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Sunday, April 10, 2005

Getting Down and Dirty

Today’s summer-like weather was good enough for these youngsters to get down and dirty at Westport’s Compo Beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE ) Laura Glickstein for

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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Temple Israel Teens Raise Funds to Save Hearts

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.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Compo Beach Playground “Design Day” Set for April 27

“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.

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Sunday, April 03, 2005

A Super Westport House Sale: More than 200 for the Birds

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

Posted 04:01 PM
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Did You Change Your Clock? Westport Fire Department Offers Batteries

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.

Posted 11:41 AM
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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Legislative Committee Approves Underage Drinking Bill

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.”

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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Westport Teen with Her Own Home Suite Featured in NY Times

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.

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Close Call

A deer running across traffic headed for I-95 at exit 18 in Westport today had a close call. Ron Malone for

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Another Blow for Golden Hill Paugussett Recognition

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.

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Don Imus: “We have a $30 Million Estate on the Water in Westport, Conn.”

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.”

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Morning Scene

Today’s morning sunshine brightens up the boardwalk on the west side of the Saugatuck River in Westport’s center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Miggs Burroughs for

Posted 02:47 PM
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Thanks from Westport for a Job Well Done in Iraq

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

Posted 05:46 AM
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Monday, March 07, 2005

Talking Transportation: Saving Amtrak

By Jim Cameron

Special 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.

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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Talking Transportation: Yet Another Fare Hike?

By Jim Cameron

Special 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.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Talking Transportation: The Myth of the Third Rail

By Jim Cameron

Special 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.

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