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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Republicans Seek Municipal Candidates

The Westport Republican Town Committee (RTC) is seeking candidates interested in running for the various Westport boards and commissions in November’s local elections.

The RTC’s Municipal Boards Nominating Committee will be chaired by former Board of Finance member Ed Iannone, and will interview and recommend candidates for nomination for the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Education and the Board of Finance, an announcement said.

Candidates interested in being interviewed for the Board of Education and Board of Finance should contact Ed Iannone at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by Friday, June 9.

The RTC’s Land Use Nominating Committee will be chaired by former Planning and Zoning Commission member Jack Whittle and will interview and recommend candidates for nomination for the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Board of Assessment Appeals.

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05/24/17 06:50 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westporter Arrested in Insider-Trading Scheme

A hedge fund employee from Westport was among four persons arrested today in connection with an insider-trading scheme prosecutors said converted government secrets into hedge fund profits.

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Theodore Huber: hedge fund employee. File photo

Theodore Huber, 55, was arrested on conspiracy, securities fraud and other charges contained in an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said.

At the same time, it was revealed that another hedge fund employee, Jordan Fogel, 33, of Sands Point, New York, pleaded guilty on Friday and is cooperating with investigators in the case against the other four.

According to court documents, Huber was a partner and analyst at Deerfield Management Co., a healthcare-focused hedge fund in New York, along with Robert Olan, 46, of Rumson, New Jersey, who was also arrested.  Also arrested were David Blaszczak, 41, of Isle of Palms, South Carolina and Christopher Worrall, 39 of Linthicum Heights, Maryland.

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05/24/17 05:02 PM Comments () • Permalink

House Dems Say ‘Budgetary Relief’ is the Price of a New Casino

By Mark Pazniokas


If the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes want the House to join the Senate in granting them the right to build a casino off tribal lands, they must pay for the privilege and give Connecticut a measure of “budgetary relief,” House Democratic leaders said today.

“The bill that passed the state Senate cannot pass the House as currently written,” said House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford.

The Senate bill imposes a 25-percent tax on gross gaming revenues, but no licensing fee or other upfront payments, a disappointment to House Democrats who were hoping for as much as $100 million in new gambling dollars to help balance the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said a majority of House Democrats support the expansion of casino gambling, but they believe the state should extract a licensing fee from whomever is granted development rights, whether it is the tribes or their competitor, MGM Resorts International.

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05/24/17 04:57 PM Comments () • Permalink

Coastal Flood Advisory Issued

The National Weather Service has issued a Coastal Flood Advisory for Westport and area from 10 p.m. Thursday to 1 a.m. Friday.

It said to expect tidal departures around 1 foot above astronomical tides tonight and 1- to 1.5 feet Thursday morning and Thursday night.

The advisory said there would be minor flooding around the times of high tide Thursday night.

Also, there would be brief and localized minor flooding possible with tonight’s and Thursday morning high tide.

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05/24/17 04:17 PM Comments () • Permalink

New Look to Playhouse Entrance

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Workers today erected a new entrance sign to the Westport Country Playhouse. Kevin Kane, owner of the Darien-based Hung Well Sign company, said the sign, designed by Westport architect Peter Cadoux, will be completed by the weekend. Kane said the structure will be topped off with the installation of a cedar roof. Pat Blaufuss, a Playhouse spokeswoman, said a dedication for the new sign will be held at a later date. The 2017 season begins on Tuesday with the comedy “Lettice and Lovage.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


05/24/17 03:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Woman’s Club Awards Annual Grants

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The Westport Woman’s Club (WWC) today presented $30,000 in community services grants to 28 local nonprofit organizations. Also awarded were Bedford Hall grants, which allow a one time per year free use of the hall by nonprofits for fundraising or friend-raising purposes. Recipients posed with First Selectman Jim Marpe (l). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Davae Matlow for WestportNow.com


05/24/17 11:46 AM Comments () • Permalink

Library Reception for ‘Signs of Compassion’ Exhibit Set for Friday

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Westport Library’s exhibit team paused during installation of Miggs Burroughs’s “Signs of Compassion” photo exhibit, which opens Friday in the Great Hall with a reception from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This will be the last major art exhibit in the library before renovations are completed in 2019, and celebrates the end of Burroughs’ one-year term as artist-in-residence. The exhibit is a tribute to a poem about compassion by Emily Dickinson, expressed word by word in American Sign Language, as portrayed in 30 lenticular (animated) images of members of the community. Pictured (l-r) are Carole Erger-Fass, Sue Kirby, Elizabeth Devoll, Ellen Naftalin, Chris Timmons (curator of library exhibits). Anne Levine, and Burroughs. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


05/24/17 11:04 AM Comments () • Permalink

Cocktail Party to Discuss Threats to Long Island Sound, Other Topics

Threats to Long Island Sound and how shoreline residents can take action to protect and restore are among topics to be discussed today at a Westport sunset cocktail party.

The event, open to the public, is hosted by Westport real estate agent Judy Michaelis and Westport attorney Eileen Lavigne Flug. It will feature presentations by Save the Sound and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). 

Curt Johnson, executive director of Connecticut Fund for the Environment and its bi-state program Save the Sound, will discuss threats to the Sound, an announcement said. Jennifer Sherratt of FEMA’s National Flood Services will talk about managing flood risks and coastal living. 

The event from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 32 Edgewater Hillside will include light refreshments and entertainment. Donations to support Save the Sound’s work to stop polluters and restore coastal habitats are encouraged but not required. Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to register.


05/24/17 09:53 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tribes Win Casino Fight in Senate, Face Battle in House

By Mark Pazniokas


The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes early today won the first half of their home-court fight with MGM Resorts International over the rights to gaming expansion in Connecticut as the Senate voted 24-12 for a bill authorizing the tribes to jointly develop the state’s first casino off tribal lands.

The bill that now goes to an uncertain fate in the House of Representatives would allow the tribes to build a casino off I-91 in East Windsor in an effort to blunt the loss of gambling dollars to Massachusetts once MGM opens a gambling resort under construction in Springfield.

“We did what we had to do. We stood up for Connecticut workers,” Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said shortly before the final vote at 12:35 a.m.

The Senate unexpectedly took up the bill shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday, a day when MGM intensified its opposition, buying $400,000 in television time to air a commercial saying the state would be forgoing millions of dollars in license fees and other revenue if it cut a no-bid deal with the owners of the tribal casinos.

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05/24/17 01:12 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunny at Night

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Sunny, the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club’s Great Race mascot, watches over the Saugatuck River Tuesday night. This year’s Great Duck Race is Saturday, June 3. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


05/24/17 12:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - Exhibit: “The Danbury Raid”
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Main Street to Madison Avenue”
10 a.m. - Westport Senior Center - Parkinson’s Support Group
4 p.m. - Westport Library - DeweyKnit: Grade 4-Adult
4:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Tree Board
7 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - RTM Transit Committee
7 p.m. - Staples - Staples Chamber Orchestra, with Bedford & Coleytown Middle School

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


05/24/17 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sunset on the Saugatuck

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Sunset today over the Saugatuck River looking north from the town center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com


05/23/17 08:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

It’s Official: Malloy, Unions Have Tentative Concessions Framework

By Keith M. Phaneuf


After two days of leaks and speculation, state employee union leaders and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy struck a tentative framework to recommend a $1.5 billion concessions framework to member bargaining units.

The State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition, comprised of representatives of all worker unions, voted to engage in formal discussions with the Malloy administration — a legal prerequisite to any tentative deal.

The governor’s office announced the tentative framework tonight.

Unions also began to notify their members today through posts on the bargaining units’ websites. And at least one union estimated concessions wouldn’t be voted upon until mid-July, about two weeks after the next fiscal year has begun.

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05/23/17 08:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

Bedford Square Color

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Alliums provide color today in front of Anthropologie at Bedford Square in Westport’s center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com


05/23/17 06:54 PM Comments () • Permalink

Police: Wanted Man Was Asleep at Train Station

Officers arrested a Stamford man found sleeping on the stairs of the Metro-North station in Saugatuck tafter they learned there was an active warrant on him for violating probation, police said today.

Joseph Capuano, 40, was arrested Saturday and charged with violation of probation based on a warrant out of Trumbull, according to Lt. David Farrell.

Farrell said that officers were dispatched to the train station around 6 p.m. Saturday upon the report of a man sleeping in the stairwell. He said officers woke the man, who was described as wearing a red bandana, to check on his wellbeing.

“The male, identified as Joseph Capuano, stated that he was okay and was waiting on a friend to give him a ride, Farrell said. “The male appeared to be out of sorts and could not answer simple questions.”

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05/23/17 03:54 PM Comments () • Permalink

Democrats Seek Candidates for November Municipal Election

The Westport Democratic Town Committee (DTC) is seeking candidates for November’s townwide municipal races.

Vacancies are available on the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance, the Board of Education, the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Board of Assessment Appeals, an announcement said.

Those who would like to be considered, know of someone who would be a good fit for one of these boards, or have any questions, are asked to contact DTC Nominations Committee Chair Andrew Nevas (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)), or DTC Chair Melissa Kane (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) on or before June 1.

Prospective candidates will be interviewed by the Nominations Committee during the month of June, the announcement said.


05/23/17 01:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

Granger at the Movies: ‘War Machine, ‘Alien: Covenant,’ ‘Snatched’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Over the last few years, Netflix has established itself as a premiere steaming service. Now, Netflix is breaking new boundaries by debuting Brad Pitt’s provocative “War Machine” for home viewing on Friday, May 26, the same day it opens for Oscar-qualifying runs in New York and Los Angeles.

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Written and directed by David Michod (“Animal Kingdom,” “The Rover”), it’s a black comedy, loosely based on Michael Hastings’ nonfiction best-seller “The Operators: The Wild & Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan,” expanded from a 2010 “Rolling Stone” expose that led to President Obama’s dismissal of General Stanley McChrystal.

Pitt plays cocky, charismatic Glen McMahon, the fictional, four-star General who struts in to command U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, deploying a controversial military strategy called counterinsurgency or COIN.

“We are here to build, to protect, to support the civilian population,” he says. “To that end, we must avoid killing at all cost. We can’t help them and kill them at the same time.”

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05/23/17 11:50 AM Comments () • Permalink

Letter: Support Your Local Firefighters

To the Editor:

The Board of Finance and First Selectman have written a few notices lately regarding the town budgets, and I just feel a few things have gotten lost in the shuffle. 

My husband went to Town Hall the other day so his fellow firefighter could turn in his retirement papers. He has served this town for 38 years. He did this not because he wants to retire, but because he has to. 

It was a sad moment for everyone. This is years of experience walking out the door, and he is not alone. They are all facing significant reductions in benefits.

The Firefighters Union and the town are still in arbitration over their contract. My husband has been a firefighter in this town for over 20 years. He did not take this job to be wealthy. He took this job because he cares about this town.

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05/23/17 11:06 AM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 15 Covlee Drive

By Dave Matlow

The house at Westport’s 15 Covlee Drive in the Saugatuck Shores area is WestportNow’s Teardown of the Day -— with an unusual history to it.

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The house at 15 Covlee Drive is little changed from this 2005 photo. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

It was in 2005 that the 1952-built, two-story split gained some notoriety because its owner, Joan Raymond, was so unhappy with the way the neighborhood was changing that she erected a lawn sign outside her house: “Slow: Pre-McMansion Historic District.”

Her action and the resulting WestportNow story (see WestportNow June 10, 2005) brought lots of attention to the retired dietitian. She died in July 2011 at age 82. (See WestportNow July 20, 2011)

Not only did Raymond publicly display her feelings through a lawn sign, but she also taped a sign to a window offering guided tours of her disappearing lifestyle.

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05/23/17 09:43 AM Comments () • Permalink

Power Outage Hits Parts of Westport

UPDATE A power outage hit parts of Westport Monday night.

Eversource said 200 customers were without power from just after 11 p.m. until about 1 a.m. today.

Police said the outage was widespread in the east part of town, around Post Road East and Turkey Hill Road South. An Eversource crew working in the area told police a “main phase” had gone down.

Parts of the Coleytown area — North Avenue, Easton Road — experienced about a five-mile blackout shortly after 11 p.m.


05/23/17 01:17 AM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Scene

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A Westport scene Monday outside the Westport Library as rain fell most of the day. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com


05/23/17 12:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

8:30 a.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - RTM Ordinance Committee
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - Exhibit: “The Danbury Raid”
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
7 p.m. - Westport Library - Wisdom from CEOs: Brian Gaffney
7 p.m. - Town Hall Green Room - RTM Employee Compensation, Finance, Public Protection Committees
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 309 - Architectural Review Board
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 201/201A - Parks & Recreation Commission
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Auditorium - Zoning Board of Appeals (live coverage cable channel 79, Frontier channel 99, and westportct.gov)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar


05/23/17 12:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Monday, May 22, 2017

Honoring Our Heritage: 16 Morningside Drive South

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The owner of 16 Morningside Drive South is the newest recipient of a Westport Historical Society (WHS) historical plaque. Bob Weingarten, WHS plaque historian, presented the plaque to longtime Westporter Anne Beers, who has lived in the house since 1976, two years after she relocated to Westport from Tulsa, Oklahoma. According to Weingarten, the house, known as the Charles Banetz House c. 1901, was built by Banetz who, according to records, emigrated to Westport from Hungary in 1893. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


05/22/17 08:05 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Company to Build Southport Senior Living Facility

Westport-based Maplewood Senior Living announced today that it has closed on a 27-acre parcel of land in the heart of Southport where it will build a new luxury, three-story, 98-unit assisted living and memory care community.

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Maplewood at Southport will be about a mile from the Westport border. Contributed graphic

Preparation of the site, just over a mile from the Westport-Fairfield border, will begin immediately with the intention to begin construction this summer, an announcement said.

The project, to be known as Maplewood at Southport, includes restoration of wildlife and the Mill Pond dam area, location of a former Ice House. The area overlooks the scenic Mill Pond in the Mill Hill neighborhood adjacent to Mill Hill Elementary School.

The development of a 92,000-square foot senior living community will evoke the tradition of the rambling Adirondack and coastal New England grand resort hotels of the early 20th century, the announcement said.

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05/22/17 06:35 PM Comments () • Permalink

Gallery: Moving Morris

It was moving day today for the marble bust of Westport Library benefactor Morris Ketchum Jesup from his prominent spot at the library to a temporary home in the lobby of Westport Town Hall. The bust by sculptor William Couper is being relocated for safekeeping during the library’s transformation project. Town Curator Kathie Bennewitz gave Morris a kiss on his departure and was on the other end to welcome him to his new temporary home. Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com


05/22/17 05:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westporter Off to Become U.S. Senate Page

Ethan Parker, 16, of Westport is off to Washington, D.C. this summer to work as a U.S. Senate page under the sponsorship of New York Sen. Charles Schumer, the Senate minority leader.

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Ethan Parker: passion for politics. Contributed photo

The Greens Farms Academy honor roll sophomore is one of 30 students from across the country who will serve the 100 senators.

His passion for politics goes back to elementary school when he closely followed the 2008 presidential election won by Barack Obama over John McCain.

“I was this 8-year-old kid watching the debates, speeches and party conventions,” Ethan said. “I even had a map that I updated daily, marked with red and blue states, electoral numbers and the candidates.”

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05/22/17 05:22 PM Comments () • Permalink

Time to Renew Railroad Parking Permits

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The Westport Police Department Railroad Parking Division today began walkup annual renewals of railroad parking permits, which can also be renewed online, for a small fee, at http://www.buymypermit.com/westport. Single vehicle permits cost $325 per year and two-vehicle permit for vehicles registered to the same family at the same address are $450. All permits expire June 30. According to Police Chief Foti Koskinas, just over two permits are sold for each of the 2,000-plus parking spots available at Westport and Green’s Farms. He said the waitlist is about 1,050 persons with a time of about two years. View is of Lot No. 1 in Saugatuck. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


05/22/17 04:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

Police Ask Help in Finding Mailbox Vandals

Westport police today asked the public’s help in finding those responsible for recent mailbox vandalism.

Since May 12, the department has received 20 complaints of vandalized mailboxes and two reports of stolen mailboxes, said Lt. David Farrell.

“The vandalisms and thefts have occurred during the overnight hours,” he said. “These mailboxes cost between $100 and $450 to replace.” 

He said anyone with information as to the identity of the responsible parties should contact the Westport Police Detective Bureau at (203) 341-6080.


05/22/17 01:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 15 Valley Road

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An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 15 Valley Road, between Greens Farms Road and Hillspoint Road, is in process. Built in 1955, the one-story split has 1,449-square feet, is situated on a .52-acre property and changed hands for $450,000 in March 2000, according to Town Assessor records. 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


05/22/17 12:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

Report: Malloy Near Union Concession Deal

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Mark Pazniokas


UPDATE The tentative concessions deal Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and employee unions were closing in on today would double pension contributions for most workers, create a hybrid pension/defined-contribution plan for future workers, and curtail health care benefits for existing retirees.

As more details of the potential deal became available, it was disclosed that the potential deal would save $712.6 million next fiscal year and $849.4 million in 2018-19 — effectively matching the $1.57 billion, two-year savings target Malloy set in February.

The proposed plan, according to a source, would freeze wages for each of the next two fiscal years. Employees, most of whom are working this fiscal year under a contracts that expired last June, also would forfeit any retroactive pay hike.

The cumulative three-year wage freeze, would provide nearly half of the total projected savings. Workers would receive pay hikes of 3.5 percent in 2020 and in 2021.

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05/22/17 11:55 AM Comments () • Permalink

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