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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

RTM Approves Firefighter Contract, Supervisor Raises

By James Lomuscio

A new, four-year contract for Westport firefighters—hammered out after a year of “difficult and protracted” town and union negotiations—was unanimously approved by the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight.

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Floyd Dugas, town labor counsel, describes the firefighters’ new contract to the RTM tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) James Lomuscio for WestportNow.com

Floyd Dugas, town labor counsel, said that the town’s contract with Local 1081, International Firefighters Association, AFL-CIO, runs retroactively from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2017 and includes salary increases from 1.75 to 2.5 percent over its term.

The RTM’s collective bargaining agreement approval also includes an appropriation of $176,250 to the 2013-14 fiscal year budget.

Dugas noted the contract has a high deductible, Health Savings Account (HSA) feature “that pays for wage increases in the third and fourth year.”

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06/04/14 02:08 AM Comments () • Permalink

Hearty Picnickers

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Tonight’s early evening rain storm chased most but not all picnickers from Compo Beach’s South Beach. Those who stayed were treated to a spectacular post-storm sunset. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com


06/04/14 12:43 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Staples Girls Tennis Advances to Class L Semifinals

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The Staples High School girls tennis team today advanced to the semifinals of the state Class L Championships by defeating Ridgefield 5-2 at home.  Ridgefield had defeated Glastonbury, the No. 2 seed, in the previous round of the championship tournament. No. 7=seeded Staples will face No. 3 Darien Wednesday at 3 p.m.  Seated (l-r from front to back) are Vanessa Mauricio, Kelsey Shockey, Gabi Titlebaum, Melissa Beretta, Avery Wallace, Sarah Roundtree, Olivia Daytz, Tess Rubin, Xenia Bradley, Julia Bartimer, Alex Collins, Megan Brown, and Rachel Lieberman. The coaches, Paco Fabian and Kim Harizman are not pictured. Michelle Titlebaum for WestportNow.com


06/03/14 10:31 PM Comments () • Permalink

GOP’s Tom Foley Commits to Public Financing

By Mark Pazniokas


Tom Foley, the Republican businessman who largely self-funded his $12.8 million campaign for governor in 2010, will accept the public financing and spending limits of the voluntary Citizens’ Elections Program this year.

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Tom Foley accepts the GOP endorsement last month. His wife, Leslie, stands with one of their twins. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ctmirror.org photo

Chris Cooper, a spokesman for Foley, said today that the campaign’s application for the public grant was filed Monday. Foley had been coy about whether he would opt out of the program, which will limit his spending on the GOP primary to about $1.6 million, less than half the $3.76 million spent in 2010.

His key competitors for Republican nomination, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Senate Minority Leader John P. McKinney, have committed to public financing, but neither has yet raised the qualifying contributions. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, their Democratic opponent, also is running on public financing.

To obtain a grant under the voluntary program, a candidate for governor must raise $250,000 in contributions of no more than $100 each and qualify for a place on the ballot. A participating candidate must agree to spend no more than the qualifying funds and the public grants.

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06/03/14 10:04 PM Comments () • Permalink

Hilda Kraus, 99

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Hilda Kraus: metalwork designer Contributed photo

Hilda Kraus of Westport died June 2 at home. She was 99.

Born in New York City to Isaac and Sadie (Langer), she received a B.A. degree from Hunter College in 1935. She did post graduate work at International Academy of Art, Salzburg, Austria, in 1967, 1972, and 1977.

Apprentice to a Danish silversmith for three years, she studied traditional enameling methods in France, Italy, and Germany, the great enameling centers. 

She was a well known designer, artist, jeweler, enamellist and metalwork designer. She at one time had shops in New York City and Maine.

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06/03/14 09:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

Rowing the Saugatuck

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Blue skies and balmy temperatures in the 80s made for good rowing weather today along the Saugatuck River in Westport. The new Westport Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts is in the background. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com


06/03/14 09:23 PM Comments () • Permalink

Debicella Says He Needs $2.5 Million to Beat Himes

By Ann Radelat


Republican congressional candidate Dan Debicella’s campaign today asked members of Republican town committees to help them reach a goal of $2.5 million to defeat Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District.

“I need your help this month to take it to Jim Himes,” a Debicella fundraising appeal said. “Since I have no primary, we are beginning the campaign to send our Pelosi rubber-stamp into retirement. But I need your help to ramp up over the summer.”

The appeal said Debicella has raised $750,000 so far in his bid to unseat Himes, but it’s not enough.

It’s unclear how the RTC members could fill the gap between what’s in the campaign kitty now and the $2.5 million the campaign says it needs “to beat Jim Himes on the airwaves and on the ground.”

Click here for more of story


06/03/14 09:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

On Display at Thursday’s One Night Only ‘Pop-Up’ Show

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Westport artist Tammy Winser shows off her whimisical works which will be on display at Thursday’s inaugural, one-night-only, Pop-Up exhibition from 6 – 9 p.m. at the Westport Arts Center. She is one of five artists in the new Westport Artists Collective. Created by Visual Arts Director Helen Klisser During, the Artists Collective will bring local artists together to develop artistic forums and Pop-Up exhibitions that focus on public engagement. “It’s like a flash mob for artists. One very intense, fun night,” said Klisser During. The exhibition will feature artwork by the five founding members, who have also each selected two additional artists to exhibit. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com


06/03/14 08:44 PM Comments () • Permalink

New Y 85 Percent Complete

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The Westport Weston Family Y said today construction of the first stage of its new home at its Mahackeno campus is now 85 percent complete. The 18-month, $38.5 million project remains on schedule and on budget, an announcement said. Opening is set for around Labor Day with a Gala Celebration planned for Saturday, Oct. 11 with actor James Naughton as master of ceremonies. Pictured is the new gymnasium. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


06/03/14 08:20 PM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Sr. on Cyber-Bullying: ‘Moral Compass’ Needed

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A Staples High School senior who authored a New York Magazine article about a short but hurtful spate of cyber-bullying at his school in April (see WestportNow April 28, 2014) told the Westport Rotary Club today that students need to find a “moral compass” in dealing with such incidents and realize there are “ethical boundaries.” Will Haskell, who is president of Staples Players, said the answer is not to take away smartphones from students or to have intense parent oversight, but to “deal with this is head on” by making students realize the “unknown ramifications” of such acts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


06/03/14 07:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 31 Warnock Drive

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An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 31 Warnock Drive in the Coleytown section is in process. Built in 1955, the one-story split has 1,541 square feet and is situated on a 1.15-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


06/03/14 06:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Teen in Stun Gun Arrest Seeks Accelerated Rehab

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Roscoe Brown in court today. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

A Staples High School senior arrested last week by Westport Police with the help of a Taser stun gun after they responded to a report of an intruder appeared today in Norwalk Superior Court with his attorney who sought accelerated rehabilitation (AR) for his client.

If AR is granted—and Roscoe Brown, 18, of 83 Sturges Highway follows through on the program—any record of the May 24 incident on Hyatt Lane (see WestportNow May 27, 2014) will be expunged.

Brown, who appeared before Judge William Wenzel and Prosecutor Kate Donohue, was represented by attorney Fred Ury of Ury & Moskow in Fairfield. He faces the misdemeanor charges of breach of peace and interfering with an officer and the Class C felony of attempted burglary.

Wenzel scheduled the AR application to be reheard on July 9. Shortly after his arrest,  Brown was released on a $5,000 bond.

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

Cell Tower Protest Draws Neighbors and Politicians

By Bonnie Adler

Two dozen Westport residents carrying signs saying “No Cell Towers in Our Neighborhood” protested today in front of a Greens Farms Road home whose owners have granted permission to build a cell tower on their property adjacent to I-95.

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Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe addresses today’s protest rally on Greens Farms Road. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bonnie Adler for WestportNow.com

The protest at 92 Greens Farms Road at the intersection of Hillspoint Road and Greens Farms Road came as North Atlantic Towers floated two balloons, one at 100 feet and one at 150 feet, to show the possible height and obstructions of the proposed tower.

Sympathetic elected officials, including Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe, Planning and Zoning Chairman Chip Stevens, and state Reps. Jonathan Steinberg of Westport, Gail Lavielle of Wilton, and Kim Fawcett and Tony Hwang of Fairfield, joined protesters.

All, who either currently represent Westport or some of its neighborhoods—or hope to do so after the November election—addressed ways to change any proposed plans to build a tower in the residential neighborhood.

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06/03/14 03:42 PM Comments () • Permalink

Cell Tower Protest

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UPDATE Several dozen protesters gathered on Westport’s Greens Farms Road today as balloon tests were carried out to show the height of a proposed cell tower at 92 Greens Farms Road, a private residence. North Atlantic Towers announced last week it would float two balloons today at the site—one at 150 feet, the other at 110—to evaluate the top of the tower height, as well as obstructions. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo


06/03/14 02:26 PM Comments () • Permalink

Cell Tower Balloon Test

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Two balloons were raised over Westport’s Greens Farms Road today adjacent to I-95 as part of a cell phone tower test. North Atlantic Towers floated the balloons, one at 150 feet, the other at 110, to evaluate the top of the tower height, as well as obstructions. Several dozen persons opposed to the cell tower gathered on Greens Farms Road as the test took place. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo


06/03/14 02:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

View from Greens Farms Road

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A view of today’s cell tower balloon test at 92 Greens Farms Road from Greens Farms Road looking east. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo


06/03/14 02:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Downtown Lights

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Westport’s west bank of the Saugatuck River and the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Biridge on Monday night. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Tony Riggio for WestportNow.com


06/03/14 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

8 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Team Westport
10 a.m. - Westport Library - Book Chat
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. - 6 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
4:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Learn to Program in C
6 p.m. - Westport Library - Internet Marketing: Making Content that Works
7 p.m. - Westport Library - Arduino Workshops
7 p.m. - Room 201 - Historic District Committee/Architectural Review Board Committee
7 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - RTM Transit Committee
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Representative Town Meeting Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 100/102 - Probate Office Seminar: Intellectually Disabled Kids - Guardians & Conservators
8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “Sing for Your Shakespeare”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


06/03/14 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Seniors Get Update on Baron’s South

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Selectman Avi Kaner was among officials giving an update tonight on the Baron’s South senor housing development at a presentation at the Westport Center for Senior Activities, adjacent to the planned project. He said if all goes well, the project could be built and receive its first residents in four years.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com


06/03/14 01:21 AM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Pops

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The front of Westport’s Staples High School provided a backdrop today for a pop concert by the school musicians. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lawrence J. Zlatkin for WestportNow.com


06/03/14 12:30 AM Comments () • Permalink

Making Music

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Muscians and performers from many Staples groups appeared at a pops concert today in front of the school. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lawrence J. Zlatkin for WestportNow.com


06/03/14 12:25 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, June 02, 2014

Ready for Eagle Scout Rank

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Three Boy Scouts from Westport’s Troop 36 will be inducted into the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor ceremony Sunday at 3 p.m. at Christ & Holy Trinity Church. They are (l-r) Zachary Effman, Lucas Nash, and Nicholas Moro. Their Eagle projects included bird silhouettes at Earthplace, clearing invasive plants from Aspetuck Land Trust property, and clearing and improvement of a portion of the Wakeman Town Farm. They join more than 100 boys from Troop 36 who have also earned that distinction. Troop 36 is chartered by the Saugatuck Congregational Church. Mark Lindwall serves as Scoutmaster. Contributed photo


06/02/14 10:12 PM Comments () • Permalink

New Downtown Attraction

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The new Tunnel Viison art installation project by Westport artist Miggs Burroughs continued to draw visitors today to Westport’s Main Street. It was officially unveiled Thursday as part of the Westport Downtown Merchants Association’s Art About Town Opening Night Street Party. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com


06/02/14 09:12 PM Comments () • Permalink

Pole Dancer Energizes Woman’s Club Members

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Michelle Abbruzzese, co-owner of Norwalk-based Work It Dance and Fitness Club, performed pole and burlesque dancing at the Westport Woman’s Club June luncheon today. Abbruzzese, 43, said her career includes captain of the cheerleading team at the University of Connecticut. Her husband and co-owner, Tony Abbruzzese, said pole dancing is an especially effective fitness form in that it mimics rope climbing that requires lifting your own body weight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


06/02/14 08:03 PM Comments () • Permalink

Enjoying a Little Shaking

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Members of the Westport Woman’s Club today did a little shaking as Michelle Abbruzzese, co-owner of Norwalk-based Work It Dance and Fitness Club, performed pole and burlesque fitness dancing at the club. Among those taking part were former state Sen. Judi Freedman (3rd r) and Barbara Levy (r), who may be more used to the steps than other members, having been a Radio City Rockette. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


06/02/14 07:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thanks for Job Well Done

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Jo Fuchs Luscombe (r), Westport Woman’s Club nominating committee chair, honors Mary Lee Clayton today for her three years service as president of the club. Said Clayton: “I enjoyed it almost all of the time.” She will be succeeded by newly elected co-presidents Dorothy Curran and Lorraine Feliciano. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


06/02/14 07:50 PM Comments () • Permalink

Reminder: Downtown Workshop is Saturday

First Selectman Jim Marpe reminded Westporters today that a Downtown Visioning Workshop will be held Saturday from 12:30 to 4:30 pm. at Bedford Middle School.

Part of the “Your Downtown” campaign, the workshop is a critical part of development of a downtown Westport master plan, he said

“This is a not-to-miss opportunity for you to participate in the process of determining how downtown evolves over the next 10 to 20 years,” Marpe said.

Dewey Loselle, chair of the Downtown Steering Committee, said more than 700 residents have taken the downtown survey since it was launched last week.

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06/02/14 06:05 PM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Grad Leads Ohio State to Rowing Championship

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Sami Jurofsky (2nd r), a 2011 Staples High School graduate, Sunday won the NCAA Division 1 women’s rowing championship with her team, the Ohio State Buckeyes, in Indianapolis, Ind. The Buckeyes repeated their victory as the NCAA champs of 2013 and Big Ten Champs of 2013 and 2014. Jurofsky, a junior who cut her teeth on the Saugatuck River as the coxswain for boys eights at The Saugatuck Rowing Club, also coxed the third-seeded second varsity eights to a first place victory on Sunday as well. She is pictured with stepfather Marx Katzenberg, mother Hyleri Katzenberg, and her sister Carleigh Jade a 2008 Staples graduate who is on tour with her band The Carleigh Jade Band and flew in to surprise her sister.The win was especially sweet for her mom, who grew up in Cleveland and hails from a family of Buckeyes. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


06/02/14 05:53 PM Comments () • Permalink

Forbes Names Westporter to 100 Powerful Women List

Westporter Bonnie Hammer, chair, Cable Entertainment Group, NBCUniversal, Comcast, has been named to the Forbes Magazine World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list.

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Bonnie Hammer: No. 42 on Forbes list. Comcast.com photo

Forbes said of Hammer, No. 42 on the list:  “Already the most powerful woman in cable television, in 2013 Hammer added five networks to her profit-machine portfolio. Bravo, Oxygen are among the newest to join her previous responsibilities with USA Network, Syfy, E!, among others.

“Hammer’s new group, Cable Entertainment Group, will account for about 50% of the company’s operating cash flow, according to NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke.

“Full year 2013 revenue was $23.7 billion, a .7% decline. USA Network has been cable’s No. 1 channel for eight consecutive years, fueled in part by WWE Monday Night Raw, the most watched regularly scheduled program on cable.”

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06/02/14 05:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

One Dog License, Please

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Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe and his Bernese mountain dog, Madison, visited Town Clerk Patty Strauss today to renew their dog license and remind other Westport dog owners to do the same during the month of June. All dogs over six months must be licensed. Fees for dog licenses are: $8 for neutered male or spayed female and $19 for male or female. There will be a $1 penalty per month for renewal licenses issued after June 30. Dog license renewals may be obtained from Room 105 in Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Ave, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., or by mailing payment, and required certificate(s), (all certificates will be returned with license), along with a self-addressed stamped return envelope to: the Westport Town Clerk. Contributed photo


06/02/14 05:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

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