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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Westport Schools Open Today

Westport students will head back to classrooms today as schools open for the 2008-09 school year.

Bus schedules (PDF format):
Staples High School
Bedford Middle School
Coleytown Middle School
Coleytown Elementary School
Green’s Farms Elementary School
King’s Highway Elementary School
Long Lots Elementary School
Saugatuck Elementary School

Westport Public Schools Web site


08/27/08 07:13 AM Comments () • Permalink

‘Education Is the Great Equalizer’ Image
Westporter Andy Boas, founder of the Charter Oak Challenge Foundation, told the Westport Rotary Club Monday at its weekly meeting at Longshore Club Park that only 50 percent of Bridgeport students who enter high school actually graduate.  Of those, only 25 percent go on to graduate from college, he said..  Bridgeport is so close geographically to some of the wealthiest suburbs in the country but the disparity is great and the need is even greater, he said. The foundation was founded to help children and families who have the ability to succeed but need financial support to realize their potential. Boas said “education is the great equalizer.” In 2001 he started the Charter Oak Scholarship Program, which gives qualified students $10,000 over four years, a laptop computer and an adult mentor during college. Charter Oak has reportedly donated more than $2 million since its inception. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


08/27/08 04:21 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Westport Public Schools: students begin the 2008-2009 school year
9:30 - 10 a.m. - Westport Public Library - Me Too! a Preschool Movie Special
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - David Kalman: Bodie
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Group Show Part II
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Westport Library Looks Back at 100 Years” exhibit
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “A Town’s Treasures” photo exhibit by Tom Krestch
6 p.m. - 9 p.m. - Compo Beach - Westport CERT annual member picnic
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – RTM Planning & Zoning Committee


08/27/08 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Democratic Convention Notes: Caught in the Crush

By Jessica Bram

Special to WestportNow

Denver—I’m not easily ruffled, but even I was shook up by trying to navigate the jam-packed Democratic Convention floor tonight.

As the crush of bodies inched along, shoulder to shoulder, I caught full breaths full of chewing gum and plenty of sweat. Floor marshals yelled at people to keep moving – as though we had a choice in the mêlée.

It was more than a little unsettling. Not since being caught in a body-crushing crowd trying to get into a Crosby Stills concert at college in 1972 have I ever been so glad to see an exit.

But in my 40 minutes on the floor, I had quite a bounty of celebrity sightings. To wit: Katie Couric, about three inches away, in about 16 layers of pancake makeup. On the NBC platform, David Gregory with his long legs wrapped around a stool.

More "Democratic Convention Notes: Caught in the Crush"


08/27/08 02:31 AM Comments () • Permalink

Open for Business Image
After being closed for many months, Christie’s Country Store at 161 Cross Highway has reopened under new management and with a makeover inside. The store has been a Westport neighborhood landmark since 1926. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


08/27/08 01:45 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

3-Year-Old Dies in Longshore Sailing Accident

A 3-year-old New York City girl drowned today while sailing with two young cousins and a sailing instructor off Westport’s Cockenoe Island, police Image
The combined Westport police and fire dive team was among those responding to today’s fatal sailing accident. Dave Matlow for

The three plus the 18-year-old female sailing instructor from the Longshore Sailing School were thrown into the water when a gust of wind blew over their Hobie Cat at about 10:30 a.m., detectives said.

Police later identified the dead girl as Alexandra Vitale of Brooklyn, N.Y., and said her family has a summer residence in Westport.  She was accompanied by her cousins William Howell, also 3, and Andrew Howell, 6, who also reside in Brooklyn. They were not seriously injured.

It was not clear from the police report whether the children were enrolled in sailing lessons at the school or merely on a sail with the instructor, who was not identified.

More "3-Year-Old Dies in Longshore Sailing Accident"


08/26/08 09:48 PM Comments () • Permalink

Postmaster Denies Rumors Saugatuck Office Closing

By Jennifer Connic Image
Westport Postmaster Dennis J. Kassimis says there are no plans to close the Saugatuck Post Office at this time. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for
Rumors have been floating around Westport that the Saugatuck Post Office will be closing, but it appears that they are just that.

“That’s all they are,” said Westport Postmaster Dennis J. Kassimis. “They’re rumors.”

There are no specific plans at this time to close the Saugatuck office, he said, repeating several times that there has been no decision to do so.

Kassimis said the rumors started because a new contract postal unit is expected to open in the Saugatuck area.

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08/26/08 08:46 PM Comments () • Permalink

3-Year-Old Dead in Sailing Accident Image
UPDATE A 3-year-old New York City girl drowned today in a sailboat accident off Westport’s Longshore Club Park, police said. Two other youngsters in the boat—both male cousins ages 3 and 6—survived along with the 18-year-old female sailing instructor. The Hobie Cat sailboat capsized near the entrance to the Saugatuck River channel of Long Island Sound at about 10:30 a.m.,Westport police officials said. Westport Police Marine Division officers and Westport firefighters rescued the four victims, and three were taken to Norwalk Hospital by Westport EMS, where the girl, identified as Alexandra Vitale, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was pronounced dead, police said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


08/26/08 04:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

Dodd Calls for Unity Among Connecticut Democrats Image
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, seen visiting today in Denver with Westport’s Martha Aasen at a Connecticut Democratic delegation breakfast, called on Connecticut Democrats to unify behind Barack Obama in the hours before Obama’s formal nomination. Noting that many Connecticut Democrats wanted Hilary Clinton to be the nominee, he said, “At this hour, we are not a divided family.” Dodd said he is tired of reading in the national media that Democrats are still divided. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


08/26/08 03:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

More Broadway Talent Added to Playhouse Benefit Image
Tituss Burgess is among the Broadway actors who will perform at the Playhouse benefit. Contributed photo
Additional Broadway actors will join the annual Westport Country Playhouse gala in September, Playhouse officials said today.

Tituss Burgess, of “The Little Mermaid”; Kerry Butler, of “Xanadu”; Gavin Lee, of “Mary Poppins”; Nedra McClyde; Julia Murney; Q. Smith and Aurelia Williams will join Laura Benanti, of “Gypsy”; Raúl Esparza, of “Company”; and Steven Pasquale, of “The Light in the Piazza,” for the gala on Sept. 15.

The evening’s entertainment, “Footlights and Film: A Celebration of the Great Musicals from Stage and Screen,” will be hosted by Julia Roberts and feature a special tribute to Angela Lansbury presented by Bernadette Peters and performances by Broadway artists. Suzanne and Bob Wright will be honored at the event for their contributions to the Playhouse.

Burgess currently stars as Sebastian the Crab in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” Past credits on Broadway are “Jersey Boys” and “Good Vibrations.” Regionally he was in “The Wiz” as the Cowardly Lion and “Songs for a New World.”

More "More Broadway Talent Added to Playhouse Benefit"


08/26/08 03:32 PM Comments () • Permalink

Young Westporter in Denver: Quesadillas and “Love Rings”

By Brian Mayer

Special to WestportNow

Denver—My first day in Denver was busy and long. In the morning, I took the light rail with a friend from the suburbs downtown. The difference between the outskirts of the city and the downtown area was staggering. WNDemCon.jpg

Hollowed out factories, run-down cars, and strip malls dissolved into a labyrinth of shimmering chrome, glass and steel. With the temperature hovering at 90 degrees, getting off the tram felt like stepping into a pressure cooker. The sun beat down, multiplied by the glass cityscape which acted like a tanning mirror.

We had to make it to City of Cuernavaca Park to enter ourselves into a lottery to get into a concert Wednesday night.  It wasn’t a must-see, but it was a see-if-we-could, so we walked a mile and half, past Coors Field and the edge of the main city. 

We knew when we were approaching the park when the smell of smoke overpowered the smell of diesel fuel. Pretty soon, we were surrounded by tents, food stalls and people with long hair, tye-dye shirts, and sandals, who sported peace signs and handed out flyers against the war. 

More "Young Westporter in Denver: Quesadillas and “Love Rings”"


08/26/08 02:34 PM Comments () • Permalink

Himes Greets Train Commuters Image
Jim Himes (r), Democratic candidate for the 4th Congressional District, was at the Saugatuck train station in Westport this morning greeting commuters. He spoke about the need to restore economic prosperity, health benefits for all citizens,  the current administration’s neglect of Connecticut’s transportation problems and the importance of a responsible draw-down of the war in Iraq. Himes will oppose incumbent Christopher Shays in November. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


08/26/08 01:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Waiting for High Tide Image
Two boats lay across Compo Cove on Monday afternoon during low tide. While there were dashes of sun on Monday, there were also sprinkles of rain. Sun is expected today with temperatures in the 70s. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


08/26/08 04:35 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Westport Library Looks Back at 100 Years” exhibit
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “A Town’s Treasures” photo exhibit by Tom Krestch
6:30 p.m. - Whole Foods Market - “Food From Around Here” benefit dinner


08/26/08 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Improvements in Works for Staples Baseball Field

By Jennifer Connic Image
The Staples High School baseball field is the next athletic facility getting an upgrade. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for
The Staples High School baseball field is the next athletic facility in Westport slated for improvements.

The Board of Education accepted the gift of the field improvements from the Staples High School Diamond Club during its meeting Monday night.

The improvements will include better drainage and other improvements to the facility, including the dugouts and batting cages. It also includes enough seating for up to 200 fans. The field currently has no seating for fans.

Staples Athletics Director Marty Lisevick said there have not been improvements to the baseball field in 30 years, and in addition to the lack of seating, there is also a danger of foul balls in some areas.

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08/26/08 03:27 AM Comments () • Permalink

Hugs for the Cast Image
There was a full house at the Westport Country Playhouse tonight for the performance of “Golden Boy,” which featured Academy Award-winning actress Marissa Tomei. Joanne Woodward, pictured on the right, directed the production, and she embraced each actor following the performance. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


08/26/08 03:24 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, August 25, 2008

Commentary: Denver is Surreal for DNC

By Jessica Bram

Special to WestportNow

Denver—Surreal is the word that first comes to mind to someone arriving at this year’s Democratic National Convention in Denver. Four years ago when I attended the DNC in Boston, that first post-9/11 national convention was most striking in the prominence of heavy Image
Jessica Bram in Denver: “No sense of a city on edge.”  WN photo

Commenting back then for WestportNow and in a piece that aired on WSHU Radio, I recounted the very visible, overwhelming signs of security that not only surrounded Boston’s Fleet Center, but also permeated the city.

There were long lines of police in riot gear, muscled FBI agents in tight black tee shirts and earpieces clustered at every chain linked checkpoint and hotel entrance; and fire trucks poised around the perimeter of the convention compound, fire hoses unrolled and at the ready.

It gave the sense of a city on edge, but at the same time, banded together in an almost cheerful, self-protective cluster.

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08/25/08 10:33 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westporters in Denver as Dem Convention Opens Image
Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, officially opened the Democratic National Convention in Denver this afternoon in Denver. Westporters are well represented in the Mile High City for the event, including Martha Aasen, an official delegate and former chair of the Westport Democratic Town Committee. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


08/25/08 09:16 PM Comments () • Permalink

Bolton’s Home Up for Sale

By Jennifer Connic

Singer Michael Bolton may be ending his time in Westport after placing his home on the market for $11 Image
Michael Bolton’s 2.7-acre Westport estate is on the market for $11 million. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

“Dalle Acqua,” the listed name for the estate that is located at 27-31 Kings Highway North, has been on the market for 29 days, according to the real estate listing.

According to the listing, the house was built in 1988 and sits on 2.7 acres. The house has approximately 9,600 square feet, and it is adjacent to Nash’s Pond. It has 13 rooms, including six bedrooms. There are also six and one-half bathrooms.

The home is “an exquisite one-of-a-kind estate with spectacular waterfront on Nash’s Pond,” the listing states. “Magnificent Tuscan inspired residence and guest home sited behind private gates featuring pool, tennis, putting green, fitness and porte cochere. The pinnacle of luxury available in this rare offering.”

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08/25/08 07:50 PM Comments () • Permalink

‘Golden Boy’ Cast Ready for Tonight’s Performance Image
Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei (c) headlines a cast that will perform a reading of Clifford Odets’ 1937 play “Golden Boy” tonight at the Westport Country Playhouse. Joanne Woodward directs. The reading is part of “The Classical Series,” which brings together professional actors to read works by master playwrights. The story focuses on the character Joe Bonaparte, whose part is read by Kiernan Camion, pictured on the far right in the front row. Bonaparte is a young man who finds himself at the crossroads of his life when his drive to become a great violinist is sidetracked by the lure of big money as a prizefighter. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for




08/25/08 07:37 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday Ritual Image
Players gather every Sunday morning at Westport’s Compo Beach to play volleyball. There was plenty of sun and warm temperatures on Sunday for the players. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


08/25/08 04:33 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, August 25, 2008

10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Westport Library Looks Back at 100 Years” exhibit
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “A Town’s Treasures” photo exhibit by Tom Krestch
7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - The Classical Series: “Golden Boy” by Clifford Odets with Marisa Tomei
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – RTM Public Works Committee
7:30 p.m. – Staples High School, Cafeteria B – Board of Education – televised on channel 78
8:30 p.m. - Levitt Pavilion - “The Office” (PG 13)


08/25/08 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Big Band Sound Image
Fairfield Counts and its big band sound was the featured performance at the Levitt Pavilion tonight. The performance marked the end of the pavilion’s 35th season. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


08/25/08 02:17 AM Comments () • Permalink

Last Levitt Night Image
A large crowd attended tonight’s performance by Fairfield Counts at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion. The performance marked the end of the pavilion’s 35th season, and Fairfield Counts has performed in 28 of those years. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


08/25/08 02:12 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Compo Workout Image
A youngster gets a climbing workout at Westport’s Compo Beach playground this morning. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


08/24/08 07:23 PM Comments () • Permalink

Man to Man Image
A father listens intently as his young son talks at Westport’s Compo Beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


08/24/08 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Noon - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - David Kalman: Bodie
Noon - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center -  Group Show Part II
10 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Imperial Avenue parking lot - Westport Farmers Market
7 p.m. - Levitt Pavilion - Fairfield Counts


08/24/08 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Dave Mason Band Performs at Levitt Image
English musician, singer, and songwriter Dave Mason and his band performed at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion tonight in a fund-raiser for the Pavilion. Mason, who first found fame with the rock band Traffic, has played and recorded with many of the era’s most notable musicians, including Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Mama Cass Elliot. Now 64, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


08/24/08 01:03 AM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ed See Still Sharp on the Mound Image
Long-time Westport Attorney Ed See was sharp on the mound as he threw out the first pitch at a Bluefish game at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport. See, 92, a pitcher for Wesleyan University in his college days, is the oldest person ever to throw out a first pitch for the Bridgeport team. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


08/23/08 04:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Horse of a Different Color Image
The Westport Arts Center Friday night hosted a reception marking the opening of its Members Show Part II and an exhibition of photographs by Westport landscape and portrait photographer David Kalman featuring scenes from Bodie, an abandoned mining town in California. A guest views “Horse of a Different Color,” a photo silkscreen print by Ridgefield artist Roy Weinstein.The exhibits run through Sept. 14. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


08/23/08 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

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