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Thursday, May 05, 2016

Kassen Appointed President of Washington Institute

Former Selectwoman Shelly Kassen has been elected president of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the organization said. Image
Shelly Kassen: member of board since 2008. Contributed photo

A longtime supporter of the institute and a member of its board of directors since 2008, Kassen most recently served as the organization’s vice president and chair of its development committee.

According to its website, the Washington Institute is an independent, nonpartisan research institution funded exclusively by U.S. citizens seeking to advance “a balanced and realistic understanding of American interests in the Middle East and to promote the policies that secure them. “

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve as president of the Washington Institute,” said Kassen, who had served with former First Selectman Gordon Joseloff from 2005-13.

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

WN on the Scene: Frieze NY 2016 Art Fair

The Frieze New York 2016 Art Fair opens today at New York’s Randall’s Island. The fifth edition of the fair brings together more than 200 of the world’s leading contemporary galleries to the island’s festive surroundings. Helen Klisser During, artistic director emeritus of the Westport Arts Center and WestportNow contributing photographer, was among VIP guests Wednesday getting a preview. The show runs through Sunday. For ticket information, click here. Helen Klisser During for


05/05/16 03:58 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, May 5, 2016

9 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Downtown Plan Implementation Committee
9 a.m. - Earthplace - Nature-infused Yoga
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Two Steps Forward: Contemporary Cuban Art”
6 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. - The Westport Inn - Taste of Westport annual benefit for CLASP Homes
7 p.m.  - Town Hall Auditorium - Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and
7 p.m. - Westport Library - Online Investment Research with Value Line
8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “Red”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


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

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Update: Ralphie has been Found!

This black and white English cocker spaniel named Ralphie, age 9 months, was last seen Wednesday in the morning at his home at 8 and 9 Bayberry Ridge Road, Westport and has been missing since then. Good News: Ralphie was found. He managed to get into his owner’s in-laws’ car, which was parked in their garage, and was not discovered there until today.



05/04/16 11:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

CT’s Top Taxpayers Took a Big Earnings Hit Last Year

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Connecticut’s 50 largest state income tax filers reported nearly $3 billion less in quarterly earnings this spring than they did one year ago — which resulted in a $217 million hit to the state’s coffers, the legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal staff reported today.

That drop represents a 30 percent plunge in earnings, a trend that sparked fierce debate within the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee as members approved a revenue schedule for next fiscal year’s state budget.

“If we’re losing $3 billion (in adjusted gross income) the impact is going to be across the whole budget,” said Sen. Stephen T. Cassano, D-Manchester, who first questioned nonpartisan analysts about the revenue trend.

Connecticut’s income tax, which provides nearly half of the revenue needed to support the annual budget, gets about 60 percent of its receipts from paycheck withholding and about 40 percent from quarterly filings.

Click here for more of story


05/04/16 06:06 PM Comments () • Permalink

Dems Abandon Plan to Adopt Budget in Regular Session

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Majority Democrats in the House of Representatives conceded late today that they would not adopt a new state budget before the legislature’s mandatory midnight adjournment deadline.

In a joint statement, House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, and House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, both said it would be unfair to force a vote in the session’s waning hours.

“As a matter of democracy and fairness to all the members of the House, it is not possible to do a budget this evening,” the House Democratic leaders said.

“The time it took to reach an agreement, combined with the challenge of staff to physically get a printed bill to the floor, and then achieve passage, would likely require a cutoff of discussions. That scenario would not be fair for the purpose of allowing a complete and reasonable debate, and at this point would be a disservice to House members and the public they represent to move forward tonight.”

Click here for more of story


05/04/16 05:58 PM Comments () • Permalink

‘Art’ Previews at the Playhouse Image
The cast of the Westport Country Playhouse production of “Art,” a witty comedy by Yasmina Reza, rehearses for tonight’s first preview performance. The play, which ran on Broadway from February 1998 to August 1999 earned a Tony Award for Best Play. Playhouse Artistic Director Mark Lamos said, ” ‘Art’ explores the power of art to transform relationships—the painting in the play is a catalyst that plunges the characters into behavioral change.”  “Art” which opens on Sunday at 3 p.m., will be performed on even-numbered dates until May 28, alternating with “Red” which plays on odd-numbered dates until May 29. Pictured (l-r)  are John Skelley, Sean Dugan, and Benton Greene. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


05/04/16 05:20 PM Comments () • Permalink

Honoring One of Their Own Image
A flag flies at half staff and black bunting is draped outside the Westport Police Department today following announcement of the “untimely death” of Sgt. Robert Myer, 48. A 23-year member of the force, he died in Newtown early today, where he resided and was a member of the Board of Police Commissioners. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


05/04/16 03:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Police Mourn Sgt. Robert Myer, 48

UPDATE The Westport Police Department today announced the ”untimely death” of Sgt. Robert Myer, 48, a 23-year member of the force. Image
Robert Myer (at Easter egg hunt in March.) Dave Matlow for

According to a news release from the Newtown Police Department, where Myer lived, police were called to his home at 6:42 a.m. “for a medical assist and then determined that it was an untimely death.”

Myer, who was a member of the Newtown Police Department Board of Commissioners, was widely known to many Westporters, where he grew up. His late brother James was a 30-year Westport firefighter.

“The medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death,” Newtown police said, adding, “There is nothing criminal at this point.”

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05/04/16 03:27 PM Comments () • Permalink

Getting Ready for Taste of Westport Image
CLASP Homes volunteers today prepare for Thursday’s 12th annual Taste of Westport event at the Westport Inn, 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $75 in advance, available online at!buytickets/bi7t1, or $85 each at the door. (See WestportNow, May 2, 2016) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


05/04/16 03:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

State Urges Landmark Status for Golden Shadows, Nike Site

The Nike Radar Missile Site, a remnant of Cold War, duck-and-cover days, and Golden Shadows, the early 20th century home of the Evyan Perfumes founder Baron Walter Langer Von Langendorf, today earned major support for historic status.

At a Hartford meeting, the state urged that Westport designate the Nike site at 180 Bayberry Lane and Golden Shadows on town-owned Baron’s South as local historic landmarks, officials said.

The State Historic Preservation Office’s Historic Preservation Council recommended that the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) pursue landmark status for the two properties, said John Suggs, RTM Environmental Committee member, who attended the meeting.

“It is anticipated that this matter will return to the RTM next month,” said Suggs, who has been among those advocating for the designations.

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05/04/16 02:39 PM Comments () • Permalink

Compo Concrete Pouring Image
Concrete was poured today on to the walkway under construction on the east side of Compo Beach. According to Marc Balduc of John Giunta General Contractors, today’s concrete pouring begins the “second section” of the walkway project. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


05/04/16 12:35 PM Comments () • Permalink

Rowing in the Rain Image
Tuesday’s rain did not deter rowers from the Saugatuck Rowing Club from getting in some strokes on the Saugatuck River in Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for


05/04/16 12:35 AM Comments () • Permalink

Coastal Flood Advisory

UPDATE The National Weather Service has issued a Coastal Flood Advisory for Westport and area from 9 p.m. today to midnight.

It said to expect tidal departures around 1 foot above astronomical tides.

There will be minor flooding of the most vulnerable shore roads and/or properties due to height of storm tide or wave splash over, the Weather Service said.


05/04/16 12:20 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

8 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Maintenance Study Committee
10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - UN International Hospitality Committee
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Two Steps Forward: Contemporary Cuban Art”
3 p.m. - Staples Field House - 8th-12th Grades Staples Cheerleading Tryouts (clinic at 3 p.m., tryouts begin 7 p.m.)
4 p.m. - Westport Library - Teens: Harry Potter Volunteer Committee
4 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - Beautification Committee
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Chess Club for Adults
6:45 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Police Pension Board Meeting
7 p.m. - Town Halll Room 201/201A - Board of Finance anticipated executive session
7 p.m. - Westport Library - Preparing Your Home to Sell
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - Flood & Erosion Control Board
7:30 p.m. - 5 Canal Park - Housing Authority
8 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Board of Finance
8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “Art”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


05/04/16 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Democrats, Governor Strike Budget Deal

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Mark Pazniokas

Democratic legislators ended a tense day of negotiations today by announcing a deal on a new state budget that the General Assembly will race to adopt Wednesday before the constitutional adjournment deadline of midnight.

Passage will require the cooperation of the Republican minority, an uncertain prospect after House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, and Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, exchanged insults outside the Capitol press room.

Sharkey and Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, largely glossed over the spending cuts necessary to balance the budget, focusing instead of positive aspects: No tax increases, more money for transportation funding and revenue-sharing with towns, albeit at lesser amounts than originally planned. It also avoids tapping Connecticut’s emergency reserve.

Each said they have votes for passage in the House and Senate.

Click here for more of story


05/03/16 11:35 PM Comments () • Permalink

Real Estate Report: Sell at Right Price

By Judy Szablak

Special to WestportNow

There’s more to preparing your Westport home to sell in the spring market than just cleaning and staging. Image
Featured Home: This home at 1 Loretta Court is listed at $3,295,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of William Pitt Sotheby’s/Westport

There are now more than 360 single family homes available. And in order to ensure that your home stands out from the crowd, it is important to have a solid understanding as to where your home will shine at its best, and that means pricing it to sell.

Almost 9 percent of all the homes currently listed were reduced just in the past week, which means that they were not priced correctly to begin with to sell in the current market.

Relying on online sites for an estimate of pricing is not the correct way to value a property.

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05/03/16 10:33 PM Comments () • Permalink

RTM Approves School Board’s $113 Million Budget

By James Lomuscio

Following school board Vice Chairwoman Jeannie Smith’s spirited budget presentation about educational excellence and fiscal responsibility, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight unanimously approved the Board of Education’s $113,128,166 operating budget for 2016-17.

The budget represents a 1.29 percent increase over the current year, the lowest increase since the first year of the recession, said Smith.

During her presentation, Smith also praised Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon, who is retiring in June after 17 years. This was his last budget.

“Elliott has done such an outstanding job over the past 17 years,” said Smith. “He has been the leader of leaders.”

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05/03/16 09:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

Cheetah and Shepherd Pals Star at Benefit Image
A cheetah named Adaeze and best friend an Australian shepherd named Odie from the the Lionshare Educational Organization (LEO) Zoological Conservation Center in Greenwich were center of attention tonight at the Rescue You, Rescue Me charity event at Terrain in Westport. They are pictured with (l-r) Jim Fowler, Emmy Award-winning host of “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” Marcella Leone, founder of the LEO Conservation Center, Laurie Marker, founder and executive drector of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), and Richard Wiese, world-class explorer and host of ABC’s Emmy Award-winning “Born to Explore” television show, Leone established the LEO Conservation Center in 2009 to house and breed threatened and endangered animals, particularly species at risk of extinction. The event benefited the CCF as well as Fairfield County’s Pet Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and Westport Animal Shelter Advocates (WASA). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for


05/03/16 08:54 PM Comments () • Permalink

Gallery: Rescue You, Rescue Me Benefit

Scenes from tonight’s Rescue You, Rescue Me benefit at Terrain in Westport. J.C. Martin for


05/03/16 08:48 PM Comments () • Permalink

CT Pregnant Woman Tests Positive for Zika Virus

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that a pregnant Connecticut woman has tested positive for Zika virus.

According to DPH, the patient became ill with a fever and rash while traveling in Central America. It was during this trip that the patient conceived.

The patient has since returned to Central America, a news release said.

DPH officials contacted the patient’s Connecticut physician today with the positive result and are working to get in touch with the patient or her family to ensure that she seeks medical care while she is out of the country, DPH said.

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05/03/16 06:11 PM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 132 Old Road Image
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 132 Old Road, off Bulkley Avenue North, is in process. Built in 1955, the 1-1/2 story cape has 1,677-square feet, is situated on a .49-acre property and changed ownership last month for $750,000. 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


05/03/16 05:58 PM Comments () • Permalink

History-Making Performance Image
James Gikas: Alexander the Great. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

James Gikas 14, a ninth grader at Staples High School, performed his original portrayal of Alexander the Great at Saturday’s state National History Day competition at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.

He won second place in the category of Senior Individual Performance, which means he is going to the national competition at the University of Maryland in June.

This will be James’s second time going to the national competition.

He went last year for his performance as Winston Churchill.

James was among six Westport students winning awards at the competition.


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

Rehearsing ‘Red’ Image
The cast of the Westport Country Playhouse production of “Red” by John Logan rehearses for tonight’s first preview of the drama about the abstract expressionist Mark Rothko and his young assistant. The play was performed on Broadway from March to May 2010, earning it a Tony Award for Best Play. Playhouse Artistic Director Mark Lamos directs the play which will be performed on odd-numbered dates, alternating with the play “Art” which begins previews Wednesday and will continue through May 29 on even-numbered dates. “Red” opens Saturday and runs through May 29. “Art” opens Sunday and runs through May 28. Lamos said, “We’re trying something new:  two plays in repertory that have never been programmed together. I urge our audience to enrich their experience by seeing both.” Pictured are Stephen Rowe in the role of Mark Rothko and Patrick Andrews as his assistant, Ken. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


05/03/16 04:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Joe Schachter, 90, Picked as Memorial Day Grand Marshal

World War II Navy veteran Joseph H. Schachter, 90, has been selected to serve as grand marshal in the Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 30. Image
Joe Schacter salutes at last year’s parade.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for

William Vornkahl, president of the Westport Veterans Council , made the announcement today, citing Schachter’s dedication to service, both in the military and in his hometown.

As a commissioned Navy officer, Schachter served in the Pacific aboard the Wilkes Barre in Japan’s Tokyo Bay and China’s upper Yellow Sea.

After the war, he graduated from Trinity College in Hartford and began a 30-year advertising career with the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, before leaving it to launch a new career that brought him closer to his love of the sea.

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05/03/16 01:22 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport’s Mapes to Bring Imagination Show to Norwalk

Westport James Mapes, to paraphrase a famous, late town resident, Rod Serling, seeks to show others how to unlock doors with the key of imagination. Image
James Mapes: imaginologist. Contributed photo

And Mapes, an “imaginologist” considered a foremost authority on applied imagination, is set to bring his show “Master of the Imagination” to the Theatre Artists Workshop at 5 Gregory Boulevard in Norwalk May 20 through 22.

Mapes is the best-selling author of the “Quantum Leap Thinking: An Owner’s Guide to the Mind” and “The Magic of Quantum Leap Thinking.” His new web interactive book, “Imagine That: Igniting your Brain for Creativity and Peak Performance” is scheduled for an October release.

A combination showman, motivator, peak performance coach, clinical hypnotist and actor, Mapes has had has a lifelong fascination with the subconscious, event planners say.

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05/03/16 11:44 AM Comments () • Permalink

Arrest for Fleeing Accident

Officers arrested a Weston man for fleeing an accident he caused on Easton Road in October of 2014, police said today. Image
Laurence Shore: free on $500 bond. Westport Police photo

Laurence Shore, 64, was arrested on Friday via an active warrant for evading responsibility and failure to grant right of way, causing the accident, police said.

“Officers located the vehicle at the train station that day and found damage confirming it was the at fault vehicle,” said Lt. David Farrell.

Released after posting a $500 bond, Shore is scheduled to appear in Norwalk Superior Court on Tuesday, May 10.


05/03/16 11:40 AM Comments () • Permalink

Intoxication Leads to Risk of Injury to Minors Charges

Officers arrested a Westport woman on charges of risk of injury to children after she was allegedly intoxicated and yelling at responding police, whom she had called to report an issue with her boyfriend, police said today. Image
Lisa Gyselen: held on $1,000 bond. Westport Police photo

Lisa Gyselen, 44, contacted the Police Department at 9 p.m. Wednesday, and dispatchers determined “she sounded intoxicated during the call,” said Lt. David Farrell. It was also determined from the call that she was home with her two young children.

“Officers responded to the Post Road West address to check on Gyselen’s welfare,” Farrell said. “Upon arrival, officers were unable to speak with Gyselen as she was uncooperative, and yelling about things officers could not understand.”

He said that officers smelled the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on Gyselen, that she was unsteady on her feet, “and need to lean on the wall to support herself.

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05/03/16 11:35 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

8 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - TEAM Westport
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Two Steps Forward: Contemporary Cuban Art”
10 a.m. - Westport Library - Book Chat
11 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Fire Pension Board
11:15 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Non-Union Supervisory Pension Board
11:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Police Pension Board
1:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Advanced Writing Class
2 p.m. - Westport Library - Oscar-worthy Film Series:  “The Danish Girl”
4 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
7 p.m. - Terrain Restaurant - Rescue You, Rescue Me animal welfare benefit
7 p.m. - Westport Library - Charlotte Rogan on “Now and Again”
7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “Red”
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - RTM Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


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

Monday, May 02, 2016

From Napoli With Love Image
Staples High School senior Jaime Bairaktaris (c), who spent two weeks in Napoli, Italy teaching English to impoverished school children, has prepared a 13-minute video of highlights of his visit. Jaime, who is a WestportNow contributing photographer, made the trip after collecting $5,000 through a account. He messaged those who contributed to his effort: “You helped forge a relationship between Westport, Connecticut and Naples, Italy—something that will serve us all for years to come. We are becoming a household name for the children of Napoli, all while giving them an example of how they HAVE a future!” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


05/02/16 11:07 PM Comments () • Permalink

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