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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Now Two Compo Concepts: One With, One Without Beachfront Cars

By James Lomuscio

Not wanting a repeat of the shouting matches that marked the last Compo Beach Site Improvement Committee meeting, chair Andy Moss tonight set the ground rules early for the public. Image
It was a full house at tonight’s Compo Beach Site Improvement Committee meeting, but the public had little input as it was a working meeting. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) James Lomuscio for

“This is our time to discuss what we heard last week,” Moss told the approximate 40 persons who crowded Room 201 at Town Hall.

Some of those present were still champing at the bit to speak against a conceptual proposal in the beach master plan in progress to eliminate parking in front of South Beach, rerouting it to a parking lot. At the last meeting, the public loudly protested, arguing that a long walk would place hardships on the elderly, the handicapped and families with young children.

“We heard that,” Moss said. There’s no need to retread that.”

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Posted 08:57 PM
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Staples Boys Volleyballers Host Autism Fundraiser Friday Image
Getting ready for Friday (l-r) Staples Co-Captain Todd Goldstein, KHS student Ethan Walmark, Staples Co-Captain Lucas Grevers, and in front Eliza Walmark. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The Staples High School boys volleyball team will host its first fundraiser to benefit Autism Speaks on Friday at 7 p..m. when it plays Darien at home.

The event will include a prize drawing for four Yankees tickets.

Winner must be present to claim prizes.

The National Anthem will performed by Ethan Walmark, 8, a Kings Highway Elementary School student on the autism spectrum and musical prodigy.

Posted 05:59 PM
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Westport Outdoors: Via Sforza Image
Via Sforza, 243 Post Road West, is today’s featured spot in our WestportNow series, Westport Outdoors, highlighting popular spots where Westporters gather to eat, play, or relax during the warm-weather months. According to owner/chef Dino Sforza (above), the restaurant opened at its current location on Sept. 1, 2005 and expanded with outdoor seating for 20-25 three years ago. He said that he serves many more customers at dinner (5 p.m. - 10 p.m.) than at lunchtime (noon - 3 p.m.). He describes the range of cuisine as “regional italian with a wood burning brick pizza oven to full dinners. Owner Sforza said prior to relocating to its current location, the restaurant was located at 250 Westport Ave., Norwalk, and closed in 2006. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 03:35 PM
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Real Estate Report: Westport Again Defies U.S. Trends

By Judy Szablak

Despite a gloomy report out today nationally on March home sales, Westport’s March sales were off the charts with 29 closed single-family home transactions last month. Image
This home at 4 Imperial Landing is listed at $1,497,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of Remax Right Choice

Westport’s sales were up a whopping almost 80 percent from a month earlier.

This was in sharp contrast to the U.S. Commerce Department report today that sales of new U.S. single-family homes tumbled to their lowest level in eight months in March, dropping 14.5 percent.

The Westport divergence from national trends is not new. And Westport needs to do a bit of catch up work to equal last year’s sales at this time.

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Posted 02:23 PM
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Staples Drops to No. 9 in CT in U.S. News Rankings

Westport’s Staples High School came in No. 9 in Connecticut in the U.S. News and World Report best high school rankings released today. Nationally it was No. 303. Image

A year ago in the survey, Staples was No. 7 in the state and No. 296 nationally. In 2012, Staples was No. 5 in Connecticut and No. 302 nationally.

Staples this year came in behind Fairfield County schools Weston, which was No. 3, Wilton, No. 6, and Ridgefield, No. 8.

The Academy of Aerospace and Engineering in Hartford was rated No. 1 in Connecticut and No. 15 nationally.

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Posted 12:41 PM
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Selectmen OK House Move That Will Cost 22 Baldwin Lot Spaces Image
The Westport Board of Selectman today made it official by approving DC Kemper-Gunn, LLC as the successful bidder on a plan to move and renovate the 1895-built Kemper-Gunn House on to the town-owned Baldwin Parking Lot. The action was in response to a Planning & Zoning Commission complaint that no formal designation had been made. The board also approved modifications to the parking lot that will ultimately result in the loss of 22 spaces from the approximately 261 that exist there now. Karen Johnson, representing DC Kemper-Gunn, said new estimates put the cost of the move and renovations at $1.8 million, all to be borne by the developers. Selectman Avi Kaner (l) holds a computer rendering of the site while First Selectman Jim Marpe and Selectman Helen Garten look on. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlowfor

Posted 10:50 AM
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Sen. Murphy: ‘Putin Has Become a Bit Unhinged’ Image
U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told a Westport breakfast today the Russian leader Vladimir Putin “has become a bit unhinged” in his actions against the Ukraine. Addressing invited guests from Westport, Weston, and Wilton at the Westport Woman’s Club, Murphy, who has visited the Ukraine twice in the past six months, said he expected the United States this week to announce new sanctions on Russia. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 10:12 AM
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Murphy Recognizes Staples Young Democrats Image
U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy today presented certificates of recognition to members of the Staples High School Young Democrats Club at a “pancakes and politics” breakfast at the Westport Woman’s Club, one of a series he is holding around the state. Murphy recalled that he was a member of the Young Democrats at Wethersfield High School and said it was instrumental in launching his political career. He said he would have been happy to present similar certificates to Young Republican Club members at Staples but was told no such club exists.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 10:07 AM
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Murphy Says He is Pushing Northeast Rail Investment Image
U.S. Sen Christopher Murphy (D-CT) (c) told a Westport breakfast meeting today that included local leaders that he is trying to build a new coalition in Congress to find innovative ways to increase funding to passenger service in the Northeast rail corridor. He said the key to Connecticut’s economic recovery is improved rail service to New York and Boston. He posed with guests (l-r) Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe, former Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, Weston First Selectman Gayle Weinstein, and Westport Selectman Avi Kaner.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 10:02 AM
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Early Tax Returns Diminish Hopes for Big CT budget Surpluses

By Keith M. Phaneuf

As the April 15 tax deadline approached, speculation at the Capitol was that tax receipts would rise. The only question was, Would they grow modestly, or explode?

But early tax returns have weakened hopes for any explosion, and raised the specter of something worse: Are tax receipts on the decline again?

This helps explain why the launch of keno gaming in Connecticut remains very much under consideration by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration and the General Assembly.

Through Monday, projected income tax receipts for April were running below budgeted levels by almost $108 million, or 10.2 percent.

Click here for more of story

Posted 09:18 AM
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Matthew Mandell to Head Chamber of Commerce

Breaking with tradition, the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce announced today it has picked a community leader, not a businessperson, as its new president and executive director—Matthew Mandell. Image
Matthew Mandell: “great opportunity” to make Westport better. Dave Matlow for

A longtime Westporter currently serving his fifth term representing District 1 on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), Mandell has been a familiar, outspoken presence at RTM and myriad town meetings, championing causes the business community favors.

“Matthew has shown a rare ability to advocate and lead,” said Jonathan Baron, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors. “He’s imaginative and processes the right social and technical skills to break new ground in the changing landscape of business in our community.”

Baron said that Mandell caught the organization’s eye two-and-a-half years ago “with how he created the Slice of Saugatuck Festival to promote local businesses and his influence to promote what is now a new restaurant district on the west side of the river downtown.”

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Posted 08:00 AM
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

9 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Board of Selectman Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Abstract Notes” & “Solos 2014”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Cover Story: The New Yorker in Westport” & “Can’t Tell a Book by its Cover ... “
2 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Kemper-Gunn Advisory Group
4 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201A - Beautification Committee
4:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Tree Board
5:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Compo Beach Site Improvement Committee
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - RTM Public Works Committee Canceled
7 p.m. - Westport Library - World Book Night, Shakespeare’s Birthday, & Play With Your Food!
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - RTM Education & Employee Compensation Joint Committee Meeting
7:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Teen Minecraft Grades 6-12

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

Posted 12:05 AM
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Getting Ready for Beach Season Image
A bulldozer was parked at Westport’s Compo Beach today to do some final sand work prior to the beach season’s official opening May 1; After that date, all cars must have an emblem to enter the beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for

Posted 10:01 PM
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Staples Lacrosse Hosts Sticks for Soldiers Saturday Image

The Staples High School Boys Lacrosse team will hold its annual Sticks for Soldiers event on Saturday as the team hosts the Trumbull Eagles.

The Sticks for Soldiers charity raises funds to assist and support wounded veterans and their families. Its main fundraiser is a high school lacrosse tournament held in November.

On Saturday, there is a suggested, optional donation of $5 for admission with funds raised to support the fall tournament

Pre-game activities begin at 11:45 a.m. with a “shoot out” by grade for all PAL boys lacrosse players.

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Posted 09:01 PM
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Wind Siting Regulations Approved, But May be Too Late

By Jan Ellen Spiegel

After nearly three years with wind energy development in Connecticut at a standstill – siting regulations for wind turbines have finally been approved. But how quickly or energetically wind will move ahead is still a question.

It took five tries before the Regulation Review Committee approved the Connecticut Siting Council proposal that establishes setbacks and heights for turbines, noise and “flicker” from their turning blades, decommissioning and other contentious details. While some tweaks had been made over time, the provisions have largely stayed intact.

But what has changed is that the key federal incentive for wind development—known as the production tax credit—has expired, and that may mean even with siting regulations on the books in Connecticut, nothing may happen with large-scale wind projects.

“It could be too little, too late possibly,” said Paul Michaud, executive director of the Renewable Energy and Efficiency Business Association and a lawyer whose clients have included wind developers.

Click here for more of story

Posted 08:13 PM
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