Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced that the State Bond Commission has approved $448,625 for improvements at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport.
The funding will finance the design phase of a new maintenance complex at Sherwood Island ($248,625) along with bridge design for Sherwood Island Lane Bridge ($200,000).
The funds are part of a $3,804,625 pool for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) approved today by the commission.
State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) welcomed the news.
Reviving at least for a day an event popular under former First Selectman Diane Farrell, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe today hosted a Town Hall brown bag lunch for members of the League of Women Voters of Westport, noting it was the first anniversary of his taking office. He covered a wide range of topics, including things that keep him up at night—developers who want to come into Westport “and build as many a 600 units,” union contracts coming up for approval in the next two years (“I want to keep Westport accessible and affordable”), finding ways to keep seniors in Westport, and improving transportation in town and the region. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Sari Knopp Biklen, a resident of Westport from 1955 to 1970 who graduated from Staples High School in 1963, died on Sept. 16 at Fletcher Allen Hospital in Burlington, Vt. She was 68. The cause was complications from cancer.
She is survived by her husband of almost 44 years Douglas Biklen of Orwell, Vt., also a 1963 Staples graduate and former dean of the Syracuse University School of Education; a son, Noah Biklen of New York; a daughter, Molly Biklen of New York; a brother, Alex Knopp, former mayor of Norwalk, and two grandchildren.
Her parents were active Westport residents for many years. Her deceased father, Burton Knopp, founded and operated The Country Gal, a women’s clothing store on Main Street in Westport. Her mother, Fay Honey Knopp, helped found The World Affairs Center.
In May, she retired from Syracuse University after 38 years of service where she was the Laura and Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence in Cultural Foundations of Education. She was a specialist in popular culture, qualitative research methods and youth culture, and was the former director of the Institute on Popular Culture and Education at Syracuse University.
9:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Westport Library - Maker-in-residence: The Refinery
10 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Westport Woman’s Club (44 Imperial Ave.) - Curio Cottage Thrift Shop-wide Half-price Sale
12:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - Board of Education Special Meeting
4 p.m. - Westport Library - Imagination Foundation Workshops (grades 6-8)
4 p.m. - Westport Library - Creative Writing Workshop Series for Grades 3-5
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Chess Club for Adults
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Conservation Commission (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
7 p.m. - Westport Library - NaNoWriMo Salon with E.J. Simon
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Parks & Recreation Commission
7:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Westport Library Board of Trustees
See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Stan Honda, an award-winning New York-based photographer who worked as a photojournalist for 34 years, most recently for Agence France-Presse (AFP), the French news agency, was guest speaker tonight at the Westport Astronomical Society at the Rolnick Observatory on Bayberry Lane. In addition to describing some of the world’s top news stories he has covered, he spoke about his continuing interest in shooting night sky landscapes, combining his long time interest in astronomy and photography. His work can be seen at www.stanhonda.com. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Officers of the Westport Astronomical Society tonight welcomed guest speaker photojournalist Stan Honda and his wife Ann to their monthly meeting. Pictured (l-r) with Ann and Stan Honda are Franco Fellah of Westport, treasurer; Dan Wright of Derby, president, and Bob Meadows of Bridgeport, director. The Westport Astronomical Society welcomes new members. Information can be found at www.was-ct.org. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
A time lapse video of today’s Kemper-Gunn House move posted earlier on WestportNow by Matthew Mandell (see it here) ran two and a half minutes. For readers who want to see an even more condensed version, Westporter Nicholas Pissaro, Jr. offers this one-minute view of the four-hour operation. Nicholas Pisarro, Jr. for WestportNow.com
The Westport P.A.L. (Police Athletic League) ice skating rink at Longshore Club Park is set to open Friday with a newly expanded rink, extended weekend hours for the public until 11 p.m., and a new and improved DJ sound system, organizers said.
In addition, it was announced that the Staples High School ice hockey team will be playing four regular season games this season outside under the lights.
“We could not be more thrilled with all of these improvements” said Tony Lantier, owner of Thin Ice Management, the rink management company for Westport P.A.L.
“We’re happy to have kept our pricing unchanged for over 15 years, making skating at our rink an affordable and a fun family-friendly activity.”
Althea Francis Keene D’Aiuto of Stuart, Fla.. formerly of Westport and Lantana, Fla., died Nov. 14 after a brief battle with cancer. She was 78.
She was born Dec. 10, 1935 in Norwalk to the late Harold and Ethel Keene, and in 1955 she married the love of her life Joseph D’Aiuto.
After moving to Florida she became a true Miami Dolphin fan, and was a season ticket holder for more than 20 years. Very rarely would she miss a game. even while fighting cancer she would have to be up to watch as she puts it “my Dolphins.”
She was predeceased by her husband Joseph, brothers Charles, Harold and Jimmy. Survivors include her children, Victoria D’Aiuto of Connecticut, Joseph D’Aiuto of Okeechobee, Fla., and Anthony F. D’Aiuto and his wife of Marathon, Fla., as well as her sisters Ethel, Emma and brother Paul. Also four granddaughters, Michelle and Danielle Martinez, Lynsay and Jennie D’Aiuto, two great granddaughters and two great grandsons, and her cat Cali. along with many lifelong friends.
She will be cremated and be interned with her husband Joseph at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington Va.
Westport Human Services Director Barbara Butler has announced that the Department of Human Services will again sponsor its annual Holiday Giving Program for Westport residents.
“Over the years, the generosity of volunteer donors has made the holidays brighter for hundreds of children, families and seniors in our town,” said Butler.
“We hope that Westporters will continue to support their neighbors, as our department continues to see residents coping with foreclosures, layoffs and reduced work hours.”
Following established guidelines for Westport Warm-Up Fund eligibility, the Human Services Department serves largely as a facilitator, allowing Westport residents who wish to give to do so, while protecting the confidentiality of both the donor and receiver.
UPDATE Several videographers shot time lapse videos of today’s Kemper-Gunn House move, which took about four hours. This one is by Matthew Mandell, executive director of the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce and member of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), who championed the move. A more condensed one-minute version by Westporter Nicholas Pisarro, Jr. can be seen here. Matthew Mandell for WestportNow.com
By 11 a.m. today, the Kemper-Gunn House was finally in place in the Baldwin Parking Lot. According to the moving crew, the house will now be raised about 20 feet and a foundation built underneath. Work on completing the move and getting the house ready for retail tenants is expected to take about a year. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
By James Lomuscio
Westporter Caryl Beatus stood near the corner of Church Lane and Elm Street early today to witness the move of a 19th century-built building that had been a big part of her life—the Kemper-Gunn House.
“I’m glad it’s being moved and saved, but I was sad it couldn’t stay where it was,” said Beatus, 86. She had worked there since 1956 as an assistant to attorney Colin (Ben) Gunn, who died two years ago at age 91.
“I was also sad to see the trees come down,” she said. As she spoke, the house rested on 40 wheels, high off the ground and in the middle of Elm Street
“I put that sign up,” she added, looking at the “Rear Entrance - Colin Gunn - Attorney” sign over the rear door.
Workers from Kowalsky Brothers of Westport chip away at the edge of the Baldwin Parking Lot today to enlarge the new home of the Kemper-Gunn House. As the house was moved across Elm Street, it was determined that a slightly wider foundation space was needed for the 19th century-built home. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Crowds gathered at 6:30 a.m. today on Westport’s Elm Street to watch the move of the 19th century-built Kemper-Gunn House across the street to its new home in the Baldwin Parking Lot. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Midge (Jane Smith) Lanouette, a former Westport resident, died Nov. 11 after a very long decline from Alzheimer’s Disease. She was 89.
She was born on Sept. 6, 1925 in Glasgow, Mont. and spent her childhood in Vermont and Queens, N.Y. She graduated from the University of Vermont where she met her husband of 66 years, Ken. After living in Colorado for a brief time, they spent two years living in Japan before settling in Westport, where they raised their two daughters, Caron and Jennine.
She was a very talented fabric and needlework artist who also loved working with children. She was a religious education teacher at the Unitarian Church in Westport for years, writing a curriculum for kindergarten. She was recognized as Volunteer of the Year in 2001 for her work at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk.
Her love of gardening led her to become a certified Master Gardener which only added to her gorgeous gardens that were the site of many happy family events. She spent her final four years in the compassionate care of the staff at Astoria Park in Bridgeport.
6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. - Elm Street - Kemper Gunn House move, Elm Street closed to traffic
8:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Human Services Commission
10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. - Westport Library - PageTurners: “Caleb’s Crossing,” Geraldine Brooks
11 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Planning & Zoning Citation Hearing
Noon - Westport Library - Women Entrepreneurs Group: Julie Levitt & Dana Noorily
Noon - Town Hall Room 309 - Arts Advisory Committee
2 p.m. - Westport Library - Writing From Life: A Memoir Writing Workshop
4 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
5 p.m. - Westport Library - Game Night
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Historic District Commission
7 p.m. - Westport Library - Jobseeker Special: How to Work with Recruiters
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Zoning Board of Appeals (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
8 p.m. - Rolnick Observatory (182 Bayberry Lane) - Monthly Lecture Series: Photographer Stan Honda
See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar
Monday, November 17, 2014
The University of Chicago Medicine & Bioloigical Sciences is reaching out to Westporters to help solve an 82-year-old mystery.
In an email to WestportNow, Ashley M. Heher, assistant director, News Office, said,“It’s a bit of a pet project of mine.” She explained that letters and news clippings found in an old filing cabinet have led to a search for someone in Westport, presumably a youngster, named “M. Adams.”
That was the signature on a letter that followed distribution of a 1932 Associated Press story that The Chicago Lying-in Hospital and Dispensary, because of the Great Depression, had lowered its cost to deliver a baby by 25 percent with $55 the least expensive charge. The letter, now yellowed and the handwriting—apparently a misspelled children’s cursive -– is hard to read.
“Dear Sir,” it begins. “If I send you $55 will you send us our baby because our baby aint come yet an I want wone.”
The Westport Board of Education tonight elected Michael Gordon as its new chair.
He replaces Elaine Whitney, chairwoman for the past two years, who told the school board at its Nov. 10 meeting that she is stepping down to relaunch her career in healthcare strategy and policy. (See WestportNow Nov.11, 2014) She remains on the board and was elected secretary at tonight’s meeting.
Jeannie Smith, who joined the board in December 2012, was re-elected vice chair. She worked as a former public school teacher in Westchester County for 11 years.
Gordon, a public relations professional, was elected to the board in 2011. He previously served as secretary.
Stop & Shop has selected Staples Tuition Grants (STG), a scholarship program for Staples High School seniors and graduates still in college, as one of 100 charities nationwide to receive a check for $1,000 as part of its 100th anniversary celebration. Each Stop & Shop store solicited suggestions from its employees, and Pat Mooney (c) suggested STG, which she said has helped her two daughters through college with scholarships. She is pictured with David Faccin (l), Westport store manager, and Rob Morrison, president of STG. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo