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Steinberg Sworn in for Fourth Term

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State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, a Democrat whose 136th District includes most of Westport, was sworn in today for a fourth term in Hartford. The native Westporter and Yale University graduate told a League of Women Voters of Westport forum Tuesday night he will continue to push for transportation funding for Fairfield County and seek relief from state education mandates. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Malloy Warns of Need for Concessions, Smaller Government, New Aid Formulas

By Mark Pazniokas and Keith M. Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy set the stage in his 2017 State of the State address today for a protracted and difficult debate on how to further shrink state government, extract more concessions from unions on pension and health benefits, and better focus a smaller pool of state aid for education on the systems most in need. 

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy delivers his State of the State message today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jacqueline Rabe Thomas for Ctmirror.org

After recently negotiating significant changes to how the state will pay down its unfunded pension liability, Malloy alerted a half-dozen labor leaders before the speech that he will be seeking unspecified concessions that he says must be part of “a responsible and balanced solution to our budget problem.”

“These changes can and should be reached respectfully, and at the bargaining table,” Malloy told a joint session of the General Assembly. “Our state must honor its legal obligation to our public servants and state retirees, while at the same time keeping our promises to Connecticut taxpayers.”

In his seventh speech marking the opening of a General Assembly session, the Democratic governor eschewed his usual practice of pitching new initiatives, instead emphasizing concessions, the size of government and local aid as three broad areas he sees dominating a session certain to hinge once again on the struggle to the balance the budget in a state not fully recovered from the Great Recession of 2008.

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Glenn Hightower, 76, Westport Educator

Glenn Hightower of Westport, who served three decades as principal at Bedford Junior High and Middle Schools and later as principal of Westport Adult and Continuing Education, died Jan. 1 at home. He was 76.

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Glenn Hightower: former school principal. Contributed photo

Known for his easy going manner, Hightower combined his love of teaching with his love of athletics.

A native of Oklahoma City, Glenn Edward Hightower, or Dr. Hightower as he became known to legions of Westporters, excelled in athletics through high school and at Oklahoma State University until a medical condition eventually ended his formal sports career, according to a profile published when he was honored in 2005 by the Sportsmen of Westport.

But he continued to be active, competing in area and national handball tournaments, running marathons, including the New York Marathon 15 times and 10 ultra (50-mile) marathons.  It was routine for him to knock off eight to 10 miles before reporting to work and 20 to 25 miles on weekends.

Police Arrest Westport Man on Child Porn Charge

UPDATE Westport police today arrested a Westport man on child pornography charges.

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Paul J. Letersky: held on $500,000 bond.  Westport Police photo

Paul J. Letersky, 47, was detained after detectives were alerted to an “inappropriate sexting relationship” between him and a juvenile from Colorado, said Lt. David Farrell.

Police executed a search warrant on his home at 175 Riverside Ave.—across from Saugatuck Elementary School—at 5 a.m. today and found more than 50 digital images of child pornography, he said.

Farrell said the fact that Letersky lived across from the school “was a major concern of ours.” He said police were in close touch with the school system and Superintendent Colleeen Palmer in recent days and as they conducted their investigation.

Barend van den Brink, 81

Barend “Bart” van den Brink of West Hartford, a former Westport resident, died Jan. 1. He was 81.

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Barend van den Brink: former Westporter. Contributed photo

The husband of Tonnie for 55 years was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands on Aug.16, 1935.

Besides his wife Tonnie, he is survived by his two children, their spouses, and his two granddaughters: his son Hans and wife Sheri of Georgia, and their daughter Bailea and husband Matthew of Texas; and his daughter Elisabeth, husband Nigel and their daughter Alexandra of West Hartford. He is also survived by two siblings: his sister Miep of Holland and brother John and wife Anneke of Holland.

He was defined by his great love for family, nature, animals and traveling. His last trip took him to Texas with family to attend his granddaughter’s wedding.

Adele Gazzelli, 88

Adele (Tutino) Gazzelli of Westport died Dec. 31 at Norwalk Hospital. She was 88.

She was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 15, 1928 daughter of the late Bernardo and Carolina (Trifilitte) Tutino. She was a retired caterer. She was a longtime resident of Westport where she lived for 48 years.

She was a loving person who devoted her life to her husband and children. She enjoyed babysitting and playing with her grandchildren in her retirement. Adele loved to sing and introduced both grandchildren to music which developed into a passion for both of them.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband John, and three brothers Santo, Joseph, and Hugo. She is survived by her sister Frances Lemanski, son Christopher, daughter Caroline Goldstein and her husband (Paul), two grandchildren Robert and Lia, and several nieces and nephews.

Marpe Announces Disabilities Commission Members

More than 10 years after it was first suggested and five months after its authorization by the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), the Westport Commission on People with Disabilities became a reality today with appointment of its members.

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James Ross: named commission chair. Dave Matlow /WN file photo

First Selectman Jim Marpe said the head of the group would be James Ross, a sight-impaired Westporter who formerly headed the Citizens Transit Committee, which was established in 2012.

Six other Westport residents, including persons with disabilities, advocates, caregivers and professionals, have been appointed, too. They are: Marina Derman, Diane Johnson, Stacie Curran, LuAnn Giunta, Tom Holleman, and Evan Levinson.  Marpe said that the Human Services Department will provide staff support.

The RTM authorized establishment of the committee last July. (See WestportNow July 19, 2016).

Westport PAL Awards Scholarships

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the Westport Police Athletic League (PAL) proudly awarded its annual Ellis Family college scholarships to 18 college students at a ceremony at Westport Police Headquarters. Pictured are (front row, l-r) Ned Batlin (president WPAL), Maria Chappa, Kady Chappa, Mariah Valentrella; (second row, l-r) Alex Frawley, Andy Palaia, Kelsey Bobrow, Shannon Connors, Taylor Hawes, Sam Arciola; (back row, l-r) Howie Friedman, president, Scholarship Committee, Tucker Bobrow, Adam Friedman. Absent from the photo are: Kyle Frawley, Nick Kelly, Samantha Schwartz, Emma Mikesh, Logan Rice, Kristen Godin and Ben Thaw. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


9 a.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Municipal Pension Board
10 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – UN International Hospitality Committee
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – “Art to the Max”
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Westport Arts Center – “MORE Than Words/#Iammore Exhibition”
4 p.m. – Westport Library – January Artist-in-Residence Challenge: “Identityville” Selfie
4 p.m. – Westport Library – DeweyKnit” Grade 4 to Adult
6:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Shellfish Commission
6:30 p.m. – Westport Library – Chess Club for Adults
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Flood & Erosion Control Board
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 212D – Board of Finance Executive Session
7:45 p.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – RTM Public Works Committee
8 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Board of Finance (live coverage cable channel 79, AT&T channel 99, and westportct.gov)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

Palmer Proposes a $2.75 Million Budget Increase

By James Lomuscio

Offering up her first spending plan, Westport Schools Superintendent Colleen Palmer tonight unveiled a $115,358,712 proposed operating budget for the 2017-18 academic year, a 2.44 percent or $2.75 million increase over the current year.

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Colleen Palmer outlines her budget tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo from Westport Education TV

The budget is a significant drop from her initial “very preliminary” estimate in October of a 4.1 percent increase.

It was achieved by more than $900,000 in cuts, an anticipated $1.2 million from healthcare reserves, and $165,000 from the carryover account, Palmer told a Board of Education meeting.

“We kept the reductions away from the classroom and the integrity of any academic programs,” said Palmer, who took over July 1 from the retired Elliott Landon.