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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Speaker Offers Phase-in Compromise on Teacher Pensions

By Keith M. Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz today offered a compromise on one of the stickiest points in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget: asking communities to gradually assume a portion of skyrocketing teacher pension costs.

Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, suggested cities and towns assume one-third of these pension costs — or possibly less — but do so in stages over the next five fiscal years.

The speaker offered this alternative during a panel discussion on state finances with House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, and Malloy budget director Ben Barnes.

The panel was the opening event at state Treasurer Denise L. Nappier’s 2017 Public Finance Outlook Conference at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

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03/29/17 03:39 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

News-12 Connecticut: A Bit Less Local

Cablevision’s News-12 Connecticut, whose slogan is “as local as local news gets,” is a bit less local now.

WestportNow.com Image
Ton Appleby, veteran news director of News-12 Connecticut, lamented the rise of social media as the primary source of news for Americans at a Westport Chamber of Commerce dinner last year. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

As announced last October, new owner European telecom company Altice effective this week has moved production work from its Norwalk Cross Street facility to Edison, N.J.

While the news assignment desk, reporters, and videographers remain, familiar anchor faces, including almost 34-year veteran Tom Appleby, are gone.

Westporter Appleby, 72, has been with Cablevision since 1984, serving as vice president, general manager, and news director.

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03/29/17 03:05 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Suspected Car Burglars Call Cops for Accident Help, Get Arrested

Officers arrested two men and a woman suspected in a vehicle theft early today who called for help after the vehicle they were in was rear ended near Coleytown Elementary and Coleytown Middle Schools, police said.

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Arrested: (l-r) Reginald Sharp, Alexis Haythe, and Rashad Spain. Westport Police photos

According to Lt. David Farrell, the incident began at 1:15 a.m. when officers were dispatched to the report of a crash on North Avenue between Easton Road and Coleytown Road.

“The caller reported that the suspect vehicle struck the rear of their vehicle, causing the suspect vehicle to roll over,” Farrell said.

The caller reported the suspect vehicle operator, described as a black male, then fled the scene on foot, he added.

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03/29/17 12:31 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Replacement of Saugatuck Island Bridge Finally Underway

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Work was underway today on replacement of the 1929-built Saugatuck Island one-car-at-a-time, timber-and-pile bridge. Patchwork repairs over the years sufficed until it was heavily damaged by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Working in concert with the Saugatuck Island Taxing District (SITD), which owns the bridge, the town in 2015 won a $1.3 million Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to replace the bridge. It will cover 75 percent of the cost, which will be supplemented by state funds. A slightly longer bridge with steel pilings and a concrete deck is planned. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Irene Penny for WestportNow.com

03/29/17 11:28 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Granger at the Movies: ‘Life,’ ‘The Red Turtle,’ ‘Wilson’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Seeing “Life” reminded me that renowned British scientist Stephen Hawking has cautioned that contact with alien life could spell disaster for the human race: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the American Indians.”

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But Hawking’s grim warning has not deterred cosmic exploration.

After Mission Specialist Rory Adams’ (Ryan Reynolds) risky retrieval of a damaged capsule containing valuable soil samples from Mars, the crew of the International Space Station’s Pilgrim 7 has reason to celebrate.

Along with Adams, astronauts Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), Sho Murakami (Hiroyuki Sanada), Ekaterina Golovinka (Olga Dihovichnaya), and Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) are concluding their eight-month exploratory mission.

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03/29/17 08:57 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Exhibit: “MORE Than Words: As We Are!”
Noon - Town Hall Room 307/309 - P&Z Commission Affordable Housing Subcommittee
3:30 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - EK Theater Video Game Puppetry Class
4 p.m. - Westport Library - DeweyKnit: Grade 4 to Adult
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Chess Club for Adults
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 104 - Board of Assessment Appeals Adjudication
7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “From Hate to Hope”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

03/29/17 12:05 AM Comments Closed • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Coleytown Company Readies ‘Cinderella’


Scenes from today’s dress rehearsal by Coleytown Middle School’s Coleytown Company of its production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” which runs Thursday through Saturday. Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

The Coleytown Company’s “Cinderella,” running Thursday through Saturday under Artistic Director Benjamin Frimmer, is bringing a modern day vision to the production.

In this version Cinderella, or Ella as she is known, is reimagined as a strong, independent young woman who wants to make the world a better place.

Returning are choreographer and Broadway veteran Michelle Berti and set designer Peter Barbiere.  Joanna Pan is overseeing costume design. Brett Boles is musical director.

In all, 85 eager and talented students have been rehearsing and working hard to make this one of the school’s best productions ever.

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03/28/17 08:42 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Congress Considers L.I. Sound Program Trump Wants to Defund

By Ana Radelat

www.ctmirror.org

Washington — Even as President Donald Trump wants to strip all money from the program, a key congressional committee today moved on a bill that would authorize the Environmental Protection Agency to spend $65 million a year on cleanup of Long Island Sound.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee considered the “Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act,” a bill cosponsored by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy of Connecticut, all Democrats.

The bill would reauthorize a number of projects in the Sound for five years including the Long Island Sound Study, the EPA’s Connecticut-New York partnership established in 1985 to oversee restoration of Long Island Sound.

Erin Crotty, the executive director of Audubon New York, testified in support of the legislation, saying the federal money it provides leverages many times more in funding form local and state governments and private donors.

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03/28/17 08:10 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Bedford Sixth Graders Present ‘The Witches’


Bedford Middle School sixth graders prepare for “The Witches.” Contributed photos

Bedford Middle School sixth grade students present “The Witches,” the Roald Dahl classic tale on Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

“The Witches” is a tale of a boy and his grandmother who use their wits to defeat the Grand High Witch’s plan to squelch all the children of England by turning them into mice. 

“This Roald Dahl story is both stupendously scary and gleefully giddy and will appeal to young kids, adolescents and adults alike,” an announcement said.

Tickets are available online at: http://www.bedfordactinggroup.com — $10 for children and $12 for adults. Children 2 and under are free. Seats are also available at the door. 

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03/28/17 06:09 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Lawmakers Set Aside Partisanship to Back Bioscience Industry

By Keith M. Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

While partisan politics has bogged down many state legislative debates, Democratic and Republican leaders announced today they can agree on how to better support and plan the growth of Connecticut’s bioscience industry.

Top leaders in the Senate and on the Commerce Committee highlighted three bills that develop a strategy to elevate Connecticut to a national leader in biomedical research.

“Connecticut is locked in a global competition to create good-paying jobs and support high-growth industries,” Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said. “… Connecticut possesses all of the ingredients to capitalize on the exponential growth that is set to occur in precision medicine and biomedical research.”

“We have an incredible workforce in our state and Connecticut should always be looking at new ways to support those workers and to grow new job opportunities,” said Senate Republican President Pro Tem Len Fasano of North Haven.

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03/28/17 04:30 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Real Estate Report: Crucial Time

By Judy Szablak

Special to WestportNow

This is a crucial time for those looking to either by or sell a home in Westport.

WestportNow.com Image
Featured Home: This home at 25 Edgemarth Hill Road is listed at $2,945,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of William Raveis-Southport

There is a need to review the market very carefully, as it continues to shift toward favoring sellers.

Specifically, certain “price pockets” are full of activity, and others are not at all.

It could be that some properties are priced beyond their value and are positioned in an incorrect price range, which would certainly contribute to a lack of movement.

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03/28/17 02:03 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westport Real Estate Price Changes

Westport real estate price changes over the past week:

21 Hale St.                  $459,000->$449,000
33 Pumpkin Hill Road           $789,000->$769,000
90 Old Road                     $849,500->$799,000
6 Silent Grove                   $998,000->$935,000
68 Bulkley Ave. North   $1,158,000->$1,058,000  
5 Bayberry Ridge Road     $1,249,000->$1,199,000
33 Colony Road             $1,299,000->$1,249,000  
156 North Ave.          $1,399,000->$1,375,000
75 Old Hill Road             $1,749,000->$1,695,000
11 Old Hill Road             $1,799,000->$1,749,000
19 Dover Road             $1,975,000->$1,875,000
7 Tranquility Lane           $2,399,000->$2,095,000
10 Winding Lane             $2,299,000->$2,195,000
55 Morningside Drive South     $2,695,000->$2,495,000
—Judy Szablak

03/28/17 01:58 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

CT Mirror Names New CEO, Publisher

The board of directors of The Connecticut News Project, publisher of The Connecticut Mirror and its sister websites TrendCT and CT Viewpoints, announced today that it has named Bruce Putterman as its chief executive officer and publisher.

WestportNow.com Image
Bruce Putterman: takes over April 10. Contributed photo

The Connecticut Mirror is a nonprofit online news publication covering state and federal government, public policy, and politics. WestportNow is a partner of The Connecticut Mirror.

“Connecticut residents can depend on the CT Mirror to keep them informed, making government and policymaking more transparent,” Ulysses B. Hammond CNP’s board president said.

“To be accountable to our mission and audience, this means CNP needs to be agile and cutting edge. Our board was very impressed by Bruce’s leadership skills, record of innovation, business experience, collaborative style, and knowledge of Connecticut. His combination of skills is just what we need to advance our mission.”

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03/28/17 12:48 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Exhibit: “MORE Than Words: As We Are!”
2 p.m. - Westport Library - Oscar-worthy Film Series: “Loving”
3:30 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - EK Theater Video Game Puppetry Class
4 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
6 p.m. - 7 p.m. - Westport Library - Artist Reception for “Leona Frank: iDraw!”
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Architectural Review Board
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - Fire Department Strategic Planning Steering Committee
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Green Room - RTM Education Committee Canceled
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Westport Transit District
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

03/28/17 12:05 AM Comments Closed • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sessions Immigration Threat Could Cost CT Millions in Federal Grants

By Ana Radelat

www.ctmirror.org

Washington — Attorney General Jeff Sessions today threatened to strip Justice Department law enforcement grants from states and cities that do not cooperate completely with federal immigration authorities, which could put millions of dollars received by Connecticut and several of its cities at risk.

The state, and cities including Hartford and New Haven, do not comply with all federal “detainers” — requests to keep jailed immigrants detained for 48 hours after their scheduled release so federal immigration officials can pick them up for deportation. Connecticut law enforcement also has been told by Gov. Dannel Malloy they don’t have to ask those apprehended or detained about their immigration status.

Sessions said these “sanctuaries” for immigrants could also see a “clawback’” of policing money that already has been distributed by the Justice Department. The Office of Justice Programs gives out more than $4 billion in grants every year, including tens of millions of dollars to the state of Connecticut and its cities and towns.

“I urge our nation’s states and cities to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws, and to rethink these policies,” Sessions said at a White House news conference. “Such policies make their cities and states less safe, and put them at risk of losing valuable federal dollars.”

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03/27/17 10:24 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Letter: Town ‘Remains Committed’ to Providing Excellent First Responder Pensions

(Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to one earlier today from the wife of a Westport firefighter who, in turn, was responding to a letter from Board of Finance members.)

To the Editor:

The Town of Westport respects the important and challenging role that its firefighters play in keeping our citizens safe.

Unfortunately, in the face of recent, unprecedented increases in pension and retiree health insurance costs in recent years, the town had to ask the fire union to consider adjustments to several pension provisions that appear to go beyond what is typically found in a municipal fire pension. 

At the same time, the fire union also sought enhancements to its pension. After months of negotiations, the town and fire union were unable to reach agreement.

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03/27/17 07:59 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Spring Pop Up Art Show Set for April 6

The Westport Arts Center will host a spring pop up art show by the Westport Artists Collective on Thursday, April 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Free and open to the public, the entries will be on view through Saturday, April 8 until 1 p.m.

All 150 members of the Collective have been invited to showcase a work of art with entries ranging from mixed media to sculpture to paintings, an announcement said.

For more information on the pop up show or the Westport Artists Collective, contact the Westport Arts Center at (203)222-7070 or visit the Arts Center website at http://www.westportartscenter.org.

03/27/17 05:49 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Winners Announced in PTA Reflections Arts Program

The Westport schools today announced student winners of the 2016-2017 PTA Reflections Art Program, a nationwide arts contest sponsored by the PTA that provides students with the opportunity for artistic creative expression and positive recognition for their efforts.

This year’s winners from Staples High School included: Literature “We Will Break Through” by Natasha Johnson; Film: “Moments” by Antonia Sousa; Photography: “Growing - An Upward Spiral” by Sarah Barnett; Dance: “Close to the Sun” by Colin McKechnie, and Visual Arts: “Sophie Elizabeth” by Sophie Driscoll.

Coleytown and Bedford Middle School winners include :Visual Arts: “My Piece” by CMS student Sophie Alcyone, and Dance: “Ballerino” by BMS student Jamie Mann. These students and their work will now move on to the national level for judging.

Additional Westport Public School students receiving recognition include: 

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03/27/17 03:27 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Human Services Gets New Director

After eight months on the job, Sarah Heath has resigned as Westport’s director of human services and First Selectman Jim Marpe has named Assistant Director Elaine Daignault to the position, he announced today.

WestportNow.com Image
Elaine Daignault: 18-year department veteran. Contributed photo

Heath, who took over from Barbara Butler July 1, 2016 and who has been a department employee for nine years, has accepted a position in another town effective April 4 and that will be the date of Daignault’s appointment, Marpe said.

“I want to thank Sarah for her many contributions to the town and the Human Services Department,” he said.

Heath said in her time with the town, “I have been fortunate enough to work with amazing, dedicated, and caring professionals and volunteers … I am happy that Elaine will continue as director of the department. Westport is in very capable hands.”

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Westport Music Students to Perform in Hartford

Westport music students are going to Hartford to participate in the 71st Annual Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA) All-State Conference on March 31, the school system announced today.

They include three ensembles comprised of 45 students from the Long Lots Elementary School Pan Island Express Steel Drum Band, the Westport Middle School Percussion Ensemble, and the Bedford Middle School Jazz Ensemble.

Each school year, CMEA hosts regional concerts that highlight students’ advanced achievement in music performance.

In March, CMEA hosts a statewide in-service conference for music educators and concludes with the All-State ensemble performances by high school students.

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Cops: Contractor Stole Designer Clothing from Home

A Milford home improvement contractor arrested for fraud in February was arrested again Sunday for stealing designer items from a Woodway Lane home, police said today.

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Jeffrey Chirillo: held on $25,000 bond. Westport Police photo

Jeffrey Chirillo, 36, was arrested on a warrant at the Bridgeport Police Department where he was being held.

Lt. David Farrell said that while Chirillo was in custody for his February arrest, he was interviewed by detective and admitted to taking sunglasses and snow boots from the residence where he was working.

“Based on his confession, detectives served a search warrant on his home,” Farrell said. “Detectives located Sorel boots, a Northface jacket, Patagonia boots and Polaroid Aviator sunglasses in Chirillo’s home that belong to the victim of this incident.”

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Letter: Response to BOF Members Letter Re BOE Budget

Dear Board of Finance Members:

I’ve read your letter dated March 26 posted on WestportNow.com. I am … it’s hard to put into words. Disgusted? Confused? Disheartened? Although perhaps not for the reasons you would hope to have accomplished by publishing this letter.

I agree that Westport residents should not have to pay for the mistakes made by the state. That being said, do the Westport residents know the whole picture of what else is going on in our town? “Education” is a big trigger word for this town, for myself as well.

I have a child in the Westport Public School system, and am disheartened every year by budget cuts. I would get into the details regarding those disappointments, but that isn’t what this letter is about.

Do the residents realize what is happening with our local first responders? Do they know that this town, with all it claims to offer, is asking that the new contract for our first responders cancel benefits to their families in case of a line of duty death? And this is only one of many items listed.

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03/27/17 11:43 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Woodpecker Sighting

WestportNow.com Image
This Pileated Woodpecker was spotted Sunday at Westport’s Earthplace. One of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent, it is nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for WestportNow.com

03/27/17 12:15 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, March 27, 2017


9 a.m. - Westport Weston Family Y - Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Exhibit: “MORE Than Words: As We Are!”
3:30 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - EK Theater Video Game Puppetry Class
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 104 - Board of Assessment Appeals Adjudication
7:30 p.m. - Staples Cafeteria B - Board of Education (live coverage cable channel 78, AT&T channel 99, and www.westport.k12.ct.us)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

03/27/17 12:05 AM Comments Closed • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Family Art Day Crowd at Arts Center

WestportNow.com Image
Families got creative together today at the Westport Arts Center’s bi-annual Family Art Day, designing family crests, personalized planters, and other hands-on projects. The Family Art Day: Create Your Family’s Modern Crest projects introduced artistic processes and techniques, helped youngsters explore their imaginations, and provided context for the Arts Center’s current exhibition. The backdrop for the event was the Arts Center’s “As We Are!” exhibition, on view through April 1. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Xenia Gross for WestportNow.com

03/26/17 05:04 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

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Property Transfers
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Westport Property Transfers Mar. 6 - 10, 2017

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Obituaries

Erwine T. Buckenmaier, Jr., 83

George E. LaCava, 86

Arts & Leisure

News-12 Connecticut: A Bit Less Local

Granger at the Movies: ‘Life,’ ‘The Red Turtle,’ ‘Wilson’

Business

News-12 Connecticut: A Bit Less Local

Lawmakers Set Aside Partisanship to Back Bioscience Industry

Community

Group Think

Compo Sunset - 1

Health & Fitness

Human Services Gets New Director

Trump Selects Westporter to be FDA Head

Education

Coleytown Company Readies ‘Cinderella’

Bedford Sixth Graders Present ‘The Witches’

Politics

Speaker Offers Phase-in Compromise on Teacher Pensions

Congress Considers L.I. Sound Program Trump Wants to Defund

Real Estate

Real Estate Report: Crucial Time

Westport Real Estate Price Changes

Sports

Baseball Buffs

Westport Squash Players Aid Harlem Charity

Special Reports
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Our New Year’s Gift to Readers

2016: A Year of Too Many Goodbyes

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