girlfriend. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

But that was the scene last week at the Compo Beach area home of legendary illustrator-photographer Ed Vebell as he hosted the teens—Wellington Baumann, a 2016 Staples High School graduate, and Aren Heitmann, a recent Fairfield Ludlowe High School graduate.

Baumann and Heitmann, history buffs who will attend Gettysburg College in the fall, are interning with Vebell for the summer in his loft studio. They seemed a good fit.

After all, Vebell, a World War II Army sergeant, was the key artist in Europe and North Africa for Stars & Stripes, the American newspaper reporting on matters affecting the U.S. Armed Forces. He was also the only artist allowed to cover the 1945, post-war Nuremberg, Germany war trials, which prosecuted members of the Nazi leadership.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016


8:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Board of Selectmen (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “the beautiful POND”
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “SOLOS 2016”
1 p.m. - 7 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Race the Clock
2 p.m. and 8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “Buyer & Cellar”
3 p.m. - Westport Center for Senior Activities - Farewell reception for retiring Human Services Department Director Barbara Butler
5:30 p.m. - 134 Cross Highway - Wakeman Town Farm Committee
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Chess Club for Adults
7 p.m. - Levitt Pavilion - Children’s Series: Dirty Sock Funtime Band

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

06/29/16 12:05 AM Comments Closed • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Comedy at Saugatuck

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Tina Giorgi of Long Island, a former school teacher, was one of three Treehouse Comedy Club standup comedians who entertained tonight at the Saugatuck Elementary School auditorium, an alternate venue when the Levitt Pavilion schedule is threatened by forecasts of inclement weather. The other two stand-up acts were Joseph Anthony and Paul Bond whose performance featured guitar musical parodies. According to Brad Axelrod, founder of Treehouse Comedy Club, Bond will headline an evening’s entertainment in August at the Westport Inn. The Comedy Club, which traces its origins to 1983 in Westport, is Connecticut‘s original and first full-time comedy showcase. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/28/16 09:10 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Laugh Time

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It was laugh time tonight for the audience at Westport’s Saugatuck Elementary School watching the Treehouse Comedy Club performers. The show was moved from the Levitt Pavilion due to the threat of rain. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/28/16 09:05 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

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Property Transfers
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Westport Property Transfers June 6 -10, 2016

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Obituaries

John B. Cregan, 86

Frank J. Clark, 92

Arts & Leisure

Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘The BFG,’ ‘The Free State of Jones,’ ‘The Conjuring 2’

Celebrities Shine on Playhouse’s 85th Anniversary

Business

New State Budget Threatened Before it Starts

Sconset Square Special Delivery

Community

Kolbe Cathedral to Honor Mitchell & Kuroghlian

Dodig Salutes Class of 2015 as ‘Fantastic’

Health & Fitness

‘Push Up Against Cancer’ Attracts Hundreds

Agency Head: Mosquito-control Funding Cut

Education

Yankees Honor for Orphenians

On the Field

Politics

New State Budget Threatened Before it Starts

Conservation Voters Honor Westporters

Real Estate

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 4 Mimi Lane

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 63 Turkey Hill Road South

Sports

Yankees Honor for Orphenians

On the Field

Special Reports
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At 95, Ed Vebell Still Drawing on History

WN on the Scene: Frieze NY 2016 Art Fair

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