Sunday, August 31, 2003
Saturday, August 30, 2003
Sundays New York Times Connecticut section sets the record straight on a couple of errors in last weekҒs cover story on the Westport Country Playhouse, as noted in WestportNows Aug. 23 report.
ғAn article last Sunday about the Westport Country Playhouse misspelled the name of a co-founder of the theater, the Times said. ԓHe is Lawrence Langner, not Langer.
The article also misidentified where the composer Richard Rodgers was living when he saw a Playhouse production of ӑGreen Grow the Lilicas, which inspired his musical ґOklahoma! It was Fairfield, not Westport.Ҕ
Friday, August 29, 2003
Attorney Representing Child Hit by Longshore Golf Ball Files Notice
An attorney representing a 2-year-old child hit by a golf ball while being pushed by his mother in a stroller at Westports Longshore Club Park has served notice of a claim against the town, Town Clerk Patricia H. Strauss said today.
A letter noticing the claim said the July 7 incident was ғproximately caused by a road defect.
The child, Benjamin Goldstein, suffered a traumatic brain injury and his mother, Lynn Goldstein, who was pushing him in a jogger stroller along LongshoreԒs entrance drive at the time, suffered serious emotional distress, the letter said.
Strauss said the letter, which can lead to a court action but does not necessarily mean there will be one, was received by her office Tuesday from Neil W. Sutton. He is an attorney with the Bridgeport law firm of Adelman Hirsch and Newman.
The accident happened near the sixth tee of the golf course. The child was taken to Norwalk Hospital and later was transferred to Yale-New Haven Hospital.
The Westport News today quoted Sutton as saying the child has recovered remarkably wellӔ from surgery but has a grotesque scarӔ across the top of his head.
As to whether a lawsuit will actually be filed, he told the newspaper: This could be resolved between the parties.Ӕ
Stuart McCarthy, Parks and Recreation director, was not immediately available for comment.
But he told WestportNow after the incident that the entrance road was clearly marked with a sign warning of possible errant golf balls that could cause serious injury or death. (See WestportNow July 8, 2003).
The letter said the cause of this incident was a defect in the road at that location, specifically the failure to install any fence, net, or other barrier or protective device between the tee for sixth holeӔ and the roadway.
It said Benjamin’s “earning capacity and his ability to enjoy life’s activities have been permanently reduced as a result of this incident and the road defect” and his parents had incurred medical bills.
The letter added: ” As a further result of this incident, and the defect in the road, Lynne Goldstein, who witnessed her son being struck and seriously injured by the golf ball, suffered serious emotional distress.”
Westports Rolnick Observatory Still Busy With Mars Viewers
WestportҒs Rolnick Observatory hosted dozens of people Thursday night and early today hoping to catch a glimpse of Mars.
Although the Westport Astronomical Society announced special viewing hours were 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., the observatory stayed open past midnight as visitors arrived in a steady stream at its location on Bayberry Lane behind the Westport Weston Health District office.
While many people lined up to use the observatory telescope, others took advantage of the willingness of several amateur astronomers who set up their own telescopes on the lawn nearby to share their views and knowledge with visitors.
One man said his telescope was slightly more powerful than the Rolnick scope. Another said his scope had been only recently liberated from an old barn where a father had stored it for more than 40 years after his teenage son had lost interest in astronomy.
Mars appeared as a bright whitish ball through the scopes, its polar ice cap clearly visible.
Visitors moved from scope to scope peering through the viewfinders. The scene was dark except for the natural light from the clear sky and a few dim red flashlights illuminating “donation” signs on scattered tables.
On Wednesday, Mars reached its closest point to earth in 60,000 years. But astronomers at the Westport facility said with good weather, there should be continued good viewing for several days.
Of course, none of the views matched that of the Hubble telescope.
Thursday, August 28, 2003
Its not every restaurant that merits a mention in an obituary. But BridgeportҒs vegetarian Bloodroot restaurant did when a Westporter died this summer and that brought a mention in today֒s Hartford Courant review of the well-known eatery and bookstore.
Customers are committed to Bloodroot, and the restaurant’s staff has a close kinship with them, too,Ӕ the newspaper said.
When 91-year-old Cynthia B. Harrison of Westport died this summer, her children put a paragraph about their mother’s love of going to Bloodroot and being part of the restaurant’s group of friends, into her obituary.
ӓThe obituary is posted, along with a special poster crafted by the restaurant to remember Cynthia; photos of her, and the words We Miss Her,ђ are on the poster, right as you walk in the door. She is remembered at Bloodroot for her cheerful and intelligent spirit.ђ”
NY Times Corrects Westport Fire Death Report Error
Todays New York Times carries a correction to its erroneous Aug. 16 report that one person died in a fire in Westport during the Aug. 14 blackout.
ғBecause of an editing error, an article on Aug. 16 about fires during the blackout misidentified the Connecticut city where a woman was killed in a blaze that officials attributed to a candle left burning. It was Waterbury, not Westport, the Times said.
WestportNow called the TimesԒs attention to the error (See WestportNow Aug. 16, 2003).
A Times Metro section employee told WestportNow the correction was delayed because the newspapers e-mail system became “severely compromised by the computer viruses/worms etc.”
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
So far Westport has not reported any cases, but the state says mosquitoes and crows infected with West Nile virus have been found again in neighboring Fairfield.
It was the second time infected mosquitoes and birds have been found in Fairfield, the state Department of Public Health (DPH) said Tuesday.
Positive mosquitoes or birds have been found in 48 towns in the state this year, including in addition to Fairfield, Stamford, Darien, Redding, Stratford, Monroe, Newtown, Shelton, Trumbull, and Naugatuck in Fairfield County.
The DPH said the mosquitoes trapped in Monroe on Aug. 14 and the ones caught in New Haven Aug. 19 are the type that feed on humans. The others were predominantly bird-biting.
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.
The most common symptoms of West Nile virus include fever and headaches. It can also lead to other complications such as encephalitis, meningitis, convulsions, paralysis or death.
There has been one human case of the virus this year in Connecticut. A North Stonington woman in her 60s is recovering after developing symptoms in late July, shortly after a trip to Colorado. Health officials said there is a good chance she did not contract the virus in Connecticut.
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Rep. Christopher Shays, on a fact-finding mission to the Middle East, deserted his Congressional travel trappings again over the weekend and hooked up with workers from Westport’s Save the Children in Iraq.
The Fairfield County Republican did the same thing four months ago, becoming the first member of Congress to get into Iraq after the war.
According to The Associated Press, Shays was the only lawmaker to stay overnight in Iraq - once again traveling over the Kuwait border with humanitarian workers rather than with an official delegation.
“We could hear gunfire and there was a break-in at a home three doors down, where one person was shot in the shoulder,” said Shays, who stayed in a house operated by Save the Children on Saturday night.
“Your senses become quite acute. You look at someone who’s looking at you, and they have their hand in their pocket, and you wonder what they have in their pocket.”
He told the AP he stayed the night because “Save the Children employees do it every night.” And he took the opportunity to mingle with Iraqi citizens - something he had little chance to do with the congressional delegation.
“They need things they don’t have - Iraqi police need weapons, Iraq needs electricity and running water,” Shays said. “They need nurses, they need medicine, they need oxygen.”
Shays, who is chairman of a Government Reform subcommittee on defense, said he plans to hold hearings after Congress comes back next month to debate Iraq issues.
Mars Viewing Spurs Interest in Westport Observatory
The neighborhood is hopping at Westports Rolnick Observatory on Bayberry Lane as public interest is high in viewing Mars.
The Westport Astronomical Society is hosting visitors to the observatory every evening this week from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. except Sunday.
Cloud cover could hamper tonightҒs viewing.
On Wednesday, Mars will reach its closest point to the earth in 60,000 years.
And attention procrastinators—Mars will not make another neighborly visit this close until 2287.
Police Step Up Speed Enforcement Activities as School Year Opens
Westport police are stepping up their speed enforcement activities with the opening of public schools Wednesday.
Units have been deployed along streets leading to schools, especially in the North Avenue area around Staples High School and Bedford Middle School, according to motorists passing by the area.
Police made no official announcement of the action, but they have undertaken similar increased enforcement in past years in the days leading to school opening.
Police cars also have escorted some of the buses on the opening days in order to enhance safety.
The Westport Country Playhouse, maintaining the-show-must-go-on tradition, has partnered with The Ridgefield Playhouse for Movies and the Performing Arts for its 2004 season while the Westport venue undergoes a major renovation.
The Playhouse said it will produce a shortened season of two plays and a series of special events utilizing the Ridgefield venue as a temporary home while construction takes place. The Playhouse will reopen in 2005, its 75th anniversary year.
In a news release, the Playhouse said its management visited two dozen different venues in Fairfield County in search of an interim stage.
“The Ridgefield Playhouse came out on top for several reasons,” said Joanne Woodward, the Playhouse’s artistic director. “First, it is close to Westport, only 15 miles door-to-door.
It’s a beautiful theatre, recently restored in 2000, with comfortable seating, great sightlines, convenient parking, and all the backstage necessities to produce theatre of the caliber that we strive to bring our audiences.”
In addition to the two plays at The Ridgefield Playhouse, the Kids’ Playhouse will be presented at a location in Westport to be determined, the Playhouse said.
Other Playhouse programming for the transitional 2004 season, including music, film, staged readings, and more, is currently under consideration and will be announced at a later date, the announcement said.
Monday, August 25, 2003
Todays New York Times takes a look at the just completed New York International Fringe Festival that includes a skit lampooning Westport, Conn.
Reviewer Bruce Weber writes:”ҒPeas and Carrots,” a sketch comedy show from the Courthouse Theater Company, which is based in Barnstable, Mass., on Cape Cod, has a nice, modest feel and a pleasing, self-aware sophistication.
ғThe best of the six skits in Stephen O’Rourke’s script are the first, Ginger’s Season,ђ a sendup of high society in which an actor posing as an audience member answers his cellphone to take a surprise call from an actress on the stage and gradually gets inveigled into taking part in the social snobbery onstage; and the last, Westport,ђ a rather ingenious lampoon of the decision to invade Iraq by depicting a Connecticut under siege and three denizens of Fairfield County holed up in a suburban house and living with their idea of deprivation: We’re down to our last wheel of brie.ђ
When their liberators finally appear, announcing that civil rights have been restored, one of the Westport women says, ӑWe didn’t use them, anyway. And the soldiers make their exit, vowing to continue their search for ґweapons of mass consumption.Ҕ
The program for the festival contains this description of “Peas and Carrots”: “Six sketches ranging from a drawing room comedy that goes terribly awry to a woman in Westport, CT desperately waiting for her UPS delivery despite the fact that invading forces are fast advancing and have just ‘liberated’ Darien.”
Sunday, August 24, 2003
Sundays New York Times Connecticut section prominently features two Westport stories Җ the renovation of the Westport Country Playhouse and the ongoing dispute between Westport boaters and a Westport doctor-oyster entrepreneur.
The Playhouse story with three photos takes up most of the front page. It continues inside for another half page with four more photos.
The Times reviews the Playhouse history and details the $17 million renovation set to begin at the end of this summers season. Artistic director Joanne Woodward is featured in the story.
But it also contains several errors and an omission.
The newspaper repeats a spelling error in the surname of one of the PlayhouseҒs founders which it also made on April 29 and which it corrected—with some prodding from WestportNow—on May 26.
The Sunday section article by David Cote, assistant drama editor at Time Out magazine, says the Playhouse was founded in 1931 by Lawrence “Langer and his wife Armina Marshall. The correct spelling is Langner (See WestportNow April 29 and May 26, 2003).
The article also identifies him as a member of the Theater Guild, which he was. But he is better known as the co-founder of the Guild (with his wife).
It also says Richard Rodgers was a Westport summer resident when he went to see the Playhouse production of ԓGreen Grow the Lilacs in 1940. Three years later, the play became the Rodgers and Hammerstein legendary hit musical ԓOklahoma!
As Westport author Max Wilk recounts in his ԓOK! The Story of Oklahoma!, Rodgers in fact had a home in Fairfield, not Westport, at the time.
The Times notes that the Playhouse has featured the work of playwright David Wiltse several times and this summer presented the world premiere of his Nazi-era drama, ԓThe Good German.
ԓMr. Wiltse, who lives in the area, is the closest the Playhouse has to a resident playwright, having been produced there four times, the Times said.
And while the story contains numerous quotes from Anne Keefe, the PlayhouseԒs associate artistic director, it fails to say that Keefe is married to Wiltse.
The oyster story is by James Lomuscio, a former Westport News and Westport Magazine editor and a frequent Times contributor.
It is a good review of the dispute involving boaters and plans by Westporter John Garofalo to harvest oysters off of Westport using suspended cages. (See WestportNow July 24, 2003).
Friday, August 22, 2003
Connecticut Post Highlights Saturday Westport UFO Picnic
Todays Connecticut Post takes a look at Westport-based Smoking Gun Research Agency and its Saturday UFO picnic at Sherwood Island State Park.
Columnist Charles Walsh noted that 24-year-old Westporter Jon Nowinksi, the brains behind the group, is ғdisappointingly normal looking. No Finger-in-a-Light-Socket hair. No counter-rotating eyes.
Smoking Gun’s Web site has details of the picnic, scheduled from noon to sunset. Admission is free.
A 25-year-old Bridgeport man was killed early today in a one-car accident on the Merritt Parkway between exits 42 in Westport and 44 in Fairfield, state police said.
A motorist in another car involved in the accident complained of back and knee pain but did not want to be transported to a hospital, they said.
The Westport Fire Department and Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service responded to the incident on the northbound side at 12:44 a.m.
The man who died was trapped in the car and had to be extricated, state police said. The car crashed into a tree after striking the other car from behind, police said.
Police later identified the victim as Wilson A. Montero, an employee of the Italian Center in Stamford.
The other driver, David V. Palmer, 33, of Redding, told police he was driving in the right hand lane when Montero’s car approached him from the rear at a high rate of speed and struck his car.
Palmer’s car then spun out and blew a tire before coming to a stop on the shoulder of the right-hand lane, police said.
Thursday, August 21, 2003
I-95 Multi-Vehicle Accident Kills One
A multi-vehicle accident on I-95’s northbound lane near Westport’s exit 17 killed a Brooklyn, N.Y. man and shut down much of the highway today, forcing cars and trucks to get off on local roadways, state police said.
Two people in a car that collided with a tractor-trailer were seriously hurt in the accident. The man had to be extricated from the car by the Westport Fire Department and later died at Norwalk Hospital, police said.
Police identified him as Howard S. Stein, 57. They said his passenger in the car, Louise Forsyth, 56, also of Brooklyn, was hospitalized. The Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service transported the victims to Norwalk Hospital.
Police said a 1988 Honda driven by Stein moved from the right to the center lane, colliding with a Mack truck. The Honda then hit a third vehicle in the left lane, forcing it into the median barrier.
The 1:50 p.m accident caused a backup that stretched to at least exit 8 in Stamford.
By 4 p.m., the accident had been cleared and drivers were experiencing only the usual late afternoon delays.
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
Westport to Receive $30,000 More State Aid
The state legislation enacted over the weekend to implement Connecticuts 2003-2004 fiscal year budget provides for a $30,000 increase in state aid to Westport, according to the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM).
The lobbying group for ConnecticutҒs member towns and municipalities said Westport was one of the lucky ones.
It said it in a news release that more than 100 of the states 169 municipalities will receive less state aid in the next fiscal year than last.
According to figures compiled by CCM, Westport will receive $1,613,567 this year compared to $1,583,211 last year, a $30,356, or 2 percent, increase.
The numbers include multiple forms of town aid, including educational-cost sharing and other types of state grants.
Among neighboring communities, Wilton had a $46,259 increase and Easton had a $32,432 raise. But aid was cut to Weston by $37,897, Norwalk by $337,290, and Fairfield by $771,349, CCM said.
State legislative sources said increases to towns such as Westport were intended to make up for reductions in past years.
Theres more than a new addition to the Westport Historical Society Җ theres a new name. The new facility will be called the Westport History Center at Wheeler House.
The new name was announced to members in the societyҒs newsletter mailed this week.
John Lupton, executive director, said the new name more accurately reflects the mission and goals of the society.
The name of the umbrella organization will remain the Westport Historical Society. Wheeler House is the name of the Victorian mansion that houses the organization on Avery Place opposite Westports Town Hall.
The new addition will be inaugurated next month with an exhibit called ғTV Neighbors: Westport and Weston Television Performers and Personalities 1946-2003.
EditorԒs Note: The editor of WestportNow is a director-at-large of the Westport Historical Society.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued an unhealthy air quality alert for Thursday for all of Connecticut.
The EPA, which has 11 monitoring stations around the state including one at Westports Sherwood Island State Park, said in a statement:
ғAir quality on Thursday, Aug. 21, is predicted to be unhealthy statewide in Connecticut due to elevated concentrations of ground-level ozone, commonly called smog.
Moderate levels of particulate matter are also expected in Connecticut on Thursday.Ԕ
It said all people, especially children and those with respiratory ailments, should limit strenuous outdoor activity when high ozone levels are expected.
The EPA’s Sherwood Island monitoring station and others in the region can be viewed on a real-time basis at the EPA Web site.
The chairs of Westports boards, commissions and committees got a little gift from the town this week—a primer on parliamentary procedure.
First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell sent a copy of the Penguin Book edition of “Parliamentary Procedure at a Glance” to the officials to promote more open government.
The book’s list price is $9.95, but Pat Scully, manager of Farrell’s office who distributed the books, said the town was able to get a discount. About 100 copies were purchased, she said.
In order to continue to insure that public business is processed efficiently, effectively and accurately, we are forwarding to you a copy of ‘Parliamentary Procedure at a Glance by O. Garfield Jones,” Farrell told the chairs in a letter accompanying the book.
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
With tongue firmly in cheek, Westports Paul Newman used an op-ed piece in todayҒs New York Times to make fun of the Fox News Network for its suit against political satirist Al Franken.
Fox is suing Franken for using the phrase “fair and balanced” in the title of his new book.
Wrote Newman: In claiming trademark violation, Fox sets a noble example for standing firm against whatever.Ӕ
Unreliable sources report that the Fox suit has inspired Paul Newman, the actor, to file a similar suit in federal court against the Department of Housing and Urban Development, commonly called HUD. Mr. Newman claims piracy of personality and copycat infringement.Ӕ
The Times identifies the author of the column this way: Paul Newman, an actor, is chief executive of Salad King.Ԕ
Monday, August 18, 2003Firefighters managed to turn off the gas within a few minutes. No other injuries were reported and damage was limited to the pavement resurfacing machine Courser was operating, according to Fire Chief Denis McCarthy. The machine, called a reclaiming machine, mixes asphalt and dirt prior to repaving a road surface. It was not immediately known how deep the machine’s blade scraped when it hit the 2-1/2-inch gas line which feeds a natural gas refueling facility in the parking lot. Police said later that they would remove the gas line as the refueling facility is no longer used. Fire and police officers on the scene said the incident could have been a lot worse given the proximity to the Westport Public Library and the busy Jesup Green area. The library was evacuated as a precaution during the fire. Detective David Eason said he was standing near the back lot when the incident occurred. “There was a whoosh and the whole place went up and this guy lands at my feet,” he said, referring to the machine operator. Courser told firefighters he jumped from the machine when he hit the gas line and flames erupted. He did not suffer inhalation burns and his clothes were not burned. Gerry Bothwell, who is employed by FGB Construction of Norwalk, a paving contractor, was working nearby. “I saw the flames fly out from under the machine,” he said. Passersby who gathered behind police lines on Jesup Road could see flames shooting 30 feet into the air and licking at overhanging trees, some of which were blackened by the heat and flames. The parking lot, which is directly behind police headquarters and adjacent to the library, was undergoing paving preparation work when the accident occurred shortly before 4 p.m. “It was a big fireball,” said Capt. Robert Kepchar of the Westport Fire Department, who directed operations at the scene. Firefighters quickly located the gas shutoff valve in Jesup Road, about 50 yards north of where the gas line was struck. As soon as the line was shut off, the flames died down. Patrons were allowed to return to the library and the adjacent roadways were reopened by 5 p.m. as a television news helicopter hovered over the scene. A worker for Southern Connecticut Gas. Co. said the utilty was checking to see if the gas line was properly marked.
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