Saturday, January 31, 2015
Saturday, January 31, 2015
10 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Gilbertie’s (7 Sylvan Lane) - Winter Farmers Market
11 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Earthplace - Winterfest
Noon - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
Noon - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Coney Island: Side Show”
7 p.m. - Toquet Hall Teen Center - Improv Comedy w/ Yale Exit Players & GFA’s Red & Bloopers!
See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar
Friday, January 30, 2015
Legislators Pledge Support for Improved Transportation
Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) and Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-136) led a bipartisan Regional Transportation Caucus press conference today in the Capitol. Republican and Democratic House and Senate members joined in pledging support for immediate improvements for Fairfield County’s highways, bridges, and rail lines. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Former Missile Site May Gain Local Historic Status
Westport town officials today visited the Rolnick Observatory site, 182 Bayberry Lane, to determine its eligibility for a local historic preservation designation. Randy Henkels, chairman of the Historic District Commission (HDC), said Selectman Helen Garten and Kevin Green, a former Representative Town Meeting (RTM) member and current member of the Westport Astronomical Society, which now uses the site, submitted the request. He said the next steps include the formation of a study committee followed by initiation of the application process. The site, the highest in Westport at the time, was used in the 1950s and 1960s as a Nike/Ajax missile site to protect war manufacturing efforts in Bridgeport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Wind Chill Advisory
The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory for Westport and area from midnight tonight to noon Saturday.
It said to expect wind chills as low as 15 to 20 below due to temperatures in the single digits and northwest winds sustained at 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.
The advisory warned of frostbite and hypothermia if precautions are not taken.
Now it Can Be Told: Westporter Involved in Time Cover Switch
Westport artist Miggs Burroughs today provided a bit of Time Magazine history he says has not been told before -– the last minute switch of a 1973 Watergate cover he did depicting Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman.
“It was to be the fifth cover I did for Time Magazine in the early 70s, most of which portrayed aspects of the Watergate scandal,” he wrote in a Facebook posting.
“My assignment was to portray Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s personal counsel in the White House, who were complicit in the ‘coverup’ of Nixon’s impeachable crimes. I put their heads together, sharing an ear, to further convey the media’s and public’s perception of them as one inseparable and evil force in the Oval Office.
“I was told to leave room for the headline but had no clue what it would be. The cover was printed and wrapped around a few hundred thousand issues of the magazine, ready to be distributed, before cooler heads at Time prevailed and had the entire issue pulled and destroyed for its offensive headline. A first in Time’s history, and never revealed until today. This may be the only remaining copy of that cover.”
Advance Praise for Lynsey Addario Book
There is advance praise for Westport award-winning photographer Lynsey Addario’s new book to be published next week, “It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War” (The Penguin Press, HC, $29.95).
The New York Times Magazine this Sunday publishes excerpts from the book, which Kirkus Reviews called “A remarkable journalistic achievement from a Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Fellowship winner that crystalizes the last 10 years of global war and strife while candidly portraying the intimate life of a female photojournalist. “
Dexter Filkins, a former New York Times colleague and author of “The Forever War,” said: “Lynsey Addario’s book is like her life: big, beautiful, and utterly singular. With the whole world as her backdrop, Addario embarks on an extraordinary adventure whose overriding effect is to remind of us what unites us all.”
Addario, a 1991 Staples High School graduate, is a frequent visitor to her hometown. A year ago, the Westport Arts Center presented an exhibit of 34 of her photographs, “On The Wire: Veiled Rebellion,” which depicted the plight of women in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. (See WestportNow Jan. 25, 2014)
Friday Drop-in Distinguished Visitor
Helen Clark, U.N. Development Program head and former prime minister of New Zealand, was a drop in visitor today at the Westport Arts Center. She was greeted by Helen Klisser During, fellow New Zealander, artistic director, and curator of the Center’s current exhibit, “Coney Island: Side Show,” which runs until March 14. They are pictured in front of Westport photographer Stephen Wilkes’s shot “Coney Island Boardwalk, NY, Day to Night 2011.” Clark is just back from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where, among other events, she was honored at a reception for Forbes Magazine’s “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” Clark is often mentioned as a possible future U.N. secretary-general. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Cold Outside But Hot IPO Inside
UPDATE It was bitter cold outside Westport’s Shake Shack, 1849 Post Road East, today but the company founded 14 years ago by restaurateur Danny Meyer was basking in the heat of Wall Street as its initial public offering (IPO) began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock, which went public at $21, closed at $45.90, up almost 119 percent, after trading as high as $52.50. The New York-born cult modern day “roadside” burger stand opened in Westport in July 2011. Meyer was on hand for the debut of the chain’s first actual drive-in eatery and first suburban location. (See WestportNow July 20, 2011) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
WestportNow Teardown of the Day: Weeks Pavilion, Church Lane
An application for a permit to demolish the Weeks Pavilion building in the former Westport Weston Family YMCA on Westport’s Church Lane is in process. Built in 1976, the two-story commercial structure that housed multiple facilities including the swimming pool, has 50,000 square feet and is situated on an estimated .8-acre property, according to developer David Waldman, principal of Bedford Square Associates. He said he expects the demolition will occur in early April. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Single Alarm, Firehouse Chili Suits Up for Chilifest
By James Lomuscio
Tobias Ostapchuk: “You can’t overcook chili.” Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Westport Firefighter Tobias Ostapchuk said his department decided at the last minute to enter into Chilifest, a pre-Super Bowl cook-off event set for Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bedford Middle School.
“It’s so we can compete with other fire departments in our area,” said Ostapchuk, who spent Thursday night in a commercial kitchen making 10 gallons of his Checkered Flag Chicken Chili.
Fairfield, Rowayton, Weston, Wilton and Trumbull are also participating in the event, along with a dozen Fairfield and New Haven county restaurants.
While signing up was a last minute decision, Ostapchuk says his recipe is tried and true, evolving over the past 15 years to “almost a mild, spicy chicken soup.”
Westport Property Transfers Jan. 12 - 16, 2015
Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period Jan. 12 - 16, 2015:
Jane Green to Keith and Cari Kaplan, 4 Bluewater Hill, $6,375,000
Pamela Camarda Revocable Trust to Peter Ziegler and Tracy Yost, 15 Cross Highway, $1,295.000
Joan Marie Sheehy to 131 Old Road LLC, 131 Old Road, $800,000
John J. Kennedy and Maria L. Casale to Allison L. and Barrie Holmes, 7 Mansfield Place, $1,145,000
Making a Sidewalk Safe
A worker spreads ice melt today on a sidewalk on Imperial Avenue. A few inches of snow overnight resulted in some icing conditions but plowing requirements were limited, according to Scott Sullivan, Town of Westport highway superintendent. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
More Snow to Clean
Workers clean a sidewalk on Post Road East on the perimeter of Westport’s Winslow Park today after an overnight snowfall dropped several inches . (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com
Honored at Red Cross Breakfast
Three Town of Westport Parks and Recreation Department employees were honored today in Stamford at the annual American Red Cross Community Heroes Breakfast after they saved the life of a co-worker who had a heart attack. Joseph Bairaktaris, Jr., (l) David Ellis (c ) and Ian Chasnow (not pictured, at college) performed CPR when co-worker “Doc” Kashka (r ) collapsed near the basketball courts on May 31, 2014. He spent six nights in intensive care before beginning to recover. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com
Morning Walk After Another Snow
An overnight snow left several inches throughout Westport today. View is of the riverwalk along the west bank of the Saugatuck River in Westport’s Center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com
Friday, January 30, 2015
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Coney Island: Side Show”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Saugatuck @Work” & “Framing Saugatuck”
Noon - Westport Library - WestportREADS: Lunch & Learn - How Literature Inspires Art
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Library - Drop-in Tech Help
4 p.m. - Westport Library - Teen Robotics Users Group
4 p.m. - Westport Library - ChessClub (grades k-12)
See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Landon Proposes $1.5 Million Budget Cut
By James Lomuscio
Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon tonight appeared to pull the proverbial rabbit out of a hat, proposing a $1.5 million reduction in his announced 2015-16 budget of $113,294,493. It lowered the 3.75 percent increase over this year’s operating budget to 2.34 percent.
Elliott Landon: “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Landon told the Board of Education the cut could be gleaned from myriad areas. They included: $150,000 in workers compensation savings; removing capital projects from the operating budget, just at the town does, to save $390,000; high paid employee retirements and lower pay replacements; fund transfer, and substantial insurance savings.
In making the amendment to his proposed budget, Landon noted that Brian Stern, finance board vice chairman, told him that a “2.5 to 2.9 percent increase was as acceptable range for the Board of Finance,” the body the budget goes to following school board approval.
Michael Gordon, school board chairman, seemed thrilled. He thanked Landon, Elio Long, school business administrator, and Marge Cion, the school system’s director of human resources, “for sharpening your pencils.” He said the proposed cuts would put the budget where the finance board members “have said we should be,” without compromising programs for students.
Three’s a Compo Crowd
Dog Trainer and Exerciser Anthony Carafa of Redding allowed his canine charges almost two hours of playtime at Compo Beach today. But leaning out of the window of his parked truck, all three dogs let him know that they wanted to get out and play—some more.Carafa is the owner-trainer of two of the dogs—the Irish Field Setter named Sunny, 12, and the English Setter (black and white) named Vinnie, 6. He trains and exercises the German Shepherd named Bella, 5, who resides with her owner in Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com
Assessment Appeals Process Begins Monday
UPDATE (clarifies appeals are of 2010 revaluation) Beginning Monday, taxpayers wishing to appeal their properties’ assessments can file applications in the Westport Assessor’s Office, town officials announced today.
The hard copy appeals, which may not be faxed nor emailed, can be made until 4:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20.
According to the Assessor’s Office, the Westport Board of Assessment Appeals will conduct meetings in March, hearing appeals for the 2014 Grand List for real estate, personal property and motor vehicles, as well as the 2013 Grand List for motor vehicle supplemental.
The real estate appeals are based on the 2010 revaluation, the Assessor’s office said. Assessment notices for the 2015 revaluation that is currently underway will be mailed at the end of 2015. Appeals for the 2015 revaluation will be heard in March of 2016.
Legal Defense Fund Head: ‘Help Us Make Things Better’
Kevin Keenan, chief operating officer and legal counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), told the Y’s Men of Westport Weston today that racial problems in the United States are “like a damaged ecosystem.” The Swarthmore College and Yale Law School graduate challenged his audience to return to the “simple American heroism” of the time when people saw it as their “civic duty to fix things, to call out what others were ignoring, and to provide specific solutions to make things better.” He added, “That’s been LDF’s work for 75 years, but we can’t do it alone.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com
NY Observer: Horrors of Westport Living
The New York Observer in its latest issue focuses on New Yorkers who move to the suburbs, including Westport, and then can’t wait to get back to the city.
“Lynn Shanahan loved Westport, Conn.,” the newspaper’s article began. “It was restful, beautiful and close to New York—an ideal escape from the city on sticky summer days. And then she moved there.”
It goes on to quote her as saying: “I was standing on the train platform in the dark at 6:15 a.m. when I realized I had made a mistake.”
Among her complaints: “the house and yard required constant tending, weekly grocery shopping trips proved a chore compared to casually picking things up throughout the week and dinner options after 9:30 p.m. dwindled to pizza or Chinese takeout.” Read the full article here.
Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘Violent Year,’ ‘Strange Magic,’ ‘Wedding Ringer’
By Susan Granger
Set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically the most dangerous year in the city’s history, J.C. Chandor’s intense noir-thriller “A Most Violent Year” combines political intrigue with industrial corruption.
Ambitious, idealistic Hispanic immigrant Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) started as a fuel truck driver for a heating oil distributor. When he married the mob-connected boss’s daughter Anna (Jessica Chastain), taking over the family business, he discovers it’s not easy being honest in the crime-riddled city.
After making a deal to purchase a waterfront storage facility, Morales is faced with a series of brutal anonymous attacks. His drivers are hijacked and his fuel is stolen.
Egged on by Anna and his lawyer (Albert Brooks), he turns to desperate measures to protect his property, his family and his chunk of the American Dream.
WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 11 Owenoke Park
Page 1 of 1682 pages
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 11 Owenoke Park, in the Compo Beach area, is in process. Built in 1900, the two-story colonial has 2,163 square feet, is situated on a .22-acre property and changed ownership in November 2013 for $3,175,000. Because the house was built more than 50 years ago, the application will be reviewed by the Westport Historic District Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
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PROPERTY TRANSFERSWestport Property Transfers Jan. 12 - 16, 2015
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