Tag Archives: 1st Selectman Jim Marpe

In A Pandemic, Staples Tuition Grants Marks A Record Year

For Staples Tuition Grants, it was the perfect storm.

In March — just when volunteers with the 77-year-old organization were finalizing awards for the 100-plus graduating seniors and alums currently in college who depend on donors to make education a reality — the coronavirus struck.

More students needed more aid. And fewer Westporters were able to give.

But the community rose to the challenge. A special drive brought in desperately needed funds.

So this spring, STG disbursed more money than ever: $375,000.

That means 107 Staples grads — at 72 colleges and universities across the country — can continue their educations.

COVID also knocked out STG’s annual June ceremony, always a joyful, inspiring event.

But Staples grad and STG booster Margot Bruce did the next best thing: She created a joyful, inspiring video.

It includes brief messages from 1st Selectman Jim Marpe (who notes the importance of a tuition grant in his Ohio hometown, helping him become the first in his family to go college); Staples principal Stafford Thomas; former recipient Scott Bennewitz, the son of a single mom and now a Princeton grad, plus many current and recent recipients.

The video is well worth the 6 minutes. And when it’s over — or even before — you can click here to help Staples Tuition Grants reach its 2021 goal.

Isiais: By The Numbers

Ten days after Tropical Storm Isaias ravaged our town, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, the Department of Public Works and Westport Emergency Response Team report:

The Westport Fire Department responded to 581 incidents, almost 500% of their normal call volume. WFD also responded to at least 30 carbon monoxide incidents, the first time the department received so many calls of this type. In response, the WFD and the Fire Marshal have been increasing their education and outreach regarding the proper usage of generators.

From 1 p.m. Tuesday, August 4 through 1 a.m. Wednesday, the Westport Police Department logged 230 calls for service. 155 of them came at the height of the storm, 2 p.m.. Over the following 24 hours, the WPD answered 779 phone calls, 284 of them on the 911 line. The department also deployed temporary traffic control signage at around 15 major intersections throughout the course of the storm.

The Department of Public Works cleared 304 tree issues. They continue their cleaning debris from 125 miles of town-owned roadways, in addition to all town-owned Parks and Recreation facilities. The DPW expects to spend 2 weeks cleaning up town property, most of which could not commence until Eversource cleared and de-energized their wires.

DPW’s role is to remove trees and debris from the town’s right of way. DPW is not doing curbside pick-up of yard waste. Residents should not put personal yard waste and debris curbside. The town’s Yard Waste Site at 180 Bayberry Lane is open for personal yard debris. Normal hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to noon. Tomorrow (August 15), the yard waste site stays open until 3 p.m.

The Department of Human Services worked around the clock, in collaboration with emergency personnel, to address storm-related concerns from upwards of 400 households. DHS received over 150 calls and emails, and made over 40 home visits for welfare checks and/or provide food service.

Westport’s Department of Human Services brought food, water (and toilet paper) to elderly residents trapped behind this tree on Rocky Ridge Road.

If you have a vulnerable resident in the home, or know seniors who live alone or whose main caregiver is also elderly, register that individual with the DHS. Call 203-341-1073, so the department can proactively follow up with him or her during future emergencies.

The number of town-wide emails and phone calls received is over triple the normal volume. Town personnel collaborated and triaged those responses as quickly as possible. In addition, emergency and general information was dispersed via Nixle alerts, daily press releases, social media posts and through the town radio station, WWPT 90.3FM.

Residents can stay connected with the town by signing up for emergency alerts and press notifications, and following the town on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Residents are urged to preset their radio to 90.3 FM in case of emergency.

As part of emergency incident standard procedures, the Town Emergency Operations Command Team will debrief and discuss the process, protocols and communications that occurred during Isaias. Each member will make recommendations for improved procedures during future emergency incidents.

Marpe adds: “There were many examples of neighbors helping neighbors and people stepping up to help in the midst of the emergency. Most Westporters came together and demonstrated resilience and an inherent capacity to help those around them. I want to express my deepest gratitude to those residents and town employees who exhibited patience, cooperation and understanding under very trying circumstances.”

The night after 98% of Westport lost power, an impromptu concert popped up on Jesup Green. (Photos/Miggs Burroughs)

One More Post-Storm Update: Get A Refund! Don’t Kill Yourself!

This afternoon, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, the Department of Public Works and Westport’s Emergency Response Team provided this information. It Includes power outages (including Optimum TV), and safety and food tips.

Most roads are passable. But some may be detoured if crews are in the area clearing debris.

Currently 0.32 percent, or approximately 41, of Westport’s Eversource customers are without power. Those customers, and others with specific outage issues are being addressed as quickly as possible.

  • Due to the heat wave and for those in need, the cooling center at Greens Farms Elementary School is open now until 5 p.m. Wear a face covering, and maintain social distance recommendations.
  • Homeowners should contact electricians to manage individual issues, such as wires that were pulled from the home or electrical panels. A certified electrician must re-attach those wires. Neither Eversource nor town DPW crews are qualified to service individual home electric panels.

(Photo/Wendy Cusick)

Cable and internet service

If your power has been restored but your cable/internet access remains down, please contact your provider. Those providers rely upon electrical restoration or pole re-installation before their services can be addressed. Some fiber cables have been compromised. Town officials are also in contact with providers to encourage facilitation of those services.

Optimum (also known as Cablevision/Altice) says that teams have been deployed around the clock restoring services as quickly as possible. The percentage of customers in Connecticut without Optimum service due to the storm has fallen from more than 44% to less than 4% today.

Optimum offers these restoration tips:

If you lost power, restart your equipment using these steps:

  • Unplug your equipment from its power source.
  • Wait 30 seconds.
  • Plug your equipment back into the power source

If your service does not return after restarting, it is possible that:

  • The power that feeds the network in your area comes from a different commercial power source than the power that feeds your home or business location, or there is another issue relating to network power that needs to be addressed. Optimum is coordinating with electric companies to identify these issues and ensure prioritization of repair or restoration.
  • There is damage to the Optimum network, like a downed utility pole or wire break. Crews are working to rectify this type of damage.

To check on service status:

  • Go to optimum.net/support/outage  Sign in with your Optimum ID and password. Next, under Support (upper right corner), click “Service status.”

To report service issues:

To request a credit, click here: optimum.net/support/request-a-credit

Safety Information:

Homeowners are often seriously injured trying to do their own post-storm cleanup work.

  • Consider consulting a professional before undertaking any major restoration or tree / large limb removal.
  • Do not use a chain saw if you are not experienced in properly and safely operating it, or if you are not physically fit.  If you must use a chainsaw, work only on the ground, not in a tree.
  • Use extreme caution with ladders.
  • Stay safe in hot weather; hydrate; pace yourself.
  • The Westport yard waste site on Bayberry Lane is open fto discard tree limbs and branches.

Food safety reminders: 

  • Any food remaining in a refrigerator or freezer during the outage should be considered contaminated. Do not rely upon appearance or smell to determine if it is safe to consume. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • When power comes back on, clean out your refrigerator and freezer before putting new food in it. Wash the inside of the refrigerator and freezer with soap and warm water, then wipe with a mild solution of ½ tablespoon bleach in a gallon of water. Keep doors open to allow to dry. Once dry, allow the unit to get cold before placing food inside.

Lamont, Blumenthal Visit Westport; Slam Eversource’s “Unacceptable” Response

Post-Isaias, it’s not easy to get to Town Hall.

Avery Place and Myrtle Avenue are shut. Downed wires and trees litter both important roads. Town Hall itself is closed.

But Governor Ned Lamont, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Senator Richard Blumenthal got there an hour ago. (“I had a police escort,” the governor joked.)

Joined by 1st Selectman Jim Marpe and 3 state legislators, the bipartisan group met first with Fire Chief Robert Yost, Police Chief Foti Koskinas and other officials behind Town Hall, then faced the press and a few Westport residents by the front steps.

In both places, they slammed Eversource’s actions before, during and after the storm.

Or, as more than one said, Eversource’s “lack of action.”

Clockwise from left: Senator Richard Blumenthal, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Fire Chief Robert Yost, Police Chief Foti Koskinas, Governor Ned Lamont and State Representative Gail Lavielle. (Photo/ Brendan Byrne)

Standing next to the absentee ballot box in the back parking lot, Marpe told the governor and senator that he had taken Congressman Jim Himes on a tour of Westport this morning.

There were plenty of places they could not reach, Marpe said. “Lives are at risk. And Eversource should be in touch with local leaders, so we know what’s going on.”

Blumenthal noted, “Eversource bet the storm would pass us by. They lost the bet. And we’re paying for it.”

Press and Westport citizens surround the governor, senator and other officials. (Photo/Kyle Ehrlich)

A few minutes later, facing a battery of microphones from news outlets around Connecticut, Marpe called the fact that 85% of Westporters still lack power “unacceptable.”

He added, “We need help right away. Our Public Works, first responders and Town Hall staff are working full time to get the town back in shape. AT&T and Verizon are here.

“But hundreds of roads are inaccessible. Lives are at risk. Eversource’s response is totally inadequate. I can’t tell you if 10 trucks are here, or 2, or 200. I have no idea of any time estimates.”

Lamont, speaking next, cited the COVID pandemic. “We hope for the best but plan for the worst. That’s not what the utilities have done.

“Eversource should have been pre-positioned. We’ll hold their feet to the fire later. We will have a tough post-mortem. But right now the house is on fire, and we need (the equivalent of) the fire department. That’s our first priority.”

Governor Lamont speaks at Town Hall. (Photo/January Stewart)

Lamont was “surprised” to get a call from the White House last night. “FEMA will reimburse us 100%,” he said. “But that’s small potatoes compared to the action that’s needed right now.”

Blumenthal noted, “I’ve never seen Connecticut more angry, and rightfully so. No electricity and no internet are matters of life and death.

“There can be no more teasing, no more delays, no more rate increases. Eversource’s CEO is well compensated.” (Bysiewicz said he earns $19.8 million a year.) “But he won’t even come out and meet the press.”

State Senator Tony Hwang and State Representative Gail Lavielle echoed the criticism of the utility.

State Representative Jonathan Steinberg added, “This storm hit Westport like a freight train — and it sounded like one. People say that Eversource’s response is unacceptable. Well, the word ‘unacceptable’ is unacceptable.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz and 1st Selectman Jim Marpe at Town Hall. (Photo/Calvin Carson)

Town Update: We’re Getting There. But It Will Take A While.

Westport’s Emergency Management Response Team says:

The Department of Public Works has made great progress opening up approximately 40% of the 294 roads that were closed. Last evening they reopened Saugatuck Avenue so that police, fire, and EMS can access Saugatuck Shores without having to pass through East Norwalk.

Part of the standard for restoration is the “Make Safe” program. Town highway crews are paired with Eversource crews to reopen streets blocked by downed trees and power lines. Once the power company verifies that the electricity is off to the downed wires, Public Works crews can then safely remove trees, branches and debris to open the streets. Streets with no secondary access are prioritized so that emergency vehicles can gain access.

Power cannot be safely restored until all the trees are cleared. Unfortunately, this process may take days. There can be no official estimates for when power may be restored while the Make Safe process is ongoing. However, once the next phase begins, more accurate data will be available to provide estimates on times and areas of restoration.

Post Road West, near Academy of Dance, 11 a.m. this morning. (Photo/Leah Nash)

1st Selectman Jim Marpe adds:

I have been in direct contact with Eversource and our legislators about the Eversource response and its expected time frame for restoration, demanding accurate estimates from Eversource for their remaining restoration efforts. Governor Lamont has also stepped in to demand a better response from Eversource.

In an effort to manage expectations regarding estimates of power restoration time, be aware that this storm has created as much electrical infrastructure damage as Super Storm Sandy 8 years ago. Power restoration for some customers in that event took many days. We understand everyone’s frustration with even a day without power, so we will push Eversource in every way possible to speed the process, without compromising safety.

A hanging utility pole, on Quarter Mile Road. (Photo/Richard Epstein)

We are also aware of the challenges with sporadic to non-existent WiFi, internet and cell service. We have been in contact with executives at major carriers, including AT&T, Wireless and Verizon. Cell towers and antennae require commercial power to operate. As a result, they are also affected by the massive outage. The representatives assured us that they are working on temporary solutions to gain some level of service, but ultimately they, like all of us, rely on full restoration by Eversource before they may achieve full capability.

The town is working on establishing locations for public device charging stations.  Seniors age 60 or over can charge their devices on the outside of the Senior Center weekdays between 8:30 and 4:30 p.m. Outdoor public Wi-Fi can be accessed at the train station houses, outside of Town Hall and outside the Westport Library.

Yesterday, there were technical issues that prevented broadcasting on WWPT.  Those issues have been resolved. I encourage residents to tune in to 90.3 FM radio for information and guidance during this emergency.

Linda Doyle lives on Rocky Ridge Road, off Valley Road. She says: “No power. Any source of communication in or out is almost non-existent. Scant emergency texts come from the town that we are able to retrieve! There is no way in or out of the road at this time. Lucky to have great neighbors and friends. We are trying to remain patient and hopeful.” (Photo/Linda Doyle)

While safety remains our utmost concern, we suggest that residents remain at home after dark given that downed wires are harder to be seen at night.  Furthermore, traffic lights continue to be out of service and all intersections must be approached as if a stop sign was there.

Please do not remove caution tape or barricades from roadways; they are there for your safety. If tape or barricades are removed prematurely, personnel must reattach it, taking time away from other vital activities. Exercise extreme caution if out walking, cycling or jogging on the roadways and sidewalks, since many remain blocked by limbs and wires.

We appreciate your continued patience and cooperation as we work effectively and efficiently to address the issues associated with this event. Please remember, we are still fighting the COVID-19 virus so practice social distancing and use face coverings if you choose to leave your home. Please help protect our community as we work together to get through the pandemic and the storm aftermath.

Update on Westport Parks & Recreation:

Town beaches are open, but will close at 8:30 p.m. in an effort to keep people off the roads after dark. Longshore golf course and tennis courts remain closed as clean-up continues and there is no electricity. Access will be available to the ER Strait Marina, Longshore Sailing School and the Pearl restaurant.  Please note that due to the lack of power, fuel is not available at either marina.

Athletic fields are open with the exception of Town Farms and Coleytown Elementary School fields.  For updates on those fields, check with Westport Little League.

Other park facilities that are open include Winslow Park, Machamux Park, Grace Salmon Park, Luciano Park, Eloise Ray Park, Pasacreta Park, Jesup Green and Veterans Green.

The Staples, Town Farms and Doubleday tennis courts are open for play. Other parks will be opened once damage has been assessed and the area is deemed safe.  Please do not enter a park if it has been closed off.

Don’t remove caution tape. It’s there for a reason! (Photo/Bruce Haymes)

REMINDERS

For your safety and the well-being of others:

Only call 911 for true medical emergencies.
Check on your neighbors.
Stay at least 25 feet from downed power lines.
·         Be aware of possible carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators.

·         All generators (portable and installed) should be used in well-ventilated locations outside and at least 10-15 feet away from all doors, windows, and vent openings.

·         Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.

If you must drive, use caution, expect delays and detours, and be considerate of other drivers and emergency crews. DO NOT drive around tape or barricades – they have been erected for your safety. Without working traffic signals, intersections must be approached as if a STOP sign was there.  Make a full stop at all intersections and treat this as a four way STOP.

Sign up for Emergency Notifications by registering at www.nixle.com, or texting 06880 to 888777 from your mobile phone

 

Marpe: The Latest On Connecticut’s 4th Worst Storm Ever

1st Selectman Jim Marpe and the Westport Emergency Management Team provide the following update. It is also available on WWPT-FM (90.3), which frequently provides information in emergencies.

Eversource considers this storm to be the 4th largest ever experienced in Connecticut, and Governor Lamont has declared a State of Emergency. [“0688o”‘s side comment: We don’t want to even think about the other 3.]

It was a “wind event,” with sustained winds of 54 mph and gusts of 63 miles per hour. Fortunately, the flooding risk never materialized as rainfall was measured at ½ inch. The Emergency Management Team anticipates that the storm and its aftermath will require multiple days of clean up and restoration in all areas of town.

Statewide, 617,000 customers are without power, with 12,226 Eversource customers (97%) without power in Westport. The significant damage and high percentage of those without power and other utility services indicates that Westport may have been the hardest hit municipality in the state.

Residents are advised to remain safe at home to allow for an expedient and safe clean up. Many homes sustained significant damage. A large number of roads remain closed and impassable due to uprooted trees, large limbs, debris and downed wires. Department of Public Works crews will not touch, move or remove downed trees until the utility companies address downed wires first.

Eversource crews are assessing and evaluating the safest way to manage the many downed wires and then work cooperatively to restore power safely to neighborhoods throughout town. All of Westport has been impacted by this event, with varying degrees of damage and need for immediate attention and prioritization. Unfortunately, this means that it may be days until full power is restored.

Damage on Saugatuck Shores. Isaias was the real deal. (Photo courtesy of News12)

For your safety and the safety of work crews who are trying to clear the roads and restore power:

  • Do not go sightseeing! Roads must be kept clear for emergency vehicles.
  • Do not drive over or go near downed wires.
  • Do not drive or walk around yellow barrier tape or barricades.
  • Stay well clear of downed power lines: 25’ at least!
  • Be vigilant about downed trees and tree limbs hung up overhead

If you must drive, use caution, expect delays and detours, and be considerate of other drivers and emergency crews. DO NOT drive around tape or barricades – they have been erected for your safety. Without working traffic signals, intersections must be approached as if a STOP sign was there.  Make a full stop at all intersections and treat this as a four way STOP.

Please be aware of possible carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators.

  • All generators (portable and installed) should be used in well ventilated locations outside and at least 10-15 feet away from all doors, windows, and vent openings.
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.

Town facilities, including the beaches, Longshore, Recreation programs, the Westport Library, the Senior Center and Wakeman fields remain closed today. All Senior Center virtual programs are cancelled for the remainder of the week.  The Board of Finance meeting scheduled for tonight is cancelled.

The Department of Human Services reminds residents to please check on your friends and neighbors. This weather emergency, combined with COVID-19 concerns, is stressful and may have a profound effect on our most vulnerable citizens.  We are a resilient, caring community that looks out for one another.

If you know of a neighbor who is elderly or particularly vulnerable, please reach out to him or her and offer assistance from a safe distance. DHS staff is available weekdays from 8:30 am-4:30 pm at 203-341-1050 to provide information and resources, although it’s most important to rely on your natural supports at this time. Please practice patience and consideration as we are all doing the best we can under the circumstances.

After 4:30 p.m., residents can call the CT information hotline by dialing 211 or go to www.211ct.org for mobile crisis support.

Only call 911 for true medical emergencies.

Due to COVID-19, Westport’s cooling centers, charging stations, and shelters are currently not available, so it is essential to make specific plans to address your needs.

We will continue to provide updates to residents as soon as they are available. Please recognize that there are many who are working as quickly as possible to effectively and efficiently clear the roadways and restore power. Most of us are without power, so we are in this together. You are not alone.

And please remember, we are still fighting the COVID-19 virus so practice social distancing and use face coverings if you choose to leave your home. Please help protect our community as we work together to get through the pandemic and this latest weather crisis. Remember, you are safe at home; not stuck at home. We appreciate your anticipated patience and cooperation.

** Sign up for Emergency Notifications by registering at www.nixle.com, or text 06880 to 888777 from your mobile phone**

Marpe: Fight COVID Fatigue!

1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

As we enter a new month of restrictions and regulations designed to keep ourselves and others safe, it is understandable that some are experiencing “COVID fatigue,” and perhaps becoming too relaxed in abiding by public health requirements.

Westport needs to remain vigilant. We must all maintain social distancing, not gather in large groups, practice diligent hand washing, and continue to be responsible by wearing a face covering whenever leaving our homes. This is especially important during the summer months when we are drawn outside to exercise, shop, dine outdoors and go to the beach.

Wearing a face covering properly over both the nose and mouth protects us, and protects those we may come in contact with. To those who forget, or choose not to wear a face covering: You are placing those around you in an uncomfortable position, and may put their health at risk. Remember to bring your face covering as if it were your cell phone!

There are some who may not agree with the actions that are being taken by town health and safety official. Please: Remember that the best interests of our residents and visitors are foremost in the decision-making process. We want everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy all the town’s amenities in a safe and responsible manner while respecting family, neighbors and friends. Everyone can help by wearing a face covering and maintaining social distancing.

To date, we have not mandated the wearing of face coverings because my leadership team believes that residents’ personal responsibility in insuring the virus does not spread in this community has a much stronger impact than the imposition of a mandate. I am confident that residents, visitors and guests will be considerate of others. If we all wear face coverings, then we are setting a positive example to those around us. Please continue to be respectful of others, and wear face coverings properly at those times when you are required to do so.

Residents are reminded that weekend traffic and possible overcrowding at town beaches may result in early closure. In an abundance of caution and to insure public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, when a beach reaches a capacity where it is deemed impossible to maintain social distancing, it will be closed to additional beachgoers. Signage at key intersections on local roadways will inform drivers if a beach is closed, and traffic will be diverted from the area. Parking on local streets to avoid the parking lots is not allowed.

Residents who wish to spend the day at a town beach are advised to arrive before 10 a.m. If a beach closes, it may reopen mid to late afternoon, provided safer conditions relative to crowds and social distancing are observed at that time. The town will make every effort to inform residents of the current conditions throughout the day via the Town of Westport and Parks and Recreation Department website homepages, and the Town and Parks and Recreation Facebook pages.

While in the Compo Beach area, please wear a face covering when walking on the boardwalk, using the restrooms or area sidewalks, or any other time when you are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance from others. Please have a face covering available at all times.

Online:  www.westportct.gov/COVID19

Updates:  Sign up for emergency alerts and email subscriptions

Beach Alert: Closures Expected; No Drop-Offs Allowed

1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

Due to the extreme heat forecast for this weekend, increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic is anticipated at Westport beaches.

In an abundance of caution and to insure public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the beach reaches a capacity where it is deemed impossible to maintain social distancing, it will be closed to additional beachgoers. S

Signage at key intersections on local roadways will inform drivers if the beach is closed, and traffic will be diverted from the area. Drop-offs will not be allowed.

These types of crowded conditions start from mid to late mornings. We advise residents who wish to spend the day at the beach to arrive before 10 a.m.

The beach may re-open mid to late afternoon, provided safer conditions relative to crowds and social distancing are observed at that time.

The goal is for everyone to enjoy Compo — and obey the rules. (Photo/Tom Cook)

The town will make every effort to inform residents of conditions throughout the day via the Town of Westport and Parks and Recreation Department website home pages, and the Town and Parks and Rec Facebook pages.

At Compo Beach you are reminded to wear masks on the boardwalk, using the restrooms or sidewalks, or any other time when you are unable to maintain a 6- foot distance from others.

Your cooperation, patience and understanding with the town staff and police who will enforce and maintain traffic and crowd control during these unprecedented times is appreciated.

I have utmost confidence that town health and safety officials have only the best interests of residents and guests in mind when making difficult decisions. I also know that Westporters understand and accept the gravity of the current health crisis. I am grateful that we are at a point where our town amenities may be open and thriving. But now more than ever, we must enjoy them in a safe and responsible manner while respecting our family, neighbors and friends.

Roundup: Marpe Update; More


1st Selectman Jim Marpe provides this update, on a variety of topics:

Town Facilities

As part of our efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 and in an abundance of caution, Town Hall and indoor town facilities continue to be closed to walk-in services. All town services are being conducted on-site or remotely. and telephones and emails are monitored. Appointments may be made on an as-needed basis.

If you have a matter that requires resolution by town staff, please use the staff directory on the website (www.westportct.gov/directory) to call or email the office, and allow adequate time for a response.

The possibility of conducting in-person public meetings is being explored. In the meantime, public meetings of the Boards of Finance and Selectmen, the Representative Town Meeting, Conservation Commission, Planning & Zoning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals can be viewed on the town’s website (westportct.gov/watch) and Westport TV on Channel 79 (Optimum) and Channel 6020 (Frontier).  Public meetings of the Board of Education can be viewed on Channel 78 (Optimum) and Channel 6021 (Frontier).

Masks and Social Distancing

It is imperative that masks be worn while inside or when unable to maintain social distancing in all public places. Masks may be removed provided you are with people who reside in your household, and maintaining a 6-foot distance from others.

Any other time, whether you are outside at Compo Beach, on a field, walking on town sidewalks and roadways, or entering an indoor location (including the restrooms at Compo Beach) you must wear a mask. You protect yourself, your family and your neighbors when you abide by this rule.

Many residents continue to express concern about the lack of face coverings on individuals that they encounter in public spaces. While it is impossible to know if a group includes only those people who reside in the same household, it is usually obvious when they do not.

Gatherings of younger people without face coverings have been observed. I respectfully ask that parents speak to their children about the importance of wearing a mask. We know that children are not impervious to the virus, and steps must be taken to insure the safety and health of all. Each of us has a personal responsibility to wear masks and maintain social distancing.

I Love Westport Campaign

If you haven’t already seen the #ILoveWestport videos on social media, please go to the town’s website (Westportct.gov/ilovewestport) and view these one minute video vignettes.

The #ILoveWestport campaign asks Westporters to make a personal promise to our community to stop the spread of COVID-19. We love our town, so let’s keep our neighbors and our employees healthy. Please make a pledge and share your video at #Ilovewestport.

Statement from the Westport Weston Health District on Connecticut’s Travel Advisory

Given the concerning surge in COVID-19 cases reported in many states across the country, it’s more important than ever to take precautions and pay strict attention to the state’s recent travel advisory. The Westport Weston Health District urges residents to keep up their prevention efforts.

Governor Lamont’s travel advisory went into effect on June 25. Anyone traveling into Connecticut from a state that has a new daily positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average, must self-quarantine for 14 days from the last contact within the identified state. This also applies to Connecticut residents who return from those states.

Those who test negative for COVID-19 are not subject to the travel advisory. In order to avoid the advisory, any traveler from the restricted states should be tested no sooner than 72 hours prior to departing.

For more information, a listing of restricted states and frequently asked questions, please visit the State’s site https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/Covid-19-Knowledge-Base/Travel-In-or-Out-of-CT

Please continue to stay connected by signing up or following us at:


Seen (and admired) on Hillandale Road:

(Photo/Bill Dedman)

And finally … Joyeux Quatorze Juillet! Happy Bastille Day!

Marpe’s Message: Holiday Is More Than Fireworks

1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

Today is the day that most of us would be preparing food and drink, joining friends, and enjoying the ultimate Westport experience of our Annual July 4th fireworks at Compo Beach.

Many of you would typically continue that celebration through the holiday weekend and into the upcoming week. Unfortunately this year, we can’t gather as we typically do to celebrate our nation’s independence.

Although COVID has restricted our ability to gather, we can’t forget that the July 4th holiday is more than fireworks, parties, and picnics. Instead, it can serve as an opportunity to reflect and re-direct the energy we may have spent in those celebratory rituals.

This year let’s be innovative in how we celebrate with close family and friends, staying at home and enjoying each other’s company. Consider taking the time to acknowledge that all of our brothers and sisters, no matter their race, creed, color, religion, sexual orientation or gender expression, deserve the same independence we cherish in Westport.

While there are those who continue to struggle, we must learn from the mistakes of the past, and move forward in a concrete, firm, resolute manner to make the positive changes in our community that reflect the current conditions of this 2020 world.

Town departments, health and safety officials, and local community volunteers and leaders continue to coordinate and advance the deliberate phased reopening plans. This insures that the difficult decisions that minimized and contained the virus were not in vain. Westport is on the right track, moving forward, cautiously and carefully, but with resilience and hope.

I encourage you to continue this positivity and show your community spirit by engaging in the #ilovewestport campaign. Please check out #Ilovewestport; let us know why you love Westport and how you will commit to making a difference during these changing times.

Personally, I plan to show that “I Love Westport” by committing to wearing a mask out of respect for all my fellow Westporters, by promoting policies that ensure social distancing, by prioritizing health and safety during reopening, and by supporting our local businesses. And I commit to engaging in ongoing dialogue that will make all our residents, visitors and businesses feel safe and welcome in Westport.

Let’s celebrate this holiday with hope, imagination and a sense of community. Whether speaking about phased and gradual implementation for reopening, to the difficult but necessary discussions about racism and policing, we are a community of resilience, a community of love and hope, and a community of history with the means to affect true change in how we govern and interact. I look forward to gathering once again in the near future, with all the necessary steps to keep us safe and healthy, to celebrate our strength and fortitude, and to celebrate our independence.

Thank you, Westport, for your continued cooperation and patience. We are in this together and we will get out of it together – stronger than ever before. I hope that you have a healthy, happy, and innovative Fourth of July holiday. Please enjoy yourselves and continue to be safe.

(Photo by Lynn U. Miller)