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Thursday, March 06, 2014

Earthplace Gets Set to Bloom on Saturday

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A youngster at Earthplace gets ready for Earthplace in Bloom. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center, is getting ready for its annual spring auction, Earthplace in Bloom, on Saturday.

The event will feature live music, food and drink from local restaurants and shops as well as a variety of silent and live auction items, an announcement said.

They include loge tickets to the 2014 U.S. Open, a Cabo San Lucas vacation, and a Chardonnay Sail with new Earthplace Executive Director Tony McDowell.

Local businesses participating include Spotted Horse Tavern, Kibberia, The SONO Baking Company & Café, Bistro B, Castle Wine and Spirits, and Greens Farms Spirit Shop. Tickets are available at www.earthplace.org.


03/06/14 05:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Consultant Gives Update on Downtown

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Westporter David Lapping of the RBA Group, which is conducting a study to produce a downtown master plan, today gave an update to the Downtown Steering Committee. Explaining he was not making any recommendations at this time,  Lapping addressed traffic patterns, accident challenges and parking issues, much based on review of MioVision traffic cameras that were installed in the downtown area for pattern analysis. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


03/06/14 04:16 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sherwood Mill Pond Scene

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Westport’s Sherwood Mill Pond on Wednesday—with only two weeks until spring. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com


03/06/14 05:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday,  March 6, 2014

8:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 307/309 - Downtown Steering Committee
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Susan Malloy: In the Studio” & “Abstract Notes”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Cover Story: The New Yorker in Westport” & “Can’t Tell a Book by its Cover ... “
Noon - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Play with Your Food
Noon - 1:30 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - Celebrating 300 Years of Connecticut’s Remarkable Women
2 p.m. - Westport Library - Musical in March: “Singin’ in the Rain”
7 p.m. - Westport Library - John Seo: Catastrophe Hedge Funds
7 p.m. - Town Hall Green Room - Board of Assessment Appeal Hearings
7 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
7 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - The Tiny Miracles Foundation: Evening of Reflections & Discussions

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


03/06/14 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Finance Board Mulls Proposed Town, School Budgets

By James Lomuscio

Westport’s Board of Finance tonight got a close look at the 2014-15 proposed municipal and Board of Education budgets totaling $201,025,473—budget requests First Selectman Jim Marpe and school board chairwoman Elaine Whitney said focused on efficiency and maintaining quality while keeping costs down.

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First Selectman Jim Marpe outlined his budget to the Board of Financetonight which he said was “citizen centric.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The finance board took no action, and Chairman John Pincavage stressed the need to digest the proposed budgets over the next two weeks, “to determine what is necessary for the moment and what is necessary for the long term.”

Still, finance board members raised concerns about the budgets—the first by Marpe since his election in November. They included: hiring 12 new employees, three for town and nine for the schools; capital forecast uncertainties; school and town spending that has outpaced inflation; and the need for town-school consolidations to cut costs.

Brian Stern, finance board vice chairman, for example, questioned why the town and the school board each have their own health care insurance analysts.

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03/06/14 04:40 AM Comments () • Permalink

Finance Board Approves $350,000 for New Police Boat

By James Lomuscio

The Westport Board of Finance tonight unanimously approved $350,000 for the purchase of a new and improved Marine 1, a 33-foot, police boat to replace a 15-year-old smaller one long past its prime.

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Police Chief Dale Call tonight tells the Board of Finance why a new police boat is needed. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Police Chief Dale Call, citing 400 marine calls per year and the need for his officers to have “the best equipment to do the job” year round in a coastal community, stressed that the purchase was long overdue for the safety of his officers, as well as boaters who need assistance.

“We’re at the point now where we can no longer wait,” Call said, noting that the boat needs to be in service 365 days a year, 24-hours a day.

The new boat, he said, would have a long lasting aluminum hull and three sealed compartments that would prevent it from sinking.

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03/06/14 04:09 AM Comments () • Permalink

Westporter’s Pot Growing Firm Under Scrutiny

State officials are looking at an authorized pot growing business owned by a Westport resident after its director of production agreed to resign his position following disclosures that he had lost his license for a Colorado marijuana facility in 2012, according to the Hartford Courant.

Advanced Grow Labs LLC is among four companies announced in January as authorized to produce medical marijuana for patients to use in accordance with state law. David Lipton of Westport is its managing partner. (See WestportNow Jan. 28, 2014)

The newspaper quoted an attorney for the company as saying John J. Czarkowski, director of production for Advanced Grow Labs, agreed to resign his position today. The company plans to set up its business in a West Haven warehouse.

His departure came a day after disclosures that he had to shut down his Colorado marijuana dispensary and production facility, Boulder Kind Care, in 2012 after the city of Boulder, Colo., moved to revoke his license for several alleged violations of regulations.

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03/06/14 01:57 AM Comments () • Permalink

Ski Champs

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The Staples boys ski team today won the 2014 Connecticut Interscholastic Ski League (CISL) Class L championship at Mt. Southington in Plantsville. The boys team came in second overall in the state open, losing to Greenwich by a total of .13 seconds. The Staples girls ski team also placed second, losing to Fairfield by 3.81 seconds. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


03/06/14 01:52 AM Comments () • Permalink

Carolanne N. Duhamel, 67

Carolanne N. Duhamel of Southport, a former Westport resident, died Feb. 29 at Bridgeport Hospital. She was 67.

She was born in Hartford on July 25, 1946, the daughter of the late Patrick and Esther Needham and has been a resident of Southport for 24 years. Prior to moving to Southport. she had resided in Westport for 12 years and was employed as an auditor for the Westport Bank & Trust. Co.

She was a graduate of Elm College in Holyoke, Mass., where she received both her undergraduate and Master’s degrees. An avid reader of many books, including the history of World War II, she also loved flowers, music and was an accomplished pianist.

Survivors include one son, Christopher P. Duhamel of Denver, Colo., one sister, Nancy Clubb of East Granby, two nieces and one great niece. She was also predeceased by one son, Jonathon P. Duhamel.

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03/06/14 12:57 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Obama at CCSU: Economy Must Work ‘For All of Us’

By Mark Pazniokas


New Britain – President Barack Obama today told a pep-rally audience of local college students and politicians from across New England that his campaign for a $10.10 minimum wage was central to a broader call to address economic inequality in the United States.

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President Obama addresses a crowd at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain today as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy listens. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Douglas Healey for WestportNow.com

“It is a central task for all of us to build an economy that works for all of us, not just for some,” Obama said, addressing about 3,000 in Detrick Gymnasium at Central Connecticut State University

Obama was introduced by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, whose defense of the president’s economic policies against criticism by Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana outside the White House was seen by many here as a spur for the president’s visit.

“There is a time to lead and a time to follow. I will follow this president on the great policies he will put forward, but New England needs to lead on this issue,” Malloy said.

Click here for more of story


03/05/14 09:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Obama in Connecticut to Push Minimum Wage

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President Obama made a quick visit to Connecticut today to push for a higher minium wage. He did it In a rousing, campaign-style speech at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. Joining him on stage were (l-r) Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, Gov. Peter E. Shumlin of Vermont, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee of Rhode Island, Gov. Deval L. Patrick of Massachusetts, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Douglas Healey for WestportNow.com


03/05/14 08:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Obama Connecticut Lunch Stop: Korean Beef & Chili

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UPDATE Before heading to Central Connecticut State University in New Brtiain today for a speech on raising the minimum wage, President Obama stopped at Café Beauregard in New Britain for lunch with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other New England governors. In response to a question, Obama said he ordered a Korean beef sandwich and chili. The menu showed it actually to be a Spicy Korean BBQ Steak ($9.95) described on the menu as a “thinly sliced NY Strip steak, marinated & grilled, topped with Asian slaw & Sriracha mayo, on a club roll.” The president added a side of chili. The White House reported that café owners Rob Chiovoloni and Alice Bruno, a husband and wife team, pay all employees at least $10 per hour. Bruno said that the president tried to pay, but that Malloy, who ordered the ginger sweet potato soup with grilled chicken coconut curry, picked up the tab. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


03/05/14 08:05 PM Comments () • Permalink

Hitching an Air Force One Ride With the President

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President Obama invited Connecticut’s congressional delegation to join him on Air Force One today for his trip to Connecticut. U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal were unable to join him because of a pending Senate vote, but the five House members took Obama up on the invite, including Reps. Joe Courtney and Rosa DeLauro. Rep. Jim Himes took this picture and posted it on Twitter. “We talked healthcare, minimum wage, and he asked Rosa about her (multicolored) shoes (see picture here),” said Himes. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Jim Himes/Twitter.com


03/05/14 08:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

Close J. Crew Cut

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A woman driver overshot the curb and slammed into the Parker-Harding Plaza entrance to Westport’s J. Crew today. No one was injured and there was no structural damage to the store, said Fire Marshal Ed Zygmant. But he said the doorframe was damaged and entry to the store was limited to Main Street as a result. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


03/05/14 07:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

Dress Code vs. Code of Laws

UPDATE (clarifies charges) Business competition crossed the line into identity theft-impersonation as a Westport small business owner attempted to have goods only available to a competitor shipped to the competitor’s store, police said today.

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Mary Perkins, 53, of Norwalk, owner of Dress Code, 578 Post Road East, was charged with one count of identity theft second-degree (impersonation), police said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Mary Perkins, 53, of 194 Gregory Boulevard, Norwalk, turned herself in Sunday on a warrant and was charged with one count of identity theft second-degree (impersonation), police said.

While police would not release the name of the competitor nor Perkins’s shop, records show that Perkins is the owner of Dress Code at 578 Post Road East, which opened in 2010. A court affidavit showed the competitor was Winged Monkey, 384 Post Road East., where Perkins formerly worked, according to The Hour of Norwalk.

“It was all done electronically,” Capt. Vincent Penna said of the ordering of the goods.

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03/05/14 06:52 PM Comments () • Permalink

Gas Tank Removal Leads to Charges

The unauthorized removal of an underground gasoline tank at Boccanfuso Brothers, Inc., a longtime Westport automotive repair business located at 940 Post Road East, led to charges against Giuseppe D. Boccanfuso, a 29-year-old Fairfield resident, police said today.

According to police, Boccanfuso turned himself in Monday to face charges stemming from the unauthorized removal in April 2013 of the tank at his family business.

Capt. Vincent Penna said Boccanfuso was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment and violating a state law concerning the abatement of a fire hazard.

He was released on a promise to appear in Norwalk Superior Court on Thursday, March 13.


03/05/14 06:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

Ben F. Wilder, 85

Ben F. Wilder of Sarasota, Fla., a former Westport resident, died March 2. He was 85.

Born in Queens, N.Y., he attended Hofstra University before serving on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, D.C.

He worked for Bankers Trust Company in New York for the balance of his career. Before retiring in Florida, he lived in Point Lookout, N.Y. and Westport.

His wife, Joan Wittmer, predeceased him in 1983. He is survived by longtime companion Barbara Loeschen as well as four children: Richard (Laura), Robert, Thomas (Katie), Edward (Sandy), eight grandchildren, and Mimi Rievman Wilder. He is also survived by his stepmother, Eva Wilder Kramer, and her longtime companion Gene Robinson.

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03/05/14 05:08 PM Comments () • Permalink

Two I-95 Accidents Send One to Hospital

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Two I-95 accidents, occurring almost simultaneously, sent one person to the hospital today and tied up traffic, according to Assistant Fire Chief John Plofkin. One (above) occurred in the northbound lane of I-95, just past the Beachside Avenue overpass, when a driver lost control of his vehicle and drove into a snow bank. He refused medical treatment. The other accident, about a quarter-mile further north, involved a car that slammed into the median after colliding with a van. Firefighters had to extricate a female in the car, who was transferred to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, said Assistant Chief Rob Yost. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


03/05/14 04:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

8 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Maintenance Study Committee
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Susan Malloy: In the Studio” & “Abstract Notes”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Cover Story: The New Yorker in Westport” & “Can’t Tell a Book by its Cover ... “
Noon - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Play with Your Food
3 p.m. - Westport Library - Maker-in-Residence Ed Kalin: Create an All-Sky Camera
4 p.m. - Westport Library - ChessClub (grades K-12)
4 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Beautification Committee
6 p.m. - Westport Library - Internet Marketing with Email
6:15 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Shellfish Commission
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Chess Club for Adults
7 p.m. - Town Hall Green Room - Board of Assessment Appeal Hearings
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201A - Board of Finance Executive Session
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Flood & Erosion Control Board
8 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Board of Finance Meeting (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


03/05/14 05:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Real Estate Report: Rentals Gain Attention

By Judy Szablak

Westport’s seasonal rental homes are starting to pop up in the market, and now is as good a time as any to start making plans to enjoy our beautiful town for the summer.

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Photo courtesy of William Raveis/ Westport

These types of rentals come in many styles, sizes and price ranges to fit anyone’s budget or desired summer lifestyle, with the most popular choices being waterfront properties and antique homes.

There are currently just 17 homes on the market, and more are expected to hit the market in the coming weeks. One can expect that the more desirable homes will take a deposit very quickly, even if it does seem early on in the year to begin a search.

The lowest priced home is a 850-square foot home on 69 Newtown Turnpike for $3,200 per month, and the highest priced home is a 6,591-square foot home at 129 Beachside Ave. for $35,000 per month.

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03/05/14 03:46 AM Comments () • Permalink

Police Explain Digital Responsibilities

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Westport Police Detective Sereniti Dobson, the department’s youth officer, tells Westport middle schoolers tonight about dangers that lurk online. The evening’s topic,“Social Media and The Law: What every kid needs to know about their rights and responsibilities in a digital world,” was moderated by Jen Cirino, Westport school system’s coordinator of Information and technology. Also taking part were Detectives Phil Resteri and George Taylor. The Westport Police-Youth Collaborative, which aims to foster closer ties between police and teens, sponsored the “cop shop” at Toquet Hall. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


03/05/14 03:04 AM Comments () • Permalink

‘Spread Heart, Not Hurt’

Scenes from tonight’s Westport Police-Youth Collaborative “cop shop” at Toquet Hall, which aims to foster closer ties between police and teens. Jen Cirino, Westport school system’s coordinator of Information and technology, provided guidance on prevention of Identity theft.  She told the students to be selective about what they include in their online profile, know what is public and which is private, know how to use the site’s protection features, and choose a screen name and picture carefully, She summed up: “Think before you post or text, a bad reputation can be just a click away.  Spread heart, not hurt.” Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


03/05/14 02:58 AM Comments () • Permalink

Board of Assessment Appeals Begins Hearings

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Westport’s Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA) tonight began hearing appeals from residents of assessments for the Grand List filed by the town’s Tax Assessor. The board will continue to meet until all appeals are reviewed and notices are mailed to all applicants. The BAA-approved Grand List is required prior to the Board of Finance meeting in May where the Mill Rate is set. Members include (l-r) Jeff Jacobs, a freshman Democrat, veteran Republican Garson Heller, who has served on the board for 31 years,  and Democrat Elaine Arnow, first elected in 2005. CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


03/05/14 01:23 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

A Play With Your Food March Offering

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“Baby Food” by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire was among the offerings today at the lunchtime Play With Your Food readings at Westport’s Toquet Hall. Pictured are Brian J. Carter, Kim Squires, Katie Sparer and Allan Zeller. The March performances continue in Westport on Wednesday and Thursday. Catering is by Executive Chef Robert Troilo, formerly of Nicholas Roberts Restaurant in Norwalk. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Inge Maki for WestportNow.com


03/04/14 11:22 PM Comments () • Permalink

Malloy: ‘Disappointed’ in Metro-North 100-Day Plan

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said today he is “disappointed” with Metro-North Railroad’s 100-day improvement strategy for Connecticut.

Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti on Monday delivered a letter to Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker outlining his commitment to immediate improvements at Metro-North.

He promised to provide final details on scope, schedule and budget actions in the 100-day plan once the findings of the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) “Deep Dive” initiative to investigate Metro-North are announced.

“I appreciate the candid assessment of the challenges facing Metro-North and Mr. Giulietti’s professionalism and commitment, but I am disappointed that the letter did not provide more specifics,” Malloy said in a statement.

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03/04/14 09:39 PM Comments () • Permalink

College Application Tip: Watch Your Facebook Posts

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A former college admissions official, Stephanie Klein Wassink, told the Westport Rotary Club today that teens who post offensive comments on Facebook, even under an alias, are jeopardizing their college applications. “They think because they use an alias for potentially offensive posts they don’t realize that their broad circle of acquaintances know who the alias really belongs to and can easily identify them in a way that can get to the attention of the college admissions staff,” she said. A graduate of Brown University and the Wharton School of Business, Wassink is a former Wall Street trader who evaluated thousands of applications while working on Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management admissions committee. In 2004, she founded Wilton-based Winning Applications, designed to assist students in the college application process. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


03/04/14 08:52 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Resources CEO Named Barron’s Top Adviser

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John Vaccaro: fifth year in a row. Contributed photo

Westport Resources, a Westport-based independent investment firm, has announced that its founder and CEO, John Adams Vaccaro, has been named one of Barron’s “Top 1,200 Financial Advisors” in the United States and seventh top advisor in Connecticut for 2014.

This is the fifth consecutive year that Vaccaro, who founded the firm in 1986, has received recognition by the weekly financial newspaper published by Dow Jones & Company.

“I’m honored to receive this recognition,” Vaccaro said. “It’s a testament to the outstanding team we have here at Westport Resources. I commend my team for its hard work and unwavering dedication to our clients.”

Barron’s rankings are determined according to data provided by more than 4,000 of the nation’s most productive advisors, on a state-by-state basis. Rankings are based on assets managed, revenue produced, regulatory record, quality of practice and philanthropic work.


03/04/14 08:38 PM Comments () • Permalink

Donald J. Lunghino, 92

Donald J. Lunghino of Sarasota, Fla., a longtime Westport resident and former moderator of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), died Feb. 18. He was 92.

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Donald J. Lunghino: former RTM moderator. Contributed photo

He was born March 16, 1921 in Rochester, N.Y. to Donatus Joseph Lunghino and Mary Devito Giovanna Lunghino.

He worked as an attorney for Lever Brothers, where he was ultimately made general counsel and a member of the board. He also served the Town of Westport, where he was an elected a member of the RTM from 1965 to 1977 and moderator from 1973 to 1977.

He grew up in Rochester and Long Island, N.Y., graduating second in his class from Great Neck High School in 1938. He was active in the Drama Society, appearing in several productions including a leading role in “Pirates of Penzance.”

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03/04/14 07:39 PM Comments () • Permalink

Concetta T. Haney, 85

Concetta T. Haney, widow of Charles C. Haney of Wilton, died Feb. 18 at home. She was 85.

She is survived by her son, John C. Haney, daughter, Karen L. Haney. and son-in-law, Enzo H. Vollmer.

A memorial service will be held on, Saturday, March 22 at 2 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Westport, 10 Lyons Plains Road.

In lieu of gifts or flowers, a donation in her name may be made to the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation; Danbury Hospital; the Unitarian Church of Westport; Star, Inc. of Norwalk; or Stay at Home of Wilton. The Harding Funeral Home, 210 Post Road East, Westport is assisting the family with the arrangements.


03/04/14 06:37 PM Comments () • Permalink

Malloy, Foley Tied in First Poll of 2014

By Mark Pazniokas


In the first public poll of 2014, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is in a dead heat with Tom Foley, the Republican he narrowly defeated in 2010, according to a survey released today by Quinnipiac University. Both are supported by 42 percent of voters.

Foley leads the five-way contest for the GOP nomination with 36 percent to 11 percent for his closest rival, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, the nominee for lieutenant governor in 2010. Senate Minority Leader John P. McKinney of Fairfield saw his support shrink to 3 percent.

Malloy, a first-term Democrat whose numbers have varied little since taking office in January 2011, leads in matchups with Boughton and every other Republican, including McKinney, by between 6 and 11 points.

“Haven’t we seen this movie before?” said Douglas Schwartz, director of the poll.

Click here for more of story


03/04/14 12:38 PM Comments () • Permalink

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