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Friday, May 23, 2014

WN Wins 13 Citations in State Journalism Contest

WestportNow has won 13 citations, including six first-place prizes, in the 2013 Society of Professional Journalists Connecticut Chapter Excellence in Journalism competition. The awards were announced Thursday night at the group’s annual banquet in Wallingford. Image
First-place winner: Helen Klisser During won a first-place prize in the 2013 Society of Professional Journalists Connecticut Chapter competition for this photo of an anguished girl at the 9/11 ceremony last year at Sherwood Island State Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for

First place winners included James Lomuscio for his coverage of Westport’s reaction to the Little League’s team success last summer as well as a story on the Blues, Views and BBQ Festival; Helen Klisser During for her photo of a an anguished girl at the 9/11 ceremony at Sherwood Island; Douglas Healey for his photo series on the funeral of a Westport U.S. Marine in Massachusetts and for a photo of the Little League World Series action, and Mark Molesworth for his photo of an Egret in flight.

Other WestportNow awards went to Lomusico, two second place citations for his story on the closing of Sally’s Place on Main Street and his story on the Board of Education’s health insurance account troubles; Healey, a second place citation for a World Series action photo; Dave Matlow, second and third place citations for his photo of a car fire on the Merritt Parkway and his photo of a gas line explosion on Westfair Drive; Lynn U. Miller, a second place citation for her photo series of First Night, and Elena Radu a second place citation for her photo of rowers in Halloween witch hats.

Since the competition was opened to online publications in 2007, WestportNow has won 37 citations in the annual competitions, which are judged by out-of-state professional journalists. See complete 2013 winner list here.


05/23/14 02:03 PM Comments () • Permalink

Double Rainbow Treat Image
A double rainbow appeared Thursday following a late day thunderstorm in Westport. View is of the new Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts as seen from Riverside Avenue. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Marina White for


05/23/14 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Over the Rainbow

A rainbow Thursday over Westport as captured by WestportNow readers. Contributed photos


05/23/14 04:10 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday,  May 23, 2014

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “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 ... “
10 a.m. - Westport Arts Center - ArtCafé Artist Talks: Algirdas Nakas, Perry Obee, David Preddy, Marlene Siff
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
3 p.m. - Westport Center for Senior Activities - 10th anniversary celebration

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


05/23/14 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Mercelene A. Smith, 68

Mercelene Adams Smith of Delray Beach, Fla., a former Westport resident, died May 21 under hospice care in Palm Beach. She was 68. Image
Mercelene Smith: former Westporter. Contributed photo

Born in Jersey City, N.J. to Herbert H. Adams and Mary Jane (Marquis) Adams, Mercelene Jane Adams grew up in the Scotch Plains/Westfield, New Jersey area, where she met her husband, Bob, and raised a family.

Known as Merci to her friends, she had moved to Florida in 2013 full-time after living in Westport for more than 33 years.

A member of both the Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club in Westport and Stamford Yacht Club, where she served as entertainment chair, she had made many friends as a result of her vibrant and outgoing personality, her family said.

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05/23/14 02:57 AM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Girls Golf Team Wins FCIAC West Title Image
The Staples High School Girls Golf Team battled through the rain and a stormy weather delay into the evening today to defeat Greenwich 180-182 to capture the FCIAC West Division championship title.  This was the first loss in years for the Cardinals at their home course, affectionately known as “The Griff.” Staples is ranked No. 1 in the state and wraps up its home season at Longshore on Tuesday against Warde.  Pictured (l to r) are Erika McDonald, Alexandra McMahon, captains Mary Bennewitz and Faith Garcia, Anelise Browne, Varsity Coach Bob Byiteck, and Marie McHugh. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


05/23/14 12:48 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Minus Himes, CT Lawmakers Vote for Billions for Defense

By Ann Radelat

Washington – With the help of most, but not all of the Connecticut congressional delegation, the House today approved spending billions of dollars for submarines, helicopters and jets made by the state’s defense contractors.

“The defense authorization passed by the House today was beyond fiscally irresponsible,” Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, said in a statement. “Congress took the path of least resistance – refusing to close a single missile silo or any Soviet-era weapon systems and continuing to fund programs and weapons the Pentagon doesn’t want.”

Himes also objected that the $600 billion bill prohibits the closing of Guantanamo, prohibits the Department of Defense from pursuing any action on climate change, and refuses to narrow an what he sees as an over-broad Authorization for Use of Military Force.

“A Congress that has said no to unemployment insurance and investment in roadways and railways should not force unwanted and unneeded spending onto the Pentagon and taxpayers,” Himes said.

Click here for more of story



05/22/14 09:11 PM Comments () • Permalink

McKinney Files Primary Papers

Senate Minority Leader John P. McKinney, R-Fairfield, who finished third in balloting for governor at the GOP state convention Saturday, today filed papers that place him on the ballot for a Republican primary in August.

“I’m officially on the ballot and ready to take Connecticut in a positive new direction,” McKinney said in a statement.

Tom Foley, who won the convention endorsement, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and McKinney all exceeded the minimum threshold of 15 percent to qualify for the primary.

Joe Visconti is gathering signatures to petition for a spot on the primary ballot.


05/22/14 07:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Compo Road North Resurfacing Set to Start May 28

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) said state Route 136, also known as Compo Road North, will undergo 1.29 miles of resurfacing from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Wednesday, May 28 through Saturday, May 31.

Motorists can expect lane closures from Route 1 (Post Road East) to Route 57 (Main Street), an announcement said.

Traffic control personnel and signing patterns will be utilized to guide motorists through the work zone.

Motorists should be aware that modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions, CDOT said.  Motorists are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving in this vicinity.


05/22/14 05:26 PM Comments () • Permalink

Playing in the Rain Image
Despite the weather, golfers from men’s high school teams from throughout Connecticut are competing today at Longshore Golf Course in the 44th Annual Chappa Invitational Golf Tournament. The golfers report that despite the rain, the course is in fine condition, with the greens rolling smoothly. The Staples High School golfers – each school fields two players – teed off in the last foursome at mid-day. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


05/22/14 05:07 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Among Fastest Growing Towns in State

The clues were there – Westport’s rising home sales defying the national trend, school enrollment up, Grand List rising. Now the U.S. Census Bureau has confirmed it – Westport is among the fastest growing towns in Connecticut. Image
The municipalities in dark blue were the fastest growing in the state in the period 2010-13, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Google map

The latest U.S. Census Bureau figures put Westport’s estimated 2013 population at 27,308 up 917 from 26,391 in 2010. The latest population estimate is just shy of the town’s highest population of 27,318 in 1970 when it grew 30.4 percent from 20,955 in 1960, according to the Census Bureau.

The 3.47 percent jump from 2010 to 2013 is the highest among southwest Connecticut’s Gold Coast towns and second only to Bethel and Shelton in Fairfield County.

Fairfield County was the fastest growing county in the state, according to the latest figures.

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05/22/14 03:34 PM Comments () • Permalink

Art About Town, Tunnel Vision Unveiling Postponed to May 29

Due to the weather, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association has postponed today’s opening night street party for Art About Town and unveiling of Tunnel Vision to Thursday, May 29.

It said original art by local artists is already on display and will be for sale at select shops and restaurants until June 15.


05/22/14 02:54 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday,  May 22, 2014

10 a.m. - 2 p.m. - 50 Imperial Ave. - Westport Farmers Market
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “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 ... “
4 p.m. - Town Hall 2nd Floor - Opening of the Permanent Exhibit “Westport: A River Runs Through It”
5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - Downtown Main Street - Art About Town Opening Night Street Party Postponed to May 29
6 p.m. - Westport Library - RTM Library & Arts Committee
7 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Drink n’ Draw
7:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Teen Minecraft (grades 6-12)
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - RTM Finance Committee

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


05/22/14 04:04 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Finance Board Decreases Town’s Tax Rate

By James Lomuscio

Saying that Westport taxpayers deserve some relief in light of healthy revenues and strong town reserves, the Board of Finance tonight voted unanimously to decrease the town’s mill rate by just under 1 percent.

The mill rate will go from the current 18.07 to 17.94, a .72 percent reduction. The mill rate is the amount a home is taxed on every $1,000 of its assessed value. That means the taxes on home assessed at $1 million will decrease from $18,070 to $17,940 next year.

Brian Stern, finance board vice chairman, called it “a small decrease,” but added “symbolically it will be very large.”

“This sends a message, not only to households but to businesses in town that taxes don’t always go up,” Stern said. “They go down when the conditions are right.”

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05/22/14 01:42 AM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Grad Returns Home to Promote First Novel

Staples High School 1999 graduate Ted Thompson returned to his hometown tonight for the first time in 14 years to promote his first novel, “The Land of Steady Habits.” Image
Ted Thompson, 1999 Staples High School graduate, discussed his first novel tonight with Kathy Knapp, Westporter and UConn assistant English professor. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Set in Westport, it has won enthusiastic reviews, some comparing him to writers Cheever and Updike in recounting the life of a suburbanite.

Addressing a Westport Library audience of about 30, Thompson said the novel did not come easy.

“I started it in 2003,” he said. “I spent two years revising the book after it was sold, a year with writer’s block.” One scene was rewritten 200 times, he said.

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05/22/14 01:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Iggy and Remy have found homes Image
Iggy (the white-faced pup) and Remy (the brindle girl) are 3-month-old female pit-lab mix pups have been adopted.  They are very loving and affectionate and greatly enjoy meeting new people and other dogs.  When not eating or napping, they enjoy chasing a tennis ball, riding in a car and exploring the world.  They are spayed and up-to-date on their vet care.  They will be adopted individually and not as a duo.  For additional information about Iggy and Remy, please send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call (203)557-0361.  To complete an adoption application, please visit, click on “Adopt” and complete the online application.  Their adoption fee is $150.  Each adoption comes with a certificate for a complimentary one-hour training session with WASA’s dog trainer, Susie Valentine Collins of Sitting Pretty.


05/22/14 12:17 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

U.S. Senate Confirms Deirdre Daly as U.S. Attorney

Washington—It’s official: The Senate today confirmed Deirdre M. Daly to serve as U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut. Daly will serve a four-year term.

Daly, a Fairfield resident and 1977 graduate of Westport’s Greens Farms Academy, had been acting U.S. Attorney before her confirmation, carried out by a voice vote.

In a joint statement, Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said Daly “has proved that she is more than qualified for the job.”

“We are proud that this firm and fair prosecutor will continue to serve the people of Connecticut,” the senators said in a joint statement.


05/21/14 09:04 PM Comments () • Permalink

Oh Lorde Image
It was a meeting of New Zealanders today as Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Lorde, real name Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor (c), visited the United Nations to meet with Helen Clark, U.N. Development Program head and former prime minister of New Zealand. Also on hand was Helen Klisser During, director of visual arts at the Westport Arts Center, who invited Lorde to visit Westport, possibly for next year’s jUNe Day celebration. Lorde, 17, received Grammys this year for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for “Royals.”  She was in New York to launch a new cosmetics line. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Boaz Paldi for


05/21/14 08:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

Elizabeth K. Ferencz, 60

Elizabeth Gayle Kingsbury Ferencz of Westport died May 19 at Norwalk Hospital after a long illness. She was 60.

The wife of John P. Ferencz Jr. (Jack), she has been a Westport resident for 32 years.

Born June 20, 1953 in Bronxville, N.Y. she was the daughter of Richard W. Kingsbury and the late Helen Stone Kingsbury. She resided with her family in Pelham, N.Y. and graduated from Pelham Memorial High School.

She attended the College of New Rochelle and received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa.

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05/21/14 08:11 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Outdoors: CM Gourmet Market and Café Image
CM Gourmet Market and Café in Saugatuck Center Phase II is today’s featured spot in the WestportNow series, Westport Outdoors highlighting popular spots where Westporters gather to eat, play, or relax during the warm weather months. Owned by Frank and Michelle Weber, the market features prepared foods, fresh pastas, a selection of 40 gourmet cheeses, fresh local produce, prepared salads and sandwiches. It opened last October. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for


05/21/14 07:38 PM Comments () • Permalink

Longshore Pools Opening Delay Blamed on Cracked Pipes

By James Lomuscio

Due to cracked filtration pipes caused by a harsh winter, the three pools at Longshore Club Park will not be open as they usually are Memorial Day weekend, Dan DeVito, Westport’s Parks & Recreation operations supervisor, announced today.

Instead, the the lap, training and wading pools will be open next weekend, starting May 31.

“They’ll be open the following Saturday,” DeVito said.

DeVito said that upon learning that the filtration system’s PVC pipes had cracked, his department contacted a repair company that was already back ordered on similar repairs.

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05/21/14 06:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

Frank W. Honackie, 68

Frank W. Honackie of Sarasota, Fla., a former Westport resident, died May 19. He was 68.

He was born in Norwalk and moved to Sarasota from Westport in 1998. He was the owner of Sandman Of Sarasota.

He is survived by his wife, Jane; a son, Shane (Angela) Honackie; a daughter, Heather (Cleve) Banks; a stepdaughter, Christina (Michael) Tanner; a stepson, Shawn (Jennifer) Royle; a sister, Sharon Wentovich; and grandchildren, Ciarra Honackie, Kaitlyn Givens, Haley Honackie, Jade Banks, Ashlyn Banks, Louis Royle and Skylar Honackie.

A gathering of family and friends will be held Friday, May 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Palms-Robarts Funerral Home, Sarasota.


05/21/14 06:14 PM Comments () • Permalink

Longshore Pools Opening Delayed to May 31 Image
Westport Parks & Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy announced today that “due to the severe winter season” the opening date for the Longshore swimming pools will be delayed until Saturday, May 31. The pools traditionally have opened Memorial Day weekend with limited hours while school is still in session. Last year, the full summer operating hours at the pools began on Saturday, june 22. View is of the large pool last June. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for


05/21/14 05:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Student Assembly Talent Show Set for Tuesday

The Staples High School Student Assembly is presenting its annual Student Assembly Variety Show on Tuesday, May 27 and is inviting the Westport community to join them. Image
Staples sophomore Douglas Raigosa jumps rope in the 2013 variety show. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Claire Quiqley/ photo

The 90-minute program beginning at 7 p.m. features 10 student acts displaying talents that range from jump roping to rock band performances.

This year the Student Assembly decided to make the event a fundraiser for Staples Tuition Grants in the name of Michael Goodgame.

Goodgame, 20, a former Student Assembly president and 2011 Staples graduate, was killed in a Minnesota car crash on Feb. 28. (See WestportNow March 1, 2014)

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05/21/14 03:56 PM Comments () • Permalink

Real Estate Report: Don’t Rely on Online Appraisals

By Judy Szablak

When looking to buy or sell a home in Westport, it’s easy to find estimates of value online, and pricing your home through these online sources without a Realtor is easier than ever. Or is it? Image
Featured home: this home at 2 Medwell Lane is listed at $1,299,000.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of The Riverside Realty Group – Westport

The pricing disparity between sites like Zillow,, Trulia and others can leave you scratching your head as to which one is correct. 

Prices can vary on these sites as much as 25 percent—for the same property. For instance, the average price of a home on the market right now in Westport is about $2.4 million.

One site would say that home would be priced at $3 million, while another could say the value is more in line with $1.9 million. That would be a very costly six-figure mistake.

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05/21/14 03:31 PM Comments () • Permalink

Getting Crowded Image
The Ned Dimes Marina at Westport’s Compo Beach is taking on more of a summer look as boat owners fill the slips. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for


05/21/14 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, May 21, 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 ... “
10 a.m. - Westport Library - Jobseekers: Energize Your Job Search
4 p.m. - Westport Library - ChessClub (Grades K-12)
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Chess Club for Adults
7 p.m. - Westport Library - Staples Grad Ted Thompson: “The Land of Steady Habits”
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Conservation Commission
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Parks & Recreation Commission
7:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Westport Library Board of Trustees
8 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Board of Finance (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


05/21/14 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Staples Softballers Honor Seniors, Advance to State Tourney Image
The annual Staples High School Seniors Night pre-game ceremony for the softball team’s graduating seniors was held at the Greens Farms field today prior to the season’s final home game against Woodbury’s Nonnewaug High School. Receiving flowers were seniors (l-r) Emma Moskowitz, Crissy McCarthy, Lindsay Kiedaisch, Maya Mandell, Katherine Friend, and Katie Burke. Staples won 6-5, qualifying the Wreckers for the state championship tournament in June. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


05/21/14 02:35 AM Comments () • Permalink

Rowland Attacks Federal Indictment, ‘Poisonous’ Publicity

By Mark Pazniokas

Attorneys for John G. Rowland filed a motion today that both broadly and narrowly attacks the criminal indictment that accuses the former Republican governor of conspiring to act as a secret paid consultant to the failed congressional campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley in 2012.

Rowland’s legal team asks Senior U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns to throw out the entire case and, if that fails, to narrow the government’s case in a way that could bar testimony from Mark Greenberg, a congressional candidate who says Rowland proposed a similar arrangement to him in 2010.

“The Government here is attempting to criminalize conduct that is simply not illegal. In doing so, the Government has stretched the bounds of the law well beyond what Congress had intended and well beyond what any court in this Circuit has found permissible,” the lawyers said.

The U.S. Attorney’s response is not due until June 16.

Click here for more of story


05/21/14 12:48 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Democrats Endorse Fawcett for 28th Dist. Senate Seat Image
Kim Fawcett: aims to move to Senate. Contributed photo

Democrats have nominated Kim Fawcett of Fairfield for the 28th State Senate District, which includes a portion of Westport as well as Easton, Fairfield, Newtown and parts of Weston.

Delegates from the five towns gathered in Newtown’s Edmond Town Hall on Monday to unanimously nominate Fawcett, who has served as state representative for Fairfield’s 133rd District since 2006.

The seat became vacant with the departure of John McKinney, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor. Republicans have endorsed state Rep. Tony Hwang of Fairfield who has served since 2008 in the 134th District, which includes Fairfield and Trumbull.

“I am honored to accept this nomination and promise you that I will be out knocking on doors and working my hardest to become the first woman ever to represent the 28th District, and the first Democrat to hold this Senate seat in 40 years,” said Fawcett.


05/20/14 10:20 PM Comments () • Permalink

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