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Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Finally, It’s a Wrap for Sunny

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Sunny, the 23-foot yellow duck mascot of the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club’s Great Duck Race on Saturday, was finally deflated and removed from the Saugtuck River today. The complex removal process began Tuesday. Sunny was transported to a barn in the Green Farms section for safekeeping until next year’s race. Club members taking part in the duck deflation included Tim Wetmore, Steve Violette, and Bill Harris. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/08/16 06:06 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Selectmen OK Fire Consulting Contract

Westport wants its Fire Department primed for firefighting in the 21st century, said First Selectman Jim Marpe today in leading fellow Board of Selectmen members in approving a consulting contract to study the department.

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The Saugatuck fire station (above) is the town’s oldest, built in 1900. Greens Farms was built in 1929. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

He said the goal “is to think about what does firefighting mean in the 21st century, and not just next year or five years out.”

He added: “Because when you are thinking of building fire stations, you need to be thinking 50, 75 years out because once built they will be there.”

Bob Galan, who heads the Fire Department Strategic Planning Steering Committee appointed in October to study the issues (see WestportNow Oct. 29, 2015) , responded, “Two of ours are approaching 100.” 

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06/08/16 04:46 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westport’s 89-year-old Town Hall May Get Makeover

Westport’s 89-year-old Town Hall, converted from Bedford Elementary School in 1978, may about to get a makeover to meet the demands of government in the 21st century.

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Westport Town Hall as it was decked out with a large American flag last week for Memorial Day. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The first step was Board of Selectmen approval today of a contract with Waltham, Mass.-based Drummey Rosane Anderson Inc. (DRA) to conduct a space analysis and master plan development of the building.

“The nature of work has changed, the way people work,” Dewey Loselle, town operations manager, told the board. “People work in groups now. We need a lot more integration and crossover between departments and different agencies.”

Loselle also cited high demand for conference rooms.

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06/08/16 04:16 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Working in the Rain

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Fence installers worked in an afternoon rain shower today to puts posts and rails along the recently constructed Compo Beach East Beach sidewalk section. The rails separate the parked vehicles from the pedestrian walkway. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/08/16 03:45 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Malloy’s Approval Drops to All-Time Low of 24 Percent

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s approval rating hit a low of 24 percent today in a new Quinnipiac University poll, reflecting voter dismay over a chronic fiscal crisis that has come to define his six years as governor, most recently requiring service reductions and state employee layoffs.

“Voters feel Connecticut’s economy is going down the drain, and they are sending Gov. Dannel Malloy’s approval ratings right down the same drain. Even Democrats disapprove of the way he is doing his job,” said Douglas Schwartz, the poll’s director.

The poll is an across-the-board repudiation of Malloy, the first Democratic governor in decades, and a vote of no-confidence in the state’s economy, factors Republicans hope will enable them to shrink the Democrats’ majorities in the General Assembly or even capture control of a chamber.

Overall, 68 percent of voters disapprove of his performance, 24 percent approve and 8 percent have no opinion. He was upside down in every subset of voters, including Democrats, whose disapprove/approve split was 47 percent to 40 percent.

Click here for more of story

06/08/16 02:41 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Comings & Goings: Design Within Reach Goes Postal

The former Westport main post office, occupied until January by the Post 154 Restaurant, will be the new Westport home of furniture retailer Design Within Reach, according to a real estate source.

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Design Within Reach is the new tenant at 154 Post Road East. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The company, which formerly leased space on Elm Street, is expected to occupy the 9,000-square foot space on two floors by the end of the year, the source said.

There was no immediate confirmation from the company.

An investment group with ties to Westport paid $2.35 million for the property in May 2011. (See WestportNow May 23, 2011) The restaurant opened in August 2013.

06/08/16 01:51 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westport Gets $440K State Grant for Saugatuck Master Plan

UPDATE Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced a $440,000 grant to Westport to develop a transit-oriented master plan for the Saugatuck area around the Metro-North Westport station.

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Railroad Place opposite the Metro-North tracks would be among areas included in the study. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The grant was among 20 projects in towns and cities across Connecticut receiving almost $11 million in funding under a competitive grant program that will support transit-oriented development and responsible growth, targeted at boosting economic activity and creating jobs, an announcement said.

The announcement said the Westport funding will be used to develop a detailed master plan of the Saugatuck station area, including an existing conditions analysis, public outreach, district planning, identification of partnerships, and preliminary design.

“The plan is focused on improving the Saugatuck area in a manner that will benefit local residents, new residents, commuters, and businesses,” the announcement said.

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06/08/16 11:44 AM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

RTM Approves $1.5M Parking Lot Renovation Plan

UPDATE After almost three hours of often contentious debate, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) early today approved by a vote of 24 to 2 with three abstentions a $1.5 million plan to renovate Saugatuck commuter parking lot No. 1.

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Police Chief Foti Koskinas, with Deputy Public Works Director John Broadbin watching, addresses the RTM Tuesday night on the parking lot renovation plan. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Controversy arose in the last week about an original plan to reduce the lot’s five exits to one as some commuters and RTM members feared this would add additional time to exit the lot.

But late Monday, as an experiment went forward to test a one-exit plan – with few delays – Police Chief Foti Koskinas announced the plan would be revised to allow for two exits from the lot.

A number of members argued that the appropriation should be delayed and returned to RTM committees in light of the revision to the plan and the fact that not many commuters were aware of its details.

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06/08/16 12:34 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


8:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 307/309 - Board of Selectmen (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
9 a.m. - Sherwood Island - Friends of Sherwood Island Park 2nd-Wednesday Nature Walks
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “the beautiful POND”
Noon - Westport Arts Center - Plein Air Painting with Judy Katz
5:30 p.m. - 134 Cross Highway - Wakeman Town Farm Committee
6:15 p.m. - Town Hall Room 212D - Website Redevelopment Steering Committee
7 p.m. - Westport Library - Sportswriter Frank Deford

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

06/08/16 12:05 AM Comments Closed • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Himes Lauds Clinton, Says Focus Now is on Defeating Trump

U.S. Rep Jim Himes tonight lauded Hillary Clinton as she claimed the Democratic nomination for president and said the focus now must be on defeating Donald Trump.

“By winning the national popular vote and the most pledged delegates, Secretary Clinton has shown herself to be the person best poised to lead our country and continue the progress we have made over the past eight years,” said Himes, whose 4th District includes Westport.

“This primary season energized millions of Democratic voters, due in no small part to the efforts of Senator Bernie Sanders.

“Senator Sanders has been a passionate voice for many who have been traditionally underrepresented in our political process and has made valuable contributions to the national debate on inequality and justice.

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06/07/16 11:45 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

At RTM, New Commission for Disabilities Proposed

By James Lomuscio

Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight heard a first reading of a first for the town—a proposed ordinance establishing a Commission on Persons With Disabilities.

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First Selectman Jim Marpe tonight paid tribute to Barbara Butler, retiring director of the Department of Human Services, as he introduced the proposal to create a Commission on Persons With Disabilities. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

First Selectman Jim Marpe and Human Services Director Barbara Butler made the proposal.

Butler said it was “almost 10 years in the making,” starting in 2007 when the Community Inclusion Task Force, which had been appointed by the Human Services Commission and the Westport Weston United Way, issued its final report.

The ordinance requires two hearings and is expected to be finalized at the RTM’s July meeting.

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06/07/16 09:08 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Police Duck Watch

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A Westport Police marine unit was on hand today to assist in removal of Sunny, the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club Great Duck Race mascot, from the Saugatuck River. The duck, made in China, was the object of much attention in the days ahead of Saturday’s race and will be stored for return next year. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/07/16 05:02 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Getting a Duck Out of Water

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Westport Sunrise Rotary Club members today worked to get Sunny, their 23-foot tall Great Duck Race mascot, out of the Saugatuck River. The duck, which promoted Saturday’s race, will go into storage to be ready for next year.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/07/16 04:57 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Recalling a Phone Call With Muhammad Ali

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Westport nonagenarian Larry Aasen was among Westport Rotary Club members today who spoke of personal encounters with the late Muhammad Ali. Aasen (pictured with club president Jane Sherman) said in the early 1980s when he was executive director of the nonprofit organization Better Vision Institute he called Ali’s home and Ali answered. Aasen said he sought approval to use Ali’s likeness on a poster that would bear the slogan, “Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee—your fists can’t hit what your eyes can’t see.” He said the intention of the poster was to promote better personal eye care. According to Aasen, “After Ali asked how I got his phone number, he approved my request, hung up abruptly and did not even go through the red tape of legal counsel. We made and distributed about 5,000 of the posters nationwide.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/07/16 04:40 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Library Talk Features Al DiGuido June 14

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Al DiGuido at his Saugatuck Sweets. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Many Westporters know of him from his charity Al’s Angels or his yummy shops Saugatuck Sweets.

But that’s just scratching the surface when it comes to learning about entrepreneur and philanthropist Al DiGuido, who on Tuesday, June 14, at 7 p.m. in the Westport Library’s McManus Room will offer marketing innovator insights into his many business successes, event planners said.

Sponsored by Bernstein Global Wealth Management and Patriot Bank, DiGuido’s free talk is titled “Win Small Battles: 10 Essential Truths on Building & Leading.”

It will focus on the top 10 of essential components for achieving success in a wide variety of endeavors, an annnounement said.

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06/07/16 04:16 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Getting Ready for Thursday Pop Up Exhibition

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Members of the Westport Arts Center Westport Artists Collective today began installing works for its one-night Pop Up exhibition on Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public. With 100 percent of proceeds going directly to the artists, the event is a great opportunity to support the arts on a local level, an announcement said. Pictured (l-r) are Mark Gravino, Nina Bentley, Duvian Montoya, Tammy Winser, Amanda Innes, Westport Arts Center acting executive director, and (in front) Miggs Burroughs. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for WestportNow.com

06/07/16 02:49 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Talking Transportation: Big Brother Comes Along for the Ride

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow

You may feel that your car is your last private refuge in this busy world. But there’s someone along for the ride: Big Brother. And you’d be surprised what he knows about you, thanks to modern technology.

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Cell Phones: Your cell phone is constantly transmitting its location, and services like Google Dashboard’s location history can show exactly where you were at any date in time. Don’t want to be tracked? Turn off your cellphone.

E-ZPass: Even when you are nowhere near a toll booth, E-ZPass detectors can monitor your location.  Want to stay anonymous? Keep your E-ZPass wrapped in aluminum foil in your glove box.

Highway Cameras: The extensive network of traffic cameras on our interstates and parkways is used mostly to monitor accidents. But State Police can also watch individual vehicles. The cameras are even available to the public online. But state law specifically forbids using these cameras to write speeding tickets.

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06/07/16 02:28 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Poll: Sanders Stronger Than Clinton Over Trump in CT

Connecticut voters favor Hillary Clinton over Donald J. Trump for president by only 7 percentage points, despite seeing her as better qualified on key measures by wide margins, while Bernie Sanders leads Trump by 19 points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

The first public poll since the Connecticut presidential primary finds little enthusiasm for the presumptive nominees of either party. In head-to-head matchups, Clinton leads Trump, 45 percent to 38 percent, which is consistent with polls last fall and earlier this year. Sanders, whose path to the Democratic nomination has all but disappeared, leads Trump, 54 percent to 35 percent.

“While Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump, her single digit lead is smaller than might be expected from true-blue Connecticut, and her negative favorability rating is almost as bad as his,” said Douglas Schwartz, the poll’s director.

Clinton’s favorable/unfavorable split is 37 percent to 55 percent. Trump’s is even worse, 33 percent to 61 percent. Sanders is viewed favorably, 52 percent to 34 percent.

Click here for more of story

06/07/16 09:51 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Pastel Sunset

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Compo Beach goers were treated to a pastel sunset Monday night. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Andrew Colabella for WestportNow.com

06/07/16 12:15 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


8 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - TEAM Westport
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “the beautiful POND”
11 a.m. - Westport Library - Book Chat
Noon - Town Hall Room 102 - Arts Advisory Committee
2 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - Westport Transit District Directors
2 p.m. - Westport Library - Oscar-worthy Film Series:  “The Revenant”
4 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
7 p.m. - Westport Library - How to Read Like a Writer with Sally Allen
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Historic District Commission/Architectural Review Board Joint Committee
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 309 - Golf Advisory Committee

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

06/07/16 12:05 AM Comments Closed • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, June 06, 2016

View From Saugatuck Island

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Tonight’s sunset is reflected off of waters of Westport’s Saugatuck Island. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Penny Sousa for WestportNow.com

06/06/16 08:44 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

At 6:30 p.m., One Exit, No Bottlenecks

By James Lomuscio

See video of cars exiting here

UPDATE Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas said tonight that it was all about compromise, compromise that came from listening to commuters concerned about time added to their commute home.

WestportNow.com Image
Police blocked off four of the five exits to Saugatuck Lot No. 1 tonight in a simulation of the traffic pattern under the initially proposed renovation plan. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Koskinas had originally proposed eliminating four of the five exits at Lot No. 1 at the Saugatuck train station. Now, after hearing from commuters at the station early today, he is offering two.

His revision was announced shortly before a one-exit simulation took place at the lot tonight, a closely watched experiment that saw few backups as cars exited on to Park Street.

Koskinas said the prime reason for paring down the exits was safety. The reworking is part of a $1.5 million renovation of the potholed parking lot that also includes improved drainage, raising the lot above the flood line, lighting, sidewalks and a second staircase on the north end of the lot.

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06/06/16 08:27 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Comings & Goings: Acqua Closing After 20 Years

Acqua Ristorante, a Mediterranean mainstay at 43 Main St. on Parker Harding Plaza for 20 years, will serve up its final meal June 30 as its owners have decided not to renew their lease, it was announced today.

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Luncheon guests today on the first floor of Acqua Ristorante, 43 Main St. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

However, an employee, Eddie Melendez, told WestportNow on site today that the actual closing date is June 18. There was no explanation for the discrepancy.

Partners of Z Hospitality Group, which owns Acqua, decided not to renew their lease, opting “to concentrate on expanding their other concepts, as their Mediterraneo brand is expanding into two different markets,” said Ria Rueda, spokeswoman.

She did not confirm a published report that a rent increase was the reason.

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06/06/16 04:35 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Compo Watch

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A lifeguard keeps watch today at Westport’s Compo Beach. Not seen—scores of beach goers who took advantage of sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Barry Hyman for WestportNow.com

06/06/16 04:31 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Relaxing

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Some swans relax today on Westport’s Saugatuck River near the VFW Post on Riverside Avenue. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for WestportNow.com

06/06/16 02:35 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

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Property Transfers
property transfers

Westport Property Transfers Sept. 5 - 9, 2016

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Obituaries

James T. Hurley, 84

Leona E. Feeney, 97

Arts & Leisure

Reception Marks Opening of Political Memorabilia Display

Granger at the Movies: ‘Deepwater Horizon,’ ‘The Magnificent Seven,’ ‘Storks’

Business

P&Z Says Yes to Elm Street Land Swap

Sikorsky Incentives Win Bipartisan Approval in Special Session

Community

Compo Sunset - 1

Compo Sunset - 2

Health & Fitness

Comings & Goings: Fountain of Youth Closes Retail Outlet

For Zika, West Nile, Health District Urges‘Bug Smarts’

Education

Farewell to Board of Ed

‘It Looks Wimpy to Pick on the Little Guy’

Politics

Reception Marks Opening of Political Memorabilia Display

Sikorsky Incentives Win Bipartisan Approval in Special Session

Real Estate

P&Z Says Yes to Elm Street Land Swap

Real Estate Report: Transitioning Neighborhoods

Sports

Staples Boys Soccer Shuts Out St. Joseph

Comings & Goings: Sports Attic Opens

Special Reports
Special Reports

Westport Birders Are Devoted Flock

At 95, Ed Vebell Still Drawing on History

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