Friday, April 19, 2024


Uncooperative Quercus Alba and Quercus Ruba Extend Leaf Collection Program Image
A marcescent oak. University of Missouri photo

The Westport Public Works Department said today it is extending its curbside leaf collection program for two weeks “due to the lack of cooperation from Quercus alba and Quercus ruba (white and red oak.)”

The program will now run from Dec. 3 until Dec. 17, subject to continued good weather, an announcement said.

Asked for an explanation why the oaks are retaining their leaves longer this year, Tree Warden Bruce Lindsay pointed to a lengthy scientific explanation on a University of Missouri website.

“The time of leaf drop depends on the cells that make up the abscission or separation zone at the base of the leaf petiole (stalk from the leaf that is attached to the twig),” it said.

Town’s ‘Holiday Giving Program’ Underway

The Department of Human Services’ (DHS) annual Holiday Giving Program designed to help Westport residents in need is underway, Human Services Director Elaine Daignault announced today.

“Over the years, the generosity of volunteer donors has made the holidays brighter for hundreds of children, families and seniors in our town,” said Daignault.

“Last year alone, the DHS Holiday Giving Program helped over 400 residents with their holiday wishes,” she added. “We hope that residents will continue to support their neighbors, as our department continues to see residents coping with foreclosures, layoffs and reduced work hours.”

Following established eligibility guidelines for Westport’s Warm-Up Fund, the DHS serves largely as a facilitator, allowing Westport residents who wish to give to do so, while protecting the confidentiality of both the donor and receiver, Daignault said.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – “06880+50: Visions of Westport in Fifty Years”
12:30 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – Brown Bag Lunch Series – Architect: Deirdre O’ Farrelly
1 p.m. – Westport Library – WestportWRITES: Advanced Writing Class
2 p.m. – Westport Library – Indie Film for November: “Night on Earth”
4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – Westport Library – Drop-in Tech Help
6 p.m. – Westport Library – Branding Yourself on LinkedIn
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Architectural Review Board
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Zoning Board of Appeals (live on cable channel 79, Frontier channel 99, &

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

Gordon Reelected School Board Chair

By James Lomuscio

With its election of officers tonight, Westport’s seven-member Board of Education displayed a nonpartisan nature as Democrats and Republicans nominated each other for key positions.

Republican Jeannie Smith nominated Democrat Michael Gordon for another term as board chairman, a position to which he was reelected by a vote of 6 to 0 with 1 abstention. Gordon abstained.

“Michael has proved to be a strong leader in one of the more challenging volunteer jobs in town” said Smith, adding that Gordon “leads in a nonpartisan manner.”

Democrat Candice Savin seconded the nomination, calling Gordon “a generous chair” who treats all with respect and courtesy, as well as being “a tireless advocate for the children of Westport.”

Town Tree Lighting on Friday

First Selectman Jim Marpe announced today that the town’s annual tree lighting ceremony will take place Friday, Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. at Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Ave. Image
Last year’s town tree outside Town Hall. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

The Staples High School Orphenians will perform a selection of seasonal songs, an announcement said.

The Police Department Toy Drive Collection box will be available to collect new, unopened, unwrapped toys for distribution to local families.

Meanwhile, Westport’s 27th annual Tree of Light ceremony will be held on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Saugatuck Congregational Church, 245 Post Road East.

Police, Marpe Affirm Hiring of Controversial New Haven Cop

The Westport Police Department today issued the following statement in response to the concerns regarding the hiring of New Haven Detective Daniel Conklin (see WestportNow Nov. 26, 2017): Image
Daniel Conklin outside federal court in New Haven this fall. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Christopher Peak for

“We want to assure the public that Mr. Conklin has been properly and thoroughly vetted through an extensive background investigation process. We are confident in our decision to hire him as a Westport police officer.

“The Westport Police Department is a very desirable law enforcement agency in which to work and is able to be extremely selective with its new hires. Every officer hired, lateral or entry level, is vetted through an extremely rigorous background investigation process.

“This involves a physical examination, drug screen, review of the applicant’s finances, neighborhood canvass, and interviews with employers. The applicant encounters three levels of oral interviews with department investigators and command staff. This process also includes a polygraph examination and a psychological evaluation.

Debra L. Casey, 53

Debra L. Casey, a lifelong resident of Westport, died Nov. 24. She was 53. Image
Debra Casey: lifelong Westporter. Contributed photo

She attended Coleytown Junior High School where one of her proudest moments was being awarded the most valuable player on the woman’s field hockey team.

She graduated from Staples High School and attended Northeastern University in Boston.

She studied physical and occupational therapy and worked with the elderly for many years.

A November Surprise: Jepsen Won’t Seek a Third Term as AG

By Mark Pazniokas

(UPDATE) Attorney General George Jepsen today stunned fellow Democrats by announcing he will not seek a third term in 2018, inviting a scramble for what may be the most attractive state office in Connecticut politics right now. Image
George Jepsen: won’t seek another term. File photo

Jepsen, 63, a former state Senate majority leader and Democratic state chairman, said he wants to leave office at 64, young enough for one more chapter in a long career in politics, government and law.

“The decision feels right in my gut, and I’m looking forward to what the next chapter is that we’re going to write,” Jepsen said at a news conference, accompanied by his wife, Diana Sousa. He was the recipient of feelers about jobs in government, academics, law and business that made him think about life after elective politics.

“I’m not looking to run for higher office. I have no health issues,” Jepsen said. But after his announcement last summer he would not run for governor, he and his wife began talking about whether he should seek re-election for a term that would commit him through his 68th birthday.

Police Announce Annual Holiday Toy Drive

Westport Police officers will accept new, unopened, and unwrapped toys, as well as cash donations, for its annual Holiday Toy Drive on two December weekends. Image
Toy drive volunteer Rob Pocius (l) and Westport police officer Scott Morrison accept gifts at last year’s event. Dave Matlow for

The toy drive is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 10, and again Saturday, Dec. 16 and Sunday, Dec. 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the parking lot of ASF Sports& Outdoors at 1560 Post Road East.

Sponsored by police Local Union 2080 and the Police Benevolent Association, the program has been extremely successful in the past, allowing for thousands of toys to be distributed to children who otherwise would have none, planners say.

“We ask for your continued support and generosity to help make this year’s drive as successful as in the past,” said Sgt. Jill Ruggiero. “By doing so, you will bring joy to so many children who often have none.”