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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas on the Saugatuck

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A Christmas tree is reflected on the Saugatuck River in Westport late today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for WestportNow.com


12/21/13 11:59 PM Comments () • Permalink

Basking in First Day of Winter Balmy Temperatures

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They call themselves the “Compo Beach Pavillion Wall Winter Beach Buddies”—Debbie, Michele,Theresa and John—and they were out today on the first day of winter. But instead of chilly sub-freezing temperatures, they found themselves basking in unusually warm spring-like 54-degree weather. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


12/21/13 10:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Alumni Run Set for Sunday

The annual Staples High School Alumni Run will take place on Sunday at 9 a.m.

The two-mile run is open to the Staples running community, both past and present, and their families, organizers said.

Runners should meet at 9 a.m. in the Staples High School cafeteria (70 North Ave.), dressed to run outdoors.

Refreshments and Laddie Lawrence Scholarship Fund raffle tickets will be available after the run.


12/21/13 10:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

WHS Landmark Designation Honors ‘Maggie’ Feczko

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Several dozen persons gathered at the Westport Historical Society (WHS) today for the unveiling of a marker designating its 1795-built Bradley-Wheeler House as a Local Historic Landmark Property in honor of the late community volunteer Margaret “Maggie” K. Feczko. Feczko, who died of ovarian cancer in June at age 64, was a former president of WHS as well as former chair and member of the Westport Historic District Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow


12/21/13 09:33 PM Comments () • Permalink

Unveiling of Historic Marker

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Among those participating today in the unveiling of a Local Historic Landmark Property marker at the Westport Historical Society Bradley-Wheeler House headquarters at 25 Avery Place in memory of community volunteer Margaret “Maggie” K. Feczko were (l-r) First Selectman Jim Marpe, son Christopher Feczko, husband Joe Feczko, and Elizabeth Wacker of the Historic District Commission. Feczko, who died in June of ovarian cancer, was former president of the WHS and former chair of the HDC.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


12/21/13 09:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

Remembering a Dedicated Community Volunteer

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Susan Walton Wynkoop, president of the Westport Historical Socety (WHS), today addresses a crowd attending the ceremonial unveilng of an historic marker at the WHS headquarters in honor of former WHS president Margaret “Maggie” Feczko. She and others remembered Feczko as a tireless volunteer who worked to preserve Westport’s history and who had an uncanny ability to draft countless others into her efforts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


12/21/13 09:22 PM Comments () • Permalink

Robert D. Rippe, 89

Robert Downes Rippe of Tequesta, Fla., who helped start the Westport family business Rippe Farms Markets, died Dec. 19 at a hospice in Jupiter, Fla. He was 89.

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Robert D. Rippe: helped start Rippe Farms Markets. Contributed photo

Born in Norwalk on Aug. 25, 1924. he grew up on the 15-acre family farm on North Avenue in Westport, which the family operated from 1922 to 1968. Later, he attended the University of Connecticut where he met his wife of 48 years, Harriette Smith Rippe (Skip). While at UConn, he was an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

After graduation in 1949, he took a position with Del Monte Foods where he worked for 33 years until his retirement. During his career, the couple lived in many locales in addition to Westport, including Marcellus, N.Y., Hawthorne, N.Y., Cincinnati, and Charlotte, N.C.

Upon retirement in Charlotte, they enjoyed traveling the world and focusing on their family. He spent endless hours in his lush vegetable garden every year.

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12/21/13 07:53 PM Comments () • Permalink

Garden Club Helps Needy

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Katje Donovan of the Westport Garden Club on Friday presented a $350 check to Patty Haberstroh of the Westport Department of Human Services for its services to the needy. Donations are made from club members each year during the club’s annual holiday party. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


12/21/13 04:14 PM Comments () • Permalink

Last Fall Sunset

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Friday night’s sunset as seen from Westport’s Longshore Club Park—the last sunset of the fall. Winter begins today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for WestportNow.com


12/21/13 05:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, December 21, 2013 - Winter Begins

10 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Gilberties Herb Garden (7 Sylvan Lane) - Westport Winter Farmers Market
Noon - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Framing the Past, Present, and Future” and “Walt Reed’s Illustrator in America”
Noon - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Chuck Close: About Face”
Noon - Westport Library - Maker-in-residence: Balam Soto, Collaborative Digital Quilt Making
12:11 p.m. - Northern Hemisphere - Winter Solstice
3 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - Ceremony marking Local Historic Landmark Property designation of Bradley-Wheeler House

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


12/21/13 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

State Sets Post-Sandy Hook School Building Standards

By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas


State officials today announced new school construction protocols in response to the Newtown tragedy, including exterior surveillance, blast-resistant entryways and classroom door locks—all features that might have stopped or slowed Adam Lanza’s assault on Sandy Hook Elementary a year ago.

“We’ve attempted to take an all-hazards approach,” Donald J. DeFronzo, the commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services, said shortly after releasing the new protocols. “There are no security standards now.”

The new standards must be met to qualify for the $600 million spent annually by the state to build and renovate schools, a local responsibility that is subsidized by the state based on local wealth, with an upscale suburb like Avon qualifying for 20 percent and a city like New Britain getting 80 percent.

The standards will apply to all new school construction approved for funding by the legislature after June 2014. 

Click here for more of story


12/21/13 01:05 AM Comments () • Permalink

WHS to Honor ‘Maggie’ Feczko on Saturday

The Westport Historical Society (WHS) on Saturday will posthumously honor longtime community volunteer Margaret “Maggie” K. Feczko.

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Maggie Feczko: died last June at 64. Contributed photo

A 3 p.m. ceremony will unveil the Local Historic Landmark Property designation of the 1795-built WHS Bradley-Wheeler House in memory of Feczko.

Feczko, a former WHS president, died June 28 of ovarian cancer. She was 64. (See WestportNow June 30, 2013)

Feczko was also a former member and chair of the Westport Historic District Commission (HDC) and also was active in the Westport Garden Club, Westport Sunrise Rotary, and the League of Women Voters of Westport, among others.

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12/21/13 12:52 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, December 20, 2013

Arrest for Forged Prescription

Facing an arrest warrant for prescription drug forgery, a New Jersey woman turned herself into Westport police and was released after posting a $50,000 bond, police said today.

Nadine Mahmoud, 31 of Lawrence Harbor, N.J. turned herself in on Wednesday, police said.  She is scheduled to appear in Norwalk Superior Court on Dec. 28.

She has been charged with third-degree forgery for falsifying a doctor’s prescription and trying to obtain “controlled drugs by fraud,” according to the arrest report. She was also charged with the possession of marijuana.

According to police, the arrest stemmed from a several week investigation into Mahmoud falsifying a doctor’s prescriptions.


12/20/13 10:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Weston Woman Wins $1M in Mega Millions

Friday the 13th was lucky for Laurie Dillon of Weston. Her Mega Millions “Quick Pick” ticket for the Dec. 13 drawing was the single $1 milllion prize winning ticket holder in Connecticut on that date for the game’s second prize, state lottery officials announced today.

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Furkan “Frank” Kudia, owner of Weston Hardware and Housewares, sold the winning ticket. He collected $2,500. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com

Dillon’s Mega Millions ticket matched the first five numbers of the drawing but missed the Mega Ball number. She held one of nine $1 million tickets sold nationwide in the Dec.13 drawing.

In total, 146,261 winning Mega Millions tickets were sold in Connecticut, with prizes ranging from $1 to $1 million, state lottery officials said.

Dillon claimed her $1 million prize at lottery headquarters in Rocky Hill Thursday, accepting a check for $683,000, the value after taxes, an announcement said.

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12/20/13 08:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

Crash Causes Saugatuck Traffic Jam

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A two-car crash today at the intersection of Saugatuck Avenue and Treadwell Avenue caused no injuries but backed up traffic in the area. Both cars had to be removed by a wrecker. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com


12/20/13 07:13 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Property Transfers Dec. 2 - 6, 2013

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period Dec. 2 - 6, 2013:

James P. and Patricia K. Christodoulou to Robert A. Flug, 172 Regents Park, $827,500WNproperty.jpg

Ellen J. Barkan Zavesky to Thomas M. Risch, 15 Spriteview Ave., $700,000

11 Wedgewood LLC to Deercliff Assoc LLC, 11 Wedgewood Road, $3,575,000

Wendy W. Kaufmann to Dana T. and Michelle Rossi, 20 River Knoll, $1,250,000

More "Westport Property Transfers Dec. 2 - 6, 2013"


12/20/13 07:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

Red Barn Finally to Have a Patron Bar

By James Lomuscio

After more than a 30-year wait, Frank Nistico Jr., who goes by the name Chich, finally got Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approval Thursday night for a patron bar in his iconic, high-end restaurant at 290 Wilton Road—the Red Barn.

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The patron bar will be ready sometime in early 2014. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“We’re very, very elated to be having the patron bar, and we’re looking forward to putting it in,” said Nistico. “What the town agreed to, that’s what we’re going to do.”

“We’re fired up about it,” said Richard Nistico, Chich’s brother.

According to civil engineer Peter Romano, principal of Land-Tech Consultants and who handled the application before the P&Z, the 12-seat patron bar will be constructed by the restaurant’s fireplace, “and they’re eliminating 20 sit-down, patron dining seats to do so.” 

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12/20/13 05:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

Site of New Red Barn Patron Bar

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Frank Nistico Jr., who goes by the name Chich, today points to the area of the Red Barn where he plans to install a patron bar following Westport Planning and Zoning Commission approval Thursday night. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


12/20/13 04:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Unemployment in November Lowest in 5 Years

Westport’s unemployment rate in November was 5.0 percent, the lowest in more than five years, the Connecticut Department of Labor said today. It was down from 5.7 percent in October.

The last time Westport’s unemployment rate was lower was in August 2008 when it was 4.5 percent, just before the recession began to be felt. The rate hit 7.0 percent in June 2009.

The department said the number of Westport unemployed in November was 617, down from 703 in October. The November labor force in Westport numbered 12,364, down from 12,397 in October.

There were 11,747 employed in November, up from 11,694 employed in October. A year ago in November, Westport’s unemployment rate was 6.1 percent.


12/20/13 04:34 PM Comments () • Permalink

Breakfast at the Highway Garage

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Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe and Selectman Avi Kaner today hosted a holiday breakfast with Public Works Department employees at the highway garage on the Sherwood Island Connector in one of a series of such breakfasts with town employees. On Thursday there wasa breakfast at the Parks and Recreation Department at Longshore Club Park. A Town Hall breakfast is also on the schedule. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


12/20/13 02:33 PM Comments () • Permalink

Longshore View

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Thursday’s sunset as seen from Westport’s Longshore Club Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com


12/20/13 05:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, December 20, 2013

9 a.m. – Westport Senior Center – Commission for Senior Services
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Framing the Past, Present, and Future” and “Walt Reed’s Illustrator in America”
10 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Chuck Close: About Face”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


12/20/13 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Julia Child Memoir is WestportREADS 2014 Choice

The Westport Library has selected “My Life in France” by the late famed chef Julia Child as its 2014 selection for WestportREADS, an annual program sponsored by the Library to strengthen the community through the shared experience of a book.

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The autobiography was first published in 2006. It was compiled by Child and Alex Prud’homme, her husband’s grandnephew, during the last eight months of her life, and completed and published by Prud’homme following her death in August 2004.

She became a master chef relatively late in life. When she moved to France with her husband, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country or its food. Overcoming formidable obstacles, she became one of the world’s most influential chefs.

In the kickoff of the month-long January WestportREADS events, Prud’homme will discuss the book and his memories of Child’s life in France on Sunday, Jan. 5, at 2 p.m. in the Library’s McManus Room. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the program, which is free and open to the public, the Library said.


12/20/13 12:50 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, December 19, 2013


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Ice formations today on the Saugatuck River near Westport’s Ford Road. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for WestportNow.com


12/19/13 11:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Resources in New, Expanded Home

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John Vaccaro: move allows expanded capabilities. Contributed photo

Westport investment and financial planning firm Westport Resources has moved to a new expanded home at 55 Greens Farms Road.

“This is an exciting time for Westport Resources as we continue to grow and offer expanded capabilities,” said John Vaccaro, CEO, who founded the firm in 1986.

Formerly at 315 Post Road West, the firm said its move offers greater space to accommodate its recent growth. It serves individuals, families, municipalities and institutions around the world.

Phone and online contacts for the Westport office remain the same: (203)226-0222 or (800)935-0222 and www.westportresources.com.  Westport Resources also has an office in Naples, Fla.


12/19/13 10:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

All Gone: 3 Bluewater Hill

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The house at 3 Bluewater Hill, off Compo Road South, was demolished today.  Built in 1953, the one-story ranch had 1,590 square feet, was situated on a .64-acre property, and changed ownership in january for $1,950,000. It was the WestportNow Teardown of the Day on Feb. 21, 2013. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


12/19/13 10:08 PM Comments () • Permalink

Live from Staples High School: ‘A Christmas Carol’

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Students at Westport’s Staples High School today performed a live broadcast over student station WWPT-FM of “A Christmas Carol.” The production was a combined effort of David Roth’s Theater 3 and Jim Honeycutt’s Audio Production classes. Performed before an audience of about 75, the production used the original radio script from the 1930s for Orson Welles and Mercury Theatre. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


12/19/13 08:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Turning the Clock Back to 1939

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Staples High School students perform “A Christmas Carol” today in a live broadcast over the student station WWPT-FM. Complete with sound effects and commercials, students followed the script of the original airing on Christmas Eve 1939 of Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre company. It was a reprise of the Staples 2009 production which took first place at the Drury Awards, the highest honor in high school radio. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


12/19/13 08:05 PM Comments () • Permalink

Jingle Singers

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Staples High School students sing a Campbell’s Soup jingle during today’s live WWPT-FM broadcast of “A Christmas Carol.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


12/19/13 08:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

CT Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.6%

By Keith M. Phaneuf


The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.6 percent in November as a surging retail sector helped Connecticut gain about 4,000 jobs, the state Labor Department reported today.

The jobless rate, which stood at 7.9 percent in October, also was down compared with the 8.3 percent unemployment rate in November 2012.

But while education, health services and financial activities also saw growth from October to November, other key sectors of the economy declined.

“November’s strong job growth offset some declines in the third quarter returning us to the positive, though modest growth path we have seen throughout 2013,” Andy Condon, director of the Labor Department’s Office of Research, said. “A third straight month of unemployment rate declines is certainly good news, though these declines are still occurring on a shrinking labor force.”

Click here for more of story


12/19/13 07:40 PM Comments () • Permalink

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