Sunday, February 29, 2004
Monday, March 1, 2004
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Golf Advisory Committee
7:30 p.m. - Staples High School, Room 516 - Board of Education anticipated executive session
8 p.m. - Staples High School Library - Board of Education
A lucky couple embrace after escaping unhurt from a rollover Saturday night in front of 325 Riverside Ave. The 22-year-old Easton woman and 23-year-old Westport man said they swerved to avoid an oncoming car. Their Jeep sheared off a telephone pole before coming to rest on its side. The 11:21 p.m. accident was the second rollover on Riverside Avenue with no injuries in 48 hours.(CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE). WestportNow.com photo
Saturday, February 28, 2004
A 1957 Westport Memory: WN Reader Identifies Dancer
The March issue of Smithsonian Magazine includes a photo by photojournalist Esther Bubley for Women’s Day magazine showing a 1957 Westport surprise birthday party for a teenage girl. The photo was published with an article “Eight-thirty to Midnight, or Don’t be afraid to give a party!,” which offered advice on planning a party for a teenager. Other photos in the series can be seen here. WestportNow reader Linda Gramatky Smith identified one of the dancers. See comment below. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE). EstherBubley.com photo
Friday, February 27, 2004
Saturday, February 28, 2004
9 a.m. - noon - Town Clerk’s Office - Special Saturday hours for voters to apply for an absentee ballot for Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary
Mardi Gras at Longshore Benefits Levitt Pavilion
The Inn at Longshore hosted a Mardi Gras party tonight for the benefit of the Levitt Pavilion. More than 250 people attended the sold out “Carnivale 2004!” event headlined by four-time Grammy Award nominee Buckwheat Zydeco. The funds will help pay for the free summer concerts at the Levitt. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE). Additional photo on community page. WestportNow.com photo
February Dog Day Afternoon at Compo
It was a dog day afternoon at Westport’s Compo Beach today. Sunny skies and temperatures in the 40s brought the canine crowd out. The forecast was for warming temperatures over the weekend. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE). WestportNow.com photo
Thursday, February 26, 2004
Westport Teen Escapes Serious Injury in Rollover
A 17-year-old Westport girl escaped serious injury tonight when her car rolled over on Riverside Avenue in front of Saugatuck Elementary School.
The teen-ager, the lone occupant of the car, was taken to Norwalk Hospital by Westport EMS. Her car was heavily damaged in the crash.
Police said the cause of the accident, which occurred shortly after 10 p.m., was under investigation.
Farrell’s Five-Year Capital Forecast Holds No Major Surprises
Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell’s five-year capital forecast holds no major surprises with a $36 million upgrade to the town’s sewage treatment plant still one of the biggest items.
Much of the cost of the plant is expected to be financed by benefit assessment, according to town officials.
The Board of Selectmen will hold a special public hearing on the forecast March 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Town Hall Auditorium.
Finance Director Don Miklus said the only significant change to the forecast from last year was the addition of a $5 million Board of Education request for administrative staff relocation in 2006-07.
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
RTM Committee Questions Assessment Backlog, Approves $150,000 Fix
The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) Finance Committee Wednesday night closely questioned the circumstances surrounding the backlog of 1,700 files that need to be added to the 2003 property assessment.
It then recommended approval of a $150,000 appropriation requested to bring the assessment up to date.
The vote to recommend approval was unanimous and the matter will go before the full RTM on March 9. The Board of Finance approved the amount to hire a firm to help clear the backlog at its Feb. 11 meeting.
First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell said she has also added $30,000 to the assessor’s office budget for the next fiscal year for extra help and overtime to make sure a backlog does not reoccur. And she said she has alerted town auditors to closely monitor the situation.
“I’m putting in measures so alarms go off,” Farrell told the committee. She said Finance Director Don Miklus was in touch with auditors to find out why they did not pick up the problem. “They never brought it to our attention,” she said.
Thursday, February 26, 2004
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Planning & Zoning Commission Work Session
Shays Urges Action on State Rail Transportation
Rep. Christopher Shays, responding to increasing commuter complaints about Metro-North’s New Haven Line, today urged Gov. John G. Rowland and state lawmakers to make an increased commitment to rail service.
The Republican from the 4th Congressional District sent a letter to Rowland, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Byrnes and state legislators from his district.
The letter details a four-point plan which calls for the purchase of more rail cars, design of a new rail maintenance facility, a review of the third rail power source study, and design of the next generation of rail cars.
“Our economy is hinged on the modernization of our transportation system. Improving our rail system is critical for Connecticut’s commuters and roads,” Shays said.
Blinking Yellow on Post Road West
A new state-installed traffic light at the intersection of Post Road West and Kings Highway South has finally been uncovered and is blinking yellow. First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell told today’s brown bag lunch the state had informed her office that the signal will become fully operative by mid-March. Farrell was responding to citizen complaints that the new traffic light had remained covered and unused for months. WestportNow.com photo
Board of Selectmen to Consider Sewer Use Charge Change
Westport residents using the town’s sewer system will see a change in the way they are charged for the service under a proposal to be considered by the Board of Selectmen.
Steve Edwards, director of the Public Works Department, told the board in a memo that his department for years had been questioned by residents about charging sewer use fees based on arbitrary “residential units.”
“The existing system provides for a single residential use fee for all residences regardless of size or number of occupants,” he said. “An empty-nester is charged the same as a family of six.”
Edwards said similar inequities were evident when reviewing commercial accounts.
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
10:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - International Hospitality Committee
Noon - Town Hall Room 309/307 - Citizens Brown Bag luncheon
5:30 p.m. - Staples High School, Room 516 - School Building Committee Staples Subcommittee
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309/307 - Board of Selectmen
7 p.m. - Staples High School Library - Board of Education budget work session with Board of Finance
7:45 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - RTM Finance & Public Works Committees
8:15 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201A - RTM Public Works Committee
Westport Police Department Adds Two
New Westport Police Department recruits David Librandi, 36, (2nd l) and Albert L. Nowinski III, 27, are sworn in today by First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell as Chief Alfred Fiore looks on. Nowinski, a Norwalk resident, has worked as a Federal Express courier and an EMT in Stamford. Librandi, who lives in Stamford, has worked at a family-owned service station there. Fiore said with their addition, his force has increased in number to 69 with one vacancy yet to be filled. WestportNow.com photo
Monday, February 23, 2004
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Arts Advisory Committee
2 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Police swearing-in ceremony
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Zoning Board of Appeals
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201- RTM Environment Committee
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Architectural Review Board
Five Westport Residents Submitted World Trade Center Designs
Submissions from five Westporters are among more than 5,000 designs entered in the World Trade Center memorial competition from around the world that now can be viewed in an online exhibit.
The winning design, reflecting pools that mark the twin towers’ footprints, was chosen last month from the 5,201 plans submitted from 63 countries and 49 states—the largest design competition in history, rebuilding officials said.
Designs from the five Westport residents were among 113 submitted from Connecticut.
Members of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the agency overseeing rebuilding at the 16-acre site, unveiled the virtual exhibit last week.
Sunday, February 22, 2004
Monday, February 23, 2004
11:30 a.m. - YMCA—Probate Judge Kevin O’Grady addresses Y’s Women
2 p.m. - Kings Highway School Cafeteria - Food Service Advisory Committee
8 p.m. - Staples High School Library—Board of Education, discussion School Start Time Committee
Quiet Time With Grandpa
A quiet Sunday at the Westport Arts Center gallery today gave Bill Kommel of Manhattan some time to spend with his granddaughter, Sevie, 3, of Westport. The center’s current exhibits “Wolf Kahn: a Celebration of Color” and “Landscapes in Black and White” run through March 19. Emily Laux Roche for WestportNow.com
The Art of War
Today’s New York Times features a story about letters that Gerald W. Duquette sent home to his wife, Lillian, in Westport during World War II. Duquette got his buddy, Samuel L. Boylston, to do some art work on the envelopes depicting a solder’s life in the South Pacific and now they have ended up in the Library of Congress as part of its Veterans History Project Library of Congress photo
Saturday, February 21, 2004
A Good Day for a Walk on the Beach
Today’s relatively mild temperatures in the 40s ֖ brought Westporters out to Burying Hill Beach and other outdoor venues for some relaxing activities. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE). Emily Laux Roche for WestportNow.com
Westport, Weston and Wilton in Bioterrorism Pact
Westport, Weston and Wilton have prepared a joint emergency plan in case of a bioterrorism or smallpox attack.
The three towns were designated by the state Department of Health as a single smallpox planning area and have jointly developed the plan which is required to be submitted to the state by March 1, according to Judy Nelson, director of the Westport Weston Health District.
The Westport Board of Selectmen will consider approval of a memorandum of understanding regarding the plan at its Feb. 25 meeting.
According to Nelson, the three towns have established a smallpox planning team and identified specific clinic sites as well as trained staff to man the sites in case of a smallpox outbreak or bioterrorism attack.
Mary Moers Wenig Honored by Estate Counsel Group
The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) has announced a student writing competition to honor the late Mary Moers Wenig, a Westporter who was a nationally known expert on taxation, trusts and estates.
The late Mary Moers Wenig. Quinnipiac University photo
Wenig, a professor of law at Quinnipiac University and a member of Westport’s Representative Town Meeting, died Jan. 18, 2003, after a long illness.
The competition was created by ACTECs Legal Education Committee, which consists of law school professors who teach in the area of trusts and estates and practitioners who teach as adjuncts in the trusts and estates field.
Wenig, a longtime member of ACTECҒs Legal Education Committee, was a law school professor for more than 30 years.
The Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition was created to encourage and reward scholarly works in the area of trusts and estate, according to an announcement.
Details of the competition are available at the ACTEC Web site.
Friday, February 20, 2004
Saturday, February 21, 2004
8 p.m. Pequot Library, Southport - Westport Arts Center presents the Fred Hersch Trio jazz music concert
World Trade Center Widow Makes Gift to Westport Fire Department
Julie Uman, a Westporter whose husband, Jonathan, 33, died in the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attack, has made a $2,500 donation to the Westport Fire Department in his memory.
Westporter Jonathan Uman died in the Sept. 11, 2001 attack. Contributed photo
“When my husband, Jonathan, was murdered in the WTC attack, I immediately set up a foundation in his name to honor him and contribute to organizations that he would have been interested in helping,” Uman wrote in a letter to Fire Chief Denis McCarthy.
Julie Uman said many people in the community had reached out to her and her children Alexander, 5, and Anna, 3, since the attack and a desire to give back has stayed with her ever since.
“Well, two years later, I find myself unable to continue his foundation as I am raising our two young children on my own,” Uman said. “I wanted to share some of the foundation with your organization.”
Preserving a Little Bit of History
Westport schools carpenters Peter Caligiure (l.) and Bobby Buebendorf erect murals by artist Ralph Boyer at Bedford Middle School today after they were moved from Staples High School. The 1930s paintings were part of the Works Progress Administration art project that gave work to unemployed artists and writers. They were discovered in the sub-basement of the Green’s Farms Elementary School in the mid-1960s by Burt Chernow, an art teacher at the school. Chernow was one of the founders of the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection Committee. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE). WestportNow.com photo
Murals Moving Day
It was moving day today for several 1930s murals painted by artist Ralph Boyer as part of the Works Progress Administration art project. The paintings were transferred from Staples High School, currently undergoing renovation, to the nearby Bedford Middle School. Mollie Donovan, a member of the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection Committee, supervised the move. Emily Laux Roche for WestportNow.com
Riding High on North Avenue
The $74 million Staples High School renovation and expansion project provides a changing skyline at the North Avenue facility. Today’s slightly warmer temperatures made things a little more comfortable for construction workers. Emily Laux Roche for WestportNow.com
Martha Stewart Trial: Pasternak Testimony Questioned
The Westporter vs Westporter testimony in the Martha Stewart trial today got murky.
Under defense cross-examination, Westport real estate agent Mariana Pasternak acknowledged she was somewhat unsure about her recollections of remarks by her longtime friend Martha Stewart concerning Stewart’s controversial ImClone stock sale.
Responding to defense attorney Robert Morvillo, Pasternak said she was not sure whether a statement she attributed during testimony Thursday to Stewart about ImClone Systems CEO Sam Waksal was a statement, a “string of words,” or something she recollected in her own mind.
“It is fair to say I do not know if that statement was made by Martha or if that was just a thought in my mind,” she said.
She also said she previously told prosecutors that she was not sure about that recollection.
Farrell on Reval: We are Working Hard to Respond to Residents’ Concerns
Editor’s Note: In response to public concern about the 2003 property assessment, First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell today made available to news media the following commentary:
By Diane Goss Farrell
Westport First Selectwoman
In mid-January, Westport property owners received notices indicating changes to their property’s valuation. This is a state-mandated process required every four years in order to provide for a reasonable and fair system of taxation.
Farrell: “Reval is not an easy process.” WestportNow.com photo
It is a “mass appraisal,” which means that values are determined by a combination of visual review and statistical analysis using sales comparisons.
The notices sent to property owners were preliminary, recognizing that as a mass appraisal, potential inconsistencies will exist, requiring revision by John Ryan Associates, the contractor hired by the town.
The Ryan firm conducted Westport’s revaluation four years ago.
A public hearing hosted by the Representative Town Meeting, as well as residents’ contact with the Assessor, First Selectwoman and Ryan representatives, identified neighborhoods in town, including Compo Beach and the Colony Road/Pumpkin Hill areas as inconsistent with what property owners believe to be a fair valuation.
Moreover, swings in value (too high or too low) have been raised by residents who are concerned about the veracity of the property listing overall.Page 1 of 4 pages
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