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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Season ‘Kickoff’ Thursday in Downtown

By James Lomuscio

Bob LeRose says that the holiday celebrations set for Thursday evening downtown will mark the first time Westport has has an “official kickoff” to the season.

“We’ve always had a natural end to the holiday season with First Night, but we’ve never had an official kickoff,” said LeRose, president of the Downtown Merchants Association (DMA). “So, we just thought it would be great to have the community gather downtown on Dec. 1.”

The evening is set to begin with a Town Hall Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. followed by hot cocoa at the Westport Historical Society and at 5 p.m., an all out celebration inside and outside the new Great Hall at Christ & Holy Trinity Church on Church Lane.

“We looked at several options, and we thought this would be a great way to welcome that new hall to the downtown,” said LeRose.

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11/30/11 07:13 PM Comments () • Permalink

Comings and Goings: West Elm to Main Street Image
UPDATE It was moving in day today for home furnishings retailer West Elm at Westport’s 37 Main St. The retailer, owned by Williams-Sonoma Inc., takes over space formerly occupied by Gap Kids. Opening is set for Dec. 8. An announcement said the brand’s “first pop-up shop in Connecticut will open with a unique assortment of furniture, décor and gifts.” It said on opening day, the first 100 customers to pop in will receive a free West Elm tote bag, and all seasonal trim and rugs will be 20 percent off. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


11/30/11 03:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

Remaining Candlelight Tickets Available at School

Remaining tickets for next month’s 71st annual Candlelight Concerts at Westport’s Staples High School are available for pick up at the school, it was announced today.

The tickets are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis on school days up to 3 p.m. at the welcome/security desk in the lobby.

The concerts are scheduled on Friday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Donations to the school’s Music Department are gratefully accepted.


11/30/11 02:40 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society -  “At Home with Stone” & “The Wit & Wisdom of Frazier Forman Peters”
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “On Duty: Odermatt, Metinides and Weegee”
12:30 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Writers Artists Collaborative
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - World Affairs in Foreign Films

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


11/30/11 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

All Smiles on a Night to Remember Image
UPDATE Staples senior Jon Heil has plenty to smile about tonight after scoring four touchdowns in the Staples 48-21 rout of Ridgefield in the Class LL state quarterfinals at Wilton. His 366 yards on 27 carries shattered the Staples single-game running record. The Wreckers move on to play Newtown on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Bunnell High School in Stratford. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Douglas Healey for


11/30/11 03:12 AM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Crushes Ridgefield 48-21 to Advance in States Image
Staples senior Jon Heil scores one of his four touchdowns in tonight’s Class LL quarter-final in the rain match that saw the Wreckers crush Ridgefield 48-21 at Wilton High School. The Wreckers will play Newtown on Saturday in the semifinals at 2p.m. at Bunnell High School in Stratford.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Douglas Healey for


11/30/11 03:00 AM Comments () • Permalink

Looking for a Receiver Image
Staples quarterback Jack Massie looks for a receiver as Nick Kelly watches in tonight’s 48-21 Staples rout of Ridgefield in the Class LL quarterfinals at Wilton.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Douglas Healey for


11/30/11 02:55 AM Comments () • Permalink

Rain Play Ends in Staples Victory

Highlights of tonight’s Staples 48-21 victory over Ridgefield in rainy weather at Wilton in the Class LL state quarterfinals. Douglas Healey for


11/30/11 02:50 AM Comments () • Permalink

Saugatuck Center Tree Lighting ‘A New Tradition’

By James Lomuscio

Westporter Sam Gault said the more than 50 friends and well wishers who gathered for food and cheer at the Saugatuck Center Christmas tree lighting tonight exemplified his vision for the commercial, office and residential development. Image
The Christmas tree lights went on at the new Saugatuck Center tonight as Santa arrived by boat. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During

“The vision has always been to bring people together,” said Gault, president of LH Gault & Son, Inc., a hometown company started in 1863.

“It marks our first Christmas season here and shows that this is a place for the community to gather beyond the season,” he added about the new, two-building, one-acre complex on Riverside Avenue and overlooking the Saugatuck River.

Gault noted that the complex is replete with a public access boardwalk, and that all of the amenities are aimed at bringing back a sense of neighborhood to Westport’s Saugatuck section.

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11/30/11 02:28 AM Comments () • Permalink

Gault Holiday Celebration Image
Sam Gault (c) is surrounded by family members and friends at tonight’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the new Saugatuck Center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for


11/30/11 02:24 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Expert: How to Combat Rudeness

By Dave Matlow

Fifty-five percent of Americans think that rudeness is a permanent quality of our society, according to Westonite Sara Hacala. Image
Westonite Sara Hacala: “rush, stress and over scheduled lives” are primary instigators of rudeness. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The author of “Saving Civility, 52 Ways to Tame Rude, Crude and Attitude for a Polite Planet” was guest speaker today at the Rotary Club’s weekly meeting at the Inn at Longshore. 

Hacala, a certified etiquette and protocol consultant defines civility as being a good citizen. She said that “rush, stress and over-scheduled lives” are primary instigators of rudeness. 

“With everyone on their smart phones and Internet access so frequent, many individuals overlook the balance between technology and personal interaction,” she said.

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11/29/11 10:50 PM Comments () • Permalink

Rudeness Query Image
Westport Rotary Club members raise their hands today in response to speaker Sara Hacala’s question as to whether they feel that their lives would be improved by less rudeness. She is the author of “Saving Civility, 52 Ways to Tame Rude, Crude and Attitude for a Polite Planet.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


11/29/11 10:44 PM Comments () • Permalink

Fire Marshal: Church Blaze Cause Still ‘Undetermined’

Nine days after a devastating fire ripped through the rear of Westport’s Saugatuck Congregational Church, the Westport Fire Marshal said today the cause is still under investigation. Image
Heavy flames engulfed the rear of Saugatuck Congregational Church when firefighters arrived on Nov. 20. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for

“The cause of the fire remains undetermined at this time,” said Fire Marshal Edward Zygmant in a news release. He said the rear portion of the 1832-built church sustained heavy fire damage with the collapse of the roof and floor and that “hampered both firefighting efforts and the investigation,” he said.

He said an ongoing investigation is continuing by his office, the Westport Police Detective Bureau, and the Connecticut State Fire Marshal’s Office.

On Sunday, John Walsh, chair of the board of trustees, said the investigational report, not finalized, suggests that “there was nothing suspicious.” He made the remarks in addressing the Sunday worship service held at Temple Israel in Westport.


11/29/11 09:34 PM Comments () • Permalink

NU Creates $30 million Storm Fund

By Mark Pazniokas

Northeast Utilities today announced $30 million in rebates for the 230,000 customers left in the dark for at least a week after the Oct. 29 snowstorm, triple the original offer made three weeks to cope with a public-relations disaster.

At the suggestion of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the rebate program will be overseen by Kenneth R. Feinberg, the lawyer who administered the victim compensenation funds established after the 9-11 attacks and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Eligible customers who file claims by Jan. 31 will receive a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $200, depending on how many claims are filed.

The initial effort would have provided an average of just $43, if reserved for the hardest-hit customers of its embattled subsidiary, Connecticut Light & Power. It was criticized by customers and received tepidly by Malloy, who had pointedly dismissed the $10 million as a first step.

Click here for more of story


11/29/11 08:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 51 Gorham Ave. Image
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 51 Gorham Ave. is in process. Built in 1950, the two-story colonial has 1,860 square feet and is situated on a .39-acre property. Ownership changed hands last month at $775,000. Because the house was built more than 50 years ago, the application will be reviewed by the Westport Historic District Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


11/29/11 08:06 PM Comments () • Permalink

Real Estate Report: Back to 2003 Prices

By Judy Szablak

Case-Shiller released its monthly housing indices report today and it revealed that national home prices are back to the level of the first quarter of 2003.

National declines averaged 3.9 percent in September, although that is less than the 5.8 percent reported from the second quarter. David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices,  noted that, “Home prices drifted lower in September and the third quarter.”

Only three of the nation’s 20 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) posted any type of gain in September, and New York was one of the lucky few, albeit by less than 1 percent. 

Analysts are beginning to agree that the worst of the pricing collapse from 2007-2009 seems to be behind us. Fourteen of the 20 MSAs showed improvements with their annual rates of change. The New York MSA index is currently at 169.92, and normalized from the first quarter of 2000 at 100. The weekly statistics:

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11/29/11 06:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

Marvin Gelman, 84

Marvin Gelman, founder of Lighting Services Inc., whose company’s products illuminate museums and display windows all over the world, died Nov. 29 in Westport of complications from cancer. He was 84. Image
Marvin Gelman: longtime Westporter. Contributed photo

A longtime Westport resident, Gelman had a passion for boating and being on the water. He was a member of the Saugatuck River Sail and Power Squadron and former commander of Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 72 based in Norwalk.

He was a member of the New York section of the Illuminating Engineering Society (IESNY) since 1950. He began his career as the lighting director of NBC’s “Tonight Show with Steve Allen.” While working at NBC, he met his future wife, Barbara Savini, a production assistant with the program. The two married in 1957.

In 1958, he left the network to launch his own consulting firm, Lighting Services Inc (LSI) which had a motto of “everything in lighting from design to installation.” Within a few years, realizing that quality lighting equipment was not available in the field, he changed focus and Lighting Services Inc. became a full-fledged specialty manufacturer of accent and display lighting.

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11/29/11 05:05 PM Comments () • Permalink

Eleanor Bond, 76

Eleanor “Ellie” Whitford Bond died Nov. 14 with the comfort of loving family at her side. A Westport resident from 1966 to 2000, she was a friendly and familiar face in town before moving to California to be closer to her children and grandchildren.

The daughter of the late William G. and Dorothy (Edwards) Whitford, she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, and worked briefly in advertising for Leo Burnett before marrying and moving to Westport with her husband, Robert “Bud” Bond and young family. The couple was married 52 years.

A wonderful smile and an engaging warm personality delighted Ellie’s many friends and colleagues, her family said. She was an enthusiastic organizer and participant in various civic activities including the Westport Women’s Club and received a National Service Award from the Girl Scouts of America.

A local columnist wrote of her retirement in 1999 after 17 years of devoted employment with the Westport YMCA, “She was the glue that held the Y together.”

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11/29/11 05:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

‘Accident’ Saves Scout Plaque from Church Fire

By James Lomuscio

Call it providence, happenstance or just plain luck, the “most prized possession” of Westport Boy Scouts Troop 36—a 60-year-old plaque listing all the troop’s Eagle Scouts—escaped the ravages of the fire that swept through Saugatuck Congregational Church Nov. 20. Image
Troop 36 Scoutmaster Jack Berry poses with some of his Scouts at Thursday’s Thanksgiving Feast at Christ & Holy Trinity Church where they helped out. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for

“Our most prized possession by accident wasn’t there,” said Jack Berry, Troop 36 scoutmaster since 1984. “It’s an Eagle Scout plaque that has the names of 113 Eagle Scouts going back 60 years.

“And it’s all because I made an error when I put the last couple of names and dates on it, and I sent it back to the trophy shop where it was being corrected,” he added. “I was supposed to pick it up two weeks ago, but I just didn’t get there.”

Berry was not too confident, however, about the condition of other items in the troop’s storage room under the front steps of the church’s sanctuary. He said he expects to get a damage assessment today from a salvage company hired by the church.

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11/29/11 05:30 AM Comments () • Permalink

Compo Viewing Image
With a succession of spectacular late November sunsets, Westport’s Compo Beach on Monday drew more visitors to take in the Mother Nature light show. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for


11/29/11 05:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

9 a.m. – Town Hall Room 206 – Wetland Boundary Map Verification Subcommittee
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society -  “At Home with Stone” & “The Wit & Wisdom of Frazier Forman Peters”
10 a.m. - Westport Public Library - Jobseekers: Energize Your Job Search
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “On Duty: Odermatt, Metinides and Weegee”
6 p.m. - Saugatuck Center - Tree lighting ceremony
6:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - “Under Our Skin” Lyme Disease documentary film
7:30 p.m. - Greens Farms Academy - “Moral Leadership and Patient Capital for a World that Can’t Wait,” Jacqueline Novogratz
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Zoning Board of Appeals (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


11/29/11 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Police Arrest Two in Shoplifting at CVS

Westport police, assisted by state police with a K-9 unit, tonight arrested two New York men in connection with a shoplifting incident at CVS Pharmacy, 397 Post Road East, that led to recovery of about $5,000 in stolen merchandise. Image
Police examine a car tonight in the Connecticut Humane Society parking lot on Post Road East where they say they recovered stolen merchandise. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

A CVS store manager said one of the suspects entered the store at about 8 p.m. and questioned two or three store employees repeatedly before he was spotted running through a rear exit with a shopping basket “full of merchandise.”

He fled in the direction of the nearby Connecticut Humane Society, the employee said, and that is where police said they found a car containing an adult accomplice, identified as Jeffrey Louis Vaughn, 26, of Queens, N.Y., and a female juvenile accomplice.

The officers located the items stolen from CVS in the vicinity of the vehicle as well as items stolen from drug stores from surrounding communities in the vehicle, police said.

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11/29/11 04:45 AM Comments () • Permalink

Chamber, UJA Federation Launch Children’s Book Drive

The Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce has launched a children’s holiday book drive along with UJA/Federation Westport Weston Wilton and Norwalk and Norwalk Community College under the auspices of their joint program, Books2Connect. Image
Helping launch the book drive are (l-r) Heather Cavanagh, special projects manager for the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce; Steve Friedlander, executive director of UJA/Federation Westport Weston Wilton Norwalk; Carole Hendrickson, William Raveis Real Estate who generously donated boxes of books, and Dan Miller, director of sales & marketing at The Westport Inn. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Books2Connect brings business and service organizations together to provide needy children in Connecticut with books for their own home libraries. The project seeks new and gently used books to distribute to children from infancy through young adulthood, in an effort to build a foundation for life-long learning.

“Although Connecticut is one of the wealthiest states, nearly one out of 10 children lives in poverty and for many families, books are a luxury that they simply cannot afford,” said Heather Cavanagh, special projects manager for the Chamber. “Our partnership with UJA/Federation and NCC is the perfect model to unite our community together to make an impact on the world in which we live.”

During the drive, Westport businesses will serve as drop off points for books. The drive will run through Monday, Dec. 12.  Books2Connect is seeking books for children from infancy through high school. The books should be in good condition, with intact spines and no rips or markings on the pages, organizers said.

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11/29/11 03:36 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, November 28, 2011

Saugatuck Center Tree Lighting Set for Tuesday

The new Saugatuck Center will host its first Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with the public invited. Image
Last minute preparations are made for Tuesday’s tree lighting at Saugatuck Center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The ceremony will take place on the plaza overlooking the Saugatuck River and “celebrate the rebirth of Saugatuck” at the retail, office, and residential development which bills itself as “the newest spot in the oldest neighborhood in town.”

Organizers said all the new tenants in the project will be present, including the Craft Butcher Shop which will be providing samples of its products.

Also present will be representatives of the still-to-be-named restaurant at Saugatuck Center which is being launched by the owners of the popular Le Farm in Westport’s Colonial Green, as well as staff from the Down Under kayak shop.

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11/28/11 11:12 PM Comments () • Permalink

Now the Clean Up Image
A large truck from a restoration services company was outside the Saugatuck Congregational Church today as efforts began to recover from the Nov. 20 fire. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Barry Katz for


11/28/11 09:11 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport’s Unemployment Rate Improves to 5.6%

Westport’s unemployment rate in October was 5.6 percent, down from 5.7 percent in September and the lowest since December 2010, according to the Connecticut Department of Labor.

A year ago in October, Westport had a 6.0 percent unemployment rate.

The lowest Westport unemployment rate in recent years was 2.2 percent in December 2006, according to state records.

Among suburban Fairfield County towns, Wilton’s 6.3 October rate was highest. Easton had 6.0, Greenwich had 5.9 percent, New Canaan had 5.7, Weston improved to a 5.4 rate, while Darien had 5.3 percent.

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11/28/11 08:32 PM Comments () • Permalink

Construction Closes Church Lane Image
Construction along Westport’s Church Lane today forced closure of the roadway. Work is progressing on the Sherwood House at 26-28 Church Lane and the adjacent redevelopment project at 101-107 Post Road East. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


11/28/11 08:13 PM Comments () • Permalink

New Yorker Editor Addresses Y’s Women Image
Dorothy Wickenden, executive editor of The New Yorker and a Weston native, addressed the Y’s Women today in the Great Hall of Westport’s Christ and Holy Trinity Church about her book “Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West.” In 2008, Wickenden came upon a collection of her grandmother’s letters in the family home. The letters revealed vivid written accounts of Dorothy Woodruff, her grandmother, and a childhood friend, Rosamond Underwood, as they taught school in a remote corner of Colorado in 1916. The letters form the basis of the book, which has received positive reviews. Celie Rosenau for


11/28/11 06:43 PM Comments () • Permalink

Getting Into the Holiday Spirit Image
Holiday decorations went up today on Westport’s Main Street as the post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping season began to rev up. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


11/28/11 06:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Property Transfers Nov. 7 - 11, 2011

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period Nov. 7 - 11, 2011:

Jacqueline Tolkin to Brian Flinn, 16 Bobwhite Drive, $905,000WN property.jpg

Muriel B. Schwartz Tr. to Manic Jacques and Linda J. Meli-Lefebvre, 3 Chrestwood Road, $1,200,000

Joy Ann Beckwith to Turkey Hill Court LLC, 15 Turkey Hill Road South, $2,040,000

7 Fraser Road LLC to Denise S. Nesi, 7 Fraser Road, $3,500,000

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11/28/11 05:48 PM Comments () • Permalink

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