Saturday, December 02, 2023


With Saugatuck Booming, Finance Board OKs Master Plan Funds

By James Lomuscio

With Saugatuck on the move, Westport’s Board of Finance tonight unanimously approved $440,000 for a transit oriented development (TOD) study to be reimbursed 100 percent by the state. Image
Railroad Place opposite the Metro-North tracks would be among areas included in the study. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

First Selectman Jim Marpe made the request for funds, which he said would be 100 percent reimbursable via a state Responsible Growth and TOD grant “with no strings attached.”

“While we will be submitting our results of the planning to the state, they have no particular say or oversight on what we do and how we go about the plan,” said Marpe.

He said he was in the process of establishing a steering committee, “and it will be representative of the Saugatuck area.”

Westphal Sworn In to Finance Board

Westport’s Board of Finance tonight officially welcomed Republican James W. Westphal to its ranks, replacing Clarissa More who stepped down Aug. 3. Image
Town Clerk Patricia Strauss swears in James Westphal tonight as the newest member of the Board of Finance. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo from Westport Town Television

He was sworn in by Town Clerk Patricia Strauss, who gave Westphal a temporary name plate before he took his seat on the seven-member board.

Westphal, 53, was approved for the post by the finance board on Sept. 25 following his selection by the Republican Town Committee’s (RTC) Board of Finance Vacancy Committee. He will serve out Moore’s term, ending in November 2019.

Westphal has a background in the investment banking and finance industry and, according to an internet listing, is managing director of Westport-based Logistics and Business Services Capital, LLC, a provider of strategic and financial advisory services in the global transportation, freight, logistics, and business services sectors.

Boys Soccer Battles Darien to a Draw Image
Teddy Lawrence (above) today helped the Staples boys soccer team to its ninth shutout in 13 games at Darien High School. However, the Wreckers could not dent the scoreboard either. The result: a 0-0 draw. Staples’ stellar defensive back line also includes Chris Martenson, Sam Kantor and Josh Berman. Goalkeeper Ziggy Hallgarten made several fine saves, to preserve the clean sheet. The Wreckers host New Canaan on Saturday. Kickoff is 1:30 p.m., at Staples’ Loeffler Field. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Armelle Daniels for

Done Deal for Homes With Hope Image
Homes with Hope Board Chair John Walsh and Project Return Board Chair Cindy Wormser today signed the documents making Project Return a fully integrated program of Homes with Hope. The combination of two of Westport’s oldest not-for profits creates an organization that will provide shelter and housing for 115 people every night in Westport and Norwalk.  Looking on are Jennifer Kleiner of Verrill Dana LLP, who provided pro bono legal work for the transaction, Kim Lake, chair of Project Return’s Strategic Action Committee, Audrey Sparre, vice president and COO,  and Jeff Wieser, president and CEO of Homes with Hope. Tessa Gilmore-Barnes, interim executive director of Project Return, will remain as program director of the integrated Project Return, which will continue to care for and nurture young women in crisis. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Health District Urges Conservation for Private Well Owners

The Westport Weston Health District today urged homeowners with private wells to conserve water during this prolonged period of dry weather.

“The entire state remains in a drought advisory,” said Mark Cooper, director.

He noted that the state Department of Health has declared a temporary 30-day public water supply emergency for four Fairfield County towns served by Aquarion Water Company—Greenwich, Stamford, Darien and New Canaan.

While Westport, so far, has not been part of the state’s public water supply emergency declaration, however, the water company has urged water conservation and advised its customers to reduce their water use, Cooper said.

Halloween Windows and Contestants Sought

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce is seeking storefronts and window painters for the annual town wide Halloween window painting contest. Image
Joyce Seo of Westport was among last year’s winners. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 22. Children of all ages are invited to put their artistic skills to work on merchant storefront windows to create the spookiest and/or best Halloween-themed painting, an announcement said.

There will be three age groups participating; elementary, middle, and high school within categories that include scariest art work, best Halloween theme, and most original.

Nine winners, selected by a panel of judges, will get a picture of themselves with their window submitted to the press and receive a $25 gift certificate to Saugatuck Sweets, the announcement said. Entrants can paint independently or in teams.

Russell L. Brenneman, Pioneering Environmentalist, 88

Russell L. Brenneman of Westport, an environmental lawyer, teacher, and activist, died Oct. 10 at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. He was 88. Image
Russ Brenneman was honored in June in Westport for his environmental work. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

He was a pioneering member of the environmental movement, in which he was active for over half a century. 

From the movement’s infancy in the 1960s until his death, he devoted countless hours to the conservation and management of forests and open land, the control of air and water pollution, and the development of environmental and energy policy.

He was born Aug. 15, 1928 in Springfield, Ill. to Russell L. Brenneman, Sr., a banker, and Anita Seeds Brenneman, both of Columbus, Ohio.  He was raised mostly in Tucson, Ariz., and Columbus.

Preservation Award Winner: 96 Kings Highway North Image
A house at 96 Kings Highway North is among nine winners of the Westport Historic District Commission (HDC) 2016 Preservation Awards to be presented in a Town Hall ceremony on Monday at 7 p.m. The HDC said the presentation of the Helen Muller Award for An Outstanding Property in a Local Historic District will be presented to Marc Lotti, owner of the house, known as the David Judah House, circa 1760. The HDC cited the owner and the Lotti family “who purchased the house in 2014 and have since gone through a meticulous restoration, preserving every nail and piece of timber possible.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Police Warn Residents Following Recent Burglaries

Westport police today urged residents of the Greens Farms and Easton Road areas to be vigilant in light of recent burglaries.

A police news release did not pinpoint the break-ins, but separate police reports said burglaries, or attempted burglaries occurred Tuesday on West Parish Road, on Friday on Rustic Lane, off Greens Farms Road, and two on Wednesday, Oct. 5 on Easton Road, and Clinton Avenue.

“While these burglaries remain under investigation, we have received additional reports from residents in these areas that suspicious people have knocked on their doors,” said Lt. David Farrell. 

“When the resident answers the door, the individuals come up with a fabricated story about an internet posting or a broken down vehicle. These encounters end with the suspicious men leaving the area and police being notified.”