Wednesday, July 17, 2024


Business Down in Westport as Residents Glued to TVs

It is purely anecdotal and not scientific, but random checks of area retailers and restaurants show business in Westport noticeably reduced in recent days, apparently because people are staying close to home watching developments in Iraq.

More parking spaces at Barnes and Noble, increased shoppers at supermarkets, and reduced numbers of diners at area restaurants are consistent with reports nationally about more people staying home watching television war coverage.

At Matsu Sushi on Jesup Road last evening, the restaurant was half empty during what normally is a busy dinner hour.

I was wondering where everybody is,Ӕ said restaurant owner Marty Cheng.

There was a big crowd on Main Street last night for the champagne opening of Talbots Mens in space previously occupied by The Limited. But otherwise the town center seemed even quieter than usual.

Westport’s Save the Children Ready

Westport’s Save the Children Ready to Enter Iraq
Workers from the Westport-based charity Save the Children have received word from the military that they can begin bringing trucks full of food and supplies into Iraq, according to an AP dispatch.

Save the Children has 26 staff members stationed in Iraq’s neighboring countries, and another 60 workers from the charity’s British counterpart are preparing to enter northern Iraq, the report said.

04/04/2003 16:59 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Tauck Leaves Westport for Norwalk

Tauck Leaves Westport for Norwalk
After three decades in Westport, Tauck World Discovery is doing a little traveling itself—over the border into Norwalk.

The nationally-known travel company that arranges trips to more than 100 world locales said it needs to consolidate its 175 employees into one location instead of the several it has in Westport.

04/03/2003 12:49 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Tired of Aerials of Iraq?

Tired of Aerials of Iraq? How About Longshore or Compo Beach?
If your eyes are tired of aerial and satellite shots of Iraq, perhaps you’d like some birds eyes views of something closer to home—Westport.

Joe Melanson of Wareham, Mass. has been shooting aerials of the United States for 15 years and has built up an online collection of more than 6,000 pictures, including 11 of Westport. Most are areas near the water, including Longshore and Compo Beach. (I’d link to the individual pictures but he asks visitors not to.)

His Web site describes the photos as taken with 2 x 3 inch negatives for ғsuperb clarity and sharpness. Enlargements are hand printed and color corrected with sizes ranging from 16 x 20 inches ($98) to 30 x 40 inches ($350). Shipping and handling extra.

If Westport aerials are not your thing, there are plenty of other choices, including Yankee Stadium and lower Manhattan with the World Trade Center twin towers. And if none of his 80,000 stock pictures interests you, Melanson offers custom aerials of the site of your choice. Say cheese.

04/03/2003 01:25 am Comments (0)Permalink

When Will Cablevision Roll Out

When Will Cablevision Roll Out Its Digital Service? Dont Ask the Area Cable Council
If among war worries and terrorist concerns you happened to wonder when Westport might get CablevisionҒs new digital cable service, dont bother asking the Area Nine Cable Council.

Members appointed by area towns to represent their communityҒs interests to cable providers know but wont tell us Җ at Cablevisions request.

At least thatҒs what the council—established by state legislation and therefore a public agency says in the minutes of its Jan. 10 meeting in Weston.

During a discussion, Cablevision representative Tad Diesel provided details of the digital rollout to members, but the minutes do not reflect what he told them, saying instead:

֓TD discussed CVs plans for the roll-out of digital cable, but noted that they were not for publication. The comments will be reflected in the minutes approved at a future meeting.Ҕ

For more on the council, visit its Web site; for more on Cablevision’s new digital service, visit its Web site.

Update: The council’s Feb. 12 minutes—only recently available on its Web site—lifted the secrecy a bit, saying, “The rollout of iO will be staged over a six-week period with full implementation scheduled for April 8.”

04/01/2003 15:10 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Look Out Starbucks: Librarys No.

Look Out Starbucks: Librarys No. 1 Want is Bigger Cafҩ
Theres no doubt the Westport Public Library, one of the busiest in the state, is high tech Җ plenty of computers and Internet access, including the wireless kind. But library officials say their biggest demand isnt technical Җ its for increased cafҩ space so patrons can talk over a cup of java one-on-one.

Thats a finding from a consultantҒs interviews, focus groups and surveys, according to Library Director Maxine Bleiweis.

Bleweis, preparing for a town meeting April 8 on the librarys future, told The Hour that changing times and changing trends require the library to re-examine its services and connections with the community frequently.

“We found out that the sense of community that we can reflect in this space is paramount,” she said. “The ability to find information on the Web had not replaced the need to come together.” The number one suggestion of those surveyed, Bleiweis said, has been for a bigger cafҩ area.

“We have a lot of individual spaces and spaces for large gatherings, but we don’t have anything in between for a casual conversation,” she said.

David Rubinstein, Westport Public Library board of trustees president, said the number of people who want a larger cafe area for casual conversation is overwhelming.

“People feel isolated and anxious during these hard times,” he said. “This is a special place for them where they can feel safe.”

04/01/2003 12:53 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Online Sex Offender Registry Back

Online Sex Offender Registry Back and So is Criticism; Five Westporters Listed
The states controversial sex offender registry is public again, almost two years after it was ruled unconstitutional and pulled from the Internet. And so is the criticism of it.

Residents can now access the registry at local police departments and online at the state Department of Public Safety’s Web site.

A search of WestportҒs 06880 zip code shows five registered sex offenders who have been convicted of crimes ranging from first-degree sexual assault to risk of injury to, or impairing morals of, children

Federal courts shut down the public registry in May 2001 after sex offenders filed suit. They said they were denied the opportunity to prove they were not a danger to society before their names and addresses were made public.

But last month the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the earlier rulings and the registry went back online Monday.

Critics, including longtime Westporter Emanuel Margolis, called the site a “serious invasion of privacy rights,” according to The Advocate of Stamford.

“Without the finding of present dangerousness, this is just a form of humiliation that is unnecessary and unfair,” said Margolis, a legal adviser to the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union.

04/01/2003 12:11 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Westporter Watts Wacker Says World

Westporter Watts Wacker Says World Entering Epoch of UncertaintyӔ
Westporter Watts Wacker, who makes a living pontificating about whats to come as a futurist, says the world is at a historical turning point.

In an interview with the Hartford Courant, Wacker said he sees the attacks of Sept. 11 and the Iraq war as historical “anchors,” but not necessarily as the causes of the shift.

Wacker, who heads Westport-based FirstMatter LLC, said the world is entering the “epoch of uncertainty” – a churning sea of incessant change with few islands of stability and security. The dominant organizational principle of this emerging age, he said, is paradox.

“Of course, you see that so brilliantly in what’s been happening in these past few days,” Wacker said.

“You have war protests with regular people like you could not imagine. These are not professional anarchists. These are everyday American people. At the same time, you’re seeing polls that show huge support for this war.”

With the pillars of business, religion and education crumbling under the weight of scandals, he said, anxiety is spreading.

“What’s whacking people out is that there is nothing to compare [our current situation] against that makes you know it’s going to be OK,” he said. “These periods of great change have huge disruptions and result in huge numbers of people being displaced physically, emotionally and spiritually.”

04/01/2003 01:41 am Comments (0)Permalink

Area Elected Officials Wary of

Area Elected Officials Wary of War Resolutions
As Westports Representative Town Meeting prepares to take up a resolution opposing the war in Iraq, other area communities are also considering resolutions regarding the conflict, according to the Connecticut Post.

It is a delicate, sometimes controversial, balancing act for those municipal councils or boards that choose to take up the issue, the newspaper reported.

At Monday night’s Town Council meeting in New Milford, Conn., emotions ran high and there was a standing-room-only crowd, reported The Spectrum.

The anti-war resolution, put on the RTMҒs agenda by petition from more than 20 electors as required by the town charter, will be taken up at its meeting on Tuesday.

Submitted before the start of the war, it calls on the United States to use diplomatic efforts before launching a preemptive strike.

Update: At the April 1 RTM meeting, no action was taken on the anti-war resolution. The lead petitioner told members she would not object to their not considering it in its outdated form but said it would be updated and resubmitted.

Meanwhile, a petition proposing a resolution in support of U.S. troops has been submitted for RTM consideration at its May meeting.

03/31/2003 12:48 pm Comments (0)Permalink