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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Rell Says 11 Lifeguards to Report to Sherwood Island Friday

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said today that the lifeguard shortage at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport has been successfully addressed just in time for the busy 4th of July weekend.

“Eleven fully-trained lifeguards will report to duty at Sherwood Island on Friday and I couldn’t be happier with the public’s response to my special appeal,” Rell said in a statement.

“I want to publicly thank each of the lifeguards for responding to this call to public service, and I want to publicly thank our staff at the Department of Environmental Protection for their speedy response in solving this problem.”

The governor praised Commissioner Gina McCarthy, saying she “has done a remarkable job under a tight deadline.  She has done her agency proud.”

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Rumors of Demise of Westport Italian Festival are False

By James Lomuscio

Rumors that Westport’s 22nd Annual Festival Italiano next week will be the final one due to a dearth of young blood and volunteers are false, according to the festival’s coordinator.italianfest07080401260.jpg
Westport’s Italian Festival: still going strong. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com file photo

“Not at all,” said Roberta Delladonna Troy, for the past six years the coordinator of Festival Italiano, also dubbed the Italian Festival.

“It’s a rumor. The Italians are strong, and we’re going to go for it. It’s certainly not going to be my last festival.”

Scheduled to kick off Thursday evening, July 7, with a parade down Riverside Avenue to Luciano Park off Franklin Street, the festival is set to run through Sunday night, July 10.

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Rell to Mark First Year in Office With Open House Friday

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said today she will mark her first anniversary in office by holding a public open house Friday at the State Capitol.

Rell will greet visitors on the first floor of the Capitol from noon to 2 p.m.

“This is an opportunity for me to say �thank you’ to the people of Connecticut for the confidence and trust they have placed in me,” Rell said in a statement.

“I have had so many wonderful experiences during this past year and I want to personally express my deepest gratitude to the public.

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Richard Foot Resigns as Westport/Weston Y CEO/Exec Director

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Dick Foot: will be consultant to Connecticut YMCAs. Contributed photo
Richard A. Foot, exercutive director and CEO of the Westport/Weston YMCA since 1996, has submitted his resignation to become a consultant to 25 YMCAs around Connecticut.

“I just felt it was time to look at other opportunities,” Foot, 58, said today. His resignation becomes effective Aug. 15.

Foot, who has been among the Y’s leadership planning a controversial move from its downtown headquarters to its Camp Mahackeno site in northwest Westport, said he would remain for the time being in Westport in the new post.

“I’ll be employed by the national YMCA organization serving as a consultant to 25 YMCAs in Connecticut,” he said. “It is something I am looking forward to.”

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Beach Gathering

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This week’s unfriendly beach weather did not deter some visitors to the marina area at Westport’s Compo Beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Today’s Westport Teardown: 263 North Ave.

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Today’s WestportNow teardown is 263 North Ave. near Coleytown Middle School. The home was built in 1840. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

2 p.m. and 8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “Finian’s Rainbow”
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Planning and Zoning Commission
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - RTM Environment Committee
8 p.m. - Levitt Pavilion - The Two Tenors, a program of Italian and Irish classical and romantic favorites

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Westport’s Eckerd Drug Store Closing?

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There are rumors that Westport’s Eckerd drug store at 1086 Post Road East, next to Barnes & Noble, will close its doors next week. A WestportNow reader said she had been told presciptions have been sent to the Stop & Shop pharmacy. A manager on duty at Eckerd said she was not authorized to comment. A source at Stop & Shop confirmed that the supermarket was getting customer prescriptions from Westport’s Eckerd. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Friday Car Wash to Benefit Homeless

The Rev. Peter Powell hopes those who want their cars clean and sparkling this 4th of July weekend will head to Westport Wash & Wax Friday for the car wash’s fifth annual Good Neighbor event.

All of the day’s gross sales will be donated to Powell’s Interfaith Housing Association (IHA) of Westport-Weston, Inc., a nonprofit social service agency that serves the town’s homeless.

“Last year they did $6,030 on the day of the car wash, and they gave the gross amount to Interfaith Housing,” said Powell, IHA’s president and CEO. “Their cost was not taken out at all. It makes a statement on their commitment to the community.”

Scott and Laila Tiefenthaler, owners of Westport Wash & Wax, quietly and without fanfare five years ago approached Powell with the offer after learning about IHA’s mission and services.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Rell Says Progress Being Made in Sherwood Island Lifeguard Shortage

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Gov. M. Jodi Rell:“resources must and will be provided.” File photo
Gov. M. Jodi Rell said today that progress is being made in addressing the lifeguard shortage at Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park.

In a statement, Rell expressed optimism that lifeguards will be on duty at the park by this 4th of July weekend.

“I am pleased to announce not only that DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) is interviewing seven interested lifeguard candidates for Sherwood Island, but also that we plan to pay the lifeguards who are hired between $9 and $9.50 an hour,” Rell said.

A number of the lifeguards who quit last weekend cited lower pay compared to other area beaches and not receiving promised pay raises.

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Westport Doctor Sentenced to Probation

A Westport pediatrician was sentenced today to three years probation and a $10,000 fine on charges of defrauding the Medicaid program and private health insurance companies as well as on tax evasion charges.

Suvarna Shah, 63, of 5 Pier Way Landing, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Christopher F. Droney in Hartford, according to Kevin J. O’Connor, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut.

Shah, who practiced in Norwalk, as a result of her conviction faces likely deportation, O’Connor said. She is a native of India. He said she will also likely be barred from submitting claims to the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs.

The physician had previously entered into a civil settlement agreement in which she agreed to pay $317,925.88 to the federal and state governments, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

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Rell Calls Transportation Bill “Historic Step Forward”

Gov. M. Jodi Rell today called the General Assembly’s approval of her transportation initiative a “historic step forward for Connecticut.”

“This initiative hits the fast lane as soon as the bill hits my desk,” Rell said in a statement.

“This is the boldest transportation proposal in Connecticut in two decades, and these desperately needed improvements are crucial to our economic success.

“I will be working closely with the Department of Transportation and other state agencies to make sure these improvements are felt as soon as humanly possible.”

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Talking Transportation: New Trains on Track

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow

There’s finally good news for Metro-North commuters. New trains are on the way!

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In special session, the Connecticut Legislature has approved Governor Rell’s bold initiative to spend more than $1 billion on almost 350 new rail cars. But don�t expect to ride these new cars until 2008 or, more likely, 2009.

Consultants are already drawing up the engineering specs for the proposed M8 twin-car sets, one car powered under the wire (in Connecticut) with its sister-car relying on third rail power (in Westchester and into Grand Central Terminal). 

Each car will power the other in its respective territory. Mind you, this is just the concept and has yet to be proven on paper or on the tracks.

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Hazy Westport

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A view looking west across Westport’s Saugatuck River Tuesday. That’s Assumption Church through the haze.The weather forecast called for more patchy fog in the morning today with a chance of showers and thundershowers later in the day. Humid with highs in the mid 80s. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jonathan Thrope for WestportNow.com

06/29/05 03:23 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon TwitThis Favicon

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

10:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - International Hospitality Committee
2 p.m. and 8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “Finian’s Rainbow”
7 p.m. - The Levitt Pavilion - The Hall Family returns for the 14th year

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No Lifeguards at Sherwood Island Park Worries Westport Police

By James Lomuscio

Although the Westport Police Department does not patrol Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park, Police Chief Al Fiore said today he is nonetheless concerned about reports that lifeguards have walked off the job there—especially with the busy Fourth of July weekend just days away.

“While we don’t patrol the state park, we routinely respond there on ambulance calls,” Fiore said, “and often our police officers are called to assist on disturbances and alike.”

“It (the walk off) would have the potential for additional calls for service,” he added. “You don’t want to see any bathing areas not attended by lifeguards.”

Bathers in trouble at the state park, he said, would require assistance from the town’s police Marine Division, Emergency Medical Services and Fire Department.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Taking a Break

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Taking a break today in Sarasota, Fla., are three members (r) of Westport’s Saugatuck Congregational Church Youth Group helping build homes there for Habitat for Humanity. Westporters Lisa Feistel, Rebecca Bub, and Erin Ogilvy smile for the camera while a local volunteer crew leader looks on. They arrived Sunday and return home Saturday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Doreen Birdsell for WestportNow.com

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Off to Build in Florida

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Members of Westport’s Saugatuck Congregational Church Youth Group, seen here in front of the church Sunday, are in Sarasota, Fla., on their fouth annual mission to help the local Habitat for Humanity build on a 70-home tract of land. The group includes: students Savion Agard, Nicholas Boak, Rebecca Bub, Alex Crosby, Desiree Dabice, Rob Haigh, Sam Hedricks, Emily Laugham, Erin Ogilvy, Stephen Ogilvy, Mike Reasor, Tyler Ross, and chaperones The Rev. John Danner, Lisa Fistel and Doreen Birdsell. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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A Westport Tradition: 4th of July Fireworks Not on 4th of July

By Jonathan Thrope

When Westport holds its 4th of July fireworks celebration Friday, July 1, at Compo Beach, it will be doing what it has always done � celebrating the national holiday on a day other than July 4.fireworks07020410260.jpg
Flashback: Compo fireworks lit up the sky on July 2, 2004. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Laux for WestportNow.com

It is not a matter of having to pay holiday overtime or lack of manpower as many people believe, according to Police Athletic League (PAL) organizers.

It’s simply that they do not want to have to shoo people off the beach at 4 p.m. on a busy 4th of July.

A fireworks event on the 4th of July would make it a “very, very hard job for us to clear the beach and set up for the fundraiser,” said John Anastasia, PAL vice president and former Westport deputy police chief.

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Camp Compo Underway

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Monday was the first day at Camp Compo at Westport’s Compo Beach. Youngsters enjoyed a hot game of volleyball. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

10 a.m. - Earthplace - Sasco Brook Pollution Abatement Committee
10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Planning and Zoning Commission Big House Committee
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Architectural Review Board
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Zoning Board of Appeals
8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “Finian’s Rainbow”
8 p.m. - Levitt Pavilion - U.S. Navy Band salutes big bands

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Farrell Pays Tribute to Marcia Lieberman, Mother of Sen. Joe Lieberman

Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell today said the death of Marcia Lieberman, mother of Sen. Joe Lieberman, was sad but a celebration of a life well lived.

Marcia Lieberman, who became an iconic figure in the vice presidential and presidential campaigns of her son, died Sunday in Stamford. She was 90.

In a statement, Farrell said: “The passing of Marcia Lieberman is indeed sad, but should be a celebration of a life well lived. I first met Marcia in New Hampshire when she was campaigning for her son Joe in his bid for the presidency.

“On a very cold Sunday morning in Salem, N.H., Marcia Lieberman joined Joe and his family in a very tiny VFW Hall, and in spite of the temperature, beamed with pride during her son’s speech.

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Gov. Rell Issues Appeal for Sherwood Island Lifeguards

Gov. M. Jodi Rell today issued an urgent appeal for people to apply for unfilled lifeguard positions at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport.

Rell’s call, in a statement issued by her office, followed a report Sunday in The Advocate of Stamford/Norwalk saying only four out of 10 full-time lifeguard positions as the park have been filled.

“With the busy Fourth of July weekend coming up and with Connecticut in the grips of a heat wave, I am making a special appeal for all interested parties to call our State Parks line at (860) 424-3200 to get more information on how they can work as lifeguards at Sherwood Island,” Rell said.

“If you are looking for a meaningful summer job that will allow you to work in one our most beautiful state parks, this is the job for you.

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Summer Morning at Westport’s Old Mill

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A summer morning at Westport’s Old Mill Pond. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ron Malone for WestportNow.com

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Susan Lloyd Scholarship Fund Honors 23 at Unitarian Church

By Bill Slocum

Twenty-three was the magic number as 23 teenagers and young adults from around Fairfield County who have been diagnosed with cancer were honored at the 23rd annual Susan Lloyd Scholarship Awards Reception Sunday at the Unitarian Church of Westport.susanfund06260501260.jpg
Susan Lloyd Scholarship Award winner Zac Meinero of Westport (c) poses Sunday with Susan Fund director Ann Lloyd (l), mother of the woman after whom the scholarship is named, and Zac’s mother, Teresa. The Westport-based Susan Fund gives scholarships to students like Zac who have had cancer. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bill Slocum for WestportNow.com

“These kids are so amazing,” said Ann Lloyd, a principal organizer of the event at the church on Lyons Plains Road. “Being dealt a life-threatening disease brings out the best in them.”

The awards totaling $57,000 are financed by the Susan Fund, a Westport-based charity named after Ann’s daughter, Susan. Since its inception in 1982, two years after Susan’s death from bone cancer, the fund has given out 434 awards totaling $739,350.

Anyone who resides in Fairfield County, has cancer, and is either in school or a training program is eligible. Though there is no age limit, most tend to be college age.

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