Wednesday, May 31, 2017
By Mark Pazniokaswww.ctmirror.org
With passage far from certain, the House of Representatives postponed a debate promised for tonight on a bill authorizing the state Department of Transportation to install a system of electronic tolls on major highways in Connecticut.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said Democrats were considering changes that would give the legislature more control over the final process, a change that might pick up votes in the closely divided House.
Planning and installation of overhead toll gantries, which would record either the signal of an EZ Pass transponder or photograph a license plate, could take two years — meaning no revenue that could help balance next year’s budget.
But Aresimowciz said the passage of a law authorizing tolls would establish a reliable revenue stream in future years, allowing the state to reduce payments now into the Special Transportation Fund — essentially a temporary loan from that fund’s shrinking reserves.
The Westport Police Department tonight advised resident that the Public Works Department will be paving Greens Farms Road from the Sherwood Island Connector to New Creek Road on Thursday and warned of possible delays.
The work is scheduled to take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., an advisory said.
Although the road will remain open to traffic during the work, motorists should anticipate associated delays, especially during the morning and afternoon commuter rush hours, police said.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for northern Fairfield County tonight, but it expired a half hour later without any weather-related incidents.
Some media outlets did not specify the warning was for well north of Westport, prompting some anxiety among Westport residents who watched sunny skies into evening.
Open doors to air-conditioned Main Street stores on steamy hot days, a cool way to bait potential customers, are once again getting the cold shoulder from town officials.
David Mann, chairman of Westport’s Green Task Force, today urged Westport business owners and managers to keep the doors shut while the premises are being cooled on hot days, as well as being heated on cold ones. This is the second year of the initiative.
Mann’s letter to local merchants also won support from First Selectman Jim Marpe, the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Merchants Association in an effort to conserve resources for Westport to become a more sustainable community.
Mann added that Earth Guardians, a Toquet Hall-based environmental activist youth group, will help by visiting businesses that leave doors open and remind them of the initiative.
UPDATE A thick fog bank moved along the Long Island Sound shore late today, prompting a call to the Westport Fire Department of a possible fire somewhere in Saugatuck Shores. A Westport police marine unit went out to check and reported zero visibility along the shore. This view is off of Compo Beach. The National Weather Service later issued a dense fog advisory for Westport and area until 4 a.m. Thursday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Brett Doonan for WestportNow.com
By Keith M. Phaneufwww.ctmirror.org
The House of Representatives gave final approval today to a plan to cover the $317 million state budget deficit in the current fiscal year.
The House voted 75-74 to approve the plan, but only after Republican legislators narrowly failed to modify it to prevent the use of $300,000 in firearm and ammunition permit-related fees to help close the shortfall.
The bill, which the Senate passed unanimously Tuesday night, now heads to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who is expected to sign it.
The mitigation plan does avert several controversial proposals from the governor, including cuts to a municipal grant, hospitals and state parks.
By James Lomuscio
The directories, be they Yellow Book, Yellow Pages or Frontier Yellow Pages, arrive unsolicited annually in driveways. Many residents welcome them, but others in the internet age see them as a bulky, hard copy versions of spam.
The latter group has prompted a proposed an Unsolicited Bulky Mail Ordinance scheduled to have its first reading at the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) on Tuesday.
Cosponsored by RTM members Jeff Wieser, Liz Milwe and Matthew Mandell, the proposed ordinance says its purpose is “to establish standards for the placement of unsolicited, bulky printed material on private property in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare of residents of Westport and to protect and promote the environmental quality of the town.”
While aimed at business directories, the proposal targets any document of more than 100 pages not delivered through the U.S. Postal Service. That could include free community newspapers, such as the Minuteman if it swelled to 100 pages during the holiday season.
The Westport Police Athletic League (PAL )today announced that Melissa & Doug, LLC will once again sponsor its annual fireworks display on Monday, July 3, with a rain date of Wednesday, July 5,. Fireworks by Grucci, a sixth-generation, family-owned and operated company known as “America’s First Family of Fireworks,” will provide the fireworks for the PAL’s 61st fireworks show. Tickets will go on sale Thursday and can be purchased at the Westport Police Department, 50 Jesup Road, and the Westport Parks and Recreation Office, 260 Compo Road South. Ticket sales are limited and are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets are $35 per car and once tickets are sold out, shuttle passes from Longshore will be available for purchase. Pictured aboard Marine 1 off the coast of Compo Beach are (l-r) Nate Bernstein; Esther Bernstein; Doug Bernstein; Melissa Bernstein; Howie Friedman, PAL trustee, and Ned Batlin, PAL president. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
By Judy SzablakSpecial to WestportNow
The median price of homes sold in Westport has remained fairly constant at about $1.7 million over the last few years, while the average price has consistently been over $2.1 million.
The disparity comes with average pricing that includes market anomalies, such as entry level homes that are on the lower side of the spectrum, as well as the increasing amount of upper end luxury properties, which effectively tilts the townwide averages on the higher side.
The median price is considered a “central tendency,” and identifies the middle of any given range, where there are equal amounts of higher and lower priced properties.
While median and average can be very close to one another, the higher “average” price that is so common in Westport is in fact influenced by a growing number of luxury properties.
Westport real estate price changes over the past week:
71 Whitney Glen $499,000->$485,000
13 Poplar Plains Road $750,000->$699,000
17 High Gate Road $752,000->$729,000
14 Catamount Road $739,000->$735,000
6 Berkeley Hill $820,000->$800,000
282 Saugatuck Ave. $889,000->$870,000
15 Birch St. $999,000->$959,000
27 Drumlin Road $1,100,000->$998,000
5 Viking Green $1,299,000->$1,199,000
58 Weston Road $1,225,000->$1,199,000
21 Punch Bowl Drive $1,599,000->$1,499,000
7 Tranquility Lane $1,895,000->$1,549,000
6 Weathervane Hill $1,599,000->$1,549,000
22 Pumpkin Hill $1,899,000->$1,850,000
196 Long Lots Road $1,999,000->$1,899,000
46 Wright St. $2,150,000->$1,975,000
61 Old Road $2,249,000->$2,049,000
12 Sandhopper Trail $2,299,000->$2,100,000
104 Easton Road $2,492,000->$2,399,000
10 Yankee Hill Road $2,699,000->$2,499,000
6 Twin Circle Drive $3,345,000->$3,295,000
4 Sandpiper Road $3,850,000->$3,650,000
RadioShack, 877 Post Road East, has closed. According to workers at the site, the nearest Radio Shack is in Wilton at 14 Danbury Road in the Gateway Shopping Center RadioShack’s parent company filed for bankruptcy in March and said in its bankruptcy filing it would close 200 stores and evaluate its options for the remaining 1,300.. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Michele (Miki) Smith died May 25 at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City following cardiac surgery. She was 68.
She was born March 7, 1949 in Schenectady, New York. She moved to Westport in 1964 with her family. She graduated from Staples High School and Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia.
She worked various jobs through her life and was happiest when spending time with her family and friends.
She was predeceased by her parents Clifford E. and Mary Finnerty Smith. She is survived by her brother Stephen (Linda) Smith and sisters Karen (Wayo) Yegen, Nancy Smith and Judith (James) Deegan. She is also survived by four nieces, four nephews, one great niece and three great nephews.
Sylvia Lee Bell of Westport and Boca Raton, Florida died May 18 at her Boca Raton home. She was 80.
The “most beautiful red- head in the world” was the wife of Samuel Bell Senior. Born on Jan. 23, 1937 in Louisville, Kentucky, she was the daughter of Pearl and Stanley Hatch.
After spending her childhood and young adult years in Kentucky, she earned her degree in finance and later pursued a career in New England.
She loved life and was devoted to her family and friends. She was passionate about entertaining and was an accomplished cook. She will be remembered for her gourmet meals, family gatherings and celebrations.
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 23 Old Road, off Post Road East, is in process. Built in 1948, the 1-1/2 story cape has 1,532-square feet and is situated on a .69-acre property. 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 WestportNow.com
10 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Westport Transit District
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Main Street to Madison Avenue”
2 p.m. - Staples LMC - Board of Education Strategic Planning Committee
4 p.m. - Westport Library - DeweyKnit: Grade 4-Adult
6:15 - 8 p.m. - Westport Library - Artist Reception: Daniel Lanzilotta
6:30 p.m. - Westport Library - Chess Club for Adults
8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “Lettice & Lovage” THIS PERFORMANCE CANCELED
See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 45 Turkey Hill Road North is in process. Built in 1951, the two-story colonial has 1,790-square feet and is situated on a one-acre property. 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 WestportNow.com
UPDATE Staples senior Ben Casparius smashes a two-run homer in today’s first round 6-0 Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) tournament win over Cheshire at home. Earlier in the day, Ben was named Gatorade Connecticut Baseball Player of the Year, the first in the sport for a Staples player. He earlier was named Fairfield County Interscholastic Conference (FCIAC) Player of the Year. Going into today’s game, he was hitting .449, with 7 home runs and 26 RBIs in 21 games. As a pitcher he had a 3-2 record, with a 2.52 earned run average and 57 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings. On Wednesday, Staples defeated FCIAC defending champion Wilton 3-0 at Wilton to move on to the quarter-finals on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Westhill in Stamford. Casparius pitched a three-hitter with 14 strikeouts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Chris Greer for WestportNow.com
Staples sophomore ace Chad Knight, known to many Westporters as one of the stars of the 2013 Westport Little League World Series team, was dominant today in the Staples 6-0 win over Cheshire at home in the first round of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) tournament. Chad pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing five hits and had nine strikeouts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Chris Greer for WestportNow.com
UPDATE The Staples girls varsity tennis team today advanced to the semifinals of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) tournament after defeating Wilton 5-2. Following the match, the team celebrated their coach, Paco Fabian, on his election as Fairfield County Interscholastic Conference (FCIAC) Girls Tennis Coach of 2017. On Thursday in the finals, Staples fell 4-3 to Glastonbury at Amity High School. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Genevieve Domenico, Nishika Navrange, and Rachel Caulfield, “Tribute Rosies” from Westport and members of the Connecticut Corsair chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association (ARRA), today pose in front of the Yankee Air Museum’s B-17 during the Connecticut Air and Space Center’s Curtiss Hangar Fest at Igor Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford. The Corsair, the official state airplane of Connecticut, was built in Stratford at Chance Vought during World War II. The ARRA is a national association whose mission is to recognize and preserve the history and legacy of working and volunteer women during World War II. The event, which raises funds for the Connecticut Air and Space Center’s Curtiss Hangar restoration for its museum expansion, continues Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 225 Main St., Stratford. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
The Westport Woman’s Club’s (WWC) Ruegg Committee today presented its 2017 Ruegg Grant of $5,000 to the Westport Astronomical Society (WAS) to purchase a solar telescope with daylight capacity. Alex Kuhn, WAS treasurer, said the 120-member group has 15 telescopes, including the largest telescope in the state available for public viewing (behind group.) Pictured with Sara Menchaca, Ruegg Grant Committee chairperson presenting check to Dan Wright, WAS president, are fellow WAS board members Bob Meadows, Shannon Calvert and Kuhn. WWC members pictured are (l-r) Barbara Levy, Jo Fuchs Luscombe, Nancy Saipe and Dorothy Packer, WWC president. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Joseph A. Izzo, a lifelong resident of Westport, died May 28 at the Carolton Chronic Convalescent Home in Fairfield. He was 79.
The husband of Gabriella (Testa) Izzo Joseph and the son of the late Joseph and Mildred (Capriola) Izzo, he was born in Norwalk on Sept. 9, 1937.
He graduated from Fairfield Preparatory School in 1956 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1957, serving in Stuttgart, Germany until 1960.
He retired from the Aquarion Water Co. after many years of service and was a special police officer for the Town of Westport, a mainstay at his traffic post at Bridge Street and Riverside Avenue.
Officers arrested a Bridgeport man and a Stratford man on larceny, burglary and conspiracy charges for involvement in smashing the window of a vehicle in the Stop & Shop parking lot, stealing a purse, and engaging in a high speed pursuit, police said today.
According to Lt. David Farrell, the incident began Monday about 4:30 p.m. when officers responded to the store at 1790 Post Road East “on a report from a witness who observed two Hispanic males smash the window of a vehicle in the lot, remove a purse and leave the scene in a gray BMW sedan.”
“Westport dispatchers advised surrounding towns of the suspect vehicle, and learned that the State Police were also looking for the same suspects from a smash and grab from a motor vehicle in the Fairfield rest area,” Farrell said.
He added that a short time later, Westport Officer Thomas Casimiro observed the suspect vehicle traveling into Fairfield.
Police arrested former Police Chief Alfred Fiore on a charge of operating under the influence following a minor motor vehicle accident, police said today.
Police said on Friday at about 11 p.m., officers responded to a report of a minor accident on Compo Road South.
“Operator Alfred Fiore smelled of an alcoholic beverage,” said Lt. David Farrell. “After being given the standard field sobriety tests, he was taken into custody and transported to Police Headquarters.”
He said Fiore, 61, refused to submit to the breath test and was released on a $250 bond for a court date of June 5. A 33-year member of the department, Fiore served as chief from 2004 to 2011.
By Susan GrangerSpecial to WestportNow
According to Fandango, “Wonder Woman” is the summer’s most anticipated movie. It’s the fourth — and best — in DC’s Extended Universe, following “Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad.”
I grew up reading “Wonder Woman” comics and watched TVF’s kitschy Lynda Carter, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting Princess Diana’s stand-alone superhero movie. Now she’s here!
On Themyscira, a secret island gifted to the Amazons by Zeus, defiant Diana, daughter of Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), has been trained as a warrior by her aunt, badass General Antiope (Robin Wright), to battle Ares, the God of War.
During the First World War in 1918, American pilot Steve Trevor’s (Chris Pine) plane is shot down near idyllic Themyscira. Rescuing him, Diana gets her first glimpse of a man.
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Main Street to Madison Avenue”
4 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
5 p.m. - Westport Library - Job Readiness Workshop
7 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “Lettice & Lovage” THIS PERFORMANCE CANCELED
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - RTM Finance & Public Works Committees
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Zoning Board of Appeals (live coverage cable channel 79, Frontier channel 99, and westportct.gov)
8:15 p.m. - Staples Room 333 - Board of Education
See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar
Monday, May 29, 2017
A young female driver of a Honda RDX escaped injury late today when she lost control of her vehicle, careened off the side of an unoccupied parked car and slammed into the side of an office building at 1720 Post Road East, near Stop & Shop. A building official was called to the scene to evaluate potential structural damage. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Sports writing legend Frank Deford, a longtime former Westporter, died Sunday at his Key West, Florida home. He was 78. He had been treated recently for pneumonia, said his wife, Carol Deford, who said she did not know the exact cause of death. Deford is pictured giving a talk last June at the Westport Library. He was a 39-year Westport resident before moving to Manhattan in June 2013. He was the author of 20 books, an NPR “Morning Edition” commentator, and the man the San Francisco Chronicle dubbed “the Sinatra of sportswriting.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Former Westporter Frank Deford, who died Sunday at age 78, was honored by the Westport Arts Advisory Committee in 2010. The legendary sportswriter was a 39-year Westport resident before moving to Manhattan in June 2013. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo