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Norwalk Official Named to Schools Business Post

The Westport Board of Education tonight approved the appointment of Norwalk public schools chief operating officer Elio Longo Jr. as school business administrator to replace Nancy Harris, who is retiring in June.

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Elio Longo addresses the Board of Education tonight after his appointment. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Harris, who has been assistant superintendent for business since 1999, announced her retirement in February. (See WestportNow Feb. 10, 2013)

Longo has served since November 2011 in the Norwalk school system and previously worked for 10 years in Danbury as finance director of its public schools.

Board of Education Chair Elaine Whitney said Longo would serve to at least 2016 at an annual salary of $185,000. Harris last year earned $205,344.

Hallway Chitchat

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Westport Assistant Superintendent for Business Nancy Harris chats in a Staples High School hallway tonight with her successor, Elio Longo, whose appointment as schools business administrator was approved by the Board of Education. Harris, in her post since 1999, will retire in June. Longo has been chief operating officer of the Norwalk public schools since November 2011 and previously served as finance director of the Danbury public schools. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Committee Down to Two Developers for Baron’s South

By James Lomuscio

Westport’s Baron’s South Committee today narrowed down its three bidders to develop a senior housing complex to two.

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The Baron’s South Committee met in a late afternoon session at Town Hall. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

It eliminated Atria Senior Living for its too high rents and agreed to ask remaining bidders Jonathan Rose Companies and TransCon Builders to present the financial details of a project scaled down from 150 to 130 units.

All concurred that Atria’s rents of $8,366 for a two-bedroom, market rate unit, plus a mandatory $1,800 monthly charge for two meals per day and weekly housecleaning of all units, including affordable ones, were opposed to the planned facility’s mission.

“This is not what the town had in mind in donating the land,” said G. Kenneth Bernhard, committee member.  “This is a very high end facility only for affluent Westporters.”

Rotary Lobster Fest Set for Sept. 21

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The Westport Parks and Recreation Commission tonight approved the use of the Compo Beach area for the Westport Rotary Club’s second annual Lobster Fest fundraiser on Sept. 21. Rick Benson (r), past Rotary district governor, presented the application which was unanimously approved. More than 750 persons attended the inaugural event In September 2012. All profits generated by the event are redistributed at a Rotary Club ceremony each May to local nonprofit organizations. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

New York Times Blog Notes Westport EV Rally

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The New York Times blog entry on Saturday’s Westport event. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Saturday’s Westport Electric Car Club rally with 33 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles caught the attention today of a New York Times automobile blog.

The blog, Wheels: the Nuts and Bolts of Whatever Moves You, is written by Jim Motovalli, a Staples High School graduate who said he reluctantly became the navigator in a car that came in second.

“My original plan was to gather color for the article by riding in the back of a Chevrolet Volt driven by Leo Karl III, a New Canaan Chevrolet dealer, but he was short a navigator, so I somewhat reluctantly volunteered,” Motovalli said.

“Some of the directions were a bit cryptic — the ‘street made famous by Chrysler Corp.’ was Imperial Avenue – But we managed to stay on the route.”

Talking Transportation: High Speed Rail Updates

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow

Time for a quick update on the good and not-so good news about high-speed rail around the world:

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China: The high-speed train between Beijing and Shanghai just passed the 100-million passenger ridership mark after less than two years of operations. The sleek trains depart every 15 minutes carrying 1,00-plus passengers at 200-plus mph, covering the 819 mile distance (comparable to New York to Atlanta) in four hours.

China also recently opened a new 1,400-mile long high speed line from Beijing to Guangzhou (comparable to New York to Key West, Fla.).  Travel time, eight hours. That puts high speed rail just 100 miles from Hong Kong.

United States.: America’s fastest train, Acela, while a tinker toy compared to true high-speed rail in China and Europe, is becoming a victim of its own success. Acela has captured more than 50 percent of the New York to DC and New York to Boston market with hourly departures but an average speed of only 75 mph. 

Strong Finish for Wreckers in World Robotics Tourney

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Westport’s Wreckers Robotics Team 577 finished strong in the just completed 2013 FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) World Robotics Championship in St. Louis. The team competed in eight matches over several days of tough competition against the top five percent of teams across the world. Whille the team finished strong, in 32nd place, members were unable to replicate the team’s 2011 championship. But they remained upbeat. “It is such an honor to attend this competition and place amongst the brightest and best from all over the world,” said co-captain, Alec Solder, the only remaining member of the 2011 world championship team who rebuilt the team back to its world class level. Added co-captain Troy Fantini, “This is an amazingly competitive event and we were proud to represent Connecticut and give it our best shot. We learned a lot and hope to be back next year to take it home again.” Pictured (l-r) with robot “Stacy:” Ian Blancherdon, Max Liben, Mentor Michael Pan, Co-Captain Alec Solder, Coach John Solder, Will Moeller, Co-Captain Troy Fantini, and Eric Pan. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 4 Jackie Lane

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An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 4 Jackie Lane, off Ferry Lane East, is in process. Built in 1950, the one-story ranch has 1.088 square feet and is situated on a .37-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

Monday, April 29, 2013


10 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Westport Arts Center – “SOLOS 2013”
4 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Baron’s South Committee Work Session
5 p.m. – Staples Room 1028 – Board of Education Executive Session
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – RTM Public Protection Committee Canceled
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Parks & Recreation Commission
9 p.m. – Staples Cafeteria B – Board of Education Public Meeting (live coverage cable channel 78, AT&T channel 99, and www.westport.k12.ct.us)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar