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Sunday, March 19, 2017

William E. Surette, 87

William “Bill” Eugene Surette of Westport died March 17 in his cherished Westport home where he resided for more than 50 years. He was 87. Image
William Surette: lifelong Westporter. Contributed photo

He was born June 14, 1929 In Evanston, Illinois, the only child of William and Helen (Briggs) Surette. He married Charlene (Burke) Surette on June 30, 1962.

He was a 1951 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a veteran who served honorably as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

A brilliant mind, he has left lasting contributions in the field of engineering and science, including pioneering work in the fields of global position systems, missile technologies and satellite communications.

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03/19/17 12:31 PM Comments () • Permalink

Edward M. Boucher, 71

Edward M. Boucher of Westport died March 16 at home. He was 71.

Born Feb. 2, 1946 in Bridgeport, he was the son of Edward and Ruth (Inks) Boucher.

A lifelong resident of the Westport/Weston area and a 1963 graduate of Staples High School, he went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from Alliance College and then a law degree from the University of Bridgeport.

He worked at the Westport Bank & Trust Co. for many years before starting his career in law. Since his retirement, he has been a longtime employee at the Westport Barnes & Noble bookstore.

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03/19/17 12:23 PM Comments () • Permalink

Police: Arrest Follows Assault on Emergency Personnel

Officers early today arrested a Westport man with a history of run-ins with police on three counts of assault on emergency personnel, interfering with an officer, disorderly conduct and threatening, police said. Image
Charles Vosgueritchian: held on $7,500 bond. Westport Police photo

Charles Vosgueritchian, 37, was arrested after police responded to a West Parish Road address on a report of a disturbance, said Lt. David Farrell.

“Vosgueritchian had an argument with the victims of this incident and broke items in the home during the argument,” Farrell said. “As the officers were taking Vosgueritchian into custody, he began fighting with them, and threatening to kill them.”

He was ultimately handcuffed and brought to an ambulance to be sedated, Farrell said. In the ambulance, Vosgueritchian also spit in the face of a paramedic, he added.

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03/19/17 12:22 PM Comments () • Permalink

Man Arrested in Alleged Gas Station Assaults

Officers arrested a Stratford man early today for allegedly assaulting a gas station clerk who had refused to sell him a single cigarette, police said. Image
Allens Verdier: held on $15,000 bond. Westport Police photo

Police responded at 4:30 a.m. to the Exxon station, 1510 Post Road East on a report of a 911 hang up call, said Lt. David Farrell.

They found Allens Verdier, 25, who had gone into the station store demanding a single cigarette.

“When the clerk advised Verdier that they do not sell single cigarettes, Verdier went behind the counter and began assaulting the clerk,” Farrell said. “Verdier then assaulted an elderly male in the store who was attempting to call 911.”

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03/19/17 12:14 PM Comments () • Permalink

Longshore Scene Image
The golf course Saturday at Westport’s Longshore Club Park. Spring begins early Monday — at least on the calendar. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for


03/19/17 12:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, March 19, 2017

1 p.m. - Westport Senior Center - Sunday Indoor Concert: Terry Eldh Postponed
1 p.m. and 4 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - Family Festivies Series: “The Cat in the Hat”
3 p.m. - Staples High School - Staples Players: “Urinetown, The Musical”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


03/19/17 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Marpe-Tooker in November; Rea Possible Challenger

By James Lomuscio

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe has filed to run again in November with Board of Finance member Jennifer Tooker as his running mate, he confirmed today. Image
Filed with state: (l-r) First Selectman Jim Marpe, Board of Finance (BOF) member Jennifer Tooker, and BOF Vice Chair Michael Rea. Republican Town Committee photos

And Board of Finance Vice Chair Michael Rea said today he has formed an exploratory committee to run for first selectman. He said he filed paperwork on Friday with the State Election Enforcement Commission (SEEC).

Marpe and Tooker made their filing March 9 as candidates with no need to form a committee. Treasurer was listed as Judith Domkowski. Despite being queried since then, Marpe did not acknowledge his intentions until a site search today disclosed the filing.

Rea’s Michael Rea for Westport Committee filing listed RTM member Donna Chapman as his treasurer. Although no office was specified, Rea confirmed it was for first selectman. He did not name a running mate.

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03/18/17 09:13 PM Comments () • Permalink

First in Making History Image
James Gikas, 15, a Staples High School sophomore, today won first place in the National History Day competition at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield for his performance as the leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. He will go on to compete in the state competition in April. Twenty Westport middle and high school students won awards at today’s event.(CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


03/18/17 06:49 PM Comments () • Permalink

Library Event Features Indonesian Gamelan Sounds Image
The Westport Library today hosted the Anne Eyes Science Lecture featuring composer and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Evan Ziporyn, who spoke about ethnomusicology and the intersection between science and art. A concert by MIT’s Gamelan Galak Tika was featured followed by a hands-on demonstration of this unique Balinese percussion instrument. The bright, percussive sounds of Indonesian gamelan orchestras reverberate throughout Southeast Asia, especially on the islands of Java and Bali. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


03/18/17 03:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

Rowan D. Elsom, 75

Rowan Dunlap Elsom of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, a former Westport resident, died March 17 at home after a battle with cancer. She was 75. Image
Rowan Elsom: former Westporter. Contributed photo

The daughter of the late Rear Adm. (ret.) Stanton Baldwin Dunlap and Abby Parks Dunlap, she attended the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia.

She retired to Chambersburg in 2003 from Westport, where she lived, worked and raised her three daughters.

In her retirement, she volunteered actively for Women in Need, and in 2009 was presented with the Cindy Hawbaker Memorial Award, in recognition of her outstanding commitment to community and service in partnership with United Way of Franklin County.

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03/18/17 02:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

NWS Update: 1-Inch Snowfall Expected Image
(CLICK TO ENLARGE) National Weather Service graphic


03/18/17 12:57 PM Comments () • Permalink

NWS Explains Why Snowfall Amounts Lowered Image
(CLICK TO ENLARGE) National Weather Service grphic


03/18/17 12:50 PM Comments () • Permalink

RTM Moderator Rejects Political Membership Ban Petition

UPDATE The moderator of Westport’s nonpartisan Representative Town Meeting (RTM) has rejected a petition seeking to bar members from serving on either the Democratic or Republican Town Committees.

In an email sent Friday, Eileen Lavigne Flug told lead petitioner Morley Boyd that her action was based on advice from Assistant Town Attorney Gail Kelly.

“Based on the Assistant Town Attorney’s opinion that the RTM does not have the authority to adopt the requested rule, I have determined that this is not a legitimate matter for the RTM to address, and I will not be placing this item on an RTM agenda,” Flug said.

Responding to Flug’s email, Boyd today sent an email rejecting her explanation. He said the Town Charter “does not state that only ‘legitimate’ matters may be placed on the RTM agenda” and that he expected it to be placed on the next meeting’s agenda.

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03/18/17 12:08 PM Comments () • Permalink

One Hand Behind Their Back Image
A crew from the Saugatuck Rowing club was out on the Saugatuck River Friday practicing one hand rowing with the other hand behind their back. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for


03/18/17 12:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Noon - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Westport School Days 1703–Present”
1 p.m. - Westport Senior Center - Is Corn Healthy or Not? documentary & discussion
1 p.m. - Westport Library - Open Write-in of the Fairfield County Writers Group
2 p.m. - Westport Library - Anne Eyes Science Lecture: Composer & MIT Professor Evan Ziporyn
2:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Sewing with Machines 101
7 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - It’s a Drag
7:30 p.m. - Staples High School - Staples Players: “Urinetown, The Musical”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


03/18/17 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Friday, March 17, 2017

RTM Committees Say No to Coyote Trapping Petition

A neighborhood petition to allow the trapping and removal of coyotes and coywolves was shot down by three Westport Representative Town Meeting (RTM) committees Thursday night. Image
This coyote was spotted in Westport’s Partrick Wetlands. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for

The RTM Environment, Public Protection and Parks and Parks and Recreation committees voted not to recommend to the town’s legislative body changing the town ordinance that prohibits trapping and hunting in Westport.

According to Wendy Batteau, chairwoman of the RTM Environment Committee, about 50 people turned out at the joint committee meetings held in the Westport Community Theatre where representative from Wildlife in Crisis, the Humane Society and New Canaan’s animal control officer, whose town experiences similar coyote problems, spoke.

The petition launched by resident Art Buckman was in response to a pet dog being attacked and killed on Charcoal Hill Road two months ago

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03/17/17 09:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

NWS: More Snow This Weekend Image
With the official start of spring on Monday, the National Weather Service tonight issued this graphic about snow this weekend. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) National Weather Service graphic


03/17/17 08:05 PM Comments () • Permalink

Legislative Panel Backs Tolls, But Bill Faces Uncertain Future

By Keith M. Phaneuf

The legislature’s Transportation Committee today approved a bill that would return tolls to Connecticut highways after more than three decades.

But the measure, which also would reduce the retail gasoline tax by 2.5 cents, faces a steep uphill climb if it ever is to become law.

Democrats hold a slim edge on the panel, which voted 19-16 along party lines to send the measure to the House of Representatives.

The gasoline tax, which currently stands at 25 cents per gallon, would be reduced by a half penny annually over five years under the bill.

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03/17/17 06:44 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday Senior Center Concert Postponed

Due to the snow forecast for Saturday night and Sunday morning, the Terry Eldh concert, scheduled for Sunday at the Westport Center or Senior Activities, has been postponed. 

A future date will be announced.


03/17/17 06:38 PM Comments () • Permalink

New Survey Will Study Westport Substance Abuse

Westport’s Positive Directions, The Center for Prevention & Counseling announced today it has received funding to conduct another student/parent substance abuse survey in Westport. Image

Positive Directions has been conducting such periodic surveys in Westport since 2000.

“The $5,300 grant for the survey comes from Mid-Fairfield Substance Abuse Coalition, which has designated Positive Directions as its Local Prevention Council for the town of Westport, and we are very grateful for their support,” said Basil Hero, executive director.

The last student survey in Westport was done in 2014.  “We were encouraged that our 2014 survey of 7th-12th graders in Westport showed that underage drinking dropped across all grade levels well as marijuana use,” Hero said.

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03/17/17 04:27 PM Comments () • Permalink

Honoring a Retiring Town Employee Image
Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe today paid tribute to retiring Town Hall employee Theresa Bairaktaris (2nd r). As fellow employees in the Tax Assessor’s Office looked on, Marpe read a commendation which said: “Throughout the years, Theresa has proved to be an immeasurable asset to the town. She consistently demonstrated her dedication and commitment to co-workers and the citizens of Westport.”  Bairaktaris, retiring after 12 years, is the mother of triplet sons, including WestportNow contributing photographer Jaime Bairaktaris. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


03/17/17 12:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Property Transfers Feb. 27 - Mar. 3, 2017

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period Feb. 27 - Mar. 3, 2017:

Peter A. Rodaway to Anna Alexander, 301 Post Road East, Unit 10, $429,000WNproperty.jpg

36-5-Properties LLC to Old Hill Elm LLC and Polaris Elm LLC, 36 Elm St., $4,900,000

Janis M. and Andrew B. Collins to Kevin and Elisabeth Ruscitti, 41 Compo Parkway, $2,275,000

SIR-35 Bauer LLC to Nicholas and Kristen Rossi, 35 Bauer Place Extension, $1,670,000

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03/17/17 10:46 AM Comments () • Permalink

Gallery: DonutCrazy Officially Opens

Gallery: DonutCrazy officially opened today in the eastbound station house at the Metro-North Westport station in Saugatuck. Taking part in a ribbon cutting were (l-r) Deputy Police Chief Sam Arciola; Jason Wojnarowski, owner; First Selectman Jim Marpe, and Mathew Mandell, executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. The store replaces Steam, which opened in January 2014 and closed one year ago. DonutCrazy currently operates in Shelton, Stratford, Bridgeport, and New Haven. It offers coffee, tea, espresso, cappuccino and latte, juice and an assortment of takeout foods in addition to its wide range of donuts. It is open 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays plus Saturdays and Sundays. photos


03/17/17 10:06 AM Comments () • Permalink

Gallery: Westporters in Israel

Gallery: Twenty-five Westport men, including Selectman Avi Kaner, joined thousands of others today running in the annual Jerusalem marathon in 5k, 10k, and 1/2 marathon groupings. They have been traveling throughout Israel this week with Chabad of Westport’s Rabbi Yehuda Kantor. The group has visited historical sites and met with senior political and military leaders. This year represents the 14th annual Chabad of Westport men’s mission to Israel. Contributed photos


03/17/17 05:30 AM Comments () • Permalink

Gray’s Creek Sunset Image
Sunset Thursday over Gray’s Creek in Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Yvonne O’Kane for


03/17/17 12:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, March 17, 2017 - St. Patrick’s Day

10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Westport School Days 1703–Present”
11 a.m. - Westport Library - Anyone Can Use ... Genealogy Resources
11:45 a.m. - Family YMCA - Healthy Living: Brain Health Concussion, Post Concussion Syndrome, & Neck Injury
2 p.m. - Westport Senior Center - Dr. David McFadden on Russia
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “Dances to Celebrate Spring”
7 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - St. Patrick’s Day Movie Night: “Leprechaun”
7:30 p.m. - Staples High School - Staples Players: “Urinetown, The Musical”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


03/17/17 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Finance Board Cuts School Budget $1.7 Million

By James Lomuscio

Fiscal realities trumped pressure from school officials and parents as the Board of Finance tonight voted 5 to 2 to cut $1.7 million from the $115,351,346 proposed school budget for 2017-18. Image
School Board Chair Michael Gordon: “Imagine the headline: ‘Board of Finance Cuts $1.7 Million From Westport School Budget.’” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WN photo from Westport Town Television

With that cut and the unanimous official approval of Wednesday night’s provisional $78 million municipal budget, the total town and school budget, including aid to private and parochial schools and debt service, is $203,514,189 for next year.

Following a finance board directive to cut $1.7 million, Schools Superintendent Colleen Palmer and Board of Education members tonight revisited their budget, recommending only $977,000 in cuts.

She and Michael Gordon, school board chairman, as well as more than a dozen parents who spoke, argued that cutting more would have a negative impact on students and the reason people move to Westport.

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03/16/17 11:05 PM Comments () • Permalink

Preview for Staples Players’ ‘Urinetown’ Image
The Staples Players cast of” Urinetown, The Musical” takes its curtain call at tonight’s preview. The show opens Friday and runs this weekend and next. Tickets are available at or 30 minutes prior to curtain, subject to availability. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


03/16/17 10:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Cinema Initiative Screens ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ on March 25

The Westport Cinema Initiative will host a screening of “2001: A Space Odyssey” on Saturday, March 25.

The trailer for “2001,” released in 1968

The film starring Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood and William Sylvester, and directed by Stanley Kubrick, will be shown at 4 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium. Tickets are $10.

It will be followed by a discussion of the film by Keir Dullea and WestportNow film critic Susan Granger.

The film was written by Kubrick with Arthur C. Clarke and was inspired by Clarke’s story “The Sentinel.” 

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03/16/17 07:23 PM Comments () • Permalink

Holocaust Survivor to Speak at Playhouse Program

Holocaust survivor Ivan Becker will appear in a forum at the Westport Country Playhouse on Wednesday, March 29. Image
Ivan Becker: Holocaust survivor. Contributed photo

The 7 p.m. event is presented by the Playhouse, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and TEAM Westport.

Called “From Hate to Hope: A Conversation with Holocaust Kindertransport Survivor Ivan Backer,” it will take place in the Playhouse’s White Barn Center, adjacent to the theater. 

Free by reservation and open to the public, the event is presented in conjunction with the Playhouse’s April production of the musical memoir, “The Pianist of Willesden Lane.”

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03/16/17 07:03 PM Comments () • Permalink

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