Wednesday, June 08, 2016
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
By Mark Pazniokaswww.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 • Permalink •
Tuesday, June 07, 2016
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
By Jim CameronSpecial 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.
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.
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.
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 • Permalink •
Monday, June 06, 2016
By James Lomuscio
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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