Saturday, December 25, 2004
Flames early today damaged Westport’s Inn at Longshore. The blaze, which broke out shortly after 5 a.m., burned through portions of the basement, first, second and third floors as it spread through interior walls. The hotel was closed at the time and one woman who was staying there got out safely. Units from Wilton, Norwalk, and Trumbull assisted Westport firefighters in fighting the stubborn blaze. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Norwalk firefighters on a tower ladder lend a hand at today’s fire at Westport’s Inn at Longshore. Fire Chief Denis McCarthy said while fire damage was limited to a kitchen area, some interior walls, and four guest rooms, there was water damage throughout the building as the sprinkler system was activated. The hotel was closed at the time. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
A Christmas morning fire heavily damaged a house at 1 Lincoln St. at the corner of Post Road West today. No one was at home when the blaze broke out about 2 a.m., but a family dog died from smoke inhalation. Fire Chief Denis McCarthy said the fire burned the basement and spread to a first floor room with smoke damage throughout the house. Cause of the blaze was linked to a malfunctioning boiler. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Westport firefighters attack a blaze that broke out early today in a home at 1 Lincoln St. at the corner of Post Road West. No one was at home at the time. A neighbor in the area smelled smoke and called 911. A Farifield engine company assisted at the scene and Wilton sent an engine for mutual aid coverage at headquarters. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Friday, December 24, 2004
In a tradition going back at least 30 years, residents of Westport’s Webb Road gathered tonight for a Christmas Eve visit from Santa. The jolly red-suited visitor arrived in a convertible and handed out presents to young residents of the road. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Peter Bacanovic, the co-defendant of Westport’s Martha Stewart, will report to prison early but will continue to appeal his conviction for lying to federal investigators, his lawyer said.
Bacanovic, a former stockbroker at Merrill Lynch & Co., will begin serving a five-month sentence on Jan. 18, his attorney, Richard Strassberg, told The Wall Street Journal.
U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum is expected to recommend to the Bureau of Prisons that Bacanovic report to the Nellis federal prison in Las Vegas, Strassberg said.
Bacanovic has been allowed to remain free since his sentencing in July pending his appeal. After his prison term is up, he will serve five months of home detention.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Former Gov. John G. Rowland pleaded guilty today to a single federal corruption charge
Rowland and wife after guilty plea in New Haven. Cablevision-News12/WestportNow.com photo
In a plea agreement, Rowland admitted to defrauding the Internal Revenue Service by failing to report gratuities, and to defrauding the people of Connecticut by failing to live up to his legal obligation to provide honest service.
Prosecutors said that Rowland had accepted $107,000 worth of free vacations, construction work on his cottage and other favors, and should have paid about $35,000 in taxes on the gifts.
“Obviously, mistakes have been made throughout the last two years, and I accept responsibility for those,” Rowland told reporters after appearing in federal court in New Haven.
Westport-based Heyman Properties has paid approximately $60 million for the twin-tower office White Plains Plaza office complex in White Plains, N.Y. The deal marks its first entrance into the Westchester County office market.
Heyman, whose portfolio includes Westport’s Compo Acres Shopping Center as well as other properties throughout the northeast, bought the 712,000-sf office property from MetLife.
Consisting of two, 15-story buildings, White Plains Plaza first opened around 1970 and at one time served as the headquarters for Prodigy Inc.
Heyman’s other commercial properties in Connecticut include the Stamford Industrial Park and the Stamford Marriott. In New York, it also owns the Marriott Courtyard by LaGuardia Airport.
Smoke can be seen coming from a home on Quintard Place today after fire broke out in a ceiling while renovations were underway. Westport firefighters quickly had the blaze under control. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ron Malone for WestportNow.com
Westport firefighters clean up after quickly extinguishing a fire in a ceiling in a house at 4 Quintard Place off of Maple Avenue South today. The house was undergoing renovations when the blaze broke out. Damage was confined to the ceiling area and there were no injuries. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Westport’s Levitt Pavilion is planning a fund-raiser in February to help underwrite next summer’s open air concerts.“Mardi Gras 2005” on Feb. 4 at the Inn at Longshore features the Grammy Award-nominated “Roomful of Blues” jazz group. For more information, visit the Levitt Pavilion Web site. Contributed photo
Today’s WestportNow teardown is at 36 Morningside Drive North. An application for demolition is pending. The house, built in 1958, was sold last week for $790,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
A recording of the popular Staples High School Candlelight Concert. which last weekend had its 64th anniversary performance, can be heard daily beginning today on WWPT-FM, 90.3.
The student-run station will broadcast the last four years of concerts continuously through New Year’s Day, according to station adviser Jim Honeycutt.
The Board of Education’s cable television channel 78 is broadcasting this year’s concert every day at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 8 p.m.
The Brooks Corner shopping complex on Westport’s Main Street is quiet tonight after another busy day. Retailers are hoping for brisk business Thursday and Friday leading to Christmas. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Customers of Connecticut Light & Power Co., including about 11,000 in Westport, will be paying 10.3 percent more for electricity at the beginning of the new year.
State regulators today issued their final decision on the company’s rate hike request, which had been for a 16.7 percent increase.
The rate increase, which takes effect Jan. 1, amounts to about an extra $8.41 a month for the average residential customer using 700 kilowatt hours each month.
In its preliminary decision last Friday, the state Department of Public Utility Control had approved an increase of 11.4 percent, but a spokeswoman for the agency said the figure had been calculated incorrectly.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
In a Christmas week message posted on her Web site today, Westport’s Martha Stewart urged her supporters to remember women who are imprisoned in the United States and to fight for prison reforms.
“When one is incarcerated with 1,200 other inmates, it is hard to be selfish at Christmas—hard to think of Christmases past and Christmases future—that I know will be as they always were for me—beautiful!,” she said.
Stewart, who is mid-way through her five-month sentence in Alderson, W. Va., said, “So many of the women here in Alderson will never have the joy and wellbeing that you and I experience. Many of them have been here for years—devoid of care, devoid of love, devoid of family. “
She added, “I beseech you all to think about these women—to encourage the American people to ask for reforms, both in sentencing guidelines, in length of incarceration for nonviolent first-time offenders, and for those involved in drug-taking.”
Westport’s monk parakeets: back in the news. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Laux for WestportNow.comThey’ve been around for decades, but today’s New York Times “Our Towns” column, datelined Westport, gives its readers an update on monk parakeets whose favorite Westport haunt seems to be Compo Beach.
“There are perhaps 1,000 of the parakeets in Connecticut, though no one knows for sure,” the report said.
It said the “real question is whether theyre likely to remain charming and exotic Җ if noisy curiosities or to become the next invasive species, like kudzu or pigeons, crowding out native ones”
The Times quoted Westport resident Dian Jennings Mayo, who lives near Compo Beach, as saying: “They’re like deer. People say ‘Aren’t they sweet?’ but I can tell your it’s no so sweet when they invade your house. They֒re intrusive, they’re dirty and they’re the noisiest creatures on earth.”
The state Board of Education’s recognition earlier this month of Nancy Harris, Westport’s assistant superintendent for business, as Connecticut School Business Offical of the Year, is getting replays on the Connecticut Network, the state’s public affairs television channel. Staples teacher Gerald Kuroghlian, a finalist for Teacher of the Year, can be seen to the left of Harris. CTN/Ron Malone for WestportNow.com
Property transfers as reported by the Westport Town Clerk’s office for the period Dec. 13-Dec. 17, 2004
Stephen and Julie Sharp to Land Group Inc., 36 Morningside Drive North, $790,000
Roger L. and Nancy Martin Saunders to Stuart L. and Christine Updegrove, 4 Barry Lane, $761,000
Thomas J. and Lynne S. Sionian Jr., to 86 Old Road LLC, 86 Old Road, $791,000
Louis Petti to Hugh B. and Jana N. Ross, 26 Bermuda Road, $3,050,000
Ulbrick Associates LLC to Angela D. Simpson, 6 Ulbrick Lane, $3,600,000
Today’s WestportNow teardown is at 19 Baker Ave., between Imperial Avenue and Compo Road South. An application for demolition is pending. The house, built in 1976, changed hands in May for $762,500. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
The Westport Tax Collector’s office reminds Westporters wishing to pay their real estate taxes in calendar year 2004 for tax purposes that it will be closed the last two business days of the year, Thursday, Dec. 30 and Friday, Dec. 31.
The last day for in-person payment is Wednesday, Dec. 29. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 110 Myrtle Ave.
Tax Collector George Underhill said payments postmarked by the U.S. Post Office no later than Dec. 31 will also qualify as a 2004 payment.
10:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 308 - International Hospitality Committee
Westporter Wendy McKeon (r) showed delight at making a “Bunco” (three dice of a specified number) at the Westport Woman’s Club’s holiday Bunco Night tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Julia Mally for WestportNow.com
George Underhill: blames data glitch. WN photoA glitch in a data system used by a vendor led to delinquent sewer use and assessment notices being sent to about 400 Westport households that never received an original tax bill, town officials said today.
“We sincerely regret the error and apologize to the affected residents,” said First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell. “The vendor, who is new to the town, has acknowledged the error and will make good on all billed interest charges.”
WestportNow broke the story exclusively Dec. 13 when several residents in the Compo Beach area wrote to the Web site complaining that they had received delinquent notices for bills they never received. (See WestportNow Dec. 13, 2004)
They said they were told by the tax collector’s office that even if they had not received a bill, they were obligated to pay the interest charges, which amounted to about $15. Subsequently, other residents posted comments saying they, too, had similar experiences.
The principal of Westport’s Bedford Middle School said today someone found marijuana in a makeup bag during a chorus class and turned it in to a teacher.
In an e-mail to parents, Angela Wormser said she was sharing details of the incident to make sure everyone had accurate information about it and “not some facsimile of the truth.”
“The purpose of this letter is to share with you an incident that occurred at school today,” she wrote.
“During a chorus class, several students found a makeup bag which was stuffed between the pages of a Candlelight Concert program.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
It’s not news to anyone living here, but a new study says Westport is in the second-least affordable housing rental market in the nation.
The Stamford-Norwalk area, including Westport, was cited in a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Its “Out of Reach 2004” study lists the availability of affordable apartments nationwide.
Only San Francisco is rated more expensive, the coalition said. Following Stamford-Norwalk in high costs were other California metropolitan areas, followed by Boston, Westchester County, N.Y., and Nassau/Suffolk on Long Island.
The report was released as Westport’s non-profit Interfaith Housing Association received $321,500 in federal funds to help its $525,000 purchase of a multi-family home in Westport’s Saugatuck area.
Rep. Christopher Shays today formally announces receipt of $321,500 in federal funds to help the $525,000 purchase of a multi-family house at 10 West End Ave. in Westport’s Saugatuck section for the non-profit Interfaith Housing Association. The Westport Rotary Club and Westport Sunrise Rotary Club both helped raise seed money for the property which could cost as much as $1 million to turn into permanently affordable supportive housing. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
The Rev. Peter Powell, president and CEO of Westport’s Interfaith Housing Association, explains to supporters today how its newly purchased multi-family home at 10 West End Ave. will be transformed into eight units of permanently affordable supportive housing. He said the IHA hopes to open 50 units of such housing by 2009, many of them in Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com