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Tuesday, December 31, 2013 – New Year’s Eve


Westport Town Hall, Schools are closed. Library closes at 6 p.m.
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – “Framing the Past, Present, and Future” and “Walt Reed’s Illustrator in America”
4 p.m. – 10 p.m. – Various in Downtown Westport – 20th Annual First Night Westport

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

Fireworks Set for a Good Weather First Night

By James Lomuscio

A bit tired from final preparations for the 20th annual First Night Westport-Weston, Barbara Pearson-Rac remained upbeat today about Wednesday’s community New Year’s Eve party set to kick off at 4 p.m.

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The 2014 button features the Roman numeral for 20 marking 20 years of First Night. Contributed photo

“The good news is we will have fireworks this year,” said Pearson-Rac, chairwoman of the First Night board. “And, the weather is cooperating. It will be cold, but it shouldn’t deter anybody from getting out.

“If they’re cold, they can stand by one of the warming fires on Jesup Green, or they can stop by Town Hall for a free cup of Bigelow tea, and we’ll have treats there,” she added.

The fireworks, to be launched from the Imperial Avenue parking lot at 10 p.m., are back after a year’s hiatus. Last year’s laser show was a flop, she said.

Where Pedestrians Are Supposed to Walk on RR Bridge

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A man walks on the narrow public pedestrian walkway on the Saugatuck River railroad bridge in Westport in a still frame taken from a 2011 video. Westport police said today Annette L. White was struck by a train Thursday as she walked in an area on the opposite side of the bridge not intended for pedestrian use. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Police: Train Hit, Pushed Woman into River

By James Lomuscio

Westport Police said tonight that the dead woman found floating in the Saugatuck River Friday morning had been struck by a westbound train the day before while walking across the trestle on the opposite side of the pedestrian walkway, ending up in the river.

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Annette White: Investigation showed she was hit by train. Facebook.com photo

The police made their announcement following an afternoon of evidence recovery dives near the railroad bridge where officers found a cellphone and earring on a bridge pier belonging to Annette White, a 46-year-old Maine resident who had been living in Westport.

“Following information concerning injuries to Annette White which was received from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), Westport Police Department detectives began to review video footage of the Saugatuck train station,” said Capt. Vincent Penna.

He said that a review of video footage of the bridge showed a westbound Metro-North Railroad train stop on the bridge for approximately 20 minutes on Thursday, along with train personnel exiting the train and searching around the lead car.

Text of Police News Release on Woman’s Death

Following is the text of a Westport Police Department news release tonight on the death of Annette L. White, found floating in the Saugatuck River on Friday:

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Police officers today inspect the Metro-North railroad bridge over the Saugatuck River where the victim’s cell phone and an earring were found on a bridge pier. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Following information concerning injuries to Annette White which was received from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), Westport Police Department detectives began to review video footage of the Saugatuck train station.

Review of video footage of the Saugatuck River Bridge showed a westbound Metro-North Railroad train stop on the bridge for approximately 20 minutes on December 26th, along with train personnel exiting the train and searching around the lead car.

This morning detectives also received a call from someone who had been a passenger on the same train and who had watched news reports of the incident on television. The caller advised that the train made an emergency stop on the railroad trestle over the Saugatuck River just prior to the Saugatuck train station. The caller said that train personnel exited the train and the train was stopped for over 20 minutes.

Police: Woman in River Struck By Train

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Westport police tonight said Annette L. White, found floating in the Saugatuck River on Friday, was struck by a Metro-North train Thursday night. Video showed a westbound train stopping on the bridge and an officer today found her cell phone and an earring on a bridge pier directly below the tracks where the train had stopped, police said. Westport Police Chief Dale Call (wearing baseball cap) inspected the bridge today with a Metro-North official.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Police Find Victim’s Cell Phone and Earring on Pier

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UPDATE Westport police today recovered the cell phone and an earring belonging to Annette L. White, whose body was found floating in the Saugatuck River on Friday, police said. As divers worked in the water, an officer found the items on a bridge pier directly below the tracks, police said. An investigation determined she was struck by a Metro-North train Thursday afternoon as she walked on the bridge on the opposite side of the pedestrian walkway. An autopsy on White, 46, who recently had been living at an Owenoke Park address, found she died of blunt impact injuries consistent with a very high fall or being hit by a vehicle.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Police: Investigation Shows Woman’s Death Accidental

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UPDATE Members of the Westport police and fire dive team today searched for evidence in the death of Annette L. White, found floating in the Saugatuck River on Friday. An officer recovered her cell phone and an earring on a bridge pier directly below the track area where video showed a train had stopped, police said. Their investigation showed she had been struck by a train Thursday afternoon as she walked on the bridge, police said tonight. Unfamiliar with the area, she was walking on the railroad trestle opposite the narrow pedestrian walkway, police said. They said at this time her death “appears accidental.’ Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

New Year’s Eve: Westport Restaurants Offer Specials

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE Relaxed zoning laws have been a boon to Westport’s restaurant scene and this year’s New Year’s Eve restaurant offerings are more varied than ever—from quietly festive to riotous.

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Post 154 in the former main post office on Post Road East is among new Westport restaurants offering their first New Year’s Eve specials. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The only common denominator is that reservations are needed, and they are filling up fast.

Post 154, the site of the old Post Office on Post Road East, is going all out Gatsby to usher in 2014 for its first New Year’s Eve: Roaring 20’s music, flapper dancing, champagne toasts, even a midnight balloon drop.

“We have deejay music from an era gone by,” said Caitlin Gilhuly, general manager. “It should be fun.”

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 17 Dover Road

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An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 17 Dover Road, off Reichert Circle, is in process. Built in 1955, the one-story split has 1,446 square feet and is situated on a .5-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