Thursday, December 04, 2014
Scenes from tonight’s Saugatuck Center tree lighting.. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
UPDATE A tractor-trailer struck a water main on the I-95 southbound overpass at Strawberry Hill Avenue in Norwalk tonight, flooding the roadway and forcing police to shut down the highway for 90 minutes during the evening rush hour.
There were no injuries, but the flooding was so extensive that state police asked Westport police to close the Exit 17 on and off ramps until the water could be shut down and traffic could start moving again. There was also extensive debris on the roadway, reports from the scene said.
Traffic in the Saugatuck area around the exit ramp on Saugatuck Avenue was snarled. A Westport police officer directing traffic reportedly suffered a shoulder injury when he was almost struck by a car on the ramp as it tried to go around him. His injuries were believed to be minor.
The accident occurred at about 6:10 p.m. At 7 p.m., state police reported that traffic was moving slowly past the scene in the breakdown lane, and the right lane was reopened at 7:53 p.m. The water was reported shut down at 7:25 p.m. Westport police reopened the southbound on-ramp at Exit 17 at 7:33 p.m. and the off-ramp 15 minutes later.
The long vacant ground floor space in National Hall, 2A Post Road West, is about to be filled with the debut of Vespa, a 120-seat Italian casual dining restaurant. Executive Chef Brian Reilly (l) and Pasta Chef Laura Bonechi were busy today preparing for the restaurant’s soft opening. No official opening date has been announced. Vespa is the latest venture by New York-based restaurant group Experience Hospitality, headed by owner Bobby Wehane of Westport. The group recently partnered in NEAT Coffee and Craft Cocktails at nearby 6 Wilton Road, where Reilly also worked. Vespa, named after the Italian scooter, will be a return to the past. After the building converted to a 15-room luxury hotel in 1993, there were several restaurants on the ground floor, but they gave way to office space in 2005. Plans for the restaurant were originally announced in July 2013. (See WestportNow July 15, 2013) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com
Theresa Falasco of Westport died Dec. 3 at home. She was 101.
Born Jan. 17, 1913 in Westport, she was the daughter of the late Salvatore and Geneva (Barber) Gilbertie.
She was a member of Assumption Church in Westport and a longtime member of the Catholic Daughters.
Survivors include three daughters: Claudette Foley of Westport, Beverly Valiante and her husband Joseph of Westport, Arlene Benincaso of Norwalk, one son, Henry Falasco and his wife Susan of Prospect, one sister, Antonette Doddo of Westport, four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. In addition to her parents and husband, she was predeceased by one brother, Lester Gilbertie.
By James Lomuscio
In the face of two multi-family housing projects planned for Westport, state legislators at a Westport forum today focused on state statute 8-30g, which allows developers to overstep local zoning laws if a town does not have 10 percent of its housing stock classified as affordable, which Westport does not.
“It is the worst violation of local control, an overreach of best intentions,” newly elected Sen. Tony Hwang, a Republican serving District 28, said about the 1989 law intended to create more affordable housing in the state.
Hwang was speaking at a Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC) sponsored legislative update titled “Where Do We Go from Here.” The meeting, held in cooperation with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) in the Westport Library’s McManus Room, attracted about 20 persons.
Other participating legislators included Sen. Toni Boucher, a Republican serving the 26th District, Rep. Gail Lavielle, a Republican representing District 143, and Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, a Democrat who serves District 136.
9 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Pension Investment Committee
9 a.m. - Westport Library - Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce post-election legislative update
10 a.m. - Earthplace - Sasco Brook Pollution Abatement Committee
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Perception Illusion Magic”
2 p.m. - Westport Library - “Downton Abbey” Season 4
5:30 p.m. - Saugatuck Center (575 Riverside Ave.) - Saugatuck tree lighting (Santa arrives 6 p.m.)
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - A Tool Kit to Survive Anxiety, Stress, & Conflict
6:30 p.m. - Earthplace - The Nature Conservancy: “Nutrient Pollution in Long Island Sound”
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 Arts Center - Drink n’ Draw December
7 p.m. - Rolnick Observatory Classroom - Westport Astronomical Society Amateur Radio Club: “Software Defined Radio (SDR) for Amateur Radio”
See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Following the Town Hall tree lighting ceremony tonight, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association hosted a holiday party at Branson Hall i the Christ & Holy Trinity Church. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Scenes from tonight’s holiday celebration at Christ & Holy Trinity Church hosted by the Westport Downtown Merchants Association. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Within an hour of performing at tonight’s Westport Town Hall tree lighting , the Staples High School Orphenians were at Barnes & Noble on Post Road East performing holiday selections. Conductor Luke Rosenberg said, “We’re in high demand during this season.”.(CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
The Staples High School Orphenians under the direction of Luke Rosenberg was a highlight of the official Westport Town Hall tree lighting ceremony tonight in front of Town Hall. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
A post-election legislative update titled “Where Do We Go from Here,” is set for Thursday at 9 a.m. in the Westport Library’s McManus Room.
It will feature state Sen. Toni Boucher, Sen. Tony Hwang, Rep. Jonathan Steinberg and Rep. Gail Lavielle.
Sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC) in association with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), the event will explore what legislators foresee during the next session, according to Matthew Mandell, WWCC executive director who will moderate the forum.
“I’m pleased that all of our elected officials are coming to share their thoughts and vision,” said Mandell. “This is a great opportunity for our business people and residents alike to come ask questions and see how they will be represented.”
The U.S. Postal Service said today the Westport Post Office at 275 Post Road East is among select post offices in Connecticut that will open for four hours on the three Sundays leading up to Christmas Day — Dec. 7, 14 and 21, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
There will be full retail services, including stamp sales and package acceptance, an announcement said. Additionally, in many communities, packages will be delivered on these days as well.
“It’s all about customer service and convenience, especially during our busiest time of year,” said David Mastroianni, the Postal Service’s Connecticut Valley District manager.
“Our goal is to exceed the high standard of service we set last year by delivering on our core promise of timely, affordable, and trackable delivery for our customers.”
Chipotle Mexican Grill will open at 376 Post Road East in the Compo Acres Shopping Center in the space previously occupied by Oaxaca Asian cuisine, according to a spokesperson at New York-based Equity One, the owner and property manager the shopping center. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. has outlets in Fairfield, Darien, and Greenwich, among other Connecticut locations. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
SoulCycle, a salon for physical fitness spinning, will open at 372 Post Road East in the Compo Acres Shopping Center sometime in 2015, according to an employee in SoulCycle’s Greenwich salon.The New York-based business, founded in 2006 by Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler, now has 30 salons around the country including 13 in New York City and others in New Jersey, Connecticut, Westchester, Massachusetts, California and Washington, D.C. The Westport salon, located between Patriot National Bank and Choice Pet Supply is “months off from opening,” according to a worker for KBE Construction, contractors for New York-based Equity One, owners and property managers of the shopping center. It will open in the space previously occupied by Joseph A. Bank, which has moved to 260 Post Road East. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Carol (Barman) Stern Plaut of Westport died Dec. 1. She was 87.
A Westport resident for more than 60 years, she was the wife of Edward Weill Plaut, who predeceased her in 2011.
Together the couple raised their three children in Westport: Edward “Wynn” Plaut of Greenwich, (Robin), Kim Plaut Sullivan of East Dennis, Mass. (Joseph), and Quentin R. Plaut (Michelle) of Fairfax, Va. Survivors incude her grandchildren Douglas, Amy, Natalie, William and Ethan Plaut and Brett and Brooke Sullivan.\
Born in New York City on Oct. 18, 1927, she was the daughter of the late Walter and Celeste (Barman) Stern of Scarsdale, N.Y. She graduated from New York University with a degree in physical education in 1948 and received a Master’s Degree in career counseling from Fairfield University in 1984.
Irene O. Deegan of Norwalk, a former Westport resident, wife of the late William J. Deegan Sr., died Nov. 29 at Aurora Senior Living in Norwalk. She was 88.
Born in New York City on Dec. 6, 1925, she was the daughter of the late Francis and Mary (O’Leary) O’Moore.
She is survived by four sons: William James Deegan of Shelton,Thomas Francis Deegan of Westport, James William Deegan of Louisville, Ky., one daughter, Ellen Marie Deegan of Greenwich, and two granddaughters Erin and Maureen Deegan.
Friends are invited to attend a funeral on Friday, Dec. 5 at noon, meeting directly at Assumption Church, 98 Riverside Ave. for a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will follow in Assumption Cemetery, Kings Highway North.
The Harding Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.
8 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Maintenance Study Committee
9 a.m. - 9 p.m. - Barnes & Noble (1076 Post Road East) - Staples High School Book Fair 2014 benefit
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Perception Illusion MAGIC”
10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - UN Hospitality Committee
4 p.m. - Westport Library - Imagination Foundation Workshops (grades 6-8)
4 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Beautification Committee
5 p.m. - Town Hall - Tree Lighting
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. - Christ & Holy Trinity Church (79 Church Lane) - WDMA Community-wide Holiday Party
6 p.m. - Barnes & Noble (1076 Post Road East) - Staples High School Orphenians
6:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Shellfish Commission
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Chess Club for Adults
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Flood & Erosion Control Board
See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight unanimously approved $425,000 for the town to purchase an abandoned, 1880-built, riverfront home to demolish it, leaving the land as open space and for flood mitigation.
Located in a AA-residential zone on one-third of an acre on the west branch of the Saugatuck River, the 1,100-square-foot home at 199 Newtown Turnpike has been abandoned since Hurricane Irene in 2011, said Dewey Loselle, town operations director.
It had also been flooded twice before, he noted, and due to its precarious riverfront location, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) considers the house a “repetitive loss property” in terms of insurance claims, Loselle said.
As a result, FEMA through a Hazard Mitigation Grant Orogram has agreed to reimburse the full amount the town spends on the property, he added.
By unanimous votes of the legislative body tonight, Eileen Lavigne Flug and Velma Heller were re-elected moderator and deputy moderator respectively of Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM).
Flug, an RTM member since 2005 and moderator since 2013, was nominated for another term by RTM member Jimmy Izzo of District 3. RTM member Kate Boyle Kirby seconded the nomination.
“She has shown all of us she is a proven leader,” Izzo said., adding that “she is always there for all the chairs” of the 36-member group.
In thanking the RTM, Flug said that in her new term, her goal would be “to work hard to make sure all of our committees get information they need in a timely manner.
By Judy Szablak
With all the new construction going on, we seem to overlook the antique gems that we have in Westport.
It should be noted that the desirability and history of some of these homes lends much to our town’s overall charm.
Thanks in part to the Westport Historic District Commission, which reviews demolition applications for homes that are 50 years or older, many of the significantly older homes can still be found in some of the older neighborhoods.
For curiosity’s sake, there are only 362 single family homes, 13 two-family dwellings, and three four-family homes that were built prior to 1900, and that’s according to the Greater Fairfield County Multiple Listing Service tax database, which may or may not be all inclusive.
Frank Kokoska of Redding, a former Westport resident, died Nov. 29. He was 73.
He graduated from Staples High School in 1959 where his favorite subjects were shop and automotive, and he was adept at both. It took him five years after graduation to work his way through the journeyman level of carpentry, working for W. Punzelt of Westport, to achieve full status of carpenter.
He later worked for Charles Griffith of Westport until December 1968, when he and his wife, Elaine, began building their home in Redding. In his early 20s, he also graduated from Bullard-Tech in Bridgeport.
In 1970, he began The Country Craftsman in Redding and over the years, until he retired in 2007 due to illness, worked on many homes in the area and made many, many friends.
Savoy Rug Gallery, 887 Post Road East, in the Sherwood Connector shopping center, will relocate to a newly renovated facility nearby at 940 Post Road East, across from Starbuck’s, according to owner Nader Daghoghi. The store has been at its present location since 1997. It is moving into space occupied by Bocccanfuso Brothers auto service, which still maintain a presence there. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
The National Weather Service has issued a Coastal Flood Statement for Westport and area warning of localized minor flooding during the time of high tide late tonight through early Wednesday.
It said tidal departures of 1 to 1.5 feet above astronomical tides are likely.
It said localized minor flooding of the most vulnerable shore roads and adjacent properties is likely due to height of storm tide or wave splash over.
There is no significant threat to life and any impact on property is minimal, the Weather Service said.
By James Lomuscio
January should prove a busy month when it comes to addressing planned multi-family housing developments in Westport—- the stuff that sleepless nights are made of for First Selectman Jim Marpe.
Sheldon Stein outside the Westport Inn, which he wants to turn into a 200-unit multi-family residential community. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) James Lomuscio for WestportNow.com
The Conservation Commission has pushed back until Jan. 21 its meeting on a developer’s plans for five-story, 200-unit complex at the site of the Westport Inn on Post Road East, Conservation Director Alicia Mozian said today.
Meanwhile, the Board of Selectmen, acting in its capacity as the Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA), is expected in mid- to late Jamuary to vote on a sewer extension for a planned 186-unit development on Hiawatha Lane in Saugatuck, according to Town Attorney Ira Bloom.
“January should be busy,” said Bloom.
A Westport man who shot his pellet gun Saturday, injuring a landscaper outside the Parent Child Center, 90 Hillspoint Road, was arrested Monday and charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and third-degree criminal trespass, police said today.
Eric Lindhal, 25 of 86 Hillspoint Road, told arresting officers that he had fired the pellet rifle several times at a woodchuck near the property line, “and that he had not been aiming at anything or anyone else,” according to Capt. Vincent Penna.
“He realized that he may have hit one of the workers when they came to his house, but did not say anything because he was afraid to,” Penna said. “He stated to detectives that after the incident, he broke the rifle apart and threw it away. The weapon was retrieved from the trash can at the residence and confirmed to be a pellet rifle and seized by detectives.”
Penna said the department received a complaint on Saturday afternoon from a landscaper who stated one of his employees had been struck and wounded “by what he believed was a BB or pellet” while he was cleaning the grounds of the Parent Child Center, the former Hillspoint Elementary School. The facility was closed at the time of the incident, he said.
A male driver was injured today when he lost control of his car while traveling west on Weston Road and slammed into a utility pole near Sipperley’s Hill Road. The driver, the sole occupant, was transported to Norwalk Hospital by Westport EMS with injuries described as “not life threatening.” The vehicle was towed from the scene. Morning rush hour was slowed as police directed alternate one-lane traffic. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Carole L. Haber of Westport died Nov. 27 at home following a lengthy illness. She was 72.
Born and raised in Downey, Calif., she was the daughter of the late Alfred and Marguerite Deitricht Senechal. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Teaching Credential from the University of California.
She met her husband Bill while teaching at the Foundation for the Junior Blind in Los Angeles in 1955. The foundation’s founder, Norman Kaplan, was the godfather of their children. She was a French teacher in Palos Verdes High School for five years.
She and her family lived in Los Angeles and Malibu for 50 years. In 1995, they moved to Westport to take a greater part in the international humanitarian organization, Save the Children.