Saturday, April 30, 2005
Sherwood Island Rainscape
Something Old is Something New at Old Westport Town Hall
There were plenty of dignitaries on hand Friday for the official opening of the Hudson United Bank in the former Westport Town Hall on Post Road East. Doing the ribbon cutting was Kenneth Neilson, CEO and chairman of the bank (2nd l). He was joined by (l-r) Denise Torv, Westport Historical Society executive director; First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell; Police Chief Alfred R. Fiore, and Mar Jennings, the bank’s vice president and area director. The bank and the Society joined together for the special celebration called “Something Old is. . . Something New!” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Andrea Maritzer Fine for WestportNow.com
Friday, April 29, 2005
New Westport Fire Chief Ackley Sworn In
By James LomuscioWestportNow Special Correspondent
First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell swears in Westport’s new Fire Chief Christopher Ackley today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.comThe classroom at Westport’s fire headquarters was so packed with firefighters, police, EMS personnel, town officials, and firefighters from other towns today that many quipped the town’s fire marshal would have to issue a summons.
But this event—the swearing in of Christopher Ackley as the town’s new fire chief—drew applause and accolades instead. Ackley, a 27-year department veteran who served as the town’s deputy chief, replaces Denis McCarthy who is leaving the chief’s post after two years to become fire chief in Norwalk.
“I’m really awed in the faith you have in me to fill this position,” said Ackley, 49, shortly after being sworn in by First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell. “I’m going to do my best to respect that trust.”
Among the more poignant moments were when Ackley’s wife Jill took the chief’s badge unhooked from McCarthy and placed it on her husband, and the embrace between Ackley and McCarthy that followed.
“We started in this department the same day, July 10, 1978,” McCarthy recalled, “and of that group that started, Chris was the strongest firefighter. And he has continued to be the strongest firefighter. We all look up to him.”
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Westport/Weston Y Announces Capital Campaign Chairs
The Wesport/Weston YMCA today announced that three area families will head its capital campaign in connection with its planned move from downtown Westport to its Camp Mahackeno property.
Bill Gault, Bill Mitchell, and Arthur Tauck will serve as the campaign’s honorary chairpersons. Nancy and Sam Gault, Ginger and Jim Donaher, and Chris Mitchell and Robin Tauck will serve as co-chairs.
The Y also announced it will now formally operate under the name “Westport Weston Family Y.”
Westport/Weston families—the Gaults on the left side, the Mitchells in the center, and the Taucks to the right—unveil the new Westport Weston Family Y name. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
By James LomuscioWestportNow Special Correspondent
As steam rose from the simmering wok in the kitchen this morning, Johnny Wong was out in the alley alongside his restaurant, The Ships Corner Chinese Take-out, to supervise the placement of a dumpster. After 20 years in the heart of Westport’s downtown at 23 Jesup Road, the restaurant will close for the last time tonight at 10.
Owner Johnny Wong founded the restaurant 20 years ago. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.comThe woks, pots, and pans will be washed one last time, Wong said, before being tossed into the dumpster Friday.
“I lost my lease, and five weeks ago the landlord sent me a letter that I would have to be out,” said Wong. “On Monday I’m going to give the key to the landlord.
“My customers, they’re all hurt,” he added, tapping his chest. “A lot of customers are looking for a place for me to stay in Westport.”
For the past 18 months since Wong’s lease from Greenwich-based Win Proprties, Inc. expired, his business has been surviving on a month-to-month basis. Wong says he has paid a total of $5,000 a month in rent and taxes, an amount he is sure will climb in the event he finds another location in Westport.
Westport/Weston Y Officials Address Y’s Men on Planned Move
Y’s Men guest: YMCA Executive Director and CEO Dick Foot answers questions. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.comSenior officers of the Westport/Weston YMCA were guest speakers at today’s Y’s Men meeting at the Saugatuck Congregational Church.
Speakers included Dick Foot, CEO and exectutive director; Rosemary Halstead, president of the Board of Directors; Ian Bruce, first vice president and Board member; and Allen Raymond, chairman of the Board of Trustees. The topic was the proposed plan to relocate the YMCA from downtown Westport to Camp Mahackeno.
Westport/Weston YMCA officials will make a similar presentation on Monday to the Y’s Women at their weekly meeting at 11 a.m. in the Board Room on the second floor of the YMCA’s Bedford Building, 59 Post Road East.
Mason Adams Dies at 86
IMDB File photoLongtime Westport resident Mason Adams, the actor best known for his role as the easygoing managing editor on television’s “Lou Grant” show, died of natural causes Tuesday at 86 in his Upper East Side home, The New York Times reported today.
Mason, who had received three Emmy nominations for his TV role, was also the voice over pitchman for the J. M. Smucker Company with his signature line, “With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good.” His warm, grandfatherly, Rockwellian voice and screen presence, won the actor recognition as an embodiment of Americana.
Adams, who began his career in radio, was also a stage actor. The Times reports his last play was the Roundabout Theater’s production of Arthur Miller’s “The Man Who Had All the Luck” in 2002.
Adams moved to Westport in 1957 when he married Margot Fineberg, and they also maintained a home in Manhattan. Besides his wife, he is survived by a daughter Betsy, and son, Bill.
Lower Fairfield County Area is Nation’s Richest
People living in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metropolitan area earned enough money in 2003 for each person to have $60,803, making it the nation’s richest on a per capita basis.
The region’s income easily topped the next-highest, the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif., area, which had a per capita income of $46,958. The nation’s per capita income in 2003 was $31,472.
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released its annual report on metropolitan area personal and per capita income Wednesday. Per capita income is the total amount of money earned through wages, benefits, Social Security and income from businesses divided by the number of people living in an area.
The BEA said wages nationally increased by 2.5 percent between 2002 and 2003, while proprietors’ income increased by 8.5 percent and employers’ contributions to employee pension and insurance funds increased by 10.7 percent during the period. The BEA did not release this data for the metropolitan areas.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Thursday, April 28, 2005
6 p.m. �Westport Library, McManus Room—Counselors from the Norwalk chapter of SCORE, a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration, present an interactive workshop on “Six Concepts of Business Success”
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing (live coverage on cable channel 79)
Longshore’s Splash Restaurant to Reopen Thursday
The Splash Restaurant, closed since Christmas morning by a fire at Westport’s Inn at Longshore, will reopen Thursday night, manager Kevan Sheehan said today.
The restaurant’s dining area and kitchen were damaged by the early morning blaze that began in the hotel’s basement and worked its way to the roof through interior walls. (See WestportNow Dec. 25, 2004)
The Inn managed to reopen its ballroom four days later in time to host a wedding reception but took longer to repair five guest rooms damaged in the blaze.
Happy 170th Birthday Westport!
Today’s Brown Bag lunch included a birthday cake for Westport which this year marks its 170th birthday. Westport became a separate entity from Norwalk and Fairfield on April 28, 1835, when Daniel Nash led the charter that was signed in Hartford. Joining First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell (2nd l) for the celebration were (l-r) Mollie Donovan and Joan Miller of the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection, and Town Clerk Patricia H. Strauss. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farell (l) and Town Clerk Patricia H. Strauss today showed off a reproduction of the original Westport Town Charter that was created on parchment in 1935—Westport’s 100th birthday—by artist Edward Ades. The event was part of a celebration of Westport’s 170th birthday during the weekly Brown Bag Luncheon. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Brainstorming the Compo Beach Playground
The Coleytown Elementary Student Leadership Council shared their ideas for a new Compo Beach playground today with John Dean, the playground designer from Leathers & Associates. Dean will present his new design for the facility at a community presentation in the Long Lots Elementary School auditorium tonight at 7 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Julia Mally for WestportNow.com
Westport Rated Almost at Bottom on State Ethics Survey
Westport rates almost at the bottom of a list in a survey by a state watchdog group of city and town ethics laws.
The survey by Connecticut Common Cause was released Tuesday at a Hartford news conference.
Among the cities and towns in the Westport area, Stamford and Bridgeport scored the highest on the survey, with a 5, followed by Darien, Fairfield and Weston, which got at 4. Easton, Greenwich, Norwalk, New Canaan and Wilton scored 3s. Westport got a 1. The lowest rating was 0.
The group said while Westport had a code of ethics, it did not fare well in its other ethics-related survey categories.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Gull and Scull
Talking Transportation: Amtrak�s Acela Woes
By Jim CameronSpecial to WestportNow
Amtrak�s flagship train, the 165-mph Acela, is in the shop again, this time with troubling cracks in its disc brakes. While the railroad and Bombardier are scrambling to find a fix and get these trains back on track, it seems an appropriate time to ask �how did we get in this mess?�
In the mid-1980s, Amtrak knew that in order to survive, it had to upgrade its aging Amfleet cars. (I wish the Connecticut Department of Transportation � CDOT—and Metro-North were as proactive in fleet replacement!)
While Amtrak�s Metroliner was running New York to Washington in under three hours, the equipment could never make serious time on the increasingly important, but oh-so-curvaceous, New York-to-Boston run.
While NYC to DC is pretty much a straight shot, the Boston run has so many curves that trains complete 11 complete circles on the 240-mile run. And Amfleet cars don�t tilt, forcing slower speeds.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
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. - Turner Trailers - School Building Committee Staples Subcommittee
6 p.m. - Bedford Middle School - Second annual student art exhibition
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - RTM Planning & Zoning Committee
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309/307 - Board of Selectmen
7 p.m. - Long Lots Elementary School—Unveiling of Compo Beach playground design
7:30 p.m—Westport Library McManus Room - “Artists in Conversation” - Noted architect Jim Polshek, whose recent projects include the Clinton Presidential Library and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, joins in conversation with Yale School of Architecture critic Carter Wiseman; co-presentation with Westport Arts Center
Flying High at Compo
The kite surfers returned to Westport’s Compo Beach today. The temperature reached 63F under sunny skies at Bedford Middle School but only got into the upper 50s near the water. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Andrea Maritzer Fine for WestportNow.com
Sprucing Up Post Road East and the Sherwood Island Connector
Westport’s Kowalsky Brothers construction company today worked on a beautification project at the intersection of Post Road East and the Sherwood Island Connector. The planting project will include a sign welcoming visitors to Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ron Malone for WestportNow.com
Staples Grad Makes Carnegie Hall Debut as Composer
Former Westporters Vic Arrington and Peggy Arrington pose with their son, composer and Staples grad Devin Arrington, 27, at a reception Monday Night at New York’s Carnegie Hall following the world premiere performance of Devin’s chamber music piece “Jerusalem” by the New York Youth Symphony. Devin performs regularly with the Westmoreland Symphony in Greenburg, Pa., and teaches violin and composition in Pittsburgh His parents recently moved to Hilton Head S.C. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Rick Benson for WestportNow.com
Chris Ackley Named New Westport Fire Chief
Outgoing Westport Fire Chief Denis McCarthy (l) congratulates Deputy Chief Chris Ackley on today’s announcement that Ackley, a 26-year veteran of the department, will succeed him. Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell said she will swear in Ackley at 2 p.m. Friday. McCarthy has been named chief in Norwalk. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Allen’s Clam House Barn Taken Down
An 1800s barn on the former Allen’s Clam House property � now town-owned—on Hillspoint Road at Old Mill came down today. The Historic District Commission gave its approval to the demolition at its April 12 meeting. (See WestportNow April 12, 2005) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
RTM Consideration of Noise Ordinance Postponed
A Westport noise ordinance submitted by residents and scheduled to be considered at next week’s session of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) has been postponed until June at the residents’ request.
They asked for the postponement during a meeting Monday night of the RTM Ordinance Committee, the first committee to consider the suggested ordinance. The proposed measure imposes tighter restrictions on construction and other activities.
The Ordinance Committee recommended that other RTM committees, including Public Protection, Environment and Planning and Zoning, consider the proposal and that the town attorney’s office then revise it based on committee and public input.
The measure will be taken up again at the RTM’s June 7 meeting, according to RTM Moderator Gordon Joseloff. The RTM’s May 2 and 3 meetings are mainly devoted to annual budget matters but non-budget items will be considered as well.
(Editor’s note: The Moderator of the RTM is also editor of WestportNow.com.)
Monday, April 25, 2005
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Arts Advisory Committee
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - RTM Public Works Committee
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201A - Youth Commission Underage Drinking Subcommittee
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Zoning Board of Appeals
Taking Aim at Big Houses
By James LomuscioWestportNow Special Correspondent
Are McMansions a well-heeled homeowner’s right or a neighborhood blight that threaten Westport’s charm and, ultimately, its quality of life? These and other big house concerns are expected to be aired at two public meetings next month, the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission’s Big House Committee decided today.
Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Eleanor Lowenstein (2nd r) addresses the P&Z’s Big House Committee today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
The meetings slated for Tuesday, May 17, at 10 a.m. and Wednesday, May 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium will set the stage to see if any changes to the town’s residential zoning regulations are in the wings, officials say.
“Once we get information, we will have the time to sit down and study them,” said Eleanor R. Lowenstein, P&Z chairman. “The next time around it will be a public hearing on (residential zoning) changes.”
Katherine Barnard, Planning and Zoning Department director, said the planned meetings sprung from numerous resident concerns both for and against the proliferation massive homes.
Longtime YMCA Employee Charlie Moffat Dies at 68
Charlie Moffat, who served on the staff of the Westport/Weston YMCA for 37 years as a member services representative, custodian, health center attendant, and chief of laundry operations, has died at the age of 68, the YMCA announced today.
Paul Newman was among those paying tribute to Charlie Moffat on his retirement in 1998. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Moffat, known for his cheery “Have a nice day!” greeting, died Thursday after a long illness.
At a retirement tribute offered on the occasion of Moffat’s 61st birthday on March 26th, 1998, retired YMCA Executive Director Matt Johnson said that Moffat had been one of the most dependable and conscientious YMCA employees he ever worked with.
Johnson recalled fondly the Monday night men’s fitness group in which Moffat played volleyball at the YMCA.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Westport/Weston Y Officials to Address Y’s Men and Y’s Women
The Westport/Weston YMCA’s plans to move from its downtown Westport location to its Camp Mahackeno facility will be the subject of two talks before the Y’s Men and Y’s Women groups this week and next.
Richard A. Foot, YMCA executive director and CEO and members of his staff will address the Y’s Men of Westport/Weston at the group’s weekly meeting on Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Saugatuck Congregational Church, 245 Post Road East.
He will make a similar presentation on Monday, May 2, to the Y’s Women at their weekly meeting at 11 a.m. in the Board Room on the second floor of the YMCA’s Bedford Building, 59 Post Road East.
In both addresses, Foot will talk about the Y’s “Imagine the Possibilities” campaign to build a new full-facility Y to be located on the Y’s 32-acre Mahackeno campus and how it will serve the community now and in the future.
Foot will discuss the selection Robert A. M. Stern Architects to design the new Y and will present preliminary site concept drawings, according to announcements from the groups.
Monday, April 25, 2005
10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - Planning and Zoning Big House Committee
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201A - RTM Long-Range Planning Committee
8 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - RTM Ordinance Committee
“Ride of Silence” May 18 to Honor Injured or Killed Bicyclists
A nationwide memorial ride to honor bicyclists who have died or suffered severe injuries comes to Westport next month.
A “Ride of Silence” to remember and honor those who have been injured or killed on public roadways, will be held at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 18, starting in the parking lot next to the Luciano Park ball field at the Westport railroad station.
The event is not a typical charity ride, according to organizer Tom Steinert-Threlkeld of Weston. In fact, there is no charity. There are no brochures, no T-shirts, no sponsors.
There is only silence. And a slow-paced ride on public roads, to demonstrate that cyclists care about fallen cyclists and how those who still are able to ride can peacefully share roadways with motorists, Steinert-Threlkeld said.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Enjoying the Fresh Air at Compo
Westport Fire Volunteers Conduct Training Drill
Westport Volunteer Fire Department members conducted training operations today at Westport fire headquarters. Volunteer Michelle Reiner goes through a hose drill. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Friday, April 22, 2005
Police Arrest Fairfield Man for Demolishing Home Without a Permit
The fast pace of Westport teardowns was too fast for a Fairfield man. Westport police arrested him for demolishing a home without a permit.
Illegally torn down: 59 Crescent Road. (CLICK TO ENLARGE Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Christopher J. Taylor, 35, was charged Thursday with taking down a home at 59 Crescent Road without having received the proper paperwork, according to officials. He was released on his own recognizance for a court appearance May 2 and could face a maximum of a year in jail and/or a $500 fine.
The home, which sold last month for $470,000, was featured as WestportNow’s teardown of the day March 15.
The house was demolished last week. Upon learning of the action, Steve Smith, Buildings Department director, filed a complaint with police.
The number of demolition permits issued in 2004 in Westport jumped 43 percent—to 106 compared to 73 the year before, according to Building Department records.
Firefighters Quickly Extinguish Electrical Panel Fire
Westport firefighters today quickly extinguished a fire in an electrical panel at a home on Laurel Lane.
Assistant Chief Robert Kepchar said units responded to report of a structure fire at 9:14 a.m. and upon arrival the homeowner told them there was a fire in the basement.
Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire in the main electrical panel and checked for fire extension with a thermal imaging camera, he said.
The fire was contained to the panel but smoke had to be ventilated from the rest of the house, Kepchar said. No one was injured in the blaze. The last unit left the scene at 10:17 a.m. Cause of the fire is under investigation.
Police Seek Four in Westport Robbery
Police sought four persons in connection with the robbery of a Saugatuck convenience store early today.
The four—three men and a woman described as hispanics—robbed the Fast Stop store at 20 Saugatuck Ave. shortly before 7 a.m.
Police spokesman Jerry Shannon said the money was in a bag on a shelf and while a store employee was distracted, one of the four grabbed it and ran.
Reports said no weapon was displayed and the four made their escape in a car police believe may have been headed to I-95.
Detectives said the quartet made off with more than $1,000. Westport police alerted State Police of the robbery.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Westport Man Gets 3 1/2 Years in Fatal Drunk-Driving Case
A Norwalk Superior Court judge has sentenced a Westport man to a 10-year prison term suspended after 3 1/2 years in connection with a 2003 crash that killed the man’s boyhood friend.
Judge John Kavanewsky Jr. sentenced Igor Bronov, 48, of 28 Hills Lane, on Thursday in connection with the death of Alexander Boyko, 46, in a crash early on April 5, 2003, on Westport Avenue in Norwalk. He died when Bronov lost control of his car and crashed into a utility pole.
The judge could have imposed a 10-year sentence suspended after any period between two and four years under a plea deal worked out last November. Bronov pleaded no contest to second-degree manslaughter and driving under the influence.
PROPERTY TRANSFERSWestport Property Transfers April 18-22, 2005
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