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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Party With Your Food

The 10th anniversary of Play With Your Food, the lunchtime play reading series, was celebrated tonight at Dragone Classic Motorcars in Westport. Surrounded by classic cars, 200 guests enjoyed an evening that began with wines, cocktails and assorted hors d’oeuvres. Entertainment consisted of dancing, singing and comedy skits under the supervision of artistic director Carole Schweid and Nancy Diamond, executive producer.  Musical direction was provided by pianist David Harris.  Appropriate to the classic car setting, the skits began with excerpts from “Two for the Road” and continued with “In My Merry Oldsmobile.” Larry Untermeyer for


01/29/12 04:17 AM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, January 28, 2012

‘Being Elmo’ Screens in Westport Image
The Westport Cinema Initiative, the nonprofit with the goal of reopening a movie theater in Westport, today hosted a screening of the film “Being Elmo” at Westport’s Christ & Holy Trinity Church. The film is about puppeteer Kevin Clash who plays the popular Elmo figure on “Sesame Street” All ages gathered for the screening and stayed for the talk back with two of the “Sesame Street” longtime puppeteers.  Children brought puppets which they made and shared their voices. Picrured (l-r) are Larry Perlstein WCI Board member, Carmen Osbahr, Hensen puppeteer, Pam Arciero, Hensen puppeteer, and Doug Tirola, WCI vice president of programming. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Lefkowitz for


01/28/12 11:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

Gottesman Library Research Area Dedicated Image
The Westport Public Library Friday honored Westporter Gene Gottesman,  a donor and patron of its reference and research services, at a ceremony Friday marking the dedication of the research area named for him.  “We are so happy to have patrons like Gene, and so fortunate to be the recipient of his gift,” said director Maxine Bleiweis. “He’s enriched the Library so that many others may benefit from it as well.”  Pictured (l-r) are Jocelyn Barandiaran, senior vice president of the Library’s Board of Trustees, Helen Reisler , Gottesman’s sister of Somers, N.Y., who came to Westport to witness the ceremony, Gottesman and Bleiweis. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


01/28/12 07:42 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saugatuck Parishioners Get Fire Tour Image
Two months after a fire heavily damaged their Saugatuck Congregational Church on Westport’s Post Road East, church members today toured the damaged structure for the first time since the investigation into the Nov. 20 blaze was concluded with no cause found. A group of approximately 30 congregants divided into three groups were led by church trustees John Walsh and Betsy Gillespie and treasurer John Loeck. In showing the choir room where sheet music was stored Walsh said, “about 41,000 sheets of music were destroyed.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


01/28/12 06:13 PM Comments () • Permalink

Finally Seeing the Damage Closeup Image
Members of the Saugatuck Congregational Church today got their first closeup view of the fire-damaged church since the Nov. 20 blaze. Much of the rear portion of the 1832-built church was destroyed by the flames that took six hours to extinguish but left much of the sanctuary water damaged but intact. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


01/28/12 06:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

The Whelk: Newest Addition to Westport Dining Scene Image
The Whelk, the fish-centric dining spot from Westport Le Farm owner Bill Taibe and Massimo Tulio of Norwalk’s Fat Cat Pie Company, has opened at its Riverside Avenue waterview location in the new Saugatuck Center development owned by the Gault family. After nights of friends and family dining and the official opening, the restaurant will be closed from today until it reopens Tuesday.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for


01/28/12 04:16 PM Comments () • Permalink

Library Wraps Up WestportREADS With Party

The Westport Public Library Friday night hosted a Tropical Island party to close out its annual WestportREADS community reading program. This year’s selection featured a book which revisits the mystery of the 1937 central Pacific disappearance of aviation pioneer and author Amelia Earhart as she attempted a flight to circumnavigate the globe. The book, “I Was Amelia Earhart” by Jane Mendelsohn, imagines Earhart may have landed on a tropical island. Guests dined on tropical island fare with accompanying drinks. Contributed photos


01/28/12 03:13 PM Comments () • Permalink

Dramatic Winter Sky Image
Friday night’s sunset produced a dramatic winter sky as seen from Westport’s Compo Beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Alan H. Martin for


01/28/12 05:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, January 28, 2012

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Toy Stories”
11 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Earthplace - “Warming Up to Winter”
2 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Teen XBox Event
4 p.m. - Christ & Holy Trinity Church - Westport Cinema Initiative: “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”
7 p.m. - Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens - Westport Farmers Market “Fork it Over” benefit

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


01/28/12 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Crayon Art at ‘Toy Stories’ Image
Artist Christian Faur created this art work using 10,000 wax crayons. It is part of the Westport Arts Center’s “Toy Stories” exhibit which opened tonight featuring toy-related works by 33 artists. Faur said his crayon art was inspired by seeing his young daughter using them. The exhibit runs through March 18. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


01/28/12 01:48 AM Comments () • Permalink

Not Just for Kids

The Westport Arts Center tonight opened its latest exhibit, “Toy Stories,” featuring the works of 33 artists. Helen Klisser During, curator of the exhibit and the Center’s visual arts director, shows off a doll in her image created by artist Janine Brown. The show runs through March 18. Larry Untermeyer for and contributed photos


01/28/12 01:43 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, January 27, 2012

Irma Z. Pollack, 95

Irma Ziegler Pollack, a former Westport resident where she was active in community affairs and most recently living in Westborough, Mass., died Jan. 26. She was 95. Image
Irma Z. Pollack: former Westport resident. Contributed photo

The wife of the late Robert Pollack, she was born April 18, 1916 in New York. She lived many years in Norwich, Conn., Westport, and Florida before moving to The Willows in Westborough, Mass.

She was active in volunteer work. Early in her marriage she took a class in Braille and copied stories from the Ladies’ Home Journal that were given to the blind.

After she and her husband moved to Westport, she joined the Westport Woman’s Club and offered to teach several hours a week and take care of several special needs children and taught them to listen, sit still and play with others.

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01/27/12 06:40 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Property Transfers Jan. 9 - 13, 2011

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period Jan. 9 - 13, 2012:

Mohamed Wael A Hashad to Gurpreet and Mansi Singh, 105A Old Road, $1,480,000WN property.jpg

Maureen Dewan to Selden Family Trust of 1997, 5 Terra Nova Circle, $870,000

William J. and Mary B. Heery to Gareth H. and Dongnghi T. Kirwan, 26 Hogan Trail, $825,000

Angelo Veno to Nicole Phillips and Chris Neil, 9 Indian Hill Road, $435,000

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01/27/12 05:27 PM Comments () • Permalink

Stephanie S. Baker, 45

Stephanie S. Baker of East Hartford, a former longtime resident of Westport, died Jan. 25 at Manchester Memorial Hospital. She was 45. Image
Stephanie Baker: 1984 Staples grad. Contributed photo

She was born in Hartford and had resided in Westport for many years prior to moving to East Hartford. She is a 1984 graduate of Staples High School and a 1989 graduate of the University of Connecticut.

She was a special education teacher for the Town of Westport in the early 90s and most recently was employed as a caregiver in the healthcare industry.

She also loved the beach and for several years was employed as a counselor at Beach School for Westport Parks and Recreation prior to becoming a teacher.

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01/27/12 02:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

Spanish Authorities Confirm Levene Died by Hanging

UPDATE Spanish authorities today confirmed that Westport murder suspect Andrew R. Levene was found hanged in his Barcelona jail cell.

In a statement, the justice department of Catalonia said Levene was found dead Thursday in the Modelo prison. A Spanish newspaper said he was found by a cellmate.

An investigation into the death was under way but all signs indicated he had committed suicide by hanging himself with a sheet, a spokeswoman said.

Levene, 41, was arrested in Barcelona on Tuesday in the Dec. 8 shooting of Yekutiel Zeevi at his Compo Shopping Center jewelry business.

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01/27/12 01:27 PM Comments () • Permalink

Rainy Commute Image
Rain and foggy conditions were the order of the day today as commuters at Westport’s Metro-North station made their way to trains. The forecast called for rain throughout the day with temperatures getting into the unseasonable 50s. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


01/27/12 12:53 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, January 27, 2012

8:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201A – Westport Transit District Board
9:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Baron’s South Committee Canceled
9:30 a.m. - Westport Arts Center - ArtCafé Canceled
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Toy Stories”
6 p.m. - 8 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Opening Reception: “Toy Stories”
8 p.m. - 10 p.m. - Westport Public Library - WestportREADS benefit: Tropical Island Party

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


01/27/12 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Nava Zeevi: Justice Was Served ‘With His Own Hands’

By James Lomuscio

Nava Zeevi said tonight that news of her husband’s accused murderer committing suicide in a Barcelona jail cell gave her a sense of relief that she and her family would not have to go through a painful, drawn out trial. Image
Nava and Yekutiel Zeevi on a trip to Israel. photo

“To me justice has been served, and he did it with his own hands,” she said of murder suspect Andrew Robert Levine, 41.

She also took the opportunity to thank the Westport community for its continued support to her ever since her husband Yekutiel Zeevi, 65, had been shot to death at his Westport jewelry businesses and a co-worker critically wounded.

Levene had been arrested in Spain Tuesday after an intensive, six-week investigation by Westport Police and state and federal law enforcement agencies including the FBI. He was found dead today after he had hanged himself with articles of clothing at the Men’s Penitentiary Center of Barcelona, popularly known as Modelo Prison, the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia reported.

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01/27/12 02:58 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Report: Levene Hanged Himself in Jail Cell

A Spanish newspaper said today Westport murder suspect Andrew R. Levene hanged himself in his Barcelona prison cell and was found by a fellow prisoner. Image
The Modelo Prison in Barcelona where murder suspect Andrew R. Levene was reportedly found hanged in his cell. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Pere Lopez/ photo

Quoting “sources close to the case,” La Vanguardia, Barcelona’s leading newspaper, said Levene was found dead in his cell at the Men’s Penitentiary Center of Barcelona, popularly known as Modelo Prison.

It said he hanged himself “using some items such as clothing found in the cell.”

The U.S. Embassy in Madrid said Spanish authorities had confirmed Levene’s death but were still investigating the circumstances.


01/26/12 11:26 PM Comments () • Permalink

Murder Suspect Had Huge Debt and Special Ops Training

By James Lomuscio

Andrew Robert Levene, 41—who reportedly committed suicide in a Spanish jail today while awaiting extradition to Connecticut for the Dec. 8 murder of Westport jeweler Yekutil Zeevi—was in financial straits and facing civil suits prior to the robbery that left Zeevi dead and a co-worker critically injured.

Internet searches also describe Levene as a former West Haven resident and former U.S. Army Ranger who served under Gen. Wayne A Downing, commander of American Special Operations forces in Iraq.

According to, Silverleaf Business Solutions LLC sued Levene on Nov. 5 for his failure to pay a $300,000 promissory note taken out in November 2007.

The night Zeevi, 65, was murdered and his colleague Ronen Konfino, 48, was critically wounded, Levene stole six diamonds valued at $300,000, federal authorities said. According to, with interest, Levene owed $556,298.

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01/26/12 07:41 PM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 10 Caccamo Lane Ext. Image
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 10 Caccamo Lane Extension, near Gorham Avenue, is in process. Built in 1963, the one-story raised ranch has 1,554 square feet and is situated on a .51-acre property. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


01/26/12 06:59 PM Comments () • Permalink

Update: Westport Murder Suspect Found Dead Image
Andrew R. Levene: was arrested in Barcelona. Contributed photo

UPDATE Andrew R. Levene, arrested in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday in the murder of Westport jeweler Yukutiel Zeevi, has been found dead, the U.S. Embassy in Madrid said today.

The embassy said in a statement that American officials were notified today of Levene’s death and that Spanish authorities are investigating, according to The AP.

La Vanguardia, Barcelona’s leading newspaper, said Levene hanged himself in Modelo Prison using items such as clothing. It quoted “sources close to the case.”

Earlier, The Hartford Courant, quoting law enforcement sources, said Levene had killed himself in his cell but did not say how.

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01/26/12 05:56 PM Comments () • Permalink

Five Departures Signal ‘Bumpy Road’ for Temple Israel

By James Lomuscio

Westport’s Temple Israel will undergo major personnel changes, according to a letter today announcing the departures of Senior Rabbi Robert Orkand, Associate Rabbi Alysa Mendelson Graf, two cantors and the temple’s executive director over the next six to 18 months. Image
Rabbi Robert Orkand (who rerires next year): “It’s not a shakeup.” Contributed photo

“Some of these changes have been expected; they are personal decisions and reflect the passage of time,” wrote Diana Muller, president of the temple’s executive committee. She noted that Orkand, “the face of Temple Israel over three decades,” had been discussing retirement plans for the past several months.

“Others (changes) respond to those developments or reflect organizational decisions by the Board of Trustees as we look at the needs of the Temple going forward,” she added about the Coleytown Road house of worship that first opened in 1958.

Orkand noted that his decision to retire after 30 years from the 850-member congregation “necessitated other decisions, and those other decisions were based on some inevitable retirements and thinking about what our future should look like.”

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01/26/12 05:29 PM Comments () • Permalink

Hazy Sunset Image
Wednesday’s hazy sunset as seen from South Beach at Westport’s Compo Beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for


01/26/12 05:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, January 26, 2012

10 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Gilbertie’s (7 Sylvan Lane) - Westport Farmers Market Winter Market
10 a.m. - Earthplace – Sasco Brook Pollution Abatement Committee
11 a.m. - Westport Historical Society - Film Screening of “YERT” (“Your Environmental Road Trip”)
2 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Overcoat Film Series: “My Darling Clementine”
5 p.m. - 7 p.m. - Westport Senior Center - CT Money School: “Eldercare Considerations: Resources and Choices,” Joel Muhlbaum & Sharon Rosen
6:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - WestportREADS Movie: “Amelia”
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Sherwood Mill Pond Committee

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


01/26/12 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Spanish Police: Westport Suspect Arrested in Barcelona Image
Andrew R. Levene: “living with family” in Spain. Contributed photo

UPDATE Spanish police said today they had detained U.S. citizen Andrew Robert Levene, suspected of shooting Westport jeweler Yukutiel Zeevi, in Barcelona where he was living with his family.

“During the search of his home, police seized several items related to the crime,” a statement (English translation here)  said, adding the arrest was carried out in cooperation with the FBI. The statement said he was arrested at noon local time (6 a.m. EST) on Tuesday.

It was the first official word exactly where the 41-year-old Levene had been captured and that additional evidence was seized.

A statement Tuesday by federal authorities merely said he had been arrested in Spain after fleeing abroad following the Dec. 8 robbery-murder.

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01/26/12 04:13 AM Comments () • Permalink

Community Gardens Member Honored Image
Trish Williams, past treasurer and membership coordinator of the Westport Community Gardens, was honored tonight by members at a meeting at the Westport Public Library. With her is Lou Weinberg, chairman, who presented her with a blown glass award and plaque honoring her work for the group. Williams announced she is resigning her board post but will stay on as an active member of the gardens. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Alyssa Crouse for


01/26/12 01:45 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Going Down: 26 Buena Vista Drive Image
The house at Westport’s 26 Buena Vista Drive, in the Compo Beach area, was demolished today. Built in 1954, the 1-3/4 story cape had 2,587 square feet and was situated on a .19-acre property. A fire in the early morning of Sept. 4, 2011 severely damaged the house. It was the WestportNow Teardown of the Day on Nov. 15, 2011. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


01/25/12 10:54 PM Comments () • Permalink

Shays Officially Launches Senate Bid

By Mark Pazniokas

After a soft launch three months ago, Chris Shays raised the curtain on his U.S. Senate campaign today with pointed references to his unexpected victory 25 years ago over two wealthy businessmen in a Republican congressional primary. Image
Christopher Shays announces his candidacy today at the Old State House in Hartford. photo

He was not merely indulging in nostalgia. To win the GOP nomination in 2012, Shays will need to recapture of the energy and mojo of his 1987 upset, showing he can replicate on a statewide level tactics that worked in the state’s smallest and most densely settled congressional district.

Shays, 66, who represented Fairfield County’s 4th District in the U.S. House for 21 years until his defeat in 2008, is the wild card in the GOP primary: a polished, if underfunded campaigner up against the deep, deep pockets of Linda McMahon.

“We need to select a United States senator who possesses the courage, the record and the experience to get things done,” Shays told an audience at the Old State House in Hartford.

Click here for more of story


01/25/12 10:38 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saugatuck Church Selects New Pastor

The Saugatuck Congregational Church has selected The Rev. Alison J. Buttrick Patton as its new pastor. She joins the church from First Church Simsbury in Simsbury. Image
The Rev. Alison J. Buttrick Patton: begins May 1. Contributed photo

She was unanimously approved by the members who attended the Congregational meeting following the worship service on Sunday and her appointment was announced in a letter Tuesday to members and church friends.

A native New Englander, sher earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and theater arts from Bates College and a Master of Divinity from Chicago Theological Seminary.

Prior to working in Simsbury, she was dean of community life and director of admissions and recruitment at Chicago Theological Seminary and served at the Peoples Church of Chicago.

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01/25/12 10:07 PM Comments () • Permalink

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