Tuesday, October 06, 2015
Celebrating Restaurant Week
Celebrating Westport’s Restaurant Week, First Selectman Jim Marpe and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Matthew Mandell, today are welcomed at Positano Ristorante, next to the Westport Country Playhouse, by its owner/chef Joseph Scarpati. Sponsored by the Chamber, Restaurant week is actually two weeks and runs to Oct. 18. Click here for list of participating restaurents. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Sunday, October 04, 2015
WSJ Highlight’s CT Pension Problems
Connecticut, the state with the richest population, may not have enough money in its own pockets, says a story in Monday’s Wall Street Journal.
“Connecticut has roughly half of what it needs to pay future retirement benefits for its workers, meaning the home to scores of hedge funds and some of the country’s wealthiest towns is wrestling with financial distress rivaling that of Kentucky or Illinois,” the newspaper said.
“Some investors concerned about the size of Connecticut’s pension hole are backing away from bonds issued by the Constitution State or demanding bigger rewards to hold them.
“Investors in some Connecticut state bonds now get a premium of about half a percentage point above benchmark bonds from other states, up from 0.28 percentage point a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters Municipal Market Data. Only four other U.S. states are now priced as riskier bets.”
Friday, October 02, 2015
Comings & Goings: Le Farm Closes, New Restaurant Coming
After an almost six-year run, owner-chef Bill Taibe has sold his pioneering farm-to-table Westport restaurant LeFarm, 256 Post Road East in Colonial Green, to Brian Lewis, former chef and owner of New Canaan’s elm restaurant, reports New Cannaanite.com. “When the opportunity presented itself to pass on LeFarm’s mantle to such an accomplished chef as Brian Lewis, someone who could seamlessly carry on the legacy that LeFarm has forged; it was a no-brainer,” Taibe said in a news release. Taiibe, who also owns the acclaimed The Whelk and Kawa Ni in Saugatuck, said he will retain the LeFarm name. The restaurant opened in November 2009 and frequently drew Martha Stewart back to Westport. Lewis said he is aiming for an early November opening for his new restaurant, according to ctbites.com. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Town to Lose $417,699 in State Aid
The Town of Westport will lose $417,699 of an estimated $3.47 million in state aid as part of the state’s Office of Policy and Management’s (OPM) $15 million in cuts announced Friday, Town Operations Manager Dewey Loselle said today.
“The cuts in aid have now been allocated among the state’s towns and cities, and Westport has taken a particularly large reduction in comparison with the other 168 municipalities,” Loselle said.
He said that Westport’s reduction of $417,699 “from its relatively modest state statutory aid amount of $3,478,609,” is 12.01 percent, the second highest in the state behind Greenwich, “and our absolute dollar reduction is the fifth highest in the state.”
Loselle said the cuts were based on the previously approved $20 million in municipal aid reduction incorporated into the state budget over the next two fiscal years.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
‘Hugging is a Mindset’
Jack Mitchell, chairman of Mitchells Family of Stores, spoke tonight to a full house at the Westport Library about his philosophy of retail sales that has been highly effective for his stores, including Mitchells in Westport. He recently revised his book, “Hug Your Customers: STILL The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results,” which was updated with methods using technology to create effective virtual hugs and even more efficient customer service. He said tonight that “hugging is a mindset” that customers as well as staff respond to positively. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Friday, September 25, 2015
Comings & Goings: Furniture Store to Railroad Place
Eleish Van Breems, a Nordic furniture, accessories and antique store, opens at 22 Railroad Place in early October, according to Edie Van Breems (l), who co-owns the business with Rhonda Eleish, “We closed our storefront in Woodbury five years ago after after 15 years in that location and have since been operating online at http://www.evbantiques.com ,” said Van Breems. “We’ve been looking for a storefront in Fairfield County for a long time and recently came across this wonderful site.” Eleish and Van Breems are both graduates of Greens Farms Academy in Westport and residents of Fairfield. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Coming & Goings: Stand Juice Company to Post Road East
The Stand Juice Company, “a vegan cafe with a homey feel,” according to Lead Juice Jockey Alina Choquette (above), has opened at 1200 Post Road East, behind Crate & Barrel. Choquette said the Stand Juice Company, founded by Mike and Carissa Hvizdo, who also own the Hideaway Farm in East Haddam, sources many of its vegetables, herbs and fruits from the farm. The Hvizdos opened their first store on Norwalk’s Wall Street in 2005, in Fairfield in 2011, and will soon open its fourth in Greenwich in November and another later in Stamford. Choquette, a Bridgeport resident and staff member for two years, said, “Everything is recyclable and local. We’re all about sustainability.” Stand Juice Company’s range of offerings includes baked goods, juices smoothies and salads. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Harvesting Oysters on Mill Pond
Workers for Westporter Jeff Northrup’s aquaculture firm harvest oysters on Sherwood Mill Pond. The oysters end up at Connecticut and New York fine restaurnts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com
Friday, September 18, 2015
Malloy Makes $103M in Emergency Cuts
By Keith M. Phaneuf and Mark Pazniokaswww.ctmirror.org
Responding to a weak stock market, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today ordered $103 million in emergency cuts, including a major hit in Medicaid payments that ultimately will cost hospitals about $190 million in state and federal funds.
Benjamin Barnes, the governor’s budget chief, said lower-than-expected income tax receipts and the drop in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index for the first nine months of 2015 prompted the reductions just three months into the state’s fiscal year.
The administration also announced that Connecticut must go forward with at least $15 million of a previously approved $20 million reduction in this year’s non-education aid to cities and towns.
Those cuts, Barnes said, would come from a program that reimburses communities for a portion of the funds they lose because state properties, colleges and hospitals are exempt from local taxation. But the budget chief also said those reductions were modified somewhat to lessen cuts to poorer communities.
Click here for more of story
Thursday, September 17, 2015
State Unemployment Rate Falls to 5.3 Percent
By Keith M. Phaneufwww.ctmirror.org
The state’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in August, falling from 5.4 to 5.3 percent as Connecticut added 3,200 non-farm jobs last month, the Department of Labor reported today.
August marks the fourth consecutive month Connecticut has gained jobs, and the state now has added 33,200 jobs over the year. The state has recovered just over 88 percent of the 119,000 jobs it lost between March 2008 and February 2010.
Average hourly earnings stood at $29.24 in August, up $1.26, or 4.5 percent, from one year ago.
The 5.3 percent unemployment rate is the lowest since May 2008.
Click here for more of story
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Honoring Our Heritage: 323 Main St.
The newest recipient of an historical plaque from the Westport Historical Society (WHS) is the owner of the 323 Restaurant whose business occupies the 1884-built building known as the Thomas R. Lees House, 323 Main St. Taking part in the plaque presentation were (l-r) 323 Restaurant owner Adam Faillace, staff member Emily Clayton, general manager Joe Arciola, and Bob Weingarten, Westport Historical Society house plaque historian. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Comings & Goings: Rich Dean Boxing Fitness to Bay St.
Rich Dean Boxing Fitness has opened at 10 Bay St., lower level next to Post 154 restaurant. Owner Rich Dean, 45, born in the Bahamas and raised in Yonkers, N.Y. is a three-time Golden Gloves champ (1987, 1994, 2000) as a featherweight and then junior welterweight, an Olympic boxer in 2000 in Sydney, Australia and two-time gold medalist in the Empire Games, 1999 and 2000. He said he is the only certified boxing fitness trainer in Fairfield County. His business offers one-on-one personal training “Olympic-style” and also conducts small Olympic boxing style fitness classes for both men or women. “It’s light sparring without the bruises,” Dean said. “We’re a fitness gym in a boxing environment.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Comings & Goings: Villarina Pasta Closing Sept. 17
Villarina Pasta, 417 Post Road East in the Compo Shopping Center, will close on Thursday, Sept. 17, according to co-owners Lynn Sclafani (above) and son Robert. “The rent has gone way, way up,” said Lynn,who took over the store in 2004. “Westport is not a good town for small businesses. The rent now is four times more than our limit. The landlord has been very good to us. He’s worked with us over time to help make a go of it. But we should have moved five or six years ago.” She said other Villarina stores are independently owned and located in New Milford, Southbury and Newtown. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Bridgewater to Relocate 400 During Renovations
Westport-based Bridgewater Associates, the town’s largest employer, says it will temporarily relocate about 400 employees to Stamford during renovations to its Glendinning/Ford Road complex.
A Bridgewater Associates parking lot at its Glendinning headquarters flooded in a March 2011 storm. Proposed improvements are intended to alleviate the flooding potential. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Neil Engler for WestportNow.com
The hedge fund, with more than 1,200 employees in Westport, had threatened to leave Westport for Stamford in 2012 only to change its mind a year ago. (See WestportNow June 27, 2014)
In a statement, Bridgewater said approvals are still pending for work on its 21.7-acre campus near the Weston line.
“As a result of this renovation, Bridgewater would need to relocate approximately 400 employees for up to two years,” the statement said. “To accommodate this potential relocation, the firm plans to secure 135,000 square feet of temporary swing space in Stamford.”
Tuesday, September 08, 2015
Comings & Goings: Walin & Wolff Closes
Walin & Wolff, 30 Post Road East at the corner of Taylor Place, which closed in early summer, will re-open on Wednesday at 293 Pequot Ave., Southport, according to an employee in the New Canaan store. The group of women’s stores featuring handbags, shoes and accessories opened in Westport in February 2013 and also operates a store in Rye, N.Y. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com