Monday, June 17, 2024


Sheila Israel, 78

Sheila Ann Foster Israel of Westport and Boca Raton, Florida, a former Westport teacher, died March 31. She was 78.

She was the wife of Stephen Israel, mother of Ellen Israel and her husband Mark Bieler and Laurie Israel and her husband Daniel Pitcheni; grandmother of Sam, Adam, Margot, Oliver, and Eliot; sister to Barbara Ganick and her husband John; aunt and great aunt to 20 nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

Sheila grew up in Willimantic, where she and her identical sister Barbara were a source of joy and consternation to their parents, Mae and Mac Foster.

Known collectively as the Foster twins—a designation that followed them into adulthood—Sheila and Barbara were both inseparable and, to all but the most astute observer, indistinguishable, a fact they used to their advantage, mostly successfully, at Windham High School, from which they graduated in 1959.

Social Distancing, Protocols Needed at Transfer Station

Public Works Director Peter Ratkiewich today urged residents to maintain social distancing at the Transfer Station of behalf of personnel and haulers.

“There is a huge increase in traffic, and we are managing the best we can with limited personnel,” the announcement said, adding that workers have been instructed to maintain distancing and cannot assist with bulky waste, which should not be brought at this time.

Ratkiewich also asked residents to move through efficiently and not to linger, staying at least six feet apart, transferring trash and recycling and then exiting the facility.

For residents using private haulers, Ratkiewich added that there has been an increase in cardboard due to online ordering, which is taxing the Transfer Station and overwhelming haulers.

Lamont Warns State: ‘We’re on Our Own’

By Gregory Hladky

As Connecticut’s death toll jumped far higher today and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose by 557 in 24 hours, Gov. Ned Lamont delivered a bleak message to the state’s residents about a lack of critical supplies needed to fight the pandemic.

“The national strategic stockpile is empty,” Lamont said, meaning Connecticut won’t be receiving from the federal government any of the personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators needed by hospitals to treat dangerously ill coronavirus patients. “For now, we’re on our own.”

Lamont said state officials and Connecticut hospitals are continuing to seek crucial medical supplies from across the world.

“This breaks my heart,” Lamont said. “I feel like a general sending troops into battle without the protective gear they deserve.”

Westport COVID-19 Cases at 120; State Total 3,128, 69 Dead

Westport’s COVID-19 count increased to 120 today, five more in the past 24 hours, state officials said.

Stamford was tops in the state with 401 cases, Norwalk second with 302, Danbury third at 223, New Haven fourth at 121, followed by Westport.

State cases jumped to 3,128, up 557 in the past 24 hours. There have been 69 deaths, up 33 from Monday.

Fairfield County continued to lead the state in cases with 1,870. There have been 38 county deaths, up 17 from Monday.

More Coronavirus Testing at Bedford Middle Image
There was more coronavirus testing today at Westport’s Bedford Middle School. The numbers involved appeared to be fewer than in the previous three sessions. Last week, a total of 45 Westport and Weston residents were successfully tested at the school, but due to a shortage of swabs some scheduled were redirected elsewhere, according to the Westport Weston Health District (WWHD.) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Tax Help for Seniors is Now Virtual

The Department of Human Services announced that, in light of the current COVID-19 distancing guidelines, VITA, the IRS’s companion to the AARP free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, is offering virtual tax preparation to residents without in-person contact.

Human Services Finance Manager and certified volunteer tax preparer, Susan Stefenson, expressed gratitude to the individuals who have made the program possible. 

“The volunteers, led by Westport resident Mark Spivack, are the same group of trusted IRS-Certified Tax Preparers that have provided these services to Westporters under AARP sponsorship, for many years,” she said.

The new virtual platform is available to taxpayers by connecting them via a secure portal to a remote certified tax preparer. 

School Lunch Program Location Changed

The current program providing lunch and breakfast items for students receiving free and reduced cost lunches will shift from Coleytown Elementary School to Staples High School on Thursday, Chief Financial Officer Elio Longo said today.

“This shift will provide a more central access location for families and also better position Chartwell’s, our food service provider, to assist the Town of Westport, if needed, with providing essential food and nutrition needs for other members of the community,” he said in an email to parents.

Lunches, with an included breakfast item, will continue to be available to all Westport students receiving free and or reduced lunches between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. This service will continue operating Monday through Friday during the school closure.

Services will not be available on Friday, April 10,, Good Friday, but additional food will be provided on Thursday, April 9 to cover this brief disruption in service, he said.