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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Norwalk I-95 Crash Backs Up Traffic to Westport Image
UPDATE A crash involving a tractor-trailer on I-95 in Norwalk between exits 14 and 15 just before 11 a.m. today shut down the roadway and backed up traffic to Westport. The roadway was reopened at about 2 p.m. View is looking southbound from near exit 17 in Westport. DOT photo

Posted 11:31 AM
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Library’s Bleiweis to Receive National Honor Image
Maxine Bleweis: honored for being a “risk-taker.” Contributed photo

Maxine Bleiweis, executive director of the Westport Library for the past 17 years, will be honored by the national Public Library Association (PLA) in June for being “a risk taker, an innovator and/change agent in a public library,” library officials announced today.

Each year since 1997, the Chicago-based PLA , a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has given the prestigious Charlie Robinson Award to a library director “known for developing and implementing programs which are responsive to the need of community residents,” according to the PLA.

The award, which includes a $1,000 prize, is scheduled to be presented to Bleiweis, who is scheduled to retire July 1 (see WestportNow Jan. 7, 2015), at the ALA’s annual conference in San Francisco in June.

“By every measure, Maxine was instrumental in ushering our library into the new millennium and guiding us through a dynamic period of change,” said Mike Guthman, president of the Westport Library’s Board of Trustees. “Through the gift of her imagination, visionary thinking and ability to motivate others, our library is now recognized as one of the most innovative libraries in the world.”

More "Library’s Bleiweis to Receive National Honor"

Posted 07:53 AM
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

9:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Downtown Steering Committee Special Work Session
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Coney Island: Side Show”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
1 p.m. - Westport Library - Writing 101: Introductory Course for Fiction & Non-fiction
4 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 307/309 - Board of Finance Special Public Meeting
7 p.m. - Neat (6 Wilton Road) - Westport Library: Adults Read YA Fiction
7 p.m. - Westport Library - Award-winning novelist Dinaw Mengestu: “All Our Names”
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - Architectural Review Board
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Zoning Board of Appeals (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

Posted 12:05 AM
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Talking Transportation: Is Metro-North Irreplaceable?

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow

What is Connecticut’s relationship with Metro-North?  Client – vendor?  Shared partnership?  Stockholm syndrome?  Or is the railroad a “fanged sloth” hanging around our neck? Image

All of those analogies has been made to the state’s 30-plus year relationship with Metro-North, part of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 

But given their dismal safety record and deteriorating service in recent years, many have asked “is it time to fire Metro-North and find someone else to run our trains?”

I posed that very question almost four years ago and people were shocked, not knowing that such a thing was even possible. Now there are even laws being considered in Hartford to rid us of the railroad.

More "Talking Transportation: Is Metro-North Irreplaceable?"

Posted 07:28 PM
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Westporter Honored Image
The Association of Jewish Aging Services (AJAS) today honored Bill Sims (l) of Westport with its Trustee of the Year award as it opened its annual conference in La Jolla, Calif. AJAS is the national organization for community-based Jewish senior care organizations. Sims stepped down last year as board chair of Jewish Senior Services (JSS) in Fairfield. Managing principal of the investment bank HJ Sims, Sims was instrumental in securing the financing for JSS’s new $97 million intergenerational campus in Bridgeport. The new 320-bed facility, scheduled to open in March 2016, will be the first “household “ model nursing home in Connecticut. Presenting the award was fellow Westporter Ken Wirfel, a former member of the Westport Board of Finance and vice chair of JSS. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 07:12 PM
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Westporter: ‘Hail Mary Pass Better Than Getting Tackled’

Richard Bunting of Westport was among those who appealed to legislators in Hartford today to allow terminally ill patients access to experimental treatments that have not yet received FDA approval.

He told the Public Health Committee that his wife, Mary, has multiple sclerosis and cannot tolerate the medications that are currently available. He said has cancer that is in remission, but it has no treatment.

When you have cancer, doctors tell you to try this or that, said Bunting, 63. “And then one day, they tell you, ‘We’ve tried everything.’”

He said he wishes people like his wife had better access to experimental drugs. “A Hail Mary pass is better than laying down to get tackled,” he said.

For more on story, click here

Posted 06:41 PM
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NTSB Preliminary Report Adds Little New on Train Crossing Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) today released a preliminary report on a Metro-North crash that killed six persons Feb. 3 at a Valhalla, N.Y. crossing, but it added little to what was already known. Image
An aerial view of the crash site in Valhalla, N.Y. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) NTSB photo

“Unfortunately, today’s report reveals no new facts about the disastrous Metro-North crash earlier this month,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said in a statement.

“I urge the NTSB and other investigators to move forward swiftly with investigating and releasing critical facts and recommendations for reform.”

The report repeated what NTSB investigators had said publicly earlier – that the train attempted to slow down but was unable to stop in time to avoid the deadly collision. It said 12 sections of third rail, each measuring 39 feet, had pierced the lead car. And it estimated the accident cost Metro-North $3.7 million in damage.

More "NTSB Preliminary Report Adds Little New on Train Crossing Crash"

Posted 04:50 PM
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WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 175 Hillspoint Road Image
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 175 Hillspoint Road is in process. Built in 1928, the two-story conventional style house has 2,846 square feet, is situated on a .8-acre property and changed ownership this month for $1,250,000. Because the house was built more than 50 years ago, the application will be reviewed by the Westport Historic District Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 04:40 PM
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Power Back On Just In Time for Lunch Image
UPDATE Power was back on at Oscar’s Deli and other Westport center stores at about noon today after an outage that an Eversource Energy spokesman said lasted about an hour. Spokesman Mitch Gross blamed the outage, which he said affected 550 customers, on a break in an underground cable. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 12:20 PM
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Power Outage Hits Downtown Area

UPDATE A break in an underground cable caused a power outage today in the downtown area, forcing many stores to close for about an hour.

Mitch Gross, a spokesman for Eversource Energy, formerly known as Connecticut Light and Power Company, said 550 Westport customers in the downtown area were affected.

“The problem was an underground cable; it wasn’t working properly,” Gross said. “We were able to make the repairs and to reroute the power via another route.”

He said the power was out for less than an hour.  “It happened around 11, but they were back before noon,” he said.

More "Power Outage Hits Downtown Area"

Posted 12:05 PM
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Bridge Inspection to Close Lanes on I-95 Wednesday

The Department of Transportation said today that a bridge inspection will close the right lanes northbound and southbound on I-95 between exits 17 and 18 in Westport on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Posted 11:43 AM
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Stop Signs Instead of Lights Image
Temporary stop signs went up in Westport’s downtown area today due to a power outage. View is looking west from Post Road East at Main Street. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 11:36 AM
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Morning Coffee Blackout Image
Starbucks at Post Road East at Parker-Harding Plaza was one of the stores closed today due a power outage. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 11:30 AM
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Traffic Backup in Westport’s Center Image
A power outage that shut down traffic lights combined with snow clearing work on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge caused a traffic backup in Westport’s center today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 11:22 AM
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Snow Cleanup Continues Image
State Department of Transportation crews today cleared snow from the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge in Westport’s center. The Post Road is a state highway. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 11:15 AM
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