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Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

State’s $40.3 Billion Budget Tops Legislative Wrap Up

By James Lomuscio

The $40.3 billion state budget voted against by five area legislators—four Republicans and one Democrat—was a main topic discussed by them at today’s Westport Library “Legislative Wrap Up.”

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Five area legislators took part in today’s legislative forum at the Westport Library. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Also hot topics were what was described as overbearing tax hikes and ways to stop Connecticut’s business bloodletting.

Co-sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC) and the Hartford-based Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), the forum featured Sen. Tony Hwang (R-134), Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26), Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-136), Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143), and Rep. John Shaban (R-135).

“None of you voted for it, but the budget passed,” said WWCC Executive Director and President Matthew Mandell, who emceed the event. “What happened?”

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Idaho Group Uses WN Photo to Sell $95M Tax Hike

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This image posted by an Idaho political group is a cropped version of a photo posted on WestportNow on July 11, 2013. Contributed photo

A 2013 WestportNow photo of a road sign saying “bridge out” was used by an Idaho political group in a Tweet to sell a $95 million tax increase, according to an Idaho watchdog group.

In a story on IdahoWatchdog.org, the website showed how a 2013 WestportNow.com photo of signs warning that the Bayberry Lane Extension bridge was closed for repairs was cropped by the Better Idaho group to show only a sign that said “bridge out.”

“Derek Farr, Better Idaho’s editor, declined to discuss the deceptive graphic,” the website said.

It said Idaho lawmakers hiked taxes on drivers and workers July 1, boosting the gas tax 7 cents a gallon, plus adding $21 a year to car registration costs.

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F. Scott Fitzgerald House Changes Hands at $2.5 Million

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The house at 244 Compo Road South, known as the F. Scott Fitzgerald House since the celebrated writer and his wife lived there briefly in 1920, has changed hands for $2.5 million, according to the latest property transfers from the Westport Town Clerk’s Office. Sellers were Andrew J. and Jeannine C. Flower and buyers were Eric and Amy Lerner. The Flowers purchased the property in 2008 for $2,950,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Dora Stuttman, 90, Westport Democratic Stalwart

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UPDATE (adds arrangements) Dora Stuttman (c), an influential figure in the Westport Democratic Town Committee for decades, died July 6. She was 90. Westport Democrats honored her last October with establishment of the Dora Stuttman Campaign Leadership Award in recognition of her formidable organizational abilities, which led to many party victories. She is pictured with Martha Aasen (l), who was also honored for her party service, and former First Selectman Diane Farrell, whose political campaigns were led by Suttman. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, July 9 at 11 a.m. at Abraham L. Green & Son, 55 Beach Road, Fairfield, with interment to follow at Willowbrook Cemetery, 395 N. Main St., Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Applications Being Accepted for Affordable Housing

The Westport Housing Authority has announced that it is now accepting applications for Hidden Brook affordable rental housing located at 1655 Post Road East.

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Applications for Hidden Brook affordable housing, 1655 Post Road East, will be accepted until July 31. Contributed photo

The 39 units, in one-, two, or three-bedroom configurations, are at the rear of the Housing Authority’s Sasco Creek Village, where 33 mobile homes are being replaced with 54 new units.

Hidden Brook applications will be accepted until July 31 and must be postmarked no later than 4 p.m., an announcement said. Applications are to be mailed or hand delivered to the owner’s offices located at 5 Canal St., Westport, CT. 06880.

Hidden Brook monthly rentals are: one bedroom $900, two bedrooms $1,055, and three bedrooms $1,200. Eligibility is based on family size and income. See details here.

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Rare Look at Saugatuck River RR Bridge Opening


The 1905-built Saugatuck River Railroad Bridge—actually two bridges each carrying two tracks—opens a few times each year to allow marine traffic to pass. A complicated operation, it ran into trouble six days ago when it failed to close properly, briefly delaying trains before it was fixed (see WestportNow July 1, 2015). (The Devon Bridge in Stratford had similar problems but wasn’t fixed for several days. The Norwalk Walk Bridge failed to close twice in 2014, causing major disruptions.) Two days later, on Friday, the Westport bridge was opened again with 10 men on the job for the 15-minute opening. It went off smoothly, and on hand to video the operation was Westporter John Hartwell, vice chairman of the Connecticut Commuter Rail Council, providing a rare view of a Westport icon on the move. Video by John Hartwell

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Looking Good

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The sunset Monday as seen from the Ned Dimes Marina at Compo Beach. Note the newly landcaped area above the recently completed marina stonework edge. There is also new fence next to a new pedestrian path separate from the roadway. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Andrew Colabella for WestportNow.com

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015


8:45 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Muncipal Employees Pension Board
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Howard Munce at 100: A Centennial Celebration”
10 a.m. - Westport Library - Book Chat
10:30 a.m. - Noon - Westport Library McManus Room - Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce presents legislative wrapup
4 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
6 p.m. - Westport Library - Critical Management Skills: Creating a Strategic Vision for Successful Leadership
6:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Shellfish Commission
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - Historic District Commission & Architectural Review Board
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 212D - Planning & Zoning Open Space Subcommittee
7 p.m. - Levitt Pavilion - Westport Community Band
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Representative Town Meeting Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Golf Advisory Committee

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

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Monday, July 06, 2015

Hall Family Makes 25th Levitt Appearance

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A large crowd gathered tonight at the Westport Levitt Pavilion for Performing Arts for the 25th appearance of the Hall family. Westport residents Mary Ann and Bill, joined by daughter Emily, who now lives in Brooklyn, and son Daniel, a California resident, provided a wholesome musical performance that entertained all ages.  Adding to the local flavor the band included Westport attorney Fred Ury (3rd l. in black) of Fairfield. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Bird’s Eye View

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There was a large turnout tonight for the Hall Family appearance at the Westport Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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All in the Family

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The Hall family—(l-r) Mary Ann, Emily, Bill, and Daniel—perform tonight at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts. Mary Ann Hall’s Music for Children schools in Connecticut and New York with satellite locations in Providence and Palo Alto/San Francisco teach children from toddlers to 13. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Music Monday

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The Hall Family, making their 25th appearance tonight at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, had a little music for all ages. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Preservation Group: Zoning Regs All Bark, No Bite

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE Save Westport Now (SWN), the town’s preservation-minded political party, says Westport’s zoning laws have no teeth, allowing developers to ride roughshod over regulations. It wants cease and desist orders and a new task force.

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The newly expanded parking lot behind Trader Joe’s in the Compo Acres Shopping Center was cited by Save Westport Now as an example of developer abuse. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“We recently overheard a Realtor say that, given the lack of enforcement and small fines in Westport, developers can do whatever they need to do to maximize their profit,”  SWN co-chairs Valerie Seiling Jacobs and Jeffrey L. Block said in a statement issued today. “They can violate setback, grading, coverage, and any other regulations that don’t suit their needs.”

As examples, they cited Equity One’s expanded parking lot behind Trader Joe’s in the Compo Acres Shopping Center and at the Grassy Plains development abutting the Partrick Wetlands.

Asked about the SWN complaints, Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) Chairman Chip Stephens said while he does not disagree with the group’s assessment, he disagrees with its task force solution and wants more enforcement manpower and greater cooperation between the P&Z and the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).

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Qualfied to Compete in Junior World Championships

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Oliver Bub (l) and Lucas Manning, both from Westport and the Saugatuck Rowing Club, qualified today on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J., to compete at the Junior World Championships in Rio de Janeiro Aug. 5-9. They will be rowing a pair and representing the USA. They are coached by Sharon Kriz. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Westport Property Transfers June 15 - 19, 2015

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period June 15 - 19, 2015:

Lawrence M. and Barrie S. Sesmer to Hiji and Snders Almgren, 9 Greens Farms Road, $684,500WNproperty.jpg

8 Hogan Trail LLC to Ari and Lauren Turner, 8 Hogan Trail, $1,635,000

30 Maple Ave. North LLC to Devrim and Natalya Turker, 38 Maple Ave. North, $1,712,500

CCO IV Woody II LLC to Sean and Renata Diffley, 14 Wood Lane, $3,512,500

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New Fire Recruits Added to the Ranks

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In ceremony today at Westport Fire Headquarters, an overflow crowd witnessed the swearing in of two firefighters, Ronald Burgess, jr. (2nd l) and Adam Gamble by First Selectman Jim Marpe. Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury looks on. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Back to Work

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Commuters returning to work today following the long July 4 weekend await the arrival of the 9:05 a.m. train to Grand Central Terminal.  According to a rider, the train departed aprroximately 10 minutes late. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Hazy End to the July 4th Weekend

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The South Beach at Compo Beach was a popular spot Sunday night to watch the sun set at the end of the long 4th of July weekend. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Allan Siegert for WestportNow.com

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Monday, July 6, 2015


10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Howard Munce at 100: A Centennial Celebration”
6 p.m. - Westport Library - Tabletop Games for Adults
7 p.m. - Levitt Pavilion - Hall Family

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

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Sunday, July 05, 2015

Hula With Hawaiian Music at Levitt

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The Hawaiian swing band Kahulanui (Hawaiian for the Big Dance) entertained tonight at the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts. The band crafts dance floor-ready tunes on traditional Hawaiian instruments. Lead singer Lolena Naipo Jr. (r) said the band doesn’t usually travel with a hula dancer but picked up a native Hawaiian living in New York City for the Westport engagement. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Swing Hawaiian Style

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Guests at the Westport Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts tonight danced to swing music Hawaiian-style played by the band Kahulanui.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Showing the Flag

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A group of visitors to Compo Beach’s South Beach tonight brought along the American flag as they got set to watch the sun set at the end of the 4th of July holiday weekend. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Westport Little League Softballers Take District Title

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The Westport Little League softball 12U All-Stars today defeated Fairfield 2-1 in a dramatic nine-inning game at Westport’s William F. Meyer Field to clinch the program’s second straight district title. Westport’s star pitcher Sophia Alfero continued to display utter dominance throughout the day, as she took a perfect game into the fifth inning. But it wasn’t until the bottom of the ninth that Westport wrapped up the victory. Westport now moves on to the divisional tournament, which begins next week in Darien. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Crowded End to 4th of July Weekend

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The last day today of the 4th of July holiday weekend drew thousands to Westport’s Compo Beach as sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s made for a perfect beach day. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for WestportNow.com

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4th of July Keepsake

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A mother takes a 4th of July holiday weekend snap today at Westport’s Compo Beach.. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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