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North Avenue Detour

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UPDATE The North Avenue bridge over the Merritt Parkway in Westport was closed today for a scheduled three hours (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. —it reopened at 1:20 p.m.) for pothole repairs, according to the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Traffic on the bridge has been one way alternating since the fall because of delayed repairs to the bridge. Completion of the repairs is now scheduled for the spring.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Talking Transportation: Tolls, Taxes and Transportation

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow

I hate to say “I told you so,” but, just as I predicted, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s hand-picked Transportation Finance Panel has finally issued its recommendations for paying for the governor’s 30-year,  $100 billion transportation “plan.”

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First off, the governor’s “plan” is not a plan but a wish list of projects for all 169 towns and cities in the state. It has been vetted by no one and has no priorities, though Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) Commissioner James Redeker says about two-thirds [$66 billion] would be for repairs and replacement of what we already have, not any grandiose schemes for monorails down the middle of I-95.

Interestingly, as it began work last summer the Transportation Finance Panel wasn’t allowed to debate the merits of anything in the governor’s “plan,” so all they could do was suggest how to fund the whole thing. 

Atop their newly issued report is a telling quote:  “If something’s worth having, it’s worth paying for.”  Duh!  But that’s a pretty soft sell on this megaplan given the unpopularity of their funding suggestions:

Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘Son of Saul,’ ‘Kung Fu Panda 3,’ ‘Dirty Grandpa’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Set in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in October, 1944, the powerful, poignant “Son of Saul” revolves around a Hungarian Jewish prisoner named Saul Auslander (Geza Rohrig). He’s a member of the Sonderkommando, a group of prisoners assigned the grim task of carrying corpses from the gas chamber to the crematorium, then carting away the ashes to be discarded.

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As Allied Forces draw closer to the camp, the pace of killing is accelerated. Among the dead, Saul finds the body of a young boy he claims as his son, and he becomes obsessed with finding a rabbi among the prisoners to say Kaddish (the prayer for the dead) and give the child a proper burial.

Inspired by “Voices from Beneath the Ashes,” true tales from Auschwitz which was published in Jean-Paul Sartre’s periodical “Les Temps Modernes,” Hungarian-born writer/director Laszlo Nemes noted:  “The story of the Holocaust is not the story of the exceptions who survived. It is the story of the dead.”

Co-scripting with Clara Royer, first-time feature film director Nemes reveals the agony solely through Saul’s perception, as cinematographer Matyas Erdely consigns violence and nudity into the un-focused background, along with the desperate wailing and persistent screaming.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


9 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Downtown Plan Implementation Committee
9 a.m. – Westport Senior Center – Center for Senior Activities Enhancement Committee
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Westport Arts Center – “Enid Munroe: Artist & Alchemist”
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – “Window to Westport’s Past & Present”
Noon – Toquet Hall Teen Center – Play with Your Food
2 p.m. – Westport Library – Overcoat Film Series: “Inherit the Wind”
1:30 p.m. – Westport Library – Introductory Non-Fiction Writing Workshop
7 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing Continuance (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

Seniors, Disabled Get an Even Better Tax Break

By James Lomuscio

Seniors and permanently and totally disabled Westporters caught a break tonight, a property tax break.

The Board of Finance unanimously approved amendments to the town code that allow such individuals who own two properties to qualify for deferments and abatements.

Prior to the vote, the program was limited to those who owned only one property.

The board also voted to adjust the abatement rate from 18 to 20 percent.

Farewell to P&Z Director Larry Bradley

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Westport First Slectman Jim Marpe (l) tonight presented a commendation to reiring Planning and Zoning Director Larry Bradley, who announced last month he is leaving after more than 10 years on the job for South Florida where he has accepted a planning director’s job with the Seminole Tribe, The presentation was made at a farewell part at Positano Ristorante. Looking on is Jim Ezzes, chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Town Seeks New Transit Directors

Town officials are seeking volunteers to serve as co-directors of the Westport Transit District (WTD) as its co-directors Jennifer Johnson and Eugene Cederbaum recently announced their resignations after three years at the helm.

Peter Gold, chairman of the Representative Town Meeting’s (RTM) Transit Committee and First Selectman Jim Marpe announced the vacancies on Tuesday.

The co-directors will be appointed by the RTM and be responsible for overseeing the WTD, which contracts for services from the Norwalk Transit District (NTD).

Duties include managing the bus system’s commuter routes to the town’s two train stations, the Imperial Avenue shuttle and its door-to-door services for seniors and those with disabilities.

Staples Student Athletes Honored

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Two outstanding Staples High School student athletes were honored today in a ceremony in the school cafeteria. Football offensive lineman Jackson Ward has committed to Harvard University while field hockey midfielder Jordan Ragland is going to the University of New Hampshire. Ward is the first football player from Staples to go to Harvard. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com