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Monday, March 27, 2017

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

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.

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

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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Woodpecker Sighting

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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

Shorn for a Good Cause

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Aarti Khosla, owner of Le Rouge Handmade Chocolates by Aarti on Westport’s Main Street, was a last minute addition to today’s 13th Annual Team Brent St. Baldrick’s Celebration fundraiser at the Westport Weston Family YMCA. Khosla decided only three days ago to take part in the annual head shaving event to raise money for child cancer research. She said she raised $6,700. Contributed photos

03/26/17 04:54 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Democracy March Draws Hundreds, U.S. Legislators

By James Lomuscio

From Jesup Green to Veterans Green, today’s March to DefenDemocracy drew hundreds brandishing myriad anti-President Trump placards, a show of force from Democrats.

WestportNow.com Image
March organizer Darcy Hicks addresses today’s Veterans Greens rally as fellow organizers Nita Prasad, Lauren Soloff, and Lisa Bowman look on.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

Unabashed, they appeared energized by Friday’s Trumpcare defeat, and they were cheered on at Veterans Green by U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, and state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, all Democrats, as well as by Republican First Selectman Jim Marpe.

DefenDemocracy was co-founded by Westporters Darcy Hicks, Lauen Soloff, Lisa Bowman and Nita Prasad, and the event drew support from Westport’s Democratic Town Committee (DTC).

“We founded this right after the march,” Hicks said referring to women’s Washington, D.C. march protesting the election and inauguration of President Donald J. Trump. “The reason for today is to unite the community and all the grassroots groups that have formed since the election to defend our democracy.

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03/26/17 03:07 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Gallery: Democracy March in Westport


Scenes from today’s democracy march in Westport. Bob Eckman and Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com, WestportNow.com photos, and contributed photos.

03/26/17 02:45 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Video: Westport’s March for Democracy


Marchers from Westport and surrounding communities took part in today’s protest march in Westport’s downtown officially called “CT on the Move March to Defend Democracy — One Small State, One Big Voice.” WestportNow.com video

03/26/17 02:40 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Thanks to Westporters

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Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe, flanked by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, and the Westport organizers of today’s march for democracy, thanks the crowd for their participation in the event. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Signs Aplenty

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There were signs of all kinds in today’s democracy march through Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Marching Through Westport

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Participants in today’s march through Westport move along Post Road East to the rally point at Veterans Green across from Westport Town Hall. The protest took place under cloudy skies in 40-degree weather. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com

03/26/17 12:43 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Hundreds Take Part in ‘March to Defend Democracy’

WestportNow.com Image
Several hundred persons today took part in a march through downtown Westport called “CT on the Move March to Defend Democracy — One Small State, One Big Voice.” Demonstrators walked from Jesup Green to Veterans Green across from Westport Town Hall for a rally. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

03/26/17 12:33 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Letter: BOF Members Say Tell State Westport Is Not Its Piggy Bank

(Editor’s note: The following letter is from six Board of Finance members. Member John Hartwell decided not to participate)

Dear Westport Resident:

Westport has worked hard to prudently manage its finances and tax base. All branches of our town government, many elected officials and volunteers, have worked collaboratively, on behalf of all residents, to ensure we have a high quality of life at a cost all residents and businesses can afford. Sadly, maintaining this balance will be more difficult in the future.   

Today we are faced with grim economic news from the State of Connecticut. This is not a one-off problem and it will continue for years to come. Because of our state government’s inability to manage its budget and to control spending resulting in a projected deficit of over $1.5 billion next year alone, Westport finds itself in a difficult position.

Instead of tackling a state government that has grown too large and too expensive for the residents of Connecticut, the state is largely trying to solve its budget problems by shifting costs to towns. 

First, the state is decreasing or totally eliminating payments it has made to Westport for either education or other services which equals $3 million-$4 million in 2018 alone. We assume this revenue from the state, which directly supplemented our operating budgets, is permanently gone.

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03/26/17 11:10 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westport Students Perform in Boston

WestportNow.com Image
Westport’s Staples High School and Bedford Middle School Chamber Music students performed at Symphony Hall in Boston on Friday. They also had a master class with the Boston Symphony Orchestra members. It was the same day that Superintendent Colleen Palmer’s latest budget message mentioned the possible elimination of individual music lessons in grades 4 to 8. The subject will be discussed at Monday’s Board of Education meeting. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

03/26/17 10:44 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Noon - Jesup Green to Veterans Green - CT on the M.O.V.E. March
12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m. - Family YMCA - St. Baldrick’s for TeamBrent: Brave a Shave for Kids with Cancer
1 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Family Art Day: Create Your Family’s Modern Crest
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Harvest Wine Bar - Uncorked Wine Tasting benefit for Whittingham Cancer Center

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

03/26/17 12:05 AM Comments Closed • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Saturday, March 25, 2017

New Downtown Restaurant Busy in Pre-Opening

WestportNow.com Image
Amis Trattoria, the Roman eatery from Philadelphia-based Vetri Family of Restaurants, was busy with customers tonight in the new Bedford Square development in Westport’s downtown. It doesn’t officially open until Friday, March 31, but the soft opening drew Saturday night crowds. Owned by Urban Outfitters, which also owns the adjoining Anthropologie, it features seasonally-driven small plates, handcrafted pastas, local seafood and antipasti selections from Executive Chef Brad Spence. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

03/25/17 08:12 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Working Late at Anthropologie

WestportNow.com Image
Anthropologie employees were working late tonight to get the new store ready for its official opening on Friday, March 31. The company said 150 full and part-time workers were employed to get the new Bedford Square in shape for opening day.  The store, owned by Urban Outfitters, is the anchor tenant in the building that formerly was home to the Westport Weston YMCA. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

03/25/17 08:03 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Remembering ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ 49 Years Later

WestportNow.com Image
Actor Keir Dullea chats today with WestportNow film critic Susan Granger following the Westport Cinema Initiative screening of “2001: A Space Odyssey” at Westport Town Hall. Dullea, 80, a Fairfield resident, is best known for the character of astronaut David Bowman, whom he portrayed in the 1968 Stanley Kubrick-directed film. He delighted the audience by reciting from memory a complicated dialogue from the film that was full of numbers and obscure words. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

03/25/17 07:37 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Video: Keir Dullea on Stanley Kubrick: ‘Always Aware in Presence of Genius’


Actor Keir Dulllea tells a Westport Town Hall audience today how director Stanley Kubrick selected him for his most famous role as astronaut David Bowman in Kubrick’s 1968 now cult classic “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Asked what it was like working with Kubrick, Dullea said: “You were aware you were in the presence of genius.” He appeared with WestportNow film critic Susan Granger following a screening of the film by Westport Cinema Initiative WestportNow.com video

03/25/17 07:32 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

The Port Prison Penguins on the Move

WestportNow.com Image
Members of the Port Prison Penguins from the Bridgeport Correctional Institute take part today in the Special Olympics Connecticut annual penguin plunge at Compo Beach. The plunge supports more than 13,000 athletes of all abilities who participate in sports training and competition year-round.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

03/25/17 02:12 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Head First

WestportNow.com Image
One of the participants in today’s Special Olympics Connecticut penguin plunge at Westport’s Compo Beach goes in head first in the water.  Temperatures in the 50s under overcast skies made the plunge a little more palatable this year. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

03/25/17 02:09 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

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Spring Pop Up Art Show Set for April 6

Family Art Day Crowd at Arts Center

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Letter: BOF Members Say Tell State Westport Is Not Its Piggy Bank

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Human Services Gets New Director

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Westport Students Perform in Boston

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