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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Malloy Warns of Emergency Budget Cuts

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy warned his department heads today he will ask lawmakers to consider emergency spending cuts in May if the administration cannot erase a small deficit in the current state budget—which closes on June 30—over the next month.

“I just ask you to take every step you can,” the governor told commissioners at their monthly meeting. “I know everyone is struggling. I understand that. But we have a goal.”

Malloy has pledged repeatedly that the $20.14 billion budget he and legislators enacted last spring would finish in the black, under the constitutional spending cap, and with a surplus large enough to continue the ongoing conversion of state finances to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

In its monthly budget report to Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo’s office, Malloy’s budget staff, the Office of Policy and Management, projected on March 20 that the General Fund was on pace to finish with a $12.4 million surplus.

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03/27/12 04:31 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport January Unemployment Rate at 5.7 Percent

Westport’s unemployment rate in January was 5.7 percent, up from 5.1 percent in December, according to the Connecticut Department of Labor.

The December rate was the lowest since the 4.5 percent rate recorded in August 2008. A year ago in January, Westport had a 6.3 percent unemployment rate.

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

The department said the number of Westport unemployed in January was 713, up from 651 in December.

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03/27/12 04:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

Dogwood Lane Beauty Image
Spring scene on Westport’s Dogwood Lane. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for


03/27/12 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

8:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Downtown 2020 Committee
10 a.m. - Westport Public Library - Social Networking: Discover Google+ and Facebook
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Next Stop: Westport!” & “The Cold War in Our Backyard”
5 p.m. - Saugatuck Elementary School - King’s Highway Elementary School 8th Annual Variety Show (benefit for Hole in the Wall Gang Camp)
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Zoning Board of Appeals
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium - Board of Finance Budget Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


03/27/12 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Mark G. Channing, 86

Mark G. Channing of Orlando, Fla., a former Westport resident as well as resident of Marblehead, Mass., died Feb. 29 at the Meadows in North Andover, Mass. He was 86.

He was born July 5, 1925 in Berlin, Germany, son of Jacob and Manya Baum and stepson of Jack Goldberg.

He is survived by his daughters, Candace Channing and her husband Salvatore LaRusso of Fairfield, Stacey Channing and her husband Robert Portney of Andover, Mass.; and his four granddaughters, Lindsay LaRusso and her husband Lucas DeDeus, Lauren LaRusso, Chelsea Portney and Lisa Portney.

An immigrant who fled from Germany to arrive in the United States after two years in Cuba, he and his family came through Ellis Island and settled in New York City. On his 18th birthday, he joined the U.S. Army and the next two years found him in Europe in some of the heaviest fighting and bloodiest battles of World War II. A recipient of three Purple Hearts and a Victory Medal, he fought in Normandy on D-Day.

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

Richard H. Wilson, 59

Richard H. Wilson of Sandy Hook (formerly of Fairfield), a former employee of Brooks Community Newspapers in Westport, died Feb. 22. He was 59.

A graduate of Fairfield Country Day School, he attended Tabor Academy in Marion, Mass., the King School in Stamford as well as Roger Ludlowe High School. Upon graduation from New England College he pursued a career in photography.

He engaged in both studio work and freelance event projects. Later he was employed at Brooks Community Newspapers in Westport.

A lifelong sailor, he was an avid participant in yacht racing. A member of Fayerweather Yacht Club, he raced his 38-foot yawl, ARTEMIS. More often he crewed on numerous other racing yachts.

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03/27/12 03:25 AM Comments () • Permalink

John A. Hojdich, 94

John A. Hojdich of Trumbull, a longtime butcher at Westport’s Westfair Market, died March 23 at Bridgeport Health Care. He was 94.

He was born in Bridgeport to the late Paul and Julia (Zubricsky) Hojdich and was a longtime Trumbull resident. He was employed many years as a butcher at Westfair Market in Westport.

He was a World War II Army veteran, He was also an usher at the 4 p.m. mass at St. Catherine of Siena for many years, where he greeted everyone with a smile and a piece of candy.

He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Wanda Piurek Hojdich of Trumbull; one son Ronald Hojdich and his wife, Charlotte of Stratford; two granddaughters Laurie Hojdich and Julie Press and her husband Jeffrey of New York; and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister Mary Keller and two brothers Frank and Paul.

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03/27/12 03:18 AM Comments () • Permalink

Chabad Hosts Public Meeting at Old Three Bears

By James Lomuscio

About 40 members of the public gathered at the old Three Bears Restaurant tonight to hear plans for the historic building’s reuse as as a house of worship for Chabad Lubavitch, a Westport Orthodox Jewish congregation. Image
Attorney Larry Weisman addresses neighbors tonight as Dina Kantor (l) and husband Rabbi Yehuda Kantor (foreground) of Chabad Lubavitch listen. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Immediate neighbors and others who gathered near the hearth on the first floor, the area the congregation plans to use as its sanctuary, heard assurances from Larry Weisman, the congregation’s attorney, that the exterior of the more than 200-year-old building at 333 Wilton Road would not be altered.

“We have an obligation to the community to keep the building as it looks now,” he said.

Weisman also stressed the proposed synagogue would be a less intense use than when it was a restaurant.

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03/27/12 02:37 AM Comments () • Permalink

Mother Nature Showing Off Image
The Saugatuck River at Westport’s Saugatuck Rowing Club provided the background for Mother Nature showing off her blossoms today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for


03/27/12 02:06 AM Comments () • Permalink

Committee Rewrites Malloy’s Tenure Reforms

By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

UPDATE Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s plans for education reform got a dramatic rewrite today by the legislature’s Education Committee, but the changes are only one step in a process that some leaders say will end with high-level negotiations by top lawmakers and the administration.

“The bill the Education Committee appears set to approve represents just one step in the legislative process.  Gov. Malloy has made it clear that he’s determined to begin fixing what’s broken in our public schools, no matter how long it takes,” said Roy Occhiogrosso, the governor’s senior adviser.  “In the coming weeks, members of this administration will continue to work with legislators and other key stakeholders until there is a bill that represents meaningful education reform.”

Occhiogrosso made that statement before the Education Committee voted 28 to 5 for extensive substitute language.

The version approved by the committee tonight after an all-day closed-door caucus would relegate Malloy’s teacher tenure reforms to a study to be completed by next year.

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03/27/12 01:35 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, March 26, 2012

‘Kids for Kids’ Benefit Helps Haiti Image
The third annual Kids For Kids benefit concert took place Sunday at Westport’s Unitarian Church. Twelve Westport middle school students performed to raise money to help Save the Children’s efforts to reestablish education in Haiti after the earthquake two years ago. Hillary O’Neill and Luke Sauer performed “Together Wherever We Go” as Jordan Darefsky (partially hidden) accompanied them. Donations can be made at Bud Prenevost for


03/26/12 08:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Kids Helping Kids Image
A dozen Westport middle school students took part Sunday in the third annual Kids for Kids benefit concert to raise money to help Westport’s Save the Children reestablish the education system in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Kids for Kids was founded in 2010 by local children to help other children in need. It was initially inspired by Luke Sauer, at the time, a fourth-grader at Coleytown Elementary School, who donated money earned in the theatrical arts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bud Prenevost for


03/26/12 08:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

High Winds Down Trees, Power Lines Image
High winds in Westport today caused several trees and branches to snap and fall to the ground, including a tree that fell across the road at 19 Gault Park Drive, near Punch Bowl Drive. A branch of the tree hung precariously on primary power lines while workers cut the fallen tree into parts and removed it from the road.  A CL&P crew was called to remove the branch from the power lines. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/26/12 04:56 PM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 3 Laurel Road Image
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 3 Laurel Road, near Imperial Avenue, is in process. Built in 1950, the one-story cape has 872 square feet, is situated on a .25-acre property and changed ownership last month for $490,000. 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


03/26/12 03:31 PM Comments () • Permalink

Selectman Gavin Anderson, 74

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE (adds services) Westporter R. Gavin S. Anderson, a stalwart Republican who served on the Board of Finance for seven years and later as selectman before resigning in 2010 for health reasons, died early today at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport after being ill for some time. He was 74. Image
R. Gavin S. Anderson: had been receiving dialysis treatment. WN file photo

A message relayed to friends said he died at about 12:30 a.m. and quoted wife Kendall Gardiner as saying: ““My sweet Prince, my beloved Gavin, slipped from my arms into the arms of the Angels and is with our heavenly Father”.

A British subject who later became an American citizen, moving with his wife to Westport in 1977, Anderson had been receiving palliative care at St. Vincent’s. The palliative care came after more than two years of various treatment protocols, such as dialysis, had been suspended so he could rest comfortably, said the Rev. John H. Branson, Rector at Christ & Holy Trinity Church where Anderson was a parishioner.

“Where we have been his drivers to and from Fairfield for his dialysis treatments, it is now time for us with prayer and gratitude to give him back to God from whence he came,” Branson wrote in an email to friends as Anderson’s death was imminent. “He has relished your company and companionship on those journeys to and from dialysis, treasuring the opportunity to share stories, a bit of history, laughter and wisdom with each of you.”

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03/26/12 11:33 AM Comments () • Permalink

Park View Image
A view from Westport’s Grace K. Salmon Park on Imperial Avenue looking west across the Saugatuck River. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for


03/26/12 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, March 26, 2012

9 a.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Board of Finance Audit Subcommittee
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Next Stop: Westport!” & “The Cold War in Our Backyard”
6:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Documentary Film: “Miss Representation”
7 p.m. – Town Hall Green Room – Board of Assessment Appeals
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – RTM Environment Committee
7:30 p.m. - 79 Newtown Turnpike - Chabad Lubavitch of Westport/J-Space Camp Gan Israel Open House (former Three Bears Restaurant)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


03/26/12 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Restaurant Week Off to Fast Start Image
Customer turnout at Westport’s Tarry Lodge (above) at today’s start of Restaurant Week “surpassed expectations,” according to manager Irene Khethinashvili. It’s the restaurant’s first time participation in the program, having opened at 30 Charles St. last July. “We expected a lot of customers, but it seems like a lot more are here than is normal for a Sunday,” said Khethinashvili. Through Friday, Tarry Lodge offers a three-course prix-fixe lunch at $15.12 and a different three-course prix fixe dinner for $30.12. Other participating restaurants include Matsu Sushi, Oaxaca Kitchen, Acqua, V, Tavern on Main, River House, Tarantino, Coromandel, Bobby Q’s, Rizzuto’s, Splash, Tabouli Grill, DaPietro’s and Blue Lemon. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/25/12 10:46 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Middle Schools Present Plays This Week Image
Scenes from “Alice in Wonderland” (top) and “Guys and Dolls.” Contributed photos

Students at Westport’s Coleytown Middle School and Bedford Middle School are showing off their theatrical skills this week -– “Guys and Dolls” at Coleytown and “Alice in Wonderland” at Bedford.

Benjamin Frimmer, theater director at Coleytown, directs 77 students in the “Guys and Dolls” time-honored classic opening Thursday at 7 p.m. with additional performances Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and a Saturday matinee at 1 p.m.

The sixth grade Bedford production of Lewis Carroll’s much loved classic “Alice In Wonderland,” which includes more than 100 students, opens Friday at 7:30 p.m. with additional performances Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Coleytown ticket sales will be conducted Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the school rotunda and at the door 30 minutes prior to performance. Bedford tickets, available at the door, are $10 for adults and students with free admission for children 3 and under.

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03/25/12 10:04 PM Comments () • Permalink

Forum on Genetically Modified Food Set for April 1

Two Westport organizations are joining forces with a state advocacy group to highlight proposed legislation that would require producers to label genetically modified food sold in Connecticut. Image
Forum will be at Westport Inn. photo

The Westport Farmers Market and The Wakeman Town Farm and Right to Know CT are holding a forum on Sunday, April 1, at 5 p.m. at the Westport Inn, 1595 Post Road East, to discuss GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in a session called “Don’t be Fooled by GMOs.”

On Wednesday, the legislature’s Environment Committee voted 23-6 to approve the labeling legislation. It endorsed the proponents’ view that consumers have a right to know what is in their food amid growing health concerns over genetically modified foods.

Opponents, including the state Department of Agriculture, say it increases packaging costs. The state agency contends that the federal government is responsible for setting national standards and that Connecticut would be at a competitive disadvantage with other states if it alone sets standards. The Connecticut Farm Bureau also opposes the legislation.

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03/25/12 08:49 PM Comments () • Permalink

Surf’s Up at Compo Image
Drizzle and temperatures in the upper 40s kept many away from Westport’s Compo Beach just before mid-day today as white caps washed the shoreline. The forecast for the rest of today called for isolated showers, cloudy, with a high near 52. Monday is expected to be mostly sunny with a high near 53 and winds gusting as high as 38 mph. Temperatures Monday night could dip below freezing, according to the National Weather Service. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


03/25/12 04:43 PM Comments () • Permalink

Vaccaro Makes Barron’s Top List Image
John Vaccaro: third year in a row. Contributed photo

John Adama Vaccaro, founder and CEO of Westport Resources, an independent investment firm, has been selected one of 2012’s “Top 1,000 Financial Advisors” and the 12th top Connecticut advisor by the weekly financial newspaper Barron’s, company officials announced.

It was Vaccaro’s third year in a row making the 1,000 pick determined by data from more than 4,000 of the nation’s most productive advisors and on a state-by-state basis, according to Westport Resources.

The Barron’s rankings are based on assets managed, revenue produced and quality of practice, the latter including an evaluation of each advisor’s regulatory record.

Vaccaro, a Weston resident since 1983, founded Westport Resources in 1986. In Westport, he and his wife Cindy have been major supporters of the Westport Country Playhouse and its transformation from a summer to a yearround theater.


03/25/12 04:03 PM Comments () • Permalink

In Bloom Image
Daffodils in bloom along Westport’s North Avenue near Easton Road. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for


03/25/12 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Noon - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Next Stop: Westport!” & “The Cold War in Our Backyard”
2 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Film & Discussion: “Sullivan’s Travels”
4 p.m. - Unitarian Church (10 Lyons Plains Road) - Kids for Kids perform to benefit Save the Children’s Haiti Relief Fund

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


03/25/12 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cool Place to Be Image
It was overcast and temperatures in the 50s—cooler than recent days—but that did not stop many people from making a visit to Westport’s Compo Beach today. Dogs were out in force, enjoying the last eight days of beach privileges. Dogs are banned from the beach from April 1 to Oct. 1. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for


03/24/12 08:17 PM Comments () • Permalink

Softball Field Fund-Raising Effort Under Way Image
A fund-raising initiative called “Got Field?” to bring a varsity softball field back to the Staples High School sports complex got under way Friday night. Hosted at BG&C Wine Bar in Norwalk, the project’s goal is to raise $75,000 to create an FCIAC-standard varsity field with dugouts, stands and press box on the current softball field at Wakeman and renovate the JV’s sub-standard field at Staples. Currently the varsity team plays at Green’s Farms Elementary School where access and student attendance is difficult. The goal is to have all funds, approvals and construction done in time for the 2013 spring softball season. Pictured (l-r) are JV Coach Beth Anne Shellman, Players Katie Burke, Emma Moskovitz, Katherine Friend and Varsity Coach Sara Holland. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Matthew Mandell for


03/24/12 02:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Color Clash Image
A red barn and yellow forsythia bush present a color clash on Westport’s Abbott’s Lane off Cross Highway. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for


03/24/12 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Noon - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Next Stop: Westport!” & “The Cold War in Our Backyard”
12:30 p.m. - 4 p.m. - Bedford Middle School - Minds in Motion

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


03/24/12 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Elizabeth Christine (Horn) Abbott, 86

Elizabeth Christine (Horn) Abbott, a former teacher at Westport’s Bedford Junior High School, died March 23 in Belfast, Maine. She was 86. Image
Elizabeth Abbott: taught at Bedford Junior High. Contributed photo

She was born Aug. 3, 1925 in Bridgeport to Julius Henry and Christine Bessie (Howe) Horn. The family moved to Stratford in 1926, and she graduated from Stratford High in 1943. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in education.

After teaching in Stratford, she continued at Bedford Junior High in Westport during which time she earned her Master of Arts degree at the University of Bridgeport and a fellowship at Yale University.

In 1956, she married William Abbott of Verona, Maine settling in Belfast. She was a member of First Church, UCC, Belfast, serving on numerous committees, was a member of Northport Golf Club, was on the board of the Rainbow Girls, the Waldo Hospital Aid, Sweetser Board, American Red Cross, a volunteer at Penobscot Marine Museum and a longtime member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood.

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03/24/12 03:27 AM Comments () • Permalink

A Wet Doodle Image
With about a week left on the dogs permitted period at Westport’s Compo Beach, many dogs and their owners took advantage of today’s warm weather to spend time there. Among the many dogs, was George, a 4-year-old mini Golden Doodle owned by Karin Craig of Westport. George entertained onlookers by his obvious delight in fetching a yellow foam frisbee and returning it to his owner. Whether on land or in the water, George never failed to find the frisbee and bring it back for yet another toss. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for


03/24/12 12:42 AM Comments () • Permalink

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