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Friday, April 21, 2017

Comings & Goings: Julian’s Pizza Opens Another Location Image
Julian’s Pizza Bar & Kitchen, 1460 Post Road East, will open in May, according to owner Mike Sayed who also owns Julian’s Pizza, 539 Riverside Ave. He said the eat-in and takeout eatery offers wood-fired oven pizza, burgers made with beef supplied by Fleisher Craft Butchery, vegeburgers, free range chicken appetizers, pasta and a full service bar. Pizza slices are available during daytime hours. “We were the first Westport pizza shop to offer wood-fired oven pizza and we’re expanding that offering in our new location,” he said. The space was previously occupied by Bravo, an Italian cuisine restaurant, also owned by Sayed and, before that, until April 2012, by Munson’s Chocolates for 20 years. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


04/21/17 04:08 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Chamber Hosts After Hours at Historical Society Image
Ed Hynes, a board member of the Westport Historical Society (WHS), today addresses the monthly Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce business after hours networking gathering hosted by the WHS. Hynes curated the current exhibit, “The British Are Coming,” part of American Revolution Month commemorating the 240th anniversary of the 1777 British raid on Danbury that began with a Compo Beach landing. “This was a great and informative venue to hold our get together,” said Matthew Mandell, Chamber executive director. “Next month we’ll celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Halsted property.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


04/20/17 06:48 PM Comments () • Permalink

Malloy Warns CT Employee Unions of Layoffs

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration notified state employee unions this week that nearly 1,100 workers could face layoffs in May — the first stage in an alternative cost-cutting plan if ongoing concessions talks aren’t successful.

This marks the second time in the past week that Malloy has hinted time is running out for unions to accept major concessions to help balance the next budget.

The governor, who expressed disappointment publicly last week that months of informal talks hadn’t produced a deal yet, this week took the first in a series of procedural steps to begin another round of state worker layoffs.

The administration specifically notified bargaining units that 11 departments and agencies had crafted plans that could affect close to 1,100 workers and also lead to elimination of about 120 unionized positions that currently are vacant.

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04/20/17 05:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Finance Panel Eyes Ending Sales Tax Exemption for Nonprofits

By Keith M. Phaneuf

The legislature’s tax-writing panel is considering a measure that would repeal the sales tax exemption on goods and services sold to nonprofits — a provision that saves these entities more than $200 million per year.

Democratic leaders of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee said this proposal, which will go to a public hearing next week, is part of an ongoing exploration of possible widening of Connecticut’s sales tax base.

But the top House Republican on the committee and the state’s largest nonprofit association cautioned it could harm the nonprofit community at a time when Connecticut relies on it the most.

“At this point we are just hearing it,” Rep. Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford, House chair of the Finance committee said. “I think we have to take all (revenue) options seriously.”

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04/19/17 04:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Advocates for Teachers, Towns Say Voters Oppose Pension Cost Shift

By Keith M. Phaneuf

West Hartford — Lobbying groups for Connecticut teachers and municipalities today unveiled poll results showing 72 percent of voters oppose using local property tax dollars to fund a portion of the state’s pension program for public school teachers.

The survey, commissioned by the Connecticut Education Association and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, also found 64 percent of voters would cast ballots against legislators who back such a plan.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration, which wants to shift one-third of a skyrocketing pension bill onto municipalities, responded that communities and teachers must accept that Connecticut must make tough choices to address long-ignored problems.

And while the advocates for education and municipalities insisted shifting pension costs onto the local property tax base was an unacceptable solution, they didn’t discuss how state officials should cover an expense projected to grow 525 percent over the next 15 years.

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04/18/17 03:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, April 17, 2017

Comings & Goings: Fred Boutique to Post Road East Image
Fred Sip & Shop women’s apparel shop has opened at 30 Post Road East at the corner of Taylor Place. It is co-owned by Kelley Frey of Stamford and Shereen Koshnoodi of Old Greenwich. The business also has a location at 236 Sound Beach Ave., Old Greenwich. Koshnoodi said the Westport location is much expanded from the concept in Old Greenwich and features a coffee bar cafe to enhance the shopping experience. She describes the apparel and accessories offerings as “contemporary, mid-price range with brand name new designer fashions.” The Westport space was previously occupied by Soleil Toile, which relocated to 24 Post Road East, then by Walin & Wolff women’s accessories, followed by a pop-up shop for cashmere apparel during the past two Christmas shopping seasons (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


04/17/17 04:12 PM Comments () • Permalink

Fifth Annual Electric Car Rally Set

The new, fully electric Chevy Bolt is one of the latest entries in the fifth annual Electric Car Rally set for Sunday, May 7, starting at the Metro-North Westport train station in Saugatuck northbound lot, organizers said. Image
The 2017 Chevy Bolt will be highlighted at the rally. Contributed photo

The rally, a 35 to 40 mile trek from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., is sponsored by the Westport Electric Car Club (WECC), which in the past has showcased innovating electric vehicles (EVs) including the Tesla Model X and the second generation Chevrolet Volt.

The new, long-range, mid-priced Bolt, courtesy of Karl Chevrolet of New Canaan, is the first of its kind to be shown in Connecticut, according to organizers.

“EV sales have continued to increase despite a prolonged period of low gasoline prices,” said Leo Cirino, WECC president, who noted that Westport has 19 public charging stations.

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04/17/17 12:13 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Comings & Goings: Main St. Tea Store to Close Image
After almost four and a half years, DavidsTea, 135 Main St., will close on April 29, according to store manager Stephanie Armas. Said employee Leah Price, “The store is doing well, but the company wants to invest its resources in other areas.” She denied a local blog report that the closing was due to “high rent.” There are two other locations in the state — West Hartford and South Windsor as well as stores in other states, including three in Manhattan. The Westport store opened in 2012 (see WestportNow Sept. 26, 2012) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


04/16/17 05:11 PM Comments () • Permalink

Final Day for SoNo Bakery & Cafe Image
Today is the final day for the Sono Company Bakery & Cafe, 44 Church Lane. The space will be occupied by Aux Delicis, which also operate at 1035 Post Road East since September 2012. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


04/16/17 10:23 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, April 14, 2017

Comings & Goings: Florist Opens at Westport Metro-North Station Image
Licari Floral Designs has opened on the eastbound side of the Westport Metro-North station in Saugatuck. According to owner, JP Licari who also owns Licari Floral Designs, 18 Chestnut Hill Road, Norwalk, the seasonal outdoor stand is open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.. Commuters can call him during the day to order a bouquet, and it will be ready in the evening when their train arrives.  His number is (203) 854-5065. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


04/14/17 03:02 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

House OKs Auto-Dispensed Alcohol at Bars, Restaurants

By Keith M. Phaneuf

The House of Representatives today passed a bill that would enable bars and restaurants to sell beer and wine on their premises using an automated machine.

But while supporters said it would make it easier for some businesses to serve patrons, critics argued it would make it easier for minors to consume alcohol.

The measure, which passed 129-19, now heads to the Senate.

It would allow alcohol permit holders, such as restaurants and bars, to issue specially coded cards to patrons, who then could use them to draw beer or wine themselves from an automated machine on the site. The Department of Consumer Protection would have to develop regulations to implement this system by Oct. 1.

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04/12/17 04:35 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Tale of Four Broken Connecticut Cities Image
Stephen D. Eide, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, told the Westport Rotary Club today of the downward spiraling economies of four Connecticut cities in his message, “Connecticut’s Broken Cities.”  Eide, a Ridgefield resident who writes on public administration, public finance, political theory and urban policy, said that Waterbury, Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford are in desperate economic circumstances. He cited Hartford as the city in the worst shape with 34 percent unemployment and that bankruptcy is a potential option. Click HERE for the text of the study published in January by the Manhattan Institute and Yankee Institute. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


04/11/17 03:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

Comings & Goings: David Alan Designs Opens Image
Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe and David Alan Gonzales, owner of David Alan Designs at Sola Salons, 495 Post Road East, cut the ceremonial opening day ribbon today. Also participating are (l-r) Rich Bobrow, co-owner of Sola Salons, Westport resident Michael Fromm, Holly Bobrow, co-owner of Sola Salons, and Avi Kaner, selectman. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


04/11/17 11:58 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Comings & Goings: Brits Coming to Post Rd W Image
Stephen Kempson London, a custom clothing shop, opens at 5 Post Road West next month. Owner Stephen Kempson, a Westport resident since 2005, said the store will offer custom made clothing with a lifestyle brand that ranges from golf course to boardroom attire. Kempson owned a small clothing stpre on Railroad Place, across from the Saugatuck train station, for two years until 2009. “I’ve been in the clothing business for 32 years, starting when I was only 16, before emigrating to America 22 years ago to operate a clothing business in the Los Angeles area,” he said. The space was previously occupied by George Subkoff Antiques. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


04/09/17 04:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Enjoying Last Days of SoNo Bakery on Church Lane Image
The outdoor seating at SoNo Baking Company’s Bakery & Cafe, 44 Church Lane, appealed to many during today’s spring temperatures on a clear, sunny day. The eatery closes next Sunday, April 16, according to an employee. Two years after moving into the location, owner John Baricelli said the business could no longer support the high rent. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


04/09/17 03:20 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Saturday Lunch at Amis Trattoria Image
Amis Trattoria, adjacent to Anthropologie at Bedford Square, was busy during today’s lunchtime on the second weekend since opening March 31. It serves up traditional and authentic Italian cuisine inspired by the rustic cooking of Rome. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


04/08/17 12:13 PM Comments () • Permalink

Busy Second Weekend for Anthropologie Image
Anthopologie, it its second weekend since opening March 31 in the Bedford Square downtown development, was crowded with shoppers today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


04/08/17 12:06 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, April 07, 2017

Senate President Calls for Optional Local Sales Tax Increase

By Keith M. Phaneuf

The top Democrat in the state Senate called today for an optional local sales tax increase to help cities and towns control property tax rates.

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney of New Haven endorsed a local surcharge of one-half of 1 percentage point to the existing 6.35 percent state sales tax.

The plan, which Looney released as part of his agenda for the 2017 General Assembly session, echoes one portion of a plan released earlier this year by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

But it could put Looney at odds with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a fellow Democrat, who has said Connecticut should close a projected shortfall in the next two-year state budget without any major tax increases.

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04/07/17 04:40 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Tourism Talk Image
Randy Fiveash, director of the Connecticut Department of Tourism, today addressed attendees at the Westport Inn about ways for businesses to take advantage of and partner with the state to promote themselves. Fiveash told the Westport Weston Chamber Commerce co-branded event that 82,688 Connecticut jobs are directly related to tourism and 121,527 are supported by tourism activities. He also lamented the fact that his department’s budget has been slashed to $5 million — well below that of neighboring states. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


04/06/17 09:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

FDA Nominee Gottlieb Says He’d Challenge Trump on Vaccines

By Ana Radelat

Washington – Scott Gottlieb, a Westport doctor, today calmly defused tough questions from Democrats during the confirmation hearing on his nomination to head the Food and Drug Administration, promising to safeguard the agency’s rigorous review of drugs and medical devices. Image
Scott Gottlieb delivers his opening statement at the confirmation hearing today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo from C-SPAN

He also said he would keep his independence from the White House and oppose President Donald Trump if he maintains vaccinations could cause autism. Trump has tweeted there could be a link.

Gottlieb also said he would not be influenced by any sector of the healthcare industry, despite his job at New Enterprise Associates, a large venture capital firm that is heavily invested in medical technology and healthcare companies.

“I want to earn and keep the public’s trust,” Gottlieb told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.

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04/05/17 08:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

Post Road East Office Building Sells for $2.2 Million

The 1982-built office building at 1555 Post Road East has been sold for $2.2 million, according to a filing in the Town Clerk’s Office. Image
The 1982-built office building was appraised by the town at $2.7 million. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The property consists of an 11,461-square foot structure on .61 acres that the new owners plan to completely update with a new roof, HVAC, windows, masonry, and parking lot, said Brett A. Sherman, senior vice president of Southport-base Angel Commercial LLC.

Sherman, who represented the buyer, said there will be up to 7,500-square feet for lease in the building.

He identified the buyer as Fairfield-based BAO Partners LLC, which he said recently purchased other similar buildings in both Westport and Fairfield with the same investment strategy. The sale filing recorded Monday said the seller was Westport-based1555 PRE, LLC.

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04/05/17 05:43 PM Comments () • Permalink

Comings & Goings: Le Boudoir to Compo Acres Image
Le Boudoir spa, a high end blow-dry and beauty bar salon, officially opens opens Friday at 382 Post Road East in the Compo Acres Shopping Center anchored by Trader Joe’s. Owner Mamoune Tazi,  Casablanca-born who studied law in Toulouse, France, before discovering his real passion was in making women beautiful, also operates spas in New Canaan and Darien. On opening day he is offering free blow dry services to anyone excluding current clients. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


04/05/17 05:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, March 31, 2017

Comings & Goings: SoNo Baking Leaving Church Lane Image
Two years after moving into 44 Church Lane, SoNo Baking Company’s Bakery & Café is calling it quits. Owner John Baricelli said the business could not support the high rent. A longtime mainstay at the Westport Farmers Market, SoNo Baking will look for another Westport location, he said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


03/31/17 09:55 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Anthropologie Pays Tribute to YMCA Image
Tucked in a corner of the new Anthropologie & Co. concept store at the Bedford Square development, which had a VIP preview tonight, is a wheel containing the YMCA logo. Next to it is a display of architectural elements of the original YMCA built in 1923. David McCreight, CEO of Anthropologie Group, said the store was proud to pay tribute to the building’s YMCA heritage. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


03/30/17 08:11 PM Comments () • Permalink

Gallery: First Look: Inside New Anthropologie & Co. Store

Anthropologie & Co. tonight opened its new Westport concept store in the Bedford Square development to VIP guests in advance of its official 10 a.m. opening on Friday. Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and drinks as they wandered through the almost 25,000-square foot store on three levels in the building that from 1923 to 2014 housed the Westport Weston Family YMCA. A mini-department store, the facility features clothing—everything from swimwear to wedding gowns—home furnishings, a design center, and a beauty boutique. Guests also got a preview of the adjoining Amis Trattoria, also owned by Anthropologie parent company Urban Outfitters. The complex also includes other yet to be opened retail stores, offices, and rental apartments. photos


03/30/17 08:04 PM Comments () • Permalink

Anthropologie Execs Pleased With New Westport Store Image
Welcoming guests tonight at the VIP preview of the new Anthropologie & Co. concept store in the Bedford Square development were Anthpologie executives (l-r) Andrew Carnie, president of Home, garden & Europe, Anthropologie; Gareth Lewis, creative director, Home at Anthropologie; David McCreight, CEO of the Anthropologie Group and president of Urban Outfitters, Inc. (URBN), and Matt Strode, chief talent officer, URBN. McCreight said Anthropologie & Co. at Bedford Square is everything the company had hoped for in size, downtown location, and being in a highly desirable upscale community such as Westport. It is the company’s first concept location in New England and the sixth in the United States. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


03/30/17 07:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Gallery: First Look: Inside Amis Trattoria

Amis Trattoria, the Roman eatery from Philadelphia-based Vetri Family of Restaurants in the Bedford Square development, offered a sneak preview tonight to media and VIP guests. It officially opens on Friday adjacent to Anthropologie—both owned by Urban Outfitters. It features seasonally-driven small plates, handcrafted pastas, local seafood and antipasti selections from Executive Chef Brad Spence. Amis Trattoria seats 75 inside with additional seating in warmer weather on the outside terrace. photos


03/30/17 05:58 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

News-12 Connecticut: A Bit Less Local

UPDATE Cablevision’s News-12 Connecticut, whose slogan is “as local as local news gets,” is a bit less local now. Image
Ton Appleby, veteran news director of News-12 Connecticut, lamented the rise of social media as the primary source of news for Americans at a Westport Chamber of Commerce dinner last year. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for

As announced last October, new owner European telecom company Altice effective this week has moved production work from its Norwalk Cross Street facility to Edison, N.J.

While the news assignment desk, reporters, and videographers remain, familiar anchor faces, including almost 34-year veteran Tom Appleby, are gone.

Westporter Appleby, 72, has been with Cablevision since 1984, serving as vice president, general manager, and news director.

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03/29/17 03:05 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Lawmakers Set Aside Partisanship to Back Bioscience Industry

By Keith M. Phaneuf

While partisan politics has bogged down many state legislative debates, Democratic and Republican leaders announced today they can agree on how to better support and plan the growth of Connecticut’s bioscience industry.

Top leaders in the Senate and on the Commerce Committee highlighted three bills that develop a strategy to elevate Connecticut to a national leader in biomedical research.

“Connecticut is locked in a global competition to create good-paying jobs and support high-growth industries,” Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said. “… Connecticut possesses all of the ingredients to capitalize on the exponential growth that is set to occur in precision medicine and biomedical research.”

“We have an incredible workforce in our state and Connecticut should always be looking at new ways to support those workers and to grow new job opportunities,” said Senate Republican President Pro Tem Len Fasano of North Haven.

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03/28/17 04:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

CT Mirror Names New CEO, Publisher

The board of directors of The Connecticut News Project, publisher of The Connecticut Mirror and its sister websites TrendCT and CT Viewpoints, announced today that it has named Bruce Putterman as its chief executive officer and publisher. Image
Bruce Putterman: takes over April 10. Contributed photo

The Connecticut Mirror is a nonprofit online news publication covering state and federal government, public policy, and politics. WestportNow is a partner of The Connecticut Mirror.

“Connecticut residents can depend on the CT Mirror to keep them informed, making government and policymaking more transparent,” Ulysses B. Hammond CNP’s board president said.

“To be accountable to our mission and audience, this means CNP needs to be agile and cutting edge. Our board was very impressed by Bruce’s leadership skills, record of innovation, business experience, collaborative style, and knowledge of Connecticut. His combination of skills is just what we need to advance our mission.”

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03/28/17 12:48 PM Comments () • Permalink

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