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Rotary Honors Westporter at Annual Fund-raiser

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The Westport Rotary Club held its annual Golf and Tennis Classic fund-raiser today at Longshore Club Park. More than 100 attended the event which honored the late Gloria Spiekermann whose husband Paul (l) has been a longtime club member. His special guest was Alicia Mozian (r), director of Westport’s Conservation Department. Gloria Spiekermann, who died in 1997, served on the Conservation Commission from 1983 to 1991, including five years as chair. At the time, Mozian was an analyst and worked closely with her. Paul Spiekermann thanked the club for honoring his wife and announced he was donating $10,000 to the Westport Rotary Foundation in her honor. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Staples Junior Named Governor’s Scholar

Staples High School Junior Matthew Silver has been named a 2011 Connecticut Governor’s Scholar.  WestportNow.com Image
Staples junior Matthew Silver poses with his award flanked by Staples Principal John Dodig (l) and P.J. Washenko, a Staples guidance counselor. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Now in its 15th year, the Governor’s Scholar program recognizes academically talented high school students throughout the state and presents 30 of them for special recognition to the governor of Connecticut.

Connecticut high school principals are given the opportunity to nominate one junior ranked in the top 4 percent of his/her class, who are then asked to complete an essay on an assigned topic.

Members of the Governor’s Scholars Committee, professional educators from throughout Connecticut, judge the completed applications and assign a composite score to each rank in class, PSAT or SAT scores, CAPT scores for public school candidates, and the student essay.

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 14 Jennings Court

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An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 14 Jennings Court, off Bayberry Lane, is in process. Built in 1950, the one-story split has 1,542 square feet and is situated on a 1.05-acre property. Because the house was built more than 50 years ago, the application will be reviewed by the Westport Historic District Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Joseloff Issues ‘Clarification’ on Baron’s South Project

First Selectman Gordon Joseloff today issued a “clarification” of remarks he made Tuesday night to the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) Planning and Zoning Committee about municipal funds spent on his proposed senior housing project on Baron’s South.

“In my presentation, I said no taxpayer funds had been spent on the project,” he said in a statement. “I should have said that no additional funding has been requested and spent on the project since a study authorized in 2007.

“Clearly staff time has been spent by those in the town departments—including the Town Attorney’s Office—preparing aspects of the application and responding to requests for additional information and clarification from Planning and Zoning Commission, Board of Finance, and RTM members.

“As was pointed out by a RTM member, there was an earlier $50,000 appropriation for the study issued by the Weston and Sampson engineering firm which provided the basis for focusing on housing as the best use of the property. We have not asked for additional funding in four years.

Gordon B. Gruber, 66

Gordon B. Gruber, a native of Westport and a resident of Robertsdale, Ala., died, May 31. He was 66.

Gruber served in the U.S. Army, serving two tours in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot. He was an air traffic controller, retired and traveled with his wife “RVing” before settling in Robertsdale.

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Peggy J. Gruber of Robertsdale, daughter, Jessica R. Hardy of Naperville, Il., son, Max D. Gruber of Maui, Hawaii, twin brother, Charles A. Gruber of Lawrence, Kansas; brother Harris E. Gruber of Rhode Island, sister, Sara B. Egol of San Jose, Calif., and two grandchildren, Devyn C. Gruber and Cameron D Gruber.

Funeral services will be Friday, June 3, 2011, at 10 a.m. at Mack Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Jason Smith and Chaplain Cindy Still officiating. Graveside services with military honors will be held at 11:45 a.m. at Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola, Fla.

Richard Salwen, 53

Richard Salwen, a clinical psychologist raised in Westport and who was a longtime Ridgefield resident and active community member, died May 26 after a prolonged illness. He was 53.

Born in New York City, he graduated from Staples High School in 1969. He attended Northwestern University and earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Fordham University.

After a fellowship at New York Hospital, he began his career working with cancer patients at Memorial Hospital Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute in New York. While there, he coauthored many research articles on the impact of cancer treatment on cognitive functioning in children.

In 1986, he began a long career at Danbury Hospital, culminating in his position as director of behavioral health.

Tornado Watch Issued

The National Weather Service in Upton, N.Y. has issued a tornado watch for Westport and area until 8 p.m.

Forecasters said the risk to the Westport area is highest beginning in late afternoon.

The Weather Service said there is significant instability in the atmosphere in the Westport area which is conducive to formation of severe weather.

All residents are urged to keep in close contact with the latest weather information.

RTM Committee Hears Senior Housing Debates

By James Lomuscio

A resident who opposes a Westport senior housing and healthcare facility on the town-owned Baron’s South property came out swinging Tuesday night, not only against the plan but against First Selectman Gordon Joseloff who is the project’s main proponent.

Bart Shuldman, the lead petitioner who wants the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) next month to overturn the Planning and Zoning Commission’s (P&Z) text amendment 625, told the RTM’s P&Z Committee that the project “is wrong for Westport.”

He said it would result in higher taxes at a time when the town has high debt service and unfunded pension liabilities.

The amendment would permit a 66-unit senior housing facility with 60 percent of the rental units affordable and an 84-bed health care facility on 22.7 acres at 60 Compo Road South.