Thursday, February 22, 2024


Westport Teen Buys Fire Engine for $1

Westport Teen Buys Fire Engine for $1
For most kids who like playing with toy fire engines, the notion of having a real one some day is just a dream. But not for Dominic Luciano. Today the 18-year-old Westporters dream became a reality.
ғI still cant believe it,Ҕ Luciano told WestportNow after the Board of Selectmen approved the sale of the departments 1977 American LaFrance pumper to him for the nominal sum of $1. ғEveryone said it would never happen. I am very grateful.”
On the recommendation of Fire Chief Denis McCarthy, the board agreed to sell the engine to Luciano instead of to the only other bidder who had offered $1,253.

The Westport Fire Department’s 1977 American LaFrance pumper sits outside the department today awaiting its new teenage owner. photo

A 2003 Staples grad, Luciano has volunteered 3,500 hours to the department as an apprentice mechanic.
McCarthy estimated the value of his work at about $28,000, calculated at a conservative $8 an hour.
He had offered $100 for the engine, but John Izzo, third selectman, suggested the town merely give it to him in recognition of his service to the community.
Told that was not possible, the board decided to sell it to him for $1.
After the meeting, I went to (purchasing director) Dick Kilbride, did all the paperwork and gave him the dollar,Ӕ Luciano said. And now itӒs mine.
Luciano, who took many of his high school courses at a Trumbull vocational school under arrangement with Staples, said he has worked on the pumper for more than a year since it was taken out of service.
ԓI plan to restore it to use in parades and stuff, he said. ԓIt will help preserve department history.
Luciano said the pumper was especially significant because it is one of the last ones to look like a fire engine.
ԓIts got ladders and suction hoses on the side and an open cab,Ҕ he said. The ones today look more like utility trucks.Ӕ
Luciano said he plans to keep the engine in the maintenance yard of his fathers refuse collection business in Westport.

Board of Selectmen Approves Town Common Name Change to Veterans Green

Board of Selectmen Approves Town Common Name Change to Veterans Green

The Board of Selectmen today approved changing the name of the property across from Town Hall from Town Common to VeteransҒ Green. The vote was unanimous.

First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell originally had suggested it be called Veterans Park. (See WestportNow Sept. 15, 2003).

But she said several residents later suggested calling it VeteransҒ Green because it sounded more New England. The property is the site of two war memorials.

She told WestportNow she readily endorsed the suggestion, noting that many communities had a Veterans’ Park but probably not many had a Veterans’ Green.

Under the towns naming policy, the matter was forwarded to the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) which will consider it at its Oct. 7 meeting.

Betty Buckley Live at LongshoreӔ Event Scheduled Oct. 12

Tony Award winner Betty Buckley will perform in concert in Westport Oct. 12 to benefit the Peter Pan Children’s Fund.

The Betty Buckley Live at LongshoreӔ event at The Inn at Longshore begins at 5 p.m. with dinner followed by the 8 p.m. concert.

Not only a benefit for the charitable organization, the one-night-only event will also kick off the 100th anniversary celebration of Peter Pan.

A national organization based in Westchester, The Peter Pan Children’s Fund “encourages and acknowledges young philanthropists to support childrens hospitals through programs like the Peter Pan Birthday Club and Peter Pan Giving Day.”

Buckley won acclaim for her performances in ғSunset Boulevard, ԓ Carrie, ԓ Song & Dance, ԓ The Mystery of Edwin Drood, ԓ 1776 and ԓPromises, Promises.

She won a Tony Award for her performance as Grizabella in the Broadway production of ԓCats, and she starred on the London stage in ԓPromises, Promises and ԓSunset Boulevard.

Buckley was also recently seen on the final season of the HBO series “Oz,” the detective drama “Monk” as well as the Lincoln Center revue, ԓElegies: A Song Cycle.

Tickets for the Oct. 12 evening are priced at $175 and $250 and may be purchased by calling (888) 601-7800.

Heavy Rains and Winds Whip

Heavy Rains and Winds Whip Area as Summer Gives Way to Autumn
Heavy rains and winds gusting up to 38 miles per hour about the same as last week֒s storm triggered by the dissipating Hurricane Isabel whipped the Westport area today as summer turned into autumn.

There were scattered reports of trees and power lines down as well as minor flooding in the usual spots that quickly accumulate water in heavy rains.

Connecticut Light and Power said no Westport customers were without power as of 2 p.m. Two hours earlier it had listed 24 outages.

The weather station at the Longshore Sailing School recorded gusts up to 38 mph with average winds at 8 mph as of 2 p.m.

At 2 p.m., Longshore reported just under an inch of rain had fallen there today while the weather station at Bedford Middle School on North Avenue reported 1.25 inches.

A mid-morning special weather statement had warned of an area of showers and thunderstorms moving into the area that could could produce wind gusts up to 50 mph.

By 3 p.m., the bad weather was well to the east and the sun broke out periodically through the clouds.

Summer officially turned to autumn at 6:46 a.m.

Board of Ed Hears of Bus Problems and Technology Plan; Teacher of Year Named

Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon pledged Monday night that problems with late buses involving Saugatuck and Kings Highway Elementary Schools would be solved in the next week or 10 days.
Landon spoke in response to a question at a Board of Education meeting that also heard about the new Staples High School technology plan and a revised timetable for occupancy of the new Staples.

Staples physics teacher David Scrofani was named Westport’s teacher of the year. photo

The meeting at Bedford Middle School followed a reception honoring Staples physics teacher David Scrofani, 32, who had been chosen the districts teacher of the year. He has taught in Westport for nine years and was selected from among eight nominees.
The schools superintendent acknowledged that Saugatuck parents had received a letter from the schoolҒs principal, Robert B. Buckley, saying the bus problem might not be resolved until later in the school year. He said the letter was based on a conversation Buckley had with Peter Isabel, transportation coordinator.
We believe that is not the case and this needs to be corrected,Ӕ Landon said. He said the problem involved dismissal procedures at a school and the need to readjust some routes, including substituting a smaller bus for a larger one for a student living near the Wilton line.
Staples principal John Brady presented the new technology plan and told the board at present his school has a real access problemӔ because there are 1,400 students and only 150 computers.
Students come from an interactive, digital world outside of school, but when they arrive at Staples, they hit a digital divide, he said.
When we solve the access problem, the learning environment will be greatly enhanced,Ӕ Brady said.
Board member Mark Owades expressed some skepticism about the plan, saying most students had computers at home and maybe it wasnt such a bad thing for them to have to spend more time speaking to teachers rather than being on a computer.

Staples principal John Brady explains his school’s technology plan to the Board of Education Monday night. photo

Steven Halstead, who was board chair when much of the districtҒs technology planning was being done in the 1990s, said he was concerned that not enough money is being allocated to technology, especially at Staples.
He noted the budget for the renovation and expansion of the high school had been reduced from $78 million to $73 million.
Referring to the shortage of computers at Staples, Halstead said, These are the real outcomes of under funding of technology over the years.Ӕ
Board chair Sandra Urist added: We need to recoup those (technology) budgets that we cut.Ӕ Neil Gerhardt, another member, cautioned, however, that funds were not unlimited and needs have to be balanced with available dollars.
Member Linda Merk-Gould asked for a timetable specifying technology goals and the required funding.
Board members heard from the members of the Staples subcommittee overseeing the expansion and renovation project that their timetable now called for first phase occupancy in December 2005 instead of the earlier projected August 2005.
Dan Kail, subcommittee chair, said the move into the new building is now scheduled during the Christmas break of that year. He said the delay will be eased by the availability of new space as the senior center moves from Staples to its new home on Baron’s South.

Staples Principal Laments Internet Problems

Staples Principal John Brady arrived early for Monday nights Board of Education meeting at which he presented his schoolҒs technology plan. Good thing that he did.

He told the board later that it took 45 minutes for him to get the Internet link working to his laptop in the Bedford Middle School cafeteria, where the meeting was held.

That kind of problem cannot be allowed to exist if the schools are going to make headway in advancing technology, he said.

ItӒs got to be seamless and ready, Brady said.

Shocked Friends at Westport Funeral for Slaying Victim

Shocked Friends at Westport Funeral for Slaying Victim
Waterburys Republican-American reports on SaturdayҒs funeral at Westports Assumption Church for Lynn Marie Bossert, 41, strangled 10 days ago in Southbury.

The graduate of NorwalkҒs Central Catholic High, who loved horses and her German shepherd, worked as an administrative assistant at a Fairfield financial firm. Her father, Henry, is confined to a Westport convalescent home.

He attended the service lying in a hospital bed a few feet from the casket flanked by medical attendants. Bossert’s mother, Marie, died earlier this year.

Excerpt: The tragic circumstances of Bossert’s demise have weighed heavily on her colleagues and riding friends, who say they can’t help but wonder if they could have prevented it.

ӓBossert was killed when her fianc, Gregg Madigosky, allegedly strangled her in their Southbury home, which they had shared since 1998. Madigosky, 37, has been charged with her murder and is being held at New Haven Correctional Center until his probable cause hearing on Oct. 20.

Both Madigosky’s parents, Stephen and Joan, attended the funeral, quietly leaving after the service.

铓Standing beside the floral arrangements including one shaped as a horseshoe representing Bossert’s passion for riding ח the Rev. Thomas Thorne acknowledged the palpable anger and frustration shared by the stony-faced mourners.

“‘We must give ourselves permission to go with the flow of human emotions,’ he said.”

Notes from the Westport Arts Awards: Imogene Coca Wowed Them at Open Houses

Sundays Town Hall ceremony for the 10th annual Westport Arts Awards produced some interesting tidbits from speakers about those honored and their lives in Westport and Weston.

Imogene Coca
, whose show business career spanned 80 years before her death at the age of 92 in 2001 in Westport, often would accompany real estate agent and longtime friend Mark Basile as he went to open houses around Westport.

Basile told the awards audience Coca most times would sit outside while he inspected homes. But sometimes she went inside and he always knew it because a crowd would quickly gather around the comedienne. ғThey were thrilled by her stories, he said.

Evan Hunter, the prolific writer who writes under his own name as well as Ed McBain and several others, startled the audience with his gravely voice and finger constantly held to a white button on his throat. He explained he lost his vocal chords to cancer and was speaking with a synthetic voice.

The 76-year-old Weston resident ended his brief talk with thanks to Westport and the Arts Advisory Committee for selecting him as an honoree. ԓArt is all about voices, he said. ԓAnd Westport is all about art.

John Ohanian came to Westport in 1940 as the only music teacher in the Westport public schools. He retired in 1972 as director of music, leaving a legacy of one of the finest music education programs in the country. Ohanian, who died last year, founded the annual Staples Candlelight Concerts.

But his son, David, said times in Westport were not always easy for him.

His father tried to ingratiate himself with students so they would be interested in music. He recalled one time his father sat down in a school cafeteria and shared a squirrel sandwich with a student, the animal having been shot the day before in Weston.

He would ride the school bus with the football players to learn their songs. He taught them to sing in rounds, the younger Ohanian said. He convinced them that taking chorus was an okay thing to do.

One high school production called for a scene with motorcycles. Ohanian reached out to students with more interest in motorcycles than music, allowing them to polish up their cycles and be included in the scene.

John Held, Jr., is best known for his illustrations of flappers in the 1920s. He moved to Westport in 1919 to the Compo Road South home later occupied by the F. Scott Fitzgeralds. He later moved to Weston where he bought Grindstone Hill Farm and could keep the many animals he loved.

Judy Held, his daughter, told the audience that her father always had a special affection for the Westport-Weston area and especially loved his farm. ԓHe became a Weston gentleman farmer, she said.

She recalled that he suffered a serious facial injury when he was kicked in the head by one of his horses. She said her father later said that the animal had ԓknocked some sense into him because he became so famous. 

Held never lost his love of the flapper era, his daughter said, and continued to wear a raccoon coat until 1958 Ԗ the year he died.

She talked about what makes an artist and ended her remarks by saying:  A person who uses his hand, his head, and his heart is an artist. ThatӒs my father.

Leonard Everett Fisher, a longtime Westport resident who continues to be a versatile and prolific painter, illustrator, and author, drew a chuckle from the crowd when he said he looked forward to being part of the celebration of the nationԒs tercentennial in 2076.

Everett, who is 79, said some of his works were included in a time capsule buried in Westport in 1976. It is to be opened 73 years from now.

Actor Christopher Plummer said he moved to Weston in 1981, taking the first house that he was shown. He said he had a funny feeling that the house in fact had once belonged to his friend and fellow Canadian-born actor Raymond Massey. He said he called Massey and described the house to him.

Massey said that was not his house, Plummer recounted, adding, with a grin, but it was the house next door.Ӕ

Plummer, 73, thanked the Arts Advisory Committee and said he has enjoyed being a resident of the Westport-Weston area. This is just like getting a medal for already living in paradise,Ӕ he said.