Wednesday, May 04, 2005
By Emily LauxWestportNow Contributing Editor
A Columbia University professor Tuesday night completed her landmark six-year study of Westport adolescents. Among her findings � �family closeness� and family parenting styles are two of the most significant predictors of risky behavior in adolescents who live in affluent communities.
Suniya Luthar: Westport study completed after six years. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Laux for WestportNow.com
Addressing parents at Westport’s Toquet Hall, Dr. Suniya S. Luthar, professor of psychology and education, said: �Nothing is more humbling than being the parent of a teenager.�
Luthar’s study has tracked the behavior of 300 students in this year�s Staples High School graduating class since the sixth grade. She noted that the study started with a 97 percent participation rate six years ago, and has concluded with an 87 percent participation rate this year.
Her opening comments were a reference to two of the study�s most significant findings: that �family closeness� and family parenting styles are two of the most significant predictors of risky behavior in adolescents who live in affluent communities.
Property transfers as reported by the Westport Town Clerk’s office for the period April 25-29, 2005:
Barbara S. Pinto to Dustin Ranciato, 6 West End Ave., $518,000
Peter A. and Caren L. Lorraine to Sandra and Rigoberto Cordero, 71 Clinton Ave., $750,000
John T. and Carter Crawford Conley to Carlos and Vilma Magan, 361 Main St.. $565,000
Boris Kostelanetz to James Howes and Justin Paul, 21 Woods Grove Road, $700,000
7:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309/307 - TEAM Westport Committee
10:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - International Hospitality Committee
4 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Beautification Committee
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Flood and Erosion Control Board
The Westport Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight rejected two attempts to cut the $79.5 million education budget and then passed a combined education-town budget of $143.5 million.
The proposals, one to reduce the 2005-06 education budget by $300,000 and then $100,000, failed by votes of 27-7 and 28-5 (1 abstention).
Richard Lowenstein, District 5, made both motions. He said the reductions were symbolic but could be easily absorbed by the district without affecting educational quality.
The Board of Finance had originally reduced the budget by $600,000 but restored $300,000 at its meeting last month.
(Editor’s note: the Moderator of the RTM is also editor/publisher of WestportNow.com.)
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
A man shot and killed himself today as Westport Police sought to serve a search and seizure warrant, a police spokesman said.
Crime scene: Police tape blocks off 16 Red Coat Road. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
The man, later identified by State Police as Aran Bruce Cole, 52, mortally wounded himself with a single shot to the head at an apartment at 16 Red Coat Road, said police spokesman Jerry Shannon. He was declared dead on arrival at Norwalk Hospital.
A warrant was obtained to search the apartment rented by Cole, who was facing charges in Norwalk of threatening his former girlfriend. Police later said they were searching for a gun they believed he had.
Shannon said detectives, backed up by members of the department’s tactical team, knocked on the door of the apartment at about 10:15 a.m. to serve a search and seizure warrant.
Police tape blocks off the driveway to 16 Red Coat Road in Westport today where detectives were investigating a fatal shooting incident. Police spokesman Jerry Shannon said police tried to serve a search and seizure warrant at the home, then heard a gunshot and found a man with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head inside. He said no gunfire was exchanged with police and the man was taken to Norwalk Hospital by Westport EMS where he was pronounced dead. Police did not say why they initially went to the house. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Following a week of wet weather and April vacation, Westport soccer, lacrosse and baseball players finally got back on the fields Sunday for games. At Coleytown Middle School field, Luke Clerkin, a midfielder for Westport�s Hurricane League team, astonished his opponent, Harry Nicklin of the Penguins, with his Kung Fu offensive move. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Laux for WestportNow.com
10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Administrative Review Committee
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Shellfish Commission
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Representative Town Meeting annual budget session, second of two nights; live coverage on cable channel 79
The Westport Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight approved $50 million in expenditures for the town’s 2005-06 budget. The figure does not include $93 million in education costs to be considered by the body at its Tuesday meeting.
The RTM made no changes in the budget as recommended by First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell and the Board of Finance. The amount represents an approximate 3.9 percent increase over the current year.
(Editor’s note: The Moderator of the RTM is editor/publisher of WestportNow.com.)
Monday, May 02, 2005
Westport’s Save the Children said today that a lack of access to schooling for 58 million girls in developing countries has a major impact on public health, overpopulation and economic growth.
About 103 million children of primary school age are not in school, but the importance of eliminating barriers to girls to attend school cannot be overstated, said the charity in its report, “State of the World’s Mothers 2005.”
The group releases its report annually in time for Mother’s Day, which is Sunday.
“Girls’ education is the key to changing the course of a nation,” said Charles MacCormack, president and chief executive of Save the Children.
Opponents of relocating the Westport-Weston YMCA to Camp Mahackeno have launched a sign campaign that categorizes the proposed move as “sprawl,” and asks that the Y remain “central and accessible.” This sign went up this morning on the corner of Wilton Road and River Lane near the camp. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
By James LomuscioWestportNow Special Correspondent
Usually it’s Westport’s Board of Finance that trims proposed school budgets, not the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). In fact, historically the RTM has restored some of the cuts to Board of Education budgets when they are finalized.
But Tuesday night at 7:30, Richard A. Lowenstein plans to ask the RTM to break with tradition and start wielding its own ax. The District 5 representative wants to trim $300,000 from the school board’s proposed $79.5 million 2005-2006 budget. It’s the same $300,000 that the Board of Finance restored April 13 after rethinking its $600,000 cut in March.
Educators say Lowenstein’s request will severely hurt programs, education and ultimately the town’s quality of life. Lowenstein says his proposed cut is minimal and that the RTM has to lake the lead somewhere in containing ever-escalating spending that puts a strain on taxpayers.
“This is going to be a donnybrook,” said Lowenstein, noting that Schools Superintendent Elliot Landon has been galvanizing teacher and parent opposition. “What I’m going to say is not going to be that long, but the responses to it will be. I just hope the reaction is civilized.”
After nearly a week of wet, chilly weather, Sunday was finally dry enough for a rider and her horse to practice jumps at Westport�s Fairfield County Hunt Club. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Laux for WestportNow.com
7:15 p.m. - Bedford Middle School, Room 130 - Board of Education anticipated executive session
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Golf Advisory Committee
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Representative Town Meeting annual budget session, first of two nights; live coverage on cable channel 79
8 p.m. - Bedford Middle School Cafeteria - Board of Education
The Westport Public Library today launched the first of four lectures to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the publication of “Don Quixote.” The series explores the influence of Cervantes’ major work and the sensibilities of the Spanish people in that era. Prof. Angeles N. Dam, a native of Spain with a Ph.D in literature from the Universidad de Granada, spoke to about 100 people in the McManus Room about Cervantes’ desires, aspirations and deep appreciation for the Spanish culture that inspired the book. Another Cervantes lecture, “Don Quixote in Ballet” by Felice Lesser, will be held Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., also in the McManus Room. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Sunday, May 01, 2005
Spiderman was among those on hand today helping support the March of Dimes WalkAmerica fund-raising event at Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park. Contributed photo
John Cunningham, 39, won Westport’s annual Minute Man race at Compo Beach today with an unofficial time of 16:30. Pascale Butcher of Southport (not shown), 43, won in the female division with an unofficial time of 20:01. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Stephen M. Rubin for WestportNow.com
In one of the preliminary races at today’s 27th annual Minute Man Race, 5-to-12 years olds ran the One Mile Scamper at Compo Beach despite the pouring rain. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Today�s New York Time�s Connecticut section features a front page story about one-time Westport resident Rod Serling, creator of the television series �Twilight Zone,� and one of the show�s most famous episodes, �A Stop at Willoughby.�
Rod Serling: Westport episode is among most popular. twilightzone.org photo
Serling lived in Westport in the late 1950s, and the episode, about an unhappy advertising executive commuting between Manhattan and Westport, is thought to have been inspired by his friends and neighbors who commuted on the New Haven line. �A Stop at Willoughby� marks its 45th anniversary this Friday.
Referring to Serling�s widow, Carol, the newspaper’s Commuter�s Journal column said:
�She has fond memories of Westport, where the Serling family lived near the shore before moving inland to Long Lots Road. Eventually, the family relocated to the West Coast.
Atka, an Arctic wolf accompanied by a Wolf Conservation Center worker, parades before Westporters Carl and Andrea Sherman during Saturday’s Earth Day Festival at Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Julia Mally for WestportNow.com
Westport Youth Film Festival Organizers David Burstein, Chris Casey, and Suzanne Spignesi joined Tiffany’s Westport store manager William McGuinness to put the 2005 Audience Choice Award on display. The award was donated to the festival by Tiffany & Co. and will be bestowed at the 2005 Festival on May 14. The film with the highest number of audience votes will be awarded the hand-engraved crystal at an awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m. in the Fairfield Community Theater. The second annual Westport Youth Film Festival will be held at the theater from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information and to buy tickets visit the festival Web site or call (203) 454-2222. Contributed photo
When hundreds of runners line up for today’s 27th annual Minute Man Race at Compo Beach sponsored by the Westport Young Woman’s League (WYWL) they will cover a 5-kilometer course for many reasons.
More and more people are lacing up their shoes not to win medals but just for the fun of it. The idea of exercising while raising money for a worthy cause appeals to both athletes and amateurs alike.
Entrants in the Minute Man Race include a mix of youthful talent and competitors in the older ranks. Westport resident Miggs Burroughs has run the race for the past 22 years. Burroughs also serves as a judge for the race’s art contest.
“Running a well organized race like the Minute Man year after year not only serves as an annual benchmark in my quest to keep a few steps ahead of the grim reaper, but it is one of the first opportunities of the year to shake off the chill of winter and reconvene with fellow runners and friends who I haven’t seen all year,” said Burroughs.
Two off-duty Westport firefighters are being credited with saving the life of a young man in Hamden.
Westport firefighters Jeff Gootman and Brian Meadows were traveling together on Wilbur Cross Parkway Friday when the driver ahead of them lost control of his vehicle, WTNH-TV reported.
Gootman and Meadows pulled the 19-year-old driver from the wreckage just before the car burst into flames.
The victim was treated at Yale-New Haven hospital but officials say his injuries would have been much worse, or even fatal, without the firefighters quick actions.
A wedding outside Paris Saturday was the setting for a chance encounter between Westport resident Jessica Bram (l) and former Westport residents � now living in Ireland � Mario and Frances Vecchi. The Vecchis lived in Westport from 1995 to 1998 and said they have fond memories of the town and miss the friends they made here. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
8:45 a.m. - Compo Beach - The Westport Young Woman’s League presents the 27th Annual Minute Man Race
10 a.m. - Sherwood Island State Park - March of Dimes WalkAmerica