Sunday, February 25, 2024


Assessor: Grand List Up 1.3 Percent

Westport’s economy is in good shape with word today from Assessor Paul Friia that the Grand List is up 1.3 percent over 2012. Image
Paul A. Friia: new construction and renovation boosted results. Contributed photo

While not as good as the previous year’s 1.5 percent increase, the $9,940,413,732 total was up from the net 2012 Grand List of $9,804,698,690, he said

The list is the sum of the net assessed value of all taxable property – real estate, motor vehicles, and personal property.

Motor vehicles and personal property are valued annually, while real estate is updated based on the market values determined as of the town’s revaluation date of Oct.1, 2010.  Increases in the grand list were in all three categories, Friia said.

Malloy Offers Modest Tax Breaks for Retired Teachers

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today proposed a second round of tax cuts, including a new income tax break for retired teachers that could provide a strategic edge in his re-election bid.

The governor also backed a sales tax exemption for non-prescription medications, an insurance premium break for cities and towns, extending a credit for business investors and a two-day state park fee holiday.

These breaks, worth about $52 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1, would be in addition to the $155 million sales and gasoline tax rebate Malloy unveiled Thursday.

But unlike that last proposal, today’s tax cuts are ongoing, and would add more than $50 million to the nearly $1 billion shortfall projected for the first state budget after the election.

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U.N’s Helen Clark on Helping Afghan Women

By James Lomuscio

Called the most powerful woman at the United Nations—and a possible future U.N. Secretary General—former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark today stood in stark contrast to the images of powerless Afghan women and children on display at the Westport Arts Center (WAC). Image
U.N. Development Program head Helen Clark addresses today’s Westport Arts Center audience as Helen Klisser During , director of visual artrs, looks on. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Speaking before a packed WAC audience, Clark’s eyes studied the photos, images of women in burkas or giving birth, huddled together for strength or alone, their faces mutilated, and young girls old before their time, their eyes joyless.

The photos arrayed in the exhibit “On the Wire: Veiled Rebellion,” are the work of Westporter Lynsey Addario, a Pulitizer Prize-winning photojournalist who is no stranger to dangerous places.

The exhibit, choreographed by Helen Klisser During, WAC’s director of visual arts and curator of the exhibit, also proved a springboard for Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Program. Klisser During moderated the talk.

Last Challah from Great Cakes Image
There was a rush of customers to Great Cakes on Post Road East today as word spread it is closing on Sunday. Jody Robbins of Westport and daughter Sophie were in to pick up a challah, a Jewish braided bread eaten on Sabbath and holidays. “Yesterday I heard about Great Cakes closing by way of a text from Sophie who said she had just read about it on WestportNow,” she said. She said her daughter has been coming to Great Cakes since she was eight years old. Now she’s 30, married and lives in Brooklyn Heights but shops for baked goods at Great Cakes whenever she is in Westport. Added Sophie, “I can’t believe they’re closing. This place is part of my childhood.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Phyllis P. Dobyns, 79

Phyllis Parent Dobyns, a former Westport resident where she worked many years at Save the Children, died Jan. 22 in Santa Barbara, Calif. She was 79. Image
Phyllis Dobyns: Save the Children veteran. Contributed photo

Born Dec 27, 1934 in Indiana, she moved with her family to Southern California in 1945, where she attended the University of California at Santa Barbara, and where she met her husband of 60 years, Frank Dobyns.

Initially making Santa Barbara home, they had two children, Shelley in 1957 and Peter in 1960. In 1965 the family moved to Mexico where Frank and Phyllis worked for Save the Children Federation and a year later they moved to Westport, where Save the Children headquarters is located. The Dobyns lived and worked 30 years in Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

She was passionate about her family, her work and a life of adventure, her family said.

‘Tunnel Vision’ Art Installation Set for Downtown

The well-known tunnel connecting Westport’s Main Street to Parker-Harding Plaza parking area is about to get a facelift with a permanent art installation called “Tunnel Vision.” Image
The tunnel connecting Westport’s Main Street to the Parker-Harding Plaza parking lot will be the site of a permanent art installation called “Tunnel Vision”. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association (WDMA) announced today that local artist Miggs Burroughs has been commissioned to create a work of contemporary art for the pedestrian passageway.

The project, in collaboration with tunnel owner Win Properties of Rye, N.Y. with granted public access, will be unveiled at WDMA’s Art About Town Opening Night Street Party on Thursday, May 22, an announcement said.

“Tunnel Vision is one of the most ambitious and challenging art projects I have ever been involved in,” said Burroughs, who is donating his creative talents to the endeavor.

Della Maia Thomson, 89

Della Maria Thomson (nee Noble), a former Westport resident, died Jan. 28 at Toronto East General Hospital. She was 89.

She will always be remembered as an artist and free spirit, her family said. She loved to travel with her husband Alan and for many years lived in Westport, only to return to Jackson’s Point, Ontario upon retirement to live by the water once again.

She was the wife of the late Alan Glendenning Thomson (2009), mother of Carole Lee Henrikson (Bruce), Melissa Bennett (Jeff), Melanie Clark (Tim) and Julie Thomson (Philip Mancuso). She was the grandmother of Mara, Alana, Davin, Vanessa, Katrina, Cole, Leanna, Dylan, Isabel, Lindsey, Jason and Lauren and two great-grandchildren Kaitlyn and Ryan.

She is remembered by her brother John (Margaret) and many nieces, nephews and extended family and friends. Predeceased by her father, Dr. Charles T. Noble, her mother, Margaret Elizabeth Stewart, sisters Martha, Ann, Elizabeth, Nora, Mary, and brother, Stewart. If you wish to make a donation in memory of Della, please consider the Alzheimer Society.

Looking for a New Home Image
A tile mural in the downtown Westport tunnel linking Main Street to Parker-Harding Plaza created in honor of the first Westport-Weston First Night in 1995 will soon be looking for a new home. The Westport Downtown Merchants Association (WDMA) announced today it will be replaced by a permanent art installation called “Tunnel Vision” to be created by Westport artist Miggs Burroughs. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

In Westport: Helen Clark, Next U.N. Secretary General? Image
A special guest at a packed Westport Arts Center’s weekly ArtCafé today was Helen Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Program. A former prime minister of New Zealand, she was called by the Guardian newspaper of Britain this week “the most powerful woman at the United Nations” who “could well become the first woman to lead the organisation once the incumbent Ban Ki-Moon stands down in a few years.” Her host was Helen Klisser During, a New Zealand native who is director of visual arts at the Center. Clark spoke on a wide range of topics, focusing on women in Afghanistan, where she has visited several times. Afghan women are the subject of the Center’s current exhibit by Pulitzer Prize-winning Westport photojournalist Lynsey Addario. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.D. Durans for

With New Committee Formed, Downtown 2020 Disbands

By James Lomuscio

Westport’s Downtown 2020 Committee, appointed two years ago by former First Selectman Gordon Joseloff to plan for current and future developments, officially disbanded today to make way for First Selectman Jim Marpe’s Downtown Steering Committee (DSC) announced earlier this week. Image
Attending the final meeting of the Downtown 2020 Committee were (l-r) G. Kenneth Bernhard, acting chair, Gerald Kagan, and Dan Kail. Bernhard and Kagan will serve on the new Downtown Steering Committee chaired by Dewey Loselle (back to camera). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Marpe has stated that the 14-member DSC to be headed by Dewey Loselle would take a “new project management approach” to the efforts.

“This is a little bit of a sad meeting because for all intents and purposes, it is our last meeting,” said G. Kenneth Bernhard, acting chairman of Downtown 2020 since its founder Lou Gagliano resigned last spring.

Gagliano, who had been expected to phone in from Georgia but did not, quit after being at constant loggerheads with the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z), some of its members contending the advisory committee usurped the P&Z’s planning role.