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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Little League Registration Deadline March 4

Westport Little League (WLL) officials today reminded parents that the registration deadline for this spring’s baseball and softball teams is Saturday, March 4.

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Costs range from $150 to $300 to sign up for the season, which runs from March 11 through June 15, said David Goldshore, WLL president.

Parents can sign up at www.westportbaseballandsoftball.com.

“Anyone ages 4 through 19 can sign up, even beginners,” says Justin Walters, WLL board member. “Little League has had a very successful partnership with the town for decades now, and we’re all about the community.”

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02/28/17 07:22 PM Comments () • Permalink

State Releases Revamped Grades for Every School- – and Most Drop

By Andrew Ba Tran, Jake Kara and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

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The Westport School District dropped year-over-year with only Staples High School and Greens Farms Elementary improving. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) CtMirror.org graphic

The zero-to-100 grade the state gives every public school and district each year declined for the vast majority of public schools and districts, according to data released today by the State Department of Education.

[The Westport School District dropped to 84.4 in 2015-16 compared to 92.2 in 2014-15. Only Staples High School and Greens Farms Elementary school showed marked overall improvement. (see chart HERE)]

But the state’s education commissioner said the widespread declines in scores should be seen as part of a recalibration of the grading system. The majority of students scored better on standardized tests.

The state’s grading system is based on more than a dozen different measures, including factors such as test scores and how many students are chronically absent, enroll in arts and Advanced Placement college-prep courses, graduate from high school and enroll in college within a year of graduation.

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02/28/17 04:20 PM Comments () • Permalink

Failure to Stop Leads to Drug Bust

Officers arrested a Bridgeport man on drug charges at 2 a.m. today after he was observed driving very slowly on Main Street and not stopping at a light,  police said.

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Chad Davis: held on $15,000 bond. Westport Police photo

According to Lt. David Farrell, Officer Rachel Baron spied Chad Davis, 21, not only traveling slowly in his blue sedan, but failing to come to a complete stop at a red blinking light at the intersection of Main Street and Avery Place.

“The suspect vehicle then made several turns in the area, which was suspicious as it did not appear to be traveling to a specific location,” Farrell said. 

When the vehicle was stopped on Post Road East, Davis was identified by his Connecticut learner’s permit and an Oregon license, Farrell said. The officer also spotted a baggie containing a leafy green substance in the door, he added.

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02/28/17 03:51 PM Comments () • Permalink

Going 96 on Connector, Ignoring Officer Gets Norwalk Man Arrested

Officers arrested a Norwalk man at 1:30 a.m. today after he was clocked doing 96 m.p.h. on the Sherwood Island Connector and refused to pull over for an officer in pursuit, police said.

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Christopher Anderson: free on $500 bond. Westport Police photo

According to Lt. David Farrell, Officer Thomas Casimiro was running a radar detail when he observed a vehicle driven by Christopher Anderson, 56, speeding southbound on the connector.

“As the officer pulled out to stop the suspect vehicle, the suspect turned off all the vehicle lights,” Farrell said. “The operator did not slow down for the stop sign before making a left-hand turn onto the I-95 northbound ramp.”

Farrell said that while on the ramp, the suspect cut off another vehicle, nearly running it off the road. As soon as Anderson got onto I-95, he cut over three lanes of traffic and nearly crashed into several vehicles, he added.

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02/28/17 03:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

CT Lawmakers’ Guests for Trump’s Speech Intended to Send Message

By Ana Radelat


Washington — Connecticut lawmakers have joined other Democratic colleagues in inviting guests to President Donald Trump’s first address to Congress today — people who will serve as symbolic rebukes to the new president’s policies.

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal with Hewad Hemat, a former U.S. Army interpreter in Afghanistan. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Pazniokas for CtMirror.org

The delegation has invited constituents with ties to Trump’s suspended “Muslim ban,” a retired school principal who enthusiastically supports public schools, a hospital administrator concerned about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and a police chief who supports gun control.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, for instance, has invited Fadi Kassar, a Jordanian native who was caught up in Trump’s executive order that barred immigration from seven Muslim majority countries in the Middle East.

Because of that ban, which has been blocked by a federal court, Kassar’s wife and children were temporarily detained at customs in New York.

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02/28/17 02:36 PM Comments () • Permalink

Lights, Camera, Sew

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There was a commercial shoot today for Singer Sewing Machine products at the empty storefront at 153-155 Post Road East formerly occupied by Organics Moderne. Randy Herbertson (l), owner of the Westport-based ad agency The Visual Brand (and president of the Downtown Merchants Association) was directing. According to Alyssa DeLucia, project manager, the shoot with seven models and a staff of 20 is part of a Singer national campaign, “It Starts with a Stitch.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


02/28/17 11:16 AM Comments () • Permalink

GFA Head of School Announces Retirement

Greens Farms Academy’s Head of School Janet Hartwell says she will retire from the Westport-based independent school in June 2018.

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Janet Hartwell: GFA years “so deeply rewarding.” Contributed photo

“These years at GFA have been so deeply rewarding for me, professionally and personally,” she was quoted as saying in a school news release. She is now in her 14th year at the PreK-12 co-ed day school on Beachside Avenue.

Last year’s graduating class named Hartwell as an honorary “lifer” — a term for students who attend the school from kindergarten through to 12th grade — having started with them back in 2003. 

“One of the great joys of working with our students is to watch them grow and develop at GFA, finding their voices, passions, and their sense of self,” Hartwell said.

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02/28/17 09:45 AM Comments () • Permalink

Reminder of Giving Day March 9

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A banner across Westport’s Main Street reminds everyone that Thursday, March 9 is Fairfield County’s Giving Day, a 24-hour online fundraising competition involving 431 nonprofits. This is the fourth year of the event, which last year raised $1,246,964 donated by more than 11,000 individuals for 410 nonprofits.Visit www.fcgives.org for more information. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynnn U. Miller for WestportNow.com


02/28/17 12:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “MORE Than Words/As We Are”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Westport School Days 1703–Present”
10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Westport Transit District
4 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Architectural Review Board
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Zoning Board of Appeals (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201 - RTM Transit Committee

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


02/28/17 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Monday, February 27, 2017

New Domain Name for Westport Schools

The Westport Public Schools will have “a more accessible user friendly domain name,” Schools Superintendent Colleen Palmer announced at the Board of Education meeting tonight.

The new web address will be www.westportps.org, not the current www.westport.k12.ct.us.

Palmer also took the opportunity to weigh in on gender identity issues that are at the forefront nationally and statewide as it pertains to transgender students.

“This district has always been a leader,” she said about its acceptance of students from diverse backgrounds. “...We are not changing any of our practices.

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02/27/17 09:06 PM Comments () • Permalink

Do You Know ‘Dudley’?

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On Feb.26, this dog was found in the rear parking lot of CVS Pharmacy, 397 Post Road East. A 60-pound, intact male American pit bull terrier. He is approximately 1-year-old. We’ve been calling him Dudley! He has Scars on his neck and face and beautiful light colored eyes. Right now we are trying to locate his owner but he may be available for adoption in two weeks as no one has come forward to claim him. Contact Westport Animal Control 203-341-5076


02/27/17 07:34 PM Comments () • Permalink

Taylor Place Closed

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Westport’s Taylor Place in the town center was closed today for maintenance work on the electrical power grid. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com


02/27/17 04:29 PM Comments () • Permalink

Still Winter for Another Three Weeks

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Despite recent above normal temperatures, there are still unmelted snow mounds around Westport. A man shovels snow today off Jesup Road, adjacent to the Homes With Hope Gillespie Center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


02/27/17 03:34 PM Comments () • Permalink

Calling All Innovators — Sixth Annual Maker Faire Set

Inventors and creative types of all stripes are being solicited for the sixth annual Maker Faire Westport scheduled for Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, at the Westport Library, organizers announced.

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The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the library and Jesup Green, is produced by Remarkable STEAM, a Connecticut organization promoting innovation in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, in partnership with the Westport Library. The event is free and open to the public.

“Every year, we see the best, most creative people in the area at Maker Faire Westport,” says Mark Mathias, event founder and co-chairman and a Westport Board of Education member.

“With this year’s event theme of Earth, we expect to see even more amazing makers and their creations.”

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02/27/17 02:56 PM Comments () • Permalink

Ernest C. Trefz, 84

Noted businessman and philanthropist Ernest C. Trefz of Trumbull died Feb. 25. He was 84.

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Ernest C. Trefz: noted businessman. Contributed photo

He was co-owner of Bridgeport-based Trefz Corp. with his brother, Christian, a Westport resident. The company owns McDonald’s franchises throughout the area as well as commercial property in Westport and elsewhere.

The husband of Joan Frisk Trefz was born in New Haven on Dec. 19, 1932, son of the late Christian and Katherine Pfister Trefz. He was a U.S. Army veteran.

Brothers Ernie and Christian opened their first restaurant in Waterbury in 1964 after noticing how much hamburger meat was being sent from Bridgeport-based Roessler Packing Co., where they worked as general managers, to Connecticut’s first McDonald’s restaurant in Hamden.

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02/27/17 01:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

Walter J. Sutherland, 77

Walter (“Wally”) Joseph Sutherland of Westport died Feb. 25 at home. He was 77.

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Walter Sutherland: military veteran. Contributed photo

He was the husband of Patricia ( Patsy ) Powell Sutherland.

Born May 7, 1939 in Jackson Heights, New York to Walter and Veronica Hogan Sutherland, he attended St. Francis University before graduating from New York University.

It was during those college years at St. Francis that he met the love of his life, Patsy Powell. He went onto serve in the U.S. Marine Corps where he achieved the badge of expert rifle marksmanship.

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02/27/17 11:04 AM Comments () • Permalink

Out in the Cold

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UPDATE Employees of Chase Bank, 184 Main St., and other nearby businesses were out in the cold today as firefighters checked out elevated carbon monoxide levels. Firefighters zeroed on a faulty rooftop unit as the cause of the problem, according to fire officials. Employees were permitted back inside shortly before 11 a.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


02/27/17 08:51 AM Comments () • Permalink

Carbon Monoxide Alarm Causes Main St. Evacuation

UPDATE A carbon monoxide alarm today caused the evacuation of Chase Bank, 184 Main St., and several adjoining businesses.

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Firefighters on Main Street today checking out elevated carbon monoxide levels. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The alarm came in shortly before 8:30 a.m., and bank employees were already waiting outside for firefighters. They and other employees were permitted to return inside about two and a half hours later.

Using meters, the firefighters found elevated carbon monoxide levels in the bank, the neighboring Papyrus store, and other businesses.

Westport EMS responded at the request of the fire scene commander, but departed when no one reported any ill effects.

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02/27/17 08:37 AM Comments () • Permalink

Justin Paul Caught Up in Colossal Oscar Error

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Shortly after winning an Oscar tonight for Best Original Score for “City of Stars” in “La La Land,” Westport’s Justin Paul (2nd r) made his way to the Academy Awards stage to collect a Best Picture Oscar for “La La Land.” But moments later, actor Warren Beatty announced he had made a mistake—that Best Picture was actually won by “Moonlight.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo from ABC-TV


02/27/17 12:29 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, February 27, 2017

8:30 a.m. - Westport Historical Society - Qi Gong with Susan
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “MORE Than Words/As We Are”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Westport School Days 1703–Present”
1 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Historic District Commission Work Session
7 p.m. - Westport Library - A Psychotherapy Method for Healing Trauma
7 p.m. - Greens Farms Academy (35 Beachside Ave.) - Nancy Jo Sales, “Social Media & the Secret Lives of Teenagers”
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Parks Advisory Committee
7:30 p.m. - Staples Cafeteria B - Board of Education (live coverage cable channel 78, AT&T channel 99, and www.westport.k12.ct.us)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


02/27/17 12:04 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Westport’s Justin Paul Wins Oscar

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Justin Paul (l), a 2003 Staples High School graduate, and his songwriting partner Benj Pasek tonight won an Academy Award for Best Original Score for “City of Stars” from the film “La La Land.” They were also nominated in the same category for “Audition” from the film. In his acceptance speech, Paul credited his public schools that supported the arts. “I was educated in public schools where arts and culture were valued and recognized and resourced,” he said. “I am so grateful to all my teachers who taught so much and gave so much to us.” In all, “La La Land” won six Oscars out of 14 nominations. Last month, Paul and Pasek won a Golden Globes Award for “City of Stars.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo from ABC-TV


02/26/17 11:19 PM Comments () • Permalink

Jazz Jam at Arts Center

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Today’s annual Jazz Jam at the Westport Arts Center was a spontaneous exploration of jazz, blues and other musical styles by some of the community’s best musicians. Students and semi-professionals were encouraged to bring their instrument of choice and join for free.  The Jazz Jam also celebrated Black History Month. Brian Torff, the Westport Arts Center’s artistic director for jazz, led the Jam on bass with fellow musician Greg Burrows on drums. The next performance in the WAC Jazz concert series is Greg Wall, “the Jazz Rabbi” on Sunday, March 5. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com


02/26/17 06:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

Jamming in the Afternoon

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There was a large audience today at the Westport Arts Center for its annual Jazz Jam.The event featured some of the finest jazz musicians in the area and beyond. Brian Torff, WAC’s artistic director for jazz, led the Jam on bass with fellow musician Greg Burrows on drum. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mercedes Arensberg for WestportNow.com


02/26/17 06:23 PM Comments () • Permalink

Gallery: Westport Arts Center Jazz Jam

Scenes from today’s Westport Arts Center Jazz Jam. Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com


02/26/17 06:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

Former Neighbor Recalls Car Into Water Victim

With a look of disbelief, Edward Fitzgerald of Norwalk today stared at the tire tracks leading to the Saugatuck River.

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There were tire tracks today at the state boat ramp where the car went into the water. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) aime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com

There on the breezy east bank awash in sunlight and the rhythmic sound of overhead traffic on the I-95 bridge, he couldn’t comprehend how his former neighbor might have mistaken a state boat launch for a bridge, if he did.

“It was such a shock,” said Fitzgerald upon reading that Richard Lamendola, 76, of Syosset, New York, died in the Saturday night incident that sent his car with him and his wife into the water.

“I knew him from when we lived in Syosset.”

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02/26/17 05:11 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunny But Chilly

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It was sunny but chilly—in the 40s—today at Westport’s Compo Beach. Still a number of visitors turned out to enjoy Sunday at the beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo


02/26/17 04:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

Soon: ‘I Can Hear You Better Now’

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Workers for the second day today were installing a new AT&T cell tower atop the 21 Charles St. building in Westport’s Saugatuck area. Traffic was down to one lane at the intersection of Charles and Franklin Sttreets. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckmanfor WestportNow.com


02/26/17 03:51 PM Comments () • Permalink

Boat Ramp Day After

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Tire tracks remain today at the edge of the boat ramp of the Saugatuck River on Elaine Road where a car was pulled from the water Saturday night. A man in the vehicle, Richard Lamendola, 76, of Syosset, New York, died while a woman believed to be his wife was rescued after 20 minutes in the water. The couple was believed visiting family who live not far from the boat ramp. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com


02/26/17 01:39 PM Comments () • Permalink

All Quiet Today

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The scene today at the state boat ramp on the Saugatuck River where a car went into the water Saturday night. One man, identified as Richard Lamendola, 76, of Syosset, New York, died while a woman was rescued after 20 minutes in the water. Police said they are investigating the cause of the incident but that no foul play is suspected. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com


02/26/17 01:33 PM Comments () • Permalink

Police Remove Car From Saugatuck River

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Westport police today released this photo of a car being removed from the Saugatuck River at about 10:45 p.m. Saturday. One person, identified as Richard Lamendola of Syosset, New York, died in the incident. A female companion believed to be his wife was rescued after about 20 minutes in the water, her screams heard by diners at The Whelk Restaurant across the river, who called police. She was taken to Norwalk Hospital, suffering apparent non life-threatening injuries. The couple reportedly was visiting family in Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Westport Police photo


02/26/17 11:05 AM Comments () • Permalink

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