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Thursday, March 03, 2016

WN on the Scene: NY Armory Art Show Opens

The 22nd annual edition of the world-renowned Armory Show opens today in New York City. This year, there are 205 exhibitors spread across Piers 92 and 94 on the far west side of the city, perched on the Hudson River. Helen Klisser During, contributing WestportNow photographer and Westport Arts Center artistic director emeritus, was there Wednesday for a preview. Also there was Mark Lamos, artistic director of the Westport Country Playhouse researching for two art-related plays he will direct in May. The show, which runs through Sunday, also includes one of the largest collection of contemporary African art ever assembled in the United States. Click here for more information. Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com


03/03/16 07:00 AM Comments () • Permalink

Jetty Walk

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A Compo Beach visitor braved the brisk winds and cold temperatures late Wednesday to make way to the end of the jetty and enjoy the view. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com


03/03/16 12:14 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, March 3, 2016

9 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Board of Finance
9 a.m. - Westport Senior Center - Center for Cenior Activities Enhancement Center
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Window to Westport’s Past & Present”
Noon - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Play With Your Food Lunchtime Playreading Series
1:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Introductory Non-Fiction Writing Workshop
6 p.m. - 8 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - Westport Artists’ Collective Pop Up Exhibition Opening Reception
6 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Historic District Commission
7 p.m. - Town Hall Green Room - Board of Assessment Appeals
7 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Downtown Plan Implementation Committee

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


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

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Finance Board Hears Town, School Budgets

By James Lomuscio

With a “zero-based budgeting” mindset, Westport’s Board of Finance tonight listened to formal presentations of the proposed 2016-17 operating budgets for both the town and the Board of Education.

Coming in a $91.6 million, a .76 percent increase from the current year, First Selectman Jim Marpe’s town budget was lauded as fiscally responsible by finance board members.

School Board Chairman Michael Gordon’s proposed $113.45 million operating budget, a 2.05 percent increase over the current year, also garnered some laurels, but with a caveat from Brian Stern, finance board chairman.

“It means there will be a slight tax increase,” said Stern, underscoring the zero-based budget approach. “That’s something we have to consider as we look at needs and wants. We need to come to a compromise on that.”

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03/02/16 11:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

White Barn Supporters Ask for Demolition Delay

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A large crowd, including many Westporters, turned out tonight for a meeting of the the Norwalk Historical Commission where supporters of the White Barn Theatre, which straddles the Westport-Norwalk line, asked for a delay in demolition of the theater for a housing development. There was no immediate word on the action of the commission, which cannot delay the demolition further but can only recommend Norwalk city officials do so. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Matthew Mandell for WestportNow.com


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

Making Their Views Known

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Supporters of a delay in the demolition of the White Barn Theatre on the Westport-Norwalk border make their views known tonight at a hearing by the Norwalk Historical Commission. The current 120-day delay is set to lapse on March 22. If the stay is lifted, the theater will be razed and 15 houses approved by Norwalk commissions will rise in their place on the property. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Matthew Mandell for WestportNow.com


03/02/16 09:57 PM Comments () • Permalink

Artistic Director Researches Art

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The 2016 edition of New York’a Armory Show art fair opens to the public Thursday, but today’s preview at Piers 92 and 94 was crawling with collectors, curators, and critics. Among the VIP visitors was Mark Lamos, artistic director of the Westport Country Playhouse, doing research for productions in the Playhouse’s 2016 season. He will direct “Art” and “Red,” two Tony Award-winning plays in conversation about art: making it, owning it, the anguish of creating it, and the ache of believing in it. They run May 3-29. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com


03/02/16 06:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Copper Theft Suspect Caught

Westport police today arrested a Bridgeport man in connection with the burglaries of houses under construction on Saugatuck Avenne and Placid Lake Lane, police said.

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Richard Jaiman: accused in two burglaries. Westport Police photo

Richard Jaiman, 49, was taken into custody today by Westport detectives working on information gathered by Westport and Fairfield police in connection with recent construction site burglaries.

According to Lt. Jillian Cabana, the construction site manager reported large sheets of copper stolen from the Saugatuck Avenue location on Jan 28.

“Further information was received that he may be connected to a burglary in the area of North Avenue and Placid Lake Lane,” Cabana said.

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03/02/16 05:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Celebrating Dr. Seuss’s Birthday

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Westport’s Saugatuck Elementary School today celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday and National Read Across America Day by launching its “One Book, One School” initiative. The school-wide book club was kicked off at a special meeting that unveiled the book’s title, “Kenny and the Dragon” by Tony DiTerlizzi, and treated students to a playact of the book. Every family received a keepsake copy, courtesy of the school’s PTA, as well as every faculty and staff member. Said Principal Beth Messler (pictured with students in Amy Howland’s first grade class): “We aim to build a community of readers and have fun doing it.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


03/02/16 04:16 PM Comments () • Permalink

Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘Eddie the Eagle,’ ‘Race,’ ‘Risen’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Inspired by true events, “Eddie the Eagle” is the inspirational story of how Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton) becomes a world-record holding British ski jumper at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

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Burdened as a child by a knee brace, enthusiastic Eddie displays an alarming lack of athletic prowess, yet he’s determined to compete in the Olympics. After he realizes he’s woefully incompetent at every track-and-field event he attempts, he learns to ski.

Brusquely dismissed from Great Britain’s downhill team, Eddie tries ski-jumping instead. A gullible novice, he journeys to Garmisch, Germany, where he’s ridiculed by Finnish and Norwegian jumpers who have been training since they were six years old.

But then Eddie meets Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), a drunken, depressed, disillusioned one-time U.S. ski-jumping star, now working as a snow-plow driver. Peary astutely perceives Eddie’s innate bravery and tenacity so, albeit reluctantly, he decides to coach him, if only to prevent Eddie from recklessly killing himself.

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03/02/16 03:26 PM Comments () • Permalink

Church Lane Closed for Construction

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Westport’s Church Lane was closed today—and will be closed again Thursday and Friday—because of construction activity at the Bedford Square development site. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com


03/02/16 03:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

Opening March Sunset

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March did not come in exactly like a lion in Westport Tuesday, but the sunset as seen from Compo Beach nevertheless was another pretty picture. The good news is that by month’s end, it will be spring, daylight saving time, and hopefully warmer. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Meredith Holod for WestportNow.com


03/02/16 12:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

8 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Maintenance Study Committee
8:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 307/309 - POCD PIC
10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - UN International Hospitality Committee
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Window to Westport’s Past & Present”
Noon - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Play With Your Food Lunchtime Playreading Series
4 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Beautification Committee
7 p.m. - Westport Library - Claire Herman, “On Charlotte Brontë: a Fiery Heart”
7 p.m. - Town Hall Green Room - Board of Assessment Appeals
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - Senior Housing Subcommittee of the Planning & Zoning Commission
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Flood & Erosion Control Board
7:30 p.m. - 5 Canal Park - Housing Authority
8 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Board of Finance (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


03/02/16 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

RTM Approves Transit Directors, Public Works Contract, Senior Tax Break

Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight voted to give seniors and disabled persons an even better tax break. 

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A billboard at the Westport station promotes Westport Transit District services. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The 90-minute monthly meeting of the town’s legislative body also voted to ratify a long negotiated Public Works contract and to appoint two co-directors to the Westport Transit District (WTD).

By 28 to 2. the RTM voted for Martin Fox and Patricia Cimerosa to head the WTD, replacing Jennifer Johnson and Eugene Cederbaum who stepped down in recent months after four years at the helm.

Their charge was to improve service and increase ridership on the town’s commuter bus service that operates under contract with the Norwalk Transit District.

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03/01/16 09:41 PM Comments () • Permalink

Cub Scouts Become Boy Scouts

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Twelve Cub Scouts in Westport’s Pack 100 tonight received their Arrow of Light awards and went through a “bridging” ceremony to become Boy Scouts in Troops 36, 39 or 100. The event was held at Christ & Holy Trinity Church, where Pack 100 is chartered. After the ceremony, the Quinnipiac Dancers, a group from New Haven that celebrates Native Americans, performed for the boys and their families. With the boys is Irene Syomichev, Pack 100 cubmaster. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Mathias for WestportNow.com


03/01/16 08:23 PM Comments () • Permalink

Church Lane Closed Due to Construction

Westport’s Church Lane will be closed Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. because of construction work on the Bedford Square project, town officials said today.

Work along the south end of Main Street/Post Road East adjacent to the Bedford building as well as excavation/backfilling along Elm Street adjacent to 36 Elm will restrict traffic to one lane intermittently, an announcement said.

A traffic officer detail will be used to detour foot and vehicular traffic. 

Drivers are urged to use caution, expect potential delays and seek alternate routes, the announcement said.


03/01/16 05:27 PM Comments () • Permalink

Accident Leads to DUI Arrest

Westport officers arrested a Wallingford man for drunk driving and evading responsibility by driving away after he struck another vehicle, police said today.

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George Dyer: free on $75,000 bond. Westport Police photo

George Dyer, 62, turned himself in on Saturday on a warrant stemming from the Jan. 21 accident on Hillspoint Road in the area of Spicer Road, said Lt. David Farrell.

“Dyer was disoriented, had trouble balancing himself and officers smelled a strong odor of alcoholic beverage on his breath,” Farrell said.

He said that after officers completed a search warrant for Dyer’s blood to determine the alcohol level, the State Toxicology Laboratory determined Dyer’s blood alcohol level was .32, four times the legal limit.

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03/01/16 04:17 PM Comments () • Permalink

Cops: Drunk Driving Arrest Follows Crash

Officers arrested a Southport man for drunk driving after he crashed into a stone wall on Beachside Avenue, police said today.

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Daniel Bennewitz: crashed into wall. Westport Police photo

According to Lt. David Farrell, police began following Daniel Bennewitz, 30, after he was seen on Sunday driving fast on Maple Avenue. He said that Bennewitz went through several stop signs before crashing into the wall..

“He failed the standard field sobriety tests and was taken into custody,” Farrell said, adding that Bennewitz refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.

Charged with operating under the influence, reckless driving and disobeying the signal of an officer, he was released after posting a $1,000 bond.

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03/01/16 04:04 PM Comments () • Permalink

‘An Upset’ at Play With Your Food

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Actors Matthew Christian (l) and Scott Bryce today appeared in Play With Your Food’s reading of “An Upset” by David Auburn at Westport’s Toquet Hall. Other readings included “A Second of Pleasure” by Neil LaBute and “Laughs” by Mary Louise Wilson. Lunch was provided by Westport caterer A Dash of Salt. The productions continue Wednesday and Thursday in Westport and Tuesday, March 8 in Fairfield, and Thursday, March 10 in Greenwich. For information, visit http://www.jibproductions.org. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Inge Maki for WestportNow.com


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

Almost Spring Cleaning

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There was some almost spring window cleaning today at The Whelk Restaurant & Seafood Bar, 575 Riverside Ave., in Westport. Spring begins March20. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com


03/01/16 02:56 PM Comments () • Permalink

Real Estate Report: Positive Signs of Spring Market

By Judy Szablak

Special to WestportNow

Positive signs of the spring market have arrived in Westport, and deposits are edging upwards.

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Featured HomeThis home at 10 Broadview Road is listed at $3,899,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of Westport Residential.

In fact, for the first time in months, initial deposits have just edged past and outnumbered pending sales.

Initial deposits, or what Realtors call “CTS” (Continue to Show status)  are homes that have gone under deposit in the last 45 days.  he CTS status is one of the indicators as to how things are moving along marketwise for the coming months. 

Pending sales are those that are waiting to close, where contracts have already been signed, the mortgage is near or at commitment, and the sale is waiting to close as per both parties agreement.

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03/01/16 02:41 PM Comments () • Permalink

Labor in Crosshairs as Budget Crunch Worsens

By Keith M. Phaneuf


Connecticut’s labor leaders insist the writing is on the wall.

Barring a dramatic new development, they say, state employees will be asked to grant wage and benefit concessions for the third time in seven years.

Perhaps the request will come this spring. Perhaps it will come in 2017 — just after the next state election. In some smaller ways it already has begun.

But that doesn’t mean that workers are ready to endorse more givebacks.

Click here for more of story


03/01/16 02:38 PM Comments () • Permalink

Eugene A. Cizynski, 90

Eugene Bernard A. Cizynski of Boca Raton, Fla., a former resident of Westport and New York City, died Feb.22. He was 90.

He was born in New York City to Margaret (Reagan) and Joseph J. Cizynski. He loved and excelled in sports. He attended Power Memorial High School in New York City where he played basketball and baseball, winning the city championship as the pitcher.

He was recruited by the New York Yankees but joined the U.S. Marine Corps to serve in World War II. He was in the Squadron VMSB-244 flying in the Curtis Helldiver as a gunner/radioman.

After the war he graduated from Seton Hall University and married his sweetheart, Betty. He went on to receive his Master of Science from Columbia University. He spent most his career with the New York Public School system as a teacher, guidance counselor and assistant principal at Junior High School 104 in Manhattan. He was affectingly called “Mr. C.”

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03/01/16 01:44 PM Comments () • Permalink

Getting Ready for Pop Up Show

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Westport artist Miggs Burroughs, a founder of the Westport Artists Collective, today helps install works of art for the sixth Collective Pop Up Exhibition at the Westport Arts Center. The opening reception is Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for WestportNow.com


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

Joan S. Balas, 92

Joan Selda Balas, a Westport resident for more than 45 years, died Feb. 25 at home. She was 92.

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Joan Balas: longtime Westporter.  Contributed photo

Born in New York City on Dec. 27, 1923, she attended Washington Irving High School and Katherine Gibbs School.

She received her B.S. in business from State University of New York and worked in administration and human resources for Standard Oil and Stauffer Chemical. 

After retirement, she traveled extensively overseas with her husband. While he worked as a volunteer at International Executive Service Corps, she taught English language classes in neighboring communities. Countries visited included Indonesia, the Ukraine, Russia, former Yugoslavia and India. 

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03/01/16 01:13 PM Comments () • Permalink

Changing of the Guard: Call to Pass Baton to Koskinas

By James Lomuscio

Calling Police Chief Dale Call “one of Westport’s finest in the truest sense of the word,” First Selectman Jim Marpe today announced he has accepted Call’s retirement effective April 1.

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There were smiles all around today at Westport Police headquarters as First Selectman Jim Marpe announced the retirement of Chief Dale Call and appointment of his successor, Foti Koskinas. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

At a police headquarters news conference, he also said that Deputy Chief Foti Koskinas will be appointed chief on that date, and at the same time Capt. Vincent Penna and Capt. Samuel Arciola, both Westport residents, will each be promoted to deputy chief.

“The Town of Westport has been very fortunate to that Dale’s passion, expertise and experience in law enforcement have benefited so many throughout the years,” Marpe said.

He added that Call first joined the force in 1981 as a special police officer. “In good times and in bad, Dale’s calm, level-headed and pragmatic demeanor had proved to be a positive influence in our community,” Marpe said.

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03/01/16 10:54 AM Comments () • Permalink

A Hug for the New Chief

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Foti Koskinas embraces First Selectman Jim Marpe today at Westport Police headquarters after announcement that Koskinas, deputy chief since 2011, will succeed Dale Call (r) as chief on April 1. Marpe said Call will remain with the department in an advisory capacity until June 30 to insure “a smooth, seamless and professional transition within the department.” He also announced the appointment of Capt. Vincent Penna and Capt. Sam Arciola as deputy chiefs effective April 1. Call, the son of the late Westport Police Inspector George Call, has served 32 years on the force. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com


03/01/16 09:55 AM Comments () • Permalink

Police Leadership Change

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UPDATE Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe today announced the retirement of Police Chief Dale Call (r), 53, and appointment of Deputy Chief Foti Koskinas, 44, as his successor effective April 1. Call informed the Board of Finance on Feb. 8 that he intends to retire this year after 32 years on the force. CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


03/01/16 07:29 AM Comments () • Permalink

Expert on Suicides to Talk on March 16

Following two deaths involving a student and teacher at Staples High School taking their own lives, the Westport school district is hosting a talk on suicides.

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Joanne L. Harpel: survived brother’s suicide. Contributed photo

The event on Wednesday, March 16 at 7 p.m. at Bedford Middle School will feature Joanne L. Harpel, an expert on suicide bereavement, on the topic “Suicide in Your School Community: What Parents Need to Know,” the Board of Education was told Monday night.

Her talk follows the deaths of freshman Christopher Lanni, 14, on Dec. 23 and English teacher Cody Thomas, 27, on Jan. 23. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled both took their own lives.

The survivor of her own brother’s suicide in 1993, Harpel has a nationwide practice providing personalized guidance to families, schools, faith communities, and others dealing with the aftermath of suicide.

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03/01/16 07:08 AM Comments () • Permalink

Here Comes the Sun

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An early riser takes a dog for a walk at sunrise today at Westport’s Compo Beach. Sunrise was at 6:26 a.m. and sunset today is at 5:44 p.m. Beginning March 13 and the start of daylight savings time, sunrise and sunset will be about an hour later. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Meredith Holod for WestportNow.com


03/01/16 06:45 AM Comments () • Permalink

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