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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

TEAM Westport: ‘Flyers Motivated by Racism’

TEAM Westport, the acronym which means Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism, today issued a joint statement that racism was behind last week’s “#White Lives Matter” flyers left in driveways on Roseville Road and Compo Road South.

The statement from Harold Bailey, TEAM Westport chairman, was made in conjunction with Westport clergy and other town organizations.

“We are deeply troubled by this campaign,” the statement reads. “While some have raised questions about the intent of the slogan, it is clear from similar campaigns in neighboring towns that this message was motivated by racism, which we reject absolutely and without qualification.”

Similar flyers have turned up in Fairfield, Milford, East Haven and Orange.

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Marpe: Westport in Good Shape

By Roy Fuchs

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe, in his second state of the town talk today to the Y’s Men of Westport Weston, said Westport is strong, growing, and alive with projects to enhance the community, and its important seniors will continue to be important.

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First Selectman Jim Marpe addresses the Y’s Men of Westport Weston today.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

As approved earlier this month by the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), Westport’s 2015-16 budget will be $202 million—a 2.1 percent increase, he said. This will yield a mill rate increase “in the range of 1 percent,” Marpe estimated.

He “re-emphasized his commitment to seniors,” including keeping Westport “affordable and accessible” for what is now 20 percent of the population. He said he was disappointed in the Planning & Zoning Commission’s Baron’s South decision precluding senior housing on the town-owned property but is now seeking a viable alternative.

Senior beach parking and hand pass fees will not rise, and Longshore’s golf fees have been reduced, he said.  The Westport Center for Senior Activities remans important to helping older Westporters to “not just age in place, but age in Westport.”

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Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’ ‘Far From the Maddening Crowd,’ ‘Iris’

By Susan Granger

Wow! Director/writer/producer George Miller’s post-apocalyptic action adventure “Mad Max: Fury Road” is a blast!

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While wearily haunted ex-cop Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is the titular hero, hunted in the toxic, dystopian Wasteland, Charlize Theron delivers a powerhouse performance as Imperator Furiosa, the most exciting sci-fi protagonist since Ellen Ripley (“Alien”).

As George Miller explains, “What looks like testosterone-fueled summer escape is actually a badass feminist action flick. The men do the damage but the women restore humanity.”

Furiosa is a War Rig operator who’s determined to wreak revenge for her past suffering by smuggling the prized Five Wives (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keogh, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton) of the tyrannical warlord, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), to safety in the Green Place.

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05/14/15 11:55 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkDigg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Again, Longshore Pools to Miss Memorial Day Opening

By James Lomuscio

The swimming pools at Westport’s Longshore Club Park will not open Memorial Day weekend, as planned, but delayed nearly a month until Saturday June 20, Operations Supervisor Dan DeVito announced today.

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Workers make repairs to the Longshore pools today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The reason: the rough winter stalled and delayed the renovation the park’s three waterfront pools.

The pools traditionally have opened Memorial Day weekend with limited hours while school is still in session.

This will be the second year in a row Longshore’s pools miss unofficial start of summer. Last spring Westport Parks & Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy pushed the opening back to May 31 “due to the severe winter season.”

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05/14/15 11:42 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkDigg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Real Estate Report: Antique Homes in Demand

By Judy Szablak

The market for antique properties in Westport is healthier than most, and there are very few available homes for sale that fit into this category.

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Featured Home: This home at 66 Compo Road North is listed at $1,999,999. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of Coldwell Banker Westport-Riverside

The unofficial definition of an antique, or vintage home is one that is at least 100 years old. Currently, there are only 14 such properties that are available throughout Westport, and four are currently under some stage of deposit.

The lowest priced available home is priced at $425,000 and is on Crescent Road, and the highest priced antique is on Ferry Lane East for $3,998,000. The average size is almost 3,600-square feet, and the average sale price for the 21 homes that sold within the last year is $1,913,857.

Many of these homes carry with them a very special part of Westport history, and inventory is tighter than it has been for quite some time.

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Compo Sunrise

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Sunrise Wednesday at Westport’s Compo Beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for WestportNow.com

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Thursday,  May 14, 2015


9 a.m. - 9 p.m. - Westport Library - “Sherwood Island, 1975-2015: Photography by Larry Silver”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “SOLOS 2015” & “EAST meets WESTport: Marton Nemes”
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Chess Club for Adults
7 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Planning & Zoning Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
7 p.m. - Fire Headquarters (515 Post Road East) - Blight Prevention Board
8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “The Liar”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

WN on the Scene: Frieze NY 2015 Art Fair


The Frieze New York 2015 Art Fair opens Thursday at New York’s Randall Island. The fourth edition of the fair brings together more than 190 of the world’s leading contemporary galleries to the island’s festive surroundings. Helen Klisser During, artistic director of the Westport Arts Center and WestportNow contributing photographer, was among VIP guests today getting a preview. The show runs through Sunday. For ticket information, click here. Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

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Letter: New Haven Man Explains Temple Israel Actions

To the Editor:

Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children; the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnal house.  We could not, so help us God, do otherwise, for we are sick at heart; our hearts give us no rest for thinking of the Land of Burning children.
- Daniel Berrigan, S.J., 1968

At around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, 12 May, my colleague, Dan Fischer, and I calmly walked into into Temple Israel, where the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces was holding a lunchtime meeting. So as to appear as non-threatening as possible, we had no bags, no literature—I had even left the small pocketknife I usually carry at home. 

We were armed only with a written testimony by Nabila Abu Halima, a Palestinian woman who lives in the Gaza strip, who watched her son be murdered by the IDF during Operation Cast Lead, and who had to flee her home during last year’s Gaza massacre. 

Our intention was simple: to read the statement at the FIDF’s meeting, which was hosting a brigadier general in the occupying, colonizing army that is responsible for her suffering, and the suffering of so many other indigenous Palestinian women. 

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PBA Awards Scholarships for Excellence and Service

UPDATE The Westport Police Benevolent Association (PBA) tonight honored the academic achievements of five students who put their studies first, excelling academically while volunteering their time to community service. All are children of Westport Police officers.

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Among the PBA awardees were (l-r) Caroline Wolf, Alyson Librandi, Gia Marone, and Logan Rice. With them is PBA president, Officer Brendan Fearon. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Benjamin Call, son of Westport Police Chief Dale Call and grandson of the late Westport Insp. George Call, will be entering his senior year at the University of Chicago where he has maintained a GPA of 3.7, pursuing a degree in mathematics.

Caroline Wolf, who maintained a better than a 95 average for all four years of Oxford High School, will be a freshman in the fall at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt. where she plans to major in communications. 

Alyson Librandi will be a freshman at Keene State College in Keene, N.H. where she will major in health sciences.

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Memorial Day Parade Lineup Announced

Town officials today released the line of march for the May 25 Westport Memorial Day parade.

The number next to the unit corresponds to numbers on the river side of Riverside Avenue. The numbers start at Saugatuck Elementary School.

All units must be in position by 8:15 a.m., officials said. The parade starts promptly at 9 a.m. and will end in Parker-Harding Plaza. Memorial Services will follow immediately at Veterans Green. 

If the parade is canceled due to weather, an announcement will be made via local media. Residents can also call the Parks & Recreation Department information line at (203) 341-5074 or visit http://www.westportrecreation.com

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05/13/15 06:48 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkDigg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Boucher: Yale Should Condemn Student’s Actions at Temple Israel

State Sen. Toni Boucher today asked Yale University “to condemn and take the strongest possible action” against a man identified in news reports as a Yale Divinity School student who was involved in a protest Tuesday at Westport’s Temple Israel.

Gregory Williams, 25, of New Haven was one of two men arrested for disrupting an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) luncheon, shouting pro-Palestinian messages, refusing to leave and causing panic. The other was identified as Daniel Fischer, 25, also of New Haven.

Initial 911 callers said one of the men appeared to have a gun, but police later said the men were unarmed. A number of guests at the luncheon fled in terror as temple officials detained the two. Schools in the area were placed on lockdown.

Though Boucher’s statement did not specifically call for Williams’ expulsion, her message to the Yale administration seemed to imply it.

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Staples Improves to No, 7 in U.S. News CT Rankings

Westport’s Staples High School came in No. 7 in Connecticut in the latest U.S. News and World Report best high school rankings. Nationally it was No. 329.

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A year ago in the survey, Staples was No. 9 in the state and No. 303 nationally.

Staples this year came in behind Weston at No. 5 but ahead of Fairfield County schools Darien (8)  Wilton (9), and Ridgefield (11).

The Connecticut International Baccalaureate Academy of East Hartford was rated No. 1 in Connecticut and No. 34 nationally.

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Flying the Flag Ahead of Saturday Night’s Gala

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Flags of the Westport Arts Center flew today on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge in front of National Hall, site of the Saturday night “Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil” annual fundraiser gala at the Vespa restaurant and nearby green. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Final Downtown Report Readies for Approval

Melissa Kane, chairwoman of Westport’s Downtown Steering Committee (DSC), said today that the final draft of a downtown master plan will be ready to present to the full committee when it meets Wednesday, May, 27, at 9:30 a.m. at Town Hall.

Once the 13-member committee signs off on it, the plan will go to the Board of Selectmen for approval, she said.

“I feel confident that it is going to move forward very quickly,” said Kane, who met with officials of the RBA Group, Inc., the town’s contracted design group, in New York City on Tuesday.

“I have been working very closely with RBA, and I feel confident that they have incorporated and really listened to the comments received by the committee, the Planning and Zoning Commission, other town bodies, and the public.

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Letter: Panic Inside Temple Israel

To the Editor:

Since 1994, the United Nations General Assembly has condemned terrorist acts using the following political description of terrorism: “Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.”

As over 100 women and several men sat peaceably Tuesday at Temple Israel enjoying lunch and ready to listen to the planned discussion, loud clamoring and yelling which turned to pounding and screaming began by the door to the room.  We looked over and saw—through the glass cutout in the door—a large figure appearing to be wearing head garb trying to enter the room. 

Everyone around me panicked. My heart sank lower than I had ever thought possible and my instinct was to get as far away from that door as possible. Thoughts of Sandy Hook, Columbine and Paris flooded my mind as I tried to remember/determine, within seconds, whether I would be killed more readily by hiding in one of the many classrooms within the building or attempting to escape it. 

Instinct again wanted me out of that building.  But after running through the hallways and down the stairs, and opening the exit door to the outside, I saw a vast, rambling shaped parking lot ahead and I felt certain that more terrorists would be waiting outside to harm those attempting to flee. 

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Prepping for a Final Coat of Paint

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Workers at Westport’s recently moved Kemper-Gunn House today were scraping and sanding in preparation for the final coat of paint which, according to a foreman on the premises, will be applied in approximately two months. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com

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School Board to Commence Super Search

Following the announcement that Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon will retire at the end of the 2015-16 academic year, the Westport Board of Education is looking for a successor.

It announced it will “engage a search firm with a national scope that has worked with high performing districts such as ours.”

“Now, for the first time in 17 years, the Westport Board of Education will commence a search for a new superintendent who will begin serving upon Dr. Landon’s retirement,” Michael Gordon, school board chairman, said in a letter signed by six other board members.

“The board is prepared for a thoughtful and thorough search process.”

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Caught in the Act

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A backyard bird feeder thief on Westport’s Keyser Road was caught in the act early Tuesday.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Carrie Kuhn for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015


8:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Board of Selectmen (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
9 a.m. - 9 p.m. - Westport Library - “Sherwood Island, 1975-2015: Photography by Larry Silver”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
2 p.m. and 8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “The Liar”
3 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Planning & Zoning Open Space Subcommittee
5:30 p.m. - 134 Cross Highway - Wakeman Town Farm Committee
7 p.m. - Westport Library -  Linda Schreyer on “Tears and Tequila”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dodig: Student Showed ‘Bizarre, Uncontrolled Behavior’

John Dodig, principal of Westport’s Staples High School, today cautioned parents to be aware of—and to talk to their children about—a popular psychotropic drug legally available on the Internet, that resulted in the hospitalization of a Staples student Monday.

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Police cars converged on Staples HIgh School Monday after a student went out of control. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com

“Yesterday morning, a young student was brought to the nurses’ office, exhibiting signs of bizarre, uncontrolled behavior,” Dodig said in a letter to parents.

“It was soon evident that at some point in the morning either at home, on the bus or in school, the student ingested one of the very popular psychotropic drugs readily available on the Internet.”

He said that the student’s behavior was so dramatic, school officials immediately called first responders, and the student was transported by ambulance to Norwalk Hospital.

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Two Unarmed Men Held in Temple Israel Incident

UPDATE Two unarmed men apparently intent on protesting and disrupting a luncheon today at Westport’s Temple Israel for Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were detained by staff at the door and held for police, police and temple officials said. Some luncheon attendees fled in panic.

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Known activists: Daniel Fischer (l) and Gregory Williams. Westport Police photos

One of the suspects, who were reportedly shouting about Palestinian rights, was initially thought to have a gun since he had a shirt over his arm, police said.

“Shortly after the initial dispatch to responding units, the communications center started to receive additional calls reporting that a person had a gun,” Capt. Sam Arciola said.

“The first two arriving officers were able to take custody of the two individuals on the second floor meeting room where staff had physically detained them.

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Westport Rotary Club Awards Annual Grants

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The Westport Rotary Club today hosted representatives of local charities who received Rotary grants at its weekly luncheon at Branson Hall, Christ & Holy Trinity Church. The representatives posed for a group portrait with club leaders. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Tony Riggio for WestportNow.com

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Honored for Saving a Life

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The Westport Rotary Club today presented its annual Public Service Award to Westport Firefighter Nicholas Marsan (3rd l), Lt. Brett Kirby (3rd r) and Firefighter Paul Spennato (2nd r) for saving the life of Westporter Caroline de Lasa (c) when she collapsed last November at the Saugatuck Rowing Club. Joining them in making the presentation were First Selectman Jim Marpe (l), Fire Chief Andy Kingsbury (2nd l), and Deputy Chief Bob Kepchar (r). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Tony Riggio for WestportNow.com

05/12/15 02:15 PM Comments (1) • PermalinkDigg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Rotary Honors Police Officers for Community Service

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The Westport Rotary Club today presented its Community Service Award for 2015 to Westport Police Officers Ashley Del Vecchio and Officer Craig Bergamo. Bergamo has been a head football coach within the Westport PAL football program since 2007and serves on the Westport PAL executive board and as a police liaison for the PAL Football Board. Del Vecchio has been the varsity field hockey coach at Staples High School almost since graduating from the Police Academy in 2011. A star student athlete in both the Fairfield school system and then again at Eastern Connecticut State University, she guided the team to the FCIAC semifinals in 2014. They were joined by Rotary President Steve Lewine. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Tony Riggio for WestportNow.com

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