Thursday, March 25, 2004
Westport residents received this emergency information magnetic sticker this week along with the annual application for Parks and Recreation parking emblems and hand passes. In an apparent oversight, the sticker failed to note that the direct numbers for police, fire and EMS are for non-emergencies only. WestportNow.com photo
Staples High School’s John Baumann was named a most valuable player Wednesday night in a state all star basketball game in Meriden. See SPORTS.
2:p.m. -Town Hall Room 201- Planning & Zoning/Parks & Recreation Parks District Commission
5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Art Roadshow: 2004 Student Art Exhibition” opens
7 p.m. - Westport Fire Headquarters - RTM Public Protection Committee
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Planning & Zoning Commission public hearing and work session
There was a good turnout for this past weekend’s Cub Scout Pinewood Derby at Long Lots Elementary School. Westport Cub Scout Packs 39 and 100 held the combined event. See additional photo on COMMUNITY page. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) Jennifer Jackson-Martins for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell said today she is still opposed to the town making a portion of the Baron’s South property available to the Westport-Weston YMCA for a new home.
Addressing a questioner at her weekly citizens’ brown bag lunch, Farrell said the YMCA is a private entity that has every right to consider moving its headquarters to its Camp Mahackeno site from downtown.
But she said she has not altered her view that the town ought not to make available a portion of the Baron’s South property bordered by Imperial Avenue and Compo Road South.
“My position has not changed,” she said.
First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell said today she hopes to name a committee to study the town’s aborted 2003 property assessment this week.
She also said she is not sure whether additional funding will be required to conduct the revaluation.
Speaking at her weekly citizens’ brown bag lunch, Farrell said in response to a question that she hoped to announce the names of committee members by Friday and perhaps they could meet as early as next week.
The committee will include Finance Director Don Miklus, Selectman Carl Leaman, Acting Assessor Kevin Murowsky, Board of Assessment Appeals member Garson Heller and a member of the Board of Finance and the Representative Town Meeting (RTM).
There will also be several members of the public chosen from among those responding to Farrell’s invitation to apply to sit on the panel.
The Connecticut Siting Council has rejected a bid by Westport and 15 other municipalities to halt a power line upgrade between Middletown and Norwalk, but the agency will allow more hearings on the issue.
The towns filed a motion Tuesday (See WestportNow March 23, 2004) because they were frustrated with what they said was “stonewalling” and “repeated and persistent failure” of utilities to answer detailed questions about the plan.
Tuesday was the first day of hearings on the application from Connecticut Light & Power Co. and United Illuminating Co. to expand a 345-kilovolt electric transmission system into Fairfield County.
Although the council refused to dismiss the application for the new power lines, it agreed to add hearings on the $604 million proposal.
If you have some ideas how Long Island Sound might be used to improve transportation services in the region, today is the day to make them known in Stamford.
Three planning agencies are sponsoring public review meetings on completion of the Long Island Sound Waterborne Transportation Plan at 3:30 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. at the Stamford Government Center, 888 Washington Boulevard.
The series of meetings are being held throughout Connecticut and New York to seek additional input from the public on the “short-list” of potential services currently undergoing detailed study.
“The Long Island Sound Waterborne Transportation Plan, when complete, will serve as an important resource as we seek to mitigate southwestern Connecticut’s ongoing transportation problems,” said Bob Wilson, executive director of the South Western Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA).
9:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Commission for Senior Services
10 a.m. - Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Weston - Westport/Weston Health District “Organic Landscape” seminar
10:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - International Hospitality Committee
Noon - Town Hall Room 309/307 - Citizens Brown Bag Luncheon
5 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309/307 - Board of Selectmen
7:30 p.m. - Staples High School, Room 516 - School Building Committee Staples Subcommittee
Property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period March 15-19, 2004:
Dennis and Dyan Horowitz to Joseph Tarzia, 1 Partrick Road, $837,450.
Susan E. Burrows to George V. and Nandita Y. Hogan, 6 Sachem Trail, $639,000.
Reza and Spraya Ghaffari to Livingston and Michelle Howard, 199 Bayberry Lane, $748,000.
Kirstin B. Iassogna to Land Group Inc., 16 Baker Ave. $655,000.
Camille J. Haner to Rebecca A. Willis, 2 Buena Vista Drive, $1,075,000.
William Dudley and Betty Jo Schleier to Travis M. and Kimberly H. Pauley, 41 Bonnie Brook Road, $925,000.
Westport state Sen. Judith G. Freedman called today for legislative action to cap escalating medical malpractice insurance costs.
The Republican lawmaker joined a bipartisan group of legislators and physicians from across the state in asking the General Assembly to pass the legislation.
I am a patient, and I know how important it is that you, the physicians we depend upon, have the laws you need in order to be able to afford medical malpractice insurance,” Freedman said in a statement.
“Besides keeping your legislators informed, I urge you to encourage your patients to call us and demand effective legislation. This issue affects them, as well.”
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
The Bridge Caf, a popular Riverside Avenue restaurant just off Post Road West, is the latest Westport eatery to close its doors. Its sudden departure follows by two months the similar quiet closing of Main Street’s longtime Onion Alley restaurant. Emily Laux Roche for WestportNow.com
If you want to get a better insight into animal life in Westport, mark March 31 on your calendar for the Westport Police Department’s first “Animal Awareness Forum.”
The two-hour event beginning at 7 p.m. in the police classroom will bring together a who’s who of animal life in Westport and the state for a freewheeling discussion on dog ownership responsibilities, health and legal issues, and even what to do if you spot a coyote or other wildlife.
The discussion will also touch on licensing, rabies vaccinations, basic pet care, and a review of current rules and regulations about roaming off-leash dogs, nuisance complaints, and barking complaints.
Luxury retailer Tiffany & Co. today announced plans to open a Westport store in the fall on Post Road East at Main Street in the space formerly occupied by Eddie Bauer.
The former Eddie Bauer store at Post Road East and Main Street will be the new home of Tiffany & Co. WestportNow.com photo
The approximately 5,500-square foot store will offer an array of exclusive designs, including the jeweler’s celebrated diamonds in platinum and 18-karat gold settings, rare and lustrous pearls as well as jewelry and watches, an announcement said.
“We look forward to joining the vibrant Westport community and offering our current and prospective customers convenient access to excellence of design, quality, craftsmanship, and superior service that are the hallmarks of Tiffany’s great heritage,” said Beth O. Canavan, executive vice president.
While the announcement did not specify the building, a real estate source said it was the former Eddie Bauer store.
The State of Connecticut has granted Westports request to postpone its 2003 property assessment for a year, First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell said today.
In a news release, Farrell said she received the word from Marc S. Ryan, secretary of the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management.
She said Ryan granted a waiver to the town ғwhereby no penalties will be assessed on state grants for failure to implement a revaluation on all real property.
Farrell announced March 4 that she would seek a one-year delay in implementing the town’s property assessment and had placed Assessor Glenn Werfelman on a 30-day leave of absence.
Westport is among 15 municipalities in Fairfield and New Haven counties which have filed a motion to halt a controversial power line upgrade project.
They claim utility companies refused to share pertinent documents on health concerns and the feasibility of burying more lines as part of the $604 million Milddletown to Norwalk project.
Hartford lawyer Peter Boucher filed the motion Monday with the Connecticut Siting Council.
“This extraordinary action is being taken in response to the repeated and persistent failure of (Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating) to provide these municipalities with adequate information and responses to discovery requests in a reasonable and timely manner,” Boucher said.
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Zoning Board of Appeals
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Architectural Review Board
Westport’s Chris Halstead has earned the title of national champion with a first-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke at the NCAA Division III national championships this past weekend in St. Louis, Mo.
Halstead, who turns 21 next month, is a junior at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. See SPORTS.
As his likely Democratic opponent presses for a state ruling on same-sex marriages, Republican Congressman Christopher Shays reportedly is reconsidering his stance on the controversial issue.
The AP, in a Washington-datelined dispatch, reported that Connecticut’s congressional delegation is in lock step in opposition to an amendment banning gay marriage.
It noted that Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell, who is running against Shays in the 4th District, “has taken a more active stance, saying she will perform gay marriages if Connecticut’s attorney general deems them legal.”
As has been previously reported (See WestportNow March 9, 2004), the AP said that Farrell, a justice of the peace, had asked state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal for a legal opinion on the issue.
Last Friday’s day-before-spring snowfall that shut Westport public schools for the day has caused the district to extend the school year by a day to make up for it.
Supt. of Schools Elliott Landon told tonight’s Board of Education meeting that the system had run out of snow days and as a result the last day of school for students will be Friday, June 18, instead of Thursday, June 17.
The Staples High School graduation ceremony has also been pushed back a day to June 18, he said.
Teachers will report to work on the following Monday, June 21, before ending their academic year, Landon said.
He cautioned that if there are any more days canceled this spring due to snow, the district will have to postpone summer vacation accordingly.
The Westport Board of Education voted unanimously tonight to seek restoration of $1.25 million cut from its budget March 12 by the Board of Finance. Members voted after hearing from Supt. of Schools Elliott Landon that an insurance financing issue that was behind the cut had been “resolved” earlier in the day. Listening to the debate ( l to r) are Mark Mathias, Linda Merk-Gould, chair Sandra Urist, and Landon. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Monday, March 22, 2004
Westport’s Terex Corp. makes the latest list of Fortune 500 companies.
The manufacturer of a range of equipment primarily for the construction, infrastructure and surface mining industries is headquartered at 500 Post Road East.
It came in at No. 437 on the magazine’s list with 2003 revenue of $3.897 billion.
Fortune magazine’s Fortune 500 list is based on revenue.
Despite the calendar saying it’s spring, the temperature was in the 20s today as work progressed on the $74 million renovation and expansion of Staples High School. The first phase is due to be ready sometime in the fall. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
7 p.m. - Staples High School, Room 516 - Board of Education anticipated executive session
8 p.m. - Staples High School Library - Board of Education
Sunday, March 21, 2004
2:30 p.m. Westport Woman’s Club—Westport League of Women Voters “Community Conversation” on transportation
Two clergy from Westport’s Unitarian Church were among six Unitarian Universalist ministers who married 25 same-sex couples today in New Paltz, N.Y.
Rev. Barbara Fast File photo
The marriages were performed in defiance of prosecutors who have charged two ministers with performing the ceremonies without a license.
The Rev. Barbara Fast, an associate minister at the Westport church, and the Rev. Debra Haffner, a community minister, were among those performing the ceremony, according to a church source.
While there was a small police presence, they did not interfere or cite the ministers, the source said.
Asked whether she feared being arrested for participating, Haffner replied: “I had no choice but to be here,” according to the Kingston (N.Y.) Daily Freeman.
Last week, the Rev. Marion Visel, another community minister at the Westport church, performed same-sex marriages in New Paltz and received a warning letter from the local district attorney.
Saturday, March 20, 2004
Fire caused extensive damage to a second floor body works salon on Post Road East today. Quick work by firefighters kept the flames from spreading to the rest of the building. There were no injuries.
A witness across the street from the building at 719 Post Road East said she was pumping gas at the Cumberland Farms service station when she noticed a bright flash on the left side of the structure.
“Out of the corner of my eye I noticed what I thought was a welding arc and thought ‘who the hell is welding out in the open like that’ because it was so painful to look at,” she told WestportNow. “Then I realized it was a fire.”
Someone else at the service station dialed 911 as flames licked up the side of the building and workers began scurrying out of the first floor Effi’s Salon, she said.
Westport Fire Department Assistant Chief Robert Kepchar tells a local television station about today’s fire on Post Road East. Firefighters can be seen working around the second floor area where the fire began on the outside of the building. There were no injuries and damage was confined to the second floor. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Firefighters work at a fire at 719 Post Road East today. Assistant Chief Robert Kepchar said the fire apparently started on the outside of the second floor of the building and may have been electrical. It damaged a top floor body works office with smoke and water damage to a beauty salon below. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo