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Westport Threatened by Bioterror Attack

Westport Threatened by Bioterror Attack
No, not really. But its a central theme in author John R. MaximҒs latest thriller, BannermanӒs Ghosts (William Morrow, $24.95).

The former Westport resident, now living in Hilton Head, S.C., continues to use Westport as a backdrop for his best-selling tales of intrigue.

PublisherԒs Weekly began its review of the latest Bannerman saga this way:

Travelers to Westport, Conn., should keep an eye open for unusual characters. That distinguished old gent who runs an antique shop? He’s an ex-KGB colonel. That red-haired woman whose bookstore sells a lot of Harry Potters? She’s a professional killer who likes to blow up trucks and planes.

ӓAnd the owners of a popular restaurant, a quaint bed-and-breakfast, a home security firm? They’re all former assassins for the U.S. government, possessed of various violent skills that they’re ready to exercise once again if their boss, Paul Bannerman-who runs a travel agency on the Boston Post Road-gives the word.

If the idea of a bioterror attack on Westport sounds like something out of recent headlines, it is.

In an interview with readersread.com, Maxim said he did his research through meeting a virologist who put him in touch with other experts who fear smallpox will be at the core of a possible new wave of bioterroism that could possibly kill 200 million people.

ThatԒs the bad news. The good news, according to Maxim, is that any attacker would almost surely be identified through means that I’ve described in ӑBannerman’s Ghosts. The attacker would face total annihilation and he knows it. It’s the same as the nuclear deterrent.Ҕ

Just what Westporters need to help them relax. Let’s hope he hasn’t given the real bad guys any ideas.


04/15/2003 15:14 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Group Seeks to End Nastiness

Group Seeks to End Nastiness in Government
Theres a new grassroots group in Connecticut aimed at ending nastiness in government. No, not in Westport—in New Milford in Litchfield County.

The News-Times of Danbury says New Milford residents formed the group Җ Friends for a Better New Milford about two weeks ago in an effort to bring civility back to town politics and government.

Westport never had a formal group aimed at making town government and politics more civil. But there was an unofficial effort to do just that led by Woody Klein, former editor of the Westport News, through his columns and editorials. From recent headlines and stories in the local papers, maybe it’s time for Woody to revive his campaign.


04/15/2003 13:33 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Westport Man Found Dead in House Fire

A 52-year-old Westport man apparently set fire to a boat and house and then killed himself with a gun early today, fire officials said. At least one firefighter was slightly injured when he became trapped for a brief time while battling the blaze.

A neighbor spotted a boat burning alongside the house at 2 Moss Ledge Road, off of Long Lots Road, shortly after 4 a.m. and called police. When the first police officers arrived they found the burning boat and then saw flames in the house, a two-story colonial.

The victim, later identified by police as William P. Croarkin, was found dead in a second floor bedroom, according to the officials. They said they believe he set the fires and then killed himself with a shotgun found next to his body but that their investigation was continuing.

No one else was at home at the time. Both the house and boat suffered heavy damage.

One firefighter, Todd Denke, 36, of Westport, became trapped for a brief time on the second floor as he fought the blaze. He called for help on his radio and after a few harrowing moments escaped by crashing through a window and sliding head first down a ladder erected by fellow firefighters.

He was transported to Norwalk Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and released.

About 30 firefighters, including volunteers, responded to the alarm.

First Selectwoman Diane Farrell was among those on the scene, along with Fire Chief Denis McCarthy and Deputy Police Chiefs Donald Brown, Al Fiore and David Heinmiller.


04/14/2003 20:27 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Quinnipiac University School of Law

Quinnipiac University School of Law Honors Westporter Mary Moers Wenig
She died in January, but for colleagues and friends at Qunnipiac University School of Law, Westporter Mary Moers Wenigs memory remains bright as ever.

Several dozen gathered today at the university in Hamden, Conn. to honor Wenig, a two-term member of WestportҒs Representative Town Meeting (RTM) and a nationally known expert on taxation, trusts and estates, and marital property. Among them were several from Westport.

Wenig, a professor at the law school since 1978, died Jan. 18 at the age of 76 after a lengthy illness. She had been a member from the RTMs District 4 since 1999.

Brad Saxton, dean of the law school, said he had received dozens of tributes to Wenig since her death, including one from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginzburg.

He said the university has established a scholarship in Wenig’s name and displayed a portrait of her which he said would initiate a new gallery of law school faculty members.

ғProfessor Wenigs passionate commitment to the lawyer/scholarҒs active role in the positive advancement of the law is the legacy she leaves to the law school, the legal profession and humanity, said a program tribute to Wenig. ԓWe honor her memory by emulating that commitment.


04/14/2003 00:44 am Comments (0)Permalink

New Haven Register Looks at

New Haven Register Looks at School Start Times
Its not just Westport and Wilton that are looking at changing the start times for their schools. The New Haven Register, in a story headlined ғMove to start school later gains momentum, says similar efforts are now being made statewide.

ԓSupported by strong evidence and a growing list of success stories to back them up, a group of Connecticut doctors want to make school start times a little more reasonable, the newspaper said.


04/13/2003 19:34 pm Comments (0)Permalink

But You Cannot Eat Your House

Todays New York Times takes a look a soaring home prices in the Northeast which, coupled with rising property taxes, are driving an increasing number of elderly from their homes and communities.

Sound familiar? The story doesnҒt mention Westport, but many Westporters will be able to identify with those who are cited. It says some communities provide relief to seniors by allowing them to work off part of their taxes. That has yet to be tried in Westport, which has a number of senior tax relief programs that are income-based.

The Times quotes one economist as saying: For the older people, their homes are rising in values, but their income is not rising. But you cannot eat your house.Ӕ

Update: Sundays New York Times reported that home buying has reached a feverish pitch in much of Fairfield County җ Norwalk is an exception fueled, brokers say, by declines in interest rates to 30-year lows, a shrinking of inventories and uneasiness over the war, a listless economy and a jumpy stock market.

The Times said Westport had 31 of the 56 building permits issued in February for the Stamford Labor Market, according to the state Department of Economic and Community Development. That includes Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Darien, Weston, Westport, Stamford and Wilton.

Last year only 36 permits were issued in February in the whole labor market. It is currently the only labor market showing an increase statewide, the report said.

The newspaper quoted Kathy Barnard, director of Westportגs Planning and Zoning Department as saying: “Things have not slowed down. People are putting on enormous two-story additions, tearing down houses to build bigger ones, and the issuing of building permits may not be backed up as much as it was last fall, but it’s still very busy.”


04/12/2003 22:51 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Farrells Bridgeport Summit Plan Draws

Farrells Bridgeport Summit Plan Draws Coverage from AP
Westport First Selectwoman Diane FarrellҒs plan for a May 9 summit to discuss Bridgeports economic development has drawn coverage from The Associated Press.

In a story moved for Sunday newspapers in the state, which will get it widespread distribution, the AP quoted Farrell as saying: ғWe have a moment here. We can’t just simply turn our backs on Bridgeport.”

Comparing Westport to Bridgeport, the story said: Farrell leads a town that celebrities such as Paul Newman and Martha Stewart have called home – a contrast with Bridgeport, where poverty is so severe that Mother Teresa’s order opened a mission in 2001.Ӕ

The AP quoted Bridgeport Mayor John Fabrizi, who replaced Joe Ganim following his conviction on corruption charges, as enthusiastically endorsing the summit.

Fabrizi said he wants to show the city is a good place to invest and hopes to win the support of Farrell and officials from other towns to get more state funding for economic development.

“I’m elated that she’s exemplified the leadership to try to help,” he said. “That’s what we need.”


04/12/2003 18:47 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Radio Chick Splits Time Between

Radio Chick Splits Time Between Westport and New York
Leslie Gold, who got her radio start at Westports now-defunct WMMM, spends these days splitting her time between Westport and New York. And a lot of time talking about her breasts.

ThatҒs according to a profile of the Bridgeport-born personality known as The Radio ChickӔ in The Advocate of Stamford.

The newspaper chronicles her career from being largely known only to those in the construction and manufacturing industries to possibly being known to FM listeners throughout the New York area as the brazen morning host on Q104.3-FM.

These days, Leslie Gold is on the radio bashing Geraldo Rivera’s renegade approach to ӑjournalism in Iraq, enlightening male listeners with a female perspective on relationship issues and talking about her breasts,Ҕ according to the newspaper.

Of her early days at WMMM, Gold said she had a two-hour time slot once a week and noted that when the station reduced its power after sundown, “You basically had to be across the street with tinfoil in your teeth to hear it.Ӕ

Those seeking more info—or an autographed calendar of Gold—can visit her Web site.


04/12/2003 10:53 am Comments (0)Permalink

Ready to Set Sail from

Ready to Set Sail from Longshore? Make a Bid on Ebay
If you are just getting your summer plans set and they include sailing on Long Island Sound but you haven’t gotten around to actually getting the transport, click over to Ebay to make a bid on a beauty moored at Longshore.

The seller says the Tanzer 22 sloop is fully equipped and describes it as an ideal family cruiser/day sailer/racerӔ that sleeps four. Bidding starts at $4,000. Longshore mooring included, if desired.

Anchors aweigh.

Update: The auction ended with no one making a bid.


04/12/2003 04:46 am Comments (0)Permalink

Connecticut Officials Confirm Suspected SARS Cases in Fairfield County

Two weeks after WestportNow.com reported that Connecticuts first suspected case of severe acute respiratory illness was in southwest Connecticut, state health officials have confirmed there indeed have been at least two suspected cases in Fairfield County.

But state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said the state should release more information about the suspected cases of the illness, known as SARS, including where those patients live, according to an AP report.

There have been four suspected SARS cases in Connecticut, but until Thursday, the state health department refused to say where those patients live. On Thursday, a news release gave a county breakdown—two in Fairfield County (in two different towns), one in New Haven County, and one in New London County.

The officials said the four Connecticut patients suspected of having SARS are recovering.

On Thursday, Blumenthal wrote a letter to Department of Public Health Commissioner Joxel Garcia, urging him to release additional information, the AP said. DPH subsequently gave the county breakdown. But on Friday, Blumenthal told the Journal Inquirer of Manchester that wasn’t good enough.

“My feeling continues to be that the names of towns should be released because disclosure serves public interest, and there is virtually no chance of intrusion on patient privacy,” Blumenthal told the newspaper.

Health officials are citing patient confidentiality issues. Spokesman William Gerrish said identifying the towns “would not serve a public health purpose,” the AP said.

On March 28, WestportNow.com reported that area medical officials had received word that a southwest Connecticut resident was involved and were asked to be especially vigilant about suspected cases. The patient had recently traveled to an Asian country where the illness had been reported.

WestportNow.com has subsequently confirmed that at least one of the suspected Fairfield County patients was a Westport resident who travels abroad frequently for business and has fully recovered.

Health officials have stressed that local residents should not be alarmed since the cases are suspected and not confirmed.