Monday, March 29, 2004
Rep. Christopher Shays thanks emergency responders and repair crews today at the site of the I-95 tanker accident in Bridgeport. “I am particularly grateful to the mayor (John Fabrizi of Bridgeport) and the fire, police and other first responders for how well they have worked together to minimize the inconvenience to the commuting public,” he said. WestportNow.com photo/Cablevision News-12
Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell was among local, state, and federal officials on hand today at the site of Thursday’s tanker accident to announce details of repair funding and thank those getting highway traffic moving again. Farrell did not address the news conference. WestportNow.com photo/Cablevision News-12
The New Haven Register reported today that Republican feathers were ruffled earlier this month when Rep. Rosa DeLauro from Connecticuts 3rd Congressional District ventured into the neighboring 4th District to stump with Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell, who is challenging incumbent Rep. Christopher Shays.
Neither ShaysҒ congressional office, nor his campaign, would comment on the purported offense, which one Shays supporter said is without modern precedent in his district, the newspaper said.
But Rep. Rob Simmons a Republican from Connecticuts 2nd District, who two years ago saw out-of-district Dems stump in his district for then-challenger Joe Courtney, said that he would not do such a thing, at least not without a courtesy call to the affected colleague/fellow incumbent, the report said.
“ThatҒs just a rule that I follow,” Simmons told the newspaper. “Im not sure that everyone does, but I follow that rule to the best of my ability.”
Northbound lanes on I-95 in Bridgeport reopened today, well ahead of schedule and three days after a fire partially melted an overpass.
Construction workers cheered as a parade of cars, escorted by police, traveled on the repaired highway shortly after 5 p.m. for the first time since last week’s crash between exits 25 and 27 of a tanker truck filled with heating oil.
The scheduled reopening of the more heavily damaged southbound lanes, meanwhile, was pushed up to Thursday.
Officials said the northbound span, reinforced with new steel supports, would be able to handle all normal traffic Monday.
Tonight’s ninth annual birdhouse auction for Project Return at the Inn at Longshore featured birdhouses of all sizes and shapes. This one by Rick Benson is a miniature Westport Country Playhouse. It sold for $8,750. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Saturday, March 27, 2004
When he is not wearing his hat as Westport Town Attorney, Ira Bloom is a partner in a local firm and in that role he has won a significant case for one of Westport’s neighbors, the Town of Easton.
Bloom, a partner in the law firm of Wake, See, Dimes & Bryniczka, won dismissal last week of a case that had been brought against Easton by a group called Citizens for a Responsible Government.
The group sought to overturn the results of a town referendum which overwhelmingly supported the construction of a new elementary school.
After the Easton Board of Selectmen called a town meeting and a town-wide vote to approve an appropriation of $29 million and bond authorization, the citizens of Easton voted 1,624 to 617 in favor of the expenditure.
Westport state Rep. G. Kenneth Bernhard addresses today’s “Rock the Vote” meeting at Jesup Green. The Republican lawmaker urged teens of voting age not only to register to vote but also to seek public office. “That’s the real way to get things changed,” he said. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell was among several local officials who discussed voting issues with teens today at Jesup Green as part of a “Rock the Vote” national drive to get more young people registered to vote. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Two more ministers from Westport’s Unitarian Church presided over same-sex marriages today in New Paltz, N.Y. in defiance of prosecutors who have charged two other clergy with performing the ceremonies without a license.
The Rev. Frank Hall, senior minister, said he and the Rev. Ed Thompson, minister of music, married three couples each in ceremonies at the LeFevre House bed-and-breakfast where previous ceremonies were held.
Hall, senior minister at the church, told WestportNow that there was no police presence during the mid-day ceremonies.
“Things went quite smoothly,” he said. “I’ve been performing same-sex marriages for 35 years. This is nothing new.”
Hall and Thompson brought to five the number of Westport Unitarian ministers who have performed New Paltz same-sex marriages in recent weeks.
The I-95 tanker truck accident in Bridgeport Thursday night not only ignited a fireball in the nighttime sky, but it also added some early sparks to the race to represent the state’s largest city and surrounding Fairfield County in Congress.
Shays, Farrell and Fabrizi at Friday’s news conference at the I-95 tanker accident site. WestportNow.com photo/Cablevision News-12
Rep. Christopher Shays, the veteran 4th District incumbent Republican, was in Washington when the accident occurred.
But he quickly made it back to his hometown in time to join the city’s Democratic Mayor John Fabrizi late Friday afternoon for a news conference at the accident scene.
With multiple live television cameras focused on him, Shays outlined federal aid he had helped line up earlier in the day.
Also there and perhaps not particularly welcome by the congressman—was Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell, the Democrat who will try to unseat Shays in November.
William Watkins Mraz Sr. of Watertown, a foremer Westport resident, died March 25 in Waterbury. He was 85.
He was the husband of Madeleine A. “Queenie” (O-Connell) Mraz. He was born in Bridgeport, on Jan. 24, 1919, son of the late Wenczel and Jessie (Watkins) Mraz. He lived in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport until 1956, when he moved with his family to Westport, where he resided until moving to the Watertown area in 1987.
He graduated from Bassick High School and attended the University School (now the University of Bridgeport). He married Madeleine Anne O-Connell in Bridgeport, on Dec. 4, 1948.
An accomplished athlete, he played for the Bridgeport Tigers semi-pro football team and was offered a scholarship to Syracuse University at the outset of World War II. He chose to serve his country in the U.S. Army and was a World War II veteran.
WestportNow Consumer Correspondent
Hard to believe that in this throw-away world, businesses such as shoe repair shops still exist.
M&M Shoe Repair has been in continuous operation for over 34 years, 26 of them at its current location at Sconset Square. Rick Masone (pictured) has worked in the business since the age of 14, stepping into the bosss shoes since the death in 2002 of his father and long-time owner Tony Masone. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Harder still to believe that Westport, with its more than per-capita share of high-end consumables, still has a few places to take worn-at-the-heels shoes.
Here they are, and hereҒs what it costs to replace a pair of heels.
Cost to replace a pair of men’s heels
Final Touch Cleaners, 1031 Post Road East. $10
Maple Cleaners, 1529 Post Road East $12
Westfair Shoe Repair, 1783 Post Road East. $15
M & M Shoe Repair, 10 Sconset Square, $15
Cost to replace a pair of women’s heels:
Final Touch Cleaners $10
Maple Cleaners $12
Westfair Shoe Repair $6
M & M Shoe Repair $8
noon - 5 p.m . - Jesup Green - “Rock the Vote” young people voter registration rally
8 p.m . Staples High School - Staples Players present “City of Angels”
Staples footballer Jimmy Hughes, the all-time FCIAC scoring champion, strolls the runway tonight with Jennifer Brady at the Varsity Vogue fashion show and auction at Mitchells.(CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Staples football Coach Marce Petruccio acted as emcee at tonight’s seventh annual Varsity Vogue fashion show at Mitchell’s benefiting the Staples cheerleaders, football and basketball teams. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Tonight’s seventh annual Varsity Vogue fashion show and auction at Mitchells of Westport attracted a large crowd. Staples basketball star John Baumann and cheerleader Christina Doyle modeled summer gear. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Friday, March 26, 2004
Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell joined with Bridgeport Mayor John Fabrizi and Congressman Christopher Shays at a Bridgeport news conference today on the I-95 tanker accident. Fabrizi thanked Farrell and leaders of other towns for providing assistance in the disaster. Shays also thanked first responders and reported on federal assistance being provided. Photo is from a live TV broadcast. WestportNow.com / Cablevision News 12
Appraisers hired by the town will begin fanning out across Westport Monday to start cleaning up a six-year backlog of building permits that have not been put on the tax rolls.
The backlog, coupled with complaints about the accuracy of work done so far on the 2003 property assessments, led First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell to announce March 4 that she was seeking state permission, subsequently granted, to postpone the reval.
Asst. Town Attorney Gail Kelly said a contract worth $150,000 has been signed with the Tolland, Conn.-based firm of Cole Layer Trumble to begin processing the permits.
Acting Assessor Kevin Murowsky said he plans to meet daily with appraisers from the firm, beginning Monday, as they visit Westport homes to assess work authorized by the permits.
Congressman Christopher Shays said today the Federal Highway Administration has approved emergency funding for the Bridgeport I-95 disaster area where a tanker overturned and caught fire Thursday night.
The funding will support the rebuilding of I-95 to the condition it was prior to the fire and cover related costs of managing the detour through Bridgeport, Shays said.
The total amount will be determined once the site has cooled and a full engineering assessment can be completed, according to the 4th District Republican
Gov. John Rowland said today it will take millions of dollars and two weeks or more to reopen the section of I-95 following the fiery accident that destroyed part of an overpass.
The Westport Police Department made a federal case out of three arrests on Main Street three years ago and today received a check for $65,520 from the government for its diligence.
“In this case, crime does pay for the Westport police,” said Chief Al Fiore as he accepted the funds.
“This is exactly the kind of cooperation we seek to have with local departments,” said federal agent Joseph A. Galasso as he presented the money to Fiore at a morning ceremony in the department’s classroom.
Galasso, special agent in charge of the criminal investigation unit of the Internal Revenue Service based in Boston, praised Westport police for initiating contact with his office following the arrests.
“A lot of times if there are local charges such as shoplifting, they are handled locally,” he said. But he said in this case, Westport had the foresight to call in the feds when officers began investigating the case.
Westport Police Chief Al Fiore (l) shares a laugh with Joseph Galasso, special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service criminal investigation office in Boston, as Galasso presented the department today with a check for $65,520. The federally forfeited funds were seized as the result of an investigation into three individuals arrested on Westport’s Main Street in August 2001. Galasso praised Westport police for calling in the feds on the case, something he said other departments should emulate. WestportNow.com photo
The fiery tanker crash Thursday night on I-95 in Bridgeport has not resulted in any noticeable increased traffic on Westport roadways, Westport Police Chief Al Fiore said today.
“We put out a couple of extra people anticipating we might see an increase in Route 1 traffic this morning,” Fiore told WestportNow. “But so far it hasn’t impacted us.”
The police chief said there might be additional traffic in coming days on Route 136 and other major roads through Westport as commuters seek alternate routes around the closed portion.
“We’ll keep an eye on it,” he said. “But so far we’ve been pretty lucky.”
8:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Westport Transit District Directors
A fiery tanker accident that shut down I-95 in Bridgeport tonight caused mobilization of the Westport Fire Department hazmat team and an engine company for mutual aid standby. Aftermath of a fiery tanker accident on I-95 in Bridgeport as seen from a TV news helicopter. Thom Burrows for WestportNow.com/Cablevision News 12
The Mid-Fairfield County Hazmat Team, headquartered in Westport, was mobilized shortly before 9 p.m. to deal with the aftermath of the explosion and fire.
At about the same time, the Fairfield Fire Department requested Westport to stand by at its headquarters while it responded to the accident scene.
The hazmat team remained on the scene until 12:30 a.m. Friday.
The accident occurred about 7:45 p.m between exits 25 and 27, an area with narrowed lanes because of a longtime construction project, state police said.
The highway buckled and partially collapsed after the crash and officials on the scene, including Gov. John Rowland, said the highway would be closed down in both directors for a week to two weeks.
Thursday, March 25, 2004
The Westport Arts Center’s Art Roadshow: 2004 Student ExhibitionӔ opened this evening with a crowd of all ages at the reception, including this young lady. Artists are from first grade through high school and come from area schools. The exhibition runs through Sunday. See another photo on ARTS AND LEISURE page. Emily Laux Roche for WestportNow.com
There are two new stop signs at the intersection of Jesup Road and Imperial Avenue near the entrance to the new Westport Center for Senior Activities. No lines are drawn yet on the pavement and many motorists, not expecting them there, are breezing through them. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Democrat Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell’s uphill battle to unseat veteran Republican 4th District Congressman Christopher Shays got some national exposure today.
Roll Call, the newspaper which covers Capitol Hill, featured the Shays-Farrell race in a story quoting Connecticut Democrats as saying Gov. John Rowland’s ongoing problems could weaken the re-election chances of Shays and Rep. Rob Simmons of the 2nd District.
“On its face, the 4th District seems ripe ground for a Democratic takeover,” the newspaper said.
“Gore won a 53 percent to 43 percent victory over George W. Bush there in 2000, fueled in part by the fact that Sen. Joe Lieberman (D), who was born within the district’s lines, was Gore’s vice presidential nominee.”
Roll Call said that Democrats believe Rowland’s problems, coupled with the likelihood that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) will carry both districts in the presidential race, “could create a charged climate to defeat the two House members.”