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Green Talk: Only Testing Will Tell

By Wendy G. Batteau

What goes down comes up in the water cycle. For the thousand residences in Westport getting their water from private wells, this principle has important consequences. WestportNow.com Image

Anything discharged on or into the ground may show up in what comes out of the faucet. 

The cumulative impact that contaminated well water can have on human health is of real concern, but homeowners can protect their families through periodic well testing.

Testing well water is the way to know what is in it. If problems are found, the solution may be as simple as using an appropriate filter.

Green Talk: Growing the “Fresh” Movement

Editor’s note: today WestportNow launches the first bi-weekly column from Westport’s Green Village Initiative (GVI), a grassroots group working to make Westport a model green community. The first topic: growing the “fresh” movement.

By Monique Bosch

We all seem to be waking up to the fact that our food system is an obese consumer of fossil fuels. WestportNow.com Image

In our industrial food system, it takes an estimated 10 calories of energy from fossil fuels to generate one calorie of food.

One study has shown that the industrial food system contributes more to global warming than anything else.

As eaters, we decide three times every day how we want to eat. 

Our Annual New Year’s Gift to WestportNow Readers

WestportNow Year in Pictures 2009
Once again, WestportNow presents as a New Year’s gift to our readers a review of the past year through the eyes of Westporters who contributed photos, video and illustrations to WestportNow in 2009. CLICK HERE.WestportNow.com Image
Setting sail off of Westport, one of the entries in the 2009 Pictures of the Year. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

The year 2009 was unusually busy, and we are pleased to have been your No. 1 source for breaking and ongoing news coverage of Westport for the seventh successive year.

Dozens of persons contributed news stories, photos, and illustrations to WestportNow over the past year. The 2009 review, with video and drawings for the first time, includes almost 350 entries and represents the work of 30 photographers by name and one illustrator.

In 2009, WestportNow continued to record remarkable growth. This last week alone, while unusually busy, WestportNow had almost 97,000 page views and more than 15,000 unique visitors. No other Westport news source, print or online, delivers as many daily or weekly readers to its advertisers.

We urge you to patronize our advertisers and spread the word about WestportNow. We continue to be grateful for the public trust shown in us and look forward to continuing to serve Westport in 2010. Best New Year wishes to all WestportNow readers.

A Westporter’s View: Final Farewell to Walter Cronkite

By Jeffrey Mayer

Special to WestportNow

New York—-More than a thousand family members, friends, colleagues and fans filled St. Bartholomew’s Church on New York’s Park Avenue today for the funeral service of veteran CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite.WestportNow.com Image
Westport First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff, a former CBS News correspondent, chats with Westporter Jeffrey Mayer outside St. Bartholomew’s Church in Manhattan today before the funeral for Walter Cronkite. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Among those occupying a coveted front of the church spot was Westport First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff, a former CBS News correspondent and Cronkite colleague.

The crowd began to gather before 1 p.m. outside the ornate Romanesque church as photographers and TV cameramen stood behind police barricades. 

This reporter spotted Joseloff in the crowd and joined him as the former Cronkite writer met old friends and colleagues and caught up on the lives of CBS alumni. 

A Westporter Remembers His Friend Walter Cronkite

By Gordon F. Joseloff

Special to WestportNow

To most Americans, he was the most trusted man in America. To me, Walter Cronkite was a good friend, a prized mentor, and a man to whom I owe much of my professional broadcast journalism career.WestportNow.com Image
Walter Cronkite and Gordon F. Joseloff share a moment in Moscow in 1981 when Joseloff was the CBS News correspondent there. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) CBS News photo

Our connection was we both worked in Moscow for the United Press International (UPI) news agency. It was called United Press when Walter worked there in the late 1940s. It was UPI when I followed in his footsteps three decades later.

There was no doubt that the Moscow wire service connection solidified my journalistic credentials in Walter’s mind—something that became evident after CBS hired me in 1975 while in Moscow for UPI.

At CBS News, I began on the radio side, initially writing newscasts and occasional commentaries for Walter, as well as Dan Rather, Bob Schieffer, Ed Bradley, Roger Mudd, Charles Osgood, Douglas Edwards, and others.

Our Quest for the Best Margarita in Westport

By Benedicte Berg & Eileen Hart

In advance of Cinco de Mayo today, two margarita-loving ladies began to wonder: what Mexican restaurant makes the best margarita in Westport?WestportNow.com Special ReportWestportNow.com Image
Benedicte Berg (l) and Eileen Hart, two Westport stay-at-home moms, enjoy margaritas at Westport’s Viva Zapata. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

We had a number of burning questions to answer: Who is/was this Margarita anyway? Did she like salt? What exactly goes into a margarita? A quest was born.

Our rigorous scientific approach to this quest consisted in visiting the three Mexican restaurants in Westport twice each. Viva Zapata, co-winner of our Guinness quest (See WestportNow March 13, 2009), was a natural place to start. Then we visited Villa del Sol and Zole.

At each place we ordered a fresh margarita and/or a special margarita.

Our Quest for the Best Guinness in Westport

By Eileen Hart and Benedicte Berg

With St. Patty’s Day fast approaching, two Guinness-loving ladies began to wonder: which establishment in Westport pours the best tasting pint of Guinness?
WestportNow.com Special Report

Eileen Hart (l) and Benedicte Berg, Westport CT
Eileen Hart (l) and Benedicte Berg seek the best Westport Guinness. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

We are busy ladies, so heaven forbid we waste our precious free time with bad beer! A quest was born.  This quest lasted several weeks, during which time we not only ferreted out the 10 locations that serve Guinness, but also, purely in the interest of scientific exploration and objectivity, visited each establishment twice.  As we slugged through pint after pint (tough work, but we’re tough broads), we fell to chatting with a number of locals about our quest. We came across a number of misconceptions, or myths, about Guinness. These myths simply CANNOT be allowed to persist, we feel. 

Our Annual New Year’s Gift to WestportNow Readers

Once again, WestportNow is pleased to present as a New Year’s gift to its readers our review of the past year through the eyes of Westporters who contributed photos to WestportNow in 2008. CLICK HERE.

In 2008, WestportNow continued to record remarkable growth—December saw a 55 percent increase in unique visitors over a year earlier.

As we near our sixth anniversary serving Westport, we are pleased that an increasing number of advertisers have learned that WestportNow reaches more Westporters than any other local Web site. Please patronize those who advertise and suggest to those who don’t they are missing the best advertising buy in Westport.

We are honored to be cited frequently by national publications as a trendsetter in Internet citizen journalism.

And we are very proud to have received two first place awards in May from the Connecticut chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists—the first time Web-only publications were allowed in the competition.

Finally, we continue to be grateful for the public trust shown in us and look forward to continuing to serve Westport in 2009. Best New Year wishes to all WestportNow readers.

Actress Eartha Kitt, 81, Dies at Her Weston Home

WestportNow.com Image
Eartha Kitt with her daughter Kitt Shapiro before a preview of “All About Us” at the Westport Country Playhouse last year. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Actress and singer Eartha Kitt died today at her Weston home, a family spokeswoman said. She was 81.

Kitt, a frequent performer at the Westport Country Playhouse and visitor to Westport, had been under treatment for colon cancer. Her daughter, Kitt Shapiro of Westport, was by her side.

She was performing almost until the end, taping a PBS special six weeks ago in Chicago which is set to air in February. Her recording of the Christmas song “Santa Baby” was certified gold last week.

Kitt was well known for her distinctive voice and made a name for herself in her portrayal of Catwoman in the television series “Batman.” That role produced Kitt’s recognizable sultry cat growl.

Westport Mother: “I’m Your Face of Affordable Housing”

WestportNow.com Image
Shannon Hanley: “We have pride in our community, too.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WN photo from Westport Town Television
A single mother of four Thursday night made an emotional plea for more affordable housing in Westport, telling the Planning and Zoning Commission: “I’m your face of affordable housing—it’s me.”

Shannon Hanley, 39, who said she lives in a two-bedroom house in the Westport Housing Authority’s Hales Court project, said approval by the commission of a planned expansion of the project to 78 units was essential. The commission will vote on the application next week.

Her voice breaking at times, Hanley said: “I urge you to pass this project because we need to get this going because my son is turning 8, and soon I will be giving him my bedroom so he has his own space. And I’m not the only one.”

After introducing herself, Hanley told the commission: “And for the record I am not a drug addict, alcoholic or psychotic.”