Saturday, December 31, 2005
Westport’s Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge was decked out in flags of U.N. members today in honor of Westport Weston First Night. A brief morning snow squall did not deter a weekly Saturday morning demonstration by residents seeking the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Despite a brief snow squall, demonstrators favoring U.S. withdrawl from Iraq held their weekly Saturday morning event today in Westport’s center. The bridge vigil has been held every week since June. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Venue #1 Westport Town Hall
“TRASHIN’ FASHION” FASHION SHOW
“Trashin’ Fashion” Fashion Show aims to provide its participants with the chance to design and create costumes out of recycled, inorganic and organic materials. It’s an opportunity to make something wonderful from those things that are left over, and usually thrown away. Creatively conceived and executed apparel will be unleashed on the exclusive Westport fashion scene. Directed by Daniel Lanzilotta and Irina Simeonova of Gibbs College http://www.gibbsnorwalk.edu assisted by Staples student Laura Berk.
Button is Your Ticket:2006 First Night buttons are required for entry to all activities. They are on sale at the venues for $15. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Graphic by Miggs Burroughs
THE KEY INGREDIENTS
Auditorium, 7-7:45, p.m. 8-8:45 p.m.
Back by overwhelming popular demand, “The Key Ingredients” consist of A.J. Gundel, Scarlett Lee Moore, Suzanne Sheridan, and EdWard Thompson. If these names sound familiar, then you are obviously a music fan who lives in Fairfield County. Individually these musicians have made solid solo careers for themselves but have come together to give their unique sound to a repertoire that includes folk, gospel, and blues music. Their powerful blending of three-part harmonies will have you yelling for more.
THE LEGENDS OF VAUDEVILLE
Auditorium, 9:15-10 p.m., 10:15-11 p.m.
A rollicking romp of a show that brings back your favorite comedy stars from the golden age of classic Vaudeville – Jimmy Durante, Al Jolson, Abbott and Costello, The Marx Brothers. http://www.legendsofvaudeville.com
A map shows the various venues for tonight’s Westport Westport First Night activities. Click here for the PDF version. Program details are available at the Westport Weston First Night Web site at http://www.firstnightww.com (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Graphic by Lighthouse Maps
3 p.m. - Various locations - Westport Weston First Night
Friday, December 30, 2005
The husband-and-wife piano duo of Cathy Waldman and Paul Levi—known as Four-Hand Band—will perform in the Westport Library’s McManus Room on Jan. 8 at 2 p.m.
The Westport duo will open their performance with Mozart’s 40th Symphony in an arrangement almost never heard in concert.
They will also perform their own original arrangements of Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Melodies and tango-inspired music by Astor Piazzolla.
Waldman has performed as a chamber musician and soloist in her own compositions throughout the U.S., Europe, Israel, and South Africa.
Fog covered Westport’s Compo Beach Thursday morning and much of the area along with unsually warm temperatures in the 40s. Colder temperatures were forecast for today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Thursday, December 29, 2005
State health department officials said today that four confirmed cases of influenza have been reported in Connecticut – two in Fairfield County.
State Public Health Commissioner J. Robert Galvin said the confirmation by the state Public Health Laboratory means that that the influenza season has officially begun in Connecticut.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Galvin urged Connecticut residents to talk to their doctor about getting a flu shot.
“If you have been waiting to get a flu shot, please don’t wait any longer — flu is here and there is still vaccine available in the state,” Rell said in a statement.
Tessa Lee, 7, had her face painted with a butterfly at a First Night preview at Balducci’s this afternoon. Children could have their faces painted, receive balloon scupltures and sing karoke while parents could purchase their buttons for Saturday’s New Year’s Eve event. First Night buttons can be bought for $15 Saturday night, and the event starts at 3 p.m. at various downtown venues. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jennifer Connic for WestportNow.com
Westport-Weston First Night Executive Director Rozanne Gates got into the spirit of the event at Balducci’s this afternoon while she sold buttons for Saturday’s First Night. Balducci’s hosted a preview of Saturday’s event. Buttons are $15 each and can be bought Saturday. First Night starts at 3 p.m. at various downtown venues. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jennifer Connic for WestportNow.com
Dar Williams: accomplished singer and songwriter. Contributed photoDar Williams, a singing and songwriting force on the New England folk scene, will be on stage at the Westport Country Playhouse on Jan. 7.
The concert starts at 8 p.m. and is part of the “Arts in the House” series co-presented by the Westport Country Playhouse and the Westport Arts Center.
Opening act is Freedy Johnston, a folk/rock singer-songwriter.
Dar Williams is an idiosyncratic songwriter who writes folk songs from a unique, often insightful perspective. Her songwriting and performing style have been compared to Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez.
The Westport Police Department will have extra patrols on the road this weekend to protect against those who may be driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Sgt. Jerry Shannon, police public information officer, said there will be extra patrols spot checking for drunken drivers on Friday and Saturday between 3 p.m. and 2 a.m.
No checkpoints, however, are planned for the weekend, he said.
“It’s usually pretty quiet on New Year’s Eve,” he said. “The bars are not as crowded any more.”
Westport firefighters Wednesday rescued a worker who had fallen from a ladder at a home under construction at 10 Blue Ribbon Drive. With no internal access to the second floor where the worker fell, firefighters used a rescue basket and fire ladder to lower the injured man to the ground. The worker, who was not identified, was conscioius but in pain after the fall. He was transported to Nortwalk Hospital by Westport EMS. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Nate Gibbons/Westport Fire Department photo
Westport firefighters gently lower an injured construction worker from the second floor of a home at 10 Blue Ribbon Drive where he fell off a ladder Wednesday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Nate Gibbons/Westport Fire Department photo
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
A 22.4 percent increase in Connecticut Light and Power rates approved today will cause about a $80,000 shortfall in Westport’s municipal budget, according to the town’s finance director.
The state Department of Utility of Control approved the increase today, and it will take full effect in April. Rate-payers will see an 17.5 percent increase on Jan. 1, and rates will increase 4.9 percent more in April.
Bills for the average residential customer using 700 kilowatt hours per month will climb $23.40 a month once the entire increase takes effect.
The state agency is forcing the utility company to use about $40 million already collected from a special charge to off-set the increase for the first three months.
Westport residents have already received one notice with a new property assessment, but second notices will be sent to some residents.
Assessor William Gaffney said 600 informal hearings have already been held with Vision Appraisal officials. The hearings started on Dec. 19.
Today is the deadline for residents to file for an informal hearing with the consulting group, which will be held into January. The phone number to set up a hearing is on the assessment notice.
Gaffney said the hearings have produced some changes to assessments.
A new federal report show there are speeding problems on the country’s major highways, but the problems are also on Westport’s roads.
A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association states the speeding problems on highways are as bad as drunken driving was 25 years ago.
According to the report, the percent of highway crashes related to speed has gone from 30.9 percent in 2001 to 33.7 percent in 2003 in Connecticut. The number of speeding tickets, however, has gone down by about 10,000 in the same time period.
Police Chief Al Fiore said speeding is also a problem on Westport’s roads, but it’s also a problem in every suburban community across the state.
9 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 – Planning and Zoning Commission work session
10:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – International Hospitality Committee
Music Theatre of Connecticut will present “Bye Bye Birdie” on Jan. 6 and 7 at Long Lots Elementary School.
Performances are on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and features a number of Westport participants in the theater. Tickets are $12 for student and $15 for adults.
The plot revolves around rock and roll superstar Conrad Birdie and the complications that arise when his agent stages a publicity stunt on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in which he will kiss one lucky girl from Sweet Apple, Ohio before being drafted into the army.
The cast includes Westporters Alexa Aron as Rose Alverez, Caley Beretta as Mrs. Doris MacAfee, Stacy Berlin as Ursula Merkle, Bobby Goelz as Albert Peterson, Jordan Olson as Kim MacAfee, Molly Riddles as Deborah Sue/Penelope, Molly Shulman as Edna Mayor/Helen/Mrs. Pinsky, Laura Thompson as Alice and Lauren Weinberger as Nancy/Gloria Rasputin.
For more information, visit www.musictheatreofct.com or call (203) 454-3883.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Jim Calkins, the ailing former principal of Westport’s Staples High School, today thanked those who have sent him goodwill messages.
Calkins, principal during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s and now ill in his Martinsville, Va., home, sent an e-mail message to a friend and asked him to pass it along to WestportNow, which first published news of his illness last week (WestportNow Dec. 18, 2005).
“I have heard from more than 200 former students, and more come in every day.” Calkins, who is now in his early 80s, told his friend. “I want to respond to each one individually, but it may be too much of a chore for me physically. I am getting quite weak.”
Calkins asked that the following message be posted on WestportNow:
A Bridgeport woman slammed her 2002 Ford Explorer through the front window of the Cumberland Farms service station on Westport’s Post Road East at about 8 a.m. today. She was not injured in the crash, but the store needed to be closed for repairs. The store was expected to reopen this afternoon (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ron Malone for WestportNow.com
Miggs Burroughs’s work like this one will be featured at the library. Contributed photoEclectic artist and graphic designer Miggs Burroughs will show his new experiments with lenticular imagery along with conventional photography in an exhibit in the Westport Public Library’s Great Hall throughout January.
Included in the exhibit will be an exclusive preview of some of the images from “The Art of the Birdhouse—Portraits of Artists and Their Creations,” a new, full-color coffee-table book by Project Return that’s to be published in the spring.
An opening reception will be held on Jan. 6 at 6-7 p.m. Entrance to the reception is through the upper level.
Burroughs’ current experimentation with lenticular imagery involves merging two photographic images into one panel in a way that viewers moving past the work see each of the images separately, and the images appear to change back and forth with viewers’ movements.
The Y’s Women will open 2006 with a talk from three who have been touched by the Holocaust.
The program is scheduled for Jan. 9 at 11 a.m. at Westport-Weston Family Y.
The three are all students in a memoir writing class at Norwalk Community College.
Jules Wallerstein was born in Fuerth, Germany and his father owned a jewelry store, which was destroyed during Kristallnacht in 1938.
In a world where more and more dangers pop up in the Internet community for teens, the Westport Youth Commission will be taking up the topic for study and to educate teens and parents.
Human Services Director Barbara Butler said the commission is in the early stages of its plans, but is setting up a committee of teen and youth members to study the issue.
“Members think that teens are sharing too much private information online and parents don’t understand things like MySpace,” she said. “They feel teens need to be educated on the guidelines for safety.”
Commission members feel it is better for older teenagers to talk to younger kids about issues, she said, so a plan needs to be formed for high school students to talk to middle and elementary school students.
Monday, December 26, 2005
Opening film: The 1960 film “The Apartment” kicks off the library’s “Overcoat Series.” File photoStarting on Jan. 5, stay warm, get cozy, and relax with the first of the Westport Public Library’s five-week “Overcoat Series” of films.
The first of the five films will be the “The Apartment,” directed by Billy Wilder and starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine.
It is about a man who tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, only to have his own romance complicate his plans.
Each of the five films will be shown on a Thursday at 2 p.m. in the McManus Room on the Riverwalk level.