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Thursday, July 17, 2003

Report: Westport to Pay at Least $2.7 Million in Superfund Case

Westport and six other Connecticut communities have reached the end of the line in court appeals and must pay cleanup costs at two contaminated landfills, the New Haven Register reported today. Westports share is at least $2.7 million.

The almost 20-year-old case centers on two so-called Superfund sites in ConnecticutҒs Naugatuck Valley. Westport and the other communities hauled their solid waste to the sites until the 1980s, only to find later that the sites had become contaminated.

After years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a final appeal last month, the newspaper said, quoting a Hartford attorney, Ann Catino, who represented six of the seven communities in the suit. It said the court gave no reason.

A spokeswoman in First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrells office today confirmed the town had been informed of the ruling. Farrell was unavailable for comment.

The Register quoted Farrell as saying: ғ“Its unfair to municipalities that didnҒt do anything wrong. The price is very troubling but the principle behind it is more troubling.”

More than a decade ago, several private companies were forced to clean and cap the landfills and later sued more than 400 parties for contributions to the $80 million cleanup costs.

Defendants, except for Westport and the six other municipalities, had reached out-of-court settlements. Six of the seven communities decided to pursue their appeals. Naugatuck did not.

Westport officials had tried to get the courts to stop the clockӔ on interest building up on the judgments against the communities, but had failed.

The other communities besides Westport and Naugatuck which will now have to pay include Seymour, Middlebury, New Haven, Orange, and Plymouth.

Trying to determine who pays for cleanup costs for Superfund sites has kept courts and lawyers busy for years. Legal scholars have made the complex litigation the subject of numerous law review articles and books.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Westport Oyster Applicant Goes on Offensive

With a week to go before an Army Corps of Engineers public hearing on his controversial application to harvest oysters in Long Island Sound, a Westport doctor has gone on the public relations offensive.

Dr. John M. Garofalo, 49, took out a full-page ad in todays Westport News and contributed a commentary defending the proposal, which involves using suspended traps off of Westport.

Recreational boaters have opposed the application, saying it causes safety concerns as well as disrupts sailboat races.

In the ad, headlined ғSave the Oyster! GarofaloԒs company, Mariculture Unlimited, LLC, said the project, which also involves a larger area off of Milford, Conn., is aimed at saving the New England oyster industry.

Without new technologies and successful grassroots enterprises, natural oyster populations on Long Island Sound will become a pleasure of the past,Ӕ it said.

In his commentary, which is also published on Maricultures Web site, Garofalo said, ғI think that some of the oppositions tactics have been to exaggerate the scope and effects of our initial proposal.Ҕ

He said he had offered a compromise proposal to the Cedar Point Yacht Club but that it was rejected.  It included an offer to decrease the size of the requested oyster farm from 366.8 acres to approximately 25 acres, Garofalo said.

MaricultureӒs compromise proposal is reasonable, non-threatening and, in fact, advantageous to our community, he said.

Garofalo said he is not proposing a nuclear power plant and does not represent any outside corporate developer. 

ԓI am simply your neighbor and I have been for 20 years, he said.  “I live and work in our community. 

ԓMy family and I sail, fish, dig clams and play on our water with you—and we care as much as you do about protecting everyone֒s recreational water activities.

The Army Corps of Engineers hearing is scheduled for July 23 in Milford.

   

07/16/03 10:50 PM Comments () • Permalink

“I Just Heard a Pop”

“I Just Heard a Pop”
Westport firefighters quickly doused a fire today on North Avenue. Driver Francis Pike of Westport, bottom picture, left, said he was driving to Staples High School when all of a sudden, “I just heard a pop. WestportNow.com photos

Near Westports Town Hall, ThereҒs

Near Westports Town Hall, ThereҒs One Way—Up
Its been that way for weeks Җ a one-way sign near Westports Town Hall pointing up. Thom Burrows took a picture of the sign at the corner of Main Street and Myrtle Avenue and offered to share it with fellow WestportNow readers. Thom Burrows for WestportNow.com

Westport Republicans Nominate New Faces

Westport Republicans Nominate New Faces for November Elections
Westport Republicans, once a dominate power in town politics but now a minority on all elected boards and commissions, Tuesday night nominated a November election slate of mostly new faces they hope will turn the tide.

Of nine GOP incumbents whose terms are expiring this year, only three chose to run again R. Gavin S. Anderson, 65, on the Board of Finance, Elizabeth Y. Wong, 48, on the Zoning Board of Appeals, and Garson F. Heller Jr., 67, on the Board of Assessment Appeals.

Choosing not to run again were Robert D. Graham, 55, on the Board of Finance; Cheryl A. Bliss, 51, on the Board of Education; William A. Crowther, 79, Elizabeth Kuechenmeister, 51, and Duane Nelson, 49, on the Planning and Zoning Commission; and Lisa K. Wexler, 43, on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

In addition to Anderson, the Republlicans nominated for the Board of Finance Thomas C. Bloch, 58, and Charles W. Haberstroh, who will be 53 next Monday. Haberstroh is a first-term member of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM).

Board of Education nominees included Edward M. Bowers, 45, and Lewis D. Brey, 34. Brey is a former RTM member who previously ran unsuccessfully for both the Board of Education and Board of Finance. He had served for 18 months on the finance board filling an unexpired term.

Nominated for the Planning and Zoning Commission were Helen Martin Block, 57, James R. Cochrane, 52, David B. Press, 56, and Sean M. Timmins, 39.

Nominated for the Zoning Board of Appeals in addition to Wong was John M. Hudock, 57. The Republicans could have nominated a third candidate but did not.

The Democrats will hold their nominating meeting July 21. Democratic officials have said only one incumbent has chosen not to run again ֖ Neil K. Gerhardt, 61, on the Board of Education.

In his place, party sources said the Democrats will nominate newcomer Mark H. Mathias, 45.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Getting Ready for Weekend Book

Getting Ready for Weekend Book Sale
Book sale volunteers William Bangser, left, and Dick Lowenstein get ready for this weekend’s annual book sale at the Westport Public Library. Lowenstein holds two books on falconry. WestportNow.com photo

Three Men Rob Westport Pet

Three Men Rob Westport Pet Store
Three men with guns robbed Pet Supplies Plus on Post Road East Monday night of about $1,200. WestportNow.com photo
Three men with guns robbed a Westport pet store Monday night, making off with about $1,200, police and store workers said. The men locked three employees and one customer in a bathroom at Pet Supplies Plus, 1870 Post Road East, before making their escape. The employees and customer managed to get out and called police about 15 minutes after the incident, which occurred about 9 p.m. The suspects, described as three black males wearing ski masks, took off in an unknown direction, police said. “The manager was pretty shook up,” a store employee said. No one was injured in the incident. The store is located in a busy shopping center near the Fairfield town line. Other stores in the complex include Walgreens and Toys R Us.

Westport’s Mini ‘Big Dig’ On Schedule

They’ve tunneled under the railroad tracks at the Saugatuck Railroad Station and Westport’s $7.8 million mini “big dig” project is on schedule. Using technology copied from Boston’s multi-year, multi-billion dollar highway and tunnel epic, construction workers have not disrupted rail traffic while building the new pedestrian tunnel. WestportNow.com photo

Lets Go to the Hop:

Lets Go to the Hop: Staples Invites ґ60s Grads to Reunion


Staples High School alumni from the classes of 1965 and 1966 are holding a reunion next weekend and invite all Staples grads from the 1960s to join them.

The celebration kicks off Friday, July 25, with a welcoming reception by Dunvilles with check-in at 6 p.m. at the new addition to the Westport Historical Society opposite Town Hall (the old Bedford Elementary School).

SaturdayҒs event is a 5:30 pm. to 11 p.m. barbeque dinner by Ash Creek Saloon at the Westport Womens Club on Imperial Avenue.

Organizers say there will be live ґ60s music by the Old School ReviewӔ band featuring all star Staples alumni musicians.Ӕ

On Sunday, its down to Compo Beach at noon Җ bring your own food, drinks provided.

The cost is $50 per person or $75 per couple for all events.

RSVP to Gail Latimer Gorian at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Johno Lupton at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or call 203 222-1424.

Send checks to SHSAA, c/o Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place, Westport, CT 06880.

All proceeds after costs go to help fund the Staples Alumni Association.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Westport-Based Nationally-Syndicated Radio Web Site Featured




Not many Westporters know when they hear Dick Bartley count down the tunes every week on American GoldӔ or Rock & RollӒs Greatest Hits via the ABC Radio Networks, he does it from a studio above WestportԒs Main Street.

But a few more of them, and others,  might know because Bartleys Web site, DickBartley.Com is featured in The Advocate of Stamford/NorwalkҒs business section today spotlighting the areas hottest Web sites.

Oldies music fans can request a song on the programs, find programming schedules for the shows, sign up for an on-air trivia contest and read Dick BartleyҒs biography at the site.

Bartley, whose DB Productions Inc. is based directly across the street from where Westports now-defunct WMMM-AM radio station once was housed, has hosted and produced oldies shows since 1973. He entered the Chicago-based National Radio Hall of Fame in 2000.

Joanne Woodward to Star in First Film Role in 10 Years

Westporter Joanne Woodward, busy recently as artistic director of the Westport Country Playhouse, is expected to co-star opposite her husband Paul Newman in what would be her first screen role in 10 years, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

It said the Oscar-winning actress is about to sign for a role in HBO’s adaptation of the best-selling novel “Empire Falls.”

The project is a comedic look at blue-collar life in the depressed Maine mill town of Empire Falls. It centers on Miles Roby, a forty something decent guy stuck running Empire Grill, the town’s most popular eatery, for 20 years.

Woodward would play Francine Whiting, a controlling and manipulative widow who owns Empire Grill as well as almost everything else in the dead-end town, The Hollywood Reporter said.

Newman, who will also serve as an executive producer, will play Roby’s ne’er-do-well father in the film, which author Richard Russo adapted from his novel. Fred Schepisi (“The In-Laws”) is attached to direct, the report said.

Woodward’s last onscreen performance was in the 1994 CBS television movie “Breathing Lessons,” which earned her Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards, as well as an Emmy nomination.

Woodward won an Oscar for her role in the 1957 feature “The Three Faces of Eve.”

Woodward and Newman have appeared together in more than a dozen films, most recently the 1990 feature “Mr. & Mrs. Bridge,” which landed Woodward Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

A Westport Lazy Summer Sunday

A Westport Lazy Summer Sunday
It was one of those lazy summer Westport Sundays you wished you could put in a bottle and recall on demand and that almost made you forget all the snowy winter days and rainy spring weekends.

WestportNow presents some snapshots of one day in summer 2003 to savor when the inevitable dark, cold days return.

On Roseville Road, Sophie Dodd, 9, a Long Lots Elementary School soon-to-be fourth grader, (left), and her friend Emma Sven, also 9, set up a lemonade stand and did brisk business. WestportNow.com photo

Over at Mitchells, the Staples football team was doing its fund-raising car wash. Football season for the Wreckers is just around the corner. WestportNow.com photo

Down at Compo Beach, the parking lots were overflowing and tossing a ball on the beach was among the many activities engaging Westporters. WestportNow.com photo

At Compo Basin, a family of Canadian geese took in the sights. WestportNow.com photo

The Italian Festival was wrapping up its last day in Saugatuck and getting a back rub to relieve the days stress seemed like a good thing to do for many people. WestportNow.com photo

For youngsters full of energy, a turn on the bungee jumping attraction was a natural way to spend part of the day. WestportNow.com photo

On Main Street, shoppers picked over last-minute bargains on the final day of the Downtown Merchants Association sidewalk sale. WestportNow.com photo

If only all summer weekends were like this.

   

07/13/03 10:41 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westports Italian Festival: Spotlight on

Westports Italian Festival: Spotlight on the Carnival Workers
Westport’s Italian Festival closes today at 10 p.m. and then workers tear down the rides and booths and move on. WestportNow.com photo
TodayҒs The Advocate of Stamford/Norwalk takes a behind the scenes look at carnival workers specifically, some of those working the booths and operating the rides at this weekend֒s Italian Festival in Westport. Excerpt:  How many times have you stood in line at a carnival, waiting for your turn on the Tilt-A-Whirl, wondering about the man operating the ride? Long hair, dirty hands, bright smile. Who is this man shepherding thousands onto his ride each year? How did he get here? “Movies and television often portray the carnival as a haven for misfits—those who’ve had trouble with the law, teenagers fleeing oppressive homes and those who refuse to grow up. But those who work The Show, as it is called, say they are not running from something as much as to something. “As a group, they’ll tell you, they love all that life has to offer and can’t imagine staying in one place, waiting for the carnival to come to them.Ӕ The Italian Festival concessionaire is Dreamland Amusements, which moves on next weekend to the Catskills. Its full schedule is available on its Web site.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

25th Compo Point to Point Attracts Almost 200 Swimmers

It was a picture-perfect day for a swim today at Compo Beach and almost 200 entrants did just that in the YMCA-sponsored Compo Beach Point to Point Swim.
Swimmers take to the water as the YMCA’s 25th annual Compo Beach Point to Point Swim gets underway. WestportNow.com photo
Matt Yacco, 23, of Fairfield, won the event with a time of 19 minutes, 15 seconds, his sixth Point to Point victory. Brian Carey, 18, of Westport, was second in 19:18. Deborah Cashin, 32, of Cheshire, was the top woman֒s swimmer in 19:50. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the event, first held in 1979. Race director Bob Knoebel recalled that year there were 54 participants and the entry fee was $1. ItӒs $30 this year,  he said, ӓand thats not bad considering inflation.Ҕ Swimmers competed in three heats the first for the most experienced swimmers and the last included those just out for a good time.
Al Dupuis, 85, was race’s oldest swimmer. WestportNow.com photo
Taylor McNair, 8, and friend, Gabrielle Wimer, also 8, both of Westport were the youngest swimmers. Both are members of the Y֒s Water Rats swim team. Norwalker Almanzor Dupuis, 85, was the oldest swimmer. He finished with a time of 69:07. I felt pretty good out there,Ӕ he said. But it was a bit cold.” Dupuis, who said he still swims three times a week at the Y, stiffened up a bit at the end and Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service personnel helped him warm up before sending him on his way. He said it was the 14th time he has participated in the event. Jimmy Goldsmith, 68, of Stamford, a gold medal winner in the Special Olympics, was another senior swimmer who made it to the end of the one-mile course. ӓI did it in 62:15, which is good for me, he said.
Brian Carey, 18, (left) of Westport, and Matt Yacco, 23, of Fairfield catch their breath. Yacco finished first in 19:15, and Carey second in 19:18. WestportNow.com photo
Westport Board of Education member Steve Halstead went part of the race before calling it a day. Son Chris, a past Point to Point winner, did not compete. Carey, the Westporter who placed second, is a sophomore at Williams College in Williams, Mass. A former member of the Staples swim team, he said he has been swimming since about the age of eight. ԓIt was a little choppy and the water slightly cold, he said. ԓBut it was a lot of fun. It always is. Westport lifeguards accompanied the yellow-capped swimmers the entire course and two Westport police boats provided additional assistance. Race participants received a commemorative T-shirt and mug. Dick Foot, YMCA executive director and CEO, watched over the smoothly run operation. A complete list of swimmers and their times is available on the YMCA Web site.

Three Generations Compete in Compo Swim

When Taylor McNair, 8, of Westport splashed into Long Island Sound today for the 25th Compo Beach Point to Point Swim, it was a family affair.
Taylor McNair, 8, of Westport, gets ready for today’s Compo Beach Point to Point swim with grandfather Albert Sacknoff, 69, and mother Marjorie, 44. Taylor and another 8-year-old were the youngest swimmers in the event. WestportNow.com photo
His mother, Marjorie McNair, 44, joined him as well as his grandfather, Dr. Albert Sacknoff, 69, of Huntington, N.Y. (See WestportNow July 9, 2003) Taylor and friend Gabrielle Wimer, 8, of Westport were the youngest competitors in the one-mile event that had 190 entrants. Taylor finished with a time of 40 minutes, 33 seconds, while Gabrielle was six seconds behind. Marjorie McNair was in the middle at 40:34. Her father dropped out after the first buoy but had fun nevertheless. It was a little cold,Ӕ said Taylor, who swims with the YMCAs Water Rats swim team. The Y sponsored the event. Marjorie McNair said TaylorҒs swim coach suggested he participate. I decided to join him,Ӕ she said. And it was his idea to invite his grandfather.Ӕ Sacknoff has been swimming since his days on the swim team at Columbia University. Taylor said the race was generally uneventful and at no time did he consider giving up. Asked if hell race again next year, he replied: ғSure. It was fun. TaylorԒs father, Carl, 47, stayed on the beach taking pictures and holding the towels, but obviously glowed in his familys achievements. ғMy wife has been practicing a lot in our backyard pool, he said. ԓShe was ready.

Look, Up in the Sky,

Look, Up in the Sky, It’s a Ferris Wheel!



Visitors to Westport’s Italian Festival Friday night take in the sights. A brief rain shower during the evening did not deter thousands from attending the annual event. WestportNow.com photo


Flashing a Smile and More

Flashing a Smile and More at Italian Festival



Colby Cayton, 9, of Stratford, Conn., helps her Dad sell flashing light items in their booth at Westport’s Italian Festival. Thousands turned out Friday for the second night of the four-day event. WestportNow.com photo


Friday, July 11, 2003

Annual Downtown Sidewalk Sale Begins


The annual sidewalk sale sponsored by Westport’s Downtown Merchants Association began today under overcast skies. It continues through Sunday. WestportNow.com photo

   

07/11/03 02:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

NY Times Spotlights Former Westporter Alexander Platt

Today’s New York Times, in the arts section, carries a lengthy portrait of Alexander Platt, who grew up in Westport.

Platt was recently named musical director of Woodstock, N.Y.‘s Maverick Concerts (see WestportNow June 27, 2003).

Parade Gets Westports Four-Day Italian Festival Underway

Westport’s Italian Festival attracted thousands as the four-day event kicked off Thursday night. WestportNow.com photo
Westporters disheartened over the Memorial Day parade rainout this year made up for it Thursday night with an enthusiastic welcome for the opening night parade at the annual Italian Festival. Bands played, crowds cheered, children screamed and politicians waved as the marchers made their way down Riverside Avenue and then along Saugatucks Franklin Street to the festival site at Luciano Park bordering the Metro North train tracks. Although there had been rain showers earlier in the day, by the time the parade stepped off, skies were clear and the temperature was comfortable in the 60s. Many of the units rained out of the Memorial Day parade took part in the Italian Festival march, according to parade chairman William Vornkahl. This made it one of the largest parades in the festivalҒs 20-year history. The biggest crowd was at the corner of Franklin and Charles Streets just outside Luciano Park.
Italian Festival marchers included (L-R) First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell, former Selectman Betty Lou Cummings, Selectman John Izzo, Representative Town Meeting member Michael Rea and wife Carla, and state Rep. G. Kenneth Bernhard. WestportNow.com photo
Under a large American flag hanging from the fire departments ladder truck, they cheered grand marshal Bill ғCrowbar Cribari, who led the line of six bands, civic groups, classic cars, and vintage fire trucks. First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell, Selectman John Izzo, and state Rep. G. Kenneth Bernhard were among the politicians who marched. Among the groups participating were the Westport WomenԒs Club, and the League of Women Voters. Westport News editor Christina Hennessy, managing editor Will Rowlands and reporter Kirk Lang held the newspapers banner aloft as they waved to the crowd. The old-time cars and trucks included a 1930 Fairfield police car, a 1953 Westport fire engine, and a shiny 1934 fire truck, restored at a cost of $90,000, which was manned by Weston volunteers. Festival organizers estimate as many as 100,000 visitors could visit the site before the event ends Sunday night. They say the festival has allowed WestportҒs Sons of Italy to distribute more than $1.5 million to local charities since 1984. The festival continues Friday 6 to 11 p.m.; Saturday noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. Additional information is available on the festival Web site.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

AP Zeroes in on Saugatuck Rower Rickey Visinski

The Associated Press zeroes in on Westport’s Saugatuck Rowing Club and the Olympic hopes of Rickey Visinski.

Excerpt: “What a sight. A 6-foot-1-inch Rickey Visinski emerges from Westport’s Saugatuck Rowing Club carrying his metallic orange scull with the name ‘Sunburst’ overhead.

“His long, lean body moves methodically; his arms flexed as the seat of the upside down boat rests on his head.

“‘That’s why I wear a hat,’ he says, and continues down the slight path to the Saugatuck River like the letter ‘T’ in motion.

“This routine takes place twice daily as Visinski, a 2003 Fairfield Prep graduate, prepares for his greatest challenge.

“By winning each of the three U.S. National Team junior trials in Princeton, N.J., Visinski, a lightweight rower, qualified for the first time to compete in August at the World Junior Rowing Championships in Athens, Greece, site of the 2004 Olympics.”

Joanne Woodward on Playhouse Renovation: “I Hope the Ghosts Return”

When the Westport Country Playhouse closes this season and begins a major renovation, Joanne Woodward worries about the ghosts.

The Oscar-winning Westporter, who is the theaters artistic director, told the Hartford Courant:  “All the memories, the ghosts. I hope the ghosts don’t get lost. I hope they know we want them to return.”

The newspaper noted that as the playhouse puts on a new face in time to celebrate its 75th anniversary in two years and if ghosts of actors from productions past indeed hover in the wings of historic theaters, ғthen the playhouse abounds with celebrated spirits.

Deceased performers who graced its boards include Eva LeGallienne, Helen Hayes, Henry Fonda, Ethel Barrymore, Tyrone Power, Paul Robeson, Gene Kelly, Claudette Colbert, Shirley Booth and scores more.Ӕ

Nothing Hidden About Westport Historical

Nothing Hidden About Westport Historical Societys Latest Garden Effort
ThereҒs nothing hidden about the Westport Historical Societys (WHS) latest garden effort Җ its right out there for all to see as part of fund-raising for its new addition.

To help pay for the $1 million project, the group, whose events include the popular annual hidden gardens tour, is soliciting donations for a mural depicting a tree with leaves and apples.

The work, hand-painted by Westport artist Katherine Ross, will occupy a prominent place in the new addition, which is nearing completion (see WestportNow July 7, 2003).

Donors can buy a leaf or apple on which to list their family name, or individualsҒ names, and the year they arrived in Westport.

The mural has space for 1,000 leaves and 50 apples. The apples are $500 for WHS members and $550 for non-members (which includes a one-year family WHS membership.)

Leaves are $100 for WHS members and $125 for non-members (which includes a one-year individual WHS membership, with any additional leaves $100 each.)

Wally Woods, who recently took over as WHS president, told WestportNow, I was surprised that apples are selling more briskly than leaves.Ӕ

Pointing to a fast-approaching July 31 deadline, Woods added:  We don’t want this tree to be bursting with apples and only showing a few wispy leaves.Ӕ

He said those interested in adding to the tree can pick up a brochure at WHS, or at the oral history booth at this weekends Festival Italiano, or at the WHS table at the this weekendҒs Downtown Merchants’ Sidewalk Sale.

The brochure will also be available at a booth during the art fair and library book sale next weekend.

Westport Authors Clam Shack Cookbook is Yummy




Westport food writer Brooke Dojny has written a dozen cookbooks, but her latest is a travel guide of sorts as well. Todays Hartford Courant gives it a warm review.

Excerpt: ғBrooke Dojny, who lives in Westport and summers in Maine, traveled the ‘Seafood Trail’ along the New England coast to find the best clam shacks, lobster pounds and chowder houses.

Her 25 favorite finds and the recipes that have made them famous are wrapped up in ‘The New England Clam Shack Cookbook’ (Storey, $16.95).

ӓDojny blends the stories behind these popular dining spots with bits of folklore, recipes written for the home kitchen and tips on filleting fish and eating a whole lobster. The only thing missing is the heady aroma of salt air.

The newspaper notes that snapshots of people, places and food ԓgive the pages the look of a personal photo album.

It quoted Dojny as saying her publisher sent disposable cameras to the business that she visited, with instructions “just to take pictures of everything.”

“Some of the best shots came from those cameras,” she said.

Hey, Lady: Did You Forget

Hey, Lady: Did You Forget Something?

Westport firefighters clean up a gasoline spill at the Mobil self-serve on Post Road East today after a motorist drove off without removing the gas hose from the tank. “It happens more often than you would think,” said one firefighter. WestportNow.com photo

   

07/10/03 04:07 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Westport Photographer Spencer Platt Shoots in the Congo



Spencer Platt, a 33-year-old Westporter who roams the world shooting pictures for New Yorks Getty Images news agency and most recently covered the war in Iraq, reports on his latest assignment Җ the Congo in the online journal The Digital Journalist.

Excerpt: ֓While the statistics are not yet out, it is possible that more journalists covered the war with Iraq than any other conflict in modern times.

This is not a bad thing, but it begs the question why have some wars been given an almost celebrity status while others, equally or more destructive in nature, have hardly registered on the publicӒs radar? I like to think it was partly in response to this question that I was sent to Congo.

Eight-Year-Old Westporter to be Joined

Eight-Year-Old Westporter to be Joined by Mom, Grandfather in Compo Swim
Todays The Advocate of Norwalk/Stamford spotlights eight-year-old Westporter Taylor McNair who will be joined by two other generations of his family in SaturdayҒs 25th annual Compo Beach Point to Point Swim.

Taylor is a member of the Westport/Weston YMCAs Water Rats swim team and decided to take part in the Y-sponsored event.

“The coach had suggested it to Taylor and he wanted to do it, so I said I’d do it with him,” his mother, Marjorie McNair, 44, told the newspaper. It was Taylor’s idea to ask his 69-year-old grandfather, Dr. Albert Sacknoff, to join them.

“I asked him because he likes to swim a lot, too. He likes to swim as much as me,” Taylor told The Advocate.

Taylor’s Dad, Carl, 47, told WestportNow he did not plan to join the swim. “Someone has to stand on the beach with the stopwatch and towels,” he said.

Steve Rubins Lucky Ring HeҒs

Steve Rubins Lucky Ring
HeҒs had it for 45 years, a gift from his father. And when Westporter Steve Rubin discovered someone stole his blue sapphire ring from his Compo Beach locker last week, he was devastated.


Steve Rubin shows off his lucky sapphire ring. WestportNow.com photo

I always take if off before I go swimming because it means so much to me,Ӕ he said. When I got back to the locker and it wasnӒt there, I just couldnt believe it.Ҕ

The thief apparently fiddled with the numeric combination lock until coming up with the right numbers and it opened. Despite other valuables in the locker, only the ring was missing.

Rubin notified police and word quickly spread up and down the boardwalk about the loss suffered by the popular Parks and Recreation employee who is also a member of Westports Representative Town Meeting.

ғI figured it was gone and Id never see it again,Ҕ he said.

But fate intervened. To make a long story short, the alleged thief gave the ring to his girlfriend or tried to give it to her ֖ but she turned it down. Not only that, she picked up on word of Rubins loss and put two and two together.

Bottom line: the cops showed up at the alleged thiefҒs home a 15-year-old ֖ and confronted him about the ring. He fessed up and Rubin soon had the ring back.

I couldnӒt believe it, said Rubin, who said the $3,000 ring means so much more to him than its monetary worth. ԓSometimes things happen and you just wonder why they do.

Rubin said he had no idea whether police arrested the teen-ager, adding, ԓIm just grateful to get the ring back.Ҕ

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Two-Hour Power Outage Hits Homes,

Two-Hour Power Outage Hits Homes, Disrupts Traffic, Longshore Facilities
Traffic agent directs traffic at intersection of Post Road East and Compo Road during two-hour power outage. WestportNow.com photo
A two-hour power outage hit much of central Westport today as the temperature soared into the 90s. It left about 1,200 homes dark, disrupted traffic, and shut down the towns Longshore Club Park facilities. Connecticut Light and Power (CL&P) said a blown transformer near Compo Road South and Bridge Street caused a blackout that extended from the Longshore Club Park north to the intersection of Compo Road South and Post Road East. At the height of the outage, 1,254 customers out of 12,041 Westport homes and businesses served by the utility were affected, according to the companyҒs Web site. The outage occurred at 1:12 p.m. and power was back shortly after 3 p.m. Traffic backed up in Westports center business district as police placed stop signs at the intersection of Compo Road South and Post Road East. Traffic agents directed traffic by hand. At Longshore, officials closed down the pool, much to the disappointment of a large crowd of mothers and children who had to abandon the cool water for grassy areas nearby. One lifeguard said it would take a half hour or more after restoration of power to get the poolҒs filtration system up to speed so swimmers could return.
Lifeguard at Longshore Club pool tells disappointed swimmers pool is closed due to a power blackout. WestportNow.com photo
At the Parks and Recreation Dept. office, employees continued to process applications by hand. Emergency backup power enabled the department to shut down its computer system safely after the outage hit. The Splash Restaurant at the Longshore Inn allowed luncheon guests to finish but locked the doors to additional customers due to the blackout. The regular Tuesday Westport Rotary luncheon at the inn was just about over and was largely unaffected by the outage. Police and fire officials reported no serious incidents during the blackout, but one homeowner did suffer some water damage when a pump ceased to operate. Several fire and burglar alarms sounded when power was restored.

Westport Among Communities Reporting Mosquito Virus

State officials say Westport is among communities where the heavy rains of last month have provided a boost in the human-biting mosquito population and with that, the reappearance in Connecticut of another virus.

The Jamestown Canyon virus, unlike West Nile virus, appears to be relatively common in Connecticut. It is carried by white-tailed deer while West Nile is carried by birds.

The Jamestown Canyon virus, which usually causes only mild fever and headache, has been discovered in trapped mosquitoes in Westport and six other communities, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

The other communities are Danbury, Woodbridge, Cromwell, Franklin, Willington, and Barkhamsted.

June’s rain spurred a population explosion among human-biting mosquitoes that thrive in swampy areas and tend to carry Jamestown Canyon, but not West Nile, according to Theodore Andreadis, chief medical entomologist at the agricultural station.

Jamestown Canyon has been detected in mosquitoes every year for the past six years that tests have been conducted, Andreadis said.

Two studies suggest that many Connecticut residents already may have been infected but experienced few or no symptoms, according to an AP report.

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