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Sunday, January 31, 2016

New President at Historical Society Image
At the Westport Historical Society (WHS) annual meeting today outgoing president Edward F. Gerber (l), who completed his two-year term, passes the gavel to incoming president Robert W. Mitchell. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


01/31/16 06:35 PM Comments () • Permalink

Swinging at the Senior Center Image
It was a capacity, enthusiastic crowd at the Westport Center for Senior Activities today for a performance by the Galvanized Jazz Band. They played New Orleans jazz, Dixieland, blues, rags, swing, spirituals and more. The Sunday Indoor Music Festival is sponsored by the Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities, programmed by the Levitt Pavilion, and funded by the Mortimer and Mimi Levitt Foundation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for


01/31/16 06:03 PM Comments () • Permalink

Real Chickens at ‘Chicken Dance’ Image
Families attending today’s Westport Country Playhouse Children’s Festivities Series musical “Chicken Dance” got to meet some live chickens from Westport’s Wakeman Town Farm. Carrie Aitkenhead and daughter Cora, 5, showed two bantam (small) breed chickens, Nuggets, a Japanese breed black silkie, and Lula, a white cochin. According to Aitkenhead, these chickens are particularly tame and friendly with adults and children. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


01/31/16 05:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

Playing Chicken Image
Cast members of “Chicken Dance” at the Westport Country Playhouse today got a chance to meet some real live chickens from Westport’s Wakeman Town Farm. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


01/31/16 05:13 PM Comments () • Permalink

Jazz With the Choir Image
Four members of a quartet from the Regional Center for the Arts in Trumbull today joined with the choir at The Unitarian Church of Westport for a number of jazz pieces written or arranged by Edward Thompson, minister of music. Words accompanying the music came from the Tao Te Ching, a Chinese classic text, and paralleled the sermon given by the Rev. John Morehouse, senior minister. Quartet members were Paul Buzel, TJ Croke, Laura Kandro and Mike LaRocca. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jane Sherman for


01/31/16 03:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

Enjoying Compo Thaw Image
Compo Beach visitors today enjoyed last day of January temperatures in the mid-50s, giving a hint that winter’s end is only six weeks away. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for


01/31/16 02:58 PM Comments () • Permalink

Warming Up at Compo Image
Westport’s Compo Beach attracted numerous visitors today as temperatures reached the mid-50s in early afternoon. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for


01/31/16 02:51 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Gets $126,290 School Technology Grant Image
Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell (at Westport forum Nov. 15, 2015): “will empower more students.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Westport will receive a $126,390 technology grant as part of a state effort to help Connecticut school districts put more computers in classrooms and increase Internet bandwidth in schools across Connecticut.

State Department of Education Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell announced the grant following State Bond Commission approval of $10.9 million to be distributed to 171 school districts across the state.

The investment is part of the state’s broad efforts to strengthen computer and technology resources as schools continue to implement Connecticut Core Standards and administer computer-adaptive tests aligned to these standards, an announcement said.

“If we want our students to thrive in school and have the skills and knowledge to succeed in the hightech world they will enter after high school and college, we have to teach them technology skills,”  Wentzell said.

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01/31/16 01:48 PM Comments () • Permalink

Checking Burning Odor at Vineyard Vines Image
A Westport firefighter prepares to hook up a line to a hydrant on Elm Street today as other firefighters checked out a report of a burning odor at Vineyard Vines, 90 Main St. Nothing was found, but the store was shut down as a precaution as maintenance workers checked the premises. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) David Dreyfuss for


01/31/16 01:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

High Speed I-95 Chase Ends in Westport Image
John Belbusti: held on $50,000 bond. State Police photo
UPDATE State police early today pursued a driver high on crack for 25.4 miles in a high speed chase southbound on I-95 that ended near Exit 17 in Westport, police said. Image
A Connecticut Department of Transportation camera took this image during the pursuit. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) CDOT photo

Three times police deployed stop sticks, which puncture tires, to slow and eventually stop the car, police said.

After the car hit sticks near Exit 18, a trooper said all four tires were punctured and sparks were flying as the car slowed as it reached Exit 17.

When the 26-minute chase from New Haven ended, police arrested John P. Belbusti, 34, of North Haven for operating under the influence of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and the possession of bags of crack cocaine with the intent to sell.

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01/31/16 12:44 AM Comments () • Permalink

Red House, Pink Sky Image
Saturday’s sunset as seen from Kings Highway North in Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for


01/31/16 12:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, January 31, 2016

1 p.m. and 4 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - Family Festivities Series: “Chicken Dance”
2 p.m. - Westport Senior Center - Sunday Indoor Music Series: Galvanized Jazz Band
2 p.m. - Westport Library - Engaging Those with Dementia
2 p.m. - Westport Library - Let’s Knit!
2 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - Annual Meeting

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


01/31/16 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Saturday, January 30, 2016

WestportREADS Author at Playhouse Image WestportREADS 2016 keynote speaker James McBride, author of “Miracle at St. Anna,” spoke about his book to a packed audience tonight at the Westport Country Playhouse. He said he lived in Italy for six months researching his book about an extraordinary experience of black American soldiers fighting in a village in Tuscany during World War II. McBride is a National Book Award winner and accomplished musician. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


01/30/16 08:46 PM Comments () • Permalink

Snapping Pix at Lee’s Pond Image
A photographer gets some sunset shots today at Westport’s Lee’s Pond. The eight-acre mini-lake is just south of the Merritt Parkway. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for


01/30/16 06:35 PM Comments () • Permalink

Winslow Walk Image
A sunset walk in Westport’s Winslow Park today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jordan Yannotti/Instagram photo


01/30/16 06:04 PM Comments () • Permalink

Snowshoeing at Winterfest Image
Westport’s Earthplace today held its Winterfest 2016, postponed a week because of last weekend’s snowstorm. Executive Director Tony McDowell helped out a young visitor with snowshoeing. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jennifer Kobetitsch for


01/30/16 04:49 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westporters Help Japanese Flag Go Home

By Phyllis Groner

The Japanese rising sun flag, a loathed symbol of an enemy power in the 1940s, became the nexus at a Westport meeting Friday for healing the wounds of war that have spanned generations and continents. Image
Posing before the found Japanese flag were (l-r) Hiroshi Asada, Barbara O’Hare (holding photo of her father), and Harold Gross. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

The meeting took place at the Westport Library where its Japanese Conversational Language group gets together regularly.

One of the group’s members, Harold Gross, 89, is a World War II veteran who served in the 11th Airborne Division.

Gross, the story goes, a year ago attended the annual Los Banos Prison Rescue Dinner in New York City. It honors servicemen and the 2,147 Allied and civilian internees they saved in 1945 at a Phillippine agricultural school campus turned Japanese internment camp.

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01/30/16 04:38 PM Comments () • Permalink

Online Petition Protests Housing Development

A Westport resident has started an online petition drive protesting plans for a four-story, 48-unit apartment building with affordable units at 122 Wilton Road. Image
The 1.16-acre parcel at 122 Wilton Road sits at the busy intersection of Kings Highway North and Wilton Road. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The petition launched by Adrian Little is addressed to the Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z). It is hearing the 8-30g application allowing the developer of the 1.16-acre pacel to override local zoning regulations because of its affordable housing component. (See WestportNow Jan. 28, 2016)

“Imagine the negative impact on this busy corner,” Little says, referring to Wilton Road and Kings Highway North. “There is great concern about traffic density, access for fire and emergency services.”

Little says the fire department has already demonstrated the difficulty it would have responding to a fire and evacuating residents.

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01/30/16 03:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

Patrick C. Haggerty Jr., 46

Patrick C. Haggerty Jr., a lifelong Westport resident, died Jan. 28 at home. He was 46.

Born in Norwalk on April 23, 1969, he was the son of Karen A. Haggerty and the late Patrick C. Haggerty Sr.

He was a well decorated Go Kart Racer. He raced in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and South Carolina and was a member of the Nutmeg Go-Kart Association.

He was an avid fisherman, collector of music art and music. He was a loving father to his son Patrick.

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01/30/16 02:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 18 Keyser Road Image
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 18 Keyser Road, near Compo Road South, is in process. Built in 1940, the 1-1/2 story cape has 1,721-square feet, is situated on a .27-acre property and, according to town assessor records, last changed ownership in January 2013 for $975,000. Because the house was built more than 50 years ago, the application will be reviewed by the Westport Historic District Commission. (Editor’s note: An earlier posting of this address pictured an incorrect house.)  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


01/30/16 01:24 PM Comments () • Permalink

Showing Their Stuff Image
The Flaming Marshmallows, a middle school robotics team, demonstrated their skills today at the weekly Westport Farmers Market at Gilbertie’s Herb Garden, 8 Sylvan Lane. Sahiba Dhindsa (r ), 14, an eighth grade student at Coleytown Middle School, demonstrates First Rescue, a robotics device the team will enter in the state-level robotics competition FIRST Tech Challenge to be held Feb. 20 at Greens Farms Academy. The five-member team was also represented by Tala Garcia (l), 13, a eighth grade student at Darien’s Middlesex Middle School, and Tabitha Halupa, (c ) 14, a ninth grade student at Norwalk’s Brien McMahon High School. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


01/30/16 01:20 PM Comments () • Permalink

Fundraising Effort Honors Staples Teacher

An online fundraising effort has raised $2,305 to place a memorial bench outside Westport’s Staples High School in honor of Staples English teacher Cody Thomas. Image
The online fundraising effort was begun following the death of Cody Thomas on Jan. 23. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo from

The campaign was begun following the Jan. 23 death of Thomas, 27, who took his own life, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. (See WestportNow Jan. 25, 2016) Cody was also co-adviser to the Staples award-winning Inklings newspaper.

As of today, 66 persons had contributed to the effort, according to the website, which said the original goal was $1,400.

“Please support the purchase of a memorial bench outside of Staples High School to honor Mr. Cody Thomas, a wonderful English teacher who touched the lives of many students,” the website says. “All donations are greatly appreciated.”

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01/30/16 01:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Winter Sky Image
A scene from Westport’s Compo Beach on Friday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for


01/30/16 12:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, January 30, 2016

10 a.m. - Westport Library - ACT/SAT Practice Test
10 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens - Westport Farmers Market
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Enid Munroe: Artist & Alchemist”
11 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Earthplace - Winterfest
Noon - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Window to Westport’s Past & Present”
2 p.m. - Westport Library - A Cat Lover’s Afternoon
6 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - WestportREADS 2016: Keynote Talk with James McBride
7 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Halosis
8 p.m. - Christ & Holy Trinity Church - The American Boychoir

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


01/30/16 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Friday, January 29, 2016

Antonia Welsher, 61

Antonia “Toni” Welsher of Toms River, N.J., a former Westport resident, died Jan. 28 at Community Medical Center. She was 61.

Born in Italy, she came to the United States when she was four years old. She lived in Westport prior to moving to Toms River in 1984.

Shei was the founder and operator of the Michel Welsher Scholarship for pediatric cancer, which awards high school children college scholarships.

She was predeceased by her son, Michael Welsher. She is survived by her husband Joel Welsher; one son Matthew Welsher and his wife Brianne; two grandchildren, Benjamin and Megan; one sister Pasqualina Coppola and her husband Teodoro; niece, Flora and her husband Dario; nephew, Stefano and his wife Donna; also by her great nieces and great nephews, Lillian, Luke, Michael, Sophia, and Sabrina.

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01/29/16 08:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

Comings & Goings: Green&Tonic to Taylor Place Image
Green&Tonic, a health food eatery, will open in April at the corner of Jesup Road and Taylor Place, the former site of Crumbs, which closed in November 2015 (see WestportNow Nov. 10, 2015.)  The Cos Cob-headquartered business, founded in 2011 by Jeff and Cal Pandolfino, opened in Darien (1098 Boston Post Road) and Cos Cob (7 Strickland Ave.) in 2012, Greenwich (85 Railroad Ave.) in 2013 and New Canaan (5 Burtis Ave.) in 2014. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


01/29/16 07:44 PM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 18 Evergreen Parkway Image
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 18 Evergreen Parkway is in process. Built in 1946, the 1-3/4 story cape has 2,203-square feet and is situated on a .32-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


01/29/16 06:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Compo Walk Image
A Compo Beach walk was a popular exercise today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for


01/29/16 04:54 PM Comments () • Permalink

Evan Rackson, 25

Evan Rackson of Westport died Jan. 28 at Norwalk Hospital. He was 25.

Born in New York, N.Y., he was a 2009 graduate of Staples High School.

He s survived by his parents, Alan and Fran Rackson, his brother and sister, Brian Paul Rackson and Alyson Michelle Rackson, and by his grandparents, Hy and Taffy Goldberg and Chester and Selma Rackson.

Services will take place on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 1 p.m. from The Conservative Synagogue of Westport, 30 Hillspoint Road, with interment following at The Conservative Synagogue of Westport Cemetery, Reid Street, Fairfield. Shiva will be held at the family’s home on Sunday immediately following the funeral until 8 p.m. with minyan at 5p.m., Monday from 1 to 4 p.m., and 7 to 9 p.m., Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m., and 7 to 9 p.m., Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m., and Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m.with Shiva minyanim held each night at 7:30 p.m.

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01/29/16 04:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

Comings & Goings: Michaels to Post Road East Image
Michaels, an arts and crafts retail chain, will open soon at 1850 Post Road East, in the Westport Plaza Shopping Center anchored by HomeGoods. The 19,300-square feet space was last occupied by Walgreens which closed in May 2015 (see WestportNow April 24, 2015). Other Michaels stores in Connecticut are in Wilton, Stamford, Milford, Brookfield, Waterbury, Meriden, New Britain, Berlin and Avon. Based in Irving, Texas, Michaels was founded in 1973 and has 1,262 stores in 49 states. It is the largest arts and crafts specialty retailer in North America.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


01/29/16 03:48 PM Comments () • Permalink

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