The Loading Dock brings the vibe and style of a New York City SoHo loft to the heart of Stamford, Connecticut.  (203) 357-7400
Westport Country Playhouse presents ART/RED, May 3-29, 2016
Rothbard Ale + Larder is the premiere European Gastropub in Westport, Connecticut.  Created as the sister restaurant to American-themed Walrus + Carpenter, Rothbard offers dishes and drinks inspired by the Central European regions, including Alsace, Germa
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Health & Fitness

Health & Fitness

Friday, February 12, 2016

Shifting Ground for Artificial Turf in CT

By Jan Ellen Spiegel

Susan Lewis’s soccer-adoring son Justin was already through his chemo and radiation treatments for lymphoma and thinking about getting back to his team at Fairfield University when she caught a television report one morning. Image
Justin Lewis when he was undergoing chemotherapy. Courtesy of Justin Lewis

“There was a story about a soccer player,” she said. “I stopped to watch it, and my mouth dropped open.”

The report was about cancer cases among athletes playing on artificial turf made from ground-up used tires – crumb rubber is what it’s called. Some soccer players in particular had been diagnosed, mostly with lymphoma as well as leukemia. The question posed was whether the crumb rubber was the cause.

“Obviously, as parents of this young man, we wanted to understand why or how this could possibly happen,” she said. The first focus had to be on getting Justin better. “But when that came up, I certainly thought, ‘Wow, could that be the answer?’”

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Comings & Goings: Green&Tonic to Taylor Place Image
Green&Tonic, a health food eatery, will open in April at the corner of Jesup Road and Taylor Place, the former site of Crumbs, which closed in November 2015 (see WestportNow Nov. 10, 2015.)  The Cos Cob-headquartered business, founded in 2011 by Jeff and Cal Pandolfino, opened in Darien (1098 Boston Post Road) and Cos Cob (7 Strickland Ave.) in 2012, Greenwich (85 Railroad Ave.) in 2013 and New Canaan (5 Burtis Ave.) in 2014. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Boxing vs. Parkinson’s Disease

By Dave Matlow

Several Westport area residents afflicted with Parkinson’s disease (PD) today participated in a first-time boxing therapy session intended to combat the progressive neurological disorder that affects nearly a million Americans. Image
Westporter Brian Welsh (r), 78, spars in the ring with former Golden Gloves champ Rich Dean. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The session took place at Rich Dean Boxing Fitness studio, 10 Bay St., and was led by Rich Dean, former Golden Gloves boxing champ and past member of Jamaican Olympic team, and Josh Lander, a chiropractor, who practices at Westport’s Willows Medical Center on Kings Highway North. 

Program coordinator and “cheerleader” Don Harris of Weston said the event was inspired by a “CBS Sunday Morning” report in November 2015 by CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl whose husband, Aaron Latham, is afflicted with PD. Latham called it “the incredible shrinking disease.”

Lander said it has been long known in the medical community that vigorous exercise is effective therapy for movement disorders such as PD. He said the rigorous intervals of boxing movements increased blood flow to the brain.

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Putting Up a Fight Image
Westport area residents with Parkinson’s disease held their first boxing therapy session today at Rich Dean Boxing Fitness studio, 10 Bay St. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Friday, January 15, 2016

DPH Asks to Report Suspected Zika Virus Cases

By Arielle Levin Becker

The state Department of Public Health has asked health care providers to report suspected cases of Zika virus – a mosquito-borne illness being investigated for possible links to birth defects in Brazil – to state and local health officials.

No cases of the disease have been reported in Connecticut, according to DPH. A case was confirmed in Puerto Rico in December, and cases have been reported in travelers, but the virus has not been transmitted elsewhere in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus is usually mild, but a possible link between Zika virus in pregnant women in Brazil and birth defects in their children is being investigated, according to DPH.

“All people, especially pregnant women, who are traveling to areas where Zika virus is found, should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites to reduce their risk of infection of Zika virus as well as other mosquito-borne viruses such as dengue and chikungunya,” Dr. Raul Pino, acting DPH commissioner, said in a statement today.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Talking Education Image
Academy Award-winning director Michael Moore gets together tonight with former Staples High School Principal John Dodig at Westport’s Vespa restaurant following the screening of Moore’s new film “Where to Invade Next” at at Bowtie Cinemas Royale 6 in Norwalk. The film is an expansive, subversive comedy in which Moore, playing the role of “invader,” visits a host of nations to learn how the United States could improve its own prospects. In France, Moore marvels at the exceptional quality of the cuisine served in its public schools and in Finland he spotlights its education measures, including doing away with homework and seeking to educate the whole person, rather than merely training students to pass a standardized test. Dodig said he told Moore his entire career has been devoted to promoting similar goals for his students. Also in the audience and at the reception was Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Comings & Goings: Second Location for Sun Reflexology Image
Sun Reflexology opened today at 877 Post Road East in the shopping center near the Sherwood Island Connector.  The new salon is the second location in Westport for Sun Reflexology, which will continue to operate its first site at 1543 Post Road East, which opened in 2011, according to Hannah Sun, the owner’s daughter. The salon’s brochure describes reflexology as “a technique that works critical points on the hands and feet that improve the entire body’s health - the reflexologist views the hands and feet as a mirror image of the entire body and every organ.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Chipotle Westport Business Slows Image
Westport’s Chipotle Mexican Grill, 376 Post Road East, was not doing much business tonight amid confirmation that more than 120 Boston College students have reported symptoms associated with the highly contagious norovirus since eating at a Chipotle restaurant near the school. In another outbreak, since October, 52 people have fallen ill from E. coli traced to Chipotle locations in nine states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The Westport restaurant opened in June.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Westport Connection: First Hospice Home in Lower Fairfield County

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE A Westporter says the first hospice home in lower Fairfield County won’t be in Westport because “nobody wants to confront their mortality.” Image
Artist’s rendition of the new hospice house. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Inspired by Westporters who initially hoped lower Fairfield County’s first residential hospice would be in their hometown, Fairfield County Hospice House (FCHH) will have its official groundbreaking attended by state and local officials Wednesday, Dec. 2, at noon in Stamford.

Westporter Larry Weisman, a retired land use attorney and co-chairman of the FCHH board, said that the six-bedroom home planned on 1.25 donated acres has been six years in the making. The nonprofit FCHH originally considered using space on Westport’s town-owned, 22-acre Baron’s South property, “but we knew that was not going to work out,” Weisman said.

“It’s a hard sell because nobody wants to confront their mortality,” said Mary Lou Weisman, who has worked with her husband on the project. “But in a hospice, a peaceful death and taxes are what we all have in common.”

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Comings & Goings: Rich Dean Boxing Fitness to Bay St. Image
Rich Dean Boxing Fitness has opened at 10 Bay St., lower level next to Post 154 restaurant. Owner Rich Dean, 45, born in the Bahamas and raised in Yonkers, N.Y. is a three-time Golden Gloves champ (1987, 1994, 2000) as a featherweight and then junior welterweight, an Olympic boxer in 2000 in Sydney, Australia and two-time gold medalist in the Empire Games, 1999 and 2000. He said he is the only certified boxing fitness trainer in Fairfield County. His business offers one-on-one personal training “Olympic-style” and also conducts small Olympic boxing style fitness classes for both men or women. “It’s light sparring without the bruises,” Dean said. “We’re a fitness gym in a boxing environment.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

YMCA Launches New Program for Eighth Graders

Believing that the “tween” years are pivotal in developing healthy and productive lifelong habits, the Westport Weston Family YMCA today announced an eighth grade membership program featuring $15 monthly membership fees.

The program, effective July 1, replaces the Y’s current seventh grade membership initiative. It is available to all rising local eighth graders in Westport and Weston schools, an announcement said. The eligibility period runs through June 30, 2016.

The YMCA being a cause-driven charitable organization, there is a requirement that all eighth grade members complete 10 hours of volunteer service over the course of the year, Y officials said.

Volunteer opportunities may include assistance in the Y’s Kids’ Club, clerical help, small maintenance projects like helping with the annual Camp Mahackeno cleanup, and meeting and greeting YMCA members in the Welcome Center.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Learning About Tick-Borne Diseases Image
The Westport Library tonight was host to a Tick-borne Diseases Symposium sponsored by the Westport Weston Health District, the Library, the Lyme Disease Alliance, and the Tick-borne Disease Alliance. Pictured is Monica Wheeler of the Westport Weston Health District introducing Kirby Stafford III, chief entomologist, author of the “Tick Management Handbook” and expert on various kinds of ticks and how to keep them under control. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

04/21/15 09:05 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bridgeport Hospital CEO: ‘Healthcare Act Not Working’ Image
William M. Jennings, president and CEO of Bridgeport Hospital, told the Westport Rotary Club today that the Affordable Healthcare Act “is not working for us.”  In response to a question, Jennings said the legislation has not reduced emergency room activity or changed the profiles of the types of patients being seen. “The Healthcare Act has not been a positive experience for us so far,” he said. Jennings noted that Bridgeport Hospital’s cost basis is among the lowest in the country. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

02/24/15 03:36 PM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, February 23, 2015

Westporter: ‘Hail Mary Pass Better Than Getting Tackled’

Richard Bunting of Westport was among those who appealed to legislators in Hartford today to allow terminally ill patients access to experimental treatments that have not yet received FDA approval.

He told the Public Health Committee that his wife, Mary, has multiple sclerosis and cannot tolerate the medications that are currently available. He said has cancer that is in remission, but it has no treatment.

When you have cancer, doctors tell you to try this or that, said Bunting, 63. “And then one day, they tell you, ‘We’ve tried everything.’”

He said he wishes people like his wife had better access to experimental drugs. “A Hail Mary pass is better than laying down to get tackled,” he said.

For more on story, click here

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Thursday, February 05, 2015

Anthem Says Hackers Stole Customers’ Personal Information

By Arielle Levin Becker

Hackers targeting health insurer Anthem gained access to personal information on tens of millions of current and former customers and employees across the country, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Image
Gov. Dannel P Malloy addresses a news conference on the Anthem data breach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Pazniokas/ photo

The company said cyber attackers had obtained personal information including names, birth dates, medical identification and Social Security numbers, street and email addresses and employment information, including income data. There was no evidence that credit card or medical information had been compromised, according to a statement from Anthem President and CEO Joseph R. Swedish.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Packed Library Program on Ebola Image
A standing room only crowd, including Staples High SchoolAP Environmental Studies students, came to the Westport Library tonight to hear Dr. Eric Starbuck, Save the Children advisor on child Health and pandemic preparedness, speak about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the impact of the first U.S. cases. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Ebola Prompts Malloy to Declare Health Emergency

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE Even though no Ebola virus cases have been reported in Connecticut, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today declared a public health emergency in the state because of the outbreak.

Malloy signed an order that gives the commissioner of the Department of Public Health (DPH) the power “to effectively quarantine an individual or a group of individuals” who may have been exposed to or infected with the Ebola virus.

In a statement, Malloy’s office stressed the quarantine is not due to a specific case being identified, “but rather as a precautionary and preparatory measure,”  whether it is confirmed or potential case in Connecticut.

“Right now, we have no reason to think that anyone in the state is infected or at risk of infection,” Malloy said. “But it is essential to be prepared, and we need to have the authorities in place that will allow us to move quickly to protect public health, if and when that becomes necessary. Signing this order will allow us to do that.”

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Open for Business Image
The new Garelick & Herbs Saugatuck opened today with co-owner Paola Garelick (l) behind counter. The store fills a spot vacated in June by CM Gourmet Market. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Monday, June 02, 2014

Pole Dancer Energizes Woman’s Club Members Image
Michelle Abbruzzese, co-owner of Norwalk-based Work It Dance and Fitness Club, performed pole and burlesque dancing at the Westport Woman’s Club June luncheon today. Abbruzzese, 43, said her career includes captain of the cheerleading team at the University of Connecticut. Her husband and co-owner, Tony Abbruzzese, said pole dancing is an especially effective fitness form in that it mimics rope climbing that requires lifting your own body weight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

06/02/14 08:03 PM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Enjoying a Little Shaking Image
Members of the Westport Woman’s Club today did a little shaking as Michelle Abbruzzese, co-owner of Norwalk-based Work It Dance and Fitness Club, performed pole and burlesque fitness dancing at the club. Among those taking part were former state Sen. Judi Freedman (3rd r) and Barbara Levy (r), who may be more used to the steps than other members, having been a Radio City Rockette. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Senate Votes to Expand Role of Nurse Practitioners

By Arielle Levin Becker

The Connecticut state Senate voted 25 to 11 tonight to allow nurse practitioners to practice independent of physicians, a controversial concept that has gained traction amid growing concerns about the availability of primary care providers in the state.

The proposal, which now goes to the House, originated in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration, which pitched it as a way to increase access to primary care at lower costs as thousands more state residents gain insurance as part of the federal health law.

But critics have raised concerns about the effects the change could have on patient care and primary care physicians.

The ability of nurse practitioners to work independent of doctors has long been a contentious matter between the two professions. Connecticut law required nurse practitioners to be supervised by doctors until 1999, when legislators loosened the requirement, calling instead for nurse practitioners to work “in collaboration” with a physician.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

CT Shows Mixed Results in Emergency Care Survey

Connecticut’s performance in the 2014 American College of Emergency Physicians’ state-by-state report card on America’s emergency care environment released today shows mixed results, with grades in categories ranging from a B+ to a D. Image

“Our low rates of fatal injuries and the general good health of our residents are to be commended,” said Jorge Otero, president of the Connecticut College of Emergency Physicians. “However, people are waiting almost six hours for emergency care. The best medicine in the world doesn’t help you if you can’t get to it in a timely manner.”

The state’s strongest grade, a B+ in the Public Health and Injury Prevention category, results from low rates of accidental firearm-related deaths, accidental poisoning deaths, fatal occupational injuries, homicides, suicides, smoking and obesity.

In the category of Access to Emergency Care, Connecticut earned a C-. It has one of the highest rates of Level I or II trauma centers in the country, but hospitals have one of the highest occupancy rates in the nation. Waits in the ER are the sixth longest in the country, which is due in part to having a relatively small number of emergency departments, the report said.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

CT Regulators Losing Patience With Anthem Coverage Delays

By Arielle Levin Becker

David Gilbert says he sent his $825 check to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in early December. It was supposed to ensure that the Voluntown man would have health insurance by the start of this year.

But two weeks into 2014, Gilbert, 63, is still waiting for proof that he has insurance. An Anthem representative told him his check had been received, but as of Monday it hadn’t been cashed. That means Gilbert has been unable to get an insurance ID card, which he needs for a referral to an orthopedist.

He’s starting to wonder if he’ll ever get the coverage he thought he bought.

Gilbert is one of many Connecticut residents who signed up for Anthem plans through the state’s health insurance exchange but are still struggling to get their coverage set up.

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Monday, December 09, 2013

CT, 7 Other States Seek Midwest Pollution Crackdown

By Mark Pazniokas and Jan Ellen Spiegel

Connecticut and seven other eastern states, all with Democratic governors and all under longstanding orders to reduce air pollution, said today they are petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency to force stricter air standards on nine upwind states from the Rust Belt and Appalachia that rely on coal-fired power plants. Image
This CT DEEP map shows pollution flows from the south (yellow) and west (red) that travels hundreds of miles at high altitudes. Green shows local, lower-level flows. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) DEEP illustration

The governors said their states have largely exhausted ways to mitigate local ozone pollution and now must act decisively to force upwind states to reduce pollution at the source. Efforts at negotiation have failed, leaving the eastern governors with no choice but to seek federal intervention.

“They have been warned. They know this action is coming,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, one of four governors who addressed the media today, either by conference call or in a press conference in Washington, D.C.

Malloy said the eight states are seeking federal action to lower unhealthful ozone levels that plague places like Connecticut’s Fairfield County on many summer days and produce acid rain across Vermont and New Hampshire, degrading lakes and forests that are key to tourism.

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Friday, November 01, 2013

CT Exchange’s First Month Enrollment Figures Released

By Arielle Levin Becker

In its first month, Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance exchange, enrolled 7,615 people in health care coverage, according to figures released today.

Of those, 53 percent—4,065—have signed up for private insurance plans. The other 47 percent are signed up for Medicaid.

In addition, 55 small businesses have signed up for coverage through Access Health’s small business exchange. Altogether they have 306 employees.

Created by the health law commonly known as Obamacare, the exchange sells insurance offered by private companies and enrolls people in Medicaid. The health law aims to reduce the number of uninsured people in the country by expanding Medicaid to cover people at higher income levels and providing federal subsidies to reduce the cost of premiums for private coverage.

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Westporters Urged to Check on Arsenic in Wells

By James Lomuscio

High levels of naturally occurring arsenic in well waters in Weston today prompted a call from the director of the Westport Weston Health District (WWHD) for Westporters living near the Weston line to have their wells checked too. Image
Mark A. R. Cooper: urges testing of wells north of Merritt Parkway. File photo

A deadly poison in high doses, arsenic is relatively harmless in minute, acceptable levels as it appears almost everywhere: soil, air, vegetables, rocks and well water.

But in recent months, some wells in Weston tested at 40 times the acceptable level, said Mark A. R. Cooper, WWHD director.

As a result, Cooper said he is urging Westport residents north of the Merritt Parkway to have their wells tested, too.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

New Website Promotes Long-Term Care Options, Jobs

By Arielle Levin Becker

The state has launched a website and media campaign to increase awareness about the choices Connecticut residents have for receiving long-term care and the career options for caregivers.

The campaign, called My Place CT, is part of an effort to expand the ability of seniors and people with disabilities to live in communities, rather than institutional settings like nursing homes. The move to reshape the state’s long-term care system also includes trying to help the nursing home industry broaden its business model to serve the needs of people living outside their facilities.

One of the major challenges in expanding the use of home and community-based long-term care options is a shortage of workers, and the My Place CT campaign is aimed in part at promoting the home care field.

“Making choices about long-term care and support just got easier,” Social Services Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby said in a statement. “In fact, the online resources and campaign are based on the theme of personal choice across the full spectrum of care—from the many options for staying healthy at home to receiving skilled nursing facility care.”

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Friday, February 01, 2013

Rarely Used Screenings Can Identify Depression in Teens

By Arielle Levin Becker Image
Screening tools are relatively simple. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

When his office began using a questionnaire to screen adolescents for depression, Dr. Robert Dudley was skeptical.

“What’s the chance these nine silly questions are going to pick something up?” he wondered. “I’ve known this kid forever. I’ll know if they’re having troubles or not.”

Then he started using the questionnaire.

The number of patients identified as having mental health issues skyrocketed.

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Friday, December 07, 2012

Westport Urgent Care to Debut Monday Image
A medical care facility, Westport Urgent Care, a division of MedExcel, opens on Monday at 1045 Post Road East, according to Linda DiLorenzo, executive director. She said the walk-in facility is not an emergency room but will treat any nonlife threatening condition including performing physicals, administering vaccines and tending to acute health conditions. Its three physicians include Deborah Mogelof, Scott Herman, and Tabitha Fortt. Office manager Jackie Demeter has been associated with Westport Family Health for 14 years.  Open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the office can be reached at (203)557-8200. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Film About Concussions Draws Crowd of Parents Image
About 75 persons tonight attended a Westport Public Library screening of the film “Head Games” that describes the increasing awareness of the concussion crisis in American sports. Westporter Ann Sherwood, whose child suffered a concussion, gets a show of hands after asking the audience, “How many of you here tonight are parents?” Pippa Bell Ader, an organizer of the evening’s event, said her 16-year-old son, a high school sophomore, suffered a concussion playing touch football. She said the purpose of the screening was “to improve concussion awareness, to understand the dangers of repetitive concussions and the need for safety practices.” Ader said the film can be acquired on iTunes for $6.99. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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