Thursday, November 30, 2006
P&Z Considers Denying Gorahm Affordable Housing Plan
All seven Westport Planning and Zoning Commission members said tonight they should deny a plan for an affordable housing in the Gorham Avenue Historic District and began discussing how to back up such a vote.
Red Coat Development has proposed to build 20 condominiums at the 1.5 acres at 296 Main St. and 5 Gorham Ave. Six of the units would be deemed “affordable” under state statutes. The application falls under the state’s affordable housing statute, which switches the burden of proof on a zoning decision to the commission.
Commission members said there is a significant need for affordable housing in Westport, but the plan presented was not the proper way to do it.
“We have a need for affordable housing in this town,” said Bruce Kasanoff, a commission member. “It’s critical and we need to do more. If I thought of the worst possible way to do it, (the application) would be close to it.”
Playhouse is Toys for Tots Collection Site
Those attending the Westport Country Playhouse’s performance of “A Christmas Carol” will have the opportunity to donate to the Toys for Tots program through Dec. 23.
The playhouse is an official collection site for the program, which is run by the U.S. Marines Corps Reserve and collects new, unwrapped toys for needy children.
Over the 58 years of the Toys for Tots program, Marines have distributed more than 351 million toys to 166 million needy children.
Performances for “A Christmas Carol” are scheduled for selected Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 1 and 5:30 p.m.
For ticket information, call (203) 227-4177 or 888-927-7529, surf to www.westportplayhouse.org or visit the box office at 25 Powers Court.
With temperatures in the 60s today, people brought out their dogs to play at Westport’s Compo Beach. Warmer temperatures are expected for Friday, but rain is also in the forecast. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 5 Reimer Road
Westport building officials are reviewing an application to demolish the house at 5 Reimer Road, which is near Bedford Middle School. The house sold in September for $1.025 million. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
High Wind Watch in Effect
The National Weather Service said today a high wind watch remains in effect from Friday afternoon through late Friday night for Westport and the tri-state area.
Southerly winds are forecast to increase to 30 to 40 mph by late Friday afternoon ahead of an approaching cold front. Higher winds are possible in bands of heavy showers and thunderstorms, reaching 45 to 60 mph, an advisory said.
As this front moves through, winds will shift to the west and northwest with gusts up to 60 mph possible for a few hours.
Those who travel in high profile vehicles should be aware that crossing bridges may be difficult during this time. Power outages will be possible with downed branches and trees, the advisory said.
Moving Van Pulls Down Wires
A moving van (r) pulled down overhead wires at mid-day today as it entered Darbrook Road from Compo Road North. Westport police and fire units responded along with crews from Connecticut Light & Power Co. Traffic was rerouted on Compo Road North for about one hour. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Westport Rotary’s Newest Members
The Westport Rotary Club this week inducted its newest members. They included (l-r) John Luyando, assistant manager, Commerce Bank; Helene Weir, executive director, Westport Weston Family Y; (in between, Lois Schine, president of Westport Rotary) and Christopher Ackley, Westport fire chief. Rick Benson, Rotary district governor-elect (2008-2009), at the microphone, conducted the installation ceremony at the weekly luncheon at the Inn at Longshore. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Middle School Musical
Students involved in the drama program at Westport’s Coleytown Middle School thought they would be performing “Aida” this spring, but that changed when Dodie Pettit (l) became artistic director for the Coleytown Company. This week she announced—with the help of three students—they would perform the stage adaptation of “High School Musical,” a Disney Channel original movie. Auditions take place next week, and performances are slated for March 29, 30 and 31. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) David Dreyfuss for WestportNow.com
Continued unusually warm weather has brought people out of their homes, iincluding this man fishing Wednesday at Westport’s Burying Hill Beach. Temperatures are expected to stay warm until this weekend. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006
5:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Emily McLaury House Committee
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Planning & Zoning Commission Work Session
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Sherwood Mill Pond Committee
7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “A Christmas Carol” (sold out)
8 p.m. - Westport Community Theatre - “An Inspector Calls”
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The Secrets to Longer Life
Aging expert Leonard Guarente, appearing at the Westport Public Library tonight, drew a capacity crowd hoping to learn the secrets about “The Future of Longevity.” The Massachusetts Institute of Technology biology professor, who is at the forefront of investigating how to prolong life and counter diseases of aging, spoke at the most recent edition of the Community Conversation series. He said it has been known for a long time the simple answers for a longer life are not to smoke and to keep weight down. Guarente believes that the use of chemical compounds that mimic the effects of a restricted diet will revolutionize the therapeutics of aging. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Coach P on Saturday Football Final: “It’s Going to be a Battle”
Flashback: Marce Petroccio celebrates last year’s state championship win over Masuk. Betsey Lebow/WN file photoWestport’s Staples High School football team plays in its fifth straight state championship final Saturday and Coach Marce Petroccio said today it will be tough.
Staples (10-1) plays Bunnell of Stratford (11-1) at 7 p.m. at West Haven’s Ken Strong Stadium for the Class L championship.
“I have great kids,” Petroccio told reporters in Cheshire at news conference for teams involved in Saturday’s games. “I love coming to work every day and working with them. They’re awesome. They’ve got a lot of heart. They are the poster child for team chemistry.
“It’s going to be a tall task (beating Bunnell), it really is. We don’t have a lot of time to get ready. They’re a spread offense. They do a lot of different things. It’s going to be a battle.”
Rell Announces Agreement on Power Lines
Gov. M. Jodi Rell today announced an agreement that avoids the need to build three bridges to carry new high voltage power transmission lines across waterways in Fairfield, one of which borders Westport.
Jodi Rell: common sense prevailed. Dave Matlow/WN file photo
Rell said the state Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection (DEP) are now proposing to run these transmission lines along two existing DOT bridges, including one at Sasco Creek on the Fairfield-Westport line, and to place the line underwater in the third location.
“We have crafted a solution that addresses my two top concerns on this project–serving the energy needs of our families and businesses, and protecting the environment,” Rell said in a statement issued by her office.
“DOT and DEP have successfully responded to public concerns about the impact of this project and have demonstrated that common sense and cooperation are two keys to effective government. By minimizing the impact on the environment, we protect Connecticut’s beauty and quality of life.”
Merchants to Unveil Plan for Downtown
The Downtown Merchants Association is planning to unveil a $15 million plan to upgrade Westport’s downtown area, including an increase in parking through a deck on the Elm Street lot.
David Waldman, president of the downtown merchants group, is seen in front of the one-time Westport Bank & Trust Co. building after announcing he had purchased it in November 2004. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com file photo
David Waldman, association president, said the group will unveil its plan on Dec. 13, and it includes 150 new parking spaces and changes to Parker-Harding Plaza that includes beautification and better access to the Saugatuck River.
There would additionally be new sidewalks and improvements to the streetscape, he said.
The lack of parking was one of the main reasons that drove the merchants to craft the plan, Waldman said.
Federal Judge Rejects Indian Land Claims
A federal judge in New Haven today rejected all remaining land claims filed by the Golden Hill Paugussett Indians who have used the claims to try to force approval of plans to build a gambling casino in Bridgeport.
The land claims, repeatedly rebuffed by state and federal courts, involved tens of thousands of acres in southwestern Connecticut. At one point the claims made over a decade included some in Westport. The town has opposed a Bridgeport casino.
U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton, in dismissing three remaining federal land claim cases brought by the tribe, said the Golden Hill group lacks standing to take possession of so-called ancestral lands.
She said the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has concluded that the group ceased being a viable Indian tribe more than 100 years ago.
Gramatky Named Among Top American Watercolorists
Hardie Gramatky: Among the top American watercolorists. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
The late Westport artist Hardie Gramatky has been named one of American’s all-time great watercolorists by artist Andrew Wyeth.
Wyeth was asked to choose the top 20 American watercolorists in an interview with Watercolor magazine for its 20th anniversary issue this fall, and Gramatky was named on that list.
He was internationally known for both his fine art watercolors and his fourteen children’s books, which included “Little Toot.”
Gramatky’s grandson Andew Smith said the selection was like asking Mick Jagger to name the two all-time greatest rock bands.
“A Christmas Carol” Opens at Playhouse Tonight
“A Christmas Carol” opens tonight at the Westport Country Playhouse, and it features Westporter Luke Sauer as Tiny Tim. The production runs through Dec. 23. It is a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens novel. Nick Cordileone, who is in the background, plays Bob Cratchit. For information and tickets, call (203) 227-4177 or 888-927-7529, or visit the box office at 25 Powers Court. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Temple Israel Holds Gift Boutique Sunday
Temple Israel will hold its third annual Gift Boutique on Sunday at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the synagogue on Coleytown Road.
More than 40 vendors will be on hand to sell jewelry, ceramics, stationery and children’s clothing.
The event’s proceeds benefit the Temple Israel Youth Scholarship Fund.
Entry to the event is free and open to the public.
First Night Volunteers Sought
First Night of Westport-Weston is seeking volunteers for its 13th New Year’s Eve event, and will hold a party for people to sign up.
The event is scheduled for Monday at 7-9 p.m. at Spyglass Restaurant at the Westport Inn on Post Road East.
Volunteers can sign up at the party, but those who cannot attend can sign up through the First Night Web site at www.firstnightww.com.
Buttons, which serve as tickets to the event’s host of activities, are on sale through the Web site. They are $10 through Thursday before rising in price to $15.
Weather Service Issues Wind Advisory
The National Weather Service today issued an advisory warning of the potential for damaging winds Friday and Friday night in the Westport and tri-state area..
There is a potential for sustained wind speeds from 30 to 40 mph with gusts from 45 to 55 mph Friday afternoon and Friday night, the advisory said.
As a strong cold front moves slowly east toward a departing high pressure system moving off the Atlantic coast, south winds will begin to slowly increase during Thursday.
A wave of low pressure is forecast to develop along this front. It is forecast to intensify rapidly as it moves northeast passing north of the region Friday night, the advisory said.
Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006
10:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – International Hospitality Committee
7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “A Christmas Carol”
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309/307 – RTM Public Works/Environment Committees
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Community Conversation: The Future of Longevity
9 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201A – RTM Health & Human Services Committee
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Staples 24-7 Win Over West Haven Sets Up Saturday Final
Junior Michael Samela hauls in a 30-yard touchdown pass from R. J. Marsilio in tonight’s 24-7 Staples win over West Haven in the Class L semifinal played at Fairfield Warde. Staples will meet Bunnell Saturday in the state championship game at a site to be determined. It will be the fifth straight state championship appearance for the Wreckers. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Staples players celebrate on the field following tonight’s 24-7 semifinal win over West Haven at Fairfield Warde. Coach Marce Petroccio is a center, rear. “It wasn’t pretty but we can’t play any harder,” Petroccio said. “I’m so proud of my team. We’re going back to the show for the fifth straight year.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Large Crowd Watches Staples Advance to Finals
Staples had a large crowd cheering them on tonight as the Wreckers rolled over West Haven 24-7 at Fairfield Warde. The game was moved to Fairfield because Staples, which had home field advantage in the game, does not have lights. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Senior Dan Rosato (56) gains some ground in tonght’s 24-7 Staples win over West Haven The victory at Fairfield Warde put Staples into Saturday’s Class L champtionship against Bunnell. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Plenty to Cheer About
Westport Detective’s Case Continued Until Jan. 9
Walter Broadhurst: charges detailed. WN file photoWestport Detective Walter Broadhurst appeared in Norwalk Superior Court today on charges that included petty theft and evidence tampering. His case was continued until Jan. 9.
An arrest warrant for Broadhurst, 37, of Shelton presented to the court detailed how he was caught by a video camera taking $20 from the purse of fellow detective Jill Ruggerio.
The camera had been set after Ruggerio reported a theft from her purse earlier, court documents said. The camera caught Broadhurst walking over to Ruggerio’s desk, bending down, straightening up and putting something in his pocket.
Later, the bill was discovered in the trash in a police department men’s room where Broadhurst had gone while being questioned by superiors, the warrant said.
Human Services Accepting Donations for Giving Program
The Westport Department of Human Services is again taking donations for its annual Holiday Giving Program, which assists the town’s needier families.
“Over the years, the generosity of volunteer donors has made the holidays brighter for hundreds of children, families and seniors in our town,” said Human Services Director Barbara Butler.
The program follows financial guidelines set forth by Westport Warm-Up Fund eligibility, and residents can donate items while the confidentiality of the donor and receiver is protected.
“Voluntary donations at any level will be greatly appreciated and could range from helping to fill the gift choices of a child to sponsorship of an entire family,” Butler said. “Some of the most appreciated gifts are ‘grocery gift cards’ of any amount, purchased from one of our local supermarkets and new children’s books.”
IHA Plans Holiday Food Drive and Celebration
The Interfaith Housing Association will hold a food drive for its food pantry in conjunction with a holiday celebration.
The celebration is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. at the Gillespie Center/Hoskins’ Place at 45 Jesup Road in Westport.
The event, which is open to the community, will feature food, a tree lighting, Menorah lighting and a visit from Santa Claus, who will arrive with the Westport Fire Department.
Those attending should bring a non-perishable food item for the food pantry.
Holiday House Tour Reminder
It Only Hurts for a Moment
More than 100 persons showed up to get their flu shots by noon today at the Westport Weston Health District. There will be another flu clinic on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at the Westport Public Library from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Westport Police Sponsor Toy Drive
Westport police will collect toys for the WICC Holiday Fund for Children, which provides toys to underprivileged children during the holiday season, again this year.
New, unwrapped, unopened toys can be donated each day during all hours at Westport Police Headquarters at 50 Jesup Road.
Police will also be at Toys ‘R Us on Post Road East filling a police cruiser with toys on Dec. 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Monetary donations are also accepted.
Lighting the Bridge
Police were on Westport’s Bridge Street Bridge Monday night directing traffic as workers installed Christmas lights on the bridge over the Saugatuck River. The bridge lights are sponsored each year by Westport’s Al’s Angels charity group. For more information, go to www.alsangels.org. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2006
10 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Arts Advisory Committee
10 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Westport-Weston Health District - Flu Clinic
6:30 p.m. - Fairfield Warde High School - Staples football Class L semifinal playoff vs West Haven
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Zoning Board of Appeals
7:45 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – RTM Education, Finance & Employee Compensation Committees
8:45 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – RTM Finance Committee
Monday, November 27, 2006
Finance Board Gets Jump on Budget Discussions
The Westport Board of Finance won’t officially review the proposed town budget until March and April, but it got a head start tonight in a meeting to discuss priorities, ideas and questions about the process.
Tonight the board discussed budget matters with First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, Selectwoman Shelly Kassen and Finance Director Donald Miklus. Next Monday the board will meet with the Board of Education on its budget priorities.
Jeffrey Mayer, finance board chairman, said the discussions about the need for an additional person at the Center for Senior Activities came up late during budget discussions, and it was too late to do anything.
“Now we can get those issues out early enough to do something,” he said.
PROPERTY TRANSFERSWestport Property Transfers Nov. 13-17, 2006
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