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Monday, October 06, 2003

Roadway Defects Have Westporters Wondering

Roadway Defects Have Westporters Wondering If youve driven on the Post Road in Westport in recent days, youҒve heard the thump, thumpӔ and experienced the bumps and dodged the raised manhole covers outlined in orange. Hopefully, your car hasnt suffered any damage. WestportNow reader David Kneisel fired off a message to his favorite Westport Web site to find out what the heck was going on. The Post Road is a state highway. ғThe problem comes from the state purchasing process, explained WestportԒs public works director, Steve Edwards.
Look closely—this car at the intersection of Post Road West and Riverside Avenue is driving gingerly over a large lip in the roadway that is the result of the state milling Post Road West in preparation of repaving. WestportNow.com photo
The road reconstruction process requires a minimum of two vendors/contractors that have totally independent schedules.Ӕ He said the state bids out road milling the process that skims off old asphalt and results in ridges in the road to prepare it for repaving ֖ as well as road reconstruction and paving, asphalt and concrete. Depending upon the results of the bid, you have a minimum of a milling contractor and a paving contractor,Ӕ Edwards said. The milling contractor has to go through all their work first using state forces in support. Once that work is done, the paving contractor starts paving. ӓThe state does not seem to be able to handle concurrent milling and paving programs. They appear to do all the milling before they start any of the paving. Edwards said on the local level, the town works very hard to coordinate the milling contractor with the paving contractor. ԓBut even with our limited mileage and the independence of these two contractors, there are periods when the road surface is milled for several days pending the placement of the asphalt, he said. ԓThrow on top of that the demands of the motoring public and the impact on traffic, and it translates into less than perfect conditions.” First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell told WestportNow she was concerned about the inconvenience and potential damage to Westporters cars, and said she was closely monitoring the situation.


10/06/03 09:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

Eight-Year-Old Hit by Car Reported Improving

Eight-Year-Old Hit by Car Reported Improving
An 8-year-old Westport boy hit by a car Saturday evening near his home in the Coleytown area is improving at Yale-New Haven Hospital, police said today.

The youngster, who was not identified, was struck by the car at the intersection of Silver Brook Road and Bonnie Brook Road shortly after 6 p.m.

Arriving officers found the youngster lying in the roadway behind the car. He was treated at the scene for head injuries and transported to Norwalk Hospital. He was later flown to New Haven by Life Star helicopter, police said.

Preliminary indications are that the youth ran into the roadway into the path of the northbound vehicle,Ӕ a department press release said. It added, At this time, the accident is under investigation.Ӕ

Witnesses said the youth appeared to have bounced off the cars windshield. The driver was said to be a nearby resident.


10/06/03 07:20 PM Comments () • Permalink

Directing the Guv Miggs Burroughs,

Miggs Burroughs, a Westport graphic designer, puts on his directing mode today at Cablevision in Norwalk as he directs a public access television interview with Gov. John Rowland. The program, hosted by state Sen. William Nickerson of Greenwich, airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. Burroughs has had his own public access program on Cablevision since 1984. WestportNow.com photo


10/06/03 07:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Town Attorney: Court Ruling on Wetlands Not Earth-ShakingӔ

Westport Town Attorney: Court Ruling on Wetlands Not “Earth-Shaking
Westport Town Attorney Ira Bloom views with great interest a state Supreme Court ruling on the authority of local wetlands commissions.

But unlike some other experts who said FridayԒs decision will have far-reaching implications, Bloom told WestportNow he does not share that initial assessment.

It is potentially important but doesnӒt strike me as earth-shaking, he said. ԓIt does, however, narrow the scope of conservation commissions.

A lawyer for the developer in the case said the ruling was significant because it would limit the authority of public agencies statewide to restrict development.

The court ruled that local wetlands commissions may not broaden their authority to protect wildlife in an effort to shield habitats from development.

The decision focused on the spotted salamander at the site of a proposed 119-unit apartment complex development in Wilton by AvalonBay Communities.

Many development plans in the state, including some in Westport over the years, have been held up, altered, or denied as local commissions considered the impact on creatures such as spotted salamanders.

Bloom, who is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association Planning & Zoning Executive Committee, said one of the arguments against development in the ongoing ARS Partners case in Westport focused on preserving wildlife.

But he declined to discuss the rulingԒs potential impact on it in detail as there is pending litigation.

I would advise the (Westport) Conservation Commission that once it goes beyond the issue of wetlands and setbacks, it would be on shaky grounds,Ӕ he said.

ThereӒs no doubt the court takes a more restrictive view of the rulings of conservation commissions.

Three months ago, the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission denied without prejudice the application by ARS Partners Inc. of Fairfield for a 22-unit clustered housing development abutting Partrick Road and Newtown Turnpike.

The commission, by a 7-0 vote, said the applicant needed to provide additional environmental testing information about its plan to develop the 56-acre parcel which contains about 36 acres of wetlands.


10/06/03 03:07 AM Comments () • Permalink

Connecticut DEP Knows Where the Money Is: It Grows on Trees

Theyre called foliage fans or leaf peepers. But whatever you call them, they mean dollars for Connecticut.

And thatҒs why the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is going all out to attract them. It knows very well that in this case, money does grow on trees.

The DEP, which has cut back services and hours at many of Connecticuts state parks, including Sherwood Island in Westport, due to budget reductions, has set up a special Web site to attract people who like to see the fall foliage colors in the state.

It even gives up-to-the-minute tracking of the best places to see the changing colors. Peak color is estimated to be between Oct. 12 and Oct. 18.

The site also suggests routes visitors can take on car trips around the state to see the foliage, including a 115-mile route called ғScenic Fairfield.

It starts at exit 38 of the Merritt Pakway in Norwalk, goes north toward Danbury, east to Woodbury, and eventually back to the Merritt at WestportԒs exit 42 on Weston Road.

The Web site also details hiking and biking routes and even explains why leaves change colors. Links to nine state parks and forests equipped with viewing towers or lookouts have been added to the site since last year.

The state effort competes with some private sites, including The Foliage Network, which also plots the color change across various parts of he country.

About 2.8 million people from out of state visit Connecticut in the fall, the second highest total in New England, Ed Dombroskas, executive director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism, told the AP.

“Leaf peeping is really a big part of it,” he said, adding that tourism is a $10 billion industry in Connecticut, with about 40 percent in the fall.


10/06/03 03:04 AM Comments () • Permalink

strong>Missing Weston Girl Returns Home

Missing Weston Girl Returns Home
A 16-year-old girl missing for six days has returned to her Weston home, police said today.

Police said Danielle Pietro had been missing since last Tuesday. They said she called her parents today after seeing a tearful plea for her return on television.

According to her family, she had left behind her ID and money as well as required medication.

Police initially said they feared she may have left with someone she met on the Internet.


10/06/03 03:02 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Close Encounter of the Compo

Close Encounter of the Compo Kind
Recent Compo Beach visitor Elle does her close encounter thing with a beach resident.  Jared Nixon for WestportNow.com


10/05/03 10:09 AM Comments () • Permalink

Measuring the Economy: Fewer Westport Hair Appointments

Todays Hartford Courant takes a look at real ways to measure the economy. One of them, it says, is hairstyling appointments in Westport.

ғKathy Sirico, whose husband co-owns Greg & Tony’s Salon in Westport, says clients have been stretching out their hair appointments, letting their roots get a little darker before coming back for highlights to save some dollars, the newspaper reported.


10/05/03 08:57 AM Comments () • Permalink

If You Missed the Our TownӔ TV Version in May, Tonights Another Chance

The TV version of the Westport Country Playhouse production of Our Town,Ӕ starring Paul Newman, gets another national exposure tonight at 9 p.m.  on PBS ғMasterpiece Theater.

The James Naughton-staging of the classic was filmed for television following its nine-week Broadway engagement which ended last January. It was previously shown on Showtime on May 24.

The play marked Newman’s return to the Broadway stage after a 38-year break and proved to be a financial bonanza for the Playhouse. He received a Tony Award nomination for his work.

It largely mirrored last summerԒs Westport staging of the play, although no audience was present. Naughton said the film was shot for the camera and is not simply a recorded stage performance.

When the program aired on Showtime in May, it got upbeat reviews.

Newman, in his first Broadway role in 38 years, stars as the omniscient Stage Manager, and approaches this TV recording of it differently, subtly and superbly,Ӕ said the New York Daily News.


10/05/03 08:44 AM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, October 04, 2003

A Better Garden for A

A Better Garden for A Better Chance
Volunteers Steve Halstead (l.) and Charles Haberstroh take part in today’s garden spruce up at Glendarcy House on North Avenue. The house is home to minority students attending Westport schools and is sponsored by A Better Chance of Westport, Inc. WestportNow.com photo


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

Hey Get Your Popcorn Here

Hey Get Your Popcorn Here
Members of Cub Scout Pack 100 make a sale at their popcorn fundraiser today at McDonald’s on Post Road East. They hoped to top their recent sale of $1,500 worth of popcorn outside a local supermarket. WestportNow.com photo


10/04/03 02:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

Just Cleaning Out the Garage

Just Cleaning Out the Garage
New Westporter Drew Kristofik found a garage full of stuff in her new house and took much of it to today’s Westport Fire Department household hazardous waste collection day on Bayberry Lane. Technician Todd Benedict gives her a hand. WestportNow.com photo


10/04/03 02:34 PM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Students in Car Crash

Staples Students in Car Crash After Football Game
Three Staples students celebrating Friday night’s football victory escaped serious injury early today in a one-car crash on Hyde Lane near Long Lots Elementary School. The driver, James Nag, 17, was taken to Norwalk Hospital with an injured hand and treated and released, police said. He was charged with reckless driving. Passengers Gregory Jacobs, 16, and David Altschuler, 16, were not injured. The accident occurred not far from where four other teens were injured in a fiery crash Aug. 1. WestportNow.com photo


10/04/03 04:28 AM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Crowd Cheers Wrecker Victory

Staples supporters cheer their team tonight as the Wreckers came from behind to defeat Trumbull 28-24 under the lights at Trumbull.  Senior running back Jimmy Hughes had four touchdowns. Online coverage: Connecticut Post. WestportNow.com photo


10/04/03 01:05 AM Comments () • Permalink

Glum Faces as Trumbull Takes

Glum Faces as Trumbull Takes Early Lead
Staples supporters watch glumly as Trumbull scored early in tonight’s game at Trumbull. Online game photos. WestportNow.com photo


10/04/03 12:59 AM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Plays Under Lights in Trumbull

Staples supporters watch the early football action tonight in Trumbull as the Eagles scored several times to lead 17-6 at the half. But the Wreckers (in white) came from behind to win it 28-24, improving their record to 4-0.  WestportNow.com photo


10/04/03 12:55 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, October 03, 2003

Main Street Gets a New Deli: Katzenberg Kafe

Downtown deli aficionados have long had one destination Oscar’s Deli. But now there is another deli on the other end of Main Street—Katzenberg Kafe.

The cafe and full-service deli is located at 22 Main St. in space long occupied by Coffee Tree and then Moonstruck.

Boasting of “specialty coffee and very special food,” Katzenberg’s is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and offers free delivery. There is also a special menu for kids, Katzy’s Kids Club.

Other Katzenberg Kafes are in Greenwich, Darien and Scarsdale, N.Y. Proprietors are Mark Katzenberg and Bruce Katz.


10/03/03 08:19 PM Comments () • Permalink

Internet Journalism Site Praises WestportNow

The Internet journalism site CyberJournalist.net has cited WestportNow.com as a model for community publishing in a Weblog format.

“It is an excellent example of how the Weblog format can be used to deliver original, valuable information to an interested audience—and offers a great model for local community publishing,” its report said.


10/03/03 08:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Reminder: Saturday is Household Hazardous

Reminder: Saturday is Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day
A Main Street banner reminds Westporters of Saturday’s annual Westport Fire Department Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 180 Bayberry Lane. Bring garden supplies, auto supplies, propane tanks, mercury thermometers, and cleaning supplies. Don’t bring latex paint (water-based), used motor oil, wet cell batteries, or ammunition. WestportNow.com photo


10/03/03 05:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

Schools Superintendent Says Copier Critics Distort Facts

Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon today issued a detailed response to the latest criticism by two parents studying a controversial copier contract. He said the allegations were incorrect and showed a lack of understanding of negotiating strategy.

He made the statements in a memo to members of the Board of Education, which he copied to other town officials.

Landon said the latest analysis of the issue by Louis Gagliano and Stanley Alintoff alleging that the district unnecessarily paid $8,000 in interest was wrong.

The allegations are incorrect and demonstrate lack of understanding of a negotiating strategy that was instrumental in saving the Town of Westport $36,500,Ӕ Landon said.

The school official then presented a detailed rebuttal to the charges made by the two parents in a Sept. 24 letter, which they copied to town officials and the news media.

It is unfortunate that Messrs. Gagliano and Alintoff continue to make allegations to our local newspapers that, through their lack of thorough understanding, result in a distortion of the facts, so as to raise issues of credibility involving the school administration and the school board,Ӕ Landon said.

The facts speak for themselves.Ӕ


10/03/03 12:07 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Westport Had Six Unhealthy Air Quality Days This Summer

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says Westport registered six unhealthy air quality days this summer. In a preliminary report on air quality for the region, the EPAs New England office said its monitor at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport registered six days in June, July, and August when average particle levels exceeded healthy standards. The New England region as a whole registered 14 unhealthy days this summer, down from 36 the previous year.
This map shows unhealthy air quality on June 26, the day Westport had its worst air quality reading this summer. Yellow is moderate, orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups, red is unhealthy, and maroon is very unhealthy. EPA graphic
The EPA said the decrease in the number of days with unhealthy ozone this year was directly related to the decrease in the number of hot days this year. The agency said ground level ozone, the main ingredient of smog, is unhealthy when average concentrations exceed 0.08 parts per million over an eight-hour period. The Westport monitor exceeded those amounts on June 25 (0.112), June 26 (0.113), June 27 (0.093), July 4 (0.108), July 26 (0.091), and Aug. 21 (0.097). The EPA said the long-term trend in the number of unhealthy days in New England is downward and peak ozone concentrations have significantly decreased over the last 30 years. Meanwhile, the EPA said that it will now issue its daily alerts for smog and soot pollution year-round, not just in the summer. And it has added six areas in Connecticut, including Bridgeport, Danbury, Hartford, New Haven, New London-Groton and Torrington, for which individual alerts will be issued. The EPA hopes its expanded “air quality index” becomes as popular and widely used as the statements from the National Weather Service. The expanded forecasts for both smog and soot, or particle pollution, will help millions of people - especially those with heart or lung disease, older adults and children - protect their health, EPA Acting Administrator Marianne Horinko said. They will be posted daily on an EPA Web site with color-coded forecasts.


10/02/03 06:38 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Playhouse Benefit Auction Offers Movie Roles, Trips

If youve always wanted to be in a movie with Paul Newman, now you can—if you are willing to pay top dollar for the opportunity.

All you have to do is make a winning bid at next weekҒs all-star benefit event to raise funds for the renovation of the Westport Country Playhouse.

Walk-on movie roles are among the auction items at the Oct. 9 “Breaking New Ground: A Celebration!“event at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich featuring Newman, Carole King, and Robin Williams. Newmans wife, actress Joanne Woodward, is the playhouseҒs artistic director.

Newman and Woodward are long-time Westport residents.

Tickets for the gala range from $500 to $2,000 per person. Once in the door, youll get a program with a bidding number on the back cover, enabling you to participate in the live auction.

Among the auction items announced by the Playhouse is a walk-on role in NewmanҒs new film, Empire FallsӔ being made for HBO.

The film, based on the novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Russo, is about economic, social and moral power struggles of a small working-class town in Maine. It also stars Woodward.

A Playhouse announcement said the winner will be an extra in the film on a date to be determined before shooting ends in Maine on Nov. 9. Travel and hotel arrangements must be made by the winner.

Another extra role is offered in a Miramax film being made in London as part of a travel package that includes airline tickets and tickets to London plays.

Other auction items include a week on the French Rivera, a ringside seat at an HBO pay-per-view boxing match, two airline tickets to the 2004 Athens Olympics plus choice NBC VIP seating at Olympic events, and a week in Hollywood with visits to the Golden Globe awards, plus entry to tapings of the Tonight Show,Ӕ Friends,Ӕ and Will and Grace.Ӕ

If you dont win the live auction for the walk-on role in NewmanҒs movie, you can always make a silent auction bid for dinner and a night at the Metropolitan Opera with Woodward. No word on whether Newman will attend as well.


10/02/03 04:46 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Board of Finance Session Televised Tonight

Board of Finance Session Televised Tonight
For the first time, the town’s cable television channel tonight broadcast live a session of the Board of Finance.

Meetings of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) have been broacast on the town channel 79 since last year.

There was no advance announcement of the decision to broadcast the meeting live.

With only three items on the agenda, the meeting was unusually short, lasting only about 10 minutes. The cameras showed an almost empty Town Hall auditorium.

First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell has said she hopes to expand live television coverage of meetings of boards and commissions as the current budget will allow.


10/01/03 11:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Doctor Featured on TVs ғBaby Story

Westport obstetrician and gynecologist Marc Storch is featured on the cable television program A Baby StoryӔ which airs Thursday on the The Learning Channel (TLC).

It is the second appearance on the program for the 57-year-old Storch.

“The first baby I did the show with sort of fell out,” Storch told The Advocate of Stamford/Norwalk. “This one was a little trickier. She made me a little nervous.”

The episode, taped six months ago at Norwalk Hospital, features mother Lauren Abdulrahman of Newtown giving birth to her daughter Leena.


10/01/03 03:43 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Firefighters Respond to Propane Gas Leak

Westport Firefighters Respond to Propane Gas Leak
Landscapers accidentally damaged an underground propane tank valve today at a Town Crier Lane residence in the Coleytown area of Westport, fire officials said.

The tank released propane into the air for about 30 minutes before firefighters could shut it down. There were no injuries.

An engine company from the Coleytown fire station happened to be on a public education session at the nearby St. Paul Lutheran Church on Easton Road when the accident happened and summoned additional units shortly before 11 a.m.

Firefighters set up a protective water spray to help dissipate the propane gas cloud,.

At 11:25 a.m., fire offiicals reported that they had stemmed most of the leak from a damaged relief valve and were awaiting gas company representatives to transfer any remaining propane.

Police diverted traffic from Easton Road in the area while firefighters worked to control the leak.

A Fairfield engine company responded on a mutual aid call to provide additional Westport coverage while the Westport units were tied up at the Town Crier Lane incident.

The last fire unit left the scene shortly after 1 p.m. with the situation reported under control.


10/01/03 02:08 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport-LookӔ Coming to Times Square for Christmas?

Westport-LookӔ Coming to Times Square for Christmas?
The savemartha.com Web site includes this animated graphic soliciting funds for a Times Square billboard.
Todays New York Post reports that Martha Stewart supporters want to erect a Times Square billboard in time for Christmas with a ғWestport, Conn., look to it. The newspaper said that John Small, operator of the savemartha.com Web site, is leading a campaign to buy a “Save Martha Stewart” billboard in time for StewartԒs Jan. 12 trial on charges related to insider trading. It said his Web site has raised $2,000 so far - with only $18,000 more to go. “We’ve gotten a lot of $10, $20 donations,” Small said told the Post. “Howard Dean-size donations.” The newspaper said it will take at least $20,000 for Small to erect the “If the Stock Sale Was Legit, You Must Acquit” billboard in Times Square, listing the names of all the donors with a “honk if you love Martha” tagline. Small is confident he’ll get the money by the holidays, though, which means the billboard can have, ӑa Christmas/choral theme, with a Westport, Conn., look to it,Ҕ the Post said. Small is a New York marketing consultant who started his Web site shortly after the Stewart investigation began.


10/01/03 01:33 PM Comments () • Permalink

If it’s Oct. 1, it

If it’s Oct. 1, it Must Be…Dogs at the Beach
Westporter Skip Crane with friends Ben (foreground) and Ditto renew their acquaintance with Compo Beach today. Dogs on leash and off leash in designated areas are permitted Oct. 1 until April 1. The town and dog owners will monitor off-season usage of the beach with an eye to possible additional adjustments to the dog regulations.  WestportNow.com photo


10/01/03 12:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

I-95 Gridlock Sends Traffic to

I-95 Gridlock Sends Traffic to Local Streets
An overturned tractor-trailer in Darien snarled traffic in both directions on I-95 during today’s morning rush hour. As always when the highway is gridlocked, traffic spilled over to local Westport roadways, causing local backups. View of southbound traffic is from the Hillspoint Road overpass.  WestportNow.com photo


10/01/03 12:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

What’s All the Fuss, Dad?

What’s All the Fuss, Dad?
Joseph Lombardi, 5, looks at bit bewildered at tonight’s Westport Fire Department promotion ceremony at Town Hall as he is held by his mother, Lenore. His father, Ken, was one four firefighters promoted to lieutenant.  WestportNow.com photo


10/01/03 12:59 AM Comments () • Permalink

New Fire Assistant Chiefs Sworn

New Fire Assistant Chiefs Sworn In
The Westport Fire Department swore in four new assistant chiefs tonight in ceremonies at Town Hall. Taking the oath (l. to r.) are Christopher Ackley, Larry Conklin, Robert Kepchar, and Eugene Maloney. Four new lieutenants also took the oath along with five new firefighters. A sixth was absent because of illness.  WestportNow.com photo


10/01/03 12:31 AM Comments () • Permalink

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