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Friday, June 05, 2015

Special Run Image
Westport Police officers on Post Road West today participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run to New Haven where the Special Olympics Games begin tonight. The Westport officers carried the torch on a 4.7 mile route from the Norwalk border to the Fairfield border. Today’s event is the 29th annual torch run. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Irene Penny for


06/05/15 02:46 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Property Transfers May 18 - 22, 2015

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period May 18 - 22, 2015:

Wynn S. and Amelie Wilson Sanders Jr. to Linda and Monika and Justin Kovacs, 49 Gorham Ave., $1,050,000WNproperty.jpg

David Dusenbury to Stewart A. Waltzman Trust, 73 Regents Park, $824,900

Ellyn L. Stone to Richard S. and Denise Hightower, 17 Warnock Drive, $849,000

Thomas C. Foran and Jane J. Kim to Augustine J. and Kathryn C. Wilkinson, 11 Mallard Lane, $1,187,500

More "Westport Property Transfers May 18 - 22, 2015"


06/05/15 11:08 AM Comments () • Permalink

Venora Ellis, ‘Shattered Racial Barriers’ in Westport, 96 Image
Venora Ellis, a former Westporter honored as a “trailblazer” in 2009 by Westport’s TEAM Committee (the acronym means Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism), died May 23 in Pennsylvania. She was 96. A native of Mississippi, she moved to Westport in 1942, a pioneering black woman in the almost entirely white town. A regular visitor to former First Selectman Diane Farrell’s brown bag lunches (above), she was cited by TEAM as having “challenged traditional social mores and shattered racial barriers by action and example” It added: “For much of her last 40 years in Westport, she and her late husband Leroy were also instrumental in attracting a number of citizens of color to live in Westport.” (See obituary here) photo


06/05/15 08:47 AM Comments () • Permalink

Venora Ellis, 96

Venora Ellis, a former Westporter who was cited by Westport’s TEAM Committee (Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism) for challenging social mores and shattering racial barriers in Westport during her 68 years here, died May 23 in Doylestown, Pa.  She was 96. Image
Venora Ellis: pioneering black woman. WN photo

She was born in Yazoo City, Miss. on March 27, 1919 to John and Irene Witherspoon. She graduated from Tougaloo College in 1942 with a degree in home economics.

She first arrived in Westport in 1938, initially working as a “mother’s helper” while in college at the suggestion of a dean at Tougaloo College who told her there was work here. Four years later, with help of a scholarship to Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, she moved to Westport permanently.

She opened a business making draperies, bedspreads, and slip covers for Westporters, work that brought her in touch with many who may not have had a chance to interact with a black businesswoman here.

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06/05/15 08:46 AM Comments () • Permalink

‘Nine’  Opens Tonight at Westport Community Theatre Image
The Westport Community Theatre production of “Nine” opens tonight. Directed by Mark S. Graham, former general manager of Lucille Lortel’s White Barn Theater, co-produced by Donna McLaughlin Wyant, and choreographed by Westporter Carole Schweid, the play features another Westporter, Lucia Palmieri (above). The musical opened on Broadway in 1982 with a story based on Federico Fellini’s semi-autobiographical film “8½.” Performances are through June 28 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. and Thursday June 11 at 8 p.m.  with an extra matinee on June 27. The theater is located at Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Ave.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


06/05/15 08:11 AM Comments () • Permalink

Closed Again Image
A section of Greens Farms Road from Prospect Road to Hillspoint Road is closed for the second day today because of paving work. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


06/05/15 07:50 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday,  June 5, 2015

8 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Golden Shadows & Nike Missile Radar Site Study Subcommittee
9 a.m. - 6 p.m. - Westport Library - “Sherwood Island, 1975-2015: Photography by Larry Silver”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “SOLOS 2015” & “EAST meets WESTport: Marton Nemes”
Noon - Westport Library - Planting & Eating without GMOs
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
7 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Staples Players: “Metamorphoses”
8 p.m. - Town Hall - Westport Community Theatre: “Nine”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


06/05/15 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Westport Key to ‘Great Gatsby’?  New Film Says Yes

By James Lomuscio

Two Westport filmmakers say their new documentary on F. Scott Fitzgerald should put to rest doubts that the Westport house he rented with his wife Zelda inspired the author’s iconic novel, “The Great Gatsby.” Image
Westport filmmakers Robert Stevens Williams (l) and Richard “Deej” Webb in front of the Fitzgerald House at 244 Compo Road South. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

And novelist Robert Steven Williams and Richard “Deej” Webb hope the film, “Boats Against the Current” to be shown Monday night in Fairfield, will help gain landmark status for the house at 244 Compo Road South. It will be screened at 7:30 p.m.  at the Fairfield Theatre Company, 70 Sanford St.

The house, where the newlyweds lived for several months in 1920, is now under contract.

The role the house and Westport played in Fitzgerald’s writings has been long debated by Gatsby scholars. Many say Long Island’s Gold Coast in the Roaring 20s was the springboard for the time honored literary work. But the filmmakers reject the theory.

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06/04/15 11:11 PM Comments () • Permalink

Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘Entourage,’ ‘Poltergeist,’ and ‘Aloha’

By Susan Granger

If you were enthralled by all eight seasons of the HBO’s “Entourage,” you won’t want to miss the movie. Image

If you’re a newbie, you’ll have an all-access pass to glitz and glam, a hedonistic fantasy of Hollywood, parodying the decadence and outrageous excesses of the entertainment industry.

But who really cares about movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), his clueless half-brother, actor Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), and their buddies: glib superagent Ari (Jeremy Piven), pizza boy-turned-manager Eric (Kevin Connolly) and driver-turned-tequila mogul Turtle (Jerry Ferrara)?

The movie picks up where the series ended, as the ‘guys’ join Vince and a bevy of bikini-clad babes aboard his luxury yacht off the coast of Spain after his five-day marriage went kaput. Newly appointed head-of-production at a major studio, Ari wants Vince to star in “Hyde”—but Vince also wants to direct.

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06/04/15 08:50 PM Comments () • Permalink

Traffic Backup on Wilton Road After Crash Image
UPDATE A morning crash involving a truck into a utility pole on Wilton Road near the Merritt Parkway necessitated replacement of the pole. Traffic was backed up on Wilton Road and reduced to one lane of alternating traffic as crews worked on the replacement. The road was reopened to two lanes of traffic at 4:45 p.m.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


06/04/15 02:53 PM Comments () • Permalink

The Reading of Sybil’s List Image
Westporter Sybil Steinberg was at the Westport Library today unveiling her annual list of good summer reads. Steinberg, who edited the book review section of Publishers Weekly for several decades and is now a contributing editor, always draw crowds eager to hear her recommendations. See her list here. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for


06/04/15 02:32 PM Comments () • Permalink

Vincent N. Franco, 87

Vincent N. Franco of Southport, formerly of Westport and Plymouth, Mass., died May 25 at home. He was 87.

He was born Dec. 21, 1927 in New York City, son of Vito and Carmella Franco.

The son of immigrant parents from Italy, he grew up in New York City during the Great Depression. Those early years instilled a strong work ethic that would remain key to his character throughout his life. Working his way through high school, he wanted to pursue an education and become a university professor.

Accepted into Columbia University, he attended classes there but left the university to enlist in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict. He was a member of the 437th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Otis Air Force Base where he flew the F-94C Starfire under the command of Chappie James.

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06/04/15 02:11 PM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Players’ ‘Metamorphoses’ Opens Tonight Image
Charlie Zuckerman and Sarah Barnett rehearse a scene from the Staples Players spring studio production of “Metamorphoses,” opening today at 7:30 p.m at Toquet Hall. The play by Mary Zimmerman consists of 10 vignettes, all of different Greek myths found in Ovid’s ancient poem, “Metamorphoses.” These myths all have to do with love and desire of some form and how people change, both emotionally and physically, because of it. Evan Klasky is the student director of the production, which continues Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


06/04/15 12:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

FBI Director to GFA Grads: ‘Success is Life of Joy and Meaning’

By James Lomuscio

See video here

As Westporter and FBI Director James B. Comey took to the podium today as keynote speaker at Green Farms Academy’s (GFA) 90th commencement, he made note of the drone that had been buzzing mosquito-like above the 400 persons seated outdoors in the school’s quad. Image
FBI Director James B. Comey, a Westport resident since 2010, addresses today’s Greens Farms Academy graduation. (See video here) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

“It’s not an FBI drone,” he said. “We only use ours in predicated investigations and with appropriate approval, and they are not armed.”

The Greens Farms resident’s disarming quip brought laughter and a glimpse of what was to come—a very human and often humorous address from the nation’s most revered, if not feared, law enforcement official.

His message to the 78 graduates, including his daughter Claire Collin Comey, who has chaired GFA’s student council, was about the four key ingredients to success that had nothing to do with “making a lot of dough,” high achievements or a high IQ.

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06/04/15 12:20 PM Comments () • Permalink

Graduation Day Laughs Image
Remarks by a speaker at today’s Greens Farms Academy graduation brought laughter from some of the 78 graduates.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


06/04/15 12:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Greens Farms Academy’s 90th Graduation

Scenes from today’s 90th graduation ceremony at Westport;s Greens Farms Academy. Dave Matlow for


06/04/15 12:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Driver Injured in North Avenue Crash Image
A female driver was injured today when she lost control of her vehicle and slammed into a utility pole on North Avenue near Wedgewood Road, The SUV came to rest a few feet away. The extent of her injuries was not known or to a child passenger.  North Avenue traffic was limited to alternate lane for about one hour. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


06/04/15 11:51 AM Comments () • Permalink

Riko has been Adopted

Riko. Westport Animal Control

Riko the big red dog has a new home!  He was a guest at Westport Animal Control (Elaine Road, Westport, CT, 203-341-5076).  Chained for 10 months to a cellar door in Fairfield, Fairfield Animal Control, Westport Animal Control and WASA came together to break him free from his chains.  He has forgiven all in regard to his former life and those that chained him.  He is affectionate, playful and has tested well with other dogs.  We adore our big red dog - and you will too.  He was been neutered and brought up to date on his vet care courtesy of WASA.  For more photos and videos of Riko, please visit WASA’s facebook at


06/04/15 11:48 AM Comments () • Permalink

FBI Director at Greens Farms Graduation Image
Westporter James Comey, FBI director since September 2013, enters Greens Farms Academy today with Headmaster janet Hartwell. Comey, who has lived in the Greens Farms area with wife, Patrice, and their five children since 2010, was the speaker at today’s commencement. Three of the Comey children have been students at Greens Farms, including this year’s graduate, Claire, and Abbey, a ninth grader.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


06/04/15 11:03 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tooker Takes Over as Board of Finance Chair Image
Jennifer Tooker is the new chair of the Westport Board of Finance. The Republican was elected unanimously at Wednesday night’s meeting after chair John Pincavage (l) said he would be stepping down from the position—- but remain on the board— to focus on other commitments. Tooker is a retired senior manager of Gen Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies.  She was a member of the Board of Education before being elected to the Board of Finance in 2013. Tooker and her husband Morris have lived in Westport since 2008 and have three children. Dave Matlow for photo


06/04/15 09:57 AM Comments () • Permalink

Truck Accident Shuts Down Wilton Road at Merritt

An accident involving a truck into a utility pole forced closure of Wilton Road near Exit 41 of the Merritt Parkway, police said.

No injuries were reported but the truck brought down utility wires, according to reports from the scene.

Traffic on the Merritt Parkway also was slowed in the area.


06/04/15 09:31 AM Comments () • Permalink

Heading Home Image
Boats head into Westport’s Cedar Point Yacht Club on Saugatuck Shores Wednesday night. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Irene Penny for


06/04/15 12:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday,  June 4, 2015

8 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Maintenance Study Committee
9 a.m. - 9 p.m. - Westport Library - “Sherwood Island, 1975-2015: Photography by Larry Silver
9:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Dowtown Steering Committee
10 a.m. - 2 p.m. - 50 Imperial Ave. - Westport Farmers Market
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “SOLOS 2015” & “EAST meets WESTport: Marton Nemes””
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
Noon - Westport Library - Best New Books from Sybil Steinberg
4:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Creative Coders: Javascript
7 p.m. - Nature Center, Sherwood Island State Park - Annual Meeting, Friends of Sherwood Island
7 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and
7 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Staples Players: “Metamorphoses”
7:15 p.m. - Compo Beach Marina Boathouse - Westport Youth Commission

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


06/04/15 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Senate Dems Threaten ‘Nuclear Option’ to Pass Budget

By Keith M. Phaneuf, Mark Pazniokas, and Arielle Levin Becker

Senate Democrats late today took the extraordinary step in the final hour of the 2015 session of threatening to cut off debate to ensure passage of a new state budget that raises tax revenues by $2 billion.

With less than an hour until the midnight adjournment deadline, Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney stood to call the question, a move to end debate that is considered the nuclear option in legislative process, to stop a five-hour debate that had morphed into a Republican filibuster to kill the proposed two-year budget.

The process was last used at the State Capitol in 1978, also to end a budget debate, according to one senior legislative staff member.

After a brief discussion, Looney yielded to Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, who rose and announced he would conclude debate, but not before criticizing the Democratic leadership for muscling passage of a much-maligned budget through both chambers in little more than 12 hours on the last day.

Click here for more of story


06/03/15 11:46 PM Comments () • Permalink

Chamber to Honor Bleiweis, Gault

Maxine Bleiweis, the Westport Library’s executive director who is retiring after 17 years, and Sam Gault, president of Gault Energy, will be honored with the First Citizen Award to be presented by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC) at a gala dinner Tuesday, June 9 at the Westport Inn. Image
Honored: Sam Gault and Maxine Bleiweis Contributed photos

Keynote speaker will be Ron DeFeo, CEO of the Westport-based Terex Corp., a Fortune 500 company.

“I could not think of more deserving people to get this award,” said Matthew Mandell, chamber president and executive director. “They represent what is best in our town for their work ethic, generosity and how they approach business. They are a cross section, non-profit and traditional, and embody what makes our communities prosper.”

Mandell credited Bleiweis with transforming the library into a “highly-awarded, world class destination, which boasts new and innovative programs that now set the standard for libraries everywhere.”

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06/03/15 10:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

RTMers Discuss Bus Operations and Needs Study Image
The Westport Representative Town Meeting (RTM) Transit and Long-Range Planning Committees tonight heard from Dave Sampson (c) of AECOM Technical Services, the company which helped prepare the long-awaited Westport Bus Operations and Needs Study. The South Western Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA) sponsored the study with the help of the Westport Transit District (WTD) and Norwalk Transit District, which operates the Westport service. Sue Prosi (l) of SWRPA also presented. With the WTD co-chairs in attendance, the group discussed a number of topics, including a railroad to downtown shuttle mid day service, use of Westport railroad parking funds, and senior and American Disability Act door-to-door service. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


06/03/15 09:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

Going Down: 38 & 40 Old Mill Image
The piece-by-piece dismantling of the houses at Westport’s 38 and 40 Old Mill Road, in the Compo Mill Cover area, is under way.  Built in 1920, the house at No. 38 is a one-story ranch, had 1,008-square feet and was situated on a .23-acre property. Built in 1900, the house at No. 40 is a one-story ranch, had 660-square feet and was situated on a .01-acre property. In January the Board of Finance unanimously approved a Town of Westport proposal to purchase the two flood-damaged homes for $1,111,650, funded by a grant from FEMA, demolish them, and leave the land as open space. (See WestportNow Jan. 7, 2015) The houses were the WestportNow Teardown of the Day on Jan. 8, 2015. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


06/03/15 07:57 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport First Selectmen Honor One of Their Own Image
There was a festive gathering at the Saugatuck Congregational Church today to honor Martha “Marty” Hauhuth (2nd r) on her retirement as executive director of Westport-based nonprofit counseling center Positive Directions since 1991. Hauhuth was Westport first selectman from 1985 to 1989. Joining in honoring her were (l-r) current First Selectman Jim Marpe, former First Selectman Jacqueline Heneage (1973-1981) and former First Selectman Gordon Joseloff (2005-2013). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


06/03/15 07:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Hauhuth Farewell

Scenes from today’s retirement reception at the Saugatuck Congregational Church for Martha “Marty” Hauhuth. executive director of Positive Directions and former Westport first selectman. Dave Matlow for and photos


06/03/15 07:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday Bow-Hunting Passage Ends a Political Saga

By Mark Pazniokas

One of the Connecticut General Assembly’s epic lobbying campaigns, a 20-year story of close calls, colorful personalities and hardball politics, concluded today with final passage by the Senate of legislation allowing the bow hunting of deer on private property on Sundays.

[If the legislation becomes law, it would not include Westport as the town is the only one in the state authorized by a Special Act of the legislature In 1933, to “regulate, limit or prohibit hunting and trapping,” which is currently banned.]

Passage was a personal victory for Robert Crook, 77, the longtime lobbyist for sportsmen, and a reflection of how the spread of Lyme disease has made suburban legislators more sympathetic to calls by state environmental officials for a more aggressive attitude toward the explosion of the deer population.

“I told someone the other day I’d like to see it passed before I passed,” said Crook, who watched the debate from the Senate gallery, holding the cane he’s used since returning to the Capitol after a stroke and back ailments. “I’m happy, and I think many sportsmen are going to be happy, too.”

The Senate voted 28 to 8 to approve the bill. It now goes to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, whose Department of Energy and Environmental Protection favored passage. The House endorsed it last week, 132 to 32.

Click here for more of story


06/03/15 07:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

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