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Special Reports

Special Reports

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Police Chief: Ensuring Police-Military Line Remains Clear

By James Lomuscio

In the wake of national concerns about the militarization of police departments, an issue brought to the forefront by the police response to rioting in Ferguson, Mo., Westport Police Chief Dale Call weighed in on his department’s receipt of military surplus over the years.

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One of two Humvees Westport Police received as military surplus. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“Define militarized,” Call said in an interview. “Police departments have been organized in the paramilitary structure since the beginning of time, but at the end of the day, we’re don’t function as the military, nor should we ever.”

With Westport being an affluent community and not being strapped for equipment, “we don’t ask for what we don’t need,” from the Department of Defense (DOD) through its 1033 program, Call said. The program gives without charge military resources no longer used, from guns to Humvees.

The Washington Post reported last week that in 2013 the 1033 program gave about $500 million worth of equipment to local departments, mostly for natural disaster responses, items such as tents, generators, ATVs and pickup trucks. However, law enforcement agencies can also tap the program for more formidable items: aircraft, grenade launchers and tactical vehicles.

More "Police Chief: Ensuring Police-Military Line Remains Clear"

Posted 04:30 PM
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Friday, August 15, 2014

WN Spotlight: Coffee ‘An

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(Editor’s Note: This is another in our occasional series, WN Spotlight, featuring people and places that make our town special.)

By Larissa Lieberson

There’s nothing better than the smell of warm, freshly glazed donuts. Nothing, perhaps, besides the taste of them, especially when they are handmade each morning at Westport’s Coffee An’ Donut Shop.

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Elias Vlandis took over ownership of Coffee ‘An from his father, George, who bought the shop in 1991. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larissa Lieberson for WestportNow.com

Located at 343 Main St. in a shopping strip that includes Ace Hardware and the Merritt Country Store, this old time donut shop has become a local legend. Daily, people from all walks of life seem to find their way to this rare sanctuary rich in unpretentiousness and a sweet sense of community.

From the moment one steps into the shop, one spies people reading newspapers, talking to each other across tables and the counter, and just letting their hair down.

Regulars credit George Vlandis and his family for the comfortable vibe. Vlandis took over the shop 22 years ago after selling his pizza restaurant in Fairfield. From pizza, Vlandis turned his focus on something sweeter – donuts, glazed, chocolate frosted, coconut, jelly, cinnamon and marble twists. Muffins, too.

More "WN Spotlight: Coffee ‘An"

Posted 09:25 AM
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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

WN Spotlight: Poster Animal Hospital

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(Editor’s Note: WestportNow today inaugurates a new occasional series, WN Spotlight, featuring people and places that make our town special.)

By Larissa Lieberson

From the moment your paws step into Poster Animal Hospital at 1677 Post Road East, you can sense the joy only animal lovers know. Dogs wag their tails excitedly, and employees and pet owners mingle like old friends.

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Joan Poster: “Saving a life is one of the best feelings out there.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

This kindred feeling of community is one of the main reasons this mom and pop practice has been in town so long. The animal hospital is currently celebrating 30 years in Westport.

“I wouldn’t go anywhere else,” says Bette Demartini, a client of 20 years.

Animal lover Joan Poster, who earned her veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania, first opened Poster Animal Hospital in 1984.

More "WN Spotlight: Poster Animal Hospital"

Posted 10:30 AM
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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Staples Boys Volleyballers FCIAC Champs

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The Staples Boys Volleyball team repeated as FCIAC champions tonight as they beat Ridgefield 3-1 (25-15, 16-25. 25-22, 25-15) at Fairfield’s Ludlowe High School. It was the second straight FCIAC title and 10 in 12 years for the Wreckers. Ian Grimes, with 14 kills, was selected as FCIAC tournament MVP. The team will play in the state championship next week. They have a bye, and then play at Staples on Friday, June 6, with semifinals and finals scheduled for the following week in Shelton. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 01:30 AM
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Monday, May 19, 2014

Now Max’s to Become Part of Westport’s Arts History

By James Lomuscio and Dave Matlow

Nina Royce lifted the trap door to the basement, opening up a flood of memories about Max’s Art Supplies where she’s worked since August 1969.

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Max’s Art Supplies on Post Road East, a Westport mainstay since 1956, will close Sept. 1. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

There was a time years back, Royce recalled today, when a young Christopher Blossom, a stock boy who would go on to become a world renowned maritime artist, kept busy going up and down the timeworn, wooden steps.

He would regularly haul up new inventory to keep the main floor well stocked with drafting and drawing tables, easels, brushes, paints, canvases and frames, she said.

Those were the days when Max’s, which opened in 1956 at 68 Post Road Post Road East originally as Fine Arts Stationers next to the Fine Arts Theatre, eventually became Grand Central for the town’s legendary artists’ community. Max Kaplan, then 42, and his wife, Shirley, then 28, were the proprietors.

More "Now Max’s to Become Part of Westport’s Arts History"

Posted 11:07 PM
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Saturday, May 10, 2014

WN on the Scene: A Mix of Contemporary Art and Cultural Tourism


Frieze New York Art Fair opened this week in a grand tent on Randall’s Island. It is timed to coincide with the influx of global collectors heading to New York for the big contemporary art auctions and offers mix of contemporary art and cultural tourism. The exhibit runs until Monday. Click here for information.  Helen Klisser During, director of visual arts at the Westport Arts Center and contributing WestportNow photographer, provides this selection of views of the exhibit.  Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

Posted 02:55 PM
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Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Our New Year’s Gift to Readers

WestportNow Year in Pictures 2012

The year 2013 in Westport—the 11th year of publication of WestportNow—was another busy period with extremes of joy and deep sadness.

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A visitor to Westport’s Compo Beach in January found himself the object of much attention from the sea gulls. Maybe it was the old cracker he had in his hand. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The Westport Little Leaguers magic ride to the Little League World Series created a wave of hometown pride while the tragic death of Marine Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick Jr. in a training accident brought tears to many.

Day in and day out, WestportNow was there as we have been 24/7 since 2003. We are deeply grateful for contributions of news and photos from our readers and look forward to continuing to serve you in 2014 with the kind of knowledgable coverage only a hometown publication can produce. We are also deeply grateful for the advertising support received and urge you to patronize our advertisers.

As is our tradition, our New Year’s gift to readers is a photo review of the past year. Entries include major events, and some not so major. But they were all part of life in Westport in 2013. To enjoy, CLICK HERE. Happy New Year!

Posted 09:20 PM
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Monday, October 28, 2013

One Year Ago: Storm Sandy Devastated Westport


Scenes from Storm Sandy as it devastated Westport a year ago. The storm destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and left some Westporters in the dark for more than a week. WestportNow.com and contributed photos

Posted 02:26 PM
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Friday, October 04, 2013

WN on the Scene: Fall Art Exhibits NYC to Massachusetts


The fall art season is under way from New York City to Massachusetts. Offerings range from Louise Bourgeois’s “Eyes” (above)  at Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Mass. and Anselm Kiefer’s sculpture and paintings at the MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass., to Sol LeWitt’s monumental wall drawings at Paul Cooper’s Gallery in New York’s Chelsea district and Edmund de Waal’s display of tiny white porcelain vases at Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue. They are seen through the lens of Helen Klisser During, contributing WestportNow photographer and director of visual arts at the Westport Arts Center. Click here for information on each picture. Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

Posted 02:09 AM
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Friday, June 07, 2013

WN on the Scene: Venice Biennale


The center of the art world in recent days has been Venice where the world’s oldest and most prestigious international art festival, the Venice Biennale, opened to the public. Helen Klisser During, director of visual arts at the Westport Arts Center and contributing WestportNow photographer, was among those getting a sneak peek ahead of the official opening. Here is a selection of her photos from Venice. Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

Posted 03:05 AM
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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Our New Year’s Gift to Readers

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The year 2012 in Westport—the 10th year of publication of WestportNow—topped the previous year as the busiest news year since we began publishing.

From crime to natural disasters, moments of joy and to deep sadness, WestportNow was there every day 24/7, providing news and photos—many of them exclusive.

Many of the photos came from you, our readers. And for that we are very grateful.

As is our tradition, our New Year’s gift to readers is a photo review of the past year. Entries include major events, and some not so major. But they were all part of life in Westport in 2012. To enjoy, CLICK HERE. Happy New Year!

Posted 06:05 AM
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Sunday, December 09, 2012

WN on the Scene: Africa Up Close


Helen Klisser During, director of visual arts at the Westport Arts Center (and contributing WestportNow photographer) visited Rwanda and Malawi last month on a photo assignment for the United Nations. She accompanied Helen Clark, United Nations Development Programme Administrator, who is a former prime minister of New Zealand. Klisser During, a New Zealand native, compiled this photo essay of her journey for WestportNow. Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

Posted 04:54 PM
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sherwood Island 9/11 Anniversary


Scenes at Sherwood Island State Park today, site of the Connecticut 9/11 memorial, on the 11th anniversary of the 2001 attacks. Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com

Posted 12:12 AM
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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Dinner with the President

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE About 60 well heeled Democratic National Committee (DNC) supporters were waiting tonight when President Barack Obama’s motorcade arrived at 7:33 p.m. for dinner at movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s waterfront estate on Westport’s Beachside Avenue.

WestportNow.com Image
President Obama addresses a Stamford fundraiser tonight. Cablevision News-12 photo

The supporters, most of them from New York City and Westchester, had been there since 6 p.m. and had their cars valet parked, according to a Westporter who attended. At the request of the Secret Service, they also had to relinquish their phones and cameras, placing them in baggies with their names on them to be returned after Obama left around 9 p.m.

In addition to Weinstein and his wife Georgina, the hosts included Westport’s Joanne Woodward, Clea Newman and her husband Kurt Sunderland, actress Anne Hathaway, “West Wing” producer Aaron Sorkin and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

“It was terrific,” said Westporter Ann Sheffer, a longtime arts advocate and DNC donor who attended with her husband Bill Scheffler. “To be three feet from the president of the United States is thrilling.”

More "Dinner with the President"

Posted 03:11 AM
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Monday, August 06, 2012

Obama Uses Westport as Base for CT Visit

UPDATE They appeared over the horizon shortly after 5 p.m. today against a mostly blue sky with a stiff breeze blowing – five helicopters, two with the presidential seals.

WestportNow.com Image
President Obama arrives at Sherwood Island State Park today. Cablevision News-12 photo

Moments later, at 5:16 p.m., President Obama was safely on the ground in the large grassy circle just inside the main entrance at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, the first presidential visit to Westport in 13 years.  Shortly after 9 p.m., it was all over.

There was no welcoming ceremony, just a quick walk to the presidential limousine, according to a witness. Then, escorted by a dozen motorcycle policemen from Westport, the State Police, and surrounding towns it was off to Stamford on I-95. (See text below of Obama remarks at Stamford Marriott).

There he appeared at a $500 a head reception before leaving at 7:13 p.m. for the return trip to Westport and a $35,800 a head dinner at the Beachside Avenue home of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. By 9 p.m., the president was on the move back to Sherwood Island and his helicopter ride to Air Force One parked at New York’s JFK Airport.

More "Obama Uses Westport as Base for CT Visit"

Posted 11:32 PM
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