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Protesters Take to Westport Downtown

Protesters Take to Westport Downtown
They werent large in number, but a group of protesters got the attention of passersby in downtown Westport today.

Less than a dozen people, including several children, were protesting a proposed 22-home development by ARS Partners on Partrick Road, the former F.D. Rich property.

They walked the sidewalks around the William Pitt real estate office on the corner of Post Road East and Myrtle Avenue for several hours holding signs protesting the project and promoting their Web site, www.savewestport.com.

They also collected signatures for presentation to the Planning and Zoning Commission on May 1.

Matthew Mandell, one of the picketers, said they chose to march outside the real estate office because they expected William Pitt to be one of the agents for the housing development.

The 55-acre parcel, including 36 acres of wetlands, is off of Partrick Road and Newtown Turnpike.

The opponents of the project have formed a not-for-profit organization, The Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund, Inc.


04/19/2003 16:15 pm Comments (0)Permalink

The Hour Takes a Look

The Hour Takes a Look at Board of Finance Bickering
Todays Hour of Norwalk takes a look at recent bickering among members of WestportҒs Board of Finance, noting that it has increased as elections approach.

Hour reporter Jen Connic quotes unnamed political observers as saying the back and forth between Democrats, who hold a 4-3 majority on the board, and Republicans has much to do with the forthcoming election in November.

Democrats Steven L. Ezzes, board chairman, and Kevin A. Connolly are up for re-election this fall as are Republicans R. Gavin S. Anderson and Robert D. Graham.


04/19/2003 13:11 pm Comments (0)Permalink

U.S. Census Bureau Updates Fairfield

U.S. Census Bureau Updates Fairfield County Data
Westport isnt mentioned specifically, but the latest U.S. Census Bureau data for Fairfield County gives a pretty good insight into population trends in the region.

TodayҒs Advocate of Stamford has a good rundown of the data, noting that If it weren’t for immigrants and a bunch of babies, Fairfield County would be rapidly losing population.

The bureau reported that from April 2000 to July, Fairfield County’s population grew 1.5 percent to an estimated 896,202.

In that two-year period, an estimated 16,281 immigrants arrived to Fairfield County from foreign nations and 14,353 residents left for other parts of the United States. Fairfield County also had the state’s highest birth rate, which helped replace those leaving.


04/19/2003 12:48 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Investor in Empire State Building Buys a Piece of Main Street

Talk about your high profile properties the Empire State Building and now a prize piece of downtown Westport in your portfolio.

The $18.1 million Westport deal closed on April 14 and today’s Hartford Courant/The Advocate of Stamford gives prominent coverage to the transaction under the headline: “Best of Westport: $1,046 a square foot.”

Reporting on the sale of the 17,282-square-foot retail building at 66-99 Main St., the Courant notes, Owning a retail building in a town where Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Martha Stewart live isn’t cheap.

The one-story building housing Gap, Ann Taylor and J. McLaughlin stores was sold to a partnership led by W&M Properties executives Peter L. and Anthony E. Malkin of Greenwich. They bought it from Boston-based First Westport Properties.

Last year, an investment entity owned by Peter Malkin and his father-in-law, Lawrence A. Wien, acquired the fee title to the Empire State Building after owning the buildings master lease since 1961.

Each of the 66-99 Main St. retailers has a long-term lease for their space—The Gap, with 10,521 square feet; Ann Taylor, with 3,880 square feet; and J. McLaughlin, with 2,881 square feet.

W&M Properties said the Westport purchase, through its Wien & Malkin Co-Investor Capital L.P., is the investor group’s first retail acquisition outside of Manhattan in more than a decade.

The Malkins’ commercial and office building portfolio also includes properties in Norwalk, Darien, and Stamford, New York and elsewhere.

According to the Courant, the buyer said dependable rents, high-income residents in the area and future value of the property prompted its purchase.

Parade Coordinator Says Nothing Special

Parade Coordinator Says Nothing Special for Memorial Day Parade
Bill Vornkahl has been coordinating Westport’s Memorial Day parade for more than three decades. He says this year will be his 33rd or 34th—he can’t remember which.

What the 72-year-old Westporter is sure about, however, is that this years parade on May 26 won’t be much different than all the other years, despite the war in Iraq.

“We’ll be honoring the Korea War vets,” he said. “You know, this is the 50th anniversary of that war’s end.”

Vornkahl, who also helps organize Westport’s Italian Festival parade (this year will be his 19th – he is also sure of that), said the Korean anniversary will be the theme of the paradeҒs floats.

He said the latest war and its casualties will certainly be on the minds of all vets and all Westporters. But he made clear it was important that the deeds of those who made the ultimate sacrifice before this year need to be remembered as well.

The parade steps off shortly after 9 a.m. from Riverside Avenue in front of Saugatuck Elementary School and ends up in front of Town Hall where the traditional post parade ceremonies will be held.


04/18/2003 03:14 am Comments (0)Permalink

NY Times: Vanishing of a

NY Times: Vanishing of a Well-Known Bartender Stirs Placid WestportӔ
Todays New York Times gives prominent coverage to a missing person case in Westport Җ bartender David Bargmann from VӒs restaurant on Post Road East.

The 44-year-old Fairfield man disappeared more than three weeks ago without a trace.

ԓI dont think thereҒs a person in Westport or Fairfield who didnt know who he was,Ҕ Mark Goad, the general manager of Vs, told the newspaper. ғHe just had a following.

Adds the Times: ԓWestport is one of those suburbs whose police officers are more likely to be summoned about missing jewelry than missing people, and nearby in Fairfield, the police are good sports when elderly residents need help with their drapes.

So how a person widely described as utterly reliable and conscientious could simply vanish is upsetting the quiet rhythms of a place where people do not disappear. They call. They cancel. They reschedule.Ӕ


04/17/2003 10:42 am Comments (0)Permalink

Westport Connection Gets Chris Shays

Westport Connection Gets Chris Shays into Iraq
The State Department didnt want him there. Neither did the U.S. military. But Congressman Chris Shays got into Iraq today thanks to his Westport connections.

The Republican, whose district includes Westport and much of Fairfield County, managed to cross into Iraq from Kuwait with a convoy of aid workers from the Westport-based charity Save the Children, according to an AP report.

Shays, the first member of Congress to enter Iraq since most of the fighting there ended, told the AP in a phone call from Kuwait that other U.S. lawmakers meeting with military leaders in Kuwait were told they could not go to Iraq.

“I had to use the Save the Children’s network to get in. And (the State Department) led me to believe I was doing something that they didn’t want me to do,” he said. “I saw a lot of poverty, I saw a lot of bad living conditions. I just wish other members of Congress had seen what I got to see,” he told the AP.

Shays said aid organizations are frustrated because they are being curtailed by the military due to security concerns, and their access to the needy residents of Iraq has been limited to just one community, Umm Qasr. That is where he spent most of today.

Save the Children workers have been going into Iraq for about 10 days, and are concentrating on getting propane cooking fuel to residents in Umm Qasr. They are hoping to send representatives to Basra on Saturday, the AP said.

Shays is on a 10-day Middle East tour that will take him to Jordan, Israel and the West Bank, where he plans to meet with Palestinian business leaders, clergy and civil rights advocates.


04/17/2003 02:19 am Comments (0)Permalink

Add This to Your Westport Trivia List

Things you never knew about Westport Long Lots Elementary School is haunted.

At least that֒s according to a Web site that purports to list haunted places throughout the country.

Its entry for Westport reads in its entirety: Westport – Long Lots Elementary School – In the auditorium it is said that a lady dressed in black floats back and forth across the stage after sunset. Orbs of light can be seen glistening in the seat section.Ӕ


04/17/2003 01:07 am Comments (0)Permalink

Electronic Voting Machines for Westport?

Electronic Voting Machines for Westport?
Could there be some electronic voting machines in Westports future?

The AP reports that legislation allowing the state to test electronic voting machines in at least three towns heads to the governor’s desk for his signature following a 117-30 approval vote in the State Assembly.

Westport had previously informed the secretary of state that it would be willing to be one of the test towns. Westport has already used electronic scanning devices to count absentee ballots.

A spokesman for the secretary of state said the three towns will be chosen by lottery.

The legislation also authorizes the secretary of the state to conduct an exit poll to solicit voters’ reactions to the electronic machines, typically touch screen devices. The secretary of the state would then report back to the legislature.

The project, to be conducted in the 2003 and 2004 elections, is not expected to cost the state any money, the AP said, as vendors are expected to lend the machines during the demonstration project.


04/16/2003 01:54 am Comments (0)Permalink

Miscellany: George Underhills Exit 17

Miscellany: George Underhills Exit 17 Cleanup and Jeff MayerҒs Civil War Course
If youre not a member of WestportҒs Sunrise Rotary Club but want to keep up with the doings of the movers and shakers of that organization, become a regular reader of the clubs weekly newsletter, The Crier.

If you do, youҒll find mention in the latest issue about town tax collector George Underhills efforts to clean up the area around I-95Ғs Exit 17 on Saturday, April 26, and Board of Finance member Jeff Mayers Civil War history course thatҒs part of Continuing Ed at Staples.

Theres also mention that the college student son of Westport’s favorite cabaret songstress Leslie Orofino is in love. Tom Orofino attends Villanova. (Check out Leslie’s Web site at www.leslieorofino.com, too.)

The Crier is posted online every week. To borrow a phrase from News12, it’s as local as local news gets Җ and more.


04/15/2003 16:41 pm Comments (0)Permalink