Wednesday, January 26, 2005
The Westport/Weston YMCA today announced it has selected New York-based architect Robert A.M. Stern Associates to design its new $35 million facility on its 32-acre Camp Mahackeno site. Dick Foot (l), the Y’s executive director and CEO, and Ted Davis, head of the project steering committee, announced details of the plan at a news conference. They promised an environmentally-sound building that would nestle on the north side of the property near the Merritt Parkway, be of New England character, and take advantage of the naturally hilly terrain to blend in with the surroundings and have minimal impact on the land. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Traffic easily moves through Westport’s center today after an overnight snow left several inches in the area and caused cancellation of classes at Westport schools. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Metro-North said today that its New Haven Line trains were subject to 15-minute delays because of two unrelated problems.
At Larchmont station, it said there was a wire down on a track that is currently out of service. The wire was also partially blocking an in-service track next to it, an announcement said.
Compounding this problem, there was a train that had to remain at New Rochelle station because a customer on that train required medical assistance, the railroad said.
Westport schools are closed today because of the weather, the supreintendent’s office announced.
The Westport Center for Senior Activities announced it is closed today—all activities including the noon congregate luncheon program are off.
Town Hall announced that the weeky citizens brown bag lunch scheduled for noon today was also canceled.
Westport’s Compo Beach playground turns 17 next year and a group of residents wants to mark the occasion with a makeover and hopefully not rekindle the kind of controversy its construction sparked almost a generation ago.
Compo playground: “the wood has outlived its useful life.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Laux for WestportNow.com
“The wood has outlived its useful life,” said Joanne Heller, a Westport mother who sent an e-mail to fellow parents this week asking for volunteers to attend a meeting Sunday at 2 p.m. at Westport Police Headquarters to discuss renovating the playground.
The playground was built by hand by Westporters with private funding amid much controversy in the spring of 1989.
Controversy in Westport is a way of life, of course, but this one was especially notable for its pitting neighbor against neighbor. After four lawsuits and a series of polls, petitions, and t-shirt wars that attracted national attention, the project went ahead.
Two committees of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) met Tuesday night to discuss whether to recommend that the full RTM pass a controversial underage drinking ordinance next week. One endorsed it overwhelmingly; the other did not on a tie vote.
The Health and Human Services Committee voted 10-1-1 (McHenry against, Rome abstaining) to recommend RTM passage of the measure at its Feb. 1 meeting. The Public Protection Committee split on the issue 3-3 (Mioli, Mathias, and Lowenstein in favor; Flynn, Krause, and Starr opposed. See committee list here.)
The committees voted after meeting for several hours and hearing testimony from members of the public, many of them members of the Westport Youth Commission, which drafted the bill. The measure would allow police to ticket underage drinkers on private property, something they cannot do under current law.
(Editor’s Note: The editor of WestportNow.com is also moderator of the RTM.)
10:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - International Hospitality Committee
Noon - Town Hall Room 309/307 - Citizens brown bag lunch - CANCELED
5:30 p.m. - Turner Trailers - School Building Committee Staples Subcommittee
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309/307 - Board of Selectmen
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Westport’s Paul Newman, who turns 80 Wednesday, said today he is ready to drive in the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway next month.
“You bet,” the Academy Award-winning actor said during a conference with reporters.
Just more than two weeks ago, Newman escaped injury when the car he was driving caught fire. He will return to the cockpit of the same car on the same track for the race on Feb. 5-6.
“The car should be rebuilt and ready to test hopefully at another track in Florida before we actually start testing at Daytona,” he said.
A neighbor stopped by to offer a snack to the animals at the Kowalsky farm in Greens Farms today. Temperatures got to just about freezing in the afternoon almost balmy ֖ but forecasters said more snow was on the way overnight with 2 to 4 inches expected by the time it is over. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ron Malone for WestportNow.com
Rep. Christopher Shays will travel to Iraq again to observe the Iraqi elections, his office announced today. He also will visit Switzerland where he will participate in the World Economic Forum.
The 4th District congressman, who represents Westport and much of Fairfield County, is chair of the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations. He will make the trip as part of his panel’s oversight work of key military, diplomatic and humanitarian efforts.
Embarking on his seventh trip to Iraq, Shays will observe the first election in Iraq since Saddam Hussein’s regime fell. He will also meet with Ambassador John Negroponte, Prime Minister Allawi, and other Iraqi government officials, an announcement said.
Shays is scheduled to appear on CNN’s “Larry King Live” to discuss Iraqi elections Sunday between 9 and 10 p.m.
The weekend snowstorm was mostly a memory Monday, but many people were still shoveling out. This was the scene near the Westport Library as the temperature didn’t even make it out of the teens. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com
The Board of Education Monday night put off recommending an additional $2.5 million requested by the School Building Committee for the $74 million renovation and expansion of Staples High School.
The board acted after receiving a memo from project director Susan Chipouras saying it would cost $900,000 to make 746 windows throughout the school able to open and close as was specified in the original educational specifications for the project.
The board was told that the Staples Subcommittee had decided to eliminate operable windows as part of its “value engineering” that reduced the cost of the project by $500,000.
Earlier, committee officials had told the board that making all windows operable was not necessary because of the modern air-handling technology installed in the school.
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Architectural Review Committee
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Zoning Board of Appeals
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - RTM Public Protection and Health and Human Services Committees
John Dodig: Health order will “completely change how we do business at Staples High School.” WestportNow.com photoWith limited exceptions, the days of students snacking on foods in hallways and teachers celebrating special days in the classroom by bringing in food are over at Westport’s Staples High School.
In an announcement to students and an e-mail message to parents today, Staples principal John Dodig outlined a strict “no-food-outside-of-the-cafeteria” policy. He said it would “completely change how we do business at Staples High School.”
Dodig said the policy was in response to an order from the Westport/Weston Health Department aimed at ridding the school of vermin.
“Recently, Staples High School was issued an order from Judy Nelson, Health Director of the Westport/Weston Health Department, requiring us to cease consuming food in unauthorized areas of the building,” he told parents in the e-mail.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Westport’s Save the Children said today it is expanding its relief efforts in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India almost a month after an earthquake and tsunami killed tens of thousands of children and left hundreds of thousands homeless.
“Save the Children has stepped up its efforts in providing life-saving food, clean water, shelter and medicine to thousands of children and families in need while also moving rapidly to reunify separated children with relatives,” the charity said in a statement.
It said it has helped distribute almost 500 tons of food and other health and relief materials to tens of thousands of tsunami survivors.
“In many Asian locations, where Save the Children has operated for decades, the agency has increased staff and resources dramatically,” the statement said.
The latest Metro-North customer satisfaction survey shows a precipitous decline in commuter ratings for train service in Connecticut, it was announced today.
Only 83 percent of those asked said they were satisfied with the trains in Connecticut (a 4 percent decline) compared to a 90 percent approval rating given by riders of the Westchester lines.
It is clear that the aging equipment operated in this state is taking its toll on riders, especially in light of recent fare hikes,Ӕ said Rodney Chabot, chairman of the Stamford-based Connecticut Metro-North Rail Commuter Council.
Until we get new rail cars, as they have on the Harlem and Hudson lines, customers wonӒt be happy.”
9:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Planning & Zoning - Fee in Lieu of Open Space Committee
7:30 p.m. - Staples High School, Room 516 - Board of Education anticipated executive session
8 p.m. - Staples High School Library - Board of Education
The Westport Public LIbrary will hold its sixth annual crossword puzzle contest Saturday, Feb. 5 at 1 p.m. at the library.
Contestants will test their skills and have fun working on unpublished puzzles provided by Will Shortz, puzzle editor of The New York Times, who will be on hand to talk puzzles and answer questions.
Cedar Road resident (and WestportNow contributing photographer) Ron Malone doesn’t fool around with itty-bitty snow throwers. He used a small front-loader to move the white stuff from his driveway today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Claudia Loup for WestportNow.com
The Westport Police Benevolent Association (PBA) is honoring retired Chief William Chiarenzelli and Detective Arnold DeCarolis at a dinner Feb. 10.
The event will be held at the Trumbull Marriott and is open to members of the public who wish to honor the retired officers.
Chiarenzelli retired at the end of 2003 after 38 years with the Westport Police Department, 14 as chief. DeCarolis completed 28 years before retiring last year, 22 of which were as a detective in the Youth Bureau.
Tickets for event are $50 and reservations must be made no later than Feb. 4. Call (203)341-6008, or send checks payable to the Westport PBA, c/o George Taylor, president, 50 Jesup Road, Westport, CT 06880
The president and CEO of Westport-based Save the Children said today that while the outpouring of support from the U.S. public and people around the world has been unprecedented in its generosity, the relief and recovery effort will take time and donations are still needed.
The text of Charles MacCormack’s statement:
“At Save the Children, we are marshaling our global resources to carry out a major regional response focused on the three worst-affected countries: Indonesia , Sri Lanka and India with smaller scale responses in other affected countries.
“Save the Children has operated in each of these countries for decades and has significant capacity to provide short- and long-term humanitarian assistance. Our special emphasis is to bring immediate and lasting, positive change to children affected by this epic disaster.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Come rain, shine or snow these hearty athletes play football every Sunday at 8 a.m. on Westport’s Compo Beach—and today was no exception. But they did delay the game two hours because of the snowstorm to let the out-of-towners get there. The Compo Beach Football League has been playing between November and March at Compo since 1997. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Metro-North said it will run a normal outbound from Grand Central Terminal Sunday schedule beginning at 4 p.m. today and a regular inbound to New York schedule beginning at 6 p.m.
Earlier, the railroad said it was running a special blizzard schedule on its New Haven Line with trains running every two hours and making all stops.
Outbound trains are departing New York’s Grand Central Terminal at 6:37 a,m, 8:37 a.m., 10:37 a.m. (continuing every two hours); and arrive at Stamford at 7:53 a.m., 9:53 a.m., 11:53 a.m., (continuing every two hours); and arrive at New Haven at 9:07 a.m., 11:07 a.m., 1:07 p.m. (continuing every two hours).
Inbound trains are departing New Haven at 5 a.m., and arrive at Stamford at 6:11 a.m., and Grand Central Terminal at 7:28 a.m.; the second train departs New Haven at 6:55 a.m., and arrives at Stamford at 8:08 a.m. and Grand Central Terminal at 9:25 a.m.
Trains then depart New Haven at 8:57 a.m., 10:57 a.m., 12:57 p.m. (continuing every two hours); arrive at Stamford 10:10 a.m., (and 10 minutes after the hour every two hours); and arrive at Grand Central Terminal at 11:27 a.m. (27 minutes after the hour every two hours).
The overnight snowfall left about 9 inches around Westport. This was the early morning view enjoyed by one Canal Road resident in the Saugatuck Shores area. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Doreen Birdsell for WestportNow.com