Wednesday, April 17, 2024


OK for Suit Against Westport Parkway Tree Deaths

The way was cleared today for a suit against the state involving the 2007 deaths of a Westchester couple killed by a tree which fell on their car on the Merritt Parkway in Westport with their two sons in the back seat, according to the Hartford Courant. Image
A Westchester couple died but their two sons survived when a 70-foot tree fell on their car on the Merritt Parkway in Westport in 2007. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

The newspaper said the ruling was made by State Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. The state, by law, enjoys “sovereign immunity” against most lawsuits, unless a plaintiff wins permission from the claims commissioner to file such a suit in Superior Court.

Joseph J. Stavola, 46, and his wife, Jeanne Serocke, 44, died June 9, 2007 after their car collided with the tree shortly after 9 p.m. in the southbound lane near Exit 42. The 70-foot tree smashed into the front windshield of their Volvo SUV.The couple were pronounced dead at the scene. Their two young sons, William, 7, and James, 8, survived and were treated for bruises. (See WestportNow June 10, 2007)

Family members and the estate of the couple said the state Department of Transportation failed to clear trees from the parkway, which could have prevented the accident.

Bipartisan Deal makes Connecticut a Symbol on Guns

By Mark Pazniokas

Connecticut’s bipartisan compromise on gun control generated a run on gun shops today, enthusiastic praise from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, laudatory national press attention, and plans for a visit to Hartford next week by President Obama, who cannot find compromise or bipartisanship in Washington D.C.

“This is a good moment,” Malloy said. “We have a bipartisan package that moves the ball down the field quite a distance. I think it’s already being heralded as a demonstration to the rest of the country of what can be done when people work together and put aside some of their differences.”

On the CBS Evening News, Jim Axelrod asked House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, and House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, what was the lesson of Connecticut’s deal.

“Do what the community knows is right and listen to them, not so much the fringes, but rather those who represent the largest portion of the community that really wants to see action on this issue,” Sharkey replied.

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Season Finale of Play With Your Food Image
This week’s performances close out the Westport season of the lunchtime Play With Your Food play readings. After today’s performance at Toquet Hall, actors and director Carole Schweid engaged in a talk back with the audience. Pictured (l-R) are John O’Hern, Joanna Keylock, Grace Cashman, Adam Regler, Barbara Rhoades, and Schweid. Performances continue on Wednesday and Thursday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

NRA Speaks Out Agains CT Gun Control Measures

By Ana Radelat

Washington—The National Rifle Association today tapped a Newtown parent who lost a son in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings to help it unveil a proposal that recommended putting armed personnel in the nation’s schools.

At a news conference, Mark Mattioli, whose son James died in the Sandy Hook massacre, supported the NRA’s initiative, made public the week before the U.S. Senate begins a gun-control debate.

The NRA’s “National School Shield” report makes eight recommendations, including training and arming at least one school staff member and implementing school safety plans.

“These are common-sense steps,” Mattioli said.

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Psychologist Discusses School Violence at Rotary Image
Clinical Forensic Psychologist David Bernstein told the Westport Rotary Club today that school threat assessment profiling should be based on “behavioral red flags” rather than the often used demographics. He also outlined four popular myths about school shooters – that they “snap,” they must be abusing drugs, mass murder incidents are increasing, and that the threat is mostly external and that they can be predicted and prevented. Bernstein was among those invited to appear recently before state legislators studying school safety. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Ann M. Melillo, 86

Ann Mayor Melillo of Westport, wife of Walter R. Melillo, died March 10 at Norwalk Hospital. She was 86.

She was born Aug. 22, 1926 in Norwalk, daughter of the late Anthony and Bertha Mayor. She has been a resident of Westport for 63 years.

She was a stay at home mother who took great pleasure of nurturing her three sons and one daughter. She enjoyed cooking for her family and a host of friends. She was a longtime member of Assumption Church and a source of strength and inspiration to all who knew her, her family said.

Survivors in addition to her husband of 62 years, include three sons, Bruce M. Melillo, Brian Melillo, Brett Melillo and one daughter, Carol Melillo.

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 32 Bermuda Road Image
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 32 Bermuda Road, in the Saugatuck Shores area, is in process. Built in 1963, the one-story custom split has 2,256 square feet, is situated on a .5-acre property and changed ownership last August for $2 million. 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

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

7:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – TEAM Westport Committee
8:45 a.m. – Room 309 – Municipal Employees Pension Board
10 a.m. – Westport Public Library – Book Chat
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – “Treasures Revealed: The WHS Archives & Collections” & “Inside Story”
Noon – Toquet Hall – Play With Your Food
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Representative Town Meeting (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar