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Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2006


7:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 309/307 – TEAM Westport Committee
8:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Human Services Commission
10 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Administrative Review Committee
10:30 a.m. & 7:30 p.m. – Westport Public Library – Pageturners: “Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America’s First Female Tycoon”
7:30 p.m. – Westport Country Playhouse – “Selected Shorts”
7:45 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – RTM Finance/Public Works Committees
8:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – RTM Finance/Public Protection/Employee Compensation Committees

Residents Discuss Conservation Issues

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The Bedford Middle School cafeteria tonight was filled with small groups huddled around the tables working on a project.

But it wasn’t groups of middle school students, but rather it was about 100 Westport residents discussing conservation issues facing the town for the next 10-20 years.

The Planning and Zoning Commission hosted a public meeting for residents to speak on conservation issues as part of its project to upgrade the Town Plan of Conservation and Development. It was the second of what is a series of public meetings on the plan.

Those who attended were split into groups to talk about natural resources, open space, historic resources and community character. Each group gave the town’s strengths and weaknesses before giving suggestions on how to improve the town in that area for the next 10-20 years.

Westporter Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges

A Westport plastic surgeon pleaded guilty today in a Bridgeport federal court to tax evasion and other charges, according to U.S. attorney officials.

Steven Herman, 63, of Saugatuck Avenue, pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion, illegal structuring of financial transactions, and health care fraud charges. He appeared before U.S. District Judge Janet Hall.

Herman operated a plastic surgery practice in Norwalk and New York City, according to court papers.

From January 1998 through April 2003, according to officials, Herman skimmed more than $883,000 in cash receipts from his medical practice and did not declare this money on his income tax returns.

Teacher Contract Negotiations Move to Mediation

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Negotiations between the Westport Education Association and the Board of Education on a new contract will head into mediation next week.

Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said today negotiations between the two groups have broken down, and the first mediation session is scheduled for Sept. 27.

“We have some major issues we haven’t been able to resolve,” he said.

Landon would not comment on what those issues are.

Gas Line Ruptures on Bonnie Brook Road

For the third time in as many weeks, the Westport Fire Department today responded to natural gas line rupture—this time on Bonnie Brook Road in the Coleytown area.

Fire Department officials said a construction crew was digging to prepare for the installation of a new road drainage system when a backhoe struck the line and caused the rupture at 8:37 a.m.

Firefighters cleared the area and metered to determine if gas levels were at a hazardous level, they said, but they were not at a dangerous level.

Southern Connecticut Gas workers came to the scene to shut down the gas line where the rupture occurred, and firefighters remained on the scene for 90 minutes.

Westport Seeks Federal Aid for Storm Damages

Westport officials are seeking almost $87,000 in storm damage reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The funding would cover the costs associated with Ernesto, the storm that pelted Westport with wind and rain on Sept. 2-3.

First Selectman Gordon Joseloff forwarded the request for $86,635 in reimbursements to the state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, which will then send it to the federal agency. The request was due on Sept. 15.

Cost estimates for emergency work during the storm include labor overtime and equipment expenses for debris removal and the cost of protective measures such as overtime pay for police and fire.

Energy Deal Gives Taxpayers Savings

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Westport officials expect at least a $4,500 savings in energy costs because of a new deal they struck with help from the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

The Board of Selectmen today approved an agreement between the town and Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based TransCanada Corp.that will lock in energy prices for five years.

Starting in January, town officials will pay 9.3 cents per kilowatt hour for the next five years.

Finance Director Donald Miklus said the deal will save taxpayers $4,500 in today’s dollars, but the savings could go up before the deal ends in five years.

Playhouse and Arts Center Present Selected Shorts

Tony Roberts, Lois Smith and David Strathairn will read short fiction in “Selected Shorts,” a live version of the National Public Radio show of the same name, on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Westport Country Playhouse.

The program—which is also sponsored by the Westport Arts Center—will be taped for future NPR broadcast.

Roberts will read “Sorry Fugu” by T. C. Boyle, Smith will lend her voice to “A Mouthful of Cut Glass” by Tessa Hadley and Strathairn will bring to life “The Palmist” by Andrew Lam.

Now in its 20th season, “Selected Shorts” is produced for radio by Symphony Space and WNYC, New York Public Radio.  The program is heard locally on Saturdays at 3 p.m. on WSHU (FM 91.1).