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Westport 2015 Year in Review: A Year of Change

By James Lomuscio

As the New Year is ushered in on Friday, it seems that ringing out the old and ringing in the new in Westport could not have more relevance and bittersweet poignancy.

WestportNow Year in Review 2015

From the loss of beloved citizens to the moving on of equally beloved town employees and educators to last calls at landmark restaurants to the loss of a longtime, after school bus service and the shooting down of a seven-year planned senior housing complex, the town had more than its share of change.

At the same time, there were a number of new beginnings, including the reopening of the historic Saugatuck Congregational Church to the start of the Bedford Square project to the completion and initial undertaking of a Downtown Master Plan.

As always, change is inevitable, even in the land of steady habits; however, in Westport the changes always seem to be tempered with deference to the town’s historic character.

Thursday, December 31, 2015 – First Night


Westport Public Schools are closed. Westport Library closes at 5 p.m.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Westport Arts Center – “DREAMscapes”
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – “Window to Westport’s Past & Present”
2 p.m. – Westport Library – Family Movie Special: “The Red Balloon”
3 p.m. – 10 p.m. – Various – First Night 2016 (more info)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

Susan Granger at the Movies: 10 BEST for 2015

WestportNow film critic Susan Granger compiled her list of 10 BEST for 2015. They are listed alphabetically:

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PICTURE:

“Bridge of Spies” - Fact-based spy-swap story, set during the Cold War.
“Creed” - Re-birth of the “Rocky” legend for another generation.
“Ex Machina” - A scientist creates a remarkably life-like cyborg.
“Inside Out” - Pixar Animation delightfully details how our minds work.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” - Explosive, post-apocalyptic action epic.
“The Martian” - A rousing sci-fi adventure about an astronaut stranded on Mars.
“Son of Saul” - Holocaust drama set in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.
“Spotlight” - Boston Globe reporters expose the Catholic Church’s pedophilia cover-up.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” - Revival of the galactic, good vs. evil adventure.
“Trumbo” - Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo battles the Hollywood blacklist.

Returns and Westport History

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Holiday return items were piled on the counter at Westport’s Banana Republic, 44 Main St., late today. Seen in the background are the quirky characters painted on a mural by New Milford artist Edmund Ashe, Jr. in the 1930s to decorate the wall behind a bar called Triangle Tavern, later Townly’s Restaurant. It suffered damage due to a fire in the 1950s and subsequently was covered with dry wall when Klein’s, a Main Street presence since 1937, expanded into the spot. In 1999, Klein’s leased the ground floor to Banana Republic and moved upstairs, finally closing for good in 2004. The mural was rediscovered during the Banana Republic renovation and restored. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com

Nicholas M. Albertson, 85

Nicholas Myers Albertson of Redding, a former Westport resident, died at age 85.

He was born March 23, 1930 in Rochester, N.Y. to Nicholas A. and Kathryn Albertson, their only child. After graduating from Brighton High School, he attended Cornell University, earning a bachelor’s degree from the ILR School in 1951, and went to work for the Union Carbide Corporation, retiring in 1993.

He married the love of his life, Dorothy Clark, in 1949, and they raised three sons in Fostoria and Cleveland, Ohio, before moving to Westport in 1965. After the boys were grown, the couple made their home in Redding until Dorothy’s untimely death as a result of lung cancer in 1992 and where Nick has lived ever since.

He was an active member of the Staples Booster Club while his sons attended Staples High School, and he and Dorothy were actively involved in the life of Emmanuel Episcopal Parish Church, Weston, for more than 50 years.

Teen Essay Contest Focuses on Racially Charged Incidents

TEAM (Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism) and the Westport Library today announced its third annual high school essay contest on diversity.

The 1,000-word contest, open to all ninth through twelfth graders who reside in town, asks students to make sense out of the troubling, racially charged incidents from Charleston to Chicago over the past year.

Applications can be downloaded at http://www.teamwestport.org on Jan. 4, and completed essays are due Feb. 26.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Westport Library on April 4, officials say, and first prize is $1,000, second prize $750 and third prize, $500.

Metro-North Adds Extra Trains

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Westport’s Metro-North station platform was crowded with riders today waiting for the 10:37 a.m. to Grand Central Terminal. Metro-North said it was adding extra trains on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to accommodate riders. It reminded travelers that no alcohol would be permitted on trains from noon on Thursday, New Year’s Eve, until noon Friday, New Year’s Day. It said on New Year’s Eve, tickets will be collected prior to boarding trains at Grand Central and advised riders to buy tickets in advance. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Only One New Year’s Compo Plunge This Year

After double New Year’s Day “penguin plunges” at Westport’s Compo Beach for eight years, this year there will be only one.

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Team Mossman members and supported make the Compo plunge last Newy Year’s Day. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

Westport’s Temple Israel (TI) will sponsor its ninth “Freezin’ for a Reason” plunge at 11 a.m., this year to benefit the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter with a goal of raising $100,000.

The Team Mossman Triathlon Club, which has held a New Year’s Day plunge at the beach for 12 years to benefit Save the Children, this year did not apply for town permission for the event, said Robin Myers, event coordinator.

“The Westport municipality told us last year that it would not grant us the permit, as Save was moving out of Westport,” he said, referring to the charity’s 2014 move to Fairfield from its Wilton Road home since 1974.

Real Estate Report: Available Inventory at Year Low

By Judy Szablak

Available housing inventory in Westport is at its lowest point for the year. However, that will all start to change in the first few months of 2016. 

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Featured Home: This home at 3 Rodgers Way is listed at $2,495,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of Coldwell Banker Westport-Riverside

Part of this inventory shortage comes from the belief that buyers are not looking as earnestly as they would during other times of the year.

In fact, many homeowners wishing to sell remove their homes from the market during the holiday season and into January as well as February.

They wrongfully assume that it is not a good time to sell, and that they should wait for the Spring market.