WestportNow welcomes news and notices from Westport community organizations and individuals. Please send them to for consideration for publication. Be sure to include the Westport connection, date and time of event, if appropriate, as well as contact information. WestportNow reserves the right to edit submissions to conform to our editorial style.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Three Greens Farms Elementary School students did brisk business today along Soundview Drive across from Westport’s Compo Beach. The temperature hit 73F during the afternoon, drawing crowds of beachgoers.. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Friday, April 15, 2005
Two longtime Town of Westport employees are retiring soon and their friends and colleagues will honor them at a reception next month.
The event for Kathy Barnard, Planning and Zoning director, and Judy Nelson, director of the Westport Weston Health District, will be held Tuesday, May 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Inn at Longshore.
There will be hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Cost is $25 per person. Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP by May 17 to Lorrie Tremonte, Westport Weston Health Distirct, 180 Bayberry Lane, Westport, CT 06880, or Nancy Curcio, Westport Planning and Zoning Department, 110 Myrtle Ave., Westport, CT 06880.
Please make checks payable to the Westport Weston Health District.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Here is the text of a news release issued today by four Westporters on a telephone survey they commissioned about the location of a new home for the Westport/Weston YMCA:
OPINION SURVEY LOCATION OF PROPOSED WESTPORT Y APRIL 14, 2005
Survey results show Westporters Want Y at Baron’s South
Results of an opinion survey (“Survey”) by The Marketing Network of North Haven, CT were presented at the Westport Historical Society today. Survey results showed that:
72% OF THOSE WITH A PREFERENCE SUPPORT A SITE OTHER
THAN CAMP MAHACKENO
59% OF THOSE SURVEYED SUPPORT THE LEASE OF TOWN LANDS
AT BARON’S SOUTH TO THE “Y” AND ONLY 28% WERE OPPOSED;
AMONG “Y” MEMBERS SURVEYED, 67% MORE WERE PREPARED TO
CONTRIBUTE MONEY IN SUPPORT OF A NEW “Y” AT BARON’S SOUTH
THAN AT CAMP MAHACKENO.
(Click here for detailed results)
Westporters favoring the Y on Baron’s South today released this graphic showing results of a telephone survey they commissioned on the issue. Asked whether they had a preference for location of a new Y, 32 percent said Baron’s South, 20 percent said Mahackeno, 10 percent said along the Saugatuck in the commuter lot, 11 percent said “other,” and 28 percent had no preference. Click here for detailed results. (CLICK TO ENLARGE ) Contributed graphic
Four Westporters who favor Westport’s YMCA moving to the town-owned Baron’s South property held a news conference today to release the results of a telephone survey of 400 Westporters last week on the issue which they said showed most residents agreed with them. Pictured (l-r) are Andy Lozyniak, Ted Diamond, Roy Dickinson, and Donald Bergmann. Click here for detailed results. (CLICK TO ENLARGE ) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Dick Foot, executive director/CEO of the Westport/Weston YMCA, today discussed details of the Y’s planned move from its downtown headquarters to its Camp Mahackeno property. He told a forum for Y members that the organization’s plans for safe and uncongested access to the site include smart signalization to enhance traffic flow, two widened stacking lane connectors from Wilton Road, and a widened Sunny Lane. He said there will be no access to the site via neighboring streets, Rice’s Lane and River Lane, and that all access will be through Sunny Lane. (CLICK TO ENLARGE ) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
In a sure sign of spring, skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) have emerged in the woody wetlands along Westport’s Sturges Highway, south of Cross Highway. The skunk cabbage blooms long before any other spring wildflower. The name comes from the odor they release when moved. (CLICK TO ENLARGE ) Emily Laux for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Monday, April 11, 2005
More than 100 volunteers fanned out Sunday across Westport, Norwalk and Fairfield from Temple Israel to do “good deeds” as part of Temple Israel’s annual Mitzvah Day. They painted, planted and cleaned for organizations in Westport, Norwalk and Fairfield, including A Better Chance (spring cleaning and planting); Dress for Success and Operation Hope (painting and cleaning);and Habitat for Humanity (work in the group’s Bridgeport warehouse). At Temple Israel, volunteers scrubed, cleaned and restocked the kitchen.(CLICK TO ENLARGE ) Contributed photo
Sunday’s Court of Honor for three Eagle Scouts of Westport’s Troop 39 at Greens Farms Congregational Church was attended by three regional political leaders Bridgeport Mayor John Fabrizi, Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell and Norwalk Mayor Alex Knopp. (CLICK TO ENLARGE ) Lawrence Zlatkin for WestportNow.com
Westport’s Boy Scout Troop 39 held a Court of Honor today for new Eagle Scouts Codey Fitzgerald Foster, Dulany Foster IV, and Jeffrey Edward Philbin at Greens Farms Congregational Church. For their Eagle projects, the Fosters worked on improvements to the public footpath into Westport’s Winslow Park from Evergreen Avenue while Philbin worked on the beautification of Fairfield’s Fairchild Wheeler golf course. Those attending the ceremony included Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell, Mayor John Fabrizi of Bridgeport, and Mayor Alex Knopp of Norwalk. (CLICK TO ENLARGE ) Lawrence Zlatkin for WestportNow.com
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Touched by the death of a young father at a local gym, teenagers at Westport’s Temple Israel are raising funds to purchase automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in an effort to create a safer community.
The teens have already raised more than $700 toward their $2100 goal and on Sunday plan a walk-a-thon to support their efforts.
The students thought they might be able to make a difference after hearing the story of a 42-year-old father of four small children who had died after a workout at a local gym.
Learning that his life might have been saved if a defibrillator had been available, the seventh graders decided to dedicate a yearlong tzedahak (charity) campaign to raise funds.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
“Design Day,” the kickoff event for the rebuilding of Westport’s Compo Beach Playground, is scheduled for Wednesday, April 27.
“Design Day” will begin with children from the five Westport elementary schools sharing their expert adviceӔ and ideas for the new playground with John Dean of Leathers & Associates, Inc.
The New York firm, a leader in the field of community-built playgrounds, was selected for the Compo Beach playground rebuilding.
John Dean will spend the morning with the schoolchildren and then spend the afternoon drawing the initial designs for the site based on their ideas, according to an announcement by the Compo Beach Playground Committee.
Sunday, April 03, 2005
More than 200 birdhouses will be auctioned off today at Project Return’s 10th annual “The Art of the Birdhouse” auction at Westport’s Inn at Longshore. Jane Horton (l), co-chair of the auction, confers with auction committee member Totney Benson about placement of the items. Since opening its doors in 1986, Project Return has provided a family-style therapeutic environment for more than 115 troubled adolescent girls. (CLICK TO ENLARGE ) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Did you change your clock at 2 a.m. today? It’s daylight savings time and the Westport Fire Depertment reminds residents to “change your clock, change your batteries.”
The department, in conjunction with the Town of Westport, the Westport Firefighters’ Golf Tournament, and the Westport Rotary Club, is offering free nine-volt batteries to residents for their smoke detectors.
Bring your old batteries to Westport fire headquarters, 515 Post Road East, and exchange them for new ones—maximum three batteries per household. If you need assistance changing batteries, call (203) 341-5010 to come to your home—no fee.
Fire Marshall Fred S. Baker said the Town of Westport is indebted to the Firefighters’ Golf Tournament and the Westport Rotary Club for their efforts to make the town a better, safer community.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
The state legislature’s Judiciary Committee has approved a bill making it an infraction for a minor to possess alcohol on private property.
The bill also would prohibit anyone from knowingly permitting a minor to possess alcohol on private property or failing to make “reasonable efforts to halt such possession.”
The measure passed by a 33-0 vote Friday. Nine committee members five Republicans and four Democrats ֖ were absent, according to a summary posted on the Connecticut General Assembly Web site.
Sen. Andrew McDonald, a Stamford Democrat who is co-chair of the committee, said he expected the measure to come to the House floor within a couple of weeks. He acknowledged the bill was controversial and said passage could be “an uphill battle.”
Thursday, March 31, 2005
A Westport teen with her own two-room suite in her parents’ 7,000-square-foot 1930s Colonial-style home is featured in today’s New York Times.
The story, by Westport freelancer Andre Brooks, quotes a researcher for a home builders group as saying that kids’ suites in their parents’ home is one of the most popular trends in upscale housing now.
The Times said that Westport architect Bob Jacobs created the two-room suite with bathroom two years ago for his daughter, Emily, then 13.
“We wanted to create a situation where the kids would want to come to us rather than go elsewhere,” he said.
A deer running across traffic headed for I-95 at exit 18 in Westport today had a close call. Ron Malone for WestportNow.com
The Golden Hill Paugussett tribe, which has long sought federal recognition and hope of opening a casino in Bridgeport, has suffered another setback in its bid for federal recognition.
Westport is among a number of southwest Connecticut communities that have opposed establishment of a casino in Bridgeport.
Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton upheld the rejection of the tribe’s bid for federal recognition in a letter dated March 18 and released Wednesday
The Bureau of Indian Affairs has twice rejected recognition bids from the tribe. The tribe appealed the second rejection in September. A month later, an appeals board referred the matter to Norton.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
A charity operated by talk radio host and Westporter Don Imus has come under scrutiny of New York’s attorney general, according to Thursday’s New York Times.
The newspaper said Elliot Spitzer was looking into the business practices of the charity that runs a New Mexico ranch for seriously ill children.
Quoting “people briefed on the matter,” the Times said Spitzer has been reviewing accusations that Imus used the ranch for his personal getaway.
Asked about the matter, Imus told the newspaper that he and his wife ran the charity from New York and spent time at the ranch primarily when children were there to participate in the charity programs.
“We have a $30 million estate on the water in Westport, Conn.,” he said. “We’re hardly looking for a vacation spot.”
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Soldiers of the 590th Field Services Co., 10th Mountain Division, at New York’s Fort Drum recently returned from Iraq and were presented with a proclamation from Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell commending them. The unit was “adopted” by the Westport Fire Department while overseas thanks to the efforts of Deputy Chief Chris Ackley and Firefighters Peter Nichio and Thomas Richmond with assistance from Town Hall’s Wade Hampton. Lt. Col. John Schulz, commander of the 548th Corps Support Battalion, presented the Westport citation to Lt. Melissa Pratt. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed Photo
Monday, March 07, 2005
By Jim CameronSpecial to WestportNow
The wind is howling, the snows blowing. As we endure another late-winter blizzard, I-95 is its usual mess. The airports are as good as closed, but I’m on my way to Boston with nary a worry. Im riding the fastest train on the continent—AmtrakҒs Acela.
I can use my laptop and stay productive as we shoosh along at 125 mph. Or I can nap in the cellphone-free “quiet car”—something Ive been lobbying Metro-North to adopt for years. IҒll arrive in Boston rested, probably too-well fed, and most likely on-time. Is there any better way to travel?
We along Connecticuts ғGold Coast are truly blessed, especially thanks to our ancestorsԒ foresight in building what is still a great railroad infrastructure. As challenged as Metro-North may be, Amtrak has got it right. But our inter-state travels are again being threatened by Washingtons threats to end Amtrak subsidies.
The Amtrak board of directors, dominated by Bush appointees, wants to force the railroad into bankruptcy, they say, ғfor its own good.” Their hope is that they can force Amtrak President David Gunn to finally spin-off the few money-making services in the heavily traveled Northeast and California to private ventures, and then shut down the money-losing long distance trains in the West.
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
By Jim CameronSpecial to WestportNow
The cost of riding Metro-North has gone up again. And while these higher costs, effective today, are described as fare policy changesӔ rather than fare hikes, the effect is the same—higher costs for riders.
But didnt we just have a fare increase a few months ago? YouҒre right. Fares went up 5.5 percent on Jan. 1, following a 15 percent hike in July 2003. And there are probably more fare hikes to come before our new cars arrive in 2008 or so.
Whats most interesting about these latest hikes is the way they were approved. But first, the details on who is affected.
If you have friends or co-workers living in New York City who ғreverse commute out to Connecticut each weekday morning, theyԒll now be facing peakӔ fares for one-way or 10-trip tickets. Those fare hikes are as much as 57 percent.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
By Jim CameronSpecial to WestportNow
Metro-Norths mangled and much-maligned service in Connecticut is made all the more challenging by a technological quirk of fate. Ours is the only commuter railroad in the United States that operates on three modes of power—AC, DC and diesel.
On a typical run from, say, New Haven to Grand Central, the first part of the journey is done ғunder the wire, the trains being powered by 13,000-volt AC overhead wires, or catenaries.
Around Pelham, in Westchester County, the conversion is made to 660-volt DC third rail power for the rest of the trip into New York. Even diesel trains must convert to third-rail as their smoky exhaust is banned in the Park Avenue tunnels.
And thereԒs the rub: Connecticut trains need both AC and DC, overhead and third-rail, power pick-ups and processors. That means a lot more electronics, and added cost, for each car. While the DC-only new M7 cars running in Westchester cost about $2 million each, the proposed dual-mode M8 car designed for Connecticut could cost $3.5 million each.
Friday, February 18, 2005
By Jim CameronSpecial to WestportNow
There was so much good news for commuters, both rail and road, in Gov. M. Jodi Rells budget address: new rail cars, promises of more station parking and even improvements to our highways. Gov. Rell really delivered, and for that she deserves a lot of credit.
But these improvements come at a price: a proposed six cents per gallon increase in the gas tax, and a planned $1 per ride surcharge for Metro-North. To her credit, the governor promised that ғ(commuters) should not be asked to pay for improvements until they actually see them, sit in them or park in them.
Her plan is to implement this ԓsurcharge in 2008, when she said the first 50 of 340 or more new rail cars will be delivered. I donԒt think that commuters would mind paying a buck more a ride if they could actually enjoy new cars. But the question is, can the badly needed new cars really be delivered that fast?
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Metro-North officials say they think so, if the Connecticut Legislature moves quickly. But ordering new cars isnŒt like going to a store to buy dog food. These are hardly an off-the-shelf item. Heres whatҒs involved, and heres why it will be a real challenge to do it in just three years.
Monday, February 14, 2005
By Jim CameronSpecial to WestportNow
Whats the biggest cause of congestion and delays on I-95? Just ask anyone who drives that route, day or night, and theyҒll say trucks. Unfortunately, those opinions, while popular, are not supported by the facts.
Those of you who know me should recognize that Im no apologist for the trucking industry. IҒd love to get trucks off of the highways and on to freight cars on rails. Unfortunately, that isnt likely in the foreseeable future (the topic for a whole other column).
Neither is the token effort of barging a few hundred trucks a day from New York docks to Bridgeport going to make much difference, though I still support that idea as well. Rather than looking for a scapegoat, letҒs consider the facts before we blame truckers for the mess we have created.
As Pogo said, We have met the enemy and he is us.Ӕ It is all of us in our single occupancy vehicles (s.o.v.s) that cause the congestion, not trucks. Here are the facts:
Monday, February 07, 2005
By Jim CameronSpecial to WestportNow
The recent big transportation rally in Hartford was a huge success. There were over 200 concerned citizens from across the state, who bused and carpooled up to the Capitol to tell lawmakers they must make transportation a top priority in the coming session.
In addition, there were dozens of state representatives and senators, drawn like moths to the flame of the assembled TV cameras, there to pledge their allegiance to getting Metro-North long overdue new equipment.
But it was Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who was not there, who stole the show with a statement read by one of her staffers. She teased the crowd with promises of big surprises to come in her forthcoming budget, promising a substantial new commitment to alleviating congestion on our highways (and) improving rail and bus operations.Ӕ
Good for her. But the devils always in the details, and her budget comes out Wednesday.