Saturday, July 20, 2024


Health and Fitness

Human Services Gets New Director

After eight months on the job, Sarah Heath has resigned as Westport’s director of human services and First Selectman Jim Marpe has named Assistant Director Elaine Daignault to the position, he announced today. Image
Elaine Daignault: 18-year department veteran. Contributed photo

Heath, who took over from Barbara Butler July 1, 2016 and who has been a department employee for nine years, has accepted a position in another town — later announced as Wilton — effective April 4 and that will be the date of Daignault’s appointment, Marpe said.

“I want to thank Sarah for her many contributions to the town and the Human Services Department,” he said.

Heath said in her time with the town, “I have been fortunate enough to work with amazing, dedicated, and caring professionals and volunteers … I am happy that Elaine will continue as director of the department. Westport is in very capable hands.”

As GOP Health Care Plan Falters, CT Dems Watch and Wait

By Ana Radelat

Washington —  President Donald Trump and House Republicans are making both threats and promises to try to salvage the GOP health care bill — but the deal-making is all on the Republican side of the aisle, with Connecticut’s all-Democratic congressional delegation sitting on the sidelines.

“This is horse-trading right now,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District. “They are going back and forth until they can get the votes.”

While Democrats are not sitting at the negotiating table, that doesn’t mean Connecticut’s lawmakers were idle. They joined a Democratic strategy to intensify attacks on the GOP plan, which would cut federal Medicaid funding to states and result in an additional 24 million uninsured by 2026, according the Congressional Budget Office.

About 85,000 Connecticut residents receive subsidies to purchase health coverage under the Affordable Care Act and another 217,000 get care through the law’s expansion of Medicaid.

Trump Selects Westporter to be FDA Head

President Trump announced today that he will nominate Westport resident Scott Gottlieb, a conservative physician and businessman with deep ties to the pharmaceutical industry, to be commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Image
Scott Gottlieb: Westporter awaits Senate confirmation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) American Enterprise Institute photo

A physician and partner at one of the world’s largest venture capital funds and a former deputy commissioner at the FDA, his name surfaced in December as one of the front runners for the post. (See WestportNow Dec. 12, 2016)

If confirmed, Gottlieb would bring a strong pro-industry, deregulatory approach to an agency that Trump has criticized as being overly restrictive, The Washington Post reported.

“But he is also likely to support one of the agency’s basic functions: to ensure that drugs are proven safe and effective before they are sold,” the newspaper said.

CT Resident Dies From Tainted Cheese, Recall Ordered

A Connecticut resident has died after eating tainted cheese from a New York creamery, the state Department of Public Health said today.

A Whole Foods grocery store in Fairfield received the soft cheese, and the store initiated its own recall, state officials said.

The cheese is called Ouleout and it comes from the Vulto Creamery of Walton, N.Y.

Two of six people who ate the cheese contracted a rare, but serious bacterial disease, officials said.

Comings & Goings: Orangetheory Fitness to PRE Image
Orangetheory Fitness opens at 645 Post Road East sometime before May, according to the manager of its Norwalk studio. The Florida-based franchise business has more than 500 locations nationwide. Wilton residents Mark and Fred Molina are the franchise owners of locations in Fairfield, which opened in 2014, Norwalk, which opened last year, and the Westport location. The Fitness center offers one-hour group classes tailored to the individual participant.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Farmers Market to Launch Seed Exchange Program

The Westport Farmers Market on Saturday, Feb. 25 will launch its first seed exchange program. Image
The Westport Winter Farmers Market at 7 Sylvan Lane. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

“It is estimated that up to 90 percent of our food derives from, or is dependent upon, seeds and that 80 percent of the world’s seeds are controlled by multinational corporations,” said Lori Cochran-Dougall, market director.

“The Westport Farmers’ Market has launched a new seed-saving program to take back control of our food system.”

In inviting the public to participate in the seed exchange, Cochran-Dougall, said communities all over the country are joining together to share open-pollinated and heirloom seeds, “one of the best ways to retain control of our food system.”

Information Session Set for Hospice House

The Westport Library will host an information session on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. about the Fairfield County Hospice House (FCHH) in Stamford. Image
The Fairfield County Hospice House is now under construction in Stamford. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Topics will include an update on the facility, now under construction, as well as what to consider when making decisions about hospice and end-of-life transition, an announcement said.

There also will be a discussion about how the team behind the FCHH worked with Connecticut legislators to enable multiple persons to receive home hospice care in a single residence.

A change in legislation paved the way for the construction of the six-bedroom, 10,000-square foot house located in a residential neighborhood of Stamford just off the Merritt Parkway.

Valentine’s Day Heart to Heart Talk Image
In a timely topic on Valentine’s Day, Westport resident Jeffrey Berman, vice chairman of the Department of Cardiology at Bridgeport’s St. Vincent’s Hospital, today addressed the Westport Rotary Club on the significant strides in cardiology over recent decades. Emphasizing the importance of seeking prompt medical care immediately upon symptoms of a heart attack, Berman said, “Most deaths from heart attacks happen outside the hospital. Inside the hospital the death rate is a much lesser — 1 to 2 percent.” He said seven points of prevention reduce the risk of a heart attack by 95 percent. The seven are: control of blood pressure, cholesterol levels and diabetes plus four that are “lifestyle-driven” — not smoking, a proper diet, controlled body weight, and an exercise regimen. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Analysts: Big Pot of Money Awaits CT if Marijuana Legalized

By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Connecticut could bring in $45.4 million to $104.6 million a year in revenue if the legislature legalizes marijuana in the same way Massachusetts or Colorado have, Connecticut’s nonpartisan fiscal experts say.

The estimates, by the legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis, were for the second full fiscal year after legalization of the drug and varied depending on which state’s model for taxes and licensing fees was followed.

If the legislature allowed municipalities to also apply a 2 percent sales tax to marijuana, cities and towns could collectively bring in $9 million by the second full year of legalization, OFA estimated.

The revenue would be smaller in the first full year of legalization, between $30 million and $63.9 million for the state and $5.6 million for municipalities. The growth from year to year reflects that experienced in Colorado since legalization in 2014.

Flu Cases on the Rise; WWHD Still Has Vaccine

The Westport Weston Health District, (WWHD) noting that flu activity continues to increase throughout the nation and is widespread in Connecticut, says it still has vaccine available.

If you have not received your annual flu vaccination, you are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible, an announcement said.

“The flu season will peak around February and March but the season can continue until May, so it is not too late to get vaccinated,” said Mark Cooper, WWHD director of health.

And Monica Wheeler, registered nurse, said the district has seen a significant spike in locally reported cases.