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Monday, February 29, 2016

BOE Appoints New Kings Highway Principal

The Westport Board of Education tonight appointed Mary Lou DiBella as principal of Kings Highway Elementary School effective July 1. Image
Mary Lou DiBella: “greatly looking forward” to job. Photo from Westport Schools television

She succeeds Susie DaSilva who earlier announced she would be leaving to be assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in Darien.

DiBella has been principal of Cabot School in Newton, Mass, for the past five years. Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said Newton was similar to Westport “in demographics and commitment to education.”

DiBella has been a principal for more than 10 years. She received a bachelor’s degree from Brown University as well as a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Kansas.

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02/29/16 10:03 PM Comments () • Permalink

After 30 Years, Project Return’s Basler Retiring

Susie Basler, the executive director of Project Return, the Westport based home for adolescent girls and young women in crisis, announced today she will retire this year after 30 years. Image
Susie Basler: will become director emeritus.  Contributed photo

“It has been an extraordinary honor and privilege for me to serve as Project Return’s executive director, and I will always be grateful for the many ways in which the girls we have served, and staff and community members with whom I have partnered, have impacted both my life and my career,” said Basler.

She added that she will remain close the organization as director emeritus.

The organization plans to honor Basler at its annual Birdhouse Auction and Gala on Saturday, April 2, 7 to 11 p.m. at the Fairfield Theater Company Warehouse, officials said.

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02/29/16 09:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

With Friedman Death, Cobb’s Mill Inn Closes

With the death Saturday of Westporter Drew Friedman, 86, the future of Weston’s Cobb’s Mill Inn is uncertain as today its doors were shuttered at 3 p.m. Image
Cobb’s MIll Inn in Weston has closed following the death of its owner. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

According to his wife Laura Papallo Friedman, the closure was a joint decision by the establishment’s lawyers, financial advisors and lending institution.

“It was a regrettable decision made jointly by our lawyers and financial advisors,” she said.

Friedman, a mover and shaker in Westport commercial real estate and the founder of the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, purchased the time honored, yet failing restaurant in 2011.

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02/29/16 07:44 PM Comments () • Permalink

Malloy Cancels Non-Union Raises

By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas and Keith M. Phaneuf

The 3 percent pay raises that nearly 2,000 non-union state managers and appointed staff were expecting to begin receiving Thursday have been canceled, the Malloy administration told state agency leaders today.

“We have a responsibility to the taxpayers of Connecticut not to move forward with managerial raises at a time when so many state programs will see reductions and while so many state jobs are likely to be eliminated,” Brian Durand, the governor’s chief of staff, and Ben Barnes, the governor’s budget chief, wrote agency leaders. “The raises for managers slated for March have been canceled.”

Malloy’s announcement comes as the legislature has to decide whether to block or allow raises for nearly 1,900 unionized, nonteaching professionals at the University of Connecticut.

Unless either the House or Senate votes in March to reject the deal UConn negotiated with its Professional Employees Union, members will receive annual raises ranging from 3 to 4.5 percent over the next five years. A portion of the annual compensation increase in the last four years of the deal is tied to members agreeing to expand their work week from 35 to 40 hours.

Click here for more of story


02/29/16 05:38 PM Comments () • Permalink

Kindergarten Orientation Set for March 7

The Westport public schools today announced kindergarten orientation will be held Monday, March 7 at 9:30 a.m. at the town’s five elementary schools.

The meeting is for parents of incoming kindergarten students in September to learn about the kindergarten program, meet the kindergarten teachers, and learn about a “Day in the Life” of a kindergarten student,  an announcement said.

There also will be an opportunity to sign up for “mini-k” kindergarten visit in May and to pick up registration packets.

For more information on registration, visit the district website at:


02/29/16 10:22 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, February 29, 2016

9 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Board of Finance Audit Subcommittee
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Window to Westport’s Past & Present”
6 p.m. - Staples Room 333 - Board of Education Executive Session
7 p.m. - Westport Library - New Social Security Rule Changes
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Fire Department Strategic Planning Steering Committee
8 p.m. - Staples Cafeteria B - Board of Education (live coverage cable channel 78, AT&T channel 99, and

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


02/29/16 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Getting Ready for Spring Image
The temperature was in the upper 50s in Westport during the afternoon today, warm enough to draw scores of visitors to Compo Beach. The calendar says spring begins three weeks from today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for


02/28/16 05:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Playhouse Hosts Student-Written Play Image
Westport Country Playhouse’s first Pilot Residency Program with Norwalk’s Wolfpit Elementary School culminated today with a performance of a student-written play adapted from the book “Charlotte’s Web” in the Lucille Lortel White Barn Center on the Playhouse campus. After reading “Charlotte’s Web,” Wolfpit fifth graders spent six weeks in the classroom learning improvisation, cooperation, playwriting format, and acting skills, led by teaching artists Mina Hartong and Jennifer Katona. Their play reflects their original ideas inspired by the book, and the skills they gained learning to be actors. The Playhouse said it plans to continue to work with schools in the community to share the love of theater with young students. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Kat Gloor for


02/28/16 04:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

Birthday Oscar Image
To help celebrate her father’s 65th birthday today, Missy Papageorge presented her father, Lee, with a life-size golden manequin as his Oscar’s Delicatessen, 159 Main St., hosted the fifth annual n’Oscars event presented by the Westport Cinema Initiative. The pre-Oscars event attracted scores of film fans. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for


02/28/16 02:57 PM Comments () • Permalink

Talking Oscars Image
Today’s fifth annual n’Oscars event at Oscar’s Delicatessen, 159 Main St., hosted by the Westport Cinema Initiative (WCI), featured Susan Granger (with mike), WestportNow film critic, assisted by (l-r)  state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, WCI president, actor Scott Bryce of Westport, and Sandra Lefkowitz, WCI executive director. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for


02/28/16 02:52 PM Comments () • Permalink

SRO Crowd for Oscars Event Image
It was a standing room only crowd today for the fifth annual n’Oscars event at Oscar’s Delicatessen, 159 Main St. The two hours of Oscar triivia and talk was sponsored by the Westport Cinema Initiative, which seek to bring a movie theater back to downtown Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for


02/28/16 02:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

Gallery: n’Oscars

Scenes from today’s n’Oscars event sponsored by the Westport Cinema Initiative at Oscar’s Delicatessen, 159 Main St. Helen Klisser During for


02/28/16 02:41 PM Comments () • Permalink

Police Work Out Image
Westport Deputy Police Chief Foti Koskinas works out today on new gym equipment in the EMS bay at Westport Police headquarters. The department has partnered with Crossfit SOSF for the workout program. Equipment was purchased with funds donated by Westport residents. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for


02/28/16 11:45 AM Comments () • Permalink

Pulling Together Image
There was a challenging physical fitness boot camp at the Westport Police Department today that involved pulling together on police Humvees. The department has acquired new gym equipment and to help show it off, Andy Berman (l), owner of Westport’s Mental Grit Fitness, invited two veterans to join in. Ricky Davis (r), a former Marine, and Shadd Hoffman (2nd r), former Army, worked out at JoyRide Cycling Studio, CrossFit Westport, and Achieve Fitness, prior to the police event. They are involved in The Catch A Lift Fund, a charity organization dedicated to the physical and mental recovery of post-9/11 wounded combat veterans. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for


02/28/16 11:40 AM Comments () • Permalink

On the Run Image
Westport Deputy Police Chief Foti Koskinas today takes part in the sprinting/cardio section of a physical fitness boot camp at department headquarters. Physical fitness instructors and two U.S. combat veterans participated as the police displayed new gym equipment at headquarters purchased with donations from Westport residents.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for


02/28/16 11:35 AM Comments () • Permalink

Drew Friedman, 86, Real Estate Developer

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE Westporter Drew Friedman, for decades a downtown tour de force in commercial real estate, died Saturday, Feb. 27 from an apparent heart attack at his River Lane home, his wife Laura Papallo Friedman said today. He was 86. Image
Drew and Laura Friedman at Cobb’s Mill Inn in Weston, which he bought in 2011. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Rachel Konstantin

“He died yesterday morning in his sleep,” she said. “He was healthy as healthy could be, and he never went to the doctor.

“His heart just stopped; that’s what the EMTs said,” she added. “He complained of a little indigestion for the past couple of days, he got up and took a Tums that night and said he felt better.”

She said that when she got up Saturday morning, she thought he was sleeping soundly. She went downstairs to make his regular morning coffee, a cappuccino, and when she returned to the bedroom, she “found it terrifying” to discover he had died.

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02/28/16 10:44 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, February 28, 2016

10:45 a.m. - Christ & Holy Trinity Church - Lisa Miller: “The New Science & Power of Raising Spiritual Children”
11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - Family Festivities Series: “Charlotte’s Web”
1 p.m. - Oscar’s Deli - Westport Cinema Initiative 5th Annual n’Oscars
2 p.m. - Westport Center for Senior Activities - Mill River Band (free concert; doors open at 1 p.m.)
2 p.m. - Westport Library - Let’s Knit! Adult-Child Program
3 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Escher String Quartet
3 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Staples Players Studio: “Done To Death”
3 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - Greg Van Antwerp: “Confessions of an Urban Archaeologist”
5 p.m. - Christ & Holy Trinity Church - Choral Evensong & Organ Recital

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


02/28/16 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Westport Red Carpet Sunday for Oscar’s

Westport will again roll out the red carpet Sunday for the Oscars—actually more correctly at Oscar’s at 159 Main St. Image
Westporter Susan Granger (r), WestportNow film critic, presides at last year’s n’Oscars event. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The occasion is the fifth annual n’Oscars event from 1 to 3 p.m. hosted by the Westport Cinema Initiative hours before Hollywood hands out its annual Oscars.

The emcees will be Susan Granger, WestportNow film critic, and Douglas Tirola, an award-winning Westport filmmaker. (See Granger’s Ocar predictions here.)

No Oscars are handed out at the annual event, hence the name n’Oscars, short for No Oscars.


02/27/16 09:36 PM Comments () • Permalink

Near & Far Gala Set for Friday

There will be a fashion show and dancing, not to mention silent auctions for everything from Wimbleton tickets to a week in Nantucket, at the 21st annual Near & Far Aid Spring Gala set for Friday, March 4, at 7 p.m. at Mitchells of Westport. Image
A scene from last year’s Near & Far Aid gala at Mitchells of Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

As part of the charitable organization’s theme of “Voices of Hope,” the gala will also focus on the stories of individuals and organizations that Near & Far has funded throughout the year, organizers say.

The charity was started almost 70 years ago by Southport resident Jeanine Fay to provide much-needed aid to war widows via bake sales and annual fundraising events.

The all volunteer organization currently works with more than 100 local agencies addressing the causes and effects of poverty. Since 2000, it has granted more $15 million.

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02/27/16 04:37 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, February 27, 2016

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” (last day)
Noon - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Window to Westport’s Past & Present”
2 p.m. - Westport Library - Jane Austen: Kick Off a Year of Reading
7:30 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Staples Players Studio: “Done To Death”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


02/27/16 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Friday, February 26, 2016

Race to Save the White Barn Theatre

By James Lomuscio

The race is on to save the White Barn Theatre. Image
Actress, producer and theater impresario Lucille Lortel founded the White Barn Theatre in 1947.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Preservationists and theater lovers are set to converge at Norwalk City Hall on Wednesday, March 2, at 7 p.m. to plead with the Norwalk Historic Commission to save the iconic theater from the wrecking ball.

The experimental theater was established in 1947 by the late, legendary actress, director and producer Lucile Lortel on her husband Waldo Mayo’s 18-acre estate straddling Norwalk and Westport.

Now, New Canaan developer Jim Fieber, who bought the property more than a decade ago, plans to build between 10 to 15 large homes on the property’s remaining 15 acres.

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02/26/16 08:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

Malloy Warns of Workforce Cuts

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Arielle Levin Becker

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration confirmed today the downward trend in state revenues — though not the precise numbers — that nonpartisan analysts reported earlier this week.

While the governor never used the word “layoff,” he told reporters today that state government’s workforce must shrink considerably soon, and that the next state budget, for the 2016-17 fiscal year, still must be balanced without tax hikes.

And Malloy’s budget chief, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes, told legislators today that the administration has been monitoring negative trends in state income tax receipts since mid-January. The administration’s decision not to report this before today prompted one Republican on the legislature’s tax-writing panel to call the choice “reprehensible.”

“I think there’s a bigger downside than there is an upside” to state tax revenues at this time, Malloy told reporters after a press conference to promote a constitutional amendment to protect state funding for transportation.

Click here for more of story


02/26/16 05:36 PM Comments () • Permalink

More Power Outages

UPDATE More power outages hit Westport today as winds picked up, bringing down trees and power lines.

Eversource said in late afternoon more than 600 Westport customers were without power at one point. By 5:30 p.m., the number was down to 15. Some of the outages were deliberate so repairs could be made.

Al Lara, an Eversource spokesman, said today’s sustained strong winds created new outages, knocking down trees and equipment already damaged or weakened by the previous storm. 

“Statewide we have about 2,300 outages remaining from the previous storm.  The rest are new outages from today’s winds,” he said.

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02/26/16 05:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

Arrest Follows Slap, Protective Order Violation

Officers arrested a Westport woman for disorderly conduct and violating a protective order after she allegedly slapped the victim and left the victim’s house, police said today. Image
Christina Kaufman: bail set at $25,000. Westport Police photo

According to Lt. David Farrell, the report came in as a missing person since the suspect Christina Kaufman, 33, had left the house.

She was located later Wednesday night and served the warrant, he said.

She was held in lieu of a $25,000 bond and arraigned in Norwalk Superior Court on Thursday.


02/26/16 02:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Woman Arrested for Protective Order Violation

Officers arrested a Bridgeport woman for violating a protective order and harassment in the second degree, police said today. Image
Kaitlin Buggy: sent text messages.. Westport Police photo

Kaitlin Buggy, 31, turned herself in Thursday on an active warrant, Lt. David Farrell said, adding that the suspect had contacted the victim several times via text messages over a six-day period.

“There is an active protective order in place from previous incidents involving Buggy and the victim,” Farrell said.

Buggy, on whom police placed a $25,000 bond, was arraigned the same day in Norwalk Superior Court.


02/26/16 02:50 PM Comments () • Permalink

On Main Street, Busted for Boot Thefts

Officers nabbed a Norwalk man in connection with the January theft of three pairs of boots from Theory at 69 Main St., Westport police said today. Image
Andre Fowler: free on $1,500 bond Westport Police photo

Andre Fowler, 22, was arrested Thursday on a warrant at the Stamford Police Department, where he was being held, polie said.

According to the police report, Fowler was one of two suspects who on Jan. 19 took the boots while distracting store employees.

“The employees noticed the boots were missing after the suspects left the store, so they reviewed the in store video footage,” said Lt. David Farrell. “Store employees notified the surrounding stores of the theft, and description of the suspects.”

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02/26/16 02:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

Police Seek Cell Phone Thieves Image
The Westport Police Department today requested the public’s assistance in identifying two males pictured at the bottom of this surveillance photo. It said two males were involved in the theft of a cell phone on Tuesday at the Dunkin Donuts store, 1595 Post Road East. The first suspect (r) has short brown hair and was wearing a sweatshirt and jeans. The second suspect was wearing a skull cap, has facial hair around his lip and chin area, and was wearing a dark jacket and jeans. Both appeared to be about 30 years old. Anyone with information on the identities of the two males is asked to contact the Westport Police Department Detective Bureau at (203)341-6080. Westport Police photo


02/26/16 01:52 PM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 46 Sylvan Road North Image
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 46 Sylvan Road, North in the Old Hill section, is in process. Built in 1963, the one-story raised ranch, has 1,566-square feet, is situated on a one-acre property and last changed ownership, according to Town Assessor records, in May 2011 for $500,000. 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


02/26/16 11:57 AM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Property Transfers Feb. 8 - 12, 2016

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period Feb. 8 - 12, 2016:

Virginia Helen Page to H&P Builders, 36 Westfair Drive, $500,000WNproperty.jpg

Michael K. Heine to Peter B. and Susan N. Marshall, 9 Tamarac Road, $950,000

Lynn W. and William Paul Bush III to Morton H. Rothstein and Carol Knobelman, 110 Weston Road, $1,237,500

Juanita R. and Bernard E. Hamilton Jr. to Eric and Holly Rousseau, 49 Crescent Road, $749,000

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02/26/16 11:21 AM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Nets 10 National Merit Finalists

The 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program has named 10 Staples High School seniors as finalists, each one with a chance to earn one of 7,400 scholarship awards totaling more than $35 million nationwide, school officials announced today. Image
National Merit finalists include: (​back row, l-r)  Nicholas Ribolla, Quinn B. Hughes, George R. Menz, and Grant G. Tobben; (front row)  Aaron J. Samuels, Peter C. Sauer, Hannah H. Debalsi, Jodie I. Baris, and Stephen K. Xu; Missing from picture: Arjun S. Dhindsa. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Staples finalists are: Jodie Baris, Hannah Debalsi, Arjun Dhindsa, Quinn Hughes, George Menz, Nicolas Ribolla, Aaron Samuels, Peter Sauer, Grant Tobben and Steven Xu.

According to school offcials, winners will be chosen as early as March from a group of more than 15,000 finalists. They said winners will be chosen on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college.

Each Staples finalist had to meet the following criteria:  an outstanding academic record, a principal’s recommendation, and SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier qualifying test performance.

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02/26/16 10:05 AM Comments () • Permalink

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