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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Board of Ed Approves New CMS Principal, SHS Guidance Director

The Board of Education Monday night made two personnel appointments.

Kris Bienkowski will replace retiring principal James Welch at Coleytown Middle School and Elaine Schwartz takes over as guidance director at Staples High School.

Bienkowski had been a principal at a Griswold middle school and Schwartz had been guidance director at Newtown High School.


04/27/04 03:42 AM Comments () • Permalink

RTM Finance Committee Recommends Town and Education Budget

The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) Finance Committee has unanimously recommended approval of the town and education portions of the proposed 2004-2005 $135.6 million budget.

The full RTM takes up the budgets at its May 3 meeting.

The committee acted Monday night after a lengthy discussion about the Board of Education’s purchasing policies.

The committee took no action on a request by committee member Michael Rea, District 8, to investigate the assessor’s office following postponement of the 2003 property assessment.

First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell and Finance Director Don Miklus assured the committee that the newly-appointed Revaluation Working Group would look into many of the areas of concern to Rea and other committee members.


04/27/04 03:35 AM Comments () • Permalink

Feds Urge No New Trial for Westport’s Martha Stewart

Federal prosecutors have urged a judge to deny Westport’s Martha Stewart and her ex-stockbroker a new trial.

In a filing Monday, the prosecutors disputed a claim that the first trial was tainted when the jury discussed Stewart’s expensive handbag.

Stewart has said she deserves a new trial because one juror failed to disclose his arrest record and because a Bronx Little League executive claims the juror once confessed to embezzling money.

Peter Bacanovic, the former broker convicted with Stewart on March 5, moved for a new trial last week based on reports the jury discussed a handbag that Stewart occasionally toted to court.

More "Feds Urge No New Trial for Westport’s Martha Stewart"


04/27/04 03:26 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Planning & Zoning Commission (Discussion Sewer Extension Plan)
10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Arts Advisory Committee
11 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201A - Planning & Zoning Fence Committee
Noon - Toquet Hall - Westport Arts Center presents encore performance of “Play With Your Food”
4 p.m. Ben & Jerry’s, 14 Post Road East - “Rock the Vote” teen voter registration drive
6 p.m. - Bedford Middle School—Student art exhibition
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 206 - Historic District Commission
NOTE: A local newspaper mistakenly listed tonight at 7 p.m. as the public meeting on noise. The correct date is Thursday, April 29,  at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall Auditorium.
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Mill Pond public meeting
7 p.m. - Bridgeport Transportation Center, 525 Water St. - Hearing on proposed 5.5 percent New Haven Line fare increase
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Zoning Board of Appeals
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Architectural Review Board
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - RTM Transit Committee


04/27/04 03:03 AM Comments () • Permalink

High-Tech Talk

Westporter David Pogue, weekly personal technology columnist for The New York Times, chats with a friend at the University of Kansas tonight over a video computer link (Apple’s iSight) during a talk on high-tech innovations at the Westport Public Library. Pogue showed off a number of new and yet-to-be-released gadgets but said he ranks the TiVo digital TV recorder the top high-tech innovation of recent years.(CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) photo


04/27/04 02:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, April 26, 2004

Not a Bad Day for Westport’s Charles Berg as His Oxford Health is Acquired

It was not a bad day today for Westport’s Charles Berg, at least financially.charlesgberg.jpg

Berg is president and CEO of Trumbull-based Oxford Health Plans Inc. which today was acquired by UnitedHealth Group for $4.8 billion in cash and stock.

The deal was announced just days after talks between Oxford and WellChoice fell apart.

In a news release, Oxford referred to the transaction as a merger and said Oxford will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare based in Trumbull with Berg as its head.

More "Not a Bad Day for Westport’s Charles Berg as His Oxford Health is Acquired"


04/26/04 09:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

Farrell: Women’s Washington March for Abortion Rights “Amazing Experience”

First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell says the abortion rights march in Washington, D.C. was “an amazing experience.”

Farrell was among about 140 Westport residents who participated in the Sunday march and rally that drew hundreds of thousands of participants from around the country.

“It was an amazing experience you felt you were part of history,” Farrell said today.

She marched with about 140 Westport residents who boarded three buses before dawn Sunday for the five-hour drive to Washington.

More "Farrell: Women’s Washington March for Abortion Rights “Amazing Experience”"


04/26/04 07:40 PM Comments () • Permalink

Kmart and Westport’s Martha Stewart Make Up

It’s lovey dovey again between Kmart and the company owned by Westport’s Martha Stewart.

The two companies announced today that Kmart Holding Corp. has settled its differences with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia over royalties on sales of goods bearing the Stewart name.

Despite Stewart’s recent legal troubles, the amended contract extends the partnership with Kmart by two years, until 2009, and expands it to cover new product categories, the companies said in a joint statement.

In a complaint filed in February in bankruptcy court, Kmart had accused Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia of overcharging it for the exclusive rights to sell housewares and other products under the Martha Stewart Everyday label.

More "Kmart and Westport’s Martha Stewart Make Up"


04/26/04 01:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport’s Sean Mulcahy Gets Call from Cleveland Browns

They didnt get him in this weekendҒs National Football League draft, but the Cleveland Browns quickly made a call Sunday to acquire Westports Sean Mulcahy as a free agent.mulcahy11080301b.jpg
Flashback: Sean Mulcahy with Westport friends after his last UConn home game last November. photo

The Browns had shown the most interest in Mulcahy in the weeks leading up to the draft.

Former Dallas Cowboys coach Dave Campo, now the defensive coordinator in Cleveland, attended Mulcahy’s workout in March at UConn and apparently liked what he saw.

The 6-foot-6, 292-pound 2000 Staples grad was a four-year standout defensive lineman for the Huskies.

Fellow Husky Uyi Osunde also signed with the Browns as a free agent Sunday night. They will report to Cleveland Friday for a weekend minicamp.

“How awesome is that?” Mulcahy said.

More "Westport’s Sean Mulcahy Gets Call from Cleveland Browns"


04/26/04 03:09 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, April 26, 2004

11:30 a.m. Westport YMCA - Y’s Women present Jean Krasno, a Yale foreign policy expert, speaking on Is the United Nations Relevant Ӗ A Look at a Side of the United Nations Few Know About
11:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 307 - Board of Education anticipated executive session
7 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Connecticut Department of Social Services Public Forum
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - RTM Planning & Zoning Committee
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - David Pogue, weekly personal technology columnist for The New York Times, “High Tech Show-and-Tell”
8 p.m. - Staples High School Library - Board of Education
8 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - RTM Finance Committee


04/26/04 03:04 AM Comments () • Permalink

Police Chief Welcomes Special Olympics Participants

Westport Police Chief Al Fiore welcomed participants at today’s Police Athletic League Special Olympics at Staples High School. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) Stephen Rubin for


04/26/04 02:35 AM Comments () • Permalink

African Violets and Other Exotic Gesneriads

The Silvermine African Violet Society held its annual judged show and sale this weekend at Westports Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center. Best in Class winners included (l to r) Sally Shauer, Jane Sherman, Marjorie Rosenberg, Lynn Wallach and Jean Simons. All are Westport residents except Rosenberg who lives in Weston. The group has been active in the area for more than 35 years.  (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) Julia Mally for


04/26/04 12:19 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Westporter Takes Unusual Road to Kentucky Derby

Westport resident Robert LaPenta owns a horse that just might be the morning-line favorite for next Saturday’s Kentucky Derby all because of a black cat.

Today’s The Advocate of Stamford/Norwalk spotlights the Heron Lake Lane resident and how a black cat helped him retain a robust colt named The Cliff’s Edge.

Two weeks ago, the horse shook up the Triple Crown outlook by winning the Blue Grass Stakes and jumping to the front row of this year’s 3-year-old class.


04/25/04 12:17 PM Comments () • Permalink

A Compo Saturday in Spring

Saturday was a good day for riding your bike at Compo Beach, walking, or sitting on the sand. The temperature was in the upper 60s with plenty of sunshine. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) Emily Laux Roche for


04/25/04 03:06 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, April 25, 2004

3 p.m. - Westport Public Library - “Poet’s Voice” with Colette Inez


04/25/04 03:04 AM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Westporter John Vlahos, TV Writer, Dies at 87

John Vlahos, a scriptwriter who earned an Emmy for “The Defenders,” has died at his Westport home. He was 87.

A native of Springfield, Ohio, Vlahos grew up working in the family restaurant,
playing violin and acting in school plays and local theater.

After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, he moved to New York City to become an actor, but segued into writing instead.

Vlahos served as a Navy lieutenant in the South Pacific during World War II,
and then returned to New York, where he wrote sketches for a Broadway musical review called “New Faces.”

More "Westporter John Vlahos, TV Writer, Dies at 87"


04/24/04 06:44 PM Comments () • Permalink

“Damn Yankees” at Greens Farms Academy

Upper School students at Westport’s Greens Farms Academy will be performing the musical production of “Damn Yankees” at 7:30 p.m.. tonight after an opening night performance Friday. See another picture on ARTS & LEISURE page.    Contributed photo


04/24/04 02:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

Survivors of Armenian Genocide in Westport

Today marks the 89th anniversary of what is now called the Armenian Genocide and among those recalling it are the owners of the well-known Westport food store The Organic Market. See STORY by WestportNow Community Correspondent Juliet Balian.


04/24/04 03:34 AM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, April 24, 2004

7:30 p.m. - Greens Farms Academy—Upper School production of “Damn Yankees”
8 p.m. - Pequot Library, Fairfield - Westport Arts Center presents jazz guitarist Larry Coryell


04/24/04 03:03 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, April 23, 2004

Westporters Make History on the Queen Mary 2

As well-known experts on the town’s past, Westporters Barbara and Allen Raymond are used to recounting the history of others. raymonds04230401.jpg
Westporters Allen and Barbara Raymond were all smiles as they set out on their historic voyage. Contributed photo

But now they are makers of history themselves. They were among the first trans-Atlantic voyagers on Queen Mary 2, the world’s biggest ocean liner.

“I’ve been on a lot of trips to a lot of countries, but this was the most amazing thing,” said Allen Raymond today after the couple returned home on the ship Thursday to a spectacular New York Harbor welcome.

“The ship is the last word in everything. The service is great, the food spectacular, and the structure itself unbelievable.”

“It was like being invited to a party and it lasts six days,” said Barbara Raymond.

More "Westporters Make History on the Queen Mary 2"


04/23/04 06:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport’s Sean Mulcahy on NFL Draft “Bubble”

Westport’s Sean Mulcahy says “Im on the bubble” over chances of being drafted for National Football League play this weekend.Mulcahy3.jpg

The 6-foot-6, 292-pound four-year standout defensive lineman at the University of Connecticut and 2000 Staples grad made the comment in an interview with the Middletown Press.

Joe Linta, MulcahyҒs Branford-based agent, agrees with that assessment, the newspaper reported.

But he also believes that if Mulcahy falls off the draft bubble, his chances of playing in the NFL are still excellent.

“Im much more convinced of him playing in September than being drafted on Sunday,” Linta said.

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04/23/04 02:50 PM Comments () • Permalink

State Senate Approves funds for New Rail Cars for New Haven Line

The state Senate has approved funds to purchase new cars for Metro-North’s New Haven Line.

The Senate quickly passed the bill Thursday with no debate. The measure had sailed through the House a week ago.

House Speaker Moira Lyons and Gov. John G. Rowland announced a $60 million plan in March to upgrade the aging line.

Along with the $25 million in bonding, it includes $35 million in funding that was previously planned for new cars.

The money would be used to immediately purchase 20 cars, adding 2,000 seats to the busy line.

About 30 percent of the 343 cars on the New Haven Line fleet were sidelined this winter because of snowstorms, cold weather and age.


04/23/04 03:31 AM Comments () • Permalink

Planning & Zoning Approves Long Lots School Parking Project

The Westport Planning & Zoning Commission tonight, by a 6-1 vote (Cochrane against) approved with conditions an application by the School Building Committee to expand and reconstruct the parking lot at Long Lots Elementary School. The plan calls for space for 196 cars, a bus drop/pickup area, parent drop/pickup area and storm drainage improvements The project now goes to the town funding bodies. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE)   Stephen Rubin for


04/23/04 02:31 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Westport’s Paul Newman Urges Princeton Abandon Binge Drinking

Westport’s Paul Newman has appealed to Princeton University to end a campus tradition in which participants binge drink, trying to consume a beer an hour for 24 hours.

Newman’s Day, set for Saturday, derives its name from an apocryphal quote attributed to the actor: “24 beers in a case, 24 hours in a day. Coincidence? I think not.”

On Newman’s Day, students have been known to show up for class inebriated or with beer poured into coffee mugs, according to an AP report. Part of the event’s challenge is to make it through classes.

Last week, Westporter Leo Nevas, Newman’s lawyer, sent the university a letter calling for the tradition to stop.

More "Westport’s Paul Newman Urges Princeton Abandon Binge Drinking"


04/22/04 08:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

Farrell Urges Committee to Consider Full Physical Revaluation of Properties

Westport First Selectman Diane G. Farrell today told her Revaluation Working Group she was considering a full physical revaluation of town properties instead of a statistical reval for the postponed 2003 property assessment. She said she was thinking about the alternative because it might be more cost-effective and ensure a more fair and accurate assessment. The committee agreed to consider it as an option pending further investigation. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) photo


04/22/04 07:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

Update: Woman Dies in Accident on Greens Farms Road

A woman motorist was killed today when her car drove off Greens Farms Road and hit a tree, police said.

The accident occurred shortly after 7 a.m. near Beachside Avenue.

The woman was later identified as Nancv E. Gendreau, 55, of 398 Greens Farms Road, Westport.

The car ended up close to Interstate-95, leading to some initial confusion that it occurred on that roadway.

Police said the state police initially received a call about a car on I-95 southbound just south of the Beachside Avenue overpass.

More "Update: Woman Dies in Accident on Greens Farms Road"


04/22/04 06:37 PM Comments () • Permalink

Former Westporter James Kaminsky Out as Playboy Editorial Director

James Kaminsky, who said he got his first glimpse of Playboy as a teenager growing up in Westport, is out as the magazine’s editorial director, according to

Quoting a company spokesman, AdAge said Kamisky, who was brought into the post amid much publicity in September 2002, would move to an as-yet-unspecified inter-divisional role at the company.

Formerly the executive director of Maxim, Kaminsky had replaced Arthur Kretchmer, who had been Playboy’s editorial director for 30 years.

The move was widely seen as a bid to update Playboy’s formula and an effort to fend off stiff competition from magazines such as Maxim, the report said.

Update (April 23, 2004): The Chicago Sun-Times said Kaminsky, 42, is being given the job of vice president, special projects at Playboy Enterprises, according to the company.

More "Former Westporter James Kaminsky Out as Playboy Editorial Director"


04/22/04 03:52 PM Comments () • Permalink

Watching Film Festival Submissions

Members of the Westport Youth Film Festival Committee recently gathered at the Westport Arts Center to go over more than 300 submissions for the May 22 event at the Fairfield Community Theatre. They are (l to r standing) Stephen Davis-Koss, Lindsay Rothenberg, and Emma Wiseman; ( l to r seated) Michel Ann O’Mally, Chris Casey, and David Burstein. Emily Laux Roche for


04/22/04 12:54 PM Comments () • Permalink

WN Fact Check: Westport’s Top 10 Taxpayer List

If you thought your tax bill was high, check out these figures. WestportNow asked the office of the Westport Tax Collector to provide a “Top Ten” list of the town’s taxpayers.

Westport’s Top 10 Taxpayers

1. Nyala Farms Inc. office complex (account A) - $771,496.20
2. Connecticut Light & Power Co. (utility poles and equipment) - $387,750.45
3. 55-57 Greens Farms Road office complex - $198,356.85
4. Irving Byelas Irrevocable Trust 1790 Post Road East, Stop & Shop - $173,599.68
5. Luella Davis, 60 Beachside Ave. - $170,379.68
6. Westport View Corp. Center LLC office complex 8 Wright St. - $162,968.80
7. Westport Benenson LLC, 1595 Post Road East - $159,382.84
8. Nyala Farms Inc. office complex (account B) - $149,738.49
9. Howard Juster, 1850 Post Road East - $130,250.04
10. 130 Beachside Ave. Corp. - $129,321.40

The top 10 taxpayers collectively contribute $2,433,244.52 to the town coffers.


04/22/04 03:48 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, April 22, 2004

7 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Planning & Zoning Commission Work Session
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Planning & Zoning Commission
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309/307 - TEAM Westport Committee


04/22/04 03:05 AM Comments () • Permalink

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