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Friday, March 30, 2012

Real Estate Report: Westport a Standout

By Judy Szablak

Westport was the clear bright spot in a New York Times article last weekend about the state of the real estate market in Fairfield County.

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This featured home at 3 Cooper Lane is listed at $3,995,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of William Raveis Westport/Jillian Klaff Homes

This is in contrast to the latest Case-Shiller report, where our MSA was among the 16 out of 20 areas that are tracked to have seen new average low prices for the month of January. 

The Case-Shiller index of 10 MSAs and the 20-city index are now at approximately 34 percent below their 2006 peaks and prices are at 2003 levels.

“Despite some positive economic signs, home prices continued to drop,” said David Blitzer, chair of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.

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03/30/12 01:56 AM Comments () • Permalink

Finance Board Okays $100.2 Million Ed Budget

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In contrast to spending more than five hours over two nights debating the $73.9 million municipal budget, the Board of Finance tonight took under two hours to unanimously approve the $100.2 million education budget before a full house. A motion to trim $200,000 was made and then withdrawn. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

   

03/30/12 01:27 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Westport February Unemployment Unchanged at 5.7%

Westport’s unemployment rate in February was 5.7 percent, the same as in January, the Connecticut Department of Labor said today.

The department said the number of Westport unemployed in February was 706, down from 713 in January.

The February labor force in Westport numbered 12,439, up from 12,414 in January, and there were 11,733 employed, up from 11,701 employed in January, it said.

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

   

03/29/12 11:12 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Police Involved in $300G Drug Bust

Westport police participated in the arrest of three persons in Norwalk and seizure of cocaine, heroin, firearms and almost $300,000 in cash, federal authorities announced today.

Federal prosecutors said the case unfolded when New York City detectives conducting a narcotics trafficking investigation contacted the Drug Enforcement Administration authorities in Bridgeport.

As a result, federal and local officials, including an officer from the Westport Police Department, raided two addresses in Norwalk on Wednesday and seized the contraband, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DEA said.

Inside one bedroom, officers located a .9-mm firearm, a magazine with four rounds of ammunition and approximately 275 grams of suspected cocaine powder, an announcement said.

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03/29/12 10:49 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tractor-Trailer vs Car Sends One to Hospital

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The driver of a Toyota was sent to Norwalk Hospital today following a crash with a tractor-trailer on I-95 southbound between Exits 17 and 18 in Westport, said Assistant Chief Robert Kepchar. The car was extensively damaged and the tractor-trailer had an empty fuel tank partially ripped off, he said. But there was no leak. The car’s driver was sent to the hospital for evaluation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

   

03/29/12 09:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Going Down: 157 Riverside Ave.

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The house at Westport’s 157 Riverside Ave., across from Saugatuck Elementary School, was demolished today. Built in 1933, the 1 1/2-story cape had 1,366 square feet, is situated on a .18-acre property and changed ownership in September 2011 for $550,000. The house gained notoriety when the 70s rock band REO Speedwagon stayed there and released a song on their first album called “157 Riverside Avenue.” It was the WestportNow Teardown of the Day on Sept. 5, 2011. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

   

03/29/12 07:19 PM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Coach Back in Court in Porn Case

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Michael J. Pickering, the Staples High School freshman football coach accused of giving a password to an Internet porn site to his players, was back in Norwalk Superior Court today to face three counts of risk of injury to a minor. Pickering, who pleaded not guilty in December, had his case continued to April 26, and he remains free on $50,000 bond, court officials said. With him is attorney William A. Pelletreau. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

   

03/29/12 05:08 PM Comments () • Permalink

Spotted Horse Debuts to Large Crowds

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Westport’s newest restaurant entry, The Spotted Horse Tavern, made its debut Wednesday night on Church Lane with a menu sampler and champagne. Located in the preserved and renovated 1802 federal-style Sherwood House, the restaurant is owned by Kevin McHugh and Tommy Febbraio, both Staples High School graduates who operate the popular Gray Goose Café in Southport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

   

03/29/12 09:53 AM Comments () • Permalink

Open for Business

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It was hard to get a table Wednesday night as The Spotted Horse Tavern made its debut on Westport’s Church Lane. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

   

03/29/12 09:50 AM Comments () • Permalink

On the Pond

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Somme weeping willows provide color along Westport’s Sherwood Mill Pond. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

   

03/29/12 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, March 29, 2012


10 a.m. – 10 Woodside Lane – Sasco Brook Pollution Abatement Committee
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Next Stop: Westport!” & “The Cold War in Our Backyard”
2 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Masterpiece Theatre’s Downton Abbey on the Big Screen
7 p.m. - Coleytown Middle School - Coleytown Company: “Guys and Dolls”
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Sherwood Mill Pond Committee
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Board of Finance Budget Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

   

03/29/12 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Finance Board Approves Town Budget 5 to 2

By James Lomuscio

After a series of line item approvals and minor adjustments, Westport’s Board of Finance tonight voted 5 to 2 approving First Selectman Gordon Joseloff’s $73.48 million budget for 2012-13.

“I’m very proud of this budget,” said Finance Board Chairman Avi Kaner. “It’s a very good budget. “ 

Kaner, a Republican, also expressed his dissatisfaction with the two of the three Democrats, Helen Garten and Brian Stern, who voted against the total budget after approving the budgets for each town department.

“I’m disappointed you’re voting against this as all votes leading up to this were unanimous (in approval),” he said. “To vote against, I don’t think that’s a good thing to do.”

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03/29/12 02:22 AM Comments () • Permalink

Surprise Meeting With the Artist

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Second graders from Westport’s Long Lots Elementary School traveled to Greenwich today to visit the Bruce Museum to see the exhibit “Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos and Toys in the Attic” only to get a surprise visit from Wick himself. The retrospective spotlights the playful and interactive world of Wick, best-selling author and artist-creator of the “Can You See What I See?” series and co-creator, with writer Jean Marzollo, of the “I Spy” books for children. Approximately 40 large-scale color photographs from his books, as well as several of the models used to craft the images are on view. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

   

03/29/12 01:45 AM Comments () • Permalink

Westporter Aiding Shays Part of Campaign Rhetoric

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

The U.S. Senate campaign of Linda McMahon is stepping up criticism of former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, including his hiring of the Westport Republican Town Committee chair, a tacit acknowledgement of the bounce that her rival for the GOP nomination is getting from a poll showing him in a tie with leading Democrats.

Shays is trying to turn the Republican primary into a test of electability in November, a message that some GOP leaders say is resonating with a party that holds no statewide or federal office in Connecticut.

“The winning candidate will have to demonstrate electability by any means possible,” said Jerry Labriola, the new Republican state chairman, who is publicly neutral in the race.

There is the sense that a door could be shutting on the GOP in Connecticut for a long time if McMahon or Shays cannot exploit the opportunity presented by the retirement of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman after 24 years in Washington.

Click here for more of story

   

03/29/12 01:32 AM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Bullying Victim Updates Video Year Later


Westport teen Alye Pollack who received national attention a year ago with her YouTube video complaning of bullying at Bedford Middle School (See WestportNow March 25, 2011 has posted a one year update in which she uses the same silent written poster technique. Now 14 and in high school, she says the bullying has stopped, urges bullying victims to get help, and sends a message of love. YouTube.com video

   

03/29/12 01:12 AM Comments () • Permalink

Artist Recalls Hilton Kramer as ‘Very Kind’

By James Lomuscio

As international obituaries painted the legendary Hilton Kramer as a harsh, poison pen critic who could send shivers through the art world, even shutter galleries, one local artist recalled the former Westporter who died at 84 from heart failure in Maine Tuesday as “very kind and inspirational.”

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Hilton Kramer: art critic lived in Westport 34 years. File photo

“Everybody has a different opinion of him, but we loved him,” said Ann Chernow who with her late husband Burt Chernow, an art historian, were close friends of Kramer and his wife Esta. “He was very different from what people thought of him as a critic, and he was always very kind to us.”

Kramer has been described as a no nonsense, acerbic critic who embraced modernism while deriding postmodernism, pop art and conceptual art during his tenure at The New York Times from 1965 to 1982.

According to The Times, he once called postmodernism “a revolt against the basic traditions of Western civilization.”

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03/29/12 12:58 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Legislature Adopts ‘Circuit Breaker’ on Gas Tax

By Keith M. Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

The House and Senate voted unanimously today to adopt a circuit-breaker measure that would freeze state fuel taxes for the next 15 months, giving some protection to consumers who pay the nation’s highest gasoline taxes and some election-year cover to state legislators.

But majority Democrats in both chambers also rejected Republican amendments to cancel a gas tax hike slated to take effect in July 2013. While the circuit-breaker will shave about 1.4 cents off the state’s fuel tax burden, the next tax hike would add almost 4 cents per gallon.

The House of Representatives voted 146-0 to adopt the circuit-breaker measure following a one-hour debate that ended shortly before 5:20 p.m. The measure, which cleared the Senate on a 36-0 vote, now heads to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who is expected to sign it.

“The governor is obviously concerned about the rising cost of gas and its impact on Connecticut residents and businesses,” Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba said. ” ... This proposal may be somewhat helpful in that it could potentially slow the increase of gas prices , and so the governor is supportive. That said, we need to be realistic about the limitations of what this legislation will achieve. What we really need are state and national policies that move us toward energy independence.”

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03/28/12 11:07 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Fire in Norwalk as Scrap Metal Fire Rages

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UPDATE A Westport engine company provided backup coverage in Norwalk today as all on-duty Norwalk firefighters battled a blaze a LaJoie’s Auto Parts and scrap metal yard on Meadow Street. Heavy smoke could be seen over the city when the blaze broke out at about 2 p.m. The fire was declared under control shortly after 3 p.m. View is from 50 Washington St. Meanwhile, Weston firefighters were battling a blaze at 6 Woods End Lane in northern Weston. The fire heavily damaged a home assessed at $1.175 million. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lauren Siegert for WestportNow.com

   

03/28/12 06:53 PM Comments () • Permalink

Going Down: 100 Post Road East

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The building at Westport’s 100 Post Road East was demolished today. Built in 1960 by Westport Bank & Trust Co., the one-story bank drive-in had 474 square feet and was situated on a .42-acre property. Town records show that Lafayette American Bank, which took over the property from Westport Bank & Trust Co., occupied it from 1997 to 1999, then Hudson United from 1999 to 2006, then TDBankNorth from 2006 to 2010 when it was purchased by its present owner. Although the structure was built more than 50 years ago, the application did not require review by the Westport Historic District Commission because it is under 500 square feet. It will be replaced with a 4,200-square-foot commercial building (see WestportNow March 20, 2012).  It was the WestportNow Teardown of the Day on Aug. 19, 2011. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

   

03/28/12 03:34 PM Comments () • Permalink

Finance Board Approves Bulk of Town Budget

By James Lomuscio

Westport’s Board of Finance spent more than four-and-a-half hours Tuesday night voting on most of First Selectman Gordon Joseloff’s proposed $73.9 million municipal budget, letting most of the departments’ proposed budgets stand with minor adjustments.

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Police Chief Dale Call addresses the Board of Finance Tuesday night. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Hardest hit was the Westport Transit District which had $113,753 slashed from its $248,000 request by a unanimous vote because of increased costs and low usage.

One of the evening’s most dramatic discussions came at the the beginning when finance board member Brian Stern said he would not vote for the proposed $5.2 million general government budget unless there were “structural changes” combining different departments.

Stern suggested combining the tax collector and tax assessor offices and eliminating a clerk’s position for $62,500. He also suggested saving the same amount by joining the Planning and Zoning and Conservation departments.

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03/28/12 05:16 AM Comments () • Permalink

Checking Out a Boat

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An inquisitive swan appears to be checking out a boat pulled up at Westport’s Sherwood Mill Pond Preserve on Tuesday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

   

03/28/12 04:14 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Next Stop: Westport!” & “The Cold War in Our Backyard”
Noon - Westport Historical Society - Lunch with Lucy, Ethel and Rod
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Deer Management Committee
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Board of Finance Budget Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
8 p.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – RTM Long Range Planning Committee

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

   

03/28/12 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Arbitration Award Shows ‘Pension Reform’

By James Lomuscio

Westport officials today called last week’s arbitration award that sided with the town over the Department of Public Works’ union on pension benefits a long awaited first step toward pension reform.

Under the award granted March 21 following a year-and-a-half of arbitrations hearings, new employees of Local 1303-385 will make defined contributions, not receive defined benefits.

The other major ruling in the town’s favor is that retirement benefits will be capped at 65 percent of of the employee’s final year’s salary, not the current 82 percent, said Floyd Dugas, the town’s labor attorney.

“I think it’s good news for Westport,” said Helen Garten, vice chair of the Board of Finance who heads its labor subcommittee. “This is the first arbitration award in favor of the town regarding a pension contract. It means we got two aspects of pension reform.”

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03/27/12 10:58 PM Comments () • Permalink

Spotted Horse Opening Night Party on Thursday

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The Spotted Horse Tavern on Church Lane across from the Family Y will open Thursday with a cocktail party offering menu samples and champagne starting at 6 p.m. The restaurant formally opens on Friday with its full menu from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Located in the preserved and renovated 1802 federal-style Sherwood House, the restaurant is owned by Kevin McHugh and Tommy Febbraio, both Staples High School graduates who operate the popular Gray Goose Café in Southport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

   

03/27/12 09:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

Shake Shack Hosts Arts Center Volunteers

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The Westport Arts Center today hosted a volunteer appreciation event at Shake Shack, Westport. Manager of Shake Shack, Dave Yearwood, posed with his guests. Pictured (l-r) are: Donna Reisner, Al De Lardi, Ronnie Hammer, Danielle Ogden, Dave Yearwood, Ardeth Miller, Alyssa Crouse, Izzy Spada, Erika Rohde, Cara Bertini, Catherine Beckmann, Catherine Snook, John Harris, and John Dugdale. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

   

03/27/12 09:12 PM Comments () • Permalink

Ladies’ Lunch

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There is a new special interest group at the Westport Woman’s Club called Ladies Who Lunch. They meet once a month at local restaurants to eat and chat and have a good time. The ladies met today for a buffet lunch at Bombay Club in Westport. Bobbie Herman organizes these monthly lunches. Seated (l-r) are: Nancy Holland, Bobbie Herman, Anne Hunt, Mary Lee Clayton (club president) and Jo Fuchs Luscombe. Also in attendance but not pictured were Susan Fox, Eva Greenwald, Elfriede Lafferty and Denise Kuendig.  For information on joining the Westport Woman’s Club, call (203) 227-4240. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

   

03/27/12 08:59 PM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 4 Bluff Point

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An application for a permit to demolish the house at 4 Bluff Point, on Westport’s Saugatuck Shores opposite the Cedar Point Yacht Club, is in process. Built in 1966, the two-story contemporary has 2,328 square feet, is situated on a .50-acre waterfront property, and changed ownership last month at $4,525,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

   

03/27/12 07:39 PM Comments () • Permalink

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

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Rowers from Westport’s Saugatuck Rowing Club are on in numbers on the Saugatuck River under sunny, early spring skies. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

   

03/27/12 06:13 PM Comments () • Permalink

Republican Presidential Primary Set for April 24

The Westport Registrars of Voters have announced details of voting in the presidential preference primary for all enrolled Republican electors in Wesport.

The primary will be held on Tuesday,  April 24 with polls open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Polling places are: District 136 -1 Saugatuck School Gym; District 143 -1 Saugatuck School Gym; District 136- 2 Coleytown Middle School Gym; District 136-3 Long Lots School Gym, and District 136 – 4 & 5 Greens Farms Gym.

The registrars also announced that an enrollment session will be held on Tuesday, April 10 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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03/27/12 05:54 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Company in $23M Deal for 4 L.I. Radio Stations

Four Long Island radio stations are to be sold to a Westport-based media company.

The radio stations, WKJY 98.3 FM, WBZO 103.1 FM, WIGX 94.3 FM, and WHLI 1100 AM, are being sold by their parent company, Massachusetts-based Barnstable Broadcasting to Westport-based Connoisseur Media for $23 million.

The deal was announced Monday and is expected to close in late July. Jeffrey Warshaw, Connoisseur’s chief executive, said in a statement that he was raised on Long Island and “grew up listening to these stations.”

Connoisseur Media LLC, with corporate headquarters at 136 Main St., currently has 22 radio stations in eight markets.

   

03/27/12 05:39 PM Comments () • Permalink

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