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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Senate Sends FOI Fix to Malloy’s Desk

By Keith M. Phaneuf

An emergency fix to Connecticut’s Freedom of Information law—crafted without a public hearing or committee review—was headed to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s desk following today’s unanimous Senate vote.

The measure, designed to clear legal obstacles blocking the release of voter lists and other omnibus public registries, has been criticized by right-to-know advocates who argue that it offers little security to the protected public employees it is designed to safeguard.

“This bill attempts to strike a balance” between the public’s right to know and government’s efforts to safeguard police officers, prison guards and other employees in sensitive roles, said Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford, co-chairwoman of the Government Administration and Elections Committee.

The measure, which the House adopted 120-11 last week, was crafted in response to last June’s state Supreme Court ruling, which held that a statute barring disclosure of home addresses of protected employees applied to the motor vehicle registration lists that communities use to prepare property tax bills.

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02/29/12 09:59 PM Comments () • Permalink

On ‘Smash and Grabs,’ Cops Work with Other Towns

By James Lomuscio

Westport police say they are working with other communities that have experienced similar “smash and grab” burglaries like the ones that occurred at Mitchells of Westport early Tuesday morning and eight days earlier. Image
The smashed window at Mitchells following Tuesday’s pre-dawn break-in. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The latest break-in reported at 5 a.m netted an undetermined number of handbags and leather belts from the upscale clothier at 670 Post Road East, police said.

Capt. Sam Arciola said the earlier Feb. 19 robbery had a similar modus operandi, making it highly probable that the same individuals were involved. Now, the department is working with other, undisclosed communities that have experienced similar “smash and grabs,” he said.

“We have two burglaries that we think with high probability are linked, and we’re working with other jurisdictions that have been affected by these crimes,” said Arciola.

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02/29/12 09:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 5 Marine Ave. Image
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 5 Marine Ave., on Saugatuck Shores, is in process. Built in 1955, the two-story custom split has 2,584 square feet and is situated on a .26-acre property. 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


02/29/12 07:56 PM Comments () • Permalink

RTM Panel Endorses Council of Governments Initiative Image
The Planning and Zoning Committee of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) Tuesday night voted 6-0 with 2 abstentions to recommend to the full RTM that Westport approve changing from membership in a regional planning agency to a Council of Governments (COG). Proponents of the shift, including First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, said converting from the South Western Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA) to a COG, as most other regional agencies in the state have already done, would create more efficiencies and potentially give the region a stronger voice in Hartford. Such a move would occur only if legislatures of five of the eight SWRPA member municipalities approve. The RTM will vote on the proposal at its meeting on Tuesday, March 6.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


02/29/12 03:33 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Toy Stories”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Next Stop: Westport!” & “The Cold War in Our Backyard”
Noon - Westport Public Library - “The Living End,” Robert Leleux
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Green Task Force
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Deer Management Committee

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


02/29/12 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

A Westport Story: David Pogue Image
Westport resident David Pogue was the guest interviewee tonight for the second live edition in the WestportSTORIES series at the Westport Public Library. Pogue, New York Times personal tech columnist, author, and “CBS Sunday Morning” contributor, was interviewed by Westporter Mark Mathias, who has worked in the field of technology for both large and small companies and is the technology columnist for the Westport News. The interview, which was conducted in the Library’s McManus Room, was streamed live on the Library and town’s websites and will be available on DVD through the Library catalog. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


02/29/12 03:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Noted Politicial Scientist Tells Rotarians About 4th CD Image
Gary L. Rose has made a career in politics –- studying, observing, and opining on the subject, especially Connecticut politics and those of the 4th Congressional District, which includes Westport. Today the chairman of the Department of Government and Politics at Sacred Heart University told the Westport Rotary Club at the Inn at Longshore some of the things he has learned about the district. The 4th CD has over the years elected representatives who are “independent thinking who voted the way they thought they should vote, not just along party lines,” he said. Part of the district’s uniqueness, he said, is that “the people in our district have a higher educational level—higher than most parts of the U.S.” It also has a different make-up than most districts because of the diversity of its population, Rose said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


02/29/12 12:04 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 5 Norport Drive Image
An application for a permit to demolish the house at 5 Norport Drive, off Harbor Rd in Westport’s Saugatuck Shores section, is in process. Built in 1957, the one-story ranch has 2,165 square feet, is situated on a .35-acre property and changed ownership in February 2010 for $900,000. 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


02/28/12 11:35 PM Comments () • Permalink

Jameson Daniel Conte, 20 Months

Jameson Daniel Conte, son of Mark and Stephanie Conte of Westport, died Feb. 25 at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He was 20 months old.

Jameson Daniel Conte
Jameson Daniel Conte: provides four children with gift of life. Contributed photo

The last gift Jameson contributed to this world was the donation of his organs. He has provided four children with the gift of life and the opportunity to become extraordinary, as his family knew he would one day become.

Jameson’s life would seem too short to many, but the quality of his existence far exceeds the quantity of the time in which he lived it. Those touched by his sparkle and laughter will remember the joy he found in music, mealtimes, and being adored by his family.

In addition to his parents, Jameson was the beloved little brother of Alyssa, the cherished grandson of James and Carol Conte and Daniel and Deborah Fratino, all of Westport. He was the nephew of Anthony, Michael and Matthew Conte, and Danielle Fratino in addition he was loved by many extended cousins, aunts and uncles.

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02/28/12 10:27 PM Comments () • Permalink

Supreme Court Rules Bridgeport School Takeover Illegal

By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

The state Supreme Court today rejected the state’s takeover of Bridgeport’s Board of Education, ruling that five of the ousted school board members be put back in office and special elections must be held for the remaining four seats whose members’ terms have expired.

The decision was based largely on the fact that the board never received training before the takeover last July, as required by state law.

“Most importantly, the state board does not have the authority to authorize reconstitution until it first requires the local board to undergo and complete training,” the majority opinion written by Justice Peter Zarella reads.

This decision comes days after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s chief counsel said such a reversal by the Supreme Court would be “unworkable and would maximize disruption” in Bridgeport schools.

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02/28/12 10:22 PM Comments () • Permalink

Longshore Halfway House Groundbreaking March 7

Westport Parks and Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy announced today that the local volunteer task force, The 9th & ½ Hole Committee, has reached its fund-raising goals for the replacement for the Halfway House at Longshore Club Park and that construction will commence this spring. Image
An artist’s rendering of the new Halfway House.  Contributed photo

A groundbreaking ceremony will take place on Wednesday, March 7, at 2 p.m., at Longshore Club Park.

“We thank the many members of the community who stepped forward with cash contributions, pledges and offers of in-kind materials and services,” said Mark Holod, head of the fund-raising effort, which raised $200,000 over the past year.

“We received a tremendous amount of support from the three golf associations active at Longshore. But we couldn’t have gotten this done without the generosity of the private donors who supported this project in honor of Cliff Ross, our friend, fellow golfer and community leader.”

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02/28/12 10:07 PM Comments () • Permalink

Comings and Goings: Financial Firm to Saugatuck P.O. Image
The latest addition to the changing street scape of Westport’s Saugatuck section involves the relocation of Fermat Capital Management, currently at 2 Railroad Place, to the site of the former Saugatuck Post Office, 611 Riverside Ave., which closed in September 2009 (see WestportNow Sept. 5, 2009). According to Jeff Bates, Fermat’s chief operating officer, the company will relocate its approximate 12 staff members to the new site around mid-year. Bates said, “We’re growing and need more space.” Fermat Capital Management, LLC, co-founded by John and Nelson Seo, is a specialty investment management firm founded in Westport in 2001. With more than $2 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2011, Fermat Capital manages institutional portfolios of Insurance-Linked Securities (ILS) with a particular emphasis on catastrophe bonds. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


02/28/12 09:57 PM Comments () • Permalink

YES Network’s Lorenz Back to Court on April 3 Image
Bob Lorenz leaves Norwalk Court today. Dave Matlow for

YES Network personality Robert (Bob) J. Lorenz, 48, of Westport appeared in Norwalk Superior Court today following his Feb. 8 arrest by Westport police on a charge of operating a motor vehicle under the influence.

He was ordered back to court April 3. A court official said today’s proceedings were statutorily sealed and was unable to provide any further information.

Police said Lorenz, a three-time Emmy Award-winner, was found slumped behind the wheel of a stopped vehicle at the intersection of Bridge Street and Compo Road South. (See WestportNow Feb. 8, 2012)

Police said Officer John Cabral found Lorenz in the driver’s seat and unresponsive at about 3 a.m. with the vehicle’s engine idling with the transmission in drive.

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02/28/12 08:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Malloy Calls Liquor Price Controls ‘Ghastly, Unfair’

By Mark Pazniokas

UPDATE The battle to legalize Sunday liquor sales completed its evolution today into conflicting visions of prosperity and despair.

On one side, liquor wholesalers, major retailers, new groups looking to sell beer, wine and spirits, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration told a legislative panel that proposed changes would bolster the economy and drive down some of the highest liquor costs in the country.

On the other side, the longstanding chief lobbyist for Connecticut’s package stores predicted that changes offered by the Malloy administration—not the institution of Sunday sales but rather measures expanding competition—would eventually eliminate more than 8,000 small business jobs.

While calling alcohol a “unique product” subject to “complex and long-standing” regulatory laws, Malloy wrote in testimony to the General Law Committee that the status quo no longer reflects “modern-day realities.”

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02/28/12 06:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

Mama Ha a New Home

Mama. Connecticut Humane Society

Looking for a lap cat? Then Mama is the one for you. She would prefer nothing more than to sit on your lap and have her long fur bushed so she can look her best. Stop by our Connecticut Humane Society in Westport at 455 Post Road East today and say hi to this beauty, or visit her on the website at


02/28/12 05:36 PM Comments () • Permalink

Max Has a New Home

Max. Connecticut Humane Society

Max is a good boy whose family was unable to keep him so he is living here at the Westport branch of the Connecticut Humane Society where he is well cared for, but Max would love a new home with a family who will love and cherish him. Max is waiting for a friend who will make him a member of a family again. Come down and visit at 455 Post Road East in Westport or visit with Max on the website at You just may find yourself a new buddy to love.


02/28/12 05:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Ponchik Has a New Family

Ponchik. Connecticut Humane Society


A whole lotta love! Ponchik is a very affectionate young man looking for a family that will love him as much as he will love you.

If he sounds like the fit for your family stop in and see today at our Westport shelter at 455 Post Road East or visit him on the website at


02/28/12 05:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

Ross Has His One and Only

Ross. Connecticut Humane Society

Ross has a home! Ross is a good old southern boy who would love to go home to a big family (kids of any over the age of 6 years!) or just a two person household. He is just the sweetest angel who loves to be petted and like any dog LOVES his walks. Ross however, would need to go to a home without any other dogs. If you would like to make Ross the newest addition to your family, please come visit him at the Westport branch of the CT Humane Society at 455 Post Road East or see him online at!


02/28/12 05:16 PM Comments () • Permalink

Mitchells Hit Again by Burglar

UPDATE For the second time in eight days, Mitchells of Westport early today was the target of a burglar. Image
Today’s burglary involved smashing a window on the opposite side of the main Mitchells entrance where the Feb. 20 break-in occurred. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Police were called to the upscale store on Post Road East shortly after 5 a.m. after receiving an alarm. Bill Mitchell, one of the owners, said he could not say whether anything was taken because of the ongoing police investigation.

The burglar or burglars gained entry by smashing a window next to the main entrance—a window on the opposite side of the doorway that was smashed in the Feb. 20 break-in.

In that incident,. someone used a trash can to smash a window and steal a number of purses, a store employee said.

Dave Matlow contributed reporting


02/28/12 02:23 PM Comments () • Permalink

Blustery Compo Image
It was a blustery Compo Beach late Monday as a few visitors walked South Beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for


02/28/12 05:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Toy Stories”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Next Stop: Westport!” & “The Cold War in Our Backyard”
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – RTM Finance Committee
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – RTM Finance & Education Committees
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Zoning Board of Appeals (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - WestportSTORIES: Interview with David Pogue
8 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – RTM Planning & Zoning Committee

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


02/28/12 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Y Sewer Hearings Set for April 12 and 26

By James Lomuscio

The Board of Selectman, acting in its capacity as the Water Pollution Control Authority, (WPCA) announced today that it will hold special public hearings on Thursday, April 12 and Thursday, April 26 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium on the Westport Weston Family Y’s petition to have sanitary sewers at its planned facility at Camp Mahackeno.

The hearings were originally set to begin tonight but were canceled because it is the last day of school vacation.

Y CEO Rob Reeves said that the organization wants a sewer hookup at its planned 55,000-square-foot, Adirondack-styled facility despite previous approval for an 11,000 gallon septic system.

He stressed that a sewer would preserve 1.5 acres of the 32-acre camp, saving more than 100 trees that would have to be felled for a leaching field. He also said the system would allay neighbors fears of aquifer contamination from leaching fields.

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02/28/12 04:11 AM Comments () • Permalink

State Gasoline Prices Up 7.3 Cents in Past Week

Average retail gasoline prices in Connecticut have risen 7.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.93/g on Sunday, a monitoring group said today. Image
Filling up a the Mobil station in Westport’s Saugatuck section on Riverside Avenue. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for

This compares with the national average that has increased 11.3 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.64/g, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Connecticut during the past week, prices Sunday were 40.5 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 24.3 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.

The national average has increased 26.6 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 29.8 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

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02/28/12 02:10 AM Comments () • Permalink

Chabad Files Site Plan for Three Bears

By James Lomuscio

The attorney for Chabad Lubavitch, a Westport Orthodox Jewish congregation that moved into the shuttered Three Bears Restaurant in early January and subsequently was issued a town cease and desist order, has submitted a special permit and site plan application to the Planning Zoning Department. Image
Chabad Lubavitch, a Westport Orthodox Jewish congregation, moved into the shuttered Three Bears Restaurant in early January. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The matter is scheduled to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) on April 12.

Larry Weisman submitted the application Feb. 22, a day before the deadline set, allowing the congregation to continue conducting religious education classes at the site. Planning and Zoning Director Laurence Bradley issued the abeyance at Weisman’s request following the cease and desist order due to interior renovations without the proper permits.

Located at 333 Wilton Road, the Three Bears Restaurant had been a Westport landmark since the early 1900s, closing in 2009 after filing for bankruptcy. Throughout most of the building’s more than 200-year history, it has served as a restaurant and was even a stop on a stagecoach route, according to a restaurant history.

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02/28/12 01:56 AM Comments () • Permalink

To Keep Education Focus, Malloy Compromises on Liquor

By Mark Pazniokas

Trying to keep the political focus on education reform, the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy responded today to some of the concerns raised by wholesalers and retailers of alcohol about his sweeping proposal to overhaul liquor laws.

Revisions distributed by the administration would limit competition among retailers and retain some of the controls on pricing, while still giving retailers more flexibility to sell beer, wine and spirits more cheaply.

The changes reflect a governor more willing to compromise in his second year, especially when the price of sticking to his original plan might be a protracted fight that could draw political resources away from education reform.

“The governor understands, we all understand, there is not much time,” said Roy Occhiogrosso, the governor’s senior adviser. “There is a big education reform package that is a priority.”

Click here for more of story


02/28/12 12:43 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, February 27, 2012

Y’s Women Hear About New Y Image
Rob Reeves, CEO of the Westport Weston Family Y, told the Y’s Women today at the Unitarian Church in Westport that the Y has entered the critical phase of the campaign to build a new home on the Mahackeno campus. He said several million dollars are still needed in the initial fund-raising efforts to begin the building effort in October.  He said that a public grassroots campaign will follow the initial fund-raising efforts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Celie Rosenau for


02/27/12 07:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

Elvira’s Reopens to Warm Reception Image
The Old Mill Beach landmark convenience store Elvira’s reopened for business today after having been closed since Christmas Eve shortly after a car slammed into the side of the building. Since we had to repair the place we thought it was a good time to close and do some remodeling,” said Nicki Yiozanokos, whose family operates the store. Nicki’s mother, Stacey, said there was a surprise awaiting them when they arrived to open—neighborhood youngsters erected a “welcome home” sign on the front of the store. A grand opening party on will be held Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


02/27/12 03:59 PM Comments () • Permalink

A Neighborly Hello and Welcome Back Image
Hillspoint Road neighbor Leslie Wolf stopped in to say hello to Stacey Yiozanakos on opening day today of Elvira’s, the convenience store that had been closed since December in Westport’s Old Mill area. “When we moved from our house on the hill behind Elvira’s, we chose to build on Hillspoint Road,” Wolf said. “One factor in our decision was that our family wanted to be close to Elvira’s.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


02/27/12 03:52 PM Comments () • Permalink

Elvira’s is Family Affair Image
Posing for a family picture today as Elvira’s reopened on Hillspont Road in Westport’s Old Mill Beach area were the owners (l-r) Nick Yiozanakos, Nicki, John, and Stacey. A grand reopening party will be held on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


02/27/12 03:48 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, February 27, 2012

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Toy Stories”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Next Stop: Westport!” & “The Cold War in Our Backyard”
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – RTM Environment Committee

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


02/27/12 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

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