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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Talking Transportation: CDOT Thinks We’re Stupid

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow

The Connecticut Rail Commuter Council’s “Winter Crisis – Commuter Summit” last week was a big success. Dozens of commuters turned out to share their horror stories about trying to ride Metro-North this winter—no heat, no information, no seats and in many cases, no trains. Image

Metro-North and the Connecticut Dept of Transportation (CDOT) made the usual excuses and apologies, which placated few—“we’re doing the best we can,” ‘it’s not our fault the trains are so old, and the classic, “be patient, the new M8 cars are coming.” 

All of these are true. But it was in trying to explain the many delays in the delivery and testing of the new M8 cars that things got heated.

As any reader of this column knows, we’ve been waiting since 2005 for new cars to replace our decrepit fleet. Designed and built by Kawasaki, the new M8 cars look great. But they’re 15 months late into service with no real explanation as to why or when they’ll be ready for passengers. It was time for answers.


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02/22/11 03:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Malloy Asks Federal Disaster Declaration from January Storm

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has formally requested that President Barack Obama declare a major disaster in the Connecticut as a result of the Jan. 11-12 snowstorm—a move that could bring federal financial aid to cities and towns impacted by the record snowfall, his office said today.

Earlier this month, Malloy wrote to the Obama explaining the context in which his formal request would be made—one of the snowiest winters on record, coupled with a number of structure collapses across the state.  Malloy is requesting this declaration on behalf of all eight counties in the state, his office said.

Malloy’s letter was sent after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) confirmed that expenses and snowfall amounts met FEMA established thresholds in most, if not all, Connecticut counties.

The preliminary damage assessment estimated eligible costs at more than $14 million.

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02/22/11 03:42 PM Comments () • Permalink

Police Close Off Post Road East After Pedestrian Accident Image
UPDATE Westport police today closed off Post Road East at Main Street after a woman pedestrian was struck by a car as she walked in a crosswalk in front of Starbucks. The woman was taken to Norwalk Hospital where she was treated and released. A police officer said the driver, who was issued a summons for failure to yield to a pedestrian, apparently failed to see the woman as she turned left from Parker-Harding Plaza. It was the second pedestrian accident in the downtown area in two months. A 92-year-old man died of his injuries in December after being hit by a car in front of Restoration Hardware. He was not in a crosswalk. Further east on Post Road East, a 62-year-old woman was struck and killed in a crosswalk at Westfair Drive on Dec. 21. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


02/22/11 03:02 PM Comments () • Permalink

Woman Pedestrian Struck by Car

UPDATE A woman pedestrian was struck by a car today at Post Road East and Parker-Harding Plaza in Westport’s Image
A SUV is stopped on Post Road East today after it hit a woman pedestrian in front of Starbucks. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The woman was taken to Norwalk Hospital where she was treated and released. Police later issued a summons to the driver for failure to yield to a pedestrian.

One police officer said while the weather was clear at the time, the fact the pedestrian was wearing headphones and the driver may have had difficulty seeing over the hood of the large SUV could have been contributing factors to the accident.

Police said the woman was crossing the street in front of Starbucks when a SUV making a left hand turn from Parker-Harding on to Post Road East struck her. Lt. Arthur Belile said the driver apparently did not see the pedestrian.

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02/22/11 02:31 PM Comments () • Permalink

Winter Clamming Image
A picturesque view from Herbert Baldwin Drive at Westport’s Longshore Club Park on Monday of a well known Westport oyster boat after a snowy night and morning during high tide on Gray’s Creek. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


02/22/11 05:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “The Sketch Class: A Westport Tradition” and “Art From The Heart”
10 a.m. - noon - Westport Town Hall - CTWorks Career Coach: 2003 PowerPoint, beginning
1 p.m. - 3 p.m. - Westport Town Hall - CTWorks Career Coach: 2003 PowerPoint, intermediate
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Architectural Review Board
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Zoning Board of Appeals (live coverage cable channel 79 and

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


02/22/11 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Staples Defeats Fairfield Ludlowe 54-42 Image
Staples player D Scanlan (14) dribbles against Fairfield Ludlowe’s Kevin Bentivegna (11) tonight in the Wrecker’s 54-42 victory on the road in Fairfield. The Wreckers (13-5) have clinched a spot for Saturday’s first round in the FCIAC playoffs. The Falcons were eliminated from FCIAC playoff contention with the loss. The Wreckers will close out their regular season Wednesday at Greenwich High School at 7 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Elaine Rankowitz for


02/22/11 04:44 AM Comments () • Permalink

A Civil Night Out for a Governor Defending a Tough Budget

By Mark Pazniokas

State employees objected to his demands for concessions. Taxpayers questioned his common sense, along with his $1.5 billion proposed tax increase. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s town hall meeting in Bridgeport went as expected tonight, with one exception. His standing-room audience was civil, if Image
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy faces a crowd tonight in Bridgeport. photo

His security detail was attentive. One plainclothes trooper moved toward a speaker who mentioned—jokingly, it seemed - he came prepared to throw something at Malloy. But the vibe of the room was laid back, even as Malloy acknowledged a case of nerves at the start.

“I have to admit to you I’m a little nervous,” said Malloy, who is conducting 16 more of the town hall-style public meetings through April, when he hopes the legislature will be through picking over this budget. “This is the first one.”

Occasionally sipping from a white ceramic mug, Malloy seemed fatigued standing at a lectern for hour in the City Hall Annex, facing a crowd that Mayor Bill Finch generously estimated at 500. He opened with a 20-minute introduction about his budget proposal that his audience seemed to tolerate more than it absorbed.

Click here for more of story


02/22/11 03:58 AM Comments () • Permalink

Max Wilk, Author, Music Impresario, Dies at 90

UPDATE (adds additional details, memorial service information) Max Wilk, author, playwright, film and television writer, and music impresario who produced Westport Arts Center jazz and live musical shows for almost 20 years, died Saturday at his Saugatuck Shores home in Westport, his son David said today.  He was Image
Max Wilk addresses a Westport Public Library audience in 2008. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Many Westporters regarded Wilk as one of the town’s living treasures.  He took delight in regaling his fellow residents with insider tales of show business and the musical world – whether it was a large audience or an acquaintance he met at the deli.

In 2008, he appeared at the Westport Public Library to promote an updated edition of his best known nonfiction work, “They’re Playing Our Song:  Conversations With America’s Classic Songwriters”

When talking about the people he interviewed and had associations with over the years, he said, “I think I should have paid for the privilege of interviewing the people in my book.”  He added: “Stephen Sondheim and I are the only two left who are in my original book.”

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02/22/11 12:01 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hockey Ingenuity Image
UPDATE Enterprising Staples High School hockey enthusiasts have taken advantage of winter weather to convert a water hazard at the golf course at Westport’s Longshore Club Park into a practice skating rink. Steve Siecienski, Avery Watterworth and Stephen DeLallo said they have been coming here during the February vacation and welcome others to join them—as long as they bring their own equipment. The athletes were spotted from Herbert Baldwin Drive today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


02/21/11 11:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Compo in White Image
Westport’s Compo Beach was snow-covered early today as the result on the overnight snow. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for


02/21/11 09:11 PM Comments () • Permalink

Compo Once Again Covered in Snow Image
Westport’s Compo Beach once again had a cover in white today after an overnight snowfall. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for


02/21/11 08:32 PM Comments () • Permalink

Medical Examiner: Woman Died of Hypothermia

The state Medical Examiner’s office said today that an 84-year-old Westport woman whose body was found in her driveway last week died of hypothermia to the cold weather complicated by other health Image
Police converged on High Point Road after the body was found. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

A trash collector came upon Ada Eads in her High Point Road driveway on Thursday. (See WestportNow Feb. 17, 2011) Police said they did not suspect foul play and an autopsy revealed she died of exposure which aggravated other pre-existing health conditions.

Initially, police said she appeared to have suffered injuries, but this was later attributed to dirt and debris from the driveway where she fell. The front door of her house was open when police arrived. No one was in the house, and a neighbor said her husband was thought to be confined to a convalescent home.

A ruling of death by hypothermia was also made in Westport two months ago after the body of Cindy D’Aiuto, 48, was discovered in a parking lot on Kings Highway North in December. Police said she died after apparently becoming disoriented in the frigid weather. (See WestportNow Dec. 29, 2010)



02/21/11 07:57 PM Comments () • Permalink

Showing Off School Spirit Image
Staples High School cheerleader Katie Kelly of Burr School Road today shows off her school spirit. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Sara Kelly for


02/21/11 05:42 PM Comments () • Permalink

Station Cleanup Image
Workers clean up the latest snow at the Metro-North Westport station today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Sam Sagnella for


02/21/11 05:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Nicholas J. DeMaria, 86

Nicholas Joseph DeMaria, 86, of Forrest Hills, N.Y. and formerly of Westport, passed away on Feb. 20 at North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.

Mr. DeMaria was born in Westport on March 18, 1924, son of the late Frank and Carrie (Zelembo) DeMaria. He attended Westport schools and later moved to New York and worked as a insurance underwriter until his retirement. He is a U.S. Army veteran of World War II.

Survivors include one brother, Samuel DeMaria, three sisters, Angie Macaluso, Jane Doucette and Gloria Licari, and many nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was pre-deceased by three brothers, Frank, Joseph and Jack DeMaria and one sister, Nette Reitano.

Friends are invited to attend the funeral on Thursday Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. directly at Assumption Church, 98 Riverside Ave. Interment will follow in Assumption Cemetery, Kings Highway, Westport. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Assumption Church.


02/21/11 04:33 PM Comments () • Permalink

Light Traffic Image
Traffic was light today on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge in Westport’s center as a light snow fell on Presidents’ Day and the start of the school break week. It was the ninth snow event of this winter season. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for


02/21/11 04:03 PM Comments () • Permalink

New Safeguards Due in State’s Deregulated Energy Market

Connecticut consumers will soon have new safeguards in the state’s deregulated energy Image
Jeffrey Mayer: “Order is the product of careful effort.” Dave Matlow/WN file photo

The Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC), after months of research, discussion and input from utilities and suppliers, has released its Draft Decision on Marketing Practices.

The order lays out guidelines for suppliers and aggregators who offer electricity consumers alternate energy supply. 

Since 2007, Connecticut homeowners and businesses have been free to purchase their electricity supply from independent marketers. The regulated utilities continue to maintain the wires and provide emergency services.

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02/21/11 03:38 PM Comments () • Permalink

Work Goes On Image
It may be snowing, Presidents’ Day, and school break, but for some Westport commuters today was just another work day. Scene is the Metro-North Westport station in the Saugatuck area. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


02/21/11 03:23 PM Comments () • Permalink

Opening Up Image
A worker shovels snow outside the Bank of America branch on Post Road East in Westport’s center today as businesses opened. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


02/21/11 03:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

Snow Jog Image
The overnight snow did not dissuade this jogger along Westport’s Imperial Avenue today with the Saugatuck River in the background. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


02/21/11 03:16 PM Comments () • Permalink

Major Roadways Quickly Cleared Image
Major roadways in Westport, including Post Road East at Compo Road, were quickly cleared of the overnight snow today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


02/21/11 03:13 PM Comments () • Permalink

Earthplace Opens at Noon

Earthplace said its museum building and offices will open at noon today.


02/21/11 03:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Snow Walk Image
A woman makes her way along normally busy Imperial Avenue in Westport today. An overnight snowfall left more than 4 inches of new snow on the ground. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


02/21/11 03:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

Presidents’ Day on Main Street Image
Westport’s Main Street put on a new white coat for Presidents’ Day today. View is before stores opened for business. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


02/21/11 03:03 PM Comments () • Permalink

Michael Feinstein Coming to Playhouse on March 12

Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum selling and five-time Grammy nominated singer and pianist, will headline the Spring Gala for Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County (NSFC) at the Westport Country Playhouse on Saturday, March 12. Image
Michael Feinstein and Harold Levine get together to discuss the March 12 Westport Country Playhouse fund-raiser. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

“We’re thrilled to have one of the premier interpreters of American standards appear in Westport,” said Harold Levine of Westport, NSFC’s chairman.  “This will be his first time on the Playhouse stage.  He’s looking forward to it and so are we.”

Through his live performances, recordings, film and TV appearances, as well as songwriting, Feinstein has become nationally recognized for his commitment to celebrating America’s popular song and preserving its legacy.

Most recently, he hosted “American Songbook,”  a three-part PBS special that traced the history of popular music in the country.  His Manhattan nightclub, Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, presents top talents of pop and jazz, and he appears there for a sold-out holiday engagement every year.

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02/21/11 02:27 PM Comments () • Permalink

Still February Image
Westport’s snow-covered roads were virtually deserted early today as an overnight snowfall left several inches on the ground. With schools closed for the February break, the impact was not as great as during earlier storms. View is along North Avenue. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for


02/21/11 01:53 PM Comments () • Permalink

Here We Go Again Image
Westporters woke up today a stark reminder that winter still has a month to run. Several inches of snow fell overnight and the National Weather Service said 4 to 6 inches of fresh snow could be on the ground before the storm ends at mid-day. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser Durig for


02/21/11 01:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

Update: Winter Weather Advisory

The National Weather Service in Upton, N.Y. has revised its Winter Weather Advisory for Westport and area today, shortening its length but slightly increasing the snow amount.

The Weather Service revised upwards its total snow amount to 4 to 6 inches from 3 to 5 inches changed the advisory to end at noon instead of 2 p.m.

It said snow will be moderate this morning and then gradually taper off from west to east late this morning into early afternoon.


02/21/11 12:58 PM Comments () • Permalink

Child Hurt in I-95 Tractor-Trailer Crash in Snow Image
A 5-year-old traveling with a Pennsylvania woman suffered a head laceration early today on I-95 southbound between Exits 17 and 16 when their car was involved in a crash with a tractor-trailer during as snow fell. Assistant Fire Chief Robert Kepchar said the child was treated by firefighters and then transported to Norwalk Hospital. The truck driver was unhurt. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


02/21/11 11:48 AM Comments () • Permalink

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