Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Two Staples High School music enthusiasts have found a way to provide instruments to students who otherwise couldn’t afford them.
Instrument roundup: Nick DiBerardino (l) and Austin Siegert launch Back In Tune by donating their own first instruments to Principal Ann deBernard of Waltersville School, an elementary performing arts school in Bridgeport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
The two sophomores, Nick DiBerardino and Austin Siegert, both 16, realized that many instruments are basically abandoned in closets throughout Westport and could be put to good use helping students in less wealthy areas of Fairfield County.
“Many parents buy their kids instruments in elementary or middle school that are later stuck in closets when their kids lose interest in music or no longer have the time for it,” DiBerardino said.
“There are also many instruments put aside when high school students upgrade to more expensive instruments to play in high school,” Siegert said.
As dark clouds converged over downtown Westport, two ducks and a swan headed for shelter in the reeds of the Saugatuck River near Parker Harding Plaza. The forecast was for continued unseasonably cool, overcast weather. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) James Lomuscio for WestportNow.com
Property transfers as reported by the Westport Town Clerk’s office for the period May 16-20, 2005:
Linda M. Johnson to Louis J. and Jacqueline Kolek, 7 Lone Pine Lane, $925,000
Rui Pereira and Grace Tl Viana to Robyn B. Crain, 11 Fillow St., $702,500
Jewish Community Endowment Foundation to Scott Smith, 73 Valley Road, $584,000
Suzanne Weinstein Trust to J Lyons and Katherine R. Brewer, 23 Gault Park Drive, $1,269,000
By James LomuscioWestportNow Special Correspondent
Forget politically correct platitudes. A lot of frank talk about perceptions of Islam, Judaism and Christianity—and biases—filled the auditorium at Westport’s Town Hall Tuesday night at the TEAM Westport-sponsored discussion “Who’s Your Neighbor?”
The TEAM discussion brought together (l-r): the Rev. John Branson of Christ and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Rabbi Robert Orkand of Temple Israel, Dr. Kareen Adeeb of the American Institute of Islamic and Arabic Studies and the Rev. Frank Hall of the Unitarian Universalist Church, who moderated. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) James Lomuscio for WestportNow.com
The event drew an ethnically diverse crowd of more than 30.
“I’ve always heard religion and politics are two topics to avoid,” said First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell, who welcomed the group.
But she added that the last time the town hosted such a discussion was around 9-11, “and I think it’s important to look at it four years later and to see where we are.”
The discussion moderated by the Rev. Frank Hall of Westport’s Unitarian Universalist Church included: Rabbi Robert Orkand of Temple Israel, the Rev. John H. Branson, rector of Christ and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, and Dr. Kareen Adeeb, an Imam who heads the Fairfield-based American Institute for Islamic and Arabic Studies.
By Jim CameronSpecial to WestportNow
If you believe in ferries, then clap your hands. Sage advice from Peter Pan, but as your applause subsides, let me debunk the popular myth that the solutions to our transportation woes can be found on Long Island Sound. Ferry boats face several challenges:
SPEED: In open water, fast ferries on the Sound could make 30 knots (35 mph). But if they must sail up inlets to the downtown areas of Bridgeport, Norwalk or Stamford that speed is cut to five knots, losing precious travel time.
PORTS: To keep to competitive speeds, docks would have to be located close to the Sound. That�s expensive real estate. And what about parking at those docks� and travel time on local roads to reach them? Again, more lost travel time.
FREQUENCY: Metro-North offers trains to midtown New York every 20 minutes in rush hour. No ferry service anywhere in the country can compete with that frequency of service. Will travelers really be willing to wait an hour or two for the next boat?
10:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - International Hospitality Committee
Noon - Town Hall Room 309/307 - Citizens brown bag lunch
4 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - School Building Committee Staples Subcommittee
5 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309/307 - Board of Selectmen
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Planning and Zoning Commission Public Hearing on Big Houses
7:45 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309/307 - RTM Public Works/Finance Committees
Among those honored tonight at the Sportsmen of Westport’s 44th Dinner of Champions in Norwalk were four players who formed the backfield of the 1964 Staples football team, among the best of all-time. Fomer Coach Paul Lane (l) led tributes to (l-r) John Bolger, Bill During, William Leavitt, and Jack Forehand. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
The Sportsmen of Westport tonight honored John M. Bieling, Jr., better known as “Junior,” with the William A. Krause Humanitarian Award, named for the group’s late president. Presenting him with the award at a banquet at Norwalk’s Continental Manor were state Sen. Robert Duff (l) and his wife Tracy, Krause’s daughter. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Friends and colleagues paid tribute tonight to two longtime Town of Westport employees who are retiring this year, Kathy Barnard (l) director of Planning and Zoning, and Judy Nelson (2nd l), director of the Westport Weston Health District. Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell and Weston First Selectman Woody Bliss read proclaimations honoring the pair at the event at the Inn at Longshore. Among their gifts—large portraits and one word that Jim Ezzes, chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals, said characterized their tenures: “DENIED.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Kathy Barnard, retiring Westport Planning and Zoning director (l), shares a laugh tonight with Judy Nelson, retired director of the Westport Weston Health District at a reception in their honor at the Inn at Longshore. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Diana Lindsay: finalist candidate withdraws.WN photoOne day after meeting with Westport teachers, parents, and community members, Diana Lindsay, the finalist candidate for Staples High School principal, abruptly withdrew her candidacy for the position, Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said today.
Lindsay, principal at Ridgefield High School, called him this afternoon to inform him of her decision, Landon said. He did not give a reason for her change of mind but said it followed an early morning meeting with Ridgefield school officials.
“It’s strange because she said on Monday that Ridgefield wasn’t right for her, then today she said Westport wasn’t right for her,” Landon said.
In an e-mail distributed to Ridgefield parents, Ridgefield Schools Superintendent Kenneth R. Freeston said: “Dr. Lindsay announced today that she is staying in Ridgefield and has declined the overtures of the Westport Public Schools to recruit her from Ridgefield to Westport.”
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Norwalk Mayor Alex Knopp touted his “smart government” initiatives today in an address to the Westport Rotary Club weekly luncheon at the Inn at Longshore. Knopp, who grew up in Westport and who recently hired Westport Fire Chief Denis McCarthy to run Norwalk’s department, said some of the initiatives could be adopted by Westport. He also said there are many areas where Norwalk and Westport can increase their cooperation that will result in improved, more cost-effective services for both communities. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Ronald Grecula 1955 Staples yearbook photoA former Westporter and 1955 Staples High School graduate who said he had “no loyalty to America whatsoever” is being held by federal authorities in Texas for allegedly trying to build a huge bomb for Al Qaeda in exchange for killing his estranged wife, according to authorities.
Ronald Grecula, 68, was being held without bail after making claims he could build a bomb that “could be used by any organization to take down buildings anywhere in the world,” U.S. Attorney Michael Shelby told reporters in Houston.
Grecula was arrested on Friday after FBI agents lured him to Houston for a supposed meeting with a potential bomb buyer that was presented to him as Al Qaeda, the group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.
“Of course, I don’t like how y’all are killing Americans, but America has asked for it. They asked for it. So they want a war, they got it,” Grecula said, according a transcript of the meeting released by authorities.
Monday’s partly cloudy skies and relatively cool temperatures made it seem more like early spring than the middle of May. This was the scene at Westport’s Burying Hill Beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Laux for WestportNow.com photo
7 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - TEAM Westport Committee - Conversation on Tolerance
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Architectural Review Board
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Board of Education
Monday, May 23, 2005
Atttorney General Richard Blumenthal addresses a fund-raiser for the Westport Country Playhouse tonight at Derma Clinic in Playhouse Square, adjoining the Playhouse property. With him are (l-r) Liz Morten, Playhouse chair, Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell, Joanne Woodward, Playhouse artistic director, and Patricia O’Regan Brown, Derma Clinic owner. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Diana Lindsay: finalist candidate. WN photoThe principal of Ridgefield High School, Diana Lindsay, met with community members today as the single finalist for principal of Staples High School.
Lindsay, a Massachusetts native who had spent most of her teaching and administrative career in Ohio and Illinois, met with parents, teachers, and community members in meetings that began this morning and continued this evening.
A search committee identified her as the finalist candidate to replace interim Principal John Dodig who has held the post for a year. Dodig has filled in for John Brady, the Staples principal who left for a superintendent’s job in another Connecticut district
“This candidate has the support and endorsement of the Staples High School Principal Selection Committee, a group consisting of teachers, administrators, parents, students, and the Superintendent of Schools,” Landon wrote in a letter to parents last week.
Catherine MyGodney: former RTM member. WN photoCatherine “Kay” MyGodney, a lifelong resident of Westport and former member of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), died Sunday at Norwalk Hospital. She was 81.
MyGodney, who served on the RTM from 1997 to 2003, was a longtime member and current chaplain for the Ladies Auxiliary of the Joseph J. Clinton VFW Post #399. She was also a regular attendee at the weekly Town Hall brown bag lunch.
Born Nov. 8, 1923, she was the daughter of the late John and Anastasia Guida MyGodney.
Survivors include one sister, Mary Alice Bella of Stamford., one brother, Stephen MyGodney of Fairfield, two nieces and two nephews. She was also predeceased by one sister, Anna Preg in 1998.
Doing the honors at today’s Westport Country Playhouse ribbon-cutting ceremony were (l-r) Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan, Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell, board chair Elisabeth Morten, Artistic Director Joanne Woodward, and president John Vaccaro. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
With the snip of shears before a crowd of 200, the newly remodeled Westport Country Playhouse was officially back in business today in time to launch its 75th season.
Memories: Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell (r) chats with Ann Sheffer (c), Playhouse board member, and David James McKenzie, son of the late James B. McKenzie, longtime head of the Westport Country Playhouse, at today’s ribbon-cutting. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
“The box office is now open,” quipped First Selectwoman Diane Farrell, who took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony with Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan, Liz Morten, past president of the Playhouse, current president John Vaccaro and Joanne Woodward, artistic director.
Dark rain clouds threatened the morning ceremony, but the weather held as the dignitaries snipped a large yellow ribbon across the main entry stairway with the black shears which they later autographed. Workmen, meanwhile, hurried completion of the Playhouse gardens and patio nearby.
The $18.7 million, 13-month long renovation expanded the drafty, old summer theater from a 10,000-square-foot barn to 40,000-square-foot year-round playhouse.
Rain clouds threatened but the sunny weather held for today’s official ribbon-cutting ceremony at the updated Westport Country Playhouse. The landmark facility begins its 75th season next month after a 13-month renovation and expansion program that cost more than $18.7 million. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
There were smiles and hugs following the official ribbon-cutting ceremony today at the Westport Country Playhouse. Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell (l) watches as Playhouse former president Elisabeth Morten gets a hug from Artistic Director Joanne Woodward. Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan (2nd l) and president John Vaccaro look on. WestportNow.com photo
It was a disappointing season for the Staples varsity baseball team, but it ended Friday on a high note as the Wreckers trounced Darien 9-4 at Darien. Tri-captains (l-r) Dan Rueven, Art Phillips, and Kevin McCarthy led the team this year. The final game saw Phillips going 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI, and Reuven with two doubles and two RBI. Also contributing to the win was D.J. Stefkovich with a double, triple, and two RBI. The Wreckers finished 7-13 overall and 6-12 in FCIAC play. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Pam Moss for WestportNow.com
9:30 a.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - ribbon-cutting ceremony
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - RTM Environmental Committee
7 p.m. - Town Hll Auditorium - RTM Public Protection Committee
Sunday, May 22, 2005
The Westport Soccer Association and Staples High School boys’ soccer program are teaming up for the second annual tailgate and game at Giants Stadium.
The event is set for Saturday, June 18, prior to the MetroStars-Columbus Crew game. An added attraction this year is the chance to see Crew star Kyle Martino, a Westport native and former Staples player.
All WSA and Staples players, parents, friends and soccer fans are invited, according to an announcement.
The fun begins at 5 p.m., with a tailgate in the Meadowlands parking lot. Food and drinks are provided. WSA players will get a chance to meet members of the Staples boys’ soccer teams.
Gina McCarthy, newly-appointed commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, vowed today to fight for increased state spending to maintain Connecticut’s parks. Speaking at the annual meeting of The Friends of Sherwood Island at Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park, McCarthy said parks are “just as important as big ticket items we deal with every day.” She also urged that children engage in more unstructured play activities, which she called her “No Child Left Inside Campaign.” McCarthy added, “I can climb a tree better than my kids can.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Today’s annual meeting of The Friends of Sherwood Island at Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park attracted a number of luminaries, including (l-r) Gina McCarthy, newly-appointed commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection; state Rep. Joe Mioli; state Sen. Judith Freedman; Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell, and Judy Nelson, retired director of the Westport Westport Health District. McCarthy and Nelson addressed the meeting. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
The Friends of Sherwood Island today honored July Nelson (r), who recently retired after 20 years as director of the Westport Weston Health District. Hope Hageman, Friends past president and current membership chair, presented Nelson with some gifts at the annual meeting at the Sherwood Island Pavilion. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo