Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Truck Hits Pole, Brings Down Wires Trapping Driver

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UPDATE A garbage truck struck a utility pole today at Longshore Club Park, bringing down live wires on to the truck and causing a small diesel spill. The driver remained in the truck until utility workers could shut down the power. He was not injured and declined medical transport. Later, Parks & Rec announced its Longshore office wouid be closed today due to a power outage. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Joseph Cowley, 96

He received his M.A. from Columbia in 1948 and taught English at Cornell University before entering sales.

Most of his career was spent writing and editing material on sales and management for The Research Institute of America.

Taking early retirement in 1982 to devote himself to fiction, he moved with his wife Ruth to Lebanon, Ohio, to be near the eldest of their four children and the two grandchildren existent at the time. They stayed for 12 years.

Chamber Launches ‘Great Westport Soup Contest’ Monday

This is a fun way for our community to interact, support our local restaurants and markets and best of all, get to eat lots of soup,” said Matthew Mandell, WWCC executive director. “It’s all about creating experiences, and this will be a positive for everyone, businesses, residents and of course the town as a whole.”

The 19 restaurants and markets competing across town are: Arezzo; Bankside Farms Kitchen & Bar; Calise Food Market; Chez 180; Dunvilles; Gold’s Deli; Joe’s Pizza; Kawa Ni; Little Barn; Match Burger Lobster; Mystic Market; Rive Bistro; Rizzuto’s; Romanacci Xpress; Rye Ridge Deli; Tavern on Main; Tutti’s; Viva Zapata; and Wafu.

According to the WWCC, the seven categories are: best chicken soup; best beef soup; best vegetable soup; best Asian soup; best onion soup; best matzo ball soup; and best chowder. Each restaurant or market can enter up to four categories, but can only win two at most, Mandell said.

Residents have the entire month to visit all the venues, sample the offerings, then go to the WWCC’s web page to vote via cell phone or PC.  As the community participates throughout the month, the social media hash tag #greatwestportsoup can be used in posts, Mandell said.

“The more pictures of people eating soup the better,” he said.

Sponsoring the event again is Westport law firm Berchem Moses PC.

“We are pleased to sponsor this event,” said Ira Bloom, Berchem Moses PC managing partner. “Not only is the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce an outstanding organization, soup is a wonderful addition to any meal. I hope to sample them all during the month.”

Winners will be announced in April, receiving a plaque to commemorate their wins, Mandell said.

For further information, visit http://www.westportwestonchamber.com/soup or contact Mandell at (203) 227-1333.

Friday, Feb. 28, 2020

10 a.m. – Westport Library – Language Conversation Group: Japanese
11 a.m. – Westport Library – Language Conversation Group: French
11 a.m. – Westport Library – Anyone Can … Cut the Cord to Cable
11 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Westport Museum for History & Culture – “Becoming Westport”
3 p.m. – 5 p.m. – Westport Library – Drop-in Tech Help

See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar

Robert A. Townsend, 80

Bob will always be remembered for his warm, open conversation and sense of humor. He seemed to get to know everyone he met, wherever he went, and his booming laugh will be missed by all.

Bob is survived by his children Christopher Townsend, Susan Neill and Katherine Rose, his sister Patricia Townsend of Cape Coral, Florida, his sister and brother-in-law Gail and Roger Crake of Fayetteville, North Carolina, his sister and brother-in-law Laura and Bruce Allen of New Milford, and his seven grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents, his wife Betsy, and his daughter Spring Law. Bob’s legacy will live on in the many lives he has touched.

Lamont Names New Chief of Staff

Drajewicz’s exit does not appear forced as he has confided for months his plan to leave in February, once the tolls issue was resolved. Drajewicz acknowledged today the resolution was not the one he envisioned: On Feb. 19, Lamont effectively gave up on Senate Democrats ever putting his plan to a vote.

By all accounts, the governor and chief of staff had developed a close relationship. Chief of staff is a job that requires a political sense, management skills, and an ability to serve as a reliable conduit between the governor, the legislature and the rest of state government.

“It’s incredibly intense, what this job is and what you go through, the paces you go through,” Lamont told reporters, outlining the changes. “And you get very close to people, and I got very close to Ryan.”

Lamont, who called Drajewicz a brother, recruited him from the giant hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates

“I said, ‘Please give us a year. I need a year.’ And he said he’d give us a year. And he gave us a year plus some,” Lamont said. “And I just want you to know that as chief of staff he’s been my friend, been my compadre. He talks me off the ledge when I ought to be talked off the ledge. He comes with me into battle when it’s time for battle.”

On transportation, Drajewicz said, he believes he followed the governor’s charge to “leave everything on the field.”

He said the efforts produced a well-received plan for what needs to be done to speed up commutes by erasing highway bottlenecks and improving rail service on Metro-North, even if the legislature could not embrace tolls as a new revenue sources.

The administration still intends to utilize the low-cost federal loan programs that were identified as a key element of CT2030, though it will have to find new sources of guaranteed repayment. “I can tell you with confidence Connecticut is going to take advantage of these programs that are offered out of Washington,” Drajewicz said.

Drajewicz, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd before he joined Bridgewater Associates, stepped down as Lamont’s top aide at the end of business today, but he will remain for a few weeks to ease the transition. Drajewicz, a Fairfield resident, said he has no immediate plans, other than a likely return to the private sector.

He worked for Lamont for nearly 18 months as a volunteer or staffer. Lamont had tapped Drajewicz during his campaign to craft a transition plan, then chose him to oversee the assemblage of a new administration and become his chief of staff.

“It’s a year and a half, almost, in dog years,” Drajewicz said.

Lamont and Drajewicz each arrived at the State Capitol with few close relationships in the building, and Drajewicz conceded this was an obstacle as the new administration quickly sought passage of a comprehensive system of highway tolls on all vehicles. The plan was twice downsized, most recently to trucks only tolls on a dozen highway bridges.

“It’s not a question of ‘shouldn’t have done it.’ It’s not a question of I should have pushed harder here, there or wherever,” he said. “I guess for me it was [understanding that] doing something like this requires you have to have rock-solid relations with legislators and staff.”

Drajewicz said he has developed those relationships “in the trenches” during the long fight over transportation. Had he started with them, the path might have been smoother, he said.

His successor, Mounds, was an aide to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for five years, leaving the administration in late 2016 as the director of policy and government affairs for a policy and communications job at the Connecticut Health Foundation. He also worked on the staffs of U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. John B. Larson.

“Paul, as you all know, he knows the building, and the building knows him,” Lamont said. “And if I’ve learned one thing, this is a building that really runs on relationships.”

Mounds was first named to the newly-created post of chief operating officer, a position recommended and never implemented decades ago in Connecticut, while becoming increasingly common in governors’ offices across the U.S. Last summer, he was also given the title of deputy chief of staff in an earlier staff shakeup.

Geballe, a former IBM executive and tech entrepreneur, has a resume more fitting with COOs in other states, where governors have looked to corporate executives and state agency heads for the post.

“In many ways, Josh has already been acting like a COO, which is the chief operating offier, trying to consoldiate personnel, consolidate technology, leading the search of what this government is going to look with the silver tsunami of people retiring,” Lamont said.

Demographics and a change in retirement benefits are expected to send a sizable chunk of the state workforce out the door by the end of Lamont’s first term.

By the estimates of the comptroller’s office, 14,764 state employees — a quarter of the workforce — will be eligible to retire on July 1, 2022, when a concession deal negotiated in 2017 by Malloy takes effect. It will slow cost-of-living adjustments for all new retirees and raise health costs for a few, primarily high earners.

The governor was asked today if more changes were coming.

His reply: “Not at this point.”

Waiting for Viral Masks

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Russell Levine, owner of Colonial Druggist, 611 Post Road East, today shows a picture of a viral mask that has been out of stock for more than five weeks as fears spread about the coronavirus. “Ironically, most of the masks are actually made in China,” he said. “We take the name and contact info for every shopper who asks to purchase a mask and we plan to call each when our shipment eventually arrives.” Other outlets also reported masks were sold out. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Schools Updating Pandemic Plan if Closure Warranted

Here is the text of the email:

Dear Westport Families,

We want to assure you that we are carefully monitoring the status of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) which continues to evolve internationally. In an effort to obtain the most current information, we participate in a weekly state conference call with the State Department of Public Health to receive information vital to the health and safety of our school community. In addition, we are collaborating on a daily basis with the Westport/Weston Health District and by extension, the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH). Fortunately, to date, no cases of 2019-nCoV have been identified in Connecticut.

While the risk of contracting 2019-nCoV remains low in our area, recommendations from health officials may change frequently as new information becomes available. Recently, we have received questions about international travel by families, students, and staff members. At this time, our District continues to follow the Interim US Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Persons with Potential 2019-nCoV Exposure in Travel-Associated or Community Settings issued by the CDC.  Please be assured that if there are health and safety risks to the community, they will be communicated and appropriate measures will be taken.

The District is also updating our operational pandemic plan to ensure the continuity of teaching and learning in the event that schools are closed. To that end, we are exploring alternate procedures for instruction as well as developing plans to guarantee essential office functions remain in place.

The same measures which prevent other respiratory viruses, including influenza from spreading, can prevent 2019-nCoV from spreading. As such, the district is continuing with standard infection control precautions in our schools, including systematically cleaning common touch points. In an effort to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses, please remember to:

cover coughs/sneezes;
frequently and thoroughly wash hands;
routinely clean touched objects and surfaces;
keep children home when they have early symptoms indicative of flu (e.g. fever, headache, extreme fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, muscle aches or runny nose with unusual tiredness); and
keep children home until they are fully recovered from an illness (e.g., have no fever, vomiting or diarrhea for at least 24 hours, are no longer significantly fatigued or in need of extra sleep, and have significantly reduced respiratory symptoms).
If you or your children have had recent international travel and develop flu/ COVID-19 symptoms, contact your healthcare provider and please notify the Supervisor of Health Services. 

Additional information can be found on the links below.




We will continue to be vigilant in monitoring this evolving situation and will provide updates as necessary.  Thank you for your support and help with respect to keeping our schools healthy and safe.

David Abbey                             Suzanne Levasseur, MSN, CPNP, APRN
Interim Superintendent                   Supervisor of Health Services



Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020

8:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Commission on People with Disabilities
11 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Westport Museum for History & Culture – “Becoming Westport”
3 p.m. – Westport Library – Dewey Knit or Crochet
6 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Westport Library – “23 Artists & Their Stories” Opening Reception
7 p.m. – Westport Library – “23 Artists & Their Stories” GatherRound Story Share

See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar