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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Waiting for a New Year’s Eve Carriage Ride Image
Carriage rides were a popular attraction for early First Night goers today outside the Westport Weston Family Y Mild weather in the 50s brought out more visitors than last year, according to organizers. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


12/31/11 10:14 PM Comments () • Permalink

Riding the Streets of Westport Image
Two horse and carriage teams carried New Year’s Eve visitors through the streets of Westport today as part of First Night. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


12/31/11 10:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Drawing Stares Image
Classic cars drew stares from passersby on Westport’s Main Street today as First Night activities got under way. The cars are from Dragone Classic Cars of Westport.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


12/31/11 10:08 PM Comments () • Permalink

Antique Car Parade Kicks Off First Night Image
A parade of antique cars from Dragone Classic Cars of Westport kicked off Westport’s First Night celebrations today. The antique car parade was new to the more than 30 events this year.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


12/31/11 10:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

Last Sunset of 2011 Image
The last sunset of 2011 as seen today from Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


12/31/11 09:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

“It’s Going to be a Beautiful Night” Image
Preparation for Westport’s annual First Night festivities tonight were under way today. Fairfield-based J & D Kettled Corn owner Jeff Pressler said his stand is at the corner of Jesup Road and Taylor Place for the sixth year. “Last year, I had to plow a 20 feet by 20 feet space before I could set up,” he aid. “This year it’s going to be a beautiful night.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


12/31/11 07:32 PM Comments () • Permalink

Closing the Door on 75 Years of Postal History Image
The Westport Main Post Office on Post Road East closed its doors for the last time today. The building site, purchased by the U.S. Postal Service in 1933 for $35,000 from Harry and Edna Sherwood, was sold in May for $2.35 million to an investor group which hopes to turn it into retail or restaurant. The Post Office, which opened in 1936, is moving to much smaller space in Playhouse Square just up the street on Post Road East. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


12/31/11 06:33 PM Comments () • Permalink

“We’re Closed” Image
Westport Postmaster Dennis Kassimis (l) was on hand as the Main Post Office lobby windows closed for the last time at 12:30 p.m. today at its 154 Post Road East home since the 1930s. On Tuesdayt, the new Main Post Office will open in Playhouse Square. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


12/31/11 06:23 PM Comments () • Permalink

Busy Last Day Image
It was a busy last day today at the Westport Main Post Office which on Tuesday will move to Playhouse Square. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dorrie Harris for


12/31/11 06:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Flashback: Post Office Under Construction in 1935 Image
Today’s official closing of Westport’s Main Post Office on Post Road East came 75 years after it opened. This 1935 U.S. Postal Service photo shows the building under construction. The Postal Service bought the property for $35,000 in 1933 and spent $108,000 to construct the building. According to the Postal Service, a large mural was initially planned for the building designed by architect Lansing C. Holden, but it was later determined that no funds were available for the project. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) U.S. Postal Service photo


12/31/11 05:41 PM Comments () • Permalink

Compo New Year’s Eve Rainbow Image
A New Year’s Eve rainbow was spotted by a Compo Beach visitor today. Howard Potter for


12/31/11 04:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Whose Idea Was This? Image
A Compo Beach souvenir photo on Friday seemed like fun—except for the pooch involved. Bob Eckman for


12/31/11 05:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Noon - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society -  “At Home with Stone” & “The Wit & Wisdom of Frazier Forman Peters” (last day)
4 p.m. - Midnight - Downtown Westport, Various Locations - First Night 2012

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


12/31/11 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Friday, December 30, 2011

For Westporter, 2012 Could Ring in ‘Woman of the Year’

By James Lomuscio

As the ball drops New Year’s Eve, it will mean more than just ringing in the new for Westporter Elizabeth Fry. She will know whether she has won the world’s “Woman of the Year” award for open water swimming. Image
Elizabeth Fry: support has been “overwhelming.” Contributed photo

Fry, 53 and a 1976 graduate of Staples High School, is one of 12 women internationally who have been nominated for the 2011 Woman of the Year award by the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA).

She is up against two American swimmers and others from as far away as Sweden, New Zealand, Germany, Brazil, Australia and Great Britain.

According to WOWSA officials, Fry was nominated for “her dynamic spirit in helping others realize their open water dreams while she realizes her own potential in some of the most difficult swims around the world.”

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12/30/11 05:03 PM Comments () • Permalink

First Night Set for New Year’s Eve Image

First Night is getting set for a revamped New Year’s Eve extravaganza Saturday that it hopes will attract thousands of youngsters and adults to Westport’s alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration. And it looks like the weather won’t be a problem.

New this year is a kickoff antique car parade. The fun begins at 4 p.m. when Dragone antiques cars cross the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge and head down Main Street.

“They will drive around the block and eventually park on Main Street for all to take a look and admire these beautiful cars,” said Barbara Pearson-Rac, president of First Night.

The forecast for Saturday night calls for initially partly cloudy skies becoming mostly clear with temperatures in the low 30s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph are expected as two sets of fireworks go off at 8:30 p.m. and midnight.

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12/30/11 02:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Cool Walk Image
It was cold—in the 20s—on Thursday afternoon as a few people and dogs walked along Westport’s Compo Beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for


12/30/11 05:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, December 30, 2011

Westport Town Hall, Board of Education: Closed
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society -  “At Home with Stone” & “The Wit & Wisdom of Frazier Forman Peters”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


12/30/11 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Moving

By James Lomuscio

Westport Postmaster Dennis Kassimis says that he has been too busy with holiday mail and the scheduled move to Playhouse Square to wax nostalgic about the Westport Post Office leaving the brick building it has called home since the 1930s. Image
Westport Postermaster Dennis Kassimis outside the new Main Post Office in Playhouse Square which opens on Tuesday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

“We’re just too busy to think about it,” Kassimis said about leaving the time honored facility at 154 Post Road East. “It’s always after the storm, when things quiet down, that you start to think about it.”

Kassimis and the five employees there will not have too much time to reflect. The old, 7,000-square-foot facility officially closes Saturday, and on Tuesday, Jan. 3 will reopen in smaller, 2,700-square-foot space in Playhouse Square. The official address, Kassimis notes, is 275 Post Road East, Suite 10, a section of building that had previously been occupied by Derma Clinic.

He is quick to point out that the new building, while smaller, will have added advantages such as better parking and 24-hour access to Post Office boxes compared to the current building’s 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. hours. The number of boxes will be 678 compared to 758 at the current facility.

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12/29/11 07:16 PM Comments () • Permalink

Chefs Star at Farmers Market Fund-Raiser

The Westport Farmers Market is sponsoring what it calls a “casual celebration of local, sustainable, healthy food” on Saturday, Jan. 28, which will feature several Fairfield County “farm-to-table” chefs.

Tickets for the “Fork It Over” event at the Greenhouses at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens on Sylvan Lane South are $150 and go on sale on Jan. 3.

“This casual evening will give diners the opportunity to mingle with chefs while enjoying a seasonal tasting menu, paired perfectly with wines, all while listening to light jazz,” an announcement said.

“This is the perfect opportunity to pull up a stool, mingle and hang out with friends under the glow of candlelight.”

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12/29/11 06:59 PM Comments () • Permalink

Marie A. Davis, 97

Marie Albin Davis of Raleigh, N.C., a former employee of radio station WMMM in Westport, died Dec. 27 at Capital Nursing in Raleigh, N.C. She was 97.

She was born April 21, 1914, in Brooklyn, N.Y., one of five children of the late Mr. and Mrs. Edward Albin.

A business college graduate, she was an accountant and office manager for radio station WMMM in Westport, which was on the air from 1959 to 1997.

She was a gifted Bible teacher, counselor, and friend to both children and adults for many years.

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12/29/11 05:29 PM Comments () • Permalink

Changing Sky Image
Wednesday’s changing sky as seen from Westport’s Compo Beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for


12/29/11 05:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, December 29, 2011

10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society -  “At Home with Stone” & “The Wit & Wisdom of Frazier Forman Peters”
10 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Gilbertie’s (7 Sylvan Lane) - Westport Farmers Market Winter Market

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


12/29/11 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It’s Official: Main Post Office Closing on Saturday Image
A U.S. Postal Service note to customers at the main Westport Post Office makes it official—Saturday will be its last day at its Post Road East home since 1935. Beginning Tuesday, the Main Westport Post Office moves to Playhouse Square where postal boxes will be accessible 24 hours a day, according to the note. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


12/28/11 10:49 PM Comments () • Permalink

Storms a Windfall for Generator Sales

By James Lomuscio

Westporter Carla Rea says that despite Tuesday night’s fierce, howling winds that made her cable television go out briefly, she had no fear of losing power thanks to a propane-powered, 14 kW generator installed to the tune of $12,000. Image
This 40 kW generator, which runs on natural gas, starts up instantly to power everything in this Westport home when electric service fails. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Like all permanently installed, free standing, automatic generators, Rea’s unit kicks in the second a power outage hits. She says it was well worth the price tag considering how many days she and her husband Michael Rea, a member of Westport’s Board of Finance, were left without power after Hurricane Irene in late summer and again with the October Nor’easter.

“I knew if something happened yesterday with the wind, I wouldn’t have to worry,” she said.

The Reas are just one of more 175 Westport households that have opted to put in permanent, standby generators since Hurricane Irene, according to Laurence Bradley, director of the Planning and Zoning Department.

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12/28/11 09:50 PM Comments () • Permalink

Remembering Cindy D’Aiuto Image
Today’s anniversary of the death a year ago in a Kings Highway North parking lot of Westporter Cindy D’Aiuto, 48, was marked with the posting of ribbons and photographs dedicated to her near where she died. Whitney Cusa, a sister, put up family pictures including one of the two of them together that said “I Miss U – Whitty” and another of D’Aiuto’s dog Bear which said “Bear Misses U Too.” An autopsy determined that she died of hypothermia and her death was ruled accidental. The Medical Examiner’s Office said that underlying medical issues may have been contributing factors as well. (See WestportNow Dec. 29, 2010) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


12/28/11 08:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Expressions of Love Image
The death a year ago of Cindy D’Aiuto, a 48-year-old Westport mother of two, was marked by ribbons and family pictures today on a tree in a Kings Highway North parking lot where she died of hypothermia. One of D’Aiuto’s sisters, Whitney Cusa, posted the remembrances, according to a family friend. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


12/28/11 08:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

Real Estate Report: Area Fares Better in New Report

By Judy Szablak

The latest S&P Case Shiller report shows that while prices are up since their low in March of this year, prices in general for the 20 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are at 2003 levels. Image
This home at 11 West Branch Road is listed for $3,475,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of Halstead Property/Westport

The shocking national indices show prices are down an average of 32.1 percent since their mid-2006 peak. 

Although consumer confidence is at its highest level since April, home prices have registered a 3.4 percent decline for the year as of October.

The New York area MSA once again fared better than the majority of cities indexed, showing only a minus 2.0 annual change from last year.

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12/28/11 06:23 PM Comments () • Permalink

Coleytown Middle Custodian Charged With Larceny

A 31-year-old custodian at Westport’s Coleytown Middle School has been charged with larceny in connection with two separate incidents at the school, police said today.

Cesar Yepes-Escobar of 36 Benson St., Bridgeport was arrested Dec. 22 after he turned himself into police after learning there were warrants out for him, police said.

Police did not disclose details of the incidents other than to say one count of larceny was for theft from a building and the other for shoplifting.

He was released with a promise to appear in court on Jan. 3, police said.


12/28/11 04:44 PM Comments () • Permalink

Dorothy Gambaccini, 91

Dorothy Gambaccini, wife of the late Mario Gambaccini and Westport resident for 56 years, died Dec. 27 at Norwalk Hospital. She was 91.

Born in Hartford and educated at Hunter College, she worked as a registered dietitian at Fordham University, where she met her husband.

In Westport, she became president of the League of Women Voters of Westport and president of the PTA Council. She served several terms on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM)—from 1969 to 1971 and 1972 to 1977.

She was also an active volunteer with the Westport-Weston chapter of the American Red Cross. She and her husband were avid boaters and had often traveled on the inland waterway to Florida.

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12/28/11 04:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

Storm Clean Up Image
Workers today complete the clean up of Tuesday night’s fallen tree damage in front of 5 Punch Bowl Drive that pulled down primary power lines on the street, reported previously as Gault Park Drive. Following power restoration to the neighborhood after midnight, a tree crew cut and removed the fallen tree from the street. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


12/28/11 03:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

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