Friday, April 19, 2024


Cleanup of Westport Permit Backlog to Begin Monday

Appraisers hired by the town will begin fanning out across Westport Monday to start cleaning up a six-year backlog of building permits that have not been put on the tax rolls.

The backlog, coupled with complaints about the accuracy of work done so far on the 2003 property assessments, led First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell to announce March 4 that she was seeking state permission, subsequently granted, to postpone the reval.

Asst. Town Attorney Gail Kelly said a contract worth $150,000 has been signed with the Tolland, Conn.-based firm of Cole Layer Trumble to begin processing the permits.

Acting Assessor Kevin Murowsky said he plans to meet daily with appraisers from the firm, beginning Monday, as they visit Westport homes to assess work authorized by the permits.

Shays Says Government Approves I-95 Emergency Funding

Congressman Christopher Shays said today the Federal Highway Administration has approved emergency funding for the Bridgeport I-95 disaster area where a tanker overturned and caught fire Thursday night.

The funding will support the rebuilding of I-95 to the condition it was prior to the fire and cover related costs of managing the detour through Bridgeport, Shays said.

The total amount will be determined once the site has cooled and a full engineering assessment can be completed, according to the 4th District Republican

Gov. John Rowland said today it will take millions of dollars and two weeks or more to reopen the section of I-95 following the fiery accident that destroyed part of an overpass.

Crime Does Pay for Westport Police: IRS Awards Department $65,520

The Westport Police Department made a federal case out of three arrests on Main Street three years ago and today received a check for $65,520 from the government for its diligence.

“In this case, crime does pay for the Westport police,” said Chief Al Fiore as he accepted the funds.

“This is exactly the kind of cooperation we seek to have with local departments,” said federal agent Joseph A. Galasso as he presented the money to Fiore at a morning ceremony in the department’s classroom.

Galasso, special agent in charge of the criminal investigation unit of the Internal Revenue Service based in Boston, praised Westport police for initiating contact with his office following the arrests.

“A lot of times if there are local charges such as shoplifting, they are handled locally,” he said. But he said in this case, Westport had the foresight to call in the feds when officers began investigating the case.

Westport Police Called in the Feds and Collect $65,520

Westport Police Chief Al Fiore (l) shares a laugh with Joseph Galasso, special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service criminal investigation office in Boston, as Galasso presented the department today with a check for $65,520. The federally forfeited funds were seized as the result of an investigation into three individuals arrested on Westport’s Main Street in August 2001. Galasso praised Westport police for calling in the feds on the case, something he said other departments should emulate. photo

Westport Police Chief: No Traffic Impact So Far from I-95 Accident

The fiery tanker crash Thursday night on I-95 in Bridgeport has not resulted in any noticeable increased traffic on Westport roadways, Westport Police Chief Al Fiore said today.

“We put out a couple of extra people anticipating we might see an increase in Route 1 traffic this morning,” Fiore told WestportNow. “But so far it hasn’t impacted us.”

The police chief said there might be additional traffic in coming days on Route 136 and other major roads through Westport as commuters seek alternate routes around the closed portion.

“We’ll keep an eye on it,” he said. “But so far we’ve been pretty lucky.”

Westport Fire and Hazmat Team Mobilized for I-95 Tanker Accident

A fiery tanker accident that shut down I-95 in Bridgeport tonight caused mobilization of the Westport Fire Department hazmat team and an engine company for mutual aid standby.tanker03250401.jpg Aftermath of a fiery tanker accident on I-95 in Bridgeport as seen from a TV news helicopter. Thom Burrows for News 12

The Mid-Fairfield County Hazmat Team, headquartered in Westport, was mobilized shortly before 9 p.m. to deal with the aftermath of the explosion and fire.

At about the same time, the Fairfield Fire Department requested Westport to stand by at its headquarters while it responded to the accident scene.

The hazmat team remained on the scene until 12:30 a.m. Friday.

The accident occurred about 7:45 p.m between exits 25 and 27, an area with narrowed lanes because of a longtime construction project, state police said.

The highway buckled and partially collapsed after the crash and officials on the scene, including Gov. John Rowland, said the highway would be closed down in both directors for a week to two weeks.

Making the Art Scene

The Westport Arts Center’s Art Roadshow: 2004 Student ExhibitionӔ opened this evening with a crowd of all ages at the reception, including this young lady. Artists are from first grade through high school and come from area schools. The exhibition runs through Sunday. See another photo on ARTS AND LEISURE page. Emily Laux Roche for

Washington’s Roll Call: 4th District “Seems Ripe for Democratic Takeover”

Democrat Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell’s uphill battle to unseat veteran Republican 4th District Congressman Christopher Shays got some national exposure today.

Roll Call, the newspaper which covers Capitol Hill, featured the Shays-Farrell race in a story quoting Connecticut Democrats as saying Gov. John Rowland’s ongoing problems could weaken the re-election chances of Shays and Rep. Rob Simmons of the 2nd District.

“On its face, the 4th District seems ripe ground for a Democratic takeover,” the newspaper said.

“Gore won a 53 percent to 43 percent victory over George W. Bush there in 2000, fueled in part by the fact that Sen. Joe Lieberman (D), who was born within the district’s lines, was Gore’s vice presidential nominee.”

Roll Call said that Democrats believe Rowland’s problems, coupled with the likelihood that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) will carry both districts in the presidential race, “could create a charged climate to defeat the two House members.”