Category Archives: Places

Doggone!

The other night, Louie ran away.

It was around 10:15. The Mombellos have an invisible fence, but somehow Louie — a 10-month-old puppy — escaped.

Julie Mombello was about to pick up her husband Michael at the train station. She left a frantic voicemail: Find a ride home. She was looking for Louie.

The doors didn’t open at the Green’s Farms platform. Several people missed the stop. Amy Harris and Michael Cohen, who live around the corner from the Mombellos, gave Michael Mombello a ride home. He told them the puppy was missing.

They dropped Michael at his home, on the corner of Long Lots Road and Turkey Hill. Quickly, they returned. They said they thought they’d just seen Louie, running up Linda Lane.

Louie

Louie

Amy dropped her husband at home, then drove back. She wanted to keep looking.

Julie and her husband searched the streets off Long Lots: Linda Lane, Elmwood, Moss Ledge.

Amy — now accompanied by her son — kept looking too.

Julie Mombello with her other dog, George, at a charity walk in Bridgeport. She is a director of the well-respected Adam J. Lewis Preschool in that city, where she also teaches.

Julie Mombello with her other dog, George, at a charity walk in Bridgeport. She is a director of the well-respected Adam J. Lewis Preschool in that city, where she also teaches.

Around 11;45 p.m., Julie’s cell phone rang. A woman on High Point Road thought she had Louie.

As Julie pulled into that street, a car came down. It was Amy and her son — still searching for Louie.

Julie told Amy she thought they’d found him. Amy pulled over to wait.

When Julie walked out of the High Point house, holding Louie in her arms, Amy and her son came over. They told her how happy and thankful they were he’d been found.

By then it was midnight. Amy — a stranger to Julie a couple of hours earlier — had been out with friends in New York. Julie is sure the last thing Amy wanted to do was look for a lost puppy that wasn’t even hers.

But she did.

Louie and George, the Mombellos' other dog. They're best friends.

Louie and George, the Mombellos’ other dog. They’re best friends.

Julie was overwhelmed by her perseverance, and the kindness of the woman on High Point who got up to see why a dog was barking in her yard at 11:45.

It was cold last week. Louie is little. Julie shudders to think what might have happened.

“This whole experience made us feel like we were living in a small town again, where people actually care about their neighbors,” Julie says.

The next day, she dropped thank-you notes in both families’ mailboxes.

But it was such a feel-good story, she wants to share it with the “06880” world.

PS: A couple of days later, Julie received a note in the mail. The woman on High Point Road thanked Julie for her note, adding that as a life-long dog person, she knows “all about the feelings enmeshed with our canine family members.”

She signed the note “Baba and family.”

Baba Ganoush is her dog.

Sun Shines; Shores Flood

It’s beautiful here in Westport. Sunny, a tad nippy — a typical February 9.

But even on a day like today, Saugatuck Shores worries about water. Betsy P. Kahn photographed these high-tide scenes late this morning:

Saugatuck Shores flooding 1 - Feb 9 2016 - Betsy P Kahn

Saugatuck Shores flooding 2 - Feb 9 2016 - Betsy P Kahn
Betsy was visiting a friend on Marsh Road. She got this far:

Saugatuck Shores flooding 3 - Feb 9 2016 - Betsy P Kahn

(Photos/Betsy P. Kahn)

(Photos/Betsy P. Kahn)

Meanwhile, not far away on Saugatuck Island, Yvonne Marks captured this much sandier scene:

(Photo/Yvonne Marks)

Click on or hover over any photo to enlarge. (Photo/Yvonne Marks)

 

Eye In The Sky

Alert — and only slightly suspicious — JP Vellotti recently noticed an interesting sight at the Sherwood Island Connector’s Post Road traffic light.

His passenger snapped a photo.

Sherwood Island Connector 1

JP writes:

The lights are new. It looks like a camera has been added too.

Who sees the feed? The police? Or maybe the state police, because this is a state road? Or News 12 for traffic? Or….

And how do cameras get approved, anyhow?

I’m not adversely against these. I’m just curious, having never seen a public notice about their installation. After all, if you’re recording the public, they should at least have the right to know.

What do you think? All “06880” readers — no matter where you fall on the civil liberties/police state spectrum — are invited to weigh in. Just click “Comments” below (and please use your full, real name!).

Westport’s Place In World History Up For Sale

The commercial real estate listing is pretty straightforward: An 11,000-square foot brick and stone office building on Saugatuck Avenue, close to I-95 and the train station.

There’s a photo —

Eno Foundation

— and a name: The Eno Foundation Building.

But the listing doesn’t give a hint what the Eno Foundation was.

It’s named for William Phelps Eno. He was a Westport businessman known as the “Father of Traffic Safety.” His innovations included the stop sign, pedestrian crosswalk, traffic circle, 1-way street, taxi stand and pedestrian safety island. He designed traffic plans for New York, Paris and London.

For many years, his worldwide traffic institute was headquartered on Saugatuck Avenue, near the Norwalk line.

Believe it or not, Westport — with all our traffic woes — was once the place where transportation ideas that transformed the world were hatched.

William Phelps Eno — who (you can’t make this up) never learned to drive — is no longer around to solve our current traffic issues. He died in 1945. If he were, he could start right around the corner from his headquarters, then work his way through town, ending up at the Merritt Parkway Exit 42/Weston Road/Main Street/Easton Road goat rodeo.

But you can now buy his building. It’s a beauty.

And there’s plenty of on-site parking.

 William Phelps Eno was honored with a plaque at the old Westport YMCA.

William Phelps Eno was honored with a plaque at the old Westport YMCA.

(For more information on the real estate listing — or to buy it! — click here. Hat tip: Kate Schwartz.)

 

Apartment Application Denied

In the 1st stop along what may be a long legal journey, the Planning and Zoning Commission last night unanimously denied an application to build a 6-story, 48-unit apartment complex on one of the busiest, most environmentally sensitive corners of Westport.

Concerns about safety and damage to wetlands adjacent to the 1.16-acre parcel at the corner of Wilton Road and Kings Highway North dominated last night’s proceedings in Town Hall.

P&Z commissioners questioned the developer — Garden Homes Management — about many aspects of the plan. They also appeared miffed that a consultant and lawyer for Garden Homes did not attend (due to illness and a conflict), and that Garden Homes submitted a raft of supporting materials at the meeting, but refused to request an extension so the P&Z could study that information.

P&Z members also refuted Garden Homes’ contentions that the commissioners’ minds were already made up — and that they were opposed to the plan because a portion of the apartments would be deemed “affordable” under state 8-30g regulations.

“We never said we’d fight 8-30g,” P&Z chair  Chip Stephens said. “We said we would fight inappropriate locations for 8-30g. Period.”

Garden Homes president Richard Freedman promised to appeal the decision.

122 Wilton Road -- site of the proposed 6-story, 48-unit apartment building -- sits at the corner of Kings Highway North. The property abuts the Taylortown Salt Marsh.

122 Wilton Road — site of the proposed 6-story, 48-unit apartment building — sits at the corner of Kings Highway North. The property abuts the Taylortown Salt Marsh.

The Best Small House In America

In one corner, we have a 6-story, 48-unit apartment complex proposed for a 1.16-acre parcel of land on the corner of Wilton Road and Kings Highway North.

Right next to it, we have an 1,800-square foot home, on 1.8 acres. In 1988, it won a House Beautiful contest for the “Best Small House in America.”

That home — being cited by opponents of the planned apartments as much more in keeping with the streetscape, scale and marshland environment of the heavily trafficked area — was featured in a March 13, 1988 New York Times story.

Front view of "The Best Small House in America," on Wilton Road near the corner of Kings Highway North.

Front view of “The Best Small House in America,” on Wilton Road near the corner of Kings Highway North…

The house is 42 feet at its highest point. There’s a 30-foot high cathedral, plus 3 bedrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen, office, 3 full baths, 2 half-baths, sauna, exercise room and family room, Not too shabby — or small, really.

Architect Bruce Beinfield’s “whimsical” design, blended modern and traditional architecture. The view from the rear looks across the Taylortown salt marsh and Saugatuck River, to downtown Westport.

...and the rear view, looking across the Taylortown Salt Marsh.

…and the rear view, from the Taylortown Salt Marsh.

The Times said the land — purchased in April 1987 for $213,000 — passed through a number of owners over the years. During construction, workers found evidence of a house from a half century ago.

Asked why no one had developed the site since then, builder James A. Olson Sr. said, “Apparently people didn’t realize the potential of the property.”

The owners of the proposed 48 apartment complex next door sure do.

Bonus fun fact: The home was listed originally for $990,000. A William Pitt broker said, “I guess some people felt that because it’s small, it would sell for about $200,000.”

Why, Sure! This Certainly Looks Like A Great Parking Space To Me!

Yeah, yeah, I know. From time to time I post a pretty gruesome Entitled Parking photo, and “06880” readers come up with all kinds of reasons why it’s not so bad.

Like the car parked horizontally across 2 spots at the community garden. Turns out it was a Saturday; the driver saw no one around, and parked that way to snag some shade. Who knew that a playground dedication would fill the lot a couple of hours later?

My bad.

But there can be no way — no way! — there is any excuse for this Entitled Parking job, spotted earlier today in the Compo Shopping Center lot behind CVS:

CVS parking spot

And yes, for all you skeptics: There was no one in the car that created its own row. It really was parked there.

Let The Light Shine…

We’ve had a few hours to dig out — and play in — the Blizzard of 2016. Here are a few scenes from a day that looks quite a bit different from the one 24 hours earlier. (Click on or hover over photos to enlarge.)

The Compo Beach neighborhood escaped a flood. Instead -- like this home on the corner of Soundview Drive -- the scene was serene. (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

The Compo Beach neighborhood escaped a flood. Instead — like this home on the corner of Soundview Drive — the scene was serene (and very “love”-ly). (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Around the corner, the Compo Beach marina was equally peaceful. (Photo/Steve Axthelm)

Around the corner, the Compo Beach marina was equally peaceful. (Photo/Steve Axthelm)

What dog doesn't love snow? (Photo/Ken Bernhard)

What dog doesn’t love snow? (Photo/Ken Bernhard)

Hayley and Monty. (Photo/Daphne Cook)

Hayley and Monty. (Photo/Daphne Cook)

Sledders were out in force at Kings Highway School. (Photo/Peter Tulupman)

Sledders were out in force at Kings Highway School. (Photo/Peter Tulupman)

Snowy mailboxes at Harvest Commons. (Photo/Jo Ann Davidson)

Snowy mailboxes at Harvest Commons. (Photo/Jo Ann Davidson)

Saying Goodbye To The Blizzard

New York City nearly set a record: 26.8 inches, the 2nd biggest snowfall since 1869.

We got substantially less — but still over a foot. The winds were not as strong as predicted, and the snow fell on a Saturday, disrupting far fewer commutes than a weekday.

As we get ready to dig (or pay the plow guys), here are 2 final images to remember the Blizzard of 2016:

The scene yesterday at Indian Green in Saugatuck. (Photo/Scott Singer)

The scene yesterday at Indian River Green in Saugatuck. (Photo/Scott Singer)

The patio in my own back yard. (Photo/Dan Woog)

The patio in my own back yard. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Blizzard Of 2016: Evening Report

Alert — and hopefully thawed-out — “06880” readers continue to send images of today’s less-than-apocalyptic-but-still-long-and-drawn-out storm. Here are a few more:

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... (Photo/Susan Feliciano)

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… (Photo/Susan Feliciano)

Sherwood Mill Pond residents with cars in this garage were not going anywhere today. (Photo/Matt Murray)

Sherwood Mill Pond residents with cars in this garage were not going anywhere today. (Photo/Matt Murray)

The plows took a while getting to Old Hill today. (Photo/Peter Tulupman)

The plows took a while getting to Old Hill today. (Photo/Peter Tulupman)

The neighborhood kids were out in force. (Photo/Sarah Dransfield)

Early in the day, neighborhood kids were out in force. (Photo/Sarah Dransfield)

The pavilion frames part of Compo Beach. (Photo/Brian Chapman)

The pavilion frames part of Compo Beach. (Photo/Brian Chapman)

A longer view shows the power of today's tides. (Photo/Brian Chapman)

A longer view shows the power of today’s tides. (Photo/Brian Chapman)

Today's surf, as seen from behind a lifeguard stand. (Photo/Brian Chapman)

Today’s surf, as seen from behind a lifeguard stand. (Photo/Brian Chapman)

Compo Beach: beautiful in every season. (Photo/Bruce Chapman)

Compo Beach: beautiful in every season. (Photo/Bruce Chapman)