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Friday, February 28, 2014

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 1 Melwood Lane

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An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 1 Melwood Lane, off Sturges Commons, is in process. Built in 1953, the one-story ranch has 2,802 square feet and is situated on a 1.1-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 WestportNow.com


02/28/14 09:31 PM Comments () • Permalink

Online Voter Registration Available

Westport Registrars of Voters Marla Cowden and Kevin White today announced that online voter registration is now available in Westport.

To demonstrate the ease of online registration, First Selectman Jim Marpe and the registrars will stage a demonstration next week, registering two Staples High School students, an announcement said.

It will take place on Thursday, March 6, at 4 p.m. in Westport Town Hall Room 309.

The link to the online registration system is https://voterregistration.ct.gov.

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02/28/14 09:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

Police Top Town Wage Earners

UPDATE (adds clarification regarding overtime) Once again, police dominate the town-released list of Westport’s top 10 municipal wage earners with Field Training Officer Howard Simpson earning $189,930 for 2013, including $79,172 overtime and $14,105 for outside jobs, and Officer Anthony Falbo a close second with $174,774, $4,713 in overtime and $78,565 in outside work.

An updated list provided by the town broke down the payments, including base salaries. For example, Simpson and Falbo earned $79,302 and $76,392 respectively in base salaries. Outside jobs are paid by contractors who hire the officers but are billed through the town.

Aside from Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury, who is also the town’s director of emergency operations, coming in tenth place with a salary of $147,996, no firefighters made the the top 10 list.

Gary Conrad, the town’s finance director, was the only non-first responder cited, ranking sixth with a salary of $158,926.

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02/28/14 06:12 PM Comments () • Permalink

Former P&Z Chair Seeks $15M in NY Bike Accident

UPDATE Ron Corwin, former chair of the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission, has filed suit against New York City for a bike accident that he says left him unable to taste and smell.

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Ron Corwin: lost sense of taste and smell. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The suit against the city and Citi Bike’s private operator seeks $15 million, according to New York press reports. Corwin told WestportNow he could not comment on the advice of his attorney.

“This has turned my life inside out,” Corwin, 73, told the New York Daily News. “I do nothing now but go from one (medical) specialist to another trying to find some relief.”

Corwin, who served on the P&Z from 2005 to last November, including five years as chair, said he rented a Citi Bike last Oct. 25 at E. 56th St. and Madison Avenue. As he was leaving the docking station, his front wheel struck a low barrier near the station.

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02/28/14 03:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Property Transfers Feb. 10 - 14, 2014

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period Feb. 10 - 14, 2013:

Cecile Brody to Jill Brody, 18 Edgewater Commons Lane, $441,000WNproperty.jpg

Thomas and Akiko Ikeda Trusts to Brendan E. and Samantha S. Kelley, 16 Pin Oak Court, $695,000

Peter G. and Gloria Garcia to Jeffrey R. and Marsha E. Gray, 4 Charcoal Hill Common, $995,000

Celie G. and John M. Rosenau Trusts to CCO IV Cavalry LLC, Cavalry Road Lot 1A, $900,000

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02/28/14 03:44 PM Comments () • Permalink

Waldman: Proposed Space Limit Threatens Free Market

By James Lomuscio

A Westport Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) text amendment that would limit tenant space to 10,000 square feet downtown has local developer David Waldman seeing red.

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Developer David Waldman (pictured at an earlier meeting): “an infringement on individuals’ property rights.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“I lost my cool toward the end of the discussion,” Waldman said about Thursday night’s public hearing on Amendment 672. “But my opinion hasn’t changed.

“I can’t not believe our town is trying to limit the size of a retail stores downtown, which in my mind is an infringement on individuals’ property rights and a free marketplace,” he added.

Waldman, a principal of Bedford Square Associates, which is redeveloping the Westport-Weston Family Y property on Church Lane into a combination retail, restaurant and residential center, said such an amendment, if approved, would hinder his ability to get tenants.

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02/28/14 03:20 PM Comments () • Permalink

Marina Dusk

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Westport’s Ned Dimes Marina at Compo Beach at dusk on Thursday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Andrew Colabella for WestportNow.com


02/28/14 05:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday,  February 28, 2014

10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Cover Story: The New Yorker in Westport” & “Can’t Tell a Book by its Cover ... “
10 a.m. - Westport Library - Maker-in-Residence Gar Waterman: Designing & Building a Mobile Office
Noon - Westport Historical Society - Friday Film Series: “A Gathering of Glory”
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
3 p.m. - Westport Library - Teen Lego Robotics Club
6 p.m. - Westport Library - Documentary Film: “Miss You Can Do It!”
7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - Greens Farms Academy Middle School: “Once on This Island”
8 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Staples Players: “Don’t Drink the Water”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


02/28/14 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

P&Z Hears Keeping Bridgewater, Saving Kemper-Gunn

By James Lomuscio

A proposed text amendment that attorney Lawrence Weisman said would free up the town’s five design development districts (DDD) to make building, parking and environmental improvements received a ringing endorsement from Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe at tonight’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) meeting. 

The reason’s for Marpe’s support—it would encourage an owner of one of the districts—Bridgewater Associates, an international, multi-billion-dollar hedge fund, Westport’s largest employer and third top taxpayer—to remain in town.

“I believe they deserve to improve this property and that their intent is long-term occupancy of that property,” said Marpe about Bridgewater’s headquarters on the Glendenning property on Weston Road.

“We know that they are being lured to Stamford, and yet in the conversations I’ve had with their senior executives they have a real interest in maintaining a significant commitment in Westport.

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02/28/14 04:41 AM Comments () • Permalink

P&Z Okays Library Expansion on Jesup Green

Westport’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) voted unanimously tonight to issue a positive report on the Westport Library’s application to use town-owned Jesup Green for its planned 20,500-foot expansion project.

But commission members made clear they had concerns about the application, formally known as an 8-24 and submitted on behalf of the library by First Selectman Jim Marpe.

The commission said it was troubled by a planned 35-foot expansion into Jesup Green and included a finding in its approval saying that it expected the library to make enhancements to the remaining part of the Green “in a way that will be of greatest benefit to the town of Westport.”

“I think taking away any more green space from downtown is going to be a detriment, and it’s going to be totally contrary to what we’re trying to achieve,” said member Catherine Walsh.

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02/28/14 04:34 AM Comments () • Permalink

Comings & Goings: New Wine Shop on PRE

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Westport Wine and Spirits will open soon at 877 Post Road East at the intersection of the Sherwood Island Connector. Owner Paul Sherman (above) explained that the Purple Feet banner currently on display above the storefront is temporary. The 32-year-old 2000 Staples High School graduate said he purchased the now defunct Purple Feet store, which was located at Playhouse Square and closed in November 2013. He said its liquor license will shortly be transferred to Westport Wine and Spirits at which time the Purple Feet banner will be removed. The site is the former location of Game Stop. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


02/28/14 01:49 AM Comments () • Permalink

Learnings About Thermal Imaging of Homes

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Westport’s Earthplace tonight hosted a workshop with the Westport Green Task Force to allow Westporters to learn more about the Westport Thermal Imaging and Energy Efficiency Program. The program offers Westporters free thermal images of their homes and the opportunity to learn about what kinds of energy efficiency opportunities are available. Westporters can visit WeGreenWestport.org to access their home thermal images. Pictured is David Mann, chair of the Westport Green Task Force, addressing the audience. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


02/28/14 01:18 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Westport Top Dog 2014 Named

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Westport Animal Shelter Advocates (WASA) today named Cali, a lab-mix rescue from California, as Westport’s Top Dog 2014. Owner Valerie Malin and her children, Brandon, 10, and Madison, 14, posed with First Selectman Jim Marpe at a Town Hall ceremony. The family has owned Cali for four years and estimate her age as 4-1/2. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


02/27/14 10:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

They’re All Top Dogs

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Finalists and winner in the Westport Top Dog 2014 competition posed on stage today at Westport Town Hall with First Selectman Jim Marpe and his dog Madison (“First Dog”), a Bernese Mountain Dog who turns 9 on Saturday. They are (l-r) Julie Laporo, WASA president, Top Dog Cali with Brandon and Madison Malin, Paul Tolentino with Suzy, Susan Silver with Gabby, and Cindy Schneider with Lurch. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


02/27/14 10:23 PM Comments () • Permalink

Metro-North Officials: Timeliness Interfered with Safety

By Keith M. Phaneuf


Efforts to ensure trains ran on time likely contributed to the accidents and other safety-related mishaps that plagued the Metro-North commuter railroad last year, the service’s top brass told state lawmakers today.

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Thomas F. Prendergast, chairman and CEO of the MTA (l), and Joseph J. Giiulietti, president of Metro-North, appeared before a legislative panel today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ctmirror.org photo

And efforts to enhance safety could lead to more delays in the future.

But administrators also said the nation’s second-busiest commuter line is in the midst of a historic overhaul of safety and maintenance programs, and pledged to keep Connecticut officials apprised of that process in the months to come.

“Metro-North had a terrible 2013, with derailments, a major power outage, a drop in on-time performance and other problems,” Thomas F. Prendergast, chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority told the legislature’s Transportation Committee during a special hearing. “And as a public transportation professional for over 35 years now, I know – as well as anyone – that you’re only as good as your last rush hour.”

Click here for more of story


02/27/14 09:42 PM Comments () • Permalink

Comings & Goings: Cru Restaurant Closes

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Cru Restaurant, which opened last June in the lower level at 125 Main St., home of GAP Inc., with its entrance on Parker-Harding Plaza, has closed. The restaurant featured American, Mediterranean, and Pacific cuisine. It was owned by Steve Prokop and Todd Rose, owners of Cuvee, an upscale restaurant in West Hartford. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


02/27/14 09:38 PM Comments () • Permalink

Duff’s Quiet Campaign for Majority Leader Goes Public

By Mark Pazniokas

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Sen. Bob Duff: Setting sights on leadership post. Contributed photo

Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, was described today by a variety of political sources as the likely successor to Sen. Martin Looney, D-New Haven, as majority leader, the result a quiet campaign waged in preparation for the day the job became open.

That day has arrived.

Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams, D-Brooklyn, surprised his colleagues Wednesday with the news he will not seek another term, clearing the way for Looney to assume the top leadership post.

In an instant, a private campaign by Duff to move into leadership became public.

Click here for more of story


02/27/14 09:31 PM Comments () • Permalink

Weather Service: Frigid Temperatures Tonight

The National Weather Service said an Arctic front will cross the Westport area early this evening.

Scattered snow showers, which may be briefly heavy, are expected with the frontal passage. In its wake, 20 to 30 mph westerly winds and gusts of 35 to 45 mph are expected this evening.

The winds will gradually weaken after midnight but not before ushering in a frigid air mass, the Weather Service said.

Temperatures will drop into the teens through this evening, bottoming out in the single digits by daybreak Friday.

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02/27/14 09:06 PM Comments () • Permalink

Van vs. Bicyclist Sends Rider to Hospital

UPDATE A 52-year-old Westport man was injured today when his bicycle collided with a van at the intersection of Hillandale Road and West Parish Road, police said.

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The bicycle involved rests at the intersection of Hillandale and West Parish Roads. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Cablevision News-12 photo

Alix Boyer of Hales Court was taken to Norwalk Hospital with non life-threatening injuries following the 10:50 a.m. accident, police said.

A preliminary investigation determined that Boyer was riding his bicycle eastbound on Hillandale Road and failed to yield to opposing traffic at the stop sign at the intersection of West Parish Road, police said.

He collided with a van driven by Michael Troiano, 22, of New Fairfield, who was traveling north on West Parish Road, striking the left side of the van, police said.

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02/27/14 08:32 PM Comments () • Permalink

National Merit Scholarship Finalists Named

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Nine Staples High School seniors have been named finalists in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program.  As Merit Scholar finalists, they will have a chance to earn one of 8,000 National Merit Scholarship awards, together worth more than $35 million. Pictured are (back row l-r) Katherine Zhou, Steven Sobel,Charles Jersey, Mrinal Kumar, Sarah Fox and Ben Goldschlage; (front row) Warren Schorr, Amanda Mezoff and Eliza Llewellyn. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


02/27/14 07:29 PM Comments () • Permalink

Patricia A. Hurley Coley, 86

Patricia A. Hurley Coley, a former Westport resident, wife of James E. Coley 3rd of Clinton, died Feb. 23 at Connecticut Hospice in Branford after a long illness. She was 86.

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Patricia Coley: Staples graduate.  Contributed photo

She was born in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. to the late Roy T. Hurley and Ruth A. Hurley and previously resided in Westport before settling in Clinton.

She was a graduate of Bedford Jr. High and Staples High School in Westport, attended Simmons College of Boston and Columbia University, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and mathematics.

She was a longtime member (1941-1970) of the Cedar Point Yacht Club of Westport as treasurer, manager of junior sailing, served on the race protest committee, and taught sailing.

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02/27/14 07:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tree Warden: Still Determining Main St. Tree Locations

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Westport Tree Warden Bruce Lindsay told the Downtown Steering Committee Technical Subcommittee today that he does not yet know the location of new trees for Main Street. He said his main concern is soil, its root health and soil health. The trees need to be resilient in the event of flooding with a minimum 24-inch soil depth requirement, he said. Public Works Director Steve Edwards (r ) said his priority is replacement of roadside curbing, then light posts, and tree replacements. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


02/27/14 06:31 PM Comments () • Permalink

Off the Wall

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Workers today removed the eight-panel, 32-foot wide mural from the wall of the tunnel that connects Westport Main Street to Parker-Harding Plaza. Dedicated on Dec. 4, 1994 in honor of the First Night New Year’s celebration in downtown Westport, the panel was created by Westport artist Kassie Foss and Westport school children. Westport artist Miggs Burroughs has been commissioned to create a new art installation which will be dedicated in May during the Downtown Merchants Association annual Art About Town festival. The mural will go into storage and reappear as part of the Bedford Square development. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


02/27/14 05:48 PM Comments () • Permalink

Previewing Tunnel Vision

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Westport artist Miggs Burroughs (r) looks over a temporary banner that will replace an eight-panel mural removed today from the tunnel connecting Westport’s Main Street to Parker-Harding Plaza. Burroughs has been commissioned to create a new art installation in its place to be unveiled during the May Downtown Merchants Association Art About Town event.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


02/27/14 05:43 PM Comments () • Permalink

House Speaker: Make CT Colleges and Hospitals Pay Property Taxes

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Arielle Levin Becker


Connecticut has long spared most colleges and hospitals from local property taxes and reimbursed their home communities with state grants worth a fraction of the lost tax revenue.

House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, says it’s time to effectively reverse that. The speaker’s proposal would subject the nonprofits to property taxes. And colleges and hospitals—not municipalities—could seek state grants to offset a portion of the cost.

Sharkey said the proposal is rooted in concerns about local taxes and the loss of taxable property as hospitals and colleges buy up real estate to use as outpatient facilities or faculty offices. Local taxpayers can’t afford to fund the police, fire and other services needed to support the nonprofit institutions without more help, he said.

“We already rely so heavily on the property tax,” Sharkey said Tuesday. “When they lose so much revenue from major institutions like this, the costs outweigh the benefits.”

Click here for more of story


02/27/14 04:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saugatuck View

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A view Wednesday across the Saugatuck River in Westport’s center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com


02/27/14 05:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday,  February 27, 2014

10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Downtown Steering Committee Technical Subcommittee
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Cover Story: The New Yorker in Westport” & “Can’t Tell a Book by its Cover ... “
2 p.m. - Westport Library - Movies for the Heart: “Royal Wedding”
4 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - 5th Annual Westport Animal Shelter Advocates Top Dog 2014
6:30 p.m. - Earthplace - Thermal Imaging/Energy Efficiency Workshop
7 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Minecraft (grages 6-12)
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - RTM Environment Committee

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


02/27/14 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Staples Boys Hoopsters Defeat Trumbull 64-61

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The Staples boys basketball team tonight ended its season with a 64-61 win over Trumbull at home as the Wreckers honored four seniors—David Katz (15), Andrew Felman (20), Darryle Wiggins (23), and Todd Goldstein (30). The seniors, seen on the court with their families, finished their high school careers in style with Katz’s 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, Wiggins’s 15 points and eight rebounds, Goldstein’s eight points and Felman’s five. Junior Jake Melnick also had 11 points in the win. The Wreckers ended the season with a record of 5-15. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


02/27/14 03:16 AM Comments () • Permalink

Obama to Visit Connecticut Next Week


Has Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s defense of President Obama’s minimum wage proposal played well at the White House?

The apparent answer came today: Obama plans to visit Connecticut March 5 to promote a minimum-wage increase with Malloy.

Video of Malloy’s jousting with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal outside the White House has gone viral, prompting invitations for Malloy to appear on national news programs.

It also prompted this sharp exchange between a Republican candidate for governor and one of the governor’s advisers.

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02/27/14 12:20 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blumenthal Gets Key Senate Post on Rail Safety

By Ann Radelat


Washington – Sen. Richard Blumenthal was a surprise witness today at a House hearing aimed at improving rail safety that served as a forum to discuss Metro-North’s problems.

Connecticut’s Democratic senior senator, who has led a campaign against accident-prone Metro-North, was asked to testify at the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing because Senate leaders today gave him the chairmanship to a key subcommittee.

Blumenthal now chairs the Senate Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on surface transportation, which has jurisdiction over several federal agencies, including the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

“My appearance is my first official act as chairman of the subcommittee,” Blumenthal said.

Click here for more of story


02/26/14 11:22 PM Comments () • Permalink

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