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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Malloy’s Emergency Budget Cuts Fall on Social Services, Education

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today ordered almost $48 million in emergency budget cuts, imposing the deepest cuts on social services, education and culture and tourism promotion.

The cuts, which do not require legislative approval, whittle the nearly $100 million deficit Malloy projected last week down to $52 million.

The governor also asked the Legislative and Judicial branches, whose budgets he cannot reduce unilaterally, to accept another $6.9 million in cuts. If granted, those potential reductions, along with $66,000 in reductions volunteered by the state’s watchdog agencies—which also are exempted from mandatory rescissions—would lower the deficit to $45 million.

And while the remaining shortfall represents only one-quarter of 1 percent of the state’s general fund – which covers the bulk of operating costs in this year’s overall $19 billion state budget, the potential for more red ink remains.

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Posted 05:46 PM
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Despite GOP Opposition, Senate Confirms New CT Judge

By Ann Radalet

Washington – New Haven Corporation Counsel Victor Allen Bolden was confirmed by the U.S. Senate today to a federal judgeship in Connecticut on a narrow 49-46 vote. Image
Victor Bolden: former ACLU lawyer. New Haven Independent photo

All Senate Republicans opposed the nomination of Bolden, 49, who has served as an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and as a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Four moderate Democrats also voted “no” on the nomination. They were Sens. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Heidi Heitcamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana.

Bolden’s nomination to the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut had been controversial since it was considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee in September. All eight Republican members of the committee voted against Bolden’s nomination, all 10 Democrats on the panel, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., voted for it.

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Posted 04:37 PM
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CT Gains Jobs in October but Unemployment Rate Remains Fixed

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Connecticut’s jobless rate remained fixed at 6.4 percent in October, despite the addition of about 3,600 new jobs, the state Department of Labor reported today.

The agency’s latest report also downgraded job growth estimates it had released two weeks before Election Day. Back on Oct. 20, labor officials said Connecticut gained 11,500 jobs in September, it’s single-largest monthly gain since April 1994. But Thursday it revised the September gain downward by 1,000 jobs to 10,500.

“Connecticut’s job market continues to steadily add jobs this year at its best pace since the recovery began, and that growth seems to be drawing more people into the labor force,” said Andy Condon, director of the Labor Department’s Office of Research.

“These numbers are another sign of progress,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said today.  ” ... We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure Connecticut remains on a path towards an economic revival.  By working with the business community on expanding their operations or relocating to our state, we are putting Connecticut on the path to long-term prosperity.”

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Posted 01:27 PM
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Saint Luke Parish Hosts Annual Harvest Fair

The annual Harvest Fair at Saint Luke Parish in Westport will be held on Saturday and Sunday.

The Fair will feature vendors with a variety of products including holiday gift items such as jewelry and gift baskets, holiday baked goods, a “Shabby Chic” boutique, as well as a cafe. Admission is free and all proceeds will benefit charity.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days. Saint Luke Parish Harvest Fair is located at Saint Luke Church, 49 Turkey Hill Road North.

For more information, call (203)222-0478 or visit

Posted 10:15 AM
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Weston Hosts Interfaith Service Image
Weston’s Norfield Congregational Church Wednesday night hosted an interfaith Thanksgiving celebration sponsored by the Interfaith Clergy Council of Westport and Weston. The evening’s offering supported Westport’s Homes with Hope, and a food drive was held for both Homes with Hope and the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. Participating clergy from Westport included Alison J. Buttrick Patton, pastor, Saugatuck Congregational Church; Michael Friedman, senior rabbi, Temple Israel; Ed Horne, senior minister, United Methodist Church of Westport & Weston; Jeff Rider, senior minister, Greens Farms Congregational Church; Jeremy Wiederhorn, senior rabbi, Conservative Synagogue of Westport, Weston and Wilton, and Alex Floyd Marshall, associate minister for Youth & Children, Saugatuck Congregational Church. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 10:00 AM
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Thursday,  November 20, 2014

10 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Westport Woman’s Club (44 Imperial Ave.) - Curio Cottage Thrift Shop-wide Half-price Sale
2 p.m. - Westport Library - TV Series: “Downton Abbey,” Season 4
7 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Planning & Zoning Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and
7:15 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Westport Youth Commission
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - RTM Finance Committee

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

Posted 12:05 AM
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Real Estate Report: How Many Homes to Look At?

By Judy Szablak

Whether you are trading up, downsizing, or moving into Westport for the first time, the same question arises over and and over from all types of buyers: “How many homes should we, or do we need to look at?” Image
Featured Home This home at 16 Ellery Lane is listed at $2,999,999. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of William Raveis-Southport

The answer is not the same for everyone. Given optimum circumstances, you may only need to look at one house, or maybe five or six.

Some people may need to see 10 or more. One thing for sure, you will know it is the right house the moment you enter, or shortly thereafter. 

A home is not anything even the slickest salesperson can sell you if you do not want it, and the most professional agents know this already.

More "Real Estate Report: How Many Homes to Look At?"

Posted 09:27 PM
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Historical Society to Celebrate Saugatuck’s Proud Past

Nineteenth century Saugatuck, bustling with manufacturing and river commerce, is the centerpiece of a Westport Historical Society (WHS) exhibit opening Sunday. Image
Westport artist Robert L. Lambdin’s wall mural “Saugatuck in the 19th Century” will anchor the exhibition. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The exhibition titled “Saugatuck @ Work—Haven of Community, Commerce and Innovation” is scheduled for an opening reception from noon to 2 p.m.

According to WHS officials, the late Westport artist Robert L. Lambdin’s meticulously researched wall mural “Saugatuck in the 19th Century” will anchor the exhibition.

Created for the Westport Bank & Trust Company’s Saugatuck branch when it opened in 1970, the painting measures 6 by 10 feet and depicts the various types of vessels that plied the river over the course of the century.

More "Historical Society to Celebrate Saugatuck’s Proud Past"

Posted 07:28 PM
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November Freeze Strains Westport’s Shelters

By James Lomuscio

With only 15 beds for homeless men and five for women, Westport’s Gillespie Center shelters operate at “100 percent capacity every night,” says Jeffrey Wieser, president and CEO of Homes With Hope.

But freezing temperatures Tuesday night and tonight have strained that capacity. Homeless people coming in to get out of the cold have had to sleep on the couches in the men’s and women’s shelters.

Located at 45 Jesup Road, the Gillespie Center also houses the Community Kitchen.

“We’ve had a couple of nights where the couches have been full, but we’ve had nobody sleeping on the floors yet,” Wieser said, noting that is often the case in severe weather.

More "November Freeze Strains Westport’s Shelters"

Posted 07:17 PM
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Staples Seniors Sign Letters of Intent Image
Four senior athletes from Westport’s Staples High School today signed National Letters of Intent to attend Division I schools. Pictured (l-r) are North Woods, swimming, Loyola University; Peter Richards, golf, Lafayette University; Lucas Jackson, lacrosse, Loyola University, and Isaac Paparo, lacrosse, University of Massachusetts. The NLI is a binding agreement between an NCAA school and a student-athlete in which the student-athlete agrees to attend the school for one year and the school agrees to provide financial aid to the student-athlete. The NLI is voluntary and prospective student-athletes do not have to participate to play sports or receive financial aid. Signing an NLI essentially puts an end to the recruiting process since participating schools are prohibited from contacting a student-athlete who has already signed an NLI with another school. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 04:19 PM
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Section of Greens Farms Road to be Closed Saturday

Paving work will close Greens Farms Road between Prospect Road and the Sherwood Island Connector on Saturday, the Westport Public Works Department announced today.

“The project needs to be completed earlier than expected due to current and anticipated weather conditions,” it said.

Motorists should expect delays and should seek alternate routes.

Posted 04:04 PM
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Additional State Funds for Sherwood Island

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced that the State Bond Commission has approved $448,625 for improvements at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport.

The funding will finance the design phase of a new maintenance complex at Sherwood Island ($248,625) along with bridge design for Sherwood Island Lane Bridge ($200,000).

The funds are part of a $3,804,625 pool for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) approved today by the commission. 

State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) welcomed the news.

More "Additional State Funds for Sherwood Island"

Posted 03:19 PM
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Just Like Old Times: Town Hall Brown Bag Lunch Image
Reviving at least for a day an event popular under former First Selectman Diane Farrell, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe today hosted a Town Hall brown bag lunch for members of the League of Women Voters of Westport, noting it was the first anniversary of his taking office. He covered a wide range of topics, including things that keep him up at night—developers who want to come into Westport “and build as many a 600 units,” union contracts coming up for approval in the next two years (“I want to keep Westport accessible and affordable”), finding ways to keep seniors in Westport, and improving transportation in town and the region. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Posted 03:12 PM
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

9:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Westport Library - Maker-in-residence: The Refinery
10 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Westport Woman’s Club (44 Imperial Ave.) - Curio Cottage Thrift Shop-wide Half-price Sale
12:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - Board of Education Special Meeting
4 p.m. - Westport Library - Imagination Foundation Workshops (grades 6-8)
4 p.m. - Westport Library - Creative Writing Workshop Series for Grades 3-5
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Chess Club for Adults
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Conservation Commission (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and
7 p.m. - Westport Library - NaNoWriMo Salon with E.J. Simon
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Parks & Recreation Commission
7:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Westport Library Board of Trustees

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

Posted 12:05 AM
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Shooting the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars Image
Stan Honda, an award-winning New York-based photographer who worked as a photojournalist for 34 years, most recently for Agence France-Presse (AFP), the French news agency, was guest speaker tonight at the Westport Astronomical Society at the Rolnick Observatory on Bayberry Lane. In addition to describing some of the world’s top news stories he has covered, he spoke about his continuing interest in shooting night sky landscapes, combining his long time interest in astronomy and photography. His work can be seen at (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Posted 10:43 PM
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