Today’s meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission’s Zoning Regulation Revision/Sustainability Subcommittee (Wednesday, July 26, noon) opens with an interesting agenda item.
“Presentation of Affordable Housing Concept for the Adaptive ReUse of Existing Residential Structures at Baron’s South” is part of the P&Z’s 5-year affordability plan.
The subcommittee will explore the possibility of using existing town-owned residential properties for affordable housing.
Though much of Baron’s South — the 22 acres of land between South Compo Road and Imperial Avenue — is hilly and wooded, it includes structures like “Golden Shadows,” the late Baron Walter Langer von Langendorff and his wife’s former home.
It was used most recently by the Westport Library to store books, but has largely been in a state of disrepair.
Click here for a Zoom link to today’s meeting.
The owners of 6 Connecticut restaurants will pay over 100 workers more than $858,000 in back wages and damages.
One is in Westport: Harvest.
A US Department of Labor investigation found that employers violated overtime and record-keeping regulations, including compensating managers from tip pools for regular employees; failing to pay employees for all hours worked, and not paying employees 1 1/2 times regular pay for working over 40 hours a week.
Kleber Siguenza was cited as having an ownership interest in all 6 restaurants. He was in the news earlier this week when a court ruled in his favor, as the rightful co-owner of Weston’s Cobbs Mill Inn. (Hat tips: Allan Siegert, Karen Jennings)
Outdoor dining at Harvest restaurant, on Railroad Place.
With a heat advisory in effect for the area through Sunday morning, Westport’s Office of Emergency Management has opened 5 cooling centers:
- Senior Center: Weekdays only, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- MoCa: Weekdays only, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Westport Library: Wednesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.
- Westport Weston Family YMCA: Weekdays 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Westport Museum for History and Culture: Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Emergency Management director Nick Marsan offers these tips:
Stay cool: Keep your body temperature cool to avoid heat-related illness
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If you must be outdoors, try to limit your outdoor activity to the morning and evening.
- Find an air-conditioned shelter. Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
- Avoid direct sunlight.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Take cool showers or baths.
- Pets that cannot be brought indoors should be provided ready access to water and shade to keep them cool.
Stay Hydrated: Because your body loses fluids through sweat, you can become dehydrated during times of extreme heat
- Drink more water than usual.
- Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids.
- Drink two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
- Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
This will not be the weather over the next few days. (Photo/Dick Kalt)
The Westport Country Playhouse is almost there.
The historic theater announced yesterday that they are just $200,000 short of their $2 million “Save Your Playhouse” goal. The campaign ends Monday, July 31.
Over 300 donors have contributed or pledged $1.8 million. The aim is to transform the 92-year=old Playhouse into a center for a wide array of performances that appeal to a broader audience, while continuing to produce high-quality theater.
“While there’s a deep respect for the Playhouse history and what it is today, there’s also an eagerness for growth, change, and the next chapter,” says board chair Athena Adamson.
“We are listening; we care about what the audience wants to see on the Playhouse stage. In turn, the audience is stepping up to offer their support.”
Beginning in 2024, the Playhouse will be a performing arts center from January through August. Presentations will include single night events like cabaret, comedy, music, play readings and speakers. From September 2024 through March 2025 the WCP will mount 3 theatrical productions.
“The community is changing and we must adapt our programming,” Adamson says. “We won’t lose our theatergoers; we simply are looking to increase our audience by offering more entertainment options. Our board of trustees wants the Playhouse to be here for the entire community, with performances on stage to appeal to everyone.
The Westport Country Playhouse is just $200,000 shy of its $2 million fundraising goal.
Sustainable Westport is our town’s environmental eyes and ears.
The other day, they noticed — and gave a shout-out to — the Police Department’s use of electric vehicles.
They’ve added 2 new EVs to their fleet — an all-terrain utility vehicle and an electric motorcycle — and expect a third Tesla patrol car this summer.
Earlier, the WPD purchased 7 plug-in vehicles: 2 Tesla patrol cars (Models 3 and Y), a Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid, a Honda Clarity PHEV, a BMW i3 battery electric vehicle, and a Ford Interceptor conventional hybrid patrol car.
The new all-terrain utility vehicle is powered by 6 12-volt batteries, lasting 8-12 hours. Though it looks like a golf cart, the vehicle can drive across terrains (including sand) and includes a winch for heavy-duty applications. It is used often at Compo Beach and Winslow Park.
The Zero electric motorcycle will be used for parking and traffic enforcement. It contains a 17.3 kWh battery, and has a range of 183 miles in the city and 85 miles on the highway.
In 2019, Westport Police purchased their first electric patrol vehicle, a Tesla Model 3, for $52,000. Over a 4-years it is projected to save the town $50,000.
Tesla vehicles also are expected to provide a longer service life: 6 years is the projection compared to 4 of Ford Explorers. The WPD hopes to actually get 8 years.
“Kudos to the Westport Police for continuing to be a leader amongst police departments and municipalities nationwide,” Sustainable Westport says.
The Police Department’s Tesla Model Y, and all-terrain utility vehicle.
Westport’s sister city with Lyman, Ukraine began with a suggestion from our friends in Marigny, France — our much longer-established other sister city.
That relationship began right after World War II. Bonds tightened as we helped the Normandy town recover. Marigny has never forgotten Westport.
When we were planning LymanAID — the celebration/fundraiser earlier this month, at the Ukrainian American Club — our Marigny amis sent gifts for a raffle: 3 gorgeous books, sweatshirts and calvados.
One of those books has been donated to the Westport Library. “601 Communes” includes a history and photos of Marigny. It’s accompanied by a letter — in French and English — from author René Gautier.
The library will display both soon.
Rachel Suggs is a rising junior at the University of Chicago. The 2021 Staples High School graduate is double majoring in law, letters and society, and Middle Eastern languages and civilizations.
Last summer and this, she’s internet at the Jerusalem law firm Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co., which specializes in immigration law.
She’s seen the current political upheaval up front. She wrote this piece for The Times of Israel: “Israel Must Ratify a Constitution, Protests Prove” (click here to read).
Robin Clark has been selected for another term as Westport Woman’s Club president.
Under Robin’s leadership this year, the WWC awarded over $100,000 in community service grants, scholarships, and food supplies to those in need.
She has personally raised tens of thousands of dollars for food drives, collected and shopped for food donations, and volunteered countless hours helping others.
Robin gives much of the credit for her community work to her employer, Westport National Bank, where she is vice president and branch manager. The bank is a strong supporter of employee volunteer initiatives.
The view in and around the Levitt Pavilion is almost as great as the show itself.
Johanna Keyser Rossi spotted these flowers — just in time for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.
(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)
And finally … as the heat settles in, let’s listen to the very cool Sly & the Family Stone:
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