Thursday, July 17, 2003
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
If only all summer weekends were like this.
Saturday, July 12, 2003
Look, Up in the Sky, It’s a Ferris Wheel!
Flashing a Smile and More at Italian Festival
Friday, July 11, 2003
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).
Thursday, July 10, 2003
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.”
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 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 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 Something?
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
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 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 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.
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
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.