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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Proud Family Pins on New Chief’s Badge Image
Westport’s new Police Chief Foti Koskinas gets his chief’s badge pinned to his chest today by wife Christina and daughters Zoe, 12, and Phoebe, 11, at a Town Hall ceremony. The standing room only event, which also saw promotions of Sam Arciola and Vincent Penna to deputy chiefs, drew a standing room audience of fellow police officers, fire and EMS personnel from Westport and surrounding communities, as well as fellow Westport employees, family and friends. Koskinas replaced retiring Chief Dale Call. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/31/16 07:58 PM Comments () • Permalink

‘Westport Truly is an Incredible Town’ Image
Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas told a packed Town Hall auditorium crowd following his swearing in today that “the Town of Westport truly is an incredible town. I was fortunate to grow up here and I’ve been fortunate to work here most of my adult life.” He added: “I promise you the Westport Police Department will continue to work for our community and together –- and I can’t emphasize together enough -– we’ll continue to make Westport a safe place to live, work and play.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/31/16 07:53 PM Comments () • Permalink

Changing of the Guard Image
Outgoing Westport Police Chief Dale Call and his successor, Foti Koskinas, embrace today at a Town Hall ceremony swearing in Koskinas and Deputy Chiefs Sam Arciola and Vincent Penna. First Selectman Jim Marpe watches. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for


03/31/16 07:48 PM Comments () • Permalink

Koskinas to Fellow Officers: ‘Respect the Badge and What It Stands For’ Image
New Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas draws a laugh from a packed Town Hall swearing in ceremony audience tonight—including retiring Chief Dale Call (r) and Lt. David Farrell. But his message to his fellow officers was serious: “The department is very proud of you. And will be successful truly because of you. The best ideas come from people closest to the work. I promise you I am committed listening to you. Not just your ideas but also your concerns. Most importantly, I ask, but that I expect and accept nothing less, that you respect the badge and what it stands for—honor, trust, and integrity.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/31/16 07:46 PM Comments () • Permalink

Congrats to the New Deputy Chiefs Image
Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe today congratulates Sam Arciola (c) and Vincent Penna following swearing them in at a Town Hall ceremony as deputy chiefs. They, like new Police Chief Foti Koskinas, grew up in Westport and are graduates of Staples High School. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/31/16 07:43 PM Comments () • Permalink

Gallery: Westport Gets New Police Chief, Deputy Chiefs

Scenes from today’s Westport Town Hall swearing in ceremony for Police Chief Foti Koskinas and Deputy Chiefs Sam Arciola and Vincent Penna and a post reception gathering. Dave Matlow and Helen Klisser During for


03/31/16 07:35 PM Comments () • Permalink

Noir-Themed ‘Drink n’ Draw’ Image
The Westport Arts Center tonight held a special noir-themed “Drink n’ Draw.” Inspired by the exhibition on view “Noir” (which features the paintings, drawings, and prints by Westport artist Ann Chernow) attendees drew from from a model wearing vintage outfits and striking classic poses. The next “Drink n’ Draw” will be held on Thursday, April 21. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Marina White for


03/31/16 07:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

At the Ready Image
Westport firefighters watch a home on Greens Farms Road go up in flames today at the end of two days of “live fire” training at the site. The home is scheduled for demolition.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/31/16 03:17 PM Comments () • Permalink

Gallery: Westport FD Completes ‘Live Fire’ Training

Scenes from today’s second day of Westport Fire Department ‘live fire” training at a house scheduled for demolition on Greens Farms Road. Among those taking part in the exercise were firefighter fitness trainers Sara Beckert and Roz Kother.  Dave Matlow for


03/31/16 03:12 PM Comments () • Permalink

Getting Ready for ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ Image
Members of the Bedford Acting Group get ready for this weekend’s performances of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They are (l-r) Chloe Murray, Allie Francis, Lauren Lesher, Ella Alpert, and Gabby Messenger. Performances at Bedford Middle School are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. . Tickets are on sale at (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


03/31/16 02:57 PM Comments () • Permalink

Among Project Return’s Birdhouses Up for Auction Image
Among Project Return birdhouses on display in downtown Westport retail windows in advance of Saturday’s s 21st annual birdhouse auction at the Fairfield Theater Company Warehouse is this one at Athleta, 103-107 Main St. Called “Green’s Farms Post Office,” it was created by Westporter Baxter Urist. The description card reads “Baxter has been a consultant whose clients included children’s authors, inventors and toy companies and he clearly has a touch of the inventor in his own personality—he’s the founder and owner of Beaver Beer.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/31/16 10:00 AM Comments () • Permalink

Dale Call: ‘Leaving the Department in Good Hands’

By James Lomuscio

Behind Police Chief Dale Call’s desk is a photo of his late father in uniform and smiling, almost as if he’s watching over his son, proud of him making it to the top. Image
Behind Chief Dale Call in his office is a picture of his late father, Inspector George Call. “He was the one I grew up watching,” said Call. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The late George Call rose through the ranks to Inspector, an ascent the son has chronicled in a framed collection of his dad’s badges next to his photo.

“He was the one I grew up watching,” said Call, 53, who first joined the force as a special officer in 1981, just one year after graduating from Staples High School. “Actually, I grew up in this building.”

Today, after 35 years on the force, the last four as chief, Call heads into retirement, passing the baton, or badge, to Deputy Chief Foti Koskinas, who will be sworn into by First Selectman Jim Marpe. Capt. Samuel Arciola and Capt. Vincent Penna will each be sworn in as deputy chief.

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03/31/16 06:00 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, March 31, 2016

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Noir: Ann Chernow” & 2nd Annual High School Art Exhibition
Noon - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Play with Your Food Lunchtime Playreading Series
6 p.m. - Westport Library - Business Special: How to Run a Successful Consulting Business
7 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Drink n’ Draw
7 p.m. - Town Hall Green Room - Board of Assessment Appeals

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


03/31/16 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Watch for Low-Flying Helicopters

Eversource Energy said today it is conducting aerial inspections this week of vegetation growing near its high-voltage electric lines in Westport and other communities. Image
A helicopter similar to this one that will be inspecting transmission lines in Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Eversource photo

“This semiannual inspection is an important part of the company’s ongoing commitment to providing reliable electric service,” an announcement said

“The work involves the use of a helicopter flying low over Eversource’s transmission line corridors to check for any encroachment from trees or other vegetation.”

The aerial inspections began today and, weather permitting, will continue to April 8.  They will take place from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m.

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03/30/16 07:32 PM Comments () • Permalink

Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘Remember,’ ‘‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,’ ‘Batman vs. Superman…’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

“Remember” is an unusual revenge story, unlike any other Holocaust-inspired movie you’ve ever seen! Image

Zev Guttman, 90, (Christopher Plummer) has dementia, so he’s confused every morning when he awakens, calling for his wife Ruth. She’s dead, but it takes him awhile to adjust to his memory loss.

Zev lives in a nursing home not far from New York, where his best friend is wheelchair-bound Max Rosenbaum (Martin Landau), who’s hooked up to an oxygen tank.

They’re both Auschwitz survivors, and Max has hatched a plan to wreak revenge on the sadistic guard who was responsible for tormenting and exterminating both of their families.

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03/30/16 06:29 PM Comments () • Permalink

‘Rescue’ at Greens Farms House Image
Westport firefighters today practiced rescue techniques during a “live fire” training exercise at a house on Greens Farms Road scheduled for demolition.With a fire in the basement and a report of a person trapped, firefighters broke through the front door and, in heavy smoke, gained access to second floor where they “rescued” a dummy while other firefighters climbed a ladder into the second floor. More training will take place on Thursday.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/30/16 04:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Practicing a ‘Rescue’ Image
Westport firefighters led by Firefighter Ben Racho enter the front door of a smoke-filled house on Greens Farms Road today to effect a “rescue” during a “live fire” training exercise. The owner of the house made it available for training prior to its demolition. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/30/16 04:05 PM Comments () • Permalink

Gallery: Westport Firefighters’ ‘Live Fire’ Training

Scenes from today’s Westport Fire Department ‘live fire’ training at a house on Greens Farms Road scheduled for demolition. Dave Matlow for


03/30/16 04:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Town Clerk Makes Hartford Scene Image
Westport Town Clerk Patty Strauss, president of the Connecticut Town Clerks Association, was in Hartford today for Town Clerk Day and met with political leaders, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Pictured are (l-r) Deb Denette, East Haddam Town Clerk and chair of the Association’s Legislative Committee, Malloy, Essie Labrot, Town Clerk of West Hartford, and Strauss. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


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

Malloy: Layoff Notices Two Weeks Away

By Keith M. Phaneuf

The major round of state employee layoffs that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration has been hinting at since February is about two weeks away, the governor said today. Image
Gov. Dannel P. Malloys talks with reporters today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Malloy, who said the precise number would hinge, in part, on the number of worker retirement applications filed by Friday, also predicted the next round of budget-balancing would be much more difficult than the deficit-mitigation plan approved Tuesday.

Also today, leaders of the Republican minorities in the Senate and House warned that Tuesday’s bipartisan effort to close a $220 million gap in 2015-16 finances doesn’t guarantee more agreement across party lines when it comes to the next state budget.

State spending in 2016-17 is on pace to run more than $900 million in the red, and GOP leaders insist that Democrats must make “structural changes” to reduce labor costs significantly if they want Republican support.

Click here for more of story


03/30/16 02:36 PM Comments () • Permalink

Arts Festival Consolidates in Parker-Harding

There will be a new look to this summer’s 43rd annual edition of the Westport Fine Arts Festival sponsored by the Westport Downtown Merchants Association (WDMA). Image
Visitors enjoy last year’s Fine Arts Festival in Parker-Harding Plaza along the Saugatuck River. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for

The festival no longer will extend into the Gorham Island parking lot and will be contained entirely within Parker-Harding Plaza overlooking the Saugatuck River behind Main Street, WDMA officials told the Westport Board of Selectmen today.

The board approved closure of the Parker-Harding parking area from 4 p.m. on Friday, July 15 to 8 p.m.on Sunday, July 17 for the festival.

The change came about because there have been “challenges” involving the public and the artists in recent years, said Steve Desloge, WDMA president.

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03/30/16 10:57 AM Comments () • Permalink

Hole in the Wall Gang Camp Receives $77,180

There was a check presentation today at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts with Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, founded by Westporter Paul Newman, receiving $77,180. Image
Taking part in the check presentation were (l-r) Deputy Police Chief Foti Koskinas, Officer Brendan Fearon, Selectman Avi Kaner, Justin Farrands and Andrea Keefe of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Andy Berman, founder/owner of Westport-based Mental Grit Fitness, First Selectman Jim Marpe and Nancy Bannon of Mental Grit Fitness. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Making the presentation were Westport Deputy Police Chief Foti Koskinas, police officer Brendan Fearon and Selectmen Jim Marpe and Avi Kaner, along with Andy Berman, founder and owner of Westport-based Mental Grit Fitness.

The funds were raised last June when Westport police were among more than 300 participants who raised money for The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp during Mental Grit Fitness’ 7th annual Push Against Cancer event, which took take place at the Levitt.

“The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is an important Westport-based charity,” said Koskinas. “As our Police Department continues its commitment to be involved in the community, this particular effort is for a very worthy cause.”

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03/30/16 10:29 AM Comments () • Permalink

Longshore Lights Image
Lights at the E.R. Strait Marina at Westport’s Longshore Club Park on Tuesday night. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for


03/30/16 12:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

8:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 307/309 - Board of Selectmen (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Noir: Ann Chernow” & 2nd Annual High School Art Exhibition
Noon - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Play with Your Food Lunchtime Playreading Series
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Primer on Permaculture & Sustainable Gardening
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Chess Club for Adults
7 p.m. - Saugatuck Congregational Church (245 Post Road East) - Book signing “The Beutuful Pond” fundraiser for SoundWaters & Sunshine Kids
7 p.m. - Town Hall Green Room - Board of Assessment Appeals
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - RTM Public Works Committee

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


03/30/16 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Westport Artists’ Collective Founders Honored

The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County (CAFC) today named the founders of the Westport Artists’ Collective as a winner of its Inaugural 2016 ACE (Arts & Culture Empowerment) Awards. Image
Westport Artists’ Collective founders include (l-r) Jahmane West, Tammy Winser, Helen Klisser During, Miggs Burroughs, Duvian Montoya, and Nina Bentley .(CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for

The founders, whose work includes organizing pop up art shows at the Westport Arts Center, include Duvian Montoya, Nina Bentley, Miggs Burroughs, Tammy Winser, Helen Klisser During, and Jahmane West.

Winners in the ACE Award, Artist category, they were recognized “for encouraging the careers and talents of local artists and contributing to our diverse artistic community,” an announcement said.

Other winners include: ACE Award, Nonprofit: Lou Ursone, executive and artistic director of Curtain Call, Inc.(Kweskin Theatre/Dressing Room Theatre), in Stamford. The organization provides a consistent outlet for artistic expression while entertaining the general public and providing a safe and nurturing environment for learning.

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03/29/16 08:29 PM Comments () • Permalink

Landon: Board Questioned His Integrity

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE (adds board statement) Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon, who is retiring in June, today bemoaned that some school board members Monday night questioned his integrity “for the first time in 17 years.” Image
Elliott Landon: “They were questioning my truthfulness.” Dave Matlow for

At issue: Landon’s word based on legal counsel regarding the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic calendars.

Landon told the board that he had direct confirmation from school counsel Thomas Mooney that his plan to have three, one-week vacations during those academic years did not violate the state’s Uniform School Calendar policy.

The state policy stipulates only two one-week vacations throughout the academic year, not three. Landon, conferring with Mooney, said that three weeks, specifically the February break, passes muster under the law since four flex days could be added to the Presidents Day holiday.

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03/29/16 07:16 PM Comments () • Permalink

Legislature Adopts Bipartisan Budget Deficit Plan

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

The General Assembly today overwhelmingly adopted a bipartisan plan to close most or all of the current year’s budget deficit, immediately shifting the legislature’s focus to a far larger projected shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The House of Representatives voted 127-16 just before 3:45 p.m. to approve the plan, roughly 90 minutes after the Senate adopted it 33-3. Nine Democrats and seven Republicans opposed the plan in the House. One Democrat and two Republicans voted against it in the Senate. [Of Westport’s legislators, State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg was absent, state Rep. Gail Lavielle voted yes as did state Sens. Toni Boucher and Tony Hwang.]

While the legislation eliminates $220 million in red ink in the budget year that ends June 30, it technically doesn’t reduce much larger shortfalls on the immediate horizon. Resources from off-budget accounts and other one-time sources of revenue covered 40 percent of the deficit-mitigation effort, or $87.2 million.

“This is to be celebrated I think for a day, then the hard work of the changes to the 2017 budget will be upon us,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told reporters as the House votes were being tallied.

Click here for more of story


03/29/16 06:33 PM Comments () • Permalink

‘Born to Explore’ Wins Daytime Emmy Nominations

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) has honored Westport-based “Born to Explore with Richard Wiese” with two nominations for the 43rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. Image
Richard Wiese of Weston is a world-class explorer and host of “Born to Explore,” which premiered on Sept. 3, 2011.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The program was nominated in the categories of Outstanding Adventure/Travel Program and Outstanding Sound Mixing – Live Action.

“Born to Explore,’ with offices on Westport’s Main Street, is a syndicated adventure/travel series, airing nationally on ABC as part of Litton’s Weekend Adventure Saturday programming block. 

“My incredible team and I have a deep passion for exploration—whether it’s encountering orangutans in Indonesia, riding on camels through the sands of the Sahara Desert or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro,” said host Richard Wiese of Weston.

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03/29/16 04:59 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport PD Promotes One, Adds Another Image
The Westport Police Department Monday promoted one officer and welcomed a new one. Officer Sharon Russo, an eight-year veteran of the force, was promoted to the rank of detective, and Michael Tomanelli, 21, a native of Marlboro, N.Y. was sworn in. The Sacred Heart University graduate is completing his masters in criminal justice at SHU and will begin his recruit training at the Connecticut Police Academy on Friday. Russo fills a vacancy created by the retirement of Detective William Harsche. Joining them for a photo were Police Chief Dale Call and First Selectman Jim Marpe. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


03/29/16 03:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Real Estate Report: Market Continues to Heat Up

By Judy Szablak

Special to WestportNow

Westport’s real estate market continues to heat up. Image
Featured Home This home at 4 Partrick Road is listed at $1,948,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by J.C. Martin

While this is good news for sellers, it certainly doesn’t indicate in any way that one should push the envelope and place a higher asking price on a home than is warranted by reviewing comparables.

Your agent will guide you as to the best asking price, which can be on the higher side of reasonable, however adding negotiating room will only result in additional market time.

Additionally, and strange as it may sound, this in turn, most often results in a reduced final sales price.

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03/29/16 02:48 PM Comments () • Permalink

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