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Thursday, November 20, 2003

Meeting My Rescuer

Staples senior Robert Paniccia thanks Kevin Slater who rescued him from a burning car wreck Aug. 1 during tonight’s Westport Rotary Club Family Dinner. It was the first time the two had seen each since the accident. The club honored Slater with a heroism award for his act. Fire Chief Denis McCarthy looks on. photo


11/20/03 01:13 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Novel Holiday Gift Idea: A CPR Gift Certificate

Not sure what to give that special someone on your holiday list? How about a CPR gift certificate.

The Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service (WVEMS) begins sale of the certificates Thursday in a program sponsored by several local merchants.

The certificates are redeemable for the American Heart Associations Heart Saver and Friends & Family adult and child CPR classes. 

ғThis is the perfect gift to give for that difficult person on your list,” said Adam Sappern, the organization’s treasurer.  Not only is it thoughtful and unusual, but you also may be giving someone the gift of life.”

ӓCPR has been proven to extend the critical time window by which advanced life-support can safe a life,  said David Heinmiller, Westport Police Deputy Chief and EMS Director. 

ԓCommunities which encourage CPR training often have better survival rates for cardiac incidents than those who do not.  We support any effort that educates the public on how to act effectively in an emergency.

The CPR certificates, which sell for $30 for the Friends and Family version and $50 for the exam-certified Heart Saver version, allow the holder to attend one CPR class taught by WestportԒs volunteer instructors. 

The classes are offered at regular intervals and are held at the training facility at Westport Police headquarters. 

Those interested in purchasing the CPR class certificates should call 227-9809 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for further information, or send a check payable to WVEMS at 50 Jesup Road, Westport, CT. 06880. 

The program is sponsored by Wild Oats Market, Main Street Resources, Arthur Sachs Insurance, and Mitchells of Westport.


11/19/03 05:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

Lookin’ Purty

Bedford Middle School students are in rehearsal for next month’s “Oklahoma!” presentation. Performances are scheduled Friday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 7 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $8. Betsey Lebow for


11/19/03 04:37 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Rotary to Honor Hero Rescuer Tonight

Kevin Slater, a former Westport EMT who rescued a Staples student from a burning car in August, is among those being honored tonight at a Westport Rotary Club dinner. The 45th annual Family Dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Bedford Middle School cafeteria, 88 North Ave. Unlike in past years, there will be only one seating, accommodating 400 people. Tickets are $15 per adult, $7 for a child, and are available at the door.
Former Westport EMT Kevin Slater (inset) rescued Staples student Rober J. Paniccia, 17, from this burning car wreck Aug. 1 on Hyde Lane. photos
The 39-year-old Slater, a Stratford resident who is a broker with William Raveis real estate, came upon the Aug. 1 accident on Hyde Lane near Long Lots Elementary School soon after it happened. I just did what had to be done,Ӕ said Slater who was on his way home from a summer theater program at Bedford Middle School where he is technical director. He came upon the accident about 9:30 p.m. The rescued youth, Robert J. Paniccia, 17, of Westport, was one of four teens from Westport and Fairfield who survived the fiery crash. They were taken to Norwalk Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. Slater, a 1982 Staples grad, told WestportNow he immediately stopped to offer assistance when he saw the burning car. I thought with my medical training I could help stabilize any patients until other help arrived,Ӕ he said. Slater said he found one of victims, a girl, already being tended to by other passersby and was told that everyone was out of the car. He then found the driver walking around somewhat dazed and began to question him about his injuries. I was thinking it was all over and then someone began yelling that there were four people in the car and somebody else was still in it,Ӕ Slater said. I ran over but couldnӒt see anything, but I did hear someone screaming somebody help me.ђ I yelled to anyone to ask if they had a fire extinguisher. One man handed me a small extinguisher and I went around to the front of the car and blasted it a few times to try to get the flames down. ӓThats when I saw the kid hanging half way out of the roof opening. I threw the extinguisher down and ran to the other side of the car and managed to pull him over the top and over a stone wall. ғHe said he couldnt move his legs but he wasnҒt pinned in the wreckage. Slater said he dragged Paniccia away from the car and by this time the flames were getting bigger and licking at the passenger compartment. Within moments, however, arriving firefighters managed get the fire out. Slater said it was not until later that he realized he was covered with blood and gasoline and that his sneakers were charred.


11/19/03 04:39 AM Comments () • Permalink

Schools Mildew Cleanup Cost Put at Almost $210,000

Westport calls it mildew. Other school districts call it mold.  In any case, Westports cost of getting rid of it this fall is at least $124,000 plus a little more than $85,000 in custodial fees for a total of just under $210,000.

Supt. of Schools Elliott Landon presented the preliminary cost estimate to the Board of Education Tuesday night.

Nancy Harris, the schoolҒs assistant superintendent for business, said while all the bills were not in, she did not anticipate much of an increase in the figure.

Both school officials said other school districts in Connecticut had faced similar problems this fall due to wet, humid summer conditions and often had to pay much higher costs to remediate the problem.

Harris praised the cooperation of Judy Nelson, Westport Weston health director, Gary Martin, the schools facilities director, and the districtҒs custodial staff, for their aggressive, cooperative efforts to eliminate the mildew problem.

We acted as SWAT team every morning for a while,Ӕ Harris told the board.

Landon said that one result of the problem was that he did not anticipate any carpets being used in the current $74 million expansion and renovation of Staples High School.

I donӒt think youll see any carpet in the new Staples High School,Ҕ he said. ThatӒs a given.

Board member Mary Parmelee said she was asking the “$124,000” question by asking Harris where the money would come from to pay for the mildew/mold removal.

Landon, Harris and board chair Sandra Urist said they would be in a better position to answer the question when they had the preliminary quarterly school operations cost figures.


11/19/03 04:16 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

9:45 a.m. - Job Site - Public Site & Building Commission Center for Senior Activities Committee
10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - International Hospitality Committee
Noon - Room 309/307 - Citizens Brown Bag Luncheon
5:30 p.m. - Staples High School, Room 516 - School Building Committee/Staples Subcommittee
6:30 p.m. - Bedford Middle School—Westport Rotary Family Dinner
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309/307 - Board of Selectmen
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Planning & Zoning/Zoning Board of Appeals Training Session
7:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Library Board


11/19/03 04:03 AM Comments () • Permalink

John Lupton Resigns as Historical Society Exec Director

John Lupton, executive director of the Westport Historical Society (WHS) for the past year, has submitted his resignation effective Jan. 31.

Wally Woods, WHS president, informed society officers of Luptons resignation Tuesday in an e-mail message he said was sent with ғsadness and regret.

Reached by WestportNow, Lupton said he was “grateful for the opportunity to work with the society and I look forward to continuing to contribute to the community in other ways in the future.”

In his message, Woods said, ԓJohn has spent a year as executive director of WHS, during which we have all been through exciting and challenging times together.”

He said Lupton had brought many new concepts and fresh ideas to our organizationӔ while overseeing the vast number of details involved in building the groups new history center.

ғWe can be very proud of our beautiful new presence in town, and we offer our heartfelt thanks to John for his dedication to making it all come true, Woods said.

He said committees and chairs would take over many of LuptonԒs duties in the interim. There was no word on a successor.

Lupton, 56, a native of Weston, returned here after living for many years in the Atlanta area where he ran a sports marketing firm and also served as a member of the state legislature.

A 1966 Staples grad, he was one of the organizers of this summer’s “Bring Back the ‘60s” Staples reunion weekend.

His father, the late John M. Lupton, was a Republican state senator and ran an unsuccessful campaign in 1962 to become a Congressman at-large from Connecticut.


11/19/03 03:51 AM Comments () • Permalink

Almost Unanimous

The Board of Education, meeting for the first time with two new members, tonight re-elected Democrat Sandra Urist (r.) as its chair. The vote was not unanimous, however. Fellow Democrat Mary Parmelee (4th from l.) was opposed. Others pictured (l. to r.) are Mark Owades (R), Steve Halstead (D), freshman Lewis Brey (R), freshman Mark Mathias (D), and Linda Merk-Gould (R), who was elected vice-chair. Parmelee was re-elected secretary. photo


11/19/03 03:19 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Judge Refuses to Dismiss Securities Fraud Charge Against Martha Stewart

With eight weeks to go before her trial, Westports Martha Stewart lost a round in federal court today in connection with insider trading-related charges against her.

U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum refused to dismiss a securities fraud charge against Stewart on First Amendment grounds, saying the government was entitled to prosecute her for statements she made.

Cedarbaum read the ruling from the bench at the start of a hearing. The government had insisted all five charges should be preserved.

The judge said she could not dismiss the securities fraud charge that accused Stewart of making false statements to protect the value of her company’s stock.

“Such false factual statements are not protected by the First Amendment,” Cedarbaum said.

Stewart, 62, is accused of conspiracy, obstructing justice, securities fraud and two counts of lying to investigators in connection with her Dec. 27, 2001, sale of about 4,000 shares of ImClone Systems stock. The judge also refused to throw out the obstruction charge.

The judge said the defense had challenged the obstruction of justice charge prematurely. She said it would be appropriate to do so only after the government had presented its case to a jury.

Stewart’s defense team claims the securities fraud count, in which the government accuses her of deceiving shareholders in her own company by saying she was innocent and was cooperating with investigators, is unconstitutional.

The lawyers also say the obstruction count should be dismissed because none of Stewart’s statements to investigators could have hindered the federal investigation into her stock sale.

The government says both charges are proper. And prosecutors have defended the securities fraud count by saying Stewart engaged in a pattern of lying to her own shareholders while the government was investigating the ImClone sale.

The charges against Stewart carry a potential prison term of 30 years, although she would get far less if convicted under federal sentencing guidelines.


11/18/03 09:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

Connecticut Post Editor Acknowledges Little Westport Coverage

Connecticut Post Editor Frank J. Keegan addresses the Westport Rotary Club today. photo

The editor of the Bridgeport-based Connecticut Post came to Westport today and while boasting of being a strong regional news source acknowledged that his newspaper gives Westport little coverage.

“I think that (decision to end Westport coverage) was made one or two owners ago,” Frank J. Keegan told the weekly meeting of the Westport Rotary Club, in response to a question. “That all happened before our time.”

“I think it also has to do with your having a strong weekly (newspaper) here,” he said, “and that the need is already being serviced.”

He was responding to a question by club member Larry Aasen, a former journalist, asking why the Connecticut Post no longer carried stories by a female reporter who closely covered the town for a long time. 

More "Connecticut Post Editor Acknowledges Little Westport Coverage"


11/18/03 07:19 PM Comments () • Permalink

Mutual Fund Probe Results in Westport Resignation

The widening investigation into mutual-fund trading agreements that hurt small investors has hit Westport.

The Denver-based Janus Capital Group said Janus International chief executive Richard Garland, 42, resigned on Monday. While not widely known to many Westporters, Janus International is headquartered on Westports Riverside Avenue.

Janus offered no formal explanation of why Garland left, in a statement equally lacking in praise for a hard-charging executive who built up $5.9 billion in overseas assets for the group, according to the Denver Post.

“Both Janus and Mr. Garland came to the view that it would be best if he left the company,” Janus spokesman Blair Johnson said. “We have accepted his resignation.”

Garland was at the center of a market-timing scandal that enveloped Janus and three other mutual-fund groups in early September.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer alleged that Janus had allowed a New Jersey hedge fund, Canary Capital, to make short-term trades in the Janus High Yield and Mercury funds.

Market timers like Canary were allowed to trade quickly in and out of mutual funds, skimming returns that might have otherwise gone to long-term investors and adding costs.

More than 40 mutual-fund industry executives have either been fired, forced to resign or suspended because of their involvement in late trading or market timing, according to Bloomberg News.


11/18/03 12:59 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

8:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Human Services Commission
10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Administrative Review Committee
10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Arts Advisory Committee
12:15 p.m. - The Inn at Longshore - Westport Rotary
7:30 p.m. - Staples High School, Room 516 - Board of Education executive session
8 p.m. - Staples High School Library - Board of Education


11/18/03 04:01 AM Comments () • Permalink

He Probably Knows the Oath by Heart

Garson Heller is sworn in for another term on the Board of Assessment Appeals. He is marking his 35th year of public service to Westport—14 years on the RTM and 21 years on his current board. photo


11/18/03 03:52 AM Comments () • Permalink

No Appealing This One

Duane Nelson and James Ezzes take their oath of office for the Zoning Board of Appeals tonight. Elizabeth Wong was absent. photo


11/18/03 03:50 AM Comments () • Permalink

Say Cheese and I Do

Members of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) are sworn in tonight at Town Hall. There are 14 new members on the 36-member non-partisan body.  Charles Haberstroh for


11/18/03 03:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Planning Their Next Move

Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission sworn in tonight included David Press, Eleanor Lowenstein, Helen Martin Block, and James Cochrane. photo


11/18/03 03:02 AM Comments () • Permalink

Board of Ed Members Share Joint Oath-Taking Start Time

Two of the three newly-elected Board of Ed members taking their oath of office tonight are first-timers—Mark Mathias and Lewis Brey. Mary Parmelee is beginning her second term. photo


11/18/03 02:44 AM Comments () • Permalink

All on the Same Page (At Least for the Moment)

Newly-elected officials join in a chorus of “America the Beautiful” tonight during the Town Hall oath of office ceremony. photo


11/18/03 02:33 AM Comments () • Permalink

The Money Men Say I Do

First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell swears in Board of Finance members tonight at a Town Hall ceremony. They include (l. to r.) Charles Haberstroh, Kevin Connolly, and Gavin Anderson. Steve Ezzes was absent.  Assisting was Town Clerk Patricia Strauss. photo


11/18/03 01:51 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, November 17, 2003

Inaugural Ceremony to Swear In 51 Westport Officials

Tonights Town Hall oath of office ceremonies will see 51 Westport officials elected Nov. 4 sworn into office.

The 8 p.m. event will be televised for the first time on the townҒs cable channel 79.

In addition to the swearing in of the officials, the ceremony will include a police and fire honor guard, the Staples Orphenians singing the national anthem and vocal selections, and readings by Maxine Bleiweis, director of the Westport Public Library.

Also on the program are an address by First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell and scenes from the Staples Players production of Oliver!Ӕ

Members of the League of Women Voters of Westport will serve as ushers and refreshments will be provided by women from the Democratic and Republican Town Committees.

The oaths of office will be administered in the following order:

Board of Finance:
R. Gavin S. Anderson
Kevin A. Connolly
Steven L. Ezzes
Charles W. K. Haberstroh                                                            
Board of Education:                     
Lewis D.  Brey
Mary R. Parmelee
Mark H. Mathias
Board of Assessment Appeals:           
Garson F. Heller, Jr.

Planning & Zoning Commission:       
Helen Martin Block
James R. Cochrane
Eleanor S. Lowenstein
David B. Press

  Zoning Board of Appeals:            
James C. Ezzes
Duane Nelson                                              
Elizabeth Wong                                                      
Representative Town Meeting

District No. 1  
Diane D. Cady
Judith K. Starr
William L. Scheffler
Ann Elizabeth Sheffer

District No. 2

Lynn Abramson
Gwen T. Campbell
Alice H. Shelton
Mary Gordon Webber

District No. 3

Helen A. Garten
Janet B. Horowitz
William F. Meyer, III
Hadley C. Rose

District No. 4
Valerie S. Fischel
Elizabeth Kuechenmeister
Margaret K. McHenry
Wally Meyer

District No. 5
John W. Booth
Chris Grimm
Helmuth W. Krause
Richard A. Lowenstein

District No. 6
Jo Ann W. Davidson
Ann M. Flynn
Velma E. Heller
Ronald F. Malone

District No. 7
Allen S. Bomes
John G. Klinge
Lisa S. Rome
John E. Watson, III

District No. 8
Gordon F. Joseloff
Michael A. Rea
Lois G. Schine
Jonathan Steinberg

District No. 9
Marla J. Cowden
Jorgen F. Jensen
Kim Mathias
Joe Mioli


11/17/03 07:50 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, November 17, 2003

Monday, November 17, 2003

5:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Tree Board
8 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Inauguration of elected officials - live TV coverage channel 79

(For your events to be considered for the WestportNow Calendar, please e-mail details at least three days in advance to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).)


11/17/03 04:03 AM Comments () • Permalink

Greenwich and the United Nations: A 60-year-old Story Remembered

Greenwich and the United Nations: A 60-year-old Story Remembered
Westport, thanks to the late Ruth Steinkraus Cohen, has long had its jUNe day welcoming United Nations guests and flying U.N. flags on the Saugatuck River bridge now named in her memory.

But what would the reaction have been 60 years ago if someone had proposed making Westport the headquarters site for the world organization? 

No one knows, of course, because it didnt happen. But it did happen in Greenwich. And now Greenwich is remembering its brief fling with world history in an exhibit at its historical society. The AP takes a look in a Greenwich-datelined story.


11/17/03 02:03 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, November 16, 2003

It’s Officially Open

Guests enter Temple Israel’s new educational center today following the official dedication ceremony. photo


11/16/03 11:35 PM Comments () • Permalink

Temple Israel Dedicates Educational Center

Rabbi Robert Orkand addresses today’s dedication ceremony of Temple Israel’s new educational center. Rep. Christopher Shays and First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell were among the honored guests. photo


11/16/03 10:51 PM Comments () • Permalink

NY Times Takes a Look at Newmans Own

Todays New York Times notes the publication of a new book tracing the history of the founding of the highly successful profit-for-charity food company NewmanҒs Own by Westporters Paul Newman and A. E. Hotchner (see WestportNow Oct. 26, 2003).

The lengthy business section piece covers familiar ground but also includes a few nuggets from both about their decades-long friendship, politics, Westport, and a public encounter with fellow Westporter Martha Stewart.

Hotcher relates that he has at times been pushed to the cusp of despair by Newman’s whims and high jinks.

“Oh, I’m beyond complaining,Ғ Mr. Hotchner says with a theatrical flourish. But he complains anyway, the report said.

The Times quotes Hotchner as saying the idea of watching Newman’s Own double in size over the next few years is particularly appealing. “Think of what we could do with the money,” he says.

Newman adds, ԓI just want to be able to give away more than Dick Cheney got in tax relief. That’s what I want.” The newspaper said after a slight dramatic pause, he and Hotchner burst out laughing.

The Times reporter was there as Hotchner, Newman, and his wife, Joanne Woodward, attended last months charity benefit and auction in Greenwich for the Westport Country Playhouse where Woodward is artistic director.

ғAt the auction, the two stars make their entrance before a pack of photographers, the newspaper said.

ԓMr. Hotchner arrives later and immediately announces that he is ready for a gin and tonic. He takes a look around and pronounces the crowd the other side of Westport, the money side, the WASP-y side. I don’t know anyone here.ђ

Just then, a woman runs up to give him a bear hug. It is Martha Stewart, who, as a caterer in Westport years ago, organized a successful taste testing for Newman’s Own salad dressing before it went on the market.

ӓThe founders credit her with a pivotal role in giving them the confidence to go forward.

They chat for a few minutes and make tentative plans for dinner. Perhaps, Ms. Stewart tells him, she could have the two men on her television show to talk about their book and their business.Ӕ


11/16/03 02:41 PM Comments () • Permalink

Coach P on TV

Staples Coach Marce Petroccio and his staff watch Saturday’s action against Greenwich in this shot from Cablevision coverage. Viewers saw the game live with a replay this morning as the MSG high school “Tri-State Game of the Week.” photo


11/16/03 12:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

“S” is for Superior

The Staples cheerleaders had their biggest audience of the season Saturday, including viewers of a live cable telecast, when Staples defeated Greenwich 28-0. Freshman Emma Goss proudly sports the Staples “S.” photo


11/16/03 04:19 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thousands Turn Out for the Battle of the Undefeateds

More than 4,300 fans turned out for Saturday’s Staples-Greenwich battle of the undefeateds which was also seen and heard live on cable TV and radio. It was believed to be the largest crowd ever to watch a Staples home game. photo


11/16/03 04:18 AM Comments () • Permalink

Flashing His Style

Staples senior halfback Jimmy Hughes added three touchdowns Saturday in the 28-0 win over Greenwich, raising his FCIAC-high touchdown record this season to 28. Thom Burrows for


11/16/03 04:18 AM Comments () • Permalink

Savoring the Moment

Coach Marce Petroccio congratulates his team following the Wrecker 28-0 rout of Greenwich Saturday. Now it’s on to the FCIAC final Thursday night against Danbury in Stamford—the first Wrecker FCIAC championship appearance since last winning the title in 1997. photo


11/16/03 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

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