Saturday, January 31, 2004
Edwin William Mitchell, who with his wife Norma founded Mitchells of Westport clothing store in 1958 and saw it grow into a multi-million dollar regional retail powerhouse, died today after a brief illness. He was 98.
His death at a Fairfield residence for the elderly two months short of his 99th birthday was announced by the Mitchell family.
Mitchell, whose retail expertise drew attention from universities and business groups but was best known locally for his devotion to his community, had recently been hospitalized at Norwalk Hospital. He was a resident of Westport and Pompano Beach, Fla.
A framed picture of him was placed in the store on Post Road East where arriving customers saw it upon their entry and flags outside were lowered to half staff.
Fairfield edged Staples 54-51 Friday night as a last-second attempt by Wrecker senior John Baumann for a three-pointer failed.
Staples (8-3 overall, 5-4 FCIAC) was down 52-45 with 50 seconds left but managed to pull to 52-50 with 40 seconds left thanks to a pair of free throws by Brian Levine.
But the Wreckers comeback attempt fell short as Baumann rimmed his try for a three-pointer, disappointing the packed crowd in the Staples gymnasium.
Friday, January 30, 2004
Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell and mayors and selectmen from neighboring communities met today to outline the region’s legislative goals.
Farrell, who is chair of the South Western Region Metropolitan Planning Organization, held a breakfast session with the municipal leaders at Norwalk City Hall.
Among the goals cited by Farrell and Daniel Wilder, chair of the South Western Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA), was continued investment in commuter rail equipment, infrastructure and services, especially for Metro-North’s New Haven Line and its 92,000 daily riders.
The local leaders also asked that state lawmakers integrate funding for critical transit services into the Connecticut Department of Transportations operating budget.
Metro-North said today continued weather-related problems forced it to combine or cancel a number of trains beginning with tonight’s rush hour through the Monday morning rush hour.
The New Haven Line Connecticut-related services changes included:
The 4:05 p.m. train to New Haven and the 4:16 p.m. train to New Haven are combined, departing at 4:16 p.m.
Օ The 5:23 p.m. train to Bridgeport and the 5:28 p.m. train to South Norwalk are combined, departing at 5:28 p.m.
The 5:44 p.m. train to Bridgeport and the 5:49 p.m. train to South Norwalk are combined, departing at 5:49 p.m.
As part of its expanded news coverage, WestportNow today launched a “community news” section dedicated to news and features of community groups and organizations.
Today’s stories include news of a new lecture series at the Westport Historical Society beginning Saturday, the screening Saturday of a film about the Iraq War at the Westport Public Library, and appointment of four new board members by CLASP Homes.
The Westport attorney for convicted former Waterbury Mayor Philip Giordano filed an appeal today, arguing that the federal government overstepped its bounds when it prosecuted him on child sex charges.
Giordano was convicted last year of violating the civil rights of two young girls by sexually abusing them. He was also convicted of using a cellular phone to set up the sex.
The AP reported that in the appeal filed with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, Attorney Andrew Bowman made several arguments that the conviction should be overturned.
Missing Westport bartender David Bargmann, identified by a cyber sleuth almost 10 months after he died as a “John Doe” in Florida, succumbed to bacterial pneumonia, a family source said today.
The 44-year-old Fairfield man was identified only after a 52-year-old disabled woman in Georgia, who searches Web sites of missing persons and unidentified bodies in hopes of finding matches, cracked the case, the Connecticut Post reported today.
Bargmann, who worked at Westport’s V Restaurant & Wine Bar on Post Road East, disappeared without a trace last March 24, leaving behind his wallet and identification.
A family member told WestportNow today they had no idea how he ended up in the Key West, Fla., area but had been told by authorities there that he died from bacterial pneumonia.
The town of Killingworth thinks its getting a good deal in buying a used street sweeper from Westport.
The Board of Selectmen has been asked to approve a special appropriation of $15,000 to purchase the used sweeper, the Hartford Courant reported.
Jim Ward, highway department foreman, appeared before the board to report that the 1990 double broom sweeper would be available in about two months.
Ward said the used sweeper is “in excellent shape.” He said a new road sweeper costs about $110,000.
He said it would replace a 1976 single broom sweeper purchased from the town of Clinton in 1994.
The board agreed to discuss the proposed purchase at its first budget preparation session early next month.
The expenditure would also need approval from the Board of Finance and from voters at a town meeting.
To pay for the free summer concerts at the Levitt Pavilion, organizers need to raise money in advance.
Buckwheat Zydeco is the featured performer in the Feb. 27 Levitt Pavilion “Carnivale 2004!” event. Contributed photo
That’s why it has scheduled its “Carnivale 2004!” night Friday, Feb. 27 at the Inn at Longshore.
Described as a “true New Orleans-style Mardi Gras celebration,” the event will star four-time Grammy Award nominee Buckwheat Zydeco.
It will include a “hurricane” bar, champagne and hors doeuvres reception, ongoing dinner buffet and open bar, music and dancing, and silent and live auctions.
Proceeds from the evening will help to underwrite the more than 50 nights of free entertainment planned for the PavilionҒs forthcoming 31st summer season.
Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell shares a laugh with former Representative Town Meeting member Irwin Donenfeld tonight at a Board of Selectmen meeting at Town Hall. Donenfeld, who chaired a traffic calming committee while on the RTM, was there to urge the board to approve installation of speed humps on Silver Brook Road. The board approved that request but set aside similar requests by residents of Cob Drive and Cavalry Road pending further study. WestportNow.com photo
Thursday, January 29, 2004
A survey about the controversial Westport school start time issue released today shows that parents with children at two schools initiating earlier start times this year either have negative or mixed feelings about it, but staff members at the schools mostly favor it.
In addition, a district-wide survey found that parents mostly support a 15-minute later shift in start and ending times while staff members mostly oppose it.
The results were released at an afternoon meeting of the School Start Time Committee. Asked his reaction to the survey, Schools Supt. Elliott Landon had a one-word response: “interesting.”
At a December meeting of the Board of Education, several board members suggested the panel consider a compromise 15-minute change something that also had been raised earlier this year but rejected.
The board was scheduled to hear the Start Time Committee’s report at its Feb. 4 meeting.
Two schools ֖ Coleytown Middle School and Coleytown Elementary School started classes a half-hour earlier beginning in September to save money on transportation costs.
A man who died in Florida from unknown causes has been identified as bartender David Bargmann from Westport’s V Restaurant & Wine Bar, missing since last March, Cablevision News-12 reported today.
Police in Monroe County, Florida, were called to a man who needed medical attention three days after the 44-year-old Fairfield man disappeared on March 24, 2003 without a trace, the report said. He later died.
There was no immediate word on why identification of the man by fingerprints took such a long time.
The report said the cause of death was under investigation but that police did not suspect foul play.
Bargmann’s disappearance touched off a widespread search but police came up with no leads.
In a blow for Connecticut casino opponents, the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs today granted the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation recognition.
The decision could open the door to more gambling casinos in Connecticut, possibly Fairfield County in the Danbury area.
State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said he would appeal the ruling.
Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell and Rep. Christopher Shays were among officials who immediately denounced the decision.
The ruling overturned a preliminary decision and allows the tribe to move forward with plans for a casino along I-84 in western Connecticut.
The tribe has been eyeing the former Union Carbide property around Danbury.
The judge in the stock fraud trial of Westport’s Martha Stewart today postponed the testimony of the government’s star witness against her after defense attorneys accused prosecutors of withholding vital information about his story.
The delay came on the second day of testimony of Stewart, 62, in a Manhattan courtroom.
The postponement was ordered after doubts were raised about what the former lawyer for star witness Douglas Faneuil recalled about the circumstances of the stock sale that triggered the case against Stewart.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro has joined efforts to have the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hold another public hearing on a controversial proposal to raise oysters in cages under the surface of Long Island Sound off of Westport and Milford.
The Democrat, who represents Connecticut’s 3rd District which includes Milford, sent a letter to the New England regional office of the Army Corps on Tuesday requesting that it hold a hearing on Mariculture Unlimiteds revised proposal, according to today’s New Haven Register.
The Army Corps is one of two entities that have final say on the permit to raise oysters. The state Department of Agriculture must also approve the proposal.
Last week, the Army Corps extended until Feb. 9 the period for the public to offer feedback on the revisions made to the plan. (See WestportNow Jan. 21, 2004).
Two days after campaigning for him in New Hampshire, Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell has urged Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman to take time from his presidential aspirations to boost federal highway spending in the state.
Farrell, as chairwoman of the South Western Region Metropolitan Planning Organization, sent a letter to Lieberman Tuesday urging him to fight for more funding under a proposed spending bill.
Farrell was in New Hampshire Sunday campaigning for Lieberman in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. He came in fifth.
Under the proposed $311 billion highway spending bill, Connecticut, compared to other states, would get the lowest increase over the last transportation bill. Connecticut’s funding increase would be just 10 percent.
The New York Post reports that the Westport real estate agent described as Martha Stewart’s best friend, who has been called to testify against her in her stock fraud trial resuming today in Manhattan, is a “mercurial” Connecticut real-estate agent battling her own financial and legal problems.
Mariana Pasternak, 50, who the Post said “lives in a tony beach house in Westport,” has known Stewart for more than 20 years.
The newspaper said its research into her background included a check of records at the Westport Town Clerk’s office.
Stewart is the godmother of two of Pasternak’s daughters, Monica, 20, and Lara, 17, and once took them on an exotic trip to the Galapagos Islands, the newspaper said.
“They’ve been close for a long, long time, so I don’t know how they’re going to handle this can of worms,” said one acquaintance quoted by the Post.
Westporters and others concerned about rising property taxes and dwindling open space get a chance tonight to hear what state lawmakers might consider doing about the controversial issues.
The occasion is a Norwalk hearing by the Connecticut Blue Ribbon Commission on Property Tax Burdens and Smart Growth Incentives at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room of Norwalk City Hall.
The 15-member commission, whose members include Norwalk Mayor Alex Knopp and whose chair is New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., issued its 55-page report last October.
Created by the state legislature in 2002, the panel recommended redistribution of about $1.25 billion over the next few years and the possible increase in taxes on the state’s wealthiest.
Despite the snow day, a full house turned out Wednesday night for the first seminar in the Westport Arts Center’s literary series on “Ulysses” by James Joyce. Led by Mark Schenker, Yale’s popular dean of students, the six evening series offers an examination of “Ulysses”, a landmark in contemporary literature. Emily Laux Roche for WestportNow.com
11:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Westport Historic District Commission
3 p.m. - Town Hall Room 307/09 - School Start Time Committee
6:30 p.m . Norwalk City Hall Community Room - Hearing by Connecticut Blue Ribbon Commission on Property Tax Burdens and Smart Growth Incentives
7 p.m - Town Hall Auditorium - Board of Selectmen
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Planning & Zoning Commission Work Session
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - RTM, Environment Committee
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Quick work by Westport firefighters today prevented a plastic trash can fire caused by smoldering fireplace ashes from spreading to a house on Roseville Road. Fire Marshall Fred Baker reminded residents to always dispose of ashes in a metal can away from structures. He said embers can reignite days after removal from a fireplace. Nate Gibbons/Westport Fire Department photo
A swimwear mannequin looks out on the intersection of Westport’s Post Road East and Main Street today after an overnight snowfall left 5 to 11 inches of snow in the area. Schools closed and many people took the day off. WestportNow.com photo
Metro-North said it began operating on a Sunday schedule beginning at 9 a.m. today, accommodating the light ridership the railroad has seen so far this morning.
This schedule will be augmented with additional trains out of Grand Central between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., an advisory said.
In a mid-day advisory, the railroad said less than half the usual number of weekday customers used Metro-North during the morning rush hour.
Westport public schools will be closed today due to the snowstorm, Schools Supt. Elliott Landon announced.
The snowstorm that rolled into New York and Westport forced a one-day postponement today in the stock fraud trial of Westport’s Martha Stewart.
During opening arguments Tuesday in a packed courtroom in Manhattan, Stewart was branded a liar by federal prosecutors.
But her lawyer defended her as a self-made businesswoman facing criminal charges based on nothing more than speculation and guesswork.
Stewart was seated at the front of a packed courtroom and, wearing an olive-colored pantsuit, listened intently as federal prosecutor Karen Patton Seymour and defense attorney Robert Morvillo delivered their opening statements.
The initial salvos from both sides featured detailed descriptions of Stewart’s financial situation, from her three brokerage accounts to her need to sell some stock at a loss in late 2001 to offset the capital gains from other trades.
Westport EMS members Bob Dowling and Marc Hartog join Faye Kim in front of her store, Faye Kim Designs, at 190 Main St. to kick off her support of EMS cardiac care equipment purchases.Ten per cent of all sales of her jewlery designs and home accessories will go to EMS through Valentines Day. Kim Cooper for WestportNow.com
10:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - International Hospitality Committee
8 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Board of Education
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Property transfers as reported by the Westport Town Clerk’s office for the period Jan. 19-13, 2004:
Westport Home and Land Co. LLC to Aash M. and Angela G. Shah, 38 Terra Nova Circle, $926,102.
Robert P. and Carolyn B. Scholl to 29-31 Imperial Ave. LLC, 29 and 31 Imperial Ave., $1,700,000.
William E. and Julia E. Banzhof to Gilbertie Building LLC, 62 Gorham Ave., $495,000.
Estate of Dorothy Mcguire to Dimitrios Pendarakis and Anastasia Kouparo, 9 Ambler Road West, $575,000.
Estate of Joanne Lesko Gindek to Christopher Cocco, 8 Long Lots Lane, $515,000.
Estate of Julia K. Miller to 4 Woodhill Road LLC, 4 Woodhill Road, $799,000.
Peter F. and Susanne Hall Armstrong to Peter Nigel Hurst and Janice Ellen Waterman, 9 Norwalk Ave., $1,155,000.
Westport’s snow budget is long exhausted, but that’s had no impact on how the town’s Public Works Department is gearing up for today’s expected snowstorm.
Public Works Director Steve Edwards said he anticipated his entire 17-vehicle fleet would be on the road in late afternoon and evening laying down a sand and salt mixture as the snow begins to fall. Flashback: This accident on Roseville Road occurred during the Jan. 18 snowstorm. Linda Gramatky Smith for WestportNow.com
Because of the storm, Westport public schools had early dismissal today and all after school and continuing education activities were canceled.
In addition the School Start Time Committee meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. was postponed until Thursday, and a Board of Education meeting scheduled tonight was rescheduled for Wednesday night.
The Zoning Board of Appeals also canceled its session for tonight and Wednesday’s Citizens Brown Bag lunch was canceled.
“What budget?” Edwards responded when asked how his budget was standing up to this winter’s parade of snow and ice storms.
He said the town had allocated $220,000 for this year’s storm budget.
3 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - School Start Time Committee CANCELED
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Zoning Board of Appeals CANCELED
7:30 p.m. - Room 201 - Architectural Review Board
8 p.m. - Staples High School Library - Board of Education - CANCELED