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Landon Considering Budget Cuts

By Jennifer Connic

Westport school officials are still determining how to react to a Board of Finance $500,000 cut to the proposed 2007-08 school budget and whether they should seek restoration.

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Elliott Landon: Torn on suggested budget cuts. WN file photo
Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said today he is still reflecting on the cuts and if school officials can live with them, but the final decision on restoration needs to be made by the Board of Education.

“You always hope there will be no cuts, but once they are made we need to reflect on if we can live with them,” he said. “The Board of Finance was thoughtful in its decision, and we need to examine if (the suggested cuts) are what is prudent. We will need (school board) input.”

The finance board suggested $400,000 of the cut come from the insurance reserve and $80,000 come from the transportation savings generated by the all-day kindergarten program, but Landon said those may not be the areas that should be cut.

Defibrillator Provided to Health District

The Westport Weston Health District is the latest facility to receive an automatic external defibrillator (AED) as part of the Town of Westport’s ongoing effort to protect its citizens and visitors by placing the devices in public facilities.

The health district facility at 180 Bayberry Lane joins Westport Town Hall, Westport Center for Senior Activities, Westport Public Library and all public schools in having the devices if there is an emergency.

First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said additional units are needed to continue to meet the town’s goal of having an AED available to anyone who has a heart attack within five minutes.

Westport has been recognized by the Connecticut Department of Public Health as a “HeartSafe Community” because of the CPR training provided to residents and the AEDs available in public facilities.

Two Injured in I-95 Crash

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Westport and Fairfield firefighters worked together today at a mid-day accident on I-95 that sent two people to Norwalk Hospital. The firefighters responded to the two-car accident at 12:45 p.m. in the northbound lanes between exits 18 and 19. The accident involved a box truck driven by a Milford man and a Volvo driven by a New York woman. The left lane of the highway was closed to traffic for more than a hour. Firefighters cleared the scene at 1:55 p.m. when state police reopened the lane to traffic. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Westport Hosts Sexual Assault Awareness Campaign Kickoff

By Jennifer Connic

The region’s leaders made it clear today they hope people will say it loud in tackling and ending sexual violence.

The Stamford-based Sexual Assault Crisis and Education center kicked off its 2007 “Say it Loud Campaign” at Westport Town Hall with a function that featured speeches from federal, state and local officials, and those in attendance included high school students and law enforcement officials.

“We need to call attention to this serious problem,” Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said. “We think it does not happen in places like Westport, but it does. It happens in places people cannot imagine.”

He cited a minor who was arrested last Friday on sexual assault charges (See WestportNow March 23).

Westport Reads Concludes

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In the final event for Westport Reads 2007 Wednesday night, John Marchese (r), author of “The Violin Maker,” spoke about the craft and also introduced master violin maker Sam Zygmuntowicz.  Zygmuntowicz was the figure at the center of the book, which focuses on his building a violin for Eugene Drucker, of the Emerson String Quartet, to rival the Stradivarius that Drucker now plays. For Westport Reads 2007, Westporters read “The Soloist” by Mark Salzman and the Westport Public Library sponsored a number of events throughout March that were inspired by the book. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jayne Gottschalk for WestportNow.com

Thursday, March 29, 2007


5:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201A – Emily McLaury House Committee
6 p.m. – 4 Panhandle Lane, Westport – Green Energy Task Force Field Trip
7 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Sherwood Mill Pond Committee
7 p.m. – Coleytown Middle School – “High School Musical” (sold out)
7:30 p.m. – Westport Public Library – YouTube

Conservation Commission Closes Y Hearing

By Jennifer Connic

After a record five months of meetings on a single issue, the Conservation Commission tonight closed its public hearing on the Westport Weston Family Y’s controversial application to move its facility from downtown to Camp Mahackeno.

The audience applauded the vote to close the hearing, but the commission’s work is not done. It will not need to spend time in work session deliberating and rendering a decision on the application.

The commission held a record number of meetings on the application that started Oct. 18.

The commission spent tonight asking questions of the Family Y’s consulting team that is working on the project, including on the septic system, which some opponents have said has a high risk to fail.

Selectmen Accept Solar Panels

By Jennifer Connic

The Board of Selectmen today approved what they hope is the first plan to accept free solar panels from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.

The two-kilowatt system is available to Westport—which is a community that has agreed to have 20 percent of its energy use to come from renewable sources by 2010—because over 100 households have signed up for a renewable energy option thought Connecticut Light & Power.

Public Works Director Stephen Edwards said he hopes to bank the solar panels until more people sign up and there are more panels available to the town.

The plans are to install the solar panels on the roof of one of the Westport schools, he said, including Staples High School and Bedford Middle School.