Castles in the Sand – 2015 - Homes with Hope, May 9
May 7 benefit for CLASP. CLASP is a local not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide homes and opportunities for people with autism and other developmental disabilities.Art About Town opening night street party, Thursday, May 21, 5:30-8:30, downtown Westport, CT
Westport Country Playhouse 2015 Season on Sale Now!
 
Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Talking Transportation: Honor System Fares

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow

Connecticut’s newest mass transit system, CTfastrak, is off to a great start. 

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The bus rapid transit system running from New Britain to Hartford is carrying up to 10,000 passengers daily. Mind you, that’s coming off of its debut week when all rides were free.

In fact, it’s the fare collection process on CTfastrak that makes it innovative:  it’s on the honor system.

Unlike most buses, CTfastrak passengers pay before getting onboard, purchasing tickets ($1.50 for two hours use) at the stations or online. This reduces the “dwell time” at each stop as passengers can board through any door.

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Saugatuck Sunset

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Tuesday’s sunset as seen over the Saugatuck River in Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Steven Laitmon for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015


8 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Maintenance Study Committee
9 a.m. - 9 p.m. - Westport Library - “Sherwood Island, 1975-2015: Photography by Larry Silver”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - UN International Hospitality Committee
4 p.m. - Westport Library - Imagination Foundation Workshops
4 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Beautification Committee
4 p.m. - Westport Library - Girls Robotics Club
5:30 p.m. - 134 Cross Highway - Wakeman Town Farm Committee
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Chess Club for Adults
7 p.m. - Westport Library - Sue Miller (“The Arsonist”) in Conversation with Sybil Steinberg
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - RTM Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “The Liar”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

At RTM, a Slam Dunk for School Budget

By James Lomuscio

Velma Heller, a former educator, school booster, and deputy moderator of Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM), tonight made a motion, uttering words she never believed she would say—to reduce the finance board approved 2015-16 school operating budget by $300,000.

The reason: the school board had requested it, showing due diligence as it presented a leaner $111,171,756 operating budget hammered out at the Board of Education’s Monday night meeting. At that meeting, school officials found reductions in special educations costs for out-of-district placements

The end result was a school board slam dunk as the RTM unanimously approved the modified operating budget—a 1.8 percent increase over the current year and the lowest increase in five years—making next year’s total education budget $123,582,074, including the school system’s debt service and aid to private and parochial schools.

The RTM then unanimously passed the whole town budget—including the a $78.9 million municipal budget approved Monday night—of $202,505,295.

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Real Estate Report: Fierce Rivalry for Starter Homes

By Judy Szablak

There are more than 350 single-family homes available for sale in Westport, and competition is fierce among starter homes.

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Featured Home: This home at 6 Hidden Hill is listed at $7,995,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of Coldwell Banker, Westport-Riverside.

However, we do expect to see the higher ranges pick up in the coming weeks, and into the early summer.

Less than 18 percent of the inventory currently available is listed for under $1 million, and that’s not an awful lot to choose from.

This price pocket should not be taken lightly as it is an integral part of the health of the overall Westport real estate market, and speaks volumes for the future sales of upper price range homes.

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Merritt Crash Sends One to Hospital

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A male driver traveling south on the Merritt Parkway, just past the southbound entrance of Exit 41 in Westport, lost control of his vehicle and hit a tree late today, causing the vehicle to rollover onto its roof. Westport EMS transported the patient to the hospital. The extent of the injuries are not known. Rush hour traffic was backed up as a result of the crash. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 4 Broadview Road

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An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 4 Broadview Road, off Old Hill Road, is in process. Built in 1940, the two-story custom colonial has 5,048-square feet, is situated on a 2.85-acre property and last changed ownership, according to Town Assessor records, in August 1993 for $1,925,000. 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

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New Harbor Road Bridge Will Carry Emergency Vehicles

UPDATE The one-car-at-a-time wooden bridge on Westport’s Harbor Road leading to Saugatuck Shores will be replaced with a galvanized truss bridge with an open grate deck, it was announced today.

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The Harbor Road Bridge to Saugtuck Shores was heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

A joint announcement from U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, and Sen. Chris Murphy said the new bridge, will be paid for with a $1,302,225 Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (75 percent of the cost) supplemented by state funds.

The new bridge will be rated for emergency vehicle and heavy equipment loads, an announcement said.

“During Hurricane Sandy, rising waters limited access to and from the Saugatuck Island community,” the announcement said. “This joint effort by FEMA and the state will replace the wooden bridge to the island with one that can serve ambulances and first responders during the event of a future storm.”

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Harbor Road Bridge to be Replaced

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The more than 50-year-old timber-and-pile wooden bridge on Harbor Road leading to Saugatuck Shores – heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy—will be replaced, Westport’s congressional delegation announced today. An announcement said funding will come from a $1,302,225 Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – 75 percent of the cost—supplemented by state funds. The new bridge will be a galvanized truss bridge with an open grate deck rated for emergency vehicle and heavy equipment loads, the announcement said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com

05/05/15 11:11 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Comings & Goings: People’s United Bank Closing Branch

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The People’s United Bank branch, 1790 Post Road East, will close on May 29.  Branch Manager Mike Fabrizi said there are nine other People’s United branches in a 10-mile radius, including one inside Stop & Shop, which is about 300 feet away. He said, in addition to the two branches on Post Road East, there is a branch at the corner of Compo Road North and Post Road East as well as one in White Birch Plaza, Post Road West near Whole Foods.  According to Fabrizi, branch manager since 2013, in the 1970s when his branch opened, it was the 10th in the Bridgeport-based People’s United Bank expansion. Now, he said, there are more than 400 branches from Maine to New York. He said the six employees in his branch will be reassigned.  “People’s United is a great bank to work with,” he said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

05/05/15 10:29 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Another Spring Day That Feels Like Summer

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The temperature climbed into the 80s in Westport on Monday and the day ended with a summer-like sunset as seen from Compo Beach. The temperature dropped late in the day and waves kicked up as winds gusted to 23 mph. Today’s forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the upper 70s. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lorraine Feliciano for WestportNow.com

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - Cinco de Mayo


8 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - TEAM Westport
9 a.m. - 9 p.m. - Westport Library - “Sherwood Island, 1975-2015: Photography by Larry Silver”
10 a.m. - Westport Library - Book Chat
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
2 p.m. - Westport Library - Oscar-worthy Films: “Unbroken”
4 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
7 p.m. - Westport Library - Jobseeker Special: Good at Your Job but Not Good at Your Job Search?
7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “The Liar”
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - RTM Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

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Monday, May 04, 2015

In Approving Town Budget, RTM Restores Transit Cut

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE (adds revised Board of Ed budget request) After restoring a cut by the Board of Finance in the Westport Transit District (WTD), Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight unanimously approved a $78.9 million municipal budget for 2015-16.

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First Selectman Jim Marpe details the 2015-16 budget for RTM members. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

It was a 2.51 increase over the current year.

When added to a revised school budget request of $111.2 million—down $300,00 from its earlier request—approved by the Board of Education tonight and scheduled to be voted on Tuesday night, Westport’s total budget for next year is expected to be $202.5 million, about a 2.1 percent increase over the current year.

John Pincavage, chair of the Board of Finance, told the RTM tonight he expected that once increased revenues are factored in, the tax increase effective July 1 will be somewhere between 0 and 1 percent.

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Stamford Republican to Challenge Blumenthal

By Ana Radalet

www.ctmirror.org

Washington – Sen. Richard Blumenthal will have at least one challenger if he runs for re-election next year, Republican August Wolf of Stamford.

The 53-year-old investment executive is the first person to step forward willing to take on a Democrat with a 64 percent approval rating and a track record of raising money.

Click here for more of story

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Comings & Goings: Bogey’s Reopens in Norwalk

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The popular Bogey’s Grille & Tap Room, formerly located at 323 Main St., Westport until it closed in August 2011 after 17 years (see WestportNow Sept. 9, 2011) has reopened in Norwalk at 2 Wilton Ave. at the intersection of Cross Street, near Cablevision’s main office. According to James Stablein, (r), co-owner with his brother John, “The new location retains the golf motif atmosphere with an early American, Ireland and Scotland touch. It’s like a grill room of a country club.”  He added that “many of our old customers tell us they didn’t know we just reopened in Norwalk and found out by driving by on Cross Street.” The new Bogey’s seats 110 in the dining room and 62 in the tap room. It is open daily at 11:30 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. A Sunday brunch is planned.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Castles in the Sand Should be ‘Biggest One Ever’

Jeff Wieser, president and CEO of Homes With Hope, said he expects Saturday’s 14th annual Castles in the Sand fundraiser at Compo Beach to “be the biggest one ever” because his organization has teamed up for the first time with Builders Beyond Borders (B3). The weather is supposed to be great, too.

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One of the entries from last year’s competition. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

“We’re hoping for a banner year,” said Wieser, noting that there will be at least 50, beachfront sand lots leased, so sand sculptors, about 250 in all, can ply their craft.

Leased lots go from $100 for a 10 feet by 10 feet size and $300 for a 20 feet by 20 feet one.

In past years, Wieser said, sand artists have stretched the limits of their creative process, and he expects no less this year.

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Suburban Schools See Student Poverty Growing

By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

www.ctmirror.org

The number of students from poor families attending suburban schools in Connecticut is rising.

Numerous legislators say these increases justify providing $14.2 million in additional state aid over the next two fiscal years to help several suburban districts cover the cost of educating these high-need students.

Click here for more of story

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CLASP Homes Hosts Taste of Westport on Thursday

CLASP Homes hosts its 11th annual Taste of Westport event Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Westport Inn.

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Neil Fuentes: “singing chef.” Conributed photo

A feature of the event is a pre-party with “The Singing Chef,” Neil Fuentes, a recent winner on Food Network’s “Rewrapped” and executive chef at Jojoto in Branford, described as Connecticut’s only Venezuelan restaurant.

The evening includes tasting specialties from choice area restaurants, accompanied by a selection of wines, beers and cocktails, and ends with desserts, cappuccino and gelato.

The pre-party begins at 6 p.m. and tickets for this party and the full Taste of Westport are a $95 donation to CLASP. The Taste event alone is $75.

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Getting Ready for SOLOS 2015 Exhibit

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The Westport Arts Center’s SOLOS 2015 exhibition featuring works of its members opens Friday with a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Pictured are Richard Klein, the juror of SOLOS 2015 and exhibitions director of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, with Helen Klisser During, WAC’s artistic director, helping to install artist Rick Schaefer’s oversized, “Gelbvieh” charcoal on vellum mounted on aluminum (42in x 65in). The exhibit runs through June 27 and is sponsored by the Sun Hill Foundation in remembrance of Westport artist and art patron Susan Malloy, who died last month. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for WestportNow. com

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Monday, May 4, 2015


9 a.m. - 9 p.m. - Westport Library - “Sherwood Island, 1975-2015: Photography by Larry Silver”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
10 a.m. - Westport Senior Center - Westport Senior Center Policy & Planning Board
1:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Advanced Writing Class
3:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - P&Z Commission Parking Subcommittee
4 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - P&Z Commission Open Space Subcommittee
4 p.m. - Westport Library - Teen: Maker Mondays
5 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Arts Advisory Committee Special Meeting
6 p.m. - Westport Library - Tabletop Games for Adults
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - RTM Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Golf Advisory Committee
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

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Sunday, May 03, 2015

Summer-Like With Three Weeks to Memorial Day

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With temperatures climbing into the 70s, many people today headed to Westport’s Compo Beach. Only three weeks remain before Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

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Busy Weekend for Staples SLOBS

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It was a busy day today for the Staples High School SLOBs (Service League of Boys), one of the largest clubs at the high school, founded in 2008. It had more than 180 volunteers, including boys and parents, spending well over 400 hours on community service projects around Westport. The SLOBs took on 11 community service projects today—weeding, planting, mulching, picking up garbage, painting and cleaning at Bacharach House, the Gillespie Center, Compo and Burying Hill Beaches, Wakeman Town Farm, Linxweiler House, Powell House, Project Return, ABC House, and Earthplace. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Going Green With David Pogue

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Westport personal tech expert David Pogue marked Green Day today with a Westport Library talk. Host of PBS’s NOVA “Making Stuff” series, he highlighted the episode on “Making Stuff: Cleaner.” He later autographed copies of his newest book, “Pogue’s Basics: Essential Tips and Shortcuts (That No One Bothers to Tell You) for Simplifying the Technology in Your Life.” He said it was his first book to make The New York Times best seller list. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

05/03/15 07:24 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Saugatuck Sweet Sounds

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Vivace, the senior string ensemble of the Suzuki Music School of Westport and Orange, today serenades customers of Saugatuck Sweets by the Saugatuck River. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Conversations on ‘Healing Through the Arts’

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Nancy Diamond, co-chair of the Westport Arts Advisory Committee, today welcomes guests to its second TEA (Thinkers, Educators, Artists) Talk at Westport Town Hall. The event, called “Healing through the Arts,” featured professionals in the visual and performing arts who utilize music and art therapy for veterans, cancer patients, and prison inmates and their families. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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