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Friday, April 25, 2014

Proclaiming Arbor Day in Westport

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Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe reads a proclamation today declaring this National Arbor Day in Westport. The Town Tree Board hosted a giveaway of seedlings in front of Town Hall to mark the event. With Marpe are Susan Ladonne. chair of the Tree Board, and Bruce Lindsay, town tree warden. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


04/25/14 08:44 PM Comments () • Permalink

Seedlings Bound for Camp Aspetuck

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Westport Tree Board Secretary Peggy Sawyer today hands a seedling to Courtenay Austin of Norwalk at the board’s Arbor Day event in front of Westport Town Hall. Austin said the seedlings will be planted by Norwalk’s Girl Scout Troop 464 this weekend at Camp Aspectuck in Weston. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


04/25/14 08:40 PM Comments () • Permalink

Train Doors Didn’t Open as MNRR Head Spoke Nearby

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Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti addresses a train forum at Westport Thursday night. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

UPDATE (adds Metro-North comment) The timing could not have been worse. As Joseph Giulietti, president of Metro-North, spoke at a train forum Thursday night in the eastbound station house at Westport, a few feet away Westport commuters fumed as their train stopped but failed to open its doors before continuing on to Fairfield.

Westport commuter Janet Freedman shot off a letter soon afterward to Giulietti, Gov. Dan Malloy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal telling them, “Thought you would want to know that Metro-North was outrageously unsafe once again.”

Freedman, an executive with New York-based Hanes Brands Inc., said she has been commuting on Metro-North from Westport for many years. Here is how she described what happened:

“I took the 7:07 train GCT to Westport tonight. At Stamford, we were told to switch trains—no explanation. New train stopped in South Norwalk, doors opened, passengers got off the train.

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04/25/14 07:08 PM Comments () • Permalink

Preparing for Saturday Arts Center Gala

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Volunteers were busy today preparing for Saturday’s annual Westport Arts Center gala at the Gallaher Mansion in Norwalk’s Cranbury Park. Helping with last minute preparations were (l-r) Nell Bernegger, Chrissey Hunt, and Tammy Winser. Called “WONDERland: A Mad Art Party,” the event will honor Westport arts patron and philanthropist Ann Sheffer as “Queen of the Arts.” To purchase tickets visit http://www.westportartscenter.org or call (203) 222-7070. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com


04/25/14 06:41 PM Comments () • Permalink

Playhouse to Receive $30,000 Arts Grant

The Westport Country Playhouse has announced it has been selected to receive a $30,000 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant.

The Playhouse was recommended to receive the grant to support its community engagement initiative, “Threads of Time, Fabric of History: ‘Intimate Apparel’ in Context,” which will run concurrently with the Playhouse production of Lynn Nottage’s play, “Intimate Apparel,” in October.

It is one of 886 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA grant, an announcement said. The Playhouse said this is the fifth consecutive year it has undertaken an enhanced programming initiative surrounding one of its productions.

To date, the initiative has involved close to 50 different community partners from Connecticut and beyond. This year’s community partners include Norwalk Community College, TEAM Westport, Westport Historical Society, and Sacred Heart University, among others.

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04/25/14 06:26 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Property Transfers April 7 - 11, 2014

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period April 7 - 11, 2014:

23 Westfair LLC to Michael D. D’Angelo and Whitney T. Pacelli, 23 Westfair Drive, $1,321,409WNproperty.jpg

Orlando Romeo to 5 Hillandale LLC, 5 Hillandale Road, $750,000

C/O Michael Opettee Estate to Ciara M. McConn, 66 Regents Park, $685,000

Angelo P. Costa Revocable Trust to 535 Riverside LLC, 535 - 541 Riverside Ave., $2,100,000

More "Westport Property Transfers April 7 - 11, 2014"


04/25/14 02:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

Marpe Forecasts Spending Millions on Compo, Library Upgrades

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe’s projected capital spending over the next five years calls for at least $6 million in Compo Beach improvements, $7.5 million to expand the Westport Library -– up from an earlier $5 million estimate –- and $2.5 million to dredge the Saugatuck River.

As required by state statute, Marpe appeared before the Planning and Zoning Commission Thursday night to submit his five-year capital forecast. No P&Z approval was necessary although many of the projected projects once on track will come before the P&Z for review.

“I recognize this plan represents an ambitious list of projects and history has certainly taught us the timing and scope of all this will change – and can change,” he said.

Marpe said the forecast calls for spending at least $6 million on Compo Beach improvements in three phases.

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04/25/14 12:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

Today is 237th Anniversary of British Compo Landing

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It was 237 years ago today on April 25, 1777 the British landed at Compo Beach with 1,800 men. They marched inland to Danbury and destroyed the military supplies there. They entered what is now Westport on April 28 and were engaged by the Colonials under the leadership of Gen Benedict Arnold and Brig. Gen.Gold Silliman. Loyalists guided the British down Red Coat Road where they crossed the Saugatuck at Ford Road and marched to Compo along Clinton Avenue and Compo Road. The Americans were fooled by this maneuver and pursued the escaping Brits towards Compo Hill after crossing Kings Highway North Bridge—the upper bridge, the only bridge that existed then. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for WestportNow.com


04/25/14 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday,  April 25, 2014 - Arbor Day

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Abstract Notes” & “Solos 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 ... “
Noon - Westport Library - Michael Sims, “The Adventures of Henry Thoreau”
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
3 p.m. - Westport Library - Teen Lego Robotics Club
2 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Town Hall Front Driveway - Arbor Day Seedling Give-away
4:30 p.m. - Staples High School - Staples Boys Volleyball Team Autism Speaks Benefit
6 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - Sale of Original “New Yorker” Art
7:15 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Stand-Up Comedy w/ Jared Logan, Michael Mathis, & Lucein Formichella
8 p.m. - Town Hall - Westport Community Theatre: “Souvenir”
8 p.m. - MTC MainStage Studio Theatre - “The Fantasticks”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


04/25/14 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

MNRR President : New Timetables More Dependable

By Bonnie Adler

Metro-North Railroad President Joseph Giulietti told a Westport trackside train forum tonight that new timetables to be released May 11 will be more dependable and that 83 percent of morning peak trains on the schedule as a result will experience shorter trip times and better on-time reliability.

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Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti addresses tonight’s forum at the Westport train station. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

He spoke to several dozen persons -– most of them officials rather than commuters –- in the newly renovated eastbound station house at the Metro-North Westport station.

It was his first Westport visit since taking over the position in February and followed a disastrous series of events for Metro-North, including deaths, derailments, power outages and extensive delays. A blistering federal report last month said Metro-North’s emphasis on on-time performance came at the expense of safety.

Giulietti said continuing delays faced by commuters were in part due to signal system modifications that enable systems on board trains to enforce speed limits automatically. These systems delay trains by several minutes and make it impossible for conductors to make up the time on certain sections of the New Haven Line, he said.

More "MNRR President : New Timetables More Dependable"


04/25/14 03:09 AM Comments () • Permalink

Meet-And-Greet With New MNRR President

Scenes from tonight’s Metro-North forum at the Westport train station. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


04/25/14 03:04 AM Comments () • Permalink

P&Z Postpones Action on Kemper-Gunn House Move

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The Westport Planning and Zoning Commission tonight postponed for a week action on a special permit and site plan application for relocating the Kemper-Gunn House from Church Lane to the Baldwin Parking Lot. Representatives of the developer, DC Kemper-Gunn, said because the town wants to widen Elm Street in front of the Baldwin lot, the house had to be pushed further back into the lot. This required a revision of drawings that were only filed today and subsequently raised questions among members about the building’s height. Pictured is Kyle Bogardus of New Haven-based Langham Engineering and Environmental Services explaining some site issues. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


04/25/14 02:30 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Westport Parents Celebrate House OK of Concussion Law

The state House of Representatives today unanimously approved a measure expanding Connecticut’s concussion policy for young athletes.The bill now heads to the Senate.

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State Rep. Diana Urban, (c) chair of the legislature’s Select Committee on Children, poses with (l-r) state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, Westport parents Diana Coyne and Pippa Bell Ader, and state Rep. Gail Lavielle. Westporter Ann Sherwood, one of the three mothers instrumental in initiating the bill, was not present. Contributed photo

Westport parents Diana Coyne, Pippa Bell Ader and Ann Sherwood, members of the Parents Concussion Coalition, were on hand after working for two years to update the state’s concussion law and bring it to the basic current standards of practice.

House Bill 5113 broadens a 2010 law regarding youth athletics and concussions by giving parents more information and power when their child suffers a potential head injury while playing sports.

The bill requires schools to give parents a consent form regarding the school’s concussion education plan. A coach or principal must notify a parent within 24 hours after a student athlete is pulled from a game for a suspected concussion.

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04/24/14 10:08 PM Comments () • Permalink

Town Employees’ Children Tour Town Departments

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Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe poses today with children of Town of Westport employees who toured town departments as part of the national Bring Your Children to Work Day. The students, ranging in age from second grade to high school, had a pizza lunch with the first selectman at Town Hall and heard him explain his duties and how town government works. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


04/24/14 08:19 PM Comments () • Permalink

Learning About an Ambulance

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Westport Paramedic Mike Salvatore and EMTs Myra Goldberg and Andrea Harman explain equipment carried on an ambulance to children of Town of Westport employees today. The youngsters took part in the town’s inaugural Bring Your Children to Work Day.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com


04/24/14 08:14 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tent is Up for Mini Maker Faire

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The tent is up on Westport’s jesup Green for Saturday’s third annual Westport Mini Maker Faire (http://www.westportmakerfaire.org) from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The main tent will include 3D printers from small desktop ones to larger ones and attractions include Sikorsky’s HeliVenture, build and launch foam rockets, a fleet of quadcopters, and a paper airplane contest. Pictured are (l-r) Ben Jia, MakerSpace coach at the Westport Library; Bill Derry, event co-chair; Braden Smith, eighth grader at Bedford Middle School and technology coach for the Library’s Tech Help sessions;  Allison Schartz, fourth grader at Long Lots Elementary School and inventor of a stress bracelet and MakerSpace coach at the Library, Nick Mathias, third grader at Saugatuck Elementary School and quadcopter builder and pilot, and Mark Mathias, event co-chair. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


04/24/14 08:11 PM Comments () • Permalink

Comings & Goings: Grilled Cheese Eatery Opens

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Grilled Cheese Eatery has opened at 772 Post Road East adjacent to the recently closed Great Cakes. The owners, Belgian-born Henri and Bulgarian-born Ivanina Donneaux, opened their first Grilled Cheese Eatery at 57 Unquowa Road, Fairfield in October 2013, having converted their Cafe Lola space into the new food concept. The menu categories include soups, salad bar, gourmet grilled cheese assortments with dipping sauces and sandwich add-ons. Hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. every day. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


04/24/14 07:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

Red Flag Fire Warning

The National Weather Service said a Red Flag warning is now in effect until 10 p.m. for southern Connecticut.

Winds will be northwest 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph, diminishing this evening. Relative humidity will be as low as 11 percent.

A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are expected or occurring.

A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and dry fuels will create explosive fire growth potential.


04/24/14 06:48 PM Comments () • Permalink

Freeze Warning Issued

The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning for Westport and area from 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. Friday.

It said temperatures will be around freezing.

A freeze warning means below freezing temperatures are imminent or highly likely.

These conditions will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation, the Weather Service said.


04/24/14 06:46 PM Comments () • Permalink

‘To the Tables Down at Mory’s…’

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One of Yale University’s most celebrated traditions, the Whiffenpoofs, the world’s oldest and best known collegiate a cappella group, performed today at the Westport Weston Y’s Men meeting at Westport’s Unitarian Church. Joining them was a former member, state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg of Westport (third right). Selections included Paul Simon’s “The Boxer,” two Cole Porter numbers, “Night and Day” and “Too Darn Hot,” Pete Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer,” and the Muppets’ “Rainbow Connection,” before closing with “When the Saints Go Marching In” and their own “Whiffenpoof Song.” Every year, 14 senior Yale men are selected to be in the Whiffenpoofs. Founded in 1909, the “Whiffs” began as a senior quartet that met for weekly concerts at Mory’s Temple Bar, the famous Yale tavern. This summer, they will travel to more than 20 countries on a world tour. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com


04/24/14 05:26 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tackling Unrealistic Body Images and Their Toll

By James Lomuscio

Dustyn Levenson, a senior at Westport’s Staples High School, recalled how the onslaught of media pressure to have an unrealistic body grabbed hold of her as early as elementary school.

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The Staples students participating in Reshaping Reality. Dustyn Levenson is at bottom row, center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

“I remember being affected in the fourth grade, and in middle school it was worse,” she said. “I was vulnerable and insecure, and you don’t know who to look to for direction, and you look to the media.”

What started out as a diet, became an obsession that developed into anorexia nervosa by seventh grade.

“I was a competitive ballet dancer, and it obviously started out with a weight thing, but it ended as an obsession,” she said.

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04/24/14 03:43 PM Comments () • Permalink

New Cherry Trees Replace Diseased Town Hall Apple Tree

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Four cherry trees have been planted on the front lawn of Westport Town Hall as a diseased apple tree (stump in front of second tree) was removed. (See WestportNow April 9, 2014) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


04/24/14 03:34 PM Comments () • Permalink

Learning from a Photojournalist Pro

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Award-winning photojurnalist Spencer Platt, returned to Staples High School Wednesday where he was a member of the class of 1989 to to meet with staff members of Inklings, the school newspaper, and advanced journalism and photography students. He is a colleague at Getty Images of Win McNamee, the brother of Julia McNamee of Staples who invited him to discuss his career and answer student questions. The journalism classroom now features photographs from the Westport schools permanent art collection by Platt and his fellow Staples alums Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


04/24/14 03:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Party Time: U.S. Coast Guard Taxed by L.I. Sound Galas

By Ann Radelat

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Last year’s fireworks at Compo Beach attracted watchers on land and water.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) David Pogue for WestportNow.com

Washington – When it comes to parties along Connecticut’s coast, the sky is not the limit for those who can afford it.

Every year, dozens of private events are held on Long Island Sound, many involving fireworks, that tap the resources of the Connecticut-headquartered U.S. Coast Guard.

Some of those “marine events”—like the July 4th fireworks many coastal towns hold every year—are open to the public.

But often the Coast Guard is deployed to enforce a safety zone for a private party.

Click here for more of story


04/24/14 03:24 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tonight’s Westport Train Forum 7P Start Sted 7:30P

Tonight’s Westport train forum with Metro-North’s new president, Joseph Giulietti, will start at 7 p.m. instead of the previously announced 7:30 p.m.

It will take place in the eastbound station house at the Metro-North Westport station in Saugtauck.

In addition to Giuleltti, it will feature Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, members of the General Assembly Transportation Committee, and members of the Connecticut Commuter Rail Council.

Commuters coming from Grand Central are invited to drop in and join the conversation, said John Hartwell of Westport, vice chair of the Commuter Rail Council.


04/24/14 02:52 PM Comments () • Permalink

Dem Governors’ Group Challenges CT Campaign Finance Restrictions

By Mark Pazniokas


The Democratic Governors Association, which expects to heavily advertise this fall to support the re-election of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of how Connecticut regulates independent campaign expenditures.

The association seeks an injunction barring the State Elections Enforcement Commission, the chief state’s attorney’s office and the attorney general from enforcing what it says are overly broad rules that could expose the group to an accusation of illegal coordination with the Malloy campaign.

In part, the lawsuit, filed Wednesday, is a pre-emptive move against any claim that Malloy’s fundraising for the group should be construed as illegal coordination under state law, which could either keep the association, the DGA, on the sidelines in Connecticut or expose it to prosecution.

“DGA has been forced into a constitutionally untenable choice: it can avoid the protected speech in which it seeks to engage; it can forego the support and participation of Connecticut’s citizens in raising the funds that it needs to maintain a robust national program; or it can entertain the very real threats of investigation, fines and criminal prosecution,” the lawsuit states.

Click here for more of story


04/24/14 10:33 AM Comments () • Permalink

Burying Hill Takeoff

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Atlantic Brants take off from Westport’s Burying Hill Beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for WestportNow.com


04/24/14 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday,  April 24, 2014

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Abstract Notes” & “Solos 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 ... “
2 p.m. - Westport Library - “April in Paris” Movie Series: “Jules et Jim”
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 Train Station (Eastbound Station House) - Train forum with Metro-North president, DOT commissioner Time change
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Sherwood Mill Pond Committee
7:15 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Westport Youth Commission General Meeting
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - RTM Parks & Recreation Meeting

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


04/24/14 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Now Two Compo Concepts: One With, One Without Beachfront Cars

By James Lomuscio

Not wanting a repeat of the shouting matches that marked the last Compo Beach Site Improvement Committee meeting, chair Andy Moss tonight set the ground rules early for the public.

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It was a full house at tonight’s Compo Beach Site Improvement Committee meeting, but the public had little input as it was a working meeting. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) James Lomuscio for WestportNow.com

“This is our time to discuss what we heard last week,” Moss told the approximate 40 persons who crowded Room 201 at Town Hall.

Some of those present were still champing at the bit to speak against a conceptual proposal in the beach master plan in progress to eliminate parking in front of South Beach, rerouting it to a parking lot. At the last meeting, the public loudly protested, arguing that a long walk would place hardships on the elderly, the handicapped and families with young children.

“We heard that,” Moss said. There’s no need to retread that.”

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04/24/14 12:57 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Staples Boys Volleyballers Host Autism Fundraiser Friday

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Getting ready for Friday (l-r) Staples Co-Captain Todd Goldstein, KHS student Ethan Walmark, Staples Co-Captain Lucas Grevers, and in front Eliza Walmark. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The Staples High School boys volleyball team will host its first fundraiser to benefit Autism Speaks on Friday at 7 p..m. when it plays Darien at home.

The event will include a prize drawing for four Yankees tickets.

Winner must be present to claim prizes.

The National Anthem will performed by Ethan Walmark, 8, a Kings Highway Elementary School student on the autism spectrum and musical prodigy.


04/23/14 09:59 PM Comments () • Permalink

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