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Blumenthal Bill Would Speed Generic Drug OK

By Kyle Constable

www.ctmirror.org

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., plans to introduce legislation intended to speed up FDA approval of generic prescription drugs and combat the “astronomic rise” in the cost of health care, he said today.

The bill, titled the “Fast Generics Act,” will be sponsored by Blumenthal and a number of other legislators. He announced the proposal and called for more federal action to combat high prescription drug prices during a panel discussion at Hartford Hospital.

“The astronomic rise in health care costs is due to lax enforcement, broken markets and, unfortunately, unvarnished greed,” Blumenthal said during the event. “There are more fundamental problems that need to be addressed. Many of the companies are too big – and are monopolies – and have misused their monopolistic power.”

Blumenthal called for stronger enforcement of federal antitrust laws and more transparency in drug costs, saying that claims of research and development necessitating the cost increases need to be verifiable.

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Installing Enid Munroe Exhibit

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Westport Arts Center Visual Arts Manager Jill Sarver (l) and Victoria Munroe today install Westport artist Enid Munroe’s “bling boxes,” visually rich collections of found objects placed into typography boxes, in advance of Friday’s opening reception for “Enid Munroe: Artist & Alchemist” at the center. The exhibition, showcasing Munroe’s works beyond her traditional domain of painting, many of which have never before been framed or seen by the public, runs through Feb. 27. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

‘Don’t Widen I-95’

By Keith M. Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

A major consumer advocacy group and a key legislator on transportation financing both argued today against one of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s largest transportation initiatives: the widening of Interstate 95.

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And while the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group praised Malloy for making transportation investment a priority, its director also said the widening proposal deserved its place on a national list of “highway boondoggles” compiled by U.S.PIRG, a federation of state public interest research groups.

Widening I-95, particularly in traffic-heavy Fairfield County, would not alleviate congestion in Connecticut’s southwest corner, ConnPIRG State Director Evan Preston said during a mid-morning press conference in the Legislative Office Building. But with an estimated price tag of $11.2 billion, it would draw resources from more crucial priorities, including: bridge repair, general rail improvements and expansion of mass transit.

“As we face limited resources, … we know that investing in I-95 is one of the least effective ways to benefit our transportation system,” Preston said.

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Again, Cops Top Municipal Wage Earners

(Editor’s Note: This story updates and corrects a story first published on Jan. 15, 2016)

Click here for top 50 municipal wage earners

By James Lomuscio

As in past years, police officers working overtime and private jobs around town dominate the 2015 top 10 list of Westport’s municipal wage earners, according to updated and corrected numbers released today by Finance Director Gary Conrad.

Police Cpl. Howard Simpson came in first as highest paid earning $202,298 gross pay, while First Selectman Jim Marpe ranked 113 on the list earning $101,475.

Simpson’s total pay includes a base salary of $83,068, $53,610 in overtime, $16,615 in holiday and other pay and $49,005 in outside jobs.

According to Conrad, outside jobs are billed directly to the user, such as utility companies and private contractors for security, road and traffic management.

CDOT Sets More Merritt Bridge Work

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT), which has experienced severe delays in repair and restoration of the North Avenue Bridge over the Merritt Parkway, has announced two more projects involving repairs to Merritt Parkway bridges in Westport.

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A project in 2004 by the Merritt Parkway Conservancy added lights to the Newtown Turnpike Bridge over the Merritt Parkway in Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

An announcement said a public information session will be held Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. at Westport Town Hall on improvement projects involving the bridge on Newtown Turnpike over the Merritt and the one over the Saugatuck River near the Westport Weston Family YMCA just beyond Exit 41.

The CDOT parkway bridge restorations and repaving of surfaces are part of projects extending from Newtown Turnpike to Congress Street in Fairfield. CDOT officials have scheduled another information session for Thursday, Feb. 4, in Fairfield.

CDOT said construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2017 and cost $72 million. Work will also involve “rehabilitation of the existing landscaping by returning it to its original park-like setting” and replacement of existing guardrail with a steel-backed timber railing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


9 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Fire Department Strategic Planning Steering Committee
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – “Window to Westport’s Past & Present”
11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. – Westport Library – WestportREADS 2016: PageTurners Discuss “Miracle at St. Anna”
2 p.m. – Westport Library – WestportREADS 2016 Movie: “My Italian Secret – the Forgotten Heroes”
4 p.m. – 6 p.m. – Westport Library – Drop-in Tech Help
6 p.m. – Westport Library – Artist Reception: “COLOR, NO COLOR! Fiber Work by Ellen Schiffman”
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Green Task Force
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – RTM Environment Committee
7:30 p.m. – Staples Cafeteria B – Board of Education (live coverage cable channel 78, AT&T channel 99, and www.westport.k12.ct.us)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

Picture of MLK Jr. Found 56 Years Later

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Westport artist Miggs Burroughs took this photo of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1960 at the Stamford home of baseball great Jackie Robinson and said in a Facebook posting today he just came across it. “I can’t believe it took me almost 56 years to find these photos I took of MLK and Jackie Robinson in 1960,” Burroughs said. “The renowned Westport Illustrator, and civil rights activist, Tracy Sugarman had invited my family to attend a picnic at Jackie Robinson’s house in Stamford, and I brought the Minox spy camera I had bought in England a few months before, and took these pics after a meet and greet with these two amazing men who changed the world in their own unique ways.” (See separate photo below) Contributed photo