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Friday, November 20, 2015

Helen Klisser During Bids Farewell to Arts Center

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Helen Klisser During, the Westport Arts Center artistic director who has announced her resignation effective Dec. 1, tonight thanks guests at the opening reception for the annual group members’ exhibition, “DREAMscapes.” It is the last exhibition for her after six years at Center. She said it has been an “incredible privilege” to work at the Center, choking up as she added, “it’s about the relationships and the people I’ve met here.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo


11/20/15 09:06 PM Comments () • Permalink

‘A Loss for Not Only for the Arts Center but for the Town of Westport’

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Among tributes to Helen Klisser During, outgoing artistic director of the Westport Arts Center at the opening reception tonight for the annual members’ exhibition, was one by renowned photographer Larry Silver (r) of Westport, who said he was speaking for “the artists here.” “You have turned the Westport Arts Center into a very professional and respected institution,” he told her. “You did what a lot of other curators weren’t able to do. You were able to unite the Westport artists with international and national artists —and that’s been a problem.” He said her departure was not only a loss for the Center but for the Town of Westport. The Center announced it was honoring her by giving her the title “Artistic Director Emeritus.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for WestportNow.com


11/20/15 09:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

‘DREAMscapes’ Members Show Opens at Arts Center

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Two visitors to the Westport Arts Center opening reception tonight for “DREAMscapes,” the annual group members exhibition, look over Westport artist Jana Ireijo’s “Tatoo Your Name Across My Heart,” oil and glitter on wood. The exhibit runs until Jan. 9. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for WestportNow.com


11/20/15 08:56 PM Comments () • Permalink

‘In His Closet’

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One of the selected works for the “DREAMscapes” members’ exhibition at the Westport Arts Center drawing much attention tonight was this one by Danbury artist Eric Camiel. Titled “In His Closet,” it is described as “mixed media plastic, wood, cloth, metal; Mara Horowitz, seamstress; Julie Jackson, paint and makeup.” It sells for $4,950. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo


11/20/15 08:51 PM Comments () • Permalink

Gallery: Opening Reception for ‘DREAMscapes’

Scenes from tonight’s opening reception for the Westport Arts Center’s “DREAMscapes” annual members exhibition and post-party reception for Helen Klisser During, outgoing WAC artistic director. The exhibition, juried by Alexandra Munroe, Samsung senior curator of Asian art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, runs until Jan. 9. Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com and contributed photos


11/20/15 08:44 PM Comments () • Permalink

Unitarian Church to Install New Minister Sunday

With pageantry, Westport’s Unitarian Church at 10 Lyons Plains Road is scheduled to install the Rev. John T. Morehouse as its “fifth settled minister” on Sunday, at 4 p.m., the church announced.

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The Rev. John T. Morehouse: “ministry centered.” Contributed photo

A native of Hudson Valley, N.Y., Morehouse previously held Unitarian ministries in Los Angeles and Palos Verdes, Calif. In a news release,  he described himself as “ministry centered, not minister centered.”

“We seek to be a center for learning and liberation,” he said about the 66-year-old church which has 500 members.

The hour-and-a-half installation ceremony will include a procession of national and local ministers, as well as public officials, a church announcement said.

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11/20/15 06:43 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Holiday Giving Program Underway

Westport Human Services Director Barbara Butler announced today that the Town of Westport’s annual Holiday Giving Program is underway.

She said needed are gift cards of any amount for food stores, gas stations and other local stores where residents may shop.

Cash donations are always welcome, she added, saying that checks should be made payable to “DHS (Department of Human Services) Family Programs” with “Holiday” on the memo line.

“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.

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11/20/15 04:52 PM Comments () • Permalink

James E. Bauer, 83

James E. “Jim” Bauer of Enfield, a former Westport resident, died Nov. 19 at home. He was 83.

The husband of 56 years to Nancy (Farrington) Bauer was born on May 6, 1932 in Westport and was the son of the late William and Helen (Danaher) Bauer. He lived in Norwalk for more than 43 years before moving to Enfield. He was employed by Assumption Church in Westport and then Pepperidge Farm for more than 30 years.

He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was a member of the American Legion in Norwalk. He was a longtime communicant of St. Philip’s Church in Norwalk where he volunteered for numerous hours.

He enjoyed golfing, bowling, clamming, but especially spending time with his family, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

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11/20/15 02:16 PM Comments () • Permalink

Cops: No-Show Contractor Who Took Deposit Arrested

Westport officers arrested an East Haven contractor Wednesday who allegedly took $5,000 up front nearly a year ago to rebuild a poll roof, did no work and failed to give the money back, police said today.

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Noah Cifarelli: free on $5,000 bond. Westport Police photo

According to Capt. Samuel Arciola, Noah Cifarelli, 58, turned himself in at police headquarters after learning there was a warrant out for his arrest. The police received the larceny complaint on Sept. 18.

“The complainant alleges that he had hired CT Windows and Sunrooms LLC back in December 2014 to reconstruct his pool roof and paid $5,000 upfront as part of the contract agreement,” Arciola said. “From December 2014 to September 2015 no work was completed or attempted by the contractor.”

The victim had requested his money back from the owner-contractor, who failed to do so, Arciola added.

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11/20/15 01:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Property Transfers Nov. 2 - 6, 2015

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period Nov. 2 - 6, 2015:

Judith T. Mulloy to Kurt J. Von Holhausen, 35 Island Way, $1,400,000WNproperty.jpg

Janet A. Turiel to Joshua and Jane Moritz, 28 Compo Road North, $736,000

5 Hillandale LLC to Julia A. and Timothy D. Bath, 5 Hillandale Road, $2,175,000

Charmed Prospects LLC to Kea Prospect Real Estate LLC, 25 Prospect Road, $3,025,000

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11/20/15 11:00 AM Comments () • Permalink

Rotary Speaker Denounces ‘Hyper-Incarceration’

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Citing statistics showing the United States jails more of its population than any other country in the world, John S. Santa, chairman of the Malta Justice Initiative today urged Westport Sunrise Rotary Club members to add their voices to Connecticut citizens demanding reform of the state’s justice system. “Hyper-incarceration has hijacked the American dream,” he said, echoing the title of a book his group has published on the subject. Santa, a Southport resident who is also a member of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission, said most of the state’s prisoners are eventually released, most without adequate supervision, and ill-equipped to succeed on the outside. More than half end up back in prison. “Good people do bad things, but it doesn’t make them bad people,” he said. More information on his group’s effort is available here. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo


11/20/15 10:12 AM Comments () • Permalink

Valerie H. Keen, 83

Valerie Hazel Keen of Westport died Nov. 17 at home. She was 83.

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Valerie Keen: England native. Contributed photo

She was born Oct. 2, 1932 in Derby, England to Harry and Hilda Murfin. She was educated at Parkfield Cedars High School, Derby, followed by nursing training at Derby Hospital. On July 23, 1955 she married J. Michael (“Mike”) S. Keen. At that time honeymoon cars could be flown over the English Channel to France.

During the early period of her marriage, she taught at a school for children with learning disabilities and after this became a marriage guidance counselor for more than six years.  Nicholas, first of her sons, was born in June 1956, followed by Mark in July 1958. Today Nicholas is married to Joyce. Mark is married to Antoinette (“Toni”) and has daughters Lindsey, Stephanie and Jacqueline (“Jackie”).

Stephanie and her husband Ryan Krukar made Val a great grandmother when their son Charlie was born in 2013. Val’s cousin Pam still lives close to Derby and near to her, off-spring Rachael and Tim.

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11/20/15 10:08 AM Comments () • Permalink

‘As Long As I Can Remember I Have Loved Helping Other People’

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The Westport Sunrise Rotary Club today honored Staples High School senior Jaime Bairaktaris,18, as its Student of the Month. Jaime is active in many areas—as a volunteer EMT at Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service, as a volunteer working with youngsters at Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center, and as a contributing photographer for WestportNow, among other activities. One of three male triplets, Jaime said, “As long as I can remember, I have loved helping other people.” He posed for a group photo with his mom, Theresa, and some of his friends and supporters who attended the club’s weekly meeting at Bertucci’s Restaurant. See the text of Jaime’s remarks here.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


11/20/15 09:54 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday,  November 20, 2015

10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Window to Westport’s Past & Present”
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Dreamscapes”
11 a.m. - Westport Library - Anyone Can Use ... Google Drive
11:45 a.m. - Westport Weston Family YMCA - Transportation Services for Seniors
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
4 p.m. - Westport Library - ChessClub Grades K-12
7 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Cluster Funk w/ Avery Julian & the Sam Diem Band
7:30 p.m. - Staples Auditorium - Staples Players: “Fiddler on the Roof”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


11/20/15 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Westporters Greet Robards at New Play

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Actor Jake Robards (2nd r) is greeted tonight by founding members of the Westport Country Playhouse’s New Works Circle (l-r) Westporters Anna Czekaj-Farber, Barbara Streicker, Scott and Judy Phares, and Westonite Howard J. Aibel. The meeting followed Robards’s performance in “Promising,” a new play by Michelle Elliot about a politician caught up in a scandal, which opened Wednesday at New York’s Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 W 42nd St. Robards is a Playhouse trustee, as are Czekaj-Farber, Streicker, Judy Phares, and Aibel. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Samantha Goober for WestportNow.com


11/19/15 10:36 PM Comments () • Permalink

Erica Jong: ‘I No Longer Care About Pleasing Everyone’

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The McManus Room at the Westport Library was overflowing tonight for a talk by best selling author Erica Jong about her latest work, “Fear of Dying: A Novel,” the first by the Weston resident in 10 years. The book delivers a fresh perspective on love, desire and aging, similar to the way her classic, “Fear of Flying,” four decades ago challenged views of love, marriage, sex and what women really feel and desire. Said Jong, 73: “I can’t say I won’t write another book with ‘Fear’ in the title, but I will try not to.”  She added: “I feel empowered after menopause. I no longer care about pleasing everyone.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com


11/19/15 10:26 PM Comments () • Permalink

A New Look at Some Old Themes

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Best selling author Erica Jong of Weston gets set tonight to autograph copies of her latest book, “Fear of Dying: A Novel,” at the Westport Library.  Said Woody Allen of the book: “How Erica is able to deal with all these sensitive issues and still make the book funny is amazing. I loved reading it.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com


11/19/15 10:22 PM Comments () • Permalink

Book Celebrates Westport’s ‘Beautiful Pond’

By James Lomuscio

For Westport author and artist Judith Orseck Katz, the town’s historic Sherwood Mill Pond, also known as Old Mill Pond, remains the heart of Westport.

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Robin Tauck and Judith Orseck Katz at the book launch party tonight.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phylllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Created 300 years ago at the site of a grist mill to enhance the area’s shellfishing industry, the pond had a sense of permanence for Katz, a kind of mythical spot between sea and sky that continues to draw her and inspires her to draw.

“It’s been that way ever since 40 years ago in “a golden July, when we had come to summer here when my children were babies.”

It is also the subject of her latest book, “The Beautiful Pond,” replete with 34 drawings and watercolors, all of them unveiled at a book party tonight that drew about 100 persons, including town officials, to Positano Ristorante, adjacent to the Westport Country Playhouse in space formerly occupied by the Dressing Room Restaurant.

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11/19/15 10:08 PM Comments () • Permalink

Gallery: Book Launch of ‘The Beautiful Pond’

Scenes from tonight’s book launch party for “The Beautiful Pond” by Westport artist Judith Orseck Katz at Positano Ristorante. Phyllis Groner and Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com


11/19/15 10:03 PM Comments () • Permalink

Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘Spotlight,’ ‘Spectre,’ ‘The Peanuts Movie’

By Susan Granger

Sure to wind up in many 10 Best lists this year, “Spotlight” is the fascinating, true crime story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that revealed the Roman Catholic Church’s systematic ‘cover-up’ of pedophile priests.

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Spotlight is the name of the Globe’s investigative team, headed by Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton) and comprised of Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sarah Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matty Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James).

They report to managing editor Ben Bradlee, Jr. (John Slattery), whose father figured prominently in the Watergate-themed “All the President’s Men.”

After the Globe was bought by The New York Times in 2001, there’s a new, cost-cutting boss, Marty Baron (Liev Schrieber), who is not only Jewish but also an out-of-towner. He urges them to pursue molestation allegations against a priest, a subject the newspaper has traditionally ignored under tacit pressure from Cardinal Bernard Law (Len Cariou) and the Boston Archdiocese.

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11/19/15 07:36 PM Comments () • Permalink

Richard A. Shaffer, 85

Richard Allyn Shaffer of Trumbull, a former Westport resident, died Nov. 12. He was 85. He had a private law practice in Westport and Trumbull for 58 years. 

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Richard A Shaffer: Westport attorney. Contributed photo

Born Feb. 22, 1930 in Elkhorn, Wisc., he grew up in Oshkosh, Wisc. He attended the University of Wisconsin and later University of Michigan Law School after serving in the Navy from 1951 to 1955.  He was married to his one and only love, his wife Barbara, in 1956.

In 1959, he passed the Connecticut bar and practiced law in Westport until moving his office to Trumbull in 2000. He was a Westport resident from 1959 to 1967. He then moved with his family to Weston, until 2000, when he and his wife moved to Trumbull.

He was also a member of the Washington D.C. bar in the 1980s and ‘90s. In his later years, he wrote fiction and published a novel, “Enemy in the House” in 2014.

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11/19/15 04:31 PM Comments () • Permalink

Dodge-A-Cop Will Honor Staples Outreach Counselor

A dodge ball tournament called Dodge-a-Cop involving Westport police and Staples High School students on Tuesday will honor the late Chris Lemone, a Staples outreach counselor, it was announced today.

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Chris Lemone: tournament will aid his children. Contributed photo

The event will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Staples Field House.

An announcement by youth members of the Westport Youth Commission and the Teen Awareness Group (TAG) at Staples said it will be hosted by the Westport Police-Youth Collaborative (WPYC).

Lemone, who worked with youngsters in Westport through the town’s Human Services Department for 18 years, died unexpectedly on Oct. 18. (See WestportNow Oct 19, 2015)

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11/19/15 03:56 PM Comments () • Permalink

Himes Backs Bill Tightening Controls on Syrian Refugees

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4) was among House Democrats today who defied President Obama and voted for legislislation aimed at tightening controls on refugees from Syria and Iraq.

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U.S. Rep Jim Himes (addressing Y’s Men last week): shares concerns that Congress must do all in its power to prevent a U.S. attack. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

The vote was 289 to 137. Besides 47 Democrats, 242 Republicans voted for the bill. Opposing it were 135 Democrats and two Republicans.

The bill’s fate, however, is uncertain after President Obama delivered a veto threat and key senators said they are more concerned about security vulnerabilities other than the refugee program.

Himes, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement that “after the horrifying terrorist attacks in Beirut and Paris, I share the concerns of my constituents and the American people that Congress must do all in our power to prevent a similar attack in the United States.”

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11/19/15 03:03 PM Comments () • Permalink

Alan W. Smith, 85

Alan “Al” William Smith of Wenham, Mass., a former Fairfield resident who worked many years as a public health inspector for the Westport Weston Health District, died Nov. 13. He was 85.

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Alan Smith: public health inspector. Contributed photo

The husband of the late Betty Smith was born in Greenwich and spent most of his life in Fairfield County. He graduated from Greenwich High school in 1948 and later earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Science degree from the UMass Amherst School of Public Health.

He was also an accomplished athlete. He was a star hockey, football and baseball player during high school and continued on to play football in college. In his 20s, he was a pitcher for several New York Giants minor league teams.

He built his career in public health, starting in Westchester County, N.Y., where he met his wife, Betty. They were married for 52 years, making their home in Fairfield.

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11/19/15 02:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

DOT: North Avenue Bridge Repair Delayed Until June

The Town of Westport today confirmed what has been obvious to anyone crossing over the North Avenue Bridge on the Merritt Parkway –- the repair project has been further delayed with completion now scheduled for next June.

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Construction workers on the North Avenue Bridge over the Merritt Parkway before work was halted in September. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“The State of Connecticut Department of Transportation (CT DOT) has informed town officials that there will be further delays in completing the North Avenue Bridge repairs project due to unforeseen engineering problems,” said a statement from First Selectman Jim Marpe’s office.

“Work cessation for the winter months is expected to shift the project completion date to June, 2016. Fortunately, the alternating single lane will continue to operate during the winter months.”

The DOT began a major repair project on the North Avenue Bridge in June, closing the bridge to traffic and saying its planned completion date was mid-August in time for the start of school. The road is a major thoroughfare linking four Westport schools.

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11/19/15 01:57 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tax Assessor Has Some Good and Bad News

By Roy Fuchs

Westport Assessor Paul Friia today offered some good news and some bad news to the Y’s Men of Westport Weston about the almost concluded full revaluation.

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Tax Assessor Paul Friia: commercial values have increased more than residential. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

The good news—the commercial grand list grew faster than the residential during the five years since the last revaluation, meaning businesses will shoulder a larger portion of total taxes. The bad news—not by much.

Addressing the group’s weekly meeting at the Saugatuck Congregational Church, Friia said state statute requires that every community perform a reval every five years, alternating a “full inspection” assessment, as his office is concluding now, with a desktop update.

Revaluations, he said are done “not to raise taxes…  but “to create “an equitable distribution of taxes across the municipality.”

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11/19/15 01:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

Real Estate Report: Competitive Pricing Important

By Judy Szablak

Available housing inventory in Westport has slowly dwindled as it normally does this time of year, however competitive pricing is still important.

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Featured Home: This home at 1 Fairview Drive is listed at $1,099,999. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of William Raveis Real Estate-Westport

One of the biggest mistakes that sellers tend to make on pricing is placing a value on a home based upon another that is available, and that is flawed thinking. Yes, it helps for positioning your home in the marketplace, but another house listed for sale is not an indicator of your property’s value.
Bottom line—a home that is still available has not yet sold. Pricing is determined on past sales, and if/when a buyer obtains a mortgage, the lender will send out an appraiser to value the property and make sure that the lender’s investment in a loan will be a prudent decision.

When looking to place a value on your home to sell, it is most important to make a careful review of the market, including what has recently gone under deposit, what has sold and market performance as it pertains to your home specifically.

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11/19/15 12:32 PM Comments () • Permalink

Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin Memorial Service Set

A memorial service will be held for Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin on Saturday, Dec. 12.

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Service on Dec. 12: Jeffrey W. Navin and Jeanette L. Navin. Contributed photo

The service will be held at 11 a.m. at the couple’s church, the United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston, 49 Weston Road, Westport.

Jeffrey Navin, 56, was the president of J&J Refuse in Westport. Jeanette Navin, 55, was employed by the Weston public school district for the past 18 years, and had been a paraprofessional in the library at the Weston Intermediate School since 2005. They were residents of Easton, having recently moved from Weston.

Their son, Kyle, has been charged with their murder. Their bodies were discovered on the grounds of an abandoned home in Weston on Oct. 29. (See WestportNow Oct. 30, 2015)


11/19/15 12:31 PM Comments () • Permalink

Unemployment Drops to 5.1%, But State Loses jobs

By Mark Pazniokas


Connecticut today posted a contradictory jobs report for the second consecutive month, showing that the unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point to a post-recession low of 5.1 percent in October, despite the loss of 2,200 jobs.

First, the good news: Unemployment in the state has not been this low since March 2008, the start of the Great Recession that eventually claimed 119,000 jobs. And the state made a net gain of 24,100 nonfarm jobs in the past 12 months.

Now, the bad: Preliminary nonfarm employment estimates for October show a loss of 2,200 jobs. It was the fourth month this year in which a survey of businesses found a net loss of jobs.

“For the second month in a row Connecticut has shown job losses, possibly indicating a softening of the strong growth we have seen through August of this year,” said Andy Condon, director of research at the state Department of Labor. “However, our annual employment growth rate continues at a strong pace.”

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11/19/15 12:19 PM Comments () • Permalink

Edith Haller, 86

Edith (Edie) Haller of Hamden, formerly of Fairfield, wife of the late Martin Haller, died Nov. 18. She was 86.

She was born in Bridgeport and had been a Fairfield resident for most of her life. She enjoyed playing bridge and was an avid bowler. She liked tournament bowling and belonged to the Westport Women’s Bowling Association and served as league secretary for the Tuesday Night Ladies Bowling League for more than 40 years.

Survivors include her daughter, Susan Haller and her husband Louis Carpenter of Hamden, with whom she resided, and her brother Frank Kondor III and his wife Joanne of Milford and a cousin Faith Cabul of Venice, Fla.

Calling hours will be held on Saturday, Nov. 21 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Lesko & Polke Funeral Home, 1209 Post Road, Fairfield. All other services will be held privately. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice.


11/19/15 09:48 AM Comments () • Permalink

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