Wednesday, August 20, 2003
Theres more than a new addition to the Westport Historical Society Җ theres a new name. The new facility will be called the Westport History Center at Wheeler House.
The new name was announced to members in the societyҒs newsletter mailed this week.
John Lupton, executive director, said the new name more accurately reflects the mission and goals of the society.
The name of the umbrella organization will remain the Westport Historical Society. Wheeler House is the name of the Victorian mansion that houses the organization on Avery Place opposite Westports Town Hall.
The new addition will be inaugurated next month with an exhibit called ғTV Neighbors: Westport and Weston Television Performers and Personalities 1946-2003.
EditorԒs Note: The editor of WestportNow is a director-at-large of the Westport Historical Society.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued an unhealthy air quality alert for Thursday for all of Connecticut.
The EPA, which has 11 monitoring stations around the state including one at Westports Sherwood Island State Park, said in a statement:
ғAir quality on Thursday, Aug. 21, is predicted to be unhealthy statewide in Connecticut due to elevated concentrations of ground-level ozone, commonly called smog.
Moderate levels of particulate matter are also expected in Connecticut on Thursday.Ԕ
It said all people, especially children and those with respiratory ailments, should limit strenuous outdoor activity when high ozone levels are expected.
The EPA’s Sherwood Island monitoring station and others in the region can be viewed on a real-time basis at the EPA Web site.
The chairs of Westports boards, commissions and committees got a little gift from the town this week—a primer on parliamentary procedure.
First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell sent a copy of the Penguin Book edition of “Parliamentary Procedure at a Glance” to the officials to promote more open government.
The book’s list price is $9.95, but Pat Scully, manager of Farrell’s office who distributed the books, said the town was able to get a discount. About 100 copies were purchased, she said.
In order to continue to insure that public business is processed efficiently, effectively and accurately, we are forwarding to you a copy of ‘Parliamentary Procedure at a Glance by O. Garfield Jones,” Farrell told the chairs in a letter accompanying the book.
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
With tongue firmly in cheek, Westports Paul Newman used an op-ed piece in todayҒs New York Times to make fun of the Fox News Network for its suit against political satirist Al Franken.
Fox is suing Franken for using the phrase “fair and balanced” in the title of his new book.
Wrote Newman: In claiming trademark violation, Fox sets a noble example for standing firm against whatever.Ӕ
Unreliable sources report that the Fox suit has inspired Paul Newman, the actor, to file a similar suit in federal court against the Department of Housing and Urban Development, commonly called HUD. Mr. Newman claims piracy of personality and copycat infringement.Ӕ
The Times identifies the author of the column this way: Paul Newman, an actor, is chief executive of Salad King.Ԕ
Westport firefighters responded to a call about a hydrochloric acid spill today at Coleytown Middle School on North Avenue.
Apparently a custodian was engaged in a cleaning operation in a bathroom area when the incident occurred, according to firefighters on the scene.
They evacuated the building and ventilated it to clear a smoke condition which had set off the building’s fire alarm.
No injuries were reported in the 7:29 a.m. incident.
Hydrochloric acid is commonly used in industrial cleaning solutions.
The fire department said later in a statement that the cause of the chemical cloud was probably a chemical reaction between a floor tile cleaner containing hydrochloric acid and a lavatory cleaner containing a mild phosphoric/sulfuric acid solution.
Monday, August 18, 2003
Police Rescue Westporter Who Suffered Heart Attack During Triathlon
Danbury police rescued a 57-year-old Westport swimmer who apparently suffered a heart attack while competing in a triathlon at Candlewood Lake Saturday morning, The News-Times of Danbury reported.
Robert E. Brown Jr. of Cottage Lane was swimming in the first leg of the Try-It Triathlon when police rushed him ashore. Paramedics resuscitated Brown, and he was in stable condition at Danbury Hospital by afternoon, the newspaper said.
Brown, in the third and final lap of the swimming leg, called to Danbury police monitoring the race from an inflatable boat at about 7 a.m., police said.
Police brought Brown aboard, and he passed out. “We were talking to him fine, said Sgt. Matt McNally, one of the police involved in the rescue. “Then all of a sudden (Officer John Krupinsky) noticed his eyes went up, and that was it.Ԕ
Police got Brown onto a faster Candlewood Lake Patrol Boat also monitoring the race. Police performed CPR on Brown as they approached shore.
“He was barely breathing, he had a weak pulse, said McNally. “As soon as we beached, he lost his pulse.Ԕ
Paramedics on shore continued CPR and used a defibrillator to restore Browns heartbeat. “It seemed like forever, but it was only five minutes,Ҕ said McNally.
Browsing among the paperbacks at last years Westport Library book sale, Mike Lauterborn came across John SteinbeckҒs 1962 best-selling novel Travels With Charley.Ӕ
Now he is about to set off on an adventure retracing the authors journey with his dog named Charley.
The 38-year-old Fairfield businessman said he intends to publish his own book after the eight-to-10 week trip, which he calls ғChasing Charley, according to todayԒs Connecticut Post.
I was thumbing along and I saw a paperback of ӑTravels With Charley,Ҕ he told the newspaper. I love Steinbeck but I had never heard of the book.”
The account supervisor at a Stamford sales promotion agency said he immediately read the book and thought, ӓWouldnt this be cool to do?Ҕ
Using his sales promotional skills, Lauterborn has lined up corporate sponsors for the trip, including ExxonMobil for the gas and Coleman for the camping equipment he will he carrying in his recreational vehicle, the report said.
The newspaper did not say whether Lauterborn has already lined up a publisher. But it does say he wont be traveling with his wife Marlene or his two sons.
Curiously, there was no word whether he has a dog or whether he intends to make it his traveling companion.
State Ceremonies in Westport Marking Sept. 11 Anniversary to be Low-Key
State officials are planning a more intimate remembrance this year for Connecticut victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, compared with last year’s service, according to The Hartford Courant.
Only relatives of state victims have been invited to a gathering at Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park on Sept. 4. They will be the first people to see new sandstone-colored, 8-inch-square granite blocks, each containing the name of one of the 151 victims who lived in the state or had close family ties to Connecticut, the newspaper reported.
Planners are trying to create a more personal setting for the unveiling, said Brian Mattiello, the state official overseeing production of the Westport ceremony.
“What we’ve heard from families is that there was a swirl of activity one year after (the attacks), with world events and the government going through so much,” he said.
“Mostly, what we want to do is focus on the lives that were led by those who were killed on Sept. 11, 2001,” Mattiello said. “That ought to be the focus.”
Hundreds of people gathered at Sherwood Island almost a year ago to dedicate a seaside memorial for the victims of the terrorist attacks. There are no separate plans by Westport to mark the anniversary.
Sunday, August 17, 2003
Heavy Rain Causes Minor Flooding, Downs Trees
A fast-moving thunderstorm moved through Westport late today, causing some minor flooding on roadways and downing trees, police said.
Flooding was reported in an area of Roseville Road and under the Metro-North railroad bridge on Compo Road South.
High winds downed some trees and lights flickered briefly in some parts of town, but no power outages were reported.
The National Weather Service had issued a thunderstorm warning and flash flood warning for the area a short time before.
Police and fire units were kept busy responding to burglar and fire alarms set off by the storm.
The storm had moved through the area by shortly before 7 p.m.
The high end of Westports real estate market is beginning to show signs of weakness, according to a Westport real estate agent. And he said the real focus now is on teardowns.
Bob Casper, associate manager of the Coldwell Banker Westport office, told Fairfield County Business Journal while the town continues to have a strong housing market, he has seen weakness in homes priced in the $3 million range.
Last year, upper-tier homes sold for $3 million, he told the weekly newspaper. During the first six months of this year, $500,000 was shaved off the average price, he said.
Homes in the $1 million range, which he called ғour meat and potatoes, remain a strong market, he said.
ԓThe numbers are fine, he told the newspaper. ԓWere having a great year. We just have to work a littler harder with our very expensive properties, which makes sense because a lot of bonus money didnҒt appear this year.
But Casper said teardowns are ԓthe phenomenon in Westport.
With few, if any building lots available in town, ԓa builder comes in and tears down an $800,000 ranch on an acre and puts up a 6,000-square-foot house that will sell anywhere from $1.8 million and $3.5 million, depending on the level of detail and the neighborhood,” he said.
Saturday, August 16, 2003
Oops: NY Times Erroneously Reports Westport Fire Fatality During Blackout
Readers of today’s New York Times were erroneously told Westport suffered a fire fatality during this week’s blackout.
In a roundup of fire activities during the outage, the Times said: “In Westport, Conn., a woman died and her husband and child were badly burned in a blaze that fire officials attributed to a candle left burning during the blackout, The Waterbury Republican-American reported today, according to The Associated Press.”
Despite the careful attribution, neither The AP nor the Waterbury newspaper reported on a Westport fatality. The fire occurred in Waterbury. There were no fires in Westport during the blackout.
Todays New York Times carries a somewhat positive review of the latest Westport Country Playhouse production of Arthur MillerҒs All My SonsӔ starring Richard Dreyfuss and Jill Clayburgh.
Reviewer Bruce Weber said that though the performances, especially Mr. Dreyfuss’s, are uneven, the two stars give the production, directed by Doug Hughes, a charismatic center and a lurching momentum.Ӕ
Webers muted praise of Dreyfuss includesd a note that he retains ғthe stage presence of a star and that from time to time he jolts the production with genuine electricity.
As for Clayburgh, he wrote: ԓMs. Clayburgh, almost all by herself, animates a long and rather slow-moving first act. Looking drawn, lank-haired and wearily determined, and biting off her words so that her lines don’t resonate but land like a hammer on an anvil, she gives off the formidability of a battle-ax.
The reviewer called Hughes’s direction ԓwisely unsubtle, underscoring the play’s strength, which is its undeniably gripping emotional power. He keeps the wrenching moral issues of the play in a vise and makes sure we see the cost to the characters played out on the stage.
Update (8/16/03):In a review in Sunday’s New York Times Connecticut section, Alvin Klein wrote: “Doug Hughes’s staging of the play at the Westport Country Playhouse has power and incandescence.”
Friday, August 15, 2003
Mildew problems have been discovered in five Westport schools and the district estimates it will cost as much as $100,000 to clean up the problem, according to Schools Supt. Elliott Landon.
In a press release, Landon said custodial and maintenance workers identified mildew in limited areasӔ over the past few days in Staples High School, Bedford and Coleytown Middle Schools, and Kings Highway and Long Lots Elementary Schools.
The problem developed because of the excessive humidity caused by an unusually wet summer, combined with high temperatures, the school official said.
The mildew will be removed prior to the start of school Aug. 27 and poses no threat to the health of students, staff and teachers, he said.
Landon said the district consulted with Judy Nelson, director of the Westport-Weston Health District, on a remediation plan.
ғIt is estimated that the use of outside resources for the clean-up will require us to spend as much as $100,000. These extraordinary costs are not included in the 2003-04 school budget, the statement said.
ԓAdditionally, extensive use of overtime will necessitate additional unplanned expenditures from custodial and maintenance staffs.
Landon said mildew problems appeared to be occurring in school districts across the state.
CL&P Reports New Westport Power Outages
Connecticut Light & Power reported new Westport power outages today affecting almost 200 homes. But by early afternoon all but a few customers had power restored.
The problems came as Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell, responding to a plea from state officials, urged town residents to immediately reduce electrical usage to prevent new outages.
According to the CL&P Web site, as of 2 p.m, five Westport customers out of 12,027 served were without power. As many as 184 homes were reported without power beginning at 10 a.m.
AT 4 a.m., CL&P had reported power restored to all homes following Thursday’s outage.
The Westport Fire Department reported an outage at about 9 a.m. affecting a portion of Saugatuck Shores.
It could not be immediately determined if this was the affected area cited by CL&P or whether the Westport outages were scattered elsewhere.
Metro-North Back Up With Limited Service
Metro-North trains began moving again this afternoon from New York City on the New Haven line.
A Metro-North spokesman said limited service was being resumed out of Grand Central Terminal. There was no word when service would resume in the other direction from New Haven into New York.
Service had been suspended when the blackout struck the region shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday.
Westports First Selectwoman Urges Power Restraint
Responding to a call from state officials, Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell today urged town residents to immediately reduce electrical usage to prevent new outages.
ғThe Connecticut Office of Emergency Management has appealed to all Connecticut residents to use only the minimum necessary power, she said in a statement.
ԓFor example, customers should turn off air conditioners, pool pumps, dish washers, and any other non-vital use of power. Those with health-related needs are exempt from this appeal.
The town official said Connecticut Light & Power informed her ԓthat the loss of a 345-kilovolt supply line in combination with the rapidly growing demand for power has placed Connecticut’s electrical grid in danger.
ԓTo avoid further disruption in service, Connecticut residents, as well as businesses and government agencies, are urged to use minimal power, she said.
Westporters awakened to restored power throughout the town today, but power officials urged residents to restrain usage during the expected hot weather during the day. They said further power problems were possible.
People should be restrained in their usage today,Ӕ said Frank Poirot, a spokesman for CL&P.
He told News-12 Connecticut that additional problems were possible as workers labored to restore power throughout the region.
Shortly before 9 a.m., power went out in a section of Saugatuck Shores. The problem appeared isolated to a small area.
Congressman Christopher Shays said important lessons need to be learned from the blackout. We need to think about our energy policy much more vigorously,Ӕ he told News-12.
The Danbury-Brookfield area of Fairfield County appeared to be the area hardest hit this morning in the region. The CL&P Web site said 9,300 customers were without power in Danbury, almost 29 percent of the city, and 1,365 in Brookfield, or almost 19 percent.
The Westport and Greens Farms train stations were unusually quiet this morning as Metro-North service was still suspended due to power problems.
Hundreds of travelers were standed at the Westport train station when the blackout hit, according to Police Chief William Chiarenzelli. Their train stalled at the station, they waited hours until Metro-North could organize buses to take them to points east of Westport, he said.
Westport police and fire departments reported no unusual incidents during the blackout. Both departments held over personnel from the day shift. Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service called in extra volunteers.
The fire department responded to two elevator rescue calls and checked on older people using oxygen and those living alone. The Westport-Weston Health District and the town’s social service workers provide the department with names of residents who might experience problems during blackouts.
While there were no major incidents reported, police today did report at least one burglary overnight along Post Road East.
Power went off in much of Westport at about 4:15 p.m. The downtown area and sections along Compo Road South continued to have power, however, for more than an hour before also going dark.
Power came back on in the downtown area and areas generally south of the Post Road, both East and West, at about 10:40 p.m. But areas north of the Post Road and near the Fairfield line remained dark until 12:23 a.m.
At 2 a.m., CL&P reported 296 customers without power but by 4 a.m. reported no Westport outages.
Some restaurants operated for a time by candlelight or emergency power but eventually shut down.
Traffic moved cautiously along the Post Road where police erected temporary stop signs at major intersections. Police cruisers traveled with their emergency lights on. Many Westporters headed to Compo Beach for relief from the heat.
The area near the intersection of Post Road East and Main Street took on an eerie look late in the evening as a News-12 remote truck lit up the area for a live report from one of its reporters.
CL&P Says None of its Westport Customers Remain Without Power as of 4 a.m.
CL&P said none of its 12,027 Westport customers remained without power as of 4 a.m.
At 2 a.m., it had said 296 customers remained without power.
Power Restored to Most of Westport Early Today
Homes in the northern and eastern parts of Westport had power restored early today.
The lights flickered on at 12:23 a.m., about an hour and 40 minutes after power in the downtown and other areas of town were restored.
As the lights came back on, the power surge set off fire and burglar alarms in homes and businesses, keeping police and fire units busy.
Power was restored to the central part of Westport late tonight but other areas remained in the dark.
Lights flickered on in the downtown area, along Post Road East and West and south of the Post Road at about 10:40 p.m.
But many areas north of the Post Road—along a line roughly running from Compo Road North to the Weston town line and east toward Fairfield—remained without power just before midnight. Outages continued in isolated areas south of the Post Road as well.
Areas on North Avenue south of Staples High School had power but north of the school was dark.
CL&P’s Web site said 2,090 of its 12,027 Westport customers were still without power shortly before midnight.
Cable television which had remained on throughout the outage in most of Westport went out in northern portions of the town as power was restored to other areas.
Westport Reports No Serious Incidents Resulting from Power Outage
Westport reported no serious incidents as the northeast power outage darkened homes, stores, and traffic lights.
“So far, so good,” said one emergency official monitoring the outage as of mid-evening Thursday.
At first, only sections of Westport north of Compo Road were darkened by the outage which hit about 4:15 p.m. But by 5:30 p.m., sections that still had power went dark, too, along with much of the northeast.
Officials of CL&P said Fairfield County and shoreline towns appeared to be hardest hit.
Police placed portable stop signs at major intersections and assigned officers and traffic agents to the busiest points.
The Westport Fire Department held over its day shift and Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service called in extra personnel.
Many Westporters who commute into New York City by train were unable to get home. Workers who commute into Westport from outside were similarly stranded.
Most restaurants closed by early evening, although a few customers lingered at those with outdoor tables, including Matsu Sushi on Jesup Green.
Temperatures in Westport as well as across the northeast were in the upper 80s at the time of the blackout.
The police and fire departments operated on emergency generators. Officials said the 911 system was operating normally.
Homes lucky to have generators were able to watch cable television, which was not interrupted, and access broadband Internet connections through cable modems. Telephone service appeared to be operating normally.
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Wednesday, August 13, 2003