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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Resident Group Golf Policy Approved

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The Westport Parks and Recreation Commission Monday night approved a policy that will allow residents to host golf groups at Longshore Club Park starting this summer.

Parks and Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy said the policy will allow residents to book groups on the course in advance, and the plan is aimed at residents who want to host events like family outings.

Under the plan, residents with a handpass can reserve a group with two to five foursomes eight to 90 days before the event. They could only use the plan on Mondays through Thursdays after 11 a.m.

The players would be charged the guest fee of $40 each for the right to reserve ahead of time, and the guest reservation plan could only be used two times per year by any one person.

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01/31/06 08:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

High Tide Brings Moderate Flooding Image
Today’s mid-day high tide brought some moderate flooding to some low-lying Westport areas, including Imperial Avenue, seen here. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


01/31/06 07:03 PM Comments () • Permalink

P&Z Commission Changes Meeting Format

Beginning in February, the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission will begin its meetings at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m.

“A majority of commission members felt that the earlier start time would be beneficial given the amount of information that is presented at each meeting,” said Planning and Zoning Director Laurence Bradley. “It would also allow the commission, the public, applicants and staff to leave the meetings at a reasonable hour.”

The change would apply to all public hearings and work sessions, he said.

The new structure will allow new items on the agenda to be opened prior to 10 p.m. and provide that the meetings end by 11 p.m., according to Bradley.

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01/31/06 03:58 PM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 28 Evergreen Parkway Image
An application is on file with the Westport Building Department to demolish the house at 28 Evergreen Parkway. The 1948 home is near Compo Road North. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


01/31/06 11:00 AM Comments () • Permalink

Shadows of a Minuteman Image
Fog floated across Westport Monday, including around the Minuteman statue near Compo Beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for


01/31/06 06:10 AM Comments () • Permalink

State’s Correction Commissioner Speaks to Y’s Men Thursday Image
Theresa Lantz: gives prison talk to Y’s Men. Contributed photo
Theresa C. Lantz, who was appointed Connecticut’s Department of Correction commissioner almost three years ago, will speak to the Y’s Men of Westport/Weston Thursday.

She will speak on “A New Day in Corrections, Three Years Later.” The meeting begins at 10 a.m. at the Saugatuck Congregational Church, 245 Post Road East  

Lantz began her career in corrections as a front line correctional officer in the Washington, D.C. prison system in 1976. During that assignment she became the first woman correction officer in that department to work inside the maximum security men’s housing unit.

She began her tenure with the Connecticut Department of Correction in July 1989 as the director of training and staff development and has since served as warden at three of the state’s high security facilities. At the time of her appointment, Lantz was one of about half dozen women state correctional commissioners in the United States.


01/31/06 05:43 AM Comments () • Permalink

Westporter Wants Families Back at Six Flags Image
Mark Shapiro: seeks to improve theme parks. ESPN photo
Westporter Mark Shapiro, who took over last month as chief executive of Six Flags Inc. the world’s largest regional theme park company, says he wants to restore a family-friendly image to the firm.

In an interview Monday with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Shapiro said as a teenager, he loved riding the American Eagle roller coaster with his friends and eating pizza and hot dogs with his four siblings at Six Flags Great America outside Chicago.

“You could go one weekend with your friends and one with your family, and it was cool either way,” Shapiro said. “I want to bring that back.”

Under previous management—which was ousted in December after a proxy battle—Six Flags spent millions on new roller-coasters while cutting back on maintenance and in-park entertainment such as Looney Tunes characters that would roam the park, the newspaper reported.

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01/31/06 05:16 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2006

8 a.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Maintenance Study Committee
7:45 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – RTM Education Committee


01/31/06 05:03 AM Comments () • Permalink

School Budget May Be Increased

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Westport Board of Education Vice Chairman Mark Mathias said tonight he plans to ask to add $100,000 to the proposed 2006-07 school budget to cover a study examining the district’s compliance with special education laws.

The school board will vote next Monday on the proposed $82.9 million 2006-07 school budget, which is a 5.4 percent increase.

Mathias said he plans to make a motion to add $100,000 to cover the costs of a study on special education after learning of the Greenwich School District’s special education study.

The review produced a 200-page report, which he received today, about how to improve Greenwich’s special education processes, he said.

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01/31/06 04:30 AM Comments () • Permalink

Beach Sticker Increase Approved

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The Westport Parks and Recreation Commission tonight approved a measure to increase fees for parking at town beaches. The proposal still needs Board of Selectmen approval.

Resident parking emblems will be increased from $25 to $30, and the senior citizen fees will go from $10 to $15, which would be the first increase in the senior rate since 1990.

Other rates also approved for increases include those for a resident with a non-Westport registered car, which goes from $145 to $175, and the Weston resident rate, which jumps from $190 to $200.

Non-resident stickers—which are limited to 300 per year and always sell out—will be increased from $375 to $400.

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01/31/06 03:30 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, January 30, 2006

Thanks for Toy Drive

To the Editor:

The members of the Westport Police Union would like to express their sincere gratitude to all who participated in this year’s Holiday Fund for Children project. 

For the past several years, WICC AM Radio and AMR Ambulance Service have sponsored local police departments in annual toy drives throughout Fairfield County in an effort to collect holiday gifts for the less fortunate children in hospital pediatric centers and around our communities.

Each year, Westport Police Officers collect donations at Police Headquarters, Town Hall and the Toys-R-Us Store located at 1850 Post Road East, Westport.  The toy drive this year was one of the most successful we have had to date. 

Our success could not be accomplished without all of the hundreds of generous people who donated to the fund.  The local residents, town employees, businesses, corporations, Westport Volunteer EMS and those who just came to shop and ended up donating, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. 

To the management and staff at Toys-R-Us (without them, we could not do it!), our deepest gratitude. They not only allowed us a place to collect donations, but they go above and beyond in their efforts to help us succeed each and every year.

Because of all of you, we were able to supply hundreds of children with gifts for the holidays which they otherwise would not have had.  You have all helped to touch the life of a child this year – they are grateful and so are we, the Westport Police Benevolent Association and the Westport Union membership.

Thank you.

Jill Ruggiero
David Heinmiller

Westport Police
Holiday Fund for Children


01/30/06 10:57 PM Comments () • Permalink

Foggy Pond Image
Today’s morning fog settled over Westport’s Round Pond. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for


01/30/06 10:19 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Police Assist State Troopers in Search

Westport police early today assisted state troopers looking for two men after a car rolled over near Exit 18 on I-95.

Police Sgt. Jerry Shannon said shortly after midnight the local police received a call for assistance from the state troopers for the accident.

Two men who were in the car had fled the scene, he said, and Westport police joined together with state troopers with search dogs and Westport firefighters with thermal imaging cameras looking for the two men.

One was found near the cemetery near Sherwood Island Connector on Greens Farms Road, he said, and the second was found with the search dogs on Nyala Farms Road in a brushy area.

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01/30/06 08:49 PM Comments () • Permalink

Connecticut’s Role in Slavery Featured at Library

Connecticut was the last state in New England to abolish slavery, and at one point about half of the state’s ministers, lawyers, and public officials were slave owners.

Hartford Courant journalist Joel Lang discusses these facts and the general complicity of Connecticut and the North in slavery on Monday, Feb. 6 at noon in Westport Library’s McManus Room.

Co-author of the recently published “Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery,” Lang was the lead writer for the 80-page, September 2002 special issue of the Courant’s Sunday magazine on Connecticut’s complicity in slavery.

It was the special issue that drew the attention of a literary agent who approached the Courant about expanding the research into a book.

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01/30/06 07:52 PM Comments () • Permalink

Staples PTA Donates to Senior Center Image
The Westport Center for Senior Activities recently received a donation from the Staples High School PTA. Pictured are (l-r) Susan Pfister, center director; Katie Augustyn, PTA treasurer; Winnie Martinek, the center’s Policy & Planning Board chairwoman; Joyce Eldh, Staples PTA co-president; Rosemarie Carbone, Policy & Planning Board member; and Nora Jinishian, Staples PTA co-president. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


01/30/06 06:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 7 Sandpiper Road Image
The Westport Building Department has received an application for a demolition permit for 7 Sandpiper Road. The Saugatuck Shores area home sold for $3.8 million last September. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


01/30/06 02:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

Funds for New Dive Equipment Needed

By Jennifer Connic

Westport Police Department officials were planning to replace the dive team’s equipment starting in July, but it needed to be replaced now because of its age.

Police officials will be seeking nearly $20,000 from the Board of Finance on Wednesday at 8 p.m. to buy new equipment for four divers.

Deputy Police Chief David Heinmiller said two sets of equipment were first going to be replaced in the 2006-07 budget, which goes into effect in July, and the other two would be included in a following budget.

“When we were researching, we realized the suits were bought in 1996,” he said. “The five-year life was stretched to 10 years. We can’t really do half and half in upcoming budgets.”

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01/30/06 12:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

Making Music for the Gov Image
Some Westport teens made music for Gov. M. Jodi Rell during her recent visit to a private event at a Westport home.The brass quintet “Five,” consisting of Staples students, performed along with a piano soloist. Rell is seen with (l-r) Peter Menchaca, Tim Day, Danny Fein, Ryan Lester, and Chris Zappi (the members of “Five”), and Mark Zappi, piano soloist. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


01/30/06 11:47 AM Comments () • Permalink

Before the Rain Image
Before the rain rolled in Sunday, there was a spectacular sunrise at Westport’s Old Mill Pond. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ron Malone for


01/30/06 06:30 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, Jan. 30, 2006

7 p.m. – Fairfield Hunt Club – Sasco Brook Pollution Abatement Committee
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Parks and Recreation Commission
8 p.m. – Bedford Middle School Cafeteria – Special Board of Education (live coverage cable channel 78)


01/30/06 05:03 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunrise Rotary Aids Guatemalan Organization

Westport’s Sunrise Rotary Club in cooperation with Guatemala’s Coban Rotary has presented a four-wheel drive vehicle to The Transitions organization in Antigua.

Mike Keen, Sunrise Rotary’s International Services Committee chairman, was instrumental in raising more than $25,000 to purchase the vehicle.

The vehicle will be used to transport Transitions’ clients, who are mainly amputees wounded during violent and chaotic conditions that have beset the country for the past 20 years.

Transitions was established a decade ago through the efforts of Westport architect Abe Rothenberg, whose son, Daniel, was studying in Guatemala at the time.

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01/30/06 02:55 AM Comments () • Permalink

Rainy Day Dog Walk Image
Today’s afternoon showers did not stop a walk with the dog at Westport’s Compo Beach.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


01/30/06 01:56 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Talking Transportation: Fire on the Train

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow Image
Smoke filled a Metro-North train in the Park Avenue tunnel last week. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
It was a typical Thursday, mid-afternoon, when Metro-North train No.1540 pulled out of Grand Central on time at 3:34 pm, heading for New Haven. But this train’s journey on Jan. 26 was to be anything but normal.

As told to me by an eyewitness, here is what happened: Snaking its way through the underground yards, the train started toward the Park Avenue tunnel when passengers in the fourth car of the eight-car train started smelling smoke. 

Though they didn’t know it, a traction motor on the 1994-built M6 car, one of the newest in our aging fleet, had caught fire.


There were no flames, but there surely was smoke, not only in the fourth car but the three others that followed it. As that smoke grew thicker, being pumped into the car by the ventilation system, passengers started coughing and looking for help. 

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01/29/06 01:48 PM Comments () • Permalink

Noted Portrait Artist Visits Max’s Image
Noted portrait artist and author Everett Raymond Kinstler (c), an Easton resident, visited Westport’s Max’s Art Supply Saturday where he greeted some fellow artists. He is pictured with (l-r) Tracy Sugarman, Gloria Cole, Shirley Mellor and Edward Vebell. Portrait artist of presidents, movie stars, and the famous and not so, Kinstler signed copies of his most recent book, “My Brush With History,” as well as “The Artist’s Journey Through Popular Culture 1942-1962,” co-authored with Jim Vadeboncoeur. Five presidents—Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton—have posed for him. His portraits of Ford and Reagan are the official White House portraits. Original Kinstler art has been featured in Max’s window this month and will continue until Wednesday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ron Malone for


01/29/06 12:44 PM Comments () • Permalink

Skating in Spring-like Weather Image
The temperature got up into the mid-50s Saturday but the spring-like weather did not deter skaters at the Police Athletic League’s rink at Westport’s Longshore Club Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for


01/29/06 05:38 AM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Westport Stars Image
It was Eagles Day today at Westport’s Earthplace, the Nature Discovery Center. It is home to two bald eagles, the newest of which is Cerena, (l) an immature eagle from Michigan who suffered a permanent disability as a young bird. As she matures, she will acquire the characteristic white head and tail fathers and yellow beak. Chatty (r),  originally from Kenal National Wildlife Refuse in Alaska, is a female adult bald eagle who seems to enjoy conversing with her young admirers—hence her name. She is believed to be about 5 years old. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


01/28/06 10:32 PM Comments () • Permalink

Eagle Watching Image
Two visitors to today’s Eagle Day at Westport’s Earthplace, the Nature Discovery Center, took a peek at the center’s two resident eagles. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


01/28/06 10:22 PM Comments () • Permalink

Up Close Look Image
Rockwell Art and Framing of Westport today began a new series, “Studio for a Day,” inviting local artists to work on site from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Today’s event debuted with husband and wife artists Kevin Thomas and Elizabeth Hitz. Kevin has been producing stoneware pottery and sculpture for almost 20 years. Elizabeth is best known for her soft romantic scenes of sleeping figures and still life. Watching her at work was Haley Schmidt, 2 1/2, of Riverside, Conn. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


01/28/06 10:14 PM Comments () • Permalink

Signing History Image
Westport author and columnist Dan Woog signed copies of his new book “Staples High School, 120 Years of A+ Education” at Mitchells of Westport today. The signing was timed to mark what would have been the 205th birthday Tuesday of Horace Staples, founder of Staples High School. The book, sponsored by the Westport Historical Society, is now in its fourth printing. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


01/28/06 05:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

One More, Please Image
Dick Leonard, a former Staples English teacher and past president of the Westport Education Association (1970-1992), purchased another copy of Dan Woog’s book today at Mitchells of Westport. Helping out were Donna Brody (in red), a newly-elected member of the Westport Historical Society board, and the Society’s Mollie Donovan.  Next to them is a portrait of Horace Staples. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


01/28/06 05:24 PM Comments () • Permalink

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