Monday, January 31, 2005
Gov. M. Jodi Rell said today she expects the state Bond Commission to approve $39 million in funding for the Westport Water Pollution Control Facility when it meets Friday.
The funds—a $29.3 million loan and a $9.7 million grant—will be used for upgrading and expanding the existing facility and for the expansion of two pump stations.
Westport’s public works director, Steve Edwards, said he was pleased that the governor is supporting the request but will hold off celebrating until it actually happens.
“I won’t be opening a bottle of champagne until it’s done. She’s a little more confident than I am,” he said, noting that bond counsel has derailed such approvals in the past.
By Emily Laux
Owners Jenny and Tim Robson live at 123 Compo Road South with their four children and two dogs. The house, built in 1853, was 2,500-square feet when they purchased the property in 1999.
123 Compo Road South: “We just didnt even consider tearing down this house.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Laux for WestportNow.com
In 2002, they added 1,000-square feet to one side of the house to create a new kitchen, larger family room, and master bedroom suite upstairs. The family lived there throughout the project, which took nine months to complete.
The 0.50-acre property includes a separate garage with a small upstairs apartment that was built in the 1920s for the ownerҒs chauffeur.
Revival Q & A
WN: Do you believe you savedӔ your house from being torn down?
JR: I suspect we saved the house from being torn down, since thats what has happened since 1999 in our neighborhood. The house behind us җ an old converted barn was torn down in 2001.
Neighbors of Westport’s Linda Gramatky Smith had fun this weekend sledding down the hill behind her Roseville Road home just as she did when she was a youngster growing up there. Gramatky’s father, the late Hardie Gramatky, an illustrator perhaps best known for his “Little Toot” children’s books, captured his daughter and her friends on the same hill years ago. See accompanying photo. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Linda Gramatky Smith for WestportNow.com
Hardie Gramatky’s “Maple in Winter Snow” watercolor shows his daughter and her friends sledding on a hill behind their Roseville Road home. Gramatky, who died in 1979, created the “Little Toot” children’s books for G. P. Putnam’s Sons when he was an animator at Disney Studios in California. He was especially known for his watercolors. Linda Gramataky Smith has said of her father: “(His) idea was to play (his) palette like a pianist plays a keyboard: never conscious of reaching for color or tone, but getting the most subtle shades and harmony with the greatest of confidence.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Courtesy of Linda Gramatky Smith
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell (r) surprised Sue Pfister, director of the Westport Center for Senior Activities, with an announcement today that the dining hall at the center is being named “Sue’s Caf” in her honor. Farrell spoke during celebrations marking the center’s first anniversary. See more photos below. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Sue Pfister (l), director of the Westport Center for Senior Activities, poses with Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell at the entrance to the newly-renamed “Sue’s Caf’” at the center during today’s first anniversary celebrations. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com
Several dozen Westporters met today to discuss renovating the playground at Compo Beach as a community project in 2006. The meeting at Westport Police Headquarters heard from Jim Bennett (c) one of the original organizers of a controversial 1989 effort to rebuild the playground. He said this time around things should be easier as no major land use permits are needed because the playground already exists. (See WestportNow Jan. 26, 2005) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell has asked school administrators to provide a detailed explanation of a request for the town to seek additional office space for school administrative needs.
In a Jan. 20 letter to Schools Supt. Elliott Landon, Farrell said she would not pass on a request to the town’s Public Site and Building Commission to find more space until the schools have prepared a presentation showing that they have exhausted every available space in school buildings.
“Elliott, I am deeply concerned about the cost of this initiative,” Farrell wrote.
“Coming on the heels of a 6.5 percent requested annual operating increase, and an additional capital request of $2.5 million for completion of Staples High School, expending funds for office space is an added burden to the taxpayer at a time when a great deal has been asked already in support of education.”
1 p.m. - Westport Center for Senior Activities - One-year anniversary celebration
2 p.m. Wesport Police Headquarters - Meeting of 2005-2006 Compo Beach Playground Committee
Saturday, January 29, 2005
WestportNow Consumer Correspondent
On a very cold day this week a friend and business associate suggested we meet for lunch at the Saugatuck Rowing Club. Their salads are a bargain, about the same as carry-out at Abbondanza,Ӕ he assured me. Which is why we were both surprised when the bill came to over $35.
Where the tea is steep: Dunvilles. WN photo
Has this ever happened to you?
HereҒs the culprit we had asked to warm up with a cup of hot tea while looking over the menu. Only after lunch did the check reveal that we were charged $3 each for tea, which if you include tax and gratuity, comes to well over $7.
This got me wondering what Westport֒s other eateries charge for that innocuous cup of tea. Heres what I found. (Note: no information was available for restaurants missing from the list.)
Hot and on the house Җ heres where the tea is free:
Jasmine Restaurant, 60 Charles Street, 221-7777
Matsu Sushi, 33 Jesup Road, 341-9662
Sakura, 680 Post Road East, 222-0802
Ships Corner, 23 Jesup Road, 226-6233
Tengda Asian Bistro, 1330 Post Road East, 255-6115
The Staples Players presented a One Act festival Friday night at Westport’s Toquet Hall. The event, which repeats tonight at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., features 18 student-directed and student-produced 10-minute plays—a product of the school’s directing class. Shown are (l-r) Rachel Ritter, Sarah Morris, and Alec Galambos in “Time Flies” by David Ives and directed by senior Kathleen Hessman. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Kerry Long for WestportNow.com
Horses on Westport’s Bayberry Lane share some hay in the bitter cold. Today’s forecast called for slightly warmer temperatures with the high around 30. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Laux for WestportNow.com
Today’s WestportNow teardown is at 9 Half Mile Common off of Cross Highway. A demolition permit has been submitted for the 1954 home which sold Jan. 18 for $750,000. Because it is more than 50 years old, the application must be heard by the Historic District Commission, which has put it on its Feb. 8 agenda. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Friday, January 28, 2005
Property transfers as reported by the Westport Town Clerk’s office for the period Jan. 17-21, 2005:
Westport Auto Sales to C. Lawrence Tirreno, 1350 Post Road East, $1,400,000
C. Lawrence Tirreno to Westport Auto Sales, 19-25 Mills St., $1,400,000
David C. Larson to Shawn B. Liprie, 24 St. John Place, $781,000
Brendan M. and Jeanne L. Lesch to Craig A. and Allison C. Wiele, 114 Imperial Ave., $1,199,000
Members of the Board of Education and other town officials toured the new wing of Staples High School Thursday to get a better understanding of the windows in the building. A $2.5 million request for additional funding for the Staples project has been held up by the board pending clarification of why all windows in the building were not made to open and close as specified in the board’s educational specifications. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Allen Bomes for WestportNow.com
Mollie Donovan and Wally Woods show attendees at the Westport Historical Society annual meeting tonight a poster promoting the Society’s latest exhibit opening Feb. 6 “Hilla Rebay—A Baroness in Westport.” Hilla Rebay was the visionary spirit and co-founder of what is now the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, as well as a noted painter of non-objective art. A special section of the exhibit is devoted to her home and life in Westport, including her Franton Court estate on Morningside Drive South. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Thursday, January 27, 2005
The sun was out and skies were clear, but the mid-day temperature at Westport’s Compo Beach today was 16 with winds that made it feel like 2. Forecasters said tonight would be even colder with wind chill values as low as 14 below. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
It looks like someplace in the wilds of New England, but it actually is a property in Westport’s Greens Farms section after Wednesday’s snowfall. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lawrence Zlatkin for WestportNow.com
Westport properties destined for demolition are getting a new look a sign warning that the structure is unoccupied. The Westport Building Department is requiring posting of the signs in a prominent place so in case of fire, firefighters don’t rush into the building risking their lives to search for people. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
10 a.m. - Earthplace - Sasco Brook Abatement Committee
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Sherwood Mill Pond Committee
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Planning and Zoning Commission work session
A Westport man who is a former executive of the Internet ad firm L90 has been indicted by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles on charges he fraudulently booked revenues to boost the companys performance.
Keith Jon Kaplan, 36, was charged with three counts of conspiracy, securities fraud and falsifying books and records. He faces a maximum of 25 years in federal prison and is expected to be arraigned on Feb. 22, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Kaplan is former senior vice president and chief of sales for the Internet advertising firm. It had been based in Marina del Rey, Calif., before merging with a unit of Doubleclick, changing its name to MaxWorldwide in 2002, and moving its corporate headquarters to New York.
Kaplan is alleged to have conspired with two other former executives to inflate revenues to meet analystsҒ fourth quarter 2000 projections, the U.S. Attorneys office said.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Joanne Woodward, saying she is the same age 75 ֖ as the Westport Country Playhouse, today announced she is resigning her artistic director post at the historic facility at the end of the year.
Joanne Woodward : “I’m the same age as the Playhouse.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Woodward, who has served in the role since 2001 and who oversaw the Playhouse’s $30 million renovation and expansion, will become “Playhouse artistic director emeritus.”
“I’m the same age as the Playhouse. It got a renovation, but there’s not much they can do for me,” Woodward said.
The Playhouse said a search for a new artistic director will be led by the Playhouse board of directors, coordinated by Management Consultants for the Arts of Cos Cob.
John Izzo: in no hurry “to turn our parental responsibilities over to the police.” WestportNow. com photoWestport Selectman John Izzo today reiterated his opposition to an underage drinking ordinance.
He was the lone vote against a “sense of the meeting” resolution at a Board of Selectmen meeting tonight that endorsed the ordinance to be acted on by the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), the town’s legislative body, next week.
First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell and Selectman Carl Leaman voted in favor.
In a letter to WestportNow, Izzo said he agreed to a postponement of the non-binding “symbolic” resolution at the board’s Jan. 12 meeting to comply with Farrell’s request that he attend a forum on the subject Jan. 19 organized by the PTA Council.
To the Editor:
At the Jan. 12, 2005, Board of Selectmen meeting a “sense of the meeting resolution” on the underage drinking ordinance was discussed. That simply means the Board of Selectmen has no legal authority to vote on such a ordinance only the RTM can legally implement it.
Because of my apparent lack of support, [First Selectwoman] Diane [Farrell] asked that I attend a forum on underage drinking before taking this SYMBOLIC VOTE. I did so on Wednesday.
For the public record, I am holding to my original position and do not support a new underage drinking ordinance for some of the following reasons in no particular order of the importance:
1. The police did not request this ordinance.
2. The PTA maintains a neutral position and did not endorse this ordinance.
Basically, this ordinance would allow the police to enter private property and ticket underage drinkers. If that drinker is under 16 he (she) must pay a $90 fine and must go to juvenile court. If over 16, pay a $90 fine only. No court appearance.
Here is a possible fallout: Perhaps only one or two children are drinking—do the police ticket everyone? Most likely, yes. So certainly innocent kids will be ticketed. A record will exist and newspapers may print their names if 16 years of age or older.
I have not seen any police records that indicate any frequency of such parties. Ordinances on the books already allow any adult to be ticketed for serving minors. The key words here are PRIVATE PROPERTY and POLICE POWER
I could go on at some lengt, but I see no need. My position remains the same, “parents should parent and police should police.”
When my sons were growing up my wife, Joan, and I had a curfew for the boys. It, of course, grew later as they grew older, but we always made sure we were awake when they came home. I’ll bet the same tactics will work today.
In my view, we shouldn’t be in any hurry to turn our parental responsibilities over to the police.
Selectman John Izzo
New YMCA: nestled on northern part of property near Merritt Parkway. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed graphicThe Westport/Weston YMCA took another step today in its announced move from its crowded and costly 82-year-old downtown headquarters to its sprawling Mahackeno complex in northwest Westport long used as a summer camp.
At a morning news conference in the downtown building’s board room, officials announced selection of well-known New York-based architect Robert A. M. Stern Architects to design the Y’s new home on the 32-acre site.
Mindful of objections already voiced by neighbors, they said the new 95,000-square-foot facility would cost an estimated $35 million and sit on the northern part of the property near the Merritt Parkway, far away from residences on River and Rice’s Lane. It would be accessed by the Y-owned Sunny Lane.
The building would be of “New England character” and take advantage of the naturally hilly terrain to blend in with the surroundings, they said.
In addition to announcing selection of an architect today (see photo below), Westport/Weston YMCA officials disclosed some new details of their plan to move from their 1923-built downtown headquarters to a 32-acre site near the Merritt Parkway. They said construction would take two to three years and cost about $35 million, no decision has been made on town sewer or septic, they have established a Web site for the project, and, if necessary, they are prepared to wage a legal battle to see it to completion. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo