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Westports Eddie Bauer Store to Close

Westports Eddie Bauer store, a fixture for many years at the intersection of Post Road East and Taylor Place in the heart of the town center, is closing.

The Spiegel Group Inc. said the store—which it actually counts as two as it has apparel as well as home items—is one of its 60 underperforming Eddie Bauer stores it plans to close as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

The Downers Grove, Ill.-based catalog retailer said the closings affect 51 apparel stores, eight home stores and one outlet store in 25 states plus the District of Columbia. It said it may close more of its 529 Eddie Bauer stores in the future.

Eddie Bauer operates outdoor-themed stores in the United States and Canada. Spiegel said the closures should improve the chain’s financial results in fiscal 2003 and beyond. It said the stores will remain open pending the bankruptcy court’s approval of the store-closing plan.

Spiegel did not say how many jobs will be lost. The company, founded in 1865, filed for protection from creditors in March.

THe 16,400-square foot building at 40-44 Post Road East was sold in 2002 by Maryland-based Federal Realty Investment Trust to a Greenwich-based real estate investment group for $7.5 million. It had purchased the building in 1994 for $4.2 million.

Longtime Westporters will remember the Eddie Bauer location as housing the old Ship’s Lantern Restaurant as well as Colgan’s Pharmacy. The Ship’s name is retained by the Ship’s Corner Chinese takeout which occupies the rear portion of the building facing on Jesup Road.

Fire Officials Identify Woman Found Dead in House Fire

Fire officials today identified the victim of a house fire Sunday as Betty Strong, 75.

Strong was found on the second floor of the home at 187 Compo Road South, near the intersection of Greens Farms Road.

Flames heavily damaged the first and second floors of the two-story home before firefighters got it under control at about 12:30 p.m.

Fire officials gave no official cause of the blaze, but there was speculation it may have been caused by smoking. One source said Strong’s body was found in a bathroom where she may have sought refuge from the flames.

Firefighters responded to the house today to extinguish a small fire which rekindled in some furniture left charred on the front lawn.

It was the second death in a Westport house fire in less than two weeks. A 52-year-old man was found dead in a house fire April 14 at 2 Moss Ledge Road. Police said the victim died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.


04/28/2003 20:55 pm Comments (0)Permalink

On the Line: Westport Attorney Battles for Two-Town Client

Attorney Alan Neigher lives in Fairfield but works in Westport. But not by much. A good golfer standing outside his office near the Super Stop and Shop on Post Road East could probably hit a ball across the town line into Fairfield.

What does that have to do with anything? Maybe nothing. But it is interesting to note as Neigher does battle for a client who lives mostly in Stamford but is trying to convince Greenwich he ought to be considered a resident there, at least for voting purposes.

Todays Greenwich Time highlights the legal dispute and quotes from a legal brief filed by Neigher in which he argues that “no law requires that a party living on property bisected by town boundaries must vote where (he) or she pays the greater amount of real estate taxes, or where their bedroom is located.Ҕ

For political trivia buffs, it is also interesting to note that Neigher, better known for his legal briefs on behalf of his media and entertainment clients, is opposed by the First Selectman of Easton on the issue.

The Town of Greenwich hired Bridgeport attorney William Kupinse Jr., who also wears the hat of Eastons top elected official, to represent its two registrars of voters in the dispute.

For longtime area media buffs, there is another interesting note: Alan Neigher is the son of the late Harry Neigher, a well-known columnist and cartoonist for the old Bridgeport Herald, (later the Bridgeport Sunday Herald), and probably knows a thing or two about publicity for his cases when he wants it.

Perhaps that, along with his other media connections, has something to do with how NeigherҒs Greenwich-Stamford border case ended up on the front page of The New York Times metropolitan section April 10 under the headline: Is It Greenwich Or Stamford? Lay Your Head On Either Side.”

Update: A special arbitration panel ruled May 16 that Neigher’s client was improperly removed from the Greenwich voter list, but the panel’s decision did not address what determines residency, which could leave room for him to be removed again.


04/26/2003 17:08 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Showtime to Air Westport Country Playhouse’s “Our Town” May 24

If you missed it in Westport and on Broadway, you can now see the Westport Country Playhouse production of Our TownӔ starring Paul Newman on cable. It will be broadcast on Saturday, May 24 at 8 p.m.

The Showtime and PBS ExxonMobil Masterpiece TheatreӔ presentation is directed by James Naughton, who also directed the stage presentation. The production is Newmans first appearance on Broadway in 38 years.

ғOur Town was produced by the Playhouse from June 5-22, 2002, before beginning a sold-out limited engagement on Dec. 4, 2002, at the Booth Theater on Broadway. Joanne Woodward is the artistic director of the Playhouse.

Showtime Networks’ production of ԓOur Town was shot over five days with four cameras in the Booth Theater. Following its May premiere on Showtime, ԓOur Town will air this fall on PBS.

Norwalk Hospital Officials Offer Differing Reports About Suspected SARs Cases

Almost two weeks after WestportNow first reported that the states first suspected SARS case involved a Westport resident, the head of the infectious disease department at Norwalk Hospital said the hospitalҒs emergency room treated two such patients.

But a colleague at the hospital later offered a conflicting report. (See below.)

Other than reporting the hospitals involvement with the patients, Dr. Ernest Atlas gave few details about the cases in an interview aired on CablevisionҒs News-12. He said both patients had a dry cough, an elevated fever, a headache, and were “aching all over.”

The states Department of Health has reported six cases in the state related to the severe acute respiratory illness Җ five listed as suspected and one as probable. It said two were in separate towns in Fairfield County but did not identify the communities.

The department said none has any relationship to the others and all are recovering and doing well.

On March 28, WestportNow reported that area medical officials had received word that a southwest Connecticut resident was a suspected SARS case and were asked to be especially vigilant about other suspected cases.

The patient had recently traveled to an Asian country where the illness had been reported.

On April 12, WestportNow reported it had subsequently confirmed that at least one of the suspected Fairfield County patients was a Westport resident who travels abroad frequently for business and has fully recovered.

Health officials have stressed that local residents should not be alarmed since the cases are suspected and not confirmed.

Update
: The head of Norwalk Hospitals emergency department, Dr. Michael Carius, speaking in a News-12 interview Friday (April 25), offered an account that conflicted with what his colleague, Dr. Atlas, said Thursday, according to the station.

It reported that Dr. Carius told them he did not have the information that Dr. Atlas had, and that as far as he knew, there had not been any suspected cases of SARS treated at Norwalk Hospital.

Additionally, News-12 reported that he said the hospital had made no notification about any suspected cases to the state Department of Health. The implication seemed to be that the two Fairfield County cases cited by the state were not the ones referred to by Dr. Atlas.

There was no explanation for the discrepancy in what the two hospital officials reported. But medical sources said it likely was due to the changing definitions, acknowledged by experts, of how to classify suspected SARS cases.

Westport Soldier Injured in Iraq

Westport Soldier Injured in Iraq Returning to Home Base
Theres a sigh of relief around the home of Westporters Barbara and Joe Bilotta on Stoneboat Road. Their 24-year-old son Nicholas, with the ArmyҒs 101st Airborne, is returning to U.S. soil after being injured last week in a mine-clearing operation in Iraq.

According to todays Connecticut Post, Bilotta is due back this weekend at Fort Campbell, Ky., to recover from injuries suffered April 16 while clearing a building of mines south of Baghdad. Two Iraqis leading the platoon died in the incident.

The newspaper reported that the phone and doorbell have not stopped ringing at the Bilotta home since news of Nicholas BilottaҒs injuries spread. The soldier, a 2nd lieutenant, was airlifted first to Kuwait and then Germany for treatment.

The report said the parents have also received support from their sons former high school, Fairfield College Preparatory School, where he was captain of the lacrosse, basketball, and football teams.

Bilotta graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point last June.


04/24/2003 14:23 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Westports State Rep on Losing

Westports State Rep on Losing Side on Gaming Bill
WestportҒs State Rep. G. Kenneth Bernhard was on the losing side in a House of Representatives vote that would reinstate some of the gaming outlawed when the state in January repealed the so-called “Las Vegas Nights” law. It passed 123-21.

The bill would reinstate to schools and not-for-profit organizations the rights to conduct certain games of chance where there is no betting of money and no monetary prizes.

The games are popular at many school functions, particularly non-alcohol, after-prom parties. Instead of money, prizes are usually awarded for tickets earned.

According to a report in today’s The Advocate of Stamford, Bernhard said, “Let’s not lose sight that we didn’t want the state to become the casino capital of the world.

“This amendment and the bill would repeal the obstacle we thought would be in place. I understand the Boy Scouts and others are losing money and my heart goes out to them. But we don’t want this to become a gambling mecca.”

According to the newspaper, the Westport Republican said that when the state repealed Las Vegas Night legislation, officials determined that only $275,000 in fund raising by not-for-profit groups would be affected out of about $17 million they raise annually.

Supporters of the amendment said they had participated in school gaming nights in the past and believed they were an important part of maintaining alcohol- and tragedy-free senior prom nights in many communities.

But opponents said they were concerned that allowing even limited, nonmonetary games of chance would open up the state to future legal challenges.


04/24/2003 12:18 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Farrell Invites Valley Towns to

Farrell Invites Valley Towns to Join Anti-Recognition Coalition
Westport First Selectwoman Diane Farrell, who is getting attention outside the area with her Bridgeport economic initiative, has raised her state-wide profile a little higher.

Now shes invited Valley towns to join the Fairfield County Coalition battling any future Indian land claims.

TodayҒs New Haven Register reported that Farrell sent a letter to officials in Derby, Milford, Stratford, Monroe and Shelton, inviting them to participate in the effort.

According to her letter, the coalition was formed last year by Fairfield County officials “in order to pool resources to challenge the Golden Hill Paugaussett and Schaghticoke applications for tribal recognition.”

Both tribes were denied recognition by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs within about a month of each other in December 2002 and this January. But they are still interested in federal recognition, which opens the door to development of casinos.

In her letter, Farrell said the five towns could be targets of land claims, the newspaper reported. “The issue of Golden Hill Paugaussett tribal recognition is especially pertinent,” Farrell wrote.

The Register quoted Westport Town Attorney Ira Bloom as saying Westport is worried more about tribal recognition than land claims. He said the possibility of a casino in Bridgeport, which had been proposed by the Paugussetts, would drastically increase traffic in Westport.

“Weve had an ongoing concern about the impact of a casino in Bridgeport on the traffic in the area,” said Bloom. “ThatҒs been our most immediate concern but there remains a concern as to whether land claims will be asserted.”


04/24/2003 11:54 am Comments (0)Permalink

Martha Stewart Licking: Westporters New Pet Project

The man who put chinchillas and canaries in Martha Stewart’s Westport home—where she also keeps seven Himalayan cats—is the new star of Stewarts media empire.

Long IslandҒs Newsday newspaper reported today that Stewart, who built a multimillion-dollar business from her homemaking tips, is branching out into pet care.

Stewarts company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., will launch a new television show, Web site, magazine column and merchandise based on the ideas of Long Island pet-shop owner Marc Morrone of Parrots of the World in Rockville Centre,

It is the first major venture by StewartҒs company to focus on the personality and talents of someone other than its founder.

The Manhattan-based company is taking over production of Morrone’s nationally syndicated TV show, renaming it “Petkeeping with Marc Morrone.” The new, half-hour program is set to debut in September on more than 130 stations nationwide, many affiliated with Fox television.

Stewart told reporters that she first met Morrone in 1998 after she came across his TV show late one night on Cablevision’s Metro Channel. He soon became a frequent guest on her TV program and introduced chinchillas and canaries to her Turkey Hill Road South home.

Martha Stewart Licking: Westporters New

Martha Stewart Licking: Westporters New Pet Project
The man who put chinchillas and canaries in Martha Stewart’s Westport home—where she also keeps seven Himalayan cats—is the new star of StewartҒs media empire.

Long Islands Newsday newspaper reported today that Stewart, who built a multimillion-dollar business from her homemaking tips, is branching out into pet care.

StewartҒs company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., will launch a new television show, Web site, magazine column and merchandise based on the ideas of Long Island pet-shop owner Marc Morrone of Parrots of the World in Rockville Centre,

It is the first major venture by Stewarts company to focus on the personality and talents of someone other than its founder.

The Manhattan-based company is taking over production of Morrone’s nationally syndicated TV show, renaming it “Petkeeping with Marc Morrone.” The new, half-hour program is set to debut in September on more than 130 stations nationwide, many affiliated with Fox television.

Stewart told reporters that she first met Morrone in 1998 after she came across his TV show late one night on Cablevision’s Metro Channel. He soon became a frequent guest on her TV program and introduced chinchillas and canaries to her Turkey Hill Road South home.


04/24/2003 11:28 am Comments (0)Permalink