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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Charrette: Discovering Downtown and Opportunities

By James Lomuscio

Even longtime Westport residents and officials who know the town pretty well said they learned something new today during a walking tour of the downtown. Image
One of three walking tours or downtown today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

“I think it was one of the most interesting walks around Wesport,” said Bob Jacobs, a member of the Downtown Steering Committee (DSC) that is hosting this weekend’s “Your Downtown Charrette.”

The charrette is being orchestrated by the DSC and the RBA Group, Inc., the Norwalk-based consultant hired by the town to devise a master plan of development for current and future downtown construction.

Jacobs’s walking tour, led by RBA urban designer Jack Wandres, was one of three simultaneous tours from 9:20 to 11 a.m., each with about 20 participants.

More "Charrette: Discovering Downtown and Opportunities"


09/20/14 02:22 PM Comments () • Permalink

Michael A. Gilbertie, 74, Former RTM Member Image
Michael “Mickey” A. Gilbertie, a three-term member of the Westport Representative Town Meeting (RTM) and longtime advocate of reducing town spending, died Friday at his Westport home. He was 74. (See obituary here) From 1969 to 1978, he was co-owner of Westport Taxi and in 1991 won a court suit after claiming the town forced the company out of business with introduction of its “Maxytaxy” service. In 2002, the RTM (with Gilbertie recusing himself) approved payment of $1,050,000 in final settlement. Gilbertie failed in petition drive attempts in 2002 and 2003 to cut town expenditures. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


09/20/14 12:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

Michael A. Gilbertie, 74

Michael Angelo Gilbertie of Westport died Sept. 19 at his home. He was 74. Image
Michael A. Gilbertie: native Westporter. Contributed photo

He was born in Westport, the son of the late Lillian and John S. Gilbertie, Sr. 

He was a former co-owner of Westport Taxi, a member of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) for three terms (1999-03, 2005-07),  former president of the Westport Lions Club, an avid golfer and a longtime member of the Assumption Church, both as a choir member and an usher.

In addition to his wife, Beatrix DeFreese Gilbertie, he is also survived by his son Brian and daughter-in-law Cinzia of Reading, Mass., daughter Linda and son-in-law Tom Grace of Fairfield, stepdaughter Yvette DeFreese and step son-in-law Maurice Pluijmen of the Netherlands, stepson Jonathan DeFreese and stepdaughter-in-law Corey of Brookline, Mass..; five grandchildren, T.J., Billy, Ginevra, Alexandra and Charlotte, a brother, Anthony Gilbertie, and sister-in-law, Diane Gilbertie, of Westport, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. 

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09/20/14 12:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

Preparing for Today’s Lobster Fest Image
Members of the Westport Rotary Club were out early today at Compo Beach preparing for today’s Lobster Fest. A few tickets for the 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. event are still available and may be purchased on site. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


09/20/14 10:21 AM Comments () • Permalink

Downtown Master Plan Walking Tour Image
A walking tour of Westport’s downtown area today kicked off weekend charrette planning sessions to aid development of a downtown master plan. The Saturday and Sunday event involves Town Hall meetings, panel discussions, and walking tours. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


09/20/14 10:01 AM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday,  September 20, 2014

8:30 a.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Downtown Steering Committee Charette (televised at 1:30 p.m. cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and
Noon - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Larry Silver/Westport Visions” & “Faces in the Crowd”
Noon - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Farm to Table Cycle” and “Edward Burtynsky: Nature Speaks”
2 p.m. - 6 p.m. Saugatuck Sweets, 575 Riverside Ave. - “Macaroni Kid Do Something Great Day”
3 p.m. - 7 p.m. - Compo Beach - Westport Rotary Club Lobster Fest
7 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Young Statues w/ C4S, Broadcast Hearts, & Acoustic Cubed
8 p.m. - Westport Town Hall - Westport Community Theatre: “I’m Not Rappaport!”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


09/20/14 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Friday, September 19, 2014

Staples Shuts Out Wilton 24-0

The Staples football team shut out Wilton High School 24-0 at Wilton tonight.

Staples (1-1) led 7-0 at the half but dominated the game when play resumed.

Next up, the homecoming game against Westhill on Saturday, Sept. 27.


09/19/14 09:39 PM Comments () • Permalink

Seniors Stunned, Numb Over P&Z Denial

By James Lomuscio

Sue Pfister, director of Westport’s Center for Senior Activities, described the mood among seniors there today as “stunned, disappointed and anxious.” Image
Martha Hauhuth and Steve Daniels, co-chairs of the Baron’s South Committee, reacted to the P&Z vote at a meeting of the Commission for Senior Services. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

“They’re anxious now not knowing where their future lies,” Pfister said, referring to Thursday night’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) 6 to 1 denial of a text amendment that would allow a senior housing facility in town. “Many were counting on it for housing.”

Others were looking to the 135-unit facility planned for the town-owned Baron’s South property as a complement to the Senior Center on the same 22-acre campus, she said. Even seniors who did not live in the planned facility would have had access to its many amenities, including a therapeutic pool.

The planned senior complex, which had been in the planning stages for six years, had 20 percent of its units set aside for affordable housing, 20 percent for moderate income residents and 60 percent at market rate.

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09/19/14 08:13 PM Comments () • Permalink

Reception Marks Arts Center New Exhibit Image
The Westport Arts Center tonight hosted a reception to mark the opening of its exhibit “Edward Burtynsky: Nature Speaks.” The exhibit features large format color photographs by Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky who has gained international recognition of his industrial landscapes around the world. The photographs are from The Hall Art Foundation. Helen Klisser During (l), WAC director of visual arts who curated the show, welcomed guests. The exhibit runs to Nov. 1. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


09/19/14 08:04 PM Comments () • Permalink

Another Art View Focused on Environment

Scenes from tonight’s Westport Arts Center opening reception for “Edward Burtynsky: Nature Speaks.” This is the third exhibition featuring works focused on the environment from the Hall Collection. Helen Klisser During for and contributed photos


09/19/14 07:59 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Property Transfers Sept. 1 - 5, 2014

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period Sept. 1 - 5, 2014:

Claude J. Carnahan III and Christine Pavone to Christopher and Susan Aitkin, 20 Hickory Drive, $521,000WNproperty.jpg

Mirna Goldberger to Olanipekun D. and Abimbola Aladesuru, 14 Church St. South, $680,000

Dorothy Kesten to 1 Crestwood LLC, 1 Crestwood Road,  $875,000

Maurice C. Hatfield Estate to CFJ Realty Development LLC, 5 Horseshoe Lane, $620,000

More "Westport Property Transfers Sept. 1 - 5, 2014"


09/19/14 06:37 PM Comments () • Permalink

Rowland Guilty on All Counts

By Mark Pazniokas

New Haven—A jury in U.S. District Court today convicted Gov. John G. Rowland on all counts arising from what the government described as a scheme to solicit two congressional campaigns in 2010 and 2012 to secretly pay him as a political consultant in violation of U.S. campaign finance laws. Image
John G. Rowland departs with his wife, Patty, and a daughter after guilty verdict. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Rowland accepted the verdict stoically. His wife, Patty, quietly wept. Once the jury was dismissed, Rowland turned and embraced one of his daughters, whose soft sobs were the only sound in the hushed court.

Sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 12, but the prosecutor said the government was willing to delay until the New Year. Rowland’s lawyer, Reid H. Weingarten, promised an appeal.

Rowland wordlessly exited the courthouse with his wife, trailed by his daughters. The small entourage descended the stone steps facing the New Haven Green, walked to a waiting sedan and sped away.

Click here for more of story


09/19/14 03:23 PM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 18 Dover Road Image
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 18 Dover Road, off Reichert Circle, is in process. Built in 1954, the one-story split has 1,899 square feet and is situated on a .62-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


09/19/14 03:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

Heroin Bust Outside Saugatuck Elementary

A routine check of the Saugatuck Elementary School exterior Thursday night led to the arrest of Stratford man for heroin and marijuana possession, as well as drug paraphernalia, Westport police said today. Image
Ryan Dugan: released on $2,500 bond. Westport Police photo

According to Capt. Vincent Penna, officers checking the school’s exterior observed Ryan Dugan, 23, jumping over a wall separating the school from another property, and that he had a pipe commonly used to smoke marijuana in his mouth.

Penna said officers attempted to stop Dugan, but he continued walking away, opened the door of a vehicle and tossed something into it. Officers then contacted Dugan and patted him down for their safety, Penna continued.

“During the pat down officers located another pipe and a cut piece of a drinking straw on his person,” he said. “Both items contained suspected narcotics residue.

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09/19/14 02:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Arrest in String of Catalytic Converter Thefts Image
Clifford St. Arnault: had been arrested in August. Westport Police photo

Westport Police served an arrest warrant on an East Haven a man in Norwalk Superior Court Thursday for a months-long string of catalytic converter thefts from vehicles parked the Saugatuck train station lots, police said today.

Clifford St. Arnault, 35, was already in custody following his Aug. 7 arrest in Westport for stealing catalytic converters, police said. (See WestportNow Aug. 8, 2014)

He was then rearrested for a series of thefts that began in May 2014 and persisted until his arrest, Capt. Vincent Penna said.

Detectives charged St. Arnault with six counts of third-degree larceny, eight counts of fourth-degree larceny, 10 counts of second-degree criminal mischief and 14 counts of criminal damage to a motor vehicle.

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09/19/14 02:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

Honored for Service to Older Adults Image
At today’s Senior Services Commission annual meeting, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe presented volunteer Leslie Wolf with a proclamation in honor of her receiving the Service to Older Adults Award. She also received a commendation from state legislators.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for


09/19/14 12:19 PM Comments () • Permalink

Dawn Fishing Image
Anglers were out at dawn Thursday at Westport’s Compo Beach trying their luck. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Tony Riggio for


09/19/14 12:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday,  September 19, 2014

10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Commission for Senior Services
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Larry Silver/Westport Visions” & “Faces in the Crowd”
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Farm to Table Cycle” and “Edward Burtynsky: Nature Speaks”
12:30 p.m. - Westport Library - League of Women Voters of Westport Brown Bag Lunch
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
3:30 p.m. - Compo Beach - Earthplace Compo Beach Shore Walk
6 - 8 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Opening reception “Edward Burtynsky: Nature Speaks”
8 p.m. - Rolnick Observatory - Monthly Lecture: Stefan Nicolescu on meteorites
8 p.m. - Westport Town Hall - Westport Community Theatre: “I’m Not Rappaport!”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


09/19/14 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Thursday, September 18, 2014

P&Z Denial Halts Senior Housing Complex

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE After six years of meetings, reboots and town approvals, a proposed senior housing complex on town-owned Baron’s South hit a dead end tonight. Image
Planning and Zoning Commissioners discuss the proposed amendment tonight before their vote to deny. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Westport’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) in a work session voted 6 to 1 denying a text amendment that would have made the 135-unit facility possible.

P&Z member David Lessing, who participated via phone from Bermuda where he was on business, was the only dissenter.

“There it is foiks,” said P&Z Chairman Chip Stephens after the denial of text amendment 677. “I’m sure everybody’s not going to be pleased. I’m sure others will be. This was hard for us as I am sure it is for most of you.

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09/18/14 11:32 PM Comments () • Permalink

P&Z Turns Down Baron’s South Text Amendment Image
Five members of the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission present tonight in the Town Hall auditorium vote to deny a text amendment that would have allowed a senior housing project on town-owned Baron’s South. They were joined in opposition by one member attending by telephone while a second member voted not to deny the amendment. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


09/18/14 10:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

P&Z Denies Text Amendment, Killing Baron’s South Project

Ending a six-year quest, the Westport Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission tonight voted 6-1 to deny a text amendment that would have permitted a senior housing complex on town-owned property in Westport’s center known as Baron’s South.

The sole vote not to deny came from Democrat David Lessing.

The debate preceding the vote made clear that the greatest objection members had to the amendment was changing the percentage of affordable units in the proposed project from 60 per cent to 20 percent.

“I’m sure everybody’s not going to be pleased,” said Chairman Chip Stephens after the vote. “I’m sure others will be. This was hard for us as I am sure it is for most of you. Hopefully it’s back to the drawing board. Hopefully that’s not the end of senior housing. We’ve done our job.”

(This story will be updated with additional details.)


09/18/14 10:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Community Theatre Cast Takes a Bow Image
The cast of “I’m Not Rappaport,” written by Herb Gardner and directed by Fairfield resident Lester Colodny, takes a bow tonight following its dress rehearsal performance. The play opens Friday night at the Westport Community Theatre located in the lower level of Westport’s Town Hall. The seven-member cast includes Stamford residents Fred Tisch, Jeffrey Wyant and Deborah Burke, David Michael Tate of Milford, Melody Cochran of Norwalk, Rick Stewart of New Canaan and Matt Catalano of Stratford.  “I’m Not Rappaport” runs to Oct. 5. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m., and Thursday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m.. For Tickets, call the Box Office (203) 226-1983, or go to (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


09/18/14 10:05 PM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Defeats Bassick 4-2 Image
Staples tri-captain Andrew Puchala (c) returned from an injury today, and scored the go-ahead goal to help lead the Staples boys soccer team to a 4-2 victory over Bassick at Loeffler Field. The Wreckers scored three goals in nine minutes to roar back from a 1-0 deficit, thanks to strikes by Puchala, Josh Berman, Patrick Beusse and Nate Argosh. Kenji Goto keyed the defense for Staples, which is now 2-1-1. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Kim Lake for


09/18/14 09:06 PM Comments () • Permalink

Murphy, Blumenthal Split on Authorization to Arm Syrian Rebels

By Ann Radelat

Washington – Connecticut’s Democratic senators split today over legislation that would give the Obama administration authority to arm and train Syrian rebels, but the measure won approval in the Senate on a bipartisan, 78-22 vote.

Sen. Chris Murphy, who has one of the first in the Senate to voice opposition to President Obama’s plan to enlist “moderate” rebels in Syria in the U.S.  battle against Islamic militants known as ISIS or ISIL, voted against giving the White House authority to do so. ISIS has seized a third of both Iraq and Syria, declared war on the West and is thought to be responsible for beheading two American journalists.

“I simply don’t believe an effective strategy to combat ISIL requires America to get more deeply involved in the Syrian civil war,” Murphy said. “ First, the moderate Syrian rebels have shown a disturbing willingness to join forces with Islamic extremists like the Al Nusra Front, a wing of Al Qaeda, and it will be nearly impossible to stop the rebels we train from joining forces with groups that pose a real threat to the United States.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who has expressed skepticism about the plan, was in the majority of senators who voted for the Syria provision. It was part of a short term spending bill that would keep the government running from Oct. 1 to Dec. 11.

Click here for more of story


09/18/14 08:02 PM Comments () • Permalink

One More Time for the Levitt Image
There was a quickly put together performance by Otis and the Hurricanes tonight at the Westport Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts. The show was organized so a still photographer could shoot scenes for a marketing campaign, according to Freda Welsh, executive director. Invitations for the performance went out Wednesday to those on the Levitt’s email list. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


09/18/14 06:24 PM Comments () • Permalink

Jury Deliberating Guilt or Innocence of Rowland

By Mark Pazniokas

New HavenUPDATE The case against former Gov. John G. Rowland went to the jury at 3:37 p.m. today after a day of argument about whether Rowland, the political wunderkind who became a felon, conspired to illegally hide work for a congressional candidate by accepting a consulting contract from her husband’s company.

[The jury ended deliberations for the day at 5 p.m. and will return Friday at 9 a.m.]

In his 90-minute summation, defense lawyer Reid Weingarten struck a conversational tone with the jury, asking them to see Rowland’s eagerness to consult on congressional campaigns in 2010 and 2012 as a bid to get back in the game of politics after a corruption scandal forced his resignation as governor 2004.

“You love him or hate him. Thats just the deal,” Weingarten said, but he ridiculed the government’s contention that Rowland had any thoughts of keeping his role in any campaign a secret. “He can’t make a move in Connecticut without everybody knowing it. That’s just the truth.”

Click here for more of story


09/18/14 05:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Brown New Arts Center Education Fellow

The Westport Arts Center (WAC) announced today that Rebecca Brown has been named it new Education Fellow for the 2014-15 season. Image
Rebecca Brown: grew up in Fairfield County. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Marina White for

In her post, Brown will be responsible for developing and teaching WAC’s arts education programs for young children and teens. She will also assist Lindsay Heffernan, WAC’s education manager with WAC’s outreach programs “Connections” and “WAC Gives Back” in Bridgeport, Norwalk, New Haven and Redding.

Brown, who grew up in Fairfield County before moving as a teenager to Illinois, is a graduate of the University of Iowa, holding a fine arts degree in ceramics and museum studies and a minor is art history.

“After parting ways from Connecticut for nine years, I am excited to be back doing what I love to do, teaching art and inspiring kids,” Brown said.

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09/18/14 03:32 PM Comments () • Permalink

Getting Ready for Saturday’s Lobster Fest Image
Tom Wormser and other Westport Rotary Club members began setting up today at Compo Beach for Saturday’s annual Lobster Fest. Tickets are still available at or through Westport Rotary members. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Tony Riggio for


09/18/14 02:34 PM Comments () • Permalink

Bright Colors to Welcome Fall Image
A variety of brightly colored flowers attracted shoppers to this stand at today’s Westport Farmers Market.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


09/18/14 01:58 PM Comments () • Permalink

Hula Hoop Exercise at Farmers Market Image
Visitors to today’s Westport Farmers Market at the Imperial Avenue parking lot had a chance to do some exercise with hula hoops as they shopped. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


09/18/14 01:53 PM Comments () • Permalink

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