Friday, December 31, 2004
Dancing in the Aisles
Westport’s Wild Oats food store was turned into a bit of Louisiana tonight as River City Slim and the Zydeco Hogs performed a mixture of Creole and Cajun music for First Night. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Good Spot for Fireworks Watching
These youngsters had a good view of the early New Year’s Eve fireworks for children tonight from Westport’s Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Memorial Bridge over the Saugatuck River. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Singing the Good News
The sanctuary of Westport’s Christ and Holy Trinity Church was the venue tonight for a New Year’s Eve performance by the Good News Gospel Choir, a community choir that draws its members from all over Fairfield County. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Seabury Center Hosts Family Concert
Family entertainer Les Julian, noted for his rubbery storyteller’s face, three octave voice, and guitar pyrotechnics, performed at Westport’s Seabury Center tonight as part of First Night Westport/Weston 2005. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Predicting the Future
In one room of Westport’s Town Hall tonight you could have a tarot card reading, a chair massage, and free tea and cookies—all part of New Year’s Eve First Night Westport/Weston 2005 offerings. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
A Horse and Buggy Ride for New Year’s Eve
Making the Main Street New Year’s Eve Scene
Hollywood on the Saugatuck
Dancing to “New York, New York”
Dancing to New York, New YorkӔ today at the Westport Center for Senior Activities was Glenna Rohan, 76, of Bronx, N.Y., a member of The SteppersӔ dance group from New York City. The act was one of many New Years Eve activities sponsored by Westport/Weston First Night 2005. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
High Steppin’ at the Senior Center
Gloria Brown, 73, of Manhattan, entertains the crowd at the Westport Center for Senior Activities today as part of First Night Westport/Weston 2005. She is a member of the New York-based The SteppersӔ senior dance troupe. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Save the Children: Response is “Breathtaking”
Funds pouring into Westport’s Save the Children for its Asian earthquake relief fund total about $6 million so far and, with donations from other countries, might eventually top $50 million, a spokeswoman said today.
“The response has been breathtaking,” said spokeswoman Dianne Sherman. She also praised the response to an appeal issued Thursday for volunteers to help man the phones. (See WestportNow Dec. 29, 2004)
“We are very appreciative, especially to people locally,” she said, adding that those interested in helping should call (203) 221-4000.
She said donations are coming in from the charity’s Web site, over the phone, and through corporate and private donors and amount to about $6 million so far. “The total might even reach $50 million, counting funds coming through other countries,” she said.
First Night Westport/Weston 2005 Film Festival Schedule
The First Night Film Festival is a new addition to tonight’s First Night Westport//Weston 2005.
The First Night Film Committee—Will Berk, Alix Bregman, Dan Lance and Brian Mayer—caution that some of the films, to be screened at Westport’s Town Hall, may contain content considered inappropriate for young children.
Screenings begin at 7:30 p.m. and run until 11 p.m.
Title: Melchinger: Impossible
Filmmaker(s): Brian Mayer*
Description: A teacher, Mr. Melchinger, falls victim to the clever antics of his students as they try to steal the next day’s test from…but will they succeed?
Title: Danes World
Filmmaker(s): Michael Bloom, Dane Foster, Andrew Knopp
Description: This film is a parody of the comedy WayneҒs World.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Rell Leaves Hospital
Saying she was tired but feeling well, Gov. M. Jodi Rell left Danbury Hospital today, three days after undergoing breast cancer surgery.
“I feel great. I feel fine,” the 58-year-old Republican governor told reporters.
Rell left the hospital shortly after 5 p.m. with her daughter. She was wearing a light green sweat suit. She underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery Monday.
Rell’s recovery is on track and final tests results received just before she left the hospital were clean, the governor’s office said.
Inn at Longshore Reopens in Time to Host Wedding Reception
Westport’s Inn at Longshore, damaged in a Christmas Day fire, reopened today in time to host an evening wedding reception.
Bride Deborah Lacy of Fairfield was ecstatic to have the reception go off on time despite the fire. “My initial reaction was shock,” she said. “It left me speechless.”
“It was a lot of hard work, but everyone pulled together to get it done,” said Fire Marshall Fred Baker, who did a final inspection today. “The Health Department has cleared it and the banquet kitchen is ready to go.”
The Saturday fire, which began when an old basement steam pipe overheated and ignited adjoining wood, spread upwards through voids and hidden ducts.
Rell Asks State to Honor Connecticut’s War Dead on Friday
Gov. M. Jodi Rell is asking people across the state to take some time on Friday to pause and honor Connecticut’s war dead.
Rell, who left Danbury Hospital this afternoon where she underwent breast cancer surgery, has requested a statewide moment of silence and tolling of bells at noon in memory of the men and women with Connecticut ties killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2004.
“Before this year ends it is appropriate that we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” Rell said in a statement. “Our freedom comes at a price that is - at times - almost unbearably tragic.
In the past year, a dozen members of the military with ties to the state have been killed in the Middle East.
Save the Children Seeks Volunteers to Help With Phones
Westports Save the Children charity is inundated with phone calls from across the country from people wishing to donate to its Asian earthquake relief fund and today appealed to Westporters to help come in and man the phones.
ғWe can use people today and through the weekend, said spokeswoman Dianne Sherman. ԓWe can teach them very quickly how to answer the phones. Its a very rewarding experience.Ҕ
She said the charitys headquarters on Wilton Road has received about $2 million in online donations in the past few days with more money being pledged every minute.
Those who have some time to donate to the charity to help with answering phones are asked to call (203) 221-4000.
Neighbors came out to watch today as a home at 2 Angora Road, off of High Point Road, came down. The house, featured as the WestportNow teardown of the day on Nov. 8, was bult in the 1960s and, according to a neighbor, won an award for its architecture. The owner of the property is planning to rebuild. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Westport Representative Town Meeting Canceled
The scheduled Jan. 11 meeting of Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) has been canceled and the legislative body will next meet Feb. 1.
RTM Moderator Gordon Joseloff said with action on a proposed underage drinking ordinance postponed until February and no Board of Finance meeting in December, there were no pressing matters on the RTM agenda.
The 36-member nonpartisan body usually meets once a month. Several RTM committee meetings, however, have been scheduled in January, including a Jan. 3 session with the Board of Education to discuss budget matters.
Editor’s note: Gordon Joseloff is also editor of WestportNow.com
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Rell’s Doctors Keep Her Hospitalized Another Day
Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s doctors want her to remain at Danbury Hospital for at least another day to recuperate from Monday’s breast cancer surgery, her office said today.
The Republican governor had been expected to leave the hospital today and rest at home for several days.
“I may be the governor, but around here it’s the doctors who run the show, and I’m going to listen to their advice - most of the time, anyway,” Rell said in a statement issued by her office.
Rell, 58, underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery on Monday afternoon. According to Rell’s staff, her doctors are pleased with her progress and say she is healing well.
Westport Tax Collector’s Office Sends Out Apology Letters
The Westport Tax Collector’s office today sent out 486 letters of apology to Westporters who received delinquency notices for sewer use tax bills they never received.
“The Town of Westport apologizes for this error and the inconvenience it has caused you,” wrote Tax Collector George W. Underhill.
The vendor error came to light earlier this month after several WestportNow readers who received the notices wrote letters to the Web site complaining that they had not received a bill.
Others then reported similar experiences, leading to an investigation. (See WestportNow Dec. 21, 2004)
First Night Reminder
Signs all over Westport remind residents of Friday’s New Year’s Eve First Night activities. They begin in the afternoon, mark the New Year with fireworks, and continue with a post-midnight concert. Organizer say button sales are brisk. Details at the First Night Westport/Weston 2005 Web site. Ron Malone for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Westport’s Save the Children Mourns Deaths of Two Staffers
Staff members of Westport-based Save the Children are mourning the deaths of two colleagues who died Sunday in Indonesia as a result of the earthquake and tidal waves that devastated south and southeastern Asia, the charity said today.
It said three other staff members were missing.
Save the Children USA, which has operated health, nutrition and job-creation programs in the Aceh province of Indonesia since 1976, is the largest international humanitarian agency working in the province.
The agency has intensified its efforts to provide food, water, shelter and medical care to children and their families impacted not only in Indonesia but throughout the Asian region, the agency said in a statement..
Gov. Rell Reported Resting Comfortably After Surgery
Gov. M. Jodi Rell was resting comfortably today after surgery Monday for breast cancer, her office said.
Rells doctors said Monday evening that her mastectomy and reconstructive surgery at Danbury Hospital was successful and ғeverything looks very good,” a statement said. Rell is expected to remain in the hospital until Wednesday.
The governor expressed her deep gratitude for the outpouring of good will from the people of the state, according to the release.
She said she was eagerly looking forward to celebrating the University of Connecticuts 39-10 victory over the University of Toledo in Monday nightҒs Motor City Bowl in Detroit.
Hitting the Road
The sun was out, but the temperature struggled to get above freezing today in Westport. Forecasters predicted a warming trend by the end of the week. View of the Saugatuck River is along the riverwalk near the Westport Public Library. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Monday, December 27, 2004
Westport Inn at Longshore Fire Blamed on Overheated Steam Pipe
The Christmas Day fire that heavily damaged parts of Westport’s Inn at Longshore was caused by an overheated basement steam pipe, Westport Fire Chief Denis McCarthy said today.
Meanwhile, the operator of the landmark building, Rory Tagert, said he hoped to reopen in time for a Thursday wedding. He said restoration of five damaged guest rooms in the 1920s structure owned by the town will take longer.
Preliminary investigation of the predawn blaze found that the likely cause was a hot steam pipe adjacent to a floor joist in the basement, McCarthy said.
Known as pyrolysis, this involves a longtime buildup of heat that causes charring or decomposition of surrounding material.
Connecticut Governor Undergoes Breast Cancer Surgery
Gov. M. Jodi Rell addresses Westport’s Y’s Men last January. WestportNow.com photoGov. M. Jodi Rell has breast cancer and underwent surgery today at Danbury Hospital, her office announced.
It said the breast cancer was diagnosed last week after a routine mammogram.
Rell, 58, had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery performed and was recovering this evening after being in surgery for much of the afternoon, her office said. She is expected to be in the hospital for about three days, according to the announcement.
It said the cancer “was caught in its very early stages in fact, the cancer itself did not appear on the mammogram and was only discovered during a biopsy of a non-cancerous calcium deposit ֖ and tests have shown the disease has not spread.”
Supervising the Cleanup at Longshore
Rory Tagert, who has operated Westport’s town-owned Inn at Longshore for 20 years, today surveys the damage to a second floor guestroom of the landmark structure. He was in Germany when the Chrismas Day fire broke out and rushed back home to supervise the cleanup. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Firefighters Praised for Doing “Spectacular Job”
It could take weeks to get the Inn at Longshore’s guestrooms ready for visitors, according to hotel operator Rory Tagert. He praised Westport and neighboring firefighters today for doing a “spectacular job” in saving the landmark building during Saturday’s Christmas Day fire. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
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